Thoughts on the "Fibery approach to integrations" article?

Hey all, I was surprised to not yet see a post about this from the Fibery team or anyone else. I just read through their new article:

Personally I don’t use most of the external tools mentioned, so the integrations are not as important to my current use of Fibery. But I’m excited about the potential for it in the workflow of others, and for the promise of Actions and related things as well.

This also gives a bit of a view on what I think may have been in development for “Fibery 2.0” lately, and what is coming soon. On the one hand it seems to mean that a lot of the features people like @B_Sp have been asking for have not been the focus and won’t be here as soon. But on the other hand it is a sign of some major progress I think. And perhaps once these big features are out (seemingly very soon), they can help drive some further adoption, and give time and resources for development on some of the UI/UX and development of deeper relationships, etc. that many agree are needed.

What do you all think?

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Hey great post (again!). I actually dug this up in Reddit, saw it on the Blog as I was surfing the Time Tracking post there (also not highlighted), and then saw it on Twitter - but yes, should be announced here in the community! And re: the Time Tracking post, that didn’t get announced anywhere I think?

I actually need most of the tools mentioned in the article, save Trello which I thought Fibery was supposed to replace :slight_smile:

You hit the nail on the head with my continued concerns. Integrations are useful for sure, but Fibery remains basically unusable to my team without some basic stuff, like comments coming through in notifications that I just posted about today, and, perhaps cynically, at this point not expecting to hear back about!

The post is intriguing about the possibilities of the integrations in Fibery, but I think with an objective evaluation of the market, you could say that Coda already allows this. And certainly it could be possible with Notion’s API when it’s released. And god knows there are legions of devs chomping at the bit to get at that and develop who knows what kind of useful integrations that can be sliced and diced the same way in Notion as Michael suggests in Fibery. Fibery remains superior to Notion on many ways, but without some of the stuff I am talking about - thanks for the shoutout - I don’t see how Fibery expects to get any scale of adoption.

There is a real opportunity here if some of the basics start to get addressed, like proper notifications, Activity Stream, etc. I’m just repeating myself. I follow ClickUp closely as well, and they are getting slammed lately on their own community for not implementing some basic hierarchy of data, like subtasks and subfolders, stuff that Fibery does hands-down. In fact I think ClickUp probably can’t do it because it’s likely built in such a way that they’d need to rewrite it from scratch to get the fundamental architecture with any depth of relational data.

ClickUp on the other hand does the “stuff” I asked about pretty well, but not exceptionally better than Wrike, Asana, Monday, etc. And all that stuff seems to me, and I have some technical background enough to know, add-ons to a tool. I just don’t understand why these features are being pretty much ignored right now. Like a simple extra Field - phone #, requested by @helloitse who I think is probably a good evangelist of Fibery but potentially could be getting cynical like myself as there is zero response to her multiple requests on what is a simple, harmless to any other facet of Fibery, request for something basic in other competing tools!

Fibery is missing the opportunity in the market now as there remains no tool that has brought together good relational stuff, but also includes basic Work Management stuff like good Notifications, time tracking, recurring work, bulk editing, even automations that are talked about in that article. ClickUp is providing an opportunity as they are getting a lot of people looking for what Fibery offers. But I can’t imagine they’d come over without the basic work management stuff. At this point I can’t tell if it’s coming in some months, or in 3 years.

Thanks again for raising the subject. I hope somebody is listening, and more importantly, we’ll see movement on these very basic features!

Fibery is focusing on Product Teams and companies now and our roadmap for the last several months was set accordingly. We can’t move into several directions simultaneously. Our current goal is to make Product Teams more productive and we filter the feedback that comes from product companies. I understand that in some other cases Fibery might now work well, but, again, this is our choice. We’ll see how it will unfold in the next several months.

We are very transparent and show all the progress and all the plans. Thank you for the feedback, we do listen. We just don’t have enough resources to reply every feedback item that we think are not super relevant for our current strategy. But, again, we read all the feedback.

