Publishing a new product is always a bit of an out-of-body experience. After spending a great many hours (or in this case well over half a year) working quietly away at your “big next thing” in total isolation from the world, you post the link on MacUpdate and Versiontracker and expose it to the scrutiny of the entire world.
What if people think that my baby is ugly?
I have been there a few times before, but I don’t think anything will compare to the first time in 1996 when my Ph.D. prototype “publicspace” went up on the newly bought “publicspace.net” domain. My gift to the world. Three years of research, two years coding. And totally free. An hour later I had half a dozen complaints about Command-A not selecting all the files.. and no congratulations on my huge achievement from an adoring public. You live, you learn 😉
Well, what makes me think about that experience 14 years ago is that my new application, Vitamin-R is a more personal product than any of those that came after the eponymous publicspace.
Vitamin-R is my personal attempt at creating a productivity enhancement tool. Unlike A Better Finder Rename, A Better Finder Attributes, “The Big Mean Folder Machine” and even MacBreakZ which were largely developed by me for other people, Vitamin-R is designed to help me and hopefully people like me, become more productive and more satisfied with how they spend their work days. It’s for creative people who love doing stuff but find it hard to get down to it.
What has always irritated me with the productivity systems that are out there, is that they focus on capturing and organising action items rather than actually getting anything done.
Getting Things Done is a great idea and has a few nice ideas, but if you are anything like me, you’ll soon have a huge to-do list, but will still not have gotten around to actually doing any work. For some real GTD fanatics managing their to-do list and their reference system and all the rest appears to be an end in itself.
What did you do today? Oh, well.. I did my weekly review, worked through my in-tray, reorganised my contexts in OmniFocus and synched my to-do list with my iPhone. Wow, I rock!
This was the starting point for my Vitamin-R project. Instead of spending my time organising in minute detail what my next action should be, I wanted a new system that could live with a little bit of creative chaos and that would help me get my work done. I’m not about to throw out my to-do list manager away, but I’m done hoping that my actual work will magically get done if I just keep reorganising my database often enough.
So as a good former academic, I started researching the issue. Along the way I read many a book from one productivity guru or another, took a brief detour into neuroscience, tried a few things myself and then started coding.. I haven’t stopped reading, thinking or coding since.
What is released as the first public beta today is not the finished product. It’ll never be finished and will keep evolving and my head is already bursting with ideas for all the great features that will be added in the future.. and that is before I get into the feedback loop with (potential) users.
This is merely a beginning. Perhaps you will think that my baby is ugly. That’ll be unfortunate. Please let me know, so that I can improve it.