Justin Rosenstein: I was a product manager at Google in 2005 and spending 90 percent of my time in meetings and on email. I was extremely frustrated. So I started asking around: "Is there a better way to do teamwork?"
Dustin Moskovitz: I faced similar problems at Facebook, where I was co-founder and head of engineering. All these managers reported to me. Between the one-on-ones and email threads, I was always three weeks behind.
Rosenstein: When Dustin hired me, in 2007, we commiserated over this problem. I showed him the basic internal system I'd worked on at Google, which we then fine-tuned at Facebook. Dustin got so excited about it, he started working on it full time.
Moskovitz: I knew we were onto something when our system started being used by everyone in the company. I could see people get excited about it by walking around the office. It felt similar to the moment before I decided to drop out of Harvard to start Facebook--I noticed that four out of five people on campus were on Facebook. It was the same here. Every desk I walked by, I would see our tool up on screens.
Rosenstein: Work around work is a generic problem, whether you are a tiny startup or a Fortune 500 company. It comes down to groups of people aligning their energy to arrive at some shared goal. But the actual mechanics of teamwork are painful and difficult.
Moskovitz: We left Facebook and launched Asana in 2011. It enables teamwork by combining tasks and conversations together, instead of spreading them out over email or on social networks. It's the place for your team to find what to do next, who's responsible for it, and all the details they need.