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I think this integrations approach is very exciting. I recently synced my team’s Github and was impressed. At my previous company, trying to give people insight into what was happening on Github was annoying. The whole aspect of being able to replicate external tools’ data models shows the power of Fibery, and probably gives people not yet using Fibery a (somewhat) concrete view of what it means to have types, relations, and especially apps, which may seem rather abstract otherwise.

The concept of the two-way sync is great too - I imagine this will be a ton of work for the team, but looking forward to it!

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I think it’s a great choice to focus (on a particular type of user/challenge/specialization), though at the same time I like how flexible and customizable Fibery is. I think these two aspects go perfectly together, like the idea of being “T shaped”; combining depth (in one particular areas) and breadth (in many areas)!

t shaped

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That’s an interesting point, and I don’t know how true it is about Coda. We know too that Coda lacks some of the other major things that make Fibery nice to use. As for Notion, yes the API could be huge. It will be very interesting to see how that unfolds over the next months. Somehow I doubt we will see a large number of integrations that are as well thought-out as what Fibery is demonstrating here though. This speaks to my point:

I’m also glad to see @mdubakov respond here and essentially confirm what I suspected: the focus of the Fibery team is not on some things that I or some others might like to see implemented, but is based on some other (probably more direct) feedback and requests, and has a strategy to it that just happens to not align with some of the other requests here.

That said, @B_Sp aren’t you running a software dev process? If I recalled that correctly, it’s odd to me then that there seems to be such misalignment with your priorities in what you need to do work, and how the Fibery team sees the priorities for the same kind of work. Presumably their plan is based on broader feedback from multiple teams doing such work, and if that’s the case it’s hard to argue with really.

That said, I do think that some of what you (and others, including myself) have raised, like “activity stream” and/or better notifications (date-based, etc.) are quite important to most (or at least many) teams and workflows, and it does surprise me that they are not prioritized. There are tons of other features that are “nice to have to avoid complexity” or “nice to have to make it easier to use”, things like polymorphic relationships fall into that category for me. I mean think of the alternative: would you prefer to use Notion’s DB functions to accomplish what in Fibery may require 5x Relationships (as opposed to one polymorphic one)? In Notion it would be even worse. So while Fibery’s current capability may be less than it ideally would be for many things like that, it still may be the best currently available solution! But at any rate my point was there do seem to be certain things that you cannot get from workarounds or just accepting clutter in your entity views, and which are important, like I mentioned above, notifications, etc.

Ultimately I do hope the Fibery team is doing what’s best for them to succeed in the long-term. Finding product market fit is often a challenging process. There are inevitable “casualties” (people whose work doesn’t fit their vision of their core market but who nonetheless appreciate the features/functionality/philosophy of the product/team). It sucks when one’s needs do not get the focus, it can certainly mean that adoption of a tool just doesn’t make sense for that person/team.

@bear I agree, and I think Fibery’s flexibility is both a great strength, and something of a generator of discontent too. Because of that flexibility, people will try to adopt it that don’t fit the core market the product is being aimed at which guides where development effort is being focused. In some cases they’ll be lucky, like me, and their needs will be met well enough by the development plan even though their specific use case is not in the plan of the team. In many other cases, though, the tool will have some great features that make it appealing, but ultimately not enough features outside the core market to be a good fit in whole.

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@B_Sp Thank you for the insightful reply. Let me shed some light on Fibery future. I’m going to write a longread about our vision soon, but at least some highlights so far:

  1. We have to find and secure good niche first. On our opinion this is a product development company from 10 to 100 people, and we put all the effort into this direction at this very moment.

  2. But we are trying to not hardcode things, but analyze cases deeply and build framework solutions. Like we needed bi-directional links to connect feedback and work, but people use them for all kind of connections. Or we needed Intercom and GitHub integration. We did not hardcode them quickly, but created a concept and framework that will work for other integrations as well. So we are improving Fibery as a platform. In general we are reluctant to hardcode things for specific cases.

