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New Start-Up, Asana, Gets $9 Million More Than Yoga

in Business of Yoga, Public Display of Yoga, YD News

work-yoga-cash-asanaIf a software company were a yoga pose…

We thought YogaPop had already reached new heights. Meet the new yoga geeks! The nouveau riche yoga geeks from Silicon Valley with $9 million in their back pockets from investors, and the gall to name their new software start-up Asana. We kid you not! Who are these punks? Why ex-facebook nerds Dustin Moskovitz (fb co-founder) and Justin Rosenstein, and they’re ready to streamline your company with a new productivity-enhancing “telepathic” software! Wha?

From GigaOm

While intentionally vague about how the Asana software will work, the two are very clear as to what they want it to do: help people collaborate and better manage their time in an office (and eventually home) environment, where there are a lot of tasks and too much information coming at workers. Put another way, they want it to enable everyone on a team to read each other’s minds and act accordingly.

Cool. And, uh, like yoga we guess? Quieting the fluctuations of the collective office mind?

With a name like Asana it better be an awesome place to work right? If you thought Google-land might be fun, here are Asana’s ideas of perks, which that $9 mil will come in handy for. From the company website:

Perks

  • Small company with respectful, rational, chill peers. We are as dedicated to building a great culture as we are to building a great product.
  • Medical, dental, vision and life insurance coverage.
  • In-house yoga. Every week we do yoga as a group, including +1s, with a private instructor. (Optional, but pretty awesome.)
  • Organic homecooked meals twice a day.
  • Three 30″ monitors. Actually, we let you spend up to $10K on your setup, however you think best.

Um ok, do they need any yogadorks in-house? Though we find the exploitation of yoga for a software company slightly irksome we applaud their vision and at least somewhat of an adherence to a yogic lifestyle. While we YDers know it to translate as “posture” or “seat”,  why they chose the word “asana” we have no idea. Guess Prana was already taken?

What about vinyasa? Sadhana? Abhyasa? Samadhi? Svadhyaya? Just sayin’!

7 comments… add one

  • As you may be aware, Roseanne over at “It’s All Yoga, Baby”, posted a blog about this earlier today. Here’s what I wrote over there:

    “This is very interesting to me, since I had a long career as a software entrepreneur, and we frequently won awards for “best places to work”, and the like.

    So far I haven’t done any mixing of my former entrepreneurial life with my current Yoga life, but occasionally a blog like yours makes me start thinking about the connections.

    I once wrote a manifesto on leadership called “Leadership is Like Tennis, Not Egyptology” (available at http://wp.me/PlVS9-3 if you are unable to restrain yourself.)

    One of my Yoga teacher friends once suggested that there is so much Yoga-like thinking in this essay that it could be rewritten as a “Yoga in Business” essay, which is interesting, since it was written long before I got involved in Yoga.

    I haven’t really given it much thought beyond that, but it’s an intriguing idea. I’m not sure I really want to go back there right now.

    Thanks for the interesting blog.”

    Bob Weisenberg
    http://YogaDemystified.com

  • P.S. I didn’t mean to compare myself to these guys, by the way. I was a Milwaukee software entrepreneur!

    Bob W.

  • and if something goes wrong with it then it will be a pain in the asana….

  • At the Hilo zoo on the Big Island of Hawaii, there is a white tiger named … Namaste. He’s the showcase animal and quite an attractive cat.

    Once, on a visit, a bunch of spectators (it’s a very low-key, modest zoo, visited mainly by families with kids) were watching Namaste in his enclosed grassy area. Suddenly, a peacock flew too close to him and he lunged for it, breaking its neck and then devouring the bird. But gradually and with gusto. Feathers, blood, the whole PBS animal docudrama type of show, but in real life!

    So much for … namaste.

  • Maybe each of their products will be named after a specific asana? Now that could be cool… ;)

  • Hi, YogaDork! Just wanted to say that it’s definitely not our intent to exploit yoga. We’re very serious about incorporating yogic values into the company’s culture and product vision. Doing this while also trying to achieve capitalist objectives may seem like a contradiction, but I’m hoping it will feel more like stretching between opposites :-)

    As for the choice of “Asana” (other than being short, available, and easier to pronounce than most Sanskrit words), the idea was that postures provide an opportunity for the body to achieve ‘form in flow’ much as our software aims to provide form/structure for your data to help you achieve mental flow in your work. Our yoga teacher also suggested “Drishti,” which also has a nice ring to it and some good meaning, but is harder to spell.

    - jr

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