By now you've probably read that David has formally launched GTD Connect. The popular GTD forums, blogs, and even the David Allen Company web site are already buzzing with the news. I think that Bob Walsh has probably done the best job summarizing some of the key features of GTD Connect so far. Rather than repeat what he's written so well, I'll encourage you to go and read Bob's post. If you've already taken the bold step to sign up for GTD Connect, then be sure to watch the Introductory video tour by David. It's a great way to learn more about what GTD Connect has to offer!  

20080814-GTDConnectLaunch.jpg

Since Bob's already blogged with an overview of GTD Connect, I'd like to talk about it from a different perspective - that of someone who's been behind the curtain, met the man, and watched this information evolve over the years into GTD Connect - the first step in David's vision of being able to share information and connect with others who have a passion for getting things done. I want to share why I'm excited about GTD Connect.

[Disclaimer: I'm writing this on my own and not as a representative of The David Allen Company. The opinions I share are my own. Hopefully you will find them valuable. If so, let me know. If not, I'd like to hear that, too.]

I'm an independent eProductivity Specialist, and for 14 years, I've worked for David Allen, as his personal technologist. In that time, he's become a great mentor and friend. He's also been amazingly transparent about his work and life. I've had the opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes at David's office, his home, and in his in-box. The guy practices what he preaches. He falls off the GTD system easily gets back on with the same ease. That's what I like about GTD. Even I can do it. David simply has a little more - OK a LOT more - experience than I do at getting things done. I've learned a lot from David. the education has been invaluable.

Let me share a quick story: I've stood at David's side on two separate unfortunate occasions, when his Palm and laptop each self-destructed as a result of errant software, taking with it all of his information, plans and projects. Do you now what David did? He got out a legal pad and wrote down the things that were most important to him so that he could focus on the situation at hand. That's it. Incredible! Calm and balanced. Mind like water. Me? I was ready to explode. I was ready to see if the ThinkPad could fly across the room. I wanted to cry. What I learned in that moment was a valuable lesson, one that has helped me in many situations since. I could fill up a forum with stories like that. Perhaps I will.

One of the reasons that I'm excited that David's finally launched GTD Connect is that serious students of the GTD methodology now have a place to call home - a quality venue to share information and rich stories like this that will teach us practical skills we can use everyday. I've had the privilege to watch GTD connect come to fruition over the past several years. It's taken a huge investment in time, money, and talent to bring it all about and I think the Connect team has done a great job. Since Connect is not free, it will attract a group of only the most serious and committed people and I look forward to learning from them, too.

One of the benefits I have, serving David Allen, is that I get to see the projects in the pipeline. Folks, there's some neat stuff coming. I'm particularly excited about the interviews and videos that David has done in preparation for the GTD Connect launch. I've already had the privilege to listen to some of the unedited interviews on a variety of topics. I can't wait to hear them again in their final form. Another aspect of GTD Connect that excites me is that David will step out from behind the curtain and get involved in a big way. Connect was built with David's participation in the forums in mind. So, if you want to engage with the GTD material at a higher level than what you are presently doing now, this is the place.

Connect is not all about David. I mean, David's a nice guy and all, but he does not know everything. In fact, he prefers to be a student than a teacher. For this reason, I'm excited to see the many diverse forums that comprise the GTD Connect offering. These represent not only an opportunity for us to connect with David, but for us to connect with one another. David's invited a group of key players in the field of personal productivity to participate in the forums. These people, and I'm thrilled to be included among them - will bring their richness of experiences to the forums. The greatest richness, however, will be you and your experiences. That's what excites me the most.

Several weeks ago, at the David Allen Company summer staff meeting, I had the opportunity to sit at a table with David and Caroline (one of the new GTD Coaches). We discussed GTD in education. Then, my daughter, Wendy, came over and joined us. For the next two hours, Caroline and I listened as David and Wendy talked about a variety of topics, including education, GTD, and mind mapping. It was a great discussion - I wish I could have recorded the conversation so that I could share it. (David's told me he'd like to have Amy & Wendy come over to do an interview in the future.) After dinner, David invited Wendy and Amy to join the new "GTD on Campus forum," where he intends to encourage discussions on GTD in education. Wow! I'm excited. Not only will it be an opportunity for my children and I to share our experiences with GTD, it will give us an opportunity to learn from others with similar interests. [Side note: We are getting ready to begin our next LEGO Robotics season. David's invited Amy & Wendy to share their experiences and their mind maps with the forum so show others how they map and plan their projects.]