  3. When product niche will be secured (or when thus experiment will fail, we are not sure yet), we will try another niches, like consultants with unique processes, etc. We have some in our backpack.

  4. You are absolutely right when speaking about lack of important things like better notifications and activity history. Indeed they are requested by many people, but here is the aggregated feedback from all accounts thus far. Note that Notifications are not even in top 20, so we are listening and focusing on the most frequent and important areas. Right now these are Permissions & Sharing, and Integrations.

and here are the most requested features/ideas/things. Note that most of the top things are in progress.

  1. Our ultimate goal is to augment teams and companies intelligence and not stuck in Product Companies niche, but we have to start from something from a strategic perspective.

I hope Fibery will work well for all of you, but we need more time to make it great.

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Thank you @mdubakov for the insight into your strategy and the concrete info on fibery users’ wishlists.
Honest, intelligent and open :brain: :heart:

As I’ve said before, if I had VC money, I’d be banging on your door :smile:
(btw have you considered fundraising via crowd investment?)

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Thank you @mdubakov! This kind of transparency is really appreciated. I totally understand you have to focus somewhere, and inevitably some (many) things must have less priority.

Being able to see what you are working on is really helpful for me, at least, and I would encourage you to perhaps share that more often if possible, maybe just here in the forums if you don’t want to actually put it into the monthly updates publicly on the blog.

Also, I have to wonder what “Fear management” is! :smile:

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These reports are fresh, we’ve created them last week and going to include them into regular updates.

As for Fear Management, it is a group of tasks like About Us page on a web site, backups, better security handling, Undelete, etc. Everything that makes people afraid to lose data or to trust us as a company.

Michael, it’s always good to see you in here, wish you could find a few more minutes a week to jump in like you used to :slight_smile: - it’s always so good to see your comments. And @Oshyan as always appreciate your commentary, I have never been able to take issue with any of what you write!

I think this is great to see these items on the roadmap. Really encouraging to see a lot of what I’m looking for in “Green.” And re: your tool for presenting this, I’d go so far as to say you have a really great potential feature of a public roadmap for Product Teams. You should prioritize this! I can easily see with just a few tweaks how this could be right on par with Product Board, Aha, etc. tools that are huge in this space, and highly rely on their “Public-facing Roadmap” feature. But these tools are siloed away from the actual “work” of building a product after Product Managers complete planning. So you guys have them beat. Really impressive!

I did want to provide some additional feedback to your post. I’m probably coming off as the Bad Apple in these conversations, but I hope you will take what I have to say on face value and not consider it criticism:

I do believe most of what I speak of here in the community are key features you will hear requested as you get wider adoption, and in fact many of these features you did address in posts that are now many months to a year since we heard any update. It is really good of you to share this comprehensive list, helps me out a lot! I would like simply like to add two more suggestions:

  • There are a few key features I’m interested in that are left off the list.

  • It would be great to hear about what you plan directly in the community on a regular basis

I have some examples of each that I hope you will find useful. Before I get to those though, I’d like to make another humble suggestion that you consider a Voting Area here in Discourse. This has been suggested before (and is also a feature not on the list :slight_smile:)

I think it would help you guys a great deal, while not necessarily being a problem like it can be:

With a voting board like this, the community can:

  • we can see as a community support for requests, and support existing ones without repeating, which keeps your board clean

  • there is some self-generation of requests, which perhaps can avoid certain requests falling through the cracks if your team isn’t quite able to pick them up here, in twitter, Reddit, etc.

  • you will get a ton of SEO benefit, and perhaps draw in users who are looking in Google to see if Fibery has “feature X.” I really believe you may be losing these users now. That’s because they may google “does Fibery do this…,” find the existing requests, see that many are not responded to, get discouraged, and give up interest. I know from my personal experience when I research a tool and find its canny board, such as this post:

it helps me out a ton. And when I see un-responded to posts, it makes a negative impression on me.

