Sunday, February 26, 2006

Keep it Simple

About 10 days ago, I ventured an opinion about technology and insecurity. The gist was that, contrary to Linton Weeks's argument that modern technophiles are anxious and insecure, we are resourceful and informed. I still think my view is a more accurate portrayal of the world, but it is true that we pay a hefty and weighty price for information at our fingertips.
 
The price is not just a belt-load of devices (cell phones, pagers, PDAs, digital cameras, step counters, and so on). The price we pay is also measured by the time we spend on communication, collaboration, security, archiving and personalizing our information.
 
If you, like me, have multiple projects on the go - and who doesn't? - then maybe you are suffering what Shel Israel very descriptively calls Saturday morning hemorrhoids. This is the experience of post-mortem review and sorting of weekly activities trying to make sense of the projects and communications required to coordinate those projects. There's email, IM, calendars, to do lists - all of which need processing and prioritizing, not to mention appropriate filing and the setting of appropriate reminders and triggers.
 
Now there's a company offering a solution that doesn't mean another device. It's a solution intended to simplify the organizational overload we currently have with so much information residing on so many devices and so many means of communication. The bottom line is that we still need the information. We still need collaboration. We still need communication. But we also need to simplify how we do all those things.
 
Foldera to the rescue. Basically it's a service in which individuals and teams create folders organized by a project or discrete activity. Then all email, calendars, documents, instant messages related to that project are dropped into those private or shared folders. You access the service from any device that is handy.
 
Michael Arrington has written a review of Foldera with the catchy title Never organize your inbox again. I have taken the liberty of signing up for a beta version of the product which is still, as of today, unreleased.
 
 
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2 comments:

Oliver Starr said...

Don,

Shel sent me the link to your post on Foldera and I wanted to thank you for the nice things you said and commend your understanding of what we've set out to accomplish.

As the Chief Mobility Officer and Executive Blogger for Foldera Corporation I'm keenly aware of the need to accomodate the myriad devices (beyond PC's) that we now use to access our data - in fact, the ability to access Foldera from any device with a connection to the Internet is one of my primary objectives.

However, I don't believe that simple access is sufficient - for accessing an interface and having a good user experience are not one and the same. So beyond access what we're striving for is true usability across the broad spectrum of devices that we have adopted.

Having people like you interested in Foldera is both exciting and a bit intimidating. While I am generally my own worst critic, I know that we've got a really discerning audience - one that will be twice as likely to tell us what we're doing wrong aswhat we're doing right.

I hope that you'll be impressed with what we've accomplished with Foldera to date and that you'll be communicative with us (and even develop mashups to extend the application) so that we can make it a constantly improving platform that is as useful on portable devices as it is on PC's.

On a side note, I wanted to mention that my mom is a 10 year cancer survivor and that while it was no walk in the park, getting through the Chemo and moving on to a cancer free life is totally doable - attitude, in my opinion, is as important as anything.

I was also a professional cyclist and teammate and friend of Lance Armstrong's and I can tell you quite emphatically that it was his mind and nothing else that was responsible for his survival and follow on success. If you think you can make it you will.

Thanks again for blogging Foldera, I hope we can impress you with the utility of what we've built.

Oliver Starr, CMO, VP
Foldera Corporation

Don Spencer said...

Thanks to both Shel for forwarding my blog entry and to you, Oliver, for sharing your vision for Foldera. I've been going through your recent post on MobileCrunch and the comments there to get an even broader understanding of what to expect in the public beta version of Foldera (http://mobilecrunch.com/2006/02/22/foldera-unveiled-at-techcrunch/).

Coincidentally, we have just ordered our new mobile devices and expect delivery within the week, so I was puzzled to see that you are hoping to develop a specialized mobile device for Foldera.

We have been promoting convergence here for some time now, so you can understand why contemplating yet another device, even with a phone, is not appealing in the least, no matter how powerful the organizational features of mobile Foldera. I will wait to see what comes of your efforts, but at first blush, it isn't an attractive option.

On the side notes, thank you for sharing the story of your mother and your knowledge of Lance Armstrong's experience. Our company President is a bicycle racing fan and was very interested to read your comment on my blog.

I have just ordered Lance's book "It's Not ABout the Bike" as well as Daniel Coyle's "Lance Armstrong's War" which should arrive in plenty of time for me to read during my recovery from surgery. I hope also that the beta version of Foldera is ready during that time for me to get my hands dirty and ready to make recommendations about implementation when I return to work.

Again, Oliver, bon chance with your association with Foldera and thanks for writing.

Cheers,
Don