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  • #16
    Let's conquer the personal productivity software world!

    Originally posted by Folke View Post
    3) The most successful companies are often those who understand the customers' real needs.
    I've got a great idea. As far as I understand from your posts you've got a deep understanding of the customers' real needs in the GTD area and beyond. So... let's make a start-up, let's put to shame Omni Group, Nozbe, RTM and other developers! Let's conquer the personal productivity software world!

    What do you think about this bold project?

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
      Let's conquer the personal productivity software world!

      What do you think about this bold project?
      I am sure there is room for new players in the field

      You would perhaps not be able to put any of the existing players to shame, but certainly be able to make a product that is simpler to use and more powerful at the same time - and even more in line with GTD.

      I have understood from your earlier posts that you use paper. What would it take to make you yourself prefer using an app?

      Comment


      • #18
        GTD is like carpentry

        Originally posted by Folke View Post
        1) If someone sells a product called "fondue pot", but it has nowhere to put the oil/cheese/sauce, and its predominant feature is a grill element above, then maybe we have a clear case of false advertizing. And whether or not a certain vendor is actually breaking the letter of the law, we often have an opinion of what would be an appropriate description of a given product. And opinions of how the product could be altered to better fulfill its advertized purpose.
        Folke, I think you perhaps put too much store in what a GTD app needs to do. That somehow a GTD app must perfectly address everything in DA's book and be labelled appropriately. If an app says it is GTD but doesn't address all parts of the 'canon' then it's false advertising. When I've visited the Nirvana forums I saw a lot of this - users wanting strict adherence to GTD principles, trying to automate things that probably just don't need it. And if the app didn't do this, then GTD couldn't be done properly.

        I think this is missing the point. I would view GTD more like carpentry. In carpentry there are a number of skills required in order make something, and a range of different tools. The tools might be basic hand tools or some may be sophisticated power tools. Sometimes both can be used in order to produce something.

        But the key ingredient is the person, the carpenter. Without the carpenter knowing and practicing the trade, the results will probably be messy. I could be given a saw, a planer, some chisels, nails and wood glue along with some lumber but am not going to make a good looking table if I haven't learned the craft. GTD is the craft. Apps are just tools and not even necessary tools. Whether or not they have all the possible features or their features are appropriately labelled has nothing to do with the end product. It's the person that counts, how they think and how they approach what needs to be done that will determine successful output.

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by PeterW View Post
          GTD is the craft. Apps are just tools and not even necessary tools. Whether or not they have all the possible features or their features are appropriately labelled has nothing to do with the end product. It's the person that counts, how they think and how they approach what needs to be done that will determine successful output.
          I agree with that. Managing your life is a craft, as you say. And you are not dependent on sophisticated tools. In fact, you would probably still fail even if you had the perfect tools but did not master the craft.

          For my own task management I have used paper longer than I have used computer apps, and can testify that paper works just fine. Computers hold a potential for doing things that you cannot do on paper, but also have certain limitations.

          It is a personal idiosyncrasy of mine to tend to notice with disapproval when vendors advertize their product in a misleading way, and when they try to "steal" legitimacy or authenticity or a phony flair of having been specially optimized for a special purpose. We can leave that aspect aside here, but it might explain some of my own fervor.

          Where I perhaps disagree with you is that I do not see why I (or you or anyone) should give up asking for better features etc. Even though as craftsmen we are probably fully capable of using even a bad app or dirty paper, why should we settle for something mediocre? What is wrong with making it even better, even simpler to use, even easier for novice users to understand?

          At the same time I full well realize that this is not a simple thing to achieve, because we are all different. As you point out, when we read through the user forums of the various apps (I'd say all apps without exception), we see a ton of feature requests and we probably disagree with 90% of them; we may find the suggested feature either unnecessary or directly counterproductive; but someone else believes it would be great. So it is not easy. But I do think it is possible, as in all business, to better harmonize a product and its customer base over time by consistently adhering to a clear "vision" of some sort, and I believe GTD is the best foundation readily available for such a vision.

          Comment


          • #20
            My idea is a start-up!

            Originally posted by Folke View Post
            I have understood from your earlier posts that you use paper. What would it take to make you yourself prefer using an app?
            I didn't say that I wanted to switch to any GTD app. My idea is a start-up based on your deep understanding of the customers' real needs in the GTD area and beyond. We will create great video, start a Kickstarter project, optionally develop some software and sell our company to Google, Microsoft, Apple or Facebook for $1,200,000,000!

