i need a reality check

Are You Making It All Work?

Posted in random by josh duncan on February 2, 2009


Just started listening to the new book from GTD guru David Allen, Making It All Work.  Billed as a companion toolkit to the now classic, Getting Things Done:

David Allen shows us how to excel in dealing with our daily commitments, the unexpected, and the information overload that threatens to drown us. “Making It All Work” provides an instantly usable, success-building toolkit for winning “the game.”

It is still early so check back in a bit for a review/recommendation.

I have been off and on again with GTD for quite some time.  I have found that when I am not swamped, I am too lazy to keep up with a system and when I am swamped, my system is not ingrained enough to keep up.  Basically, I am still at level 1 GTD, list management (trying to find a spot for everything hence the Tetris reference).

In an effort to improve my GTD skills I am going to try and be explicit on what I am tracking and how I am doing it.  Here is my current system and tools:

  • Evernote – Vacation ideas, gift ideas, and other long term items that I will want to look up at some point in the future.  You can access Evernote on your computer, on the web, and even on your iPhone so there really is not an excuse not to use it even more.  So why don’t I?  It may just be me. but it seems like overkill when you are trying to quickly capture something.
  • TextPad – work to-dos. Have been using TextPad for years since it is so light weight and you can manage multiple tab lists for different projects.
  • Outlook – work calendar.  When there is something I have to get done (reports, presentations, etc) I try to schedule time in advance on the calendar to make sure I get it done in time.  I am getting better at email management but quite a ways away from “InBox Zero”
  • Google Calendar – family events.  My wife and try to put all our events online so we can track all the b-day parties, dr. apts, soccer games, and other out of work stuff.  Its great for helping to avoid double bookings.
  • iPhone Task List – for errands.  I don’t even know the name of this app but is really nothing special.  Just something to track all the stuff I need to get next time I am at Target, Costco, etc.
  • del.icio.us – web site tracker.  Used for saving good web articles, web references to access at a later time.

More to come here.

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Would You Pay to Advertise on Digg.com?

Posted in random by josh duncan on December 22, 2008


TechCrunch ran a story over the weekend with a review of Digg’s financials and it is not looking that good (also on Silicon Alley).

The first three quarters of 2008 Digg had revenues of $6.4 million and losses of $4 million. That implies total 2008 revenue of $8.5 million, with $5.3 million in losses.

The big question that TechCrunch asks is what are the estimated 35+ engineers working on at Digg?   With a smaller staff, their massive web traffic (estimated at 16 million worldwide unique monthly visitors)  should enable them to squeak out a profit of some kind.

The speculation is that they are trying to build some sort of advanced advertisement platform similar to Google’s AdSense that will enable them to insert targeted adds into their user generated posts.  In the theory, that sounds like a good idea, but will it really pay off?

I am a fan of Digg and visit the site daily (If you don’t know much about Digg and their founder Kevin Rose, Inc.com recently published an overview).  It is one of the best places on the web to find all the current popular news, stories, and latest gossip and follies.  But that in itself is the issue.  “All” is a very broad market to target on the web and Digg hangs it all out there to see.

Here is a sample of a few of the stories on the front page today:

  1. Independent Investigation: Special Olympics Fixed (A farce from the Onion.com)
  2. The Wine development release 1.1.11 is now available (Software for running Windows on Linux)
  3. Kids Say The Most Existentially Terrifying Things (A cartoon from Cracked.com)
  4. Warner Brothers Pulls All Videos from Youtube (a news story update from cnet.com)

This is the best part of Digg.  Right next to serious social/political issues are irreverent, silly, outrageous, and sometimes, offensive posts.  That’s great for users of Digg but make a tough sale for corporate advertisers.  Now, I am not saying that corporate advertisers will not post ads on Digg.  In fact, right now there is an ad for a Ford Flex featured in the top right banner.  But note, this is right above the ad from GIftCardFreebies.com (view screen shot here).

There are a lot of brands out there that are not going to like having their products squashed between jokes on Marijuana and SMBC comics and these brands have deep pockets.

So what about Google then?  They have targeted ads and they can have much more offensive material on their site so, why are they such a success?  Because Google search starts with a blank canvas and you give it a target.  It knows that if you are searching for Teddy Bear vs. Teddy, what is acceptable and what is not.  Plus in situations where there is ambiguity, the lack of banner ads help keep the site neutral.

The hardest part of this for Digg is that even though they helped drive this GroundSwell of user generated content, they don’t control it (see HD-DVD encryption fiasco). Any effort to mainstream the site or push edgy content off the front page will not be met with a quiet response.