(A manifesto about some of the things I’ve been working on)
Pretty much my favorite personal productivity tools. Unfortunately, the company CEO was hired by Twitter, and shut down the two sites. These days, there is a serious void in good productivity tools for computers. If Google Tasks is the best that Silicon Valley can do, God help us all.
Our company, Act.fm, is trying to figure out how to build tools to empower people to become more productive. Social productivity, if you will. In essence, the question our company is trying to answer is “how do you capture conversation about the everyday?”
Returning your library books? Washing your car? Filing your taxes? These things can be made more fun by our friends. I think the true social object of social productivity is not (necessarily) the tasks people need to do. Deborah’s task to return library books doesn’t actually involve me. We have no reason to talk about it. If, in the course of a conversation, she said, “I have to go return my library books tomorrow”, what might we talk about?
Social objects in this context might be:
- the interest that sparks this task. Maybe you like reading, and I like reading too. I ask, what books did you check out? There’s a conversation there. If you need to get running shoes, the task itself isn’t the social object, but running is. Jane (Jon’s wife) wants to cook healthy food. I’m interested in this task because I want to cook healthy food too. I’d be interested in other people cooking healthy food just the same.
- the event around joining a task. Need to go to IKEA? so do i. All of a sudden, there’s a social object and we have a reason and a need to talk – let’s do this thing together. This might be virtual (let’s all take computer breaks and do pushups at 1PM and 4PM), or physical (come help me replace my windshield wipers)
- the task itself – if I am depending on you to finish something.
Productivity guys all know where the money is – seminars and training. David Allen, Stephen Covey, and countless others speak on a full-time basis. Plus, Google Calendar is free, so how do you compete with that?
Instead, Act.fm needs to be able to enable conversations about the social objects mentioned above. I want to do stuff and talk about things I like, with people I know and maybe some people I don’t, but are really into things I’m in to.