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
              I didn't say that I wanted to switch to any GTD app. My idea is a start-up based on your deep understanding of the customers' real needs in the GTD area and beyond. We will create great video, start a Kickstarter project, optionally develop some software and sell our company to Google, Microsoft, Apple or Facebook for $1,200,000,000!
              Sorry, I thought you were just being ironic - "deep understanding", "real needs" and all that. I am not sure I actually have much understanding of what people need or believe they need or would be prepared to pay for, but I certainly do have opinions.

              Sure, yeah, a Kickstarter project is probably a great idea, and I am sure many people here from this forum and from other app forums would be able to contribute a lot. Someone mentioned this over at the Nirvana forum as well, when everybody was fed up with the slow pace of development there, but it came to nothing in the end - people just dispersed instead. But I still believe it is possible. I am in. How do we start?

              My question about what you personally would like to see in an app is still very interesting, IMO. Obviously you know how to manage your stuff on paper (as do I), so if you were ever going to move to an app instead, why would that be? To gain what additional capability that paper does not give you? I believe the answer to that question may reveal what some of the core functionality of the app should be.

              In my case, the main initial hope I had - and which I have only been able to realize inelegantly in the apps I have used most recently, is the capability to have all "do" items in one single app instead of spread across so many physical places. In particular, perhaps, these days, the problem is related to "subsequent" tasks (all too often considered as "project support" along with budgets, brochures and other non-task type material) which I want to be able to see included clearly - as tasks - in an easy-to-read format when looking at the individual project, but not have to see cluttering my main consolidated views of currently active tasks (Next, Waiting etc). The solution is simple, and anyone could implement it in almost no time if they decided to, with no disadvantage at all to their existing customer base, so I am a bit hesitant whether this is a solid enough base for a new venture.

              Beyond that, paradoxically, I think most of the computer features I would like to have are more of the nature of compensating back for the rigidity brought about by the computer itself - give you back some of the flexibility you had when using paper. But there is an infinite amount of fine-tuning here, where a new app could be made smoother and simpler and clearer etc than other apps.

              What are your thoughts?

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by Folke View Post
                1) If someone sells a product called "fondue pot", but it has nowhere to put the oil/cheese/sauce, and its predominant feature is a grill element above, then maybe we have a clear case of false advertizing.
                But these GTD fondue pots do have a place to put the oil/cheese/sauce--that is, a place to put the projects/actions. You seem to be complaining that in addition to melting cheese, they offer an option to grill the cheese, and thus mislead the cook into believing that grilled cheese is relevant to fondue.

                But my argument is that it's not the pot's job to teach the cook about fondue. The cook learns about fondue somewhere else and buys the pot. If the pot supports him in doing what he's learned that he's supposed to do, where's the harm in an unneeded grilled-cheese capability?

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Gardener View Post
                  ... where's the harm in an unneeded grilled-cheese capability?
                  It depends. It will definitely be a missed opportunity to teach the "student" the "best" way (fondue, GTD). In addition, it can sometimes make it more difficult to even use the feature in a meaningful way (e.g. if it constitutes an obstruction).

                  Typical example: Apps that have a so-called "scheduled" feature make no distinction between calendar actions and ticklers. They are all treated as if they were the same kind of animal. In addition, some apps have calendar integration, and if you use it they may show all of these "scheduled" items on the calendar, i.e. ticklers and calendar actions alike. In essence, this means you cannot really use that calendar at all. If you were to schedule a calendar action in the app it would drown among a ton of ticklers, and the ticklers themselves you have no reason to see on the calendar in the first place, and would clutter up your calendar, so you need to have it switched off, which basically means you will need to enter the project based calendar actions straight in your calendar in the usual "manual" way and "sync" manually, just as if you had no functionality at all for entering calendar actions in projects.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    !

                    Originally posted by Gardener View Post
                    But these GTD fondue pots do have a place to put the oil/cheese/sauce--that is, a place to put the projects/actions. You seem to be complaining that in addition to melting cheese, they offer an option to grill the cheese, and thus mislead the cook into believing that grilled cheese is relevant to fondue.

                    But my argument is that it's not the pot's job to teach the cook about fondue. The cook learns about fondue somewhere else and buys the pot. If the pot supports him in doing what he's learned that he's supposed to do, where's the harm in an unneeded grilled-cheese capability?
                    I love this analogy! Well said!

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Barb View Post
                      I love this analogy! Well said!
                      Yes, good analogies can be seductive.

                      No pot maker has a duty to teach cooking. But imagine the potential success of a pot maker that sports its own recipe collection and cooking classes, and can demonstrate how easy it is to use its pot for those dishes with exceptionally good results.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Folke View Post
                        Yes, good analogies can be seductive.

