The reality is that professionals today have long ago embraced the agile economy. They live in a world of interaction moments. They work where they find themselves. Their world is unstructured. You see there are two types of Salesforce.com (http://salesforce.com/) users out there. The first are what I like to call 'The Captives.' These are the folks who live inside the Salesforce UI. They get to work and log in. Their world is contained within the so-called Lightning world. Its new and exciting but one very much driven by access to the browser.
The second kind of user is my customer. They live between worlds. Their world is filled with time in and out of the office. They spend as much time in between customer appointments as they do in front of the client. Their world is a mobile one. Its fast and furious. I call them 'The Hunter Gatherers.' As a result, when these folks use technology they fall back on the usual suspects. Think Outlook, Word, and Evernote. You get the picture. Unfortunately for them Salesforce and other systems are what comes next. To do what they do they need solutions that work on and offline. The need to accept unstructured data input and fast just like the world in which they live.
So what is a Quip. Basically Quip is a application developed by Bret Taylor. Who is Bret Taylor? Per his Twitter profile he is the Ex-CTO of Facebook, co-founder of FriendFeed and co-creator of Google Maps. It's a digital platform that makes it easy for teams to create and collaborate. But don't take my word for it check it out at their website. Oh and Salesforce bought them last year. Yes Bret Taylor is now at Salesforce.
So where does Quip fall into all of this?
I believe Quip is the new 'Hunter-gatherer UI' for Salesforce. Quip provides the opportunity to bridge the gap that exists between the unstructured world of modern day professionals, and the structured world that management likes to believe exists. That world of carefully scheduled appointments and sales methodologies all captured in so-called systems of record versus the back of a napkin world throw away world of reality.
Imagine a world where a Sales Professional could open an app on his notebook, tablet or phone and start taking notes. As they take these notes, a simple click of the @ button brings up a menu of actions like adding a task or sending an email. But let's not stop there. Imagine an AI layer that parsed the notes in real-time looking for contextual indications of next actions that the note-taker might want to execute and then helping him execute all in realtime. In Salesforce terminology imagine Einstein (Einstein is what Salesforce calls it's baked in Artificial Intelligence Layer) embedded in the note taking application. So for example, if the note taker were to write 'customer interested in adding capabilities to his network in the next 12 months'. Immediately the AI component established a soft opportunity in Salesforce. If the note taker wrote 'setup a meeting with procurement next week' AI sent an email to the procurement team requesting a meeting and displaying times that aligned with the note takers schedule. Imagine a world where just taking notes triggered real actions all tracked and denoted in Salesforce, ready and waiting when the note taker left the meeting.
Remember all of this is taking place within an unstructured interface that is nothing more than a traditional note taking app. But this is no traditional note taking app this rather this is 'Digital Paper.' For me, as I stare into tomorrow 'Digital Paper' is the new UI. It is the perfect marriage of the human and artificial intelligence. It is the answer to the dreaded question of our age which is how do you get them to use it. The answer is you don't. Rather you break the paradigm. You turn notes into data and that data into actions.
So am I dreaming? No, I don't think so. I have been using Quip for a few weeks now, and more and more I believe Quip is Salesforce's answer to 'Digital Paper.' Already you can add tasks, set reminders and link to other documents all from within the unstructured confines of Quip documents. This week Quip announced the ability to embed live Salesforce data within a Quip document and link Quip documents to Salesforce objects. Unless I am crazy, they just need to layer Einstein on top of Quip, and my dream will be so close to becoming reality
So am I dreaming? Time will tell, but I say it would be pretty cool if it came to pass. How about it Salesforce?