October 24, 2008

Co-Op – Stay Connected with Your Peers


A co-op is defined as a workplace that is owned and managed by the workers, rather than a head manager or boss. The website Co-Op doesn’t exactly follow this model, but it is a way for workers to stay connected with each other. In this day and age, employees are often buried in their computer screens. Much of the correspondence is done through email, rather than via the phone. Co-Op aims to enhance the office web experience through an online application.

Say, for example, that there is an office project with a deadline. lets users log-in to see any important updates about the project, without having to slow down the workplace with unnecessary meetings or conversations. Office mates can add notes about progress – a sort of in-house Twitter feed, as well as update the status of important parts of a project that have been completed.

In addition, Co-Op allows people on the project to share more personal information in the site’s “watercooler.” Co-Op aims to mimic much of the attributes of an office but in a webspace where users can perform a lot of an office’s daily actions in less time and with more efficiency.

Practical Uses:

  • Effectively run an office with several remote workers without requiring constant status reports
  • Use the Co-Op to organize your projects and to ensure that office workers aren’t wasting time discussing details of each project individually
  • Co-Op can work as a traveling office if you (or members of your staff) are going on vacation or a business trip
  • Use Co-Op to break the ice with new employees

Insider Tips:

  • Use separate pages for “What are we working on?” and “What is our agenda today?” One has more direct deliverables, while the other just gives people a general sense of the company’s direction
  • Use “What did we work on yesterday” to determine how much progress is being made on a project, and how that should dictate what is done today
  • Use the water-cooler features. Really, this may be one of the site’s best features, as it can get people motivated to work on a project. There’s nothing like having a fun workplace (you can link to interesting stories, videos, webpages, and the like)

What we liked:

  • Nice use of employee pictures along each profile entry. Much more personal than other community forums that merely have printed information. Overall, Co-Op has the feel of a social networking site
  • It’s free to sign up
  • Time tracking feature is very good – especially good for organizing time on a daily basis, or when a deadline is reaching crunch time
  • Green circles let you easily see who’s recently made an update

What we didn’t like:

  • The main field has too much information – the entries are for everything, rather than separated by type, such as the water cooler entries mixed in with important business
  • No integration with instant messaging so co-workers can take their conversation to a more private level
  • In the same vein, no space for on-site conversation, via comments, for people to begin a discussion
  • Not an all-inclusive place for collaboration – instead Co-Op is reserved for short messages and communications


Company Info:

  • Launched: October 2008
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: New York, NY
  • Founded by: Shawn Liu and Danny Wen
  • Web site:


  • Free (limited free use of time-stamp feature, then between $12-$90/month)

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