I think you guys have a chance to avoid the pitfalls of the other “big” tools, some of which, like ClickUp, are struggling with this now:

  • the community seems to be made up of advanced users who I think will make sure these requests are sensible and digestible

  • You are not at a scale yet where you are at risk of loads of requests getting votes, and then you get stuck with work to merge them, etc. that you may not have resources for.

Getting back to the two points from above, here are some items I could not find on the list

***If they are on there, sorry I just couldn’t find them:

Comments:

Granted, these are new requests, but it is disappointing to see them left off the list.

Requests re: Entity to another Type:

Some old requests for Whiteboard:

To my second point of hearing from you guys more in the community:

First, many of those above requests have “likes” and multiple comments, but most have no response from the Fibery team. So that’s discouraging.

Here are some other quick examples of requests with no response:

The request “Activity Stream”, which I’m not sure is on your list as this is about an area where you can see @mentions and user activity:

has a lot of support for it, but not one response from the Fibery team at all! So as a Fibery user, up till you showed this roadmap today, I couldn’t be sure you would develop it, ever.

and this re: calculated columns:

Or Time Tracking:

the last official comment we have is in March 2019.

Another re: Due Dates:

Some requests say “Approved” but there is no communication from the Fibery team, or very old communication, about them, which is confusing for those of us eagerly anticipating them.

So I hope you guys will consider adding votes to these Feature Requests on Discourse. I really think it would solve just about all my frustration, now that I’ve seen the detail of the features planned - thank you again for surfacing that @mdubakov!

I know this is already very long, but finally, I wanted to address @Oshyan your point here:

I think we are in fact not misaligned at all. I think I’d describe my issues mainly around “day-to-day” use of Fibery, and how a rank and file Product Team will respond to some of the stuff I am looking for that is missing. These are folks who have used at times Asana, Trello, Jira, Monday, Notion, ClickUp, Wrike, Github Projects, etc.

No tool we used before did not have, off the top of my head:

  • actual Entity-level comments that didn’t get sent in Email
  • no native mobile apps or phone-friendly site
  • No history of Entities
  • Search that does not index any content aside from Entity titles
  • an easily configurable “home” area where you can see some of everything going on in the app.

A lot of this is around team visibility and communication. It is hard to do software development without some basic communication functionality in a tool. It’s good to see that most of this seems to have found its way into Michael’s board. However from my point of view, it is hard to commit to Fibery without knowing if we can get any of this stuff in the next year. As I was pointing out, much of the commentary I interpreted here in the community from Michael directly, from year and early this year, led me to believe these basics would be coming sooner. But for months there was really no timeline on any of this stuff. And I can’t see an argument that says any of this stuff isn’t complementary to Fibery and Michael would not expect to have ultimately in the app. So on the one hand I’m pretty sure this stuff will come to Fibery, but on the other the guidance about when has been getting more and more vague. The roadmap we got to see today really helps. But there are still questions I have, and I’m hoping we can get them answered by either the Voting Board, or another way.

Thanks!

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To be fair to Michael, it looks like the feature list has 698 items, so not seeing a particular item in the top 20 is hardly surprising :slight_smile:
Also, it seems like a feature needs 10+ references to make the shortlist, and with fewer than 200 active users (165 according to the September blog) I’m just pleased that some of the things I want are up there :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

With respect to your comment

I can’t help but wonder if this is a double-edged sword: if the forum was filled with feature requests that were indicated as ‘coming soon’ and fibery thereby attracted new customers, how would those customers feel after trying fibery for 6 months and finding out that the new features weren’t coming quickly enough?

Michael and the team seem to want to attract people who are willing to use a product that comes with no guarantees - fibery.io/anxiety
For the time being I feel like I’m a beta tester rather than a customer…
…which is a good thing - I love playing with new stuff!

and maybe they’re happy to fly under the radar until they feel that the product is more ‘complete’.

