Bee: a collaborative work platform for small teams.

Why small teams? Because we know what it feels like.

August 24, 2021

Unless you have a good investor or a rich uncle who blindly invests in your project, most of us who start a new company must be careful with spending. Anyone who hasn’t exhausted free trials or shared a single user in their early days doesn’t know the adrenaline rush that can come from “Cancel that subscription today, we get charged starting tomorrow!”

It’s true, in the beginning, the budget probably won’t be enough for certain luxuries. But what happens when those “luxuries” start to become necessities? A CRM, for example, or a workflow management tool. Not to mention the website you’ve already paid for, but need to upgrade. As your business grows, needs begin to appear that require more spending, and this is all a concern until you see the bank account balance and receive a steady inflow of money.

As in every industry, there is always something you can do with your own hands. And when it comes to a software company, we have a great advantage: we can create many of the tools we need to work with ourselves. Taking advantage of downtime can be a great opportunity to design and implement that automation that you know will free up hours of work or simplify some process. But if there are no free hours, then you will have to make time for your company (yes, as if you were saying “I have to make time for me”).

In our case, we urgently needed a CRM and a tool to manage our remote work. We were already using Trello, but in its free version. Jira? Ugh, too ugly, we didn’t want to hurt our designers’ sensibilities. Asana, too many unicorns. And CRMs, what can we say about them… they are designed for larger companies, and they didn’t solve customer communication. 

A triumphal entry for our customers.

Because, and here’s a disclaimer, we HATE with our souls to communicate with customers by email. Long chains of people copied and copied again …. Irremediable mistakes like death… A stale smell of the 90’s… But that’s a topic for another post. 

So, with some time on our hands and a lot of self-analysis, we started designing our own internal collaboration and customer communication tool. 

At first, it was called Let’s Do It. With an aesthetic reminiscent of Prince of Persia (1989), we simulated the customer’s entry into our kingdom.

I don’t know if it was as useful as it was fun, but we certainly enjoyed making this design.

Lost your password? Our wizard will know what to do. 

From there, the client could ask for a quote or request a job. And us, manage the order. Well, the usual. 

It started to grow and mature, we added features. Secret messages and public messages, integrations with Google, tasks, reports… 

One day we decided to change the focus. It was too much for an internal tool, so we came up with the idea of turning it into a product. We started to change the focus. And the design. And the name.  

“How about Be?” 

“How cool! I like… bee, beehive, teamwork, communication…”

“No, I said Be. But I like Bee!”

Beyond our crazy/deaf/unlistenable people dialogues, Bee came into the world with her color palette and her way of doing things, a bit similar, but a bit different from the others. 

We presented our beloved bee at the 2018 and 2019 Web Summit in Lisbon, with more and more features. 

Today Bee is a complete product.

It serves to:

  • talk to our customers
  • talk to each other on a private level 
  • manage tasks in the kanban of each project
  • accumulate terabytes of documentation and…
  • in short, act as time tracking (among other things). 

All this, done with a lot of 🍯 and little 💰.

If you want to try Bee for your work team, it is at your disposal!

Technologies:

MeteorJS – NodeJS – Docker – Mailgun, Twilio and Google Drive integrations