Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Open Source Time Management Wins

It occurred to me today as I was browsing through a website devoted to collecting digital and analog GTD tools that Getting Things Done has taken on a life of its own. There are now so many interpretations of GTD that I wouldn't be surprised if David Allen or his consultants don't scratch their collective heads at times as they encounter these tools and blogs and attributions to things they suppossedly said but didn't.

The creativity, development time, and talent that's been devoted to what can now probably be called a movement is staggering and probably couldn't be bought--it had to be given.

I believe this is fundamentally due to an explicit "planner agnostic" approach that was about a philosophy and not selling pre-printed forms.

Contrast this business model with that of FranklinCovey. Back in their hay day when their only real competition was DayTimer it seemed they couldn't be stopped. Visit the corporate headquarters in Salt Lake City and the probably now abandoned Covey Leadership facility in Provo/Orem and you'll see evidence of the confidence of the firms (and eventually firm) back then.

It's instructive to note that both Franklin and Covey entered the market with its proprietary philosophy and corresponding training programs as its core unique selling proposition (USP) and the planner was a steady, residual profit center (contrast the original light green Franklin pages with DayTimer's to see that the USP was not in the forms). It seems, however, that over time the profit margin of selling $35-50 refill packs of paper may have overshadowed the difficult-to-come-by-seminar seat and the firm became a paper, purses, and binders company with a small, struggling training component. Not to mention that our work environment became fractured with some data being kept in digital tools, other types of data on the web, still other data in paper, etc. and the philosophy didn't keep pace; it still centered around keeping everything in the planner.

The "open source" version of time management (a term David Allen dislikes [he prefers "self management"]) represented by GTD has the traction, passion, and buzz behind it right now. If I were FranklinCovey I'd be looking to either create some kind of partnership with DavidCo or open up my shop in some way to the masses.

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