Finally…

To bastardise an oft-heard quote about marriage:
Some people choose fibery because of all the great things it can do. Some people choose fibery because of all the things they hope it might do. Invariably people are disappointed.

Have a nice weekend :slight_smile:

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From what I can see most of the big stuff is in the list and has moderate-to-high priority: activity stream, dashboards, entity history, time tracking… So that’s encouraging. And of course we’ve just seen a big catch-up in the forums from Michael. So let’s see how things go from here…

I do think adding more explicit feature vote function would be nice for the forums here. It just needs to be made clear that community priority != actual dev priority. It’s one component in the prioritization process. Perhaps stickying Michael and Anton’s articles on determining development priorities would be good for the feature request area :smile:
https://uxdesign.cc/enhancing-prioritization-with-networks-894760555b04

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Funny, you actually showed my request on integromat. I’m not as active as others here but that’s mainly to language barriers and also time.

I like fibery and I would love to move from airtable to fibery. That’s why I login every few months to fibery + community, check out what’s new and validating if it’s time to do the move. I think others do it too

Unfortunately I think the time’s still not here.

But I understand @mdubakov you need to focus on a niche. And that’s fine. You can’t do it right for everyone. I just hope, time brings the needed features which want me to make the move.

P.S. Regarding new customers, TIME factor is a huge thing for companies which already have a “system” in place. Moving everything to fibery, setting up new zaps in zapier, new scenarious in integromat, playing around with fiberys api, it will take at least 4-6 weeks til I have something me and my team can really work in, and to be honest I don’t have that time atm. Makes the switch even harder.

This is another great convo @Oshyan and I have been meaning to get back in here and respond to just a few more points.

Agreed, it appears in virtually real time Michael got in here and responded to a good deal of the requests that were concerning me due to lack of being addressed, in some cases I myself was going in 2x or more times to try to “bump” and see if we could get any indication from the team at all about those items.

To this point @Chr1sG:

You are hitting on something that was on the top of my mind when requesting that the Fibery team consider adding votes to these forum requests.

I have been here I believe longer than yourself and Oshyan and a few other colleagues, and I am part of the actual “beta” as I understood. I have committed a lot of time to Fibery during beta, with the hope that when it was officially released, we’d have some more “Production-ready” stuff coming along with that as well as quite a few basics we talk about here at some point soon. It is very interesting to me to know if the Fibery team still considers Fibery “beta” as you are describing it currently, as it appears your impression is very much that Fibery is actually in beta, which I assume you are stating due to some of the missing said basic features.

Also I am curious about what the team actually thinks about your comment here:

Fibery is in public release and charging good money, in fact it would appear to the mind of some, too much:

This is from a Reddit post re: ClickUp v. Notion in fact that’s here:

I tend to be on the side of this type of commentary as my main goal is to find an ideal tool for my team, and not so much play around with a “cool new tool.” Fibery happens to be about as close as I’ve found, but all the same I have expectations from the point of view of a customer. I believe Fibery has a team that’s capable of actually adding in features that will be useful not just to me, but to others with my use case who are using Notion, ClickUp, etc. and I would love do draw those types into Fibery to help Fibery grow, and also with the hope that this would speed development of basic features that because they are missing, make it harder for me to use Fibery. In the end though I am motivated, as I would imagine most Product Teams who would consider Fibery or something else, primarily around finding the best solution to assist my team’s work.

Finally, I’d like one more time to address the request of having a voting system here in the community. That suggestions hasn’t been addressed yet, but I hope the Fibery team will implement that. I feel like quite a few of the requests in here I support, that were left off @mdubakov’s list, have multiple “heart” likes, responses, and are linked in other posts, which are all probably indications of their support. But without a simple way for them to collect votes, I can’t see how the Fibery team can be sure of how many people support them. And I believe deeply that if the Fibery team is indeed interested in marketing Fibery, it would help to make the community more accessible to those considering Fibery. Features suggested in Intercom assume you’re already a user. The potential user I pointed out from Reddit would seem like a perfect candidate for Fibery - caught between Notion and ClickUp. If he/she could come in here, vote on some things they’d like to see, and even join without having to sign up for Fibery, I can’t believe that wouldn’t be useful feedback to the Fibery team.

