My organization has been using Flowdock as a Skype/persistent chat replacement, and so far I’m pretty impressed. For developer-oriented chat, the things like build and Github integration have been far superior to any other product we’ve tried. That left-side menu bar is actually pretty useful.
My major complaint about Flowdock is what I presume to be the signature feature: creating little threads of replying back and forth with each other. The concept is that when you’ve got a group chat with a bunch of people, you can thread conversations together within the main chat room. Everyone sees everything, but if you like, but comments are color-coded for the sub-thread that they’re in, and if you like, you can break the conversation out into the left-side bar. It’s a great idea. That is a genuine pain point in group chats. But: it’s super hard to use, guys! Mousing over the little thing is terrible, and nobody remembers to do it, and even if one person is using the reply feature, the other person probably isn’t.
I get that this is a UI challenge, but there needs to be some kind of built-in intelligence about what sub-thread you might be replying to, and quick easy keyboard commands to reply to a given message.