Begin Shuttering Slack-Based Task Management Tool To Pursue The Serverless Stack

Nearly two months ago, Ryan Block launched a Slack bot called Begin with a goal of improving our workplace productivity. But on Thursday, his company announced a major change: The bot is being shuttered in favor of pivoting to become a “continuous delivery platform.” For some, the termination of Begin’s current incarnation might be stunning, but in an email to users, Block indicated that his team’s vision of “building a Slack-first team tasking tool” wasn’t a “viable one.”

There’s no timeline on when Begin’s next evolution will be publicly available, but for those that used its Slack bot, you have until May 9 to download whatever tasks you created before it, along with the associated web and Mac apps are no more. The company has created a way to easily download the data.

When Begin launched in March, the idea was to bring order to the chaos that exists within Slack. Practically everyone deals with information overload, from too much chatter/watercooler gossip, meeting notes, deadlines, action items, and other work-related stuff, that it can be hard to really get anything done. Block’s team had an idea of using natural language to identify things that you needed to get done from conversations. It was to be a task management app within one of the most popular communication tools in the marketplace today, competing in a crowded space with the likes of Wunderlist/To-Do List, Asana, Todolist, and others.

Block didn’t state what specifically wasn’t viable for Begin’s task management bot to succeed, but what the company works on doesn’t seem to be a stretch for it. It’s building off of work the team has done in collaboration with the JavaScript Foundation. Begin wants to be a player in the serverless stack, meaning it’ll provide tools that developers can use on top of cloud providers like Amazon Web Services to power their large-scale applications. Block said that his company will let developers “create, provision, orchestrate, and manage instantly deployable, nearly infinitely scalable web applications of just about any kind — all in seconds.”

Technology today is all about serverless computing and notable providers are participants, including Amazon, Google, IBM, and Microsoft. While cloud computing has helped to scale applications so they no longer have to be on-premise and reduce the cost of overhead, serverless technology is evolving it once again — now it’ll be even quicker to get the tools, features, and service developers need and how they need it.

And it’s a growing market too with companies like Netflix, AOL, Airbnb, Expedia, Adobe, Nordstrom, and others using it. Here’s the state of the space according to YL Ventures:

While Begin’s Slack bot had some potential, its pursuit of this new frontier may be more rewarding because of the incredible payoff if it’s able to execute efficiently and effectively. There are a lot of players in this space so could it see significant investment if it becomes the Parse of the serverless computing space?

It will be worth watching to see what areas of the serverless stack Begin tackles first. Right now it’s accepting applications to participate in its beta program and plans to let people test the first product out “in a few weeks.”

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