Here is how Monday and Asana, two tools that I’m sure have many, many users who would find Fibery superior, have set up simple voting using this exactly Discourse software:

I will remain hopeful that the team will give this some deep consideration, and thanks!

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I think perhaps I expressed myself badly when I said I felt like a beta tester. I actually meant that the Fibery team keep coming out with new features that I love playing with.
But in terms of what it already does, I don’t see it as a beta product per se.
Fibery can already meet a huge amount of my needs (and a greater subset than any other tool I’ve tried) so I am happy to pay for it as a finished product.

For comparison, at my ‘day job’ we use the Pro plan of Airtable ($24/user/month) and I’d be more than happy to swap it out for Fibery if it was my choice.

So the ‘beta’ comment just meant that I like the frequent updates, I guess.

For comparison, I think it’s crazy that Airtable doesn’t support bidirectional links within the same table (you have to instead create a ‘helper’ table) and it looks like they have no plans to allow it any time soon, despite requests going back years. Also, their solution to linking bases (only just released after years of demand) is a half-hearted read-only synchronisation function that doesn’t really meet the underlying need for most people.
In contrast, I have only been a fibery user for a short period (as you correctly point out :slightly_smiling_face: ) and yet there have been a few new cool features coming through every month or so.

I can see from reading the forums that you have a load of good ideas for features, and I have a lot of sympathy that you may be feeling that you’ve committed a lot of time/effort into fibery and there still are some ‘dealbreakers’ that make it suboptimal for your needs.
Anyway, I agree that a community voting system would be interesting and useful, but with a caveat that it might lead to raised expectations and subsequent disappointment frustration for some people, since

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It’s a small part of your post and not even something you’re representing yourself, but I just have to say how surprised I am by this person’s concern over the price. Fibery’s pricing is very reasonable IMO. ClickUp and Notion, his two other options, are admittedly on the cheaper side. But look outside that tiny bubble (as perhaps he has not done?) and heck, if he thinks Fibery’s pricing is bad, look at Airtable! ($10/mo for a mere 5GB per base) Asana is $11/mo, admittedly with unlimited storage, but still.

The main issue with the pricing that he seems to emphasize is the small built-in storage which is… well, for me and many it’s a completely trivial aspect of my use of the system. I think Fibery might be wise to revise their storage limits just because storage is cheap and there are people like this with higher requirements (I know they’re working on new pricing).

But to say a database and work management system is overpriced because it doesn’t offer you enough storage is odd to me, and seemingly speaks to some particular requirements that person has in their workflow (i.e. storing lots of large files within the system itself). It also potentially speaks to a lack of imagination as to how they might alternatively solve that limitation (e.g. use of links to GDrive/Dropbox/whatever), if the rest of the features of Fibery meet their needs well.

Yes, this would be nice to have in a more clear, formalized way like Chris points out below. I do think the “like” (heart) feature serves some of this purpose, but it’s not nearly as visible or clearly built-for-purpose.

This could potentially be solved in part with a sticky topic in the Feature Request and Vote area that outlines that these are just signals in a greater feature prioritization strategy they use internally, and link to the two great articles they have on such “prioritization networks”. Granted many won’t read the articles, but hopefully they could get the point across in brief that they want to know what the community needs, but that simply cannot wholly define development priorities.

There are many discussions about Votes, but to be honest I don’t like them. +1 has almost zero info. What I like is real evidence. So we want to export all discussions from this community and link them to Ideas/Features/ProductAreas, etc. Thus we will collect aggregated info from various sources (Intercom, Community, private conversations, etc) and there will be no misleading indicators.

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So will we see a Discourse integration with Fibery in the future? :heart_eyes:

In fact we’ll start Discourse integration this week. Hope to release it in 1-2 weeks.

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