Interview with Steve Goldsmith, General Manager of HipChat

Trello Power-Ups give Atlassian a boost

Gabriela Motroc
Steve Goldsmith

New power couple Atlassian-Trello has announced that Jira, Confluence, HipChat and Bitbucket will be receiving a boost in the form of Power-Ups. These add-ons promise to give office silos a run for their money and step up collaboration software’s game. We invited Steve Goldsmith, General Manager of HipChat, to tell us how Atlassian plans to “solve collaboration” for teams.

Brian Cervino, Product Marketing Manager at Trello, announced that a handful of Atlassian products are getting a boost from Trello. Cervino wrote in the blog post announcing the news that “enabling JIRA Cloud, Confluence Cloud, and Bitbucket Cloud Power-Ups on Trello boards means that issues, pages, branches, commits, and pull requests can be attached directly to Trello cards.” The Trello integration for HipChat will enable teams to “stay connected to the work getting done in Trello right in their HipChat rooms.”

We talked to Steve Goldsmith, General Manager of HipChat, about context switching, the ace up their sleeve and the challenges that go hand in hand with the boosted popularity of collaboration software.


JAXenter: Both effective communication and collaboration are more important than ever. Two years ago, you told Fast Company that “[the space that they are both pursuing] is not a finite pie that Slack and HipChat are going to carve up.” Has anything changed? How competitive is this sector right now?

Steve Goldsmith: 
We are in an incredibly competitive sector that will continue to see new entrants trying to grab a piece of the pie. Some of the nascent trends that we were looking at two years ago are now driving the exponential growth of the industry. Increasingly mobile and distributed teams, automation, and the need for teams to solve complex problems have all contributed to the explosion of companies aiming to “solve collaboration” for teams.

JAXenter: Still, Microsoft Teams and Slack’s subtle “altercation” made a lot of people believe that the pie is finite. How is HipChat planning to stay relevant?

Steve Goldsmith: Imagine two years ago if that ad had been placed in The New York Times — none of its readers would have a clue what the ad was about! There has been a great shift over the past few years for collaboration software, from only serving technology teams to becoming mission critical for all business teams. And when the addressable market is that large, it’s no wonder so many tech giants want to enter the space.

HipChat has consistently innovated ahead of its competitors, including being first to market for group video and first to bring embedded apps to chat through HipChat Connect, and will continue to bring new and interesting features to market, such as the Amazon Alexa integration.

But Atlassian views the space more holistically than just chat, and offers teams a full productivity suite that can help them get things done faster and more effectively.

Automation has contributed to the explosion of companies aiming to “solve collaboration” for teams.

JAXenter: Atlassian bought Trello earlier this year. Why Trello? What is the end goal?

Steve Goldsmith: Trello was a strategic acquisition for us because it is complementary to our product suite and extends Atlassian’s leadership in team collaboration. Trello is a breakout collaboration platform that has over 19 million users, and its growth has nearly doubled from 10 million users just over a year ago. This will help us expand our reach with business teams, and these Power-Ups are a first step in bringing our powerful suite of tools to their end users.

JAXenter: What is its biggest advantage over Asana Boards, for example?  

Steve Goldsmith: Trello pioneered an intuitive, visual system that solves the difficult challenge of capturing and adding structure to fluid, fast-forming work for teams. It stands out from others in the space through its rich feature set, which allows teams to customize their projects and get perspective on the work their team is doing at a glance, all in one place.

SEE ALSO: Atlassian — “DevOps is the new normal”

JAXenter: What does the improved Trello integration mean to HipChat?

Steve Goldsmith: One of the biggest problems that our integrated products solve is context switching. Especially within messaging, a team is trying to communicate and organize around work, but without integrating the tools they use to get their work done, they are constantly having to hop back and forth between apps to follow the conversation and take action.

The more silos put in place, the harder it is for teams to accomplish their best work.

With the Trello integration for HipChat, teams can stay connected to the work getting done in Trello right in their HipChat rooms. There is now the ability to discuss cards and easily hop into Trello to get the big picture. Or, even better, turn a back-and-forth brainstorming session into actionable items in Trello by creating cards from HipChat messages.

JAXenter: Tech companies are actively trying to get rid of workplace silos. How is Atlassian dealing with this “trend”? Are there any long-term plans?

Steve Goldsmith: One of Atlassian’s five company values is “Open Company, No Bullshit.” We believe that transparency, openness and sharing are essential to team success. Today’s teams change, disband and reform rapidly, and each person works with many different teams simultaneously.

The more silos put in place, the harder it is for teams to accomplish their best work. We’ve built our products to be rapid, open and self-organizing to meet the needs of the fluid, multi-disciplinary work demanded of modern teams, and will continue to do so moving forward.

Thank you very much!


Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc was editor of and JAX Magazine. Before working at Software & Support Media Group, she studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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