                        No pot maker has a duty to teach cooking. But imagine the potential success of a pot maker that sports its own recipe collection and cooking classes, and can demonstrate how easy it is to use its pot for those dishes with exceptionally good results.
                        Actually, I do see this as a relevant addition to the analogy, because a lot of cooking tools and appliances *do* come with recipe books. I find that I never use them, because the talents that apply to creating a good appliance or tool are not necessarily the talents that apply to either cooking or teaching cooking. Similarly, the talents that apply to creating good software are not necessarily the talents that apply to designing or teaching a personal habit or process.

                        Ford didn't teach me to drive, KitchenAid didn't teach me to cook, Viking didn't teach me to sew.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          It's all about mindfulness.

                          Originally posted by Folke View Post
                          Sorry, I thought you were just being ironic - "deep understanding", "real needs" and all that. I am not sure I actually have much understanding of what people need or believe they need or would be prepared to pay for, but I certainly do have opinions.
                          I perceive your opinions about software implementation of productivity tool beyond GTD as very strong. And maybe - as an old-fashioned paper list maker - I simply don't recognize the power of multidimensional context filters that you propose. But I am pragmatic. Why not make money on something that I don't fully understand?

                          Originally posted by Folke View Post
                          My question about what you personally would like to see in an app is still very interesting, IMO. Obviously you know how to manage your stuff on paper (as do I), so if you were ever going to move to an app instead, why would that be?
                          My simplified GTD journey consisted of the following milestones:
                          • 2-minute rule!
                          • Weekly Review!
                          • The power of the "PROCESSING" step of the workflow in pursuit of the mind like water state.
                          I found no software app that can make any of these milestones more mindful. And I think that mind like water is all about mindfulness.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
                            But I am pragmatic. Why not make money on something that I don't fully understand?
                            I agree with that - I've never made money from anything that made total sense to me

                            So, how do we get started?

                            I am already quite committed business-wise to various other things, and I keep my GTD activities (forums etc) mainly as a fun intellectual hobby that gives me a chance to breathe. I would be happy to participate on the basis of being some form of source of ideas and opinions, but I would have to think twice before participating as an active business partner or business advisor (because that's what I do for a living - exactly what I am escaping from here on the forums.)

                            How about you? Are you up for taking the commercial and administrative lead? Additional people?

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Where are our customers?

                              Originally posted by Folke View Post
                              How about you? Are you up for taking the commercial and administrative lead? Additional people?
                              My only concern is that I haven't noticed anybody here saying "What a great idea!" during all these discussions about multidimentional contexts or questionable GTD foundations. Probably GTD Forum is not our target market! So... where are our customers?

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
                                My only concern is that I haven't noticed anybody here saying "What a great idea!" during all these discussions about multidimentional contexts or questionable GTD foundations. Probably GTD Forum is not our target market! So... where are our customers?
                                Indeed. Well, they may very well turn out to be our customers in the end, why not, but what we need right now is not customers; what we would need right now is active collaborators in the creative process - to create a design that many potential customers will like when they see it. Seeing is believing.

                                Creating is always difficult. Consuming, on the other hand, saying yes or no, is easy. As consumers we do not like to create. We tend to say it is too complicated. And so do I in most areas - cooking, for example. I find it easy enough to put stuff in my mouth mouth and say "good" or "not so good", but if you try to discuss with me why it is good or not good, or if you try to discuss with me even more specifically whether we should reduce the amount of salt, add some coriander seeds and maybe grind them first, and then maybe fry the meat at a slightly higher temperature with less mustard, I would probably just say "it sounds too complicated", even though the proposed food might be even simpler to cook and nicer to eat than the original recipe.

                                A collaborative creative project, such as this one, is a bit like trying to get a bunch of chefs to start a restaurant - to analyze and agree - in words - on what kind of flavors, textures and impressions to create. It will probably not be easy to find those additional chefs and to form a verbalized vision that we can share.

                                In addition, money will be required sooner or later. I imagine the cost might well be about a million dollars, if all work is salaried, to even just get a me-too/rip-off/clone service on its feet and on the market. I figure there would be no additional cost for the extra benefits that I had in mind - they are mainly simplifications, but still. Someone will have to front up money for the development before the end consumers will have a chance to see for themselves and say yes or no. And any of the other players could easily simplify/improve their already existing product any time. Although I doubt that they will do so in an all-out, decisive, focused way there is always a risk that they will beat us to it or at least undermine our potential.

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