TechCrunch50 launched today with multiple waves of new companies and memes. Like many folks, I was most intrigued by the startups in the Enterprise cluster. Of those, I had one clear and immediate favorite: Yammer. At its most basic, Yammer is Twitter for groups; at its most sophisticated, it's a productivity tool for teams and workgroups. I'm usually not an early adopter, but I found Yammer compelling enough to actually give them my credit card number.
As soon as Yammer launched (rather dramatically, they turned on the production server mid-demo), I started up an account for First Round. Within about ten minutes, everyone FRC staffer in attendance at TC50 was using Yammer as a conference backchannel, the folks in the back office had discussed getting some closing paperwork out the door, and we had juggled logistics for a meeting to be held right after the last session of the day. I quickly ended up sending "tweets" from the folks that I followed into IM; conveniently, I was able to respond via IM as well and have it flow neatly back into our Yammer stream. It was easy to add team members (hello virality) and set security settings, and the type of profile data being collected (who do I report to, who is my assistant, etc.) implies that a nice set of productivity features is on the way.
Some concerns did come up as to if Yammer would be 'yet another inbox,' which could be a valid objection for the company's corporate adoption if there isn't a well-understood use case. My prediction is that Yammer will end up as a home for general group FYIs, 'please let me know if you have an opinion/suggestion' thoughtstreams, or 'workstreams' (as vs lifestreams) that can be easily searched for either the current status of or the history on projects.
There are a number of obvious items for Yammer's product roadmap, but the service is useful today for groups whose members are already well-trained Twitter users. Kudos to the Geni team on today's launch.