Liaise turns emails into action items

Bambi Francisco Roizen · September 22, 2009 · Short URL:

CEO Sidney Minassian on how Liaise organizes messages to manage tasks

I've seen a lot of project management tools for email. But not all are compelling enough to want to test out. Liaise is definitely worth a try. 

Liaise organizes message in your inbox so you can manage tasks more efficiently. For someone like me, managing interview schedules with one group, managing our Juice Pitcher event with another, and managing a host of other items can take hours just sifting through past emails.

But Liaise hopes to make handling those tasks easier by using some semantic technology to understand the content and context and organize the email across calendars, reports and to-do lists.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company launches Tuesday at Demo.

"What's the problem you are trying to solve," I asked Sidney Minassian, founder and CEO of Liaise, in this recent interview.

"The problem we identified was that effectively there are hundreds of action-items that are locked up in our communication systems - Emails, IM, text messages," he said. "And it's in these formats that people actually use to get their jobs done, not necessarily the collaboration or other project management tools."

For instance, in email, when the words "follow up," or "Please get this job done" appear, Liaise knows that the action item is that there is an outstanding issue that needs completion.

In the demo Sidney gives me, he is writing a response to an email he just received. The email says that Web site specs are late. Sidney writes in response, "I'm upset." The word "upset" triggers Liaise to identify the email as an "issue." After Sidney writes, "Make sure you get this to me ASAP," Liaise understands that the message is not only an issue, but it is an issue that needs to be handled immediately. Liaise will show a calendar in which you can clarify what you mean by ASAP - whether it's 30 minutes or one day.

It's a great tool, based on the demo. The only drawback with Liaise, however, is that it's only available for Microsoft plugins. A version for the Web will be available in the future, said Sidney. Additionally, the service will be sold for $4 to $9 per month, per person. 

Watch the interview for the demo, and also Sidney's plans to distribute this product. He also talks about the difference between Liaise and other project management tools currently in the market, like Xobni and ClearContext

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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Xobni Corporation


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Xobni offers a new way to organize and search your Outlook email. Xobni creates profiles for each person that emails you. These profiles contain relationship statistics, contact information, social connections, threaded conversations, and shared attachments. Our users tell us that Xobni makes your inbox work the way your mind does.

ClearContext Corporation


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ClearContext helps people who are overwhelmed with information.  The company's first product is an add-in for Microsoft Outlook that helps identify, manage, and organize the information that flows through email.  ClearContext analyzes contacts and messages to prioritize incoming email and automatically organize it for users.  Additionally, ClearContext pulls together and displays all the related information about a project in a single view - emails, contacts, appointments, tasks, etc. ClearContext enables users to quickly process through hundreds or thousands of incoming messages and focus on their important projects, while also organizing information for quick and easy future access.




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Liaise was created because most of us manage our business interactions through messaging systems such as e-mail, IM, SMS and others. Unfortunately, these systems aren't designed to handle that task. Liaise is.

The Liaise solution automatically finds the critical information woven into these daily communications, and transforms it into actionable reminders and reports. There's no need to exit your e-mail and reenter the same information into another application with rigid rules and pre-set workflows.

Liaise is different. Because we think it's silly to stop what you're doing in the hope of getting more done.


Sidney Minassian

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