Trying to get people to synchronize their calendars in order to pull off a simple meeting is one of those common human problems that an app hasn't quite yet been able to solve.
Until Pick, that is.
San Francisco-based startup Pick's namesake app went into general availability in January of this year, has filled a gap by literally connecting gaps: It has figured out how people can share the open windows in their busy schedules without revealing a person's entire calendar.
Pick takes the back and forth out of getting people together because it compares calendars, suggests times and books meetings with a single click. A major inducement: It's a completely free app. And it's been a hit right off the bat: It quickly rose to No. 1 on ProductHunt, a Website that finds and introduces new apps and devices and gets early users to vote on—and discuss—their first impressions.
Finding Common Time Windows in Calendars
Pick earned some immediate attention because having a free, automated way to find common ground—or, more accurately, common times—for people to meet up is virtually priceless.
"We're going after something that's a legitimate problem that hasn't been solved yet, and it affects a lot of people," Ryan Mindigo, CEO and co-founder of Pick, told eWEEK.
"There's a lot of potential in people's calendars, but it's not being leveraged right now. The opportunity we see is, starting with scheduling, is that Pick brings your calendar to life and work for you. A calendar reflects who you spend your time with, who you have spent time with, and who you will spend your time with in the future. We see Pick as almost a personalized CRM."
Pick currently integrates with Google Calendar, either with a personal account or with an enterprise Google Apps account. It's available via a desktop or mobile Web, and it's also available as an iPhone app from the Apple App Store.
To use Pick, users sign up on the Website and allow the app to store contacts and share the open windows on your calendar. Mutual availabilities are shared, but nothing is done without the permission of both users.
Google Now, Outlook and Exchange Coming
Pick is in the process of integrating with Microsoft Outlook and Exchange, which is currently serving about 600 million users. Google's Gmail and Apps has about 300 million users. "That gets us pretty close to a billion users, in terms of the available pool of users to acquire," Mindigo said.
There are two ways the app works: user-to-non-user and user-to-user. Pick gives its users a personalized URL that can be shared with anybody, and those people don't have to be on Pick or Google. But they can click on that URL and see when you are available for a meeting, and from there, they can check their own calendars and find a time that matches the Pick user's, based on seeing open times on his/her calendar.
Once a meeting time is proposed, Pick sends emails to both parties that can be accepted or rejected with one click. Once accepted by both parties, the meeting's on the record—and on the calendars of both people.
The user-to-user mode of established first-degree contacts that Pick users meet with on a regular basis is equally as easy to use. Pick app users can see the open spots in each other's calendars and set up one-off or ongoing meetings based on availabilities. Email confirmations are sent for all.
Pick only shares available times, so it isn't exposing where people are going and with whom they are meeting with any other users. Pick also has added an access-code feature, meaning strangers won't be able to schedule on your URL if you've shared the code with them. "One of the big trends we are riding is the increasing openness to sharing around the world as evidenced by Facebook," Mindigo said.
Integration With Key Partners Planned
Mindigo believes integrations with Pick will be a huge component of the app's value over time. Some examples:
- Salesforce: Schedule meetings or share availability with contacts without leaving the CRM.
- Recruiting platforms: Recruiters schedule meetings between clients and candidates easily.
- GoToMeeting/Join.me: Users can book meetings through their platform, or include their meeting/conference call information on Pick invites automatically.
- Breather: Users can book a meeting space while scheduling via Pick.
- Conference-call providers, such as FreeConferenceCall.com, can use Pick for scheduling.
Upcoming features, Mindigo said, will include more preferences—such as limiting to certain windows of time when people can schedule with you, such as only in the mornings or in the afternoons. Or if they don't want to set up or do meetings on Fridays, which is a continuing trend, users will be able to set that preference.
Users can put their Pick link in their email signatures and share it with contacts to eliminate the back and forth of finding a time to meet.
Real-Life Use Cases
Pick is a good tool for hiring new employees, Mindigo said.
"We currently have a company that's hiring engineers in San Francisco," Mindigo said. "The HR director sends out recruitment letters saying, 'Hi, we're hiring. We'd like to know if you'd be interested in joining our team. Here's my schedule,' and then he adds his Pick URL. It cuts out that back-and-forth process, speeds up the hiring pipeline, and makes sure he doesn't miss people.
"It's been extremely successful for him; he's set up like 40 meetings in two weeks using Pick," Mindigo said.
For conference-goers, setting up meeting schedules can be an arduous, time-consuming process. Pick can work wonders there. "We have users who broadcast their Pick URL on Twitter and other communication channels to other people attending that conference, so they can sign up on his calendar to meet," Mindigo said. "It really streamlined the process for him."
The company plans to make money by selling optional premium services. It's a sticky app; once people start using it, Pick becomes indispensable. Sticky apps generally end up being successful businesswise, even if most people use the free version.
Here are descriptions of the three tiers of services:
Free: Anyone sign up at Pick.co and schedule unlimited meetings via Web and mobile;
Premium: For individuals to upgrade and get additional control and customization features;
Enterprise: For companies to purchase for departments (example: recruiting firm pays for their recruiters); this will contain deep workflow integrations with applications such as Recruiting ATS and CRM.
The company's co-founders, Mindigo and Michael Selepec, met up while both were in sales at Yammer, prior to its acquisition by Microsoft. Mindigo was employee No. 23 at Yammer, and as director of global sales, he learned about the importance of building an engineering culture, cultivating simplicity and beauty in a product, and telling the story of that product in a compelling way.
Selepec comes from a family of entrepreneurs, starting his first business in junior high school buying and reselling cell phones. He successfully exited it upon leaving junior high. He was employee No. 17 at Yammer, where as director of sales he grew the business in both the U.S. and EMEA.