Friday, October 10, 2008

25 Days: What Am I Doing?

So what am I doing? A friend of mine chastised me earlier today for not yet revealing what I'm doing, as if I was deliberately trying to create suspense. Actually, I wasn't. The truth is that I wanted my first message of what I'm doing to be a strong one. You only get one chance to make a first impression and all that. So I wanted to get my XYZ statement and my story in place before revealing what I'm doing.

After feedback from this friend and others, I've changed my mind. I have a first draft of an XYZ statement and a story. Both can certainly be improved on, but there's no reason that I can't improve them over time. And I benefit now by getting feedback before its too late. If you think I'm making a mistake, big or small, there's no better time than the present to speak up. So, here goes.

Groupthink is a tool for individuals and people working together that allows them to easily and efficiently organize their work.
Groupthink revolves around two simple concepts:

Group:Making collaboration for day-to-day organizational activities amazingly easy. Most people work with others, but organizational activities are spread through email, shared documents, and even sticky notes. There has to be a better way.
Think:Provide an organizational structure for your information but otherwise get out of your way. We all lose productivity to our lack of organization. Even organized people lose productivity because of the time it takes them to get and stay organized. But it's not my goal to foist my organizational system on you. The most important thing in organizing your thoughts is just that -- your thoughts.

Here are some not yet frequently asked questions:

If Group is one of the key concepts, why does the XYZ statement include individuals?

When we work alone, we are usually wearing many hats. Here at Groupthink World Headquarters aka StartPad, I'm wearing every single hat. The sort of things that make it easy for groups to work together can also help me work with myself. Aside from that, even when we are working alone, we may be relying on other for some things. Groupthink facilitates that. Finally, for the tool to be a good collaboration tool, it must work for every user individually. Otherwise, it cannot succeed as a collaboration tool.

Why does the XYZ statement say work? What about non-work?

I define "work" pretty loosely. If it's something that you feel you need to organize, it's work of some sort. Sometimes that work might be about fun, like planning a vacation. In that case, I want to make that planning easier so you can enjoy your vacation more.

If you're building a web service, why doesn't anything above say that?

Yes, it's a web service, but that's just the way it happens to be built. It's not Groupthink's purpose in life. Also, there's a decent chance I'll add Google Gears support at some point.

What's the difference between an organizational structure and an organizational system?

There are lots of organizational systems out there which prescribe particular ways of organizing your life, your work, your tasks. There are lots of systems because different systems work for different people -- we all have different work styles. Groupthink is system-agnostic. I don't guarantee that I will support what is necessary for your particular system, but it's my goal not to force you to use any particular system. And I'm interested in your feedback if you don't think you can use Groupthink with your system.

How is Groupthink different from ____________?

When you look at all the to do lists, task lists, notetakers, outliners, spreadsheets, databases, project planners, personal information managers, calendars, intranets, wikis, and combinations of the above, there are a lot of products that might be considered competitors in one way or another. And let's not forget Notepad -- lots of people use plain text files for tasks lists.

I've looked at a lot of them already (I completed my competitive analysis today), but I haven't seen one that's doing exactly what I'm doing, in the way that I'm doing it. But, at this time, I'm not planning to do a side-by-side comparison with any of them. I've got too many other things to do.


Roy Leban said...

@Mike You've made a number of excellent points. Thanks!

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