As I've already mentioned, David's heavily committed, personally, and financially, to GTD Connect and he's assembled an amazing team to create GTD Connect.  I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the terrific team that has worked hard to design, build, and manage GTD Connect. Robert and his team have done a fantastic job of architecting and implementing the infrastructure necessary to facilitate communication and the sharing of information. Lisa, Rick, and their team have done a great job with the customer side of things. Richard and Liz and the product team are preparing to launch a number of new productivity offerings from cool folders, to processing and support tools, to software. These are just a few of the many talented people who have made this happen. Well done!

Folks, GTD Connect isn't just another forum and it's not a rehash of the same information you can currently find on the web for free. It's a well of information, wide in interests, and deep in knowledge. Its a group of people who are passionate about learning and sharing information and how they are applying GTD in their lives as parents, educators, pastors, managers, executives, and, most importantly, as individuals. I look forward to learning and playing in this arena.

Congratulations David! I wish you and the entire Connect team the best of success!

My GTD Connect login is Eric Mack, aka eProductivityGuy. I'd love to hear from you!

Discussion/Comments (20):

Plugged in (Connected) to David Allen and GTD

I do not think that the Mind Like Water state that David showed when his PDA failed is the direct result of GTD. I would rather think that people who are calm and balanced have better results in GTD implementation. In my opinion GTD is not for everybody.

Posted at 8/15/2006 11:01:42 PM by TesTeq


Plugged in (Connected) to David Allen and GTD

Eric:

Great to hear from you on the subject. As a pastor myself, I have found GTD and GTD Connect to be invaluable in helping me process the demands of my ministry and remaining tied in to what the Holy Spirit is up to in my world.

Dean

www.atlantictransplant.blogspot.com

Posted at 8/16/2006 5:41:36 AM by Dean


Plugged in (Connected) to David Allen and GTD

Eric, as someone who earlier today wrote a critical post for the GTD Yahoo group I own, I was delighted to see your article, which gives a strong personal insight as to the kind of guy David is. I have given your url to our members, and suggested they come on by to read your article.

I still have concerns about the GTD Connect concept, thinking it may be divisve for the GTD user community, which has done much by way of buzz marketing to propel Davidco to the top.

However, none of that takes away from the wonderful methodology and philosophy David has given us, or the straight-up guy he is. Your article and a couple of provocative posts from our members have me rethinking my position.

Thanks Eric for this article, and for your blog -- they're great.

Daly

Posted at 8/16/2006 2:51:33 PM by Daly de Gagne


RE: Plugged in (Connected) to David Allen and GTD

Hi Daly!

I waited for a while to share my thoughts about GTD Connect for some time. When I sat down to do so, I decided that since others would (and now have) blog about the "public" side of the Connect offering, I would share a side of things that I am uniquely qualified to speak about. I'm glad that my blog post was helpful to you.

I don't think that the introduction of GTD Connect will divide the GTD community. There remain plenty of outstanding forums such as yours as well as many excellent blogs, all of which are available for free. Further, I'm not aware of any plans to shut down any of the existing DAC GTD forums, all of which are also available to the Connect users.

Daly, In my opinion, the GTD Connect program is much more than a simple discussion forum. I've participated in many excellent GTD forums, including yours, for some time. GTD Connect is different. The actual discussion forum is only a small piece of the pie. As I see it, GTD Connect basically makes the richness of the GTD coaching experience and knowledgebase available to more people in more ways. (e.g. Video, Audio, Downloads, Monthly CD's and whatever else that they send us.) Though I am not involved with the Connect team, I was involved in the early planning sessions years ago. I can share with you that one of David's goals was "how do we get this stuff out to more people." One of the aspects that I'm looking forward to with the GTD Connect offering is that it will make David and his team more accessible to us. I know he's looking forward to getting "Connected" with us.

I just read your initial post on the GTD Yahoo group as well as some of the thoughtful responses by the members of the forum. It seems reasonable to me that there should be a fee to recoup this investment and profit from the effort, even though that may take years to happen. As someone who's been on the other side of things, I can tell you that the investment that David made to implement GTD Connect is huge - an ongoing. A whole team of people have been working for more than two years to make it happen.

Daly, I appreciate your candor in posting a comment on my blog. That says a lot about you as a person. Thank you for sharing your comments. I happen to be working on-site at David's office today and I'll personally share these with David this afternoon when I see him. Meanwhile, you are welcome to contact me if you have any questions for me.

I hope this is helpful. You're welcome to share my response with the forum. I'll try to post something there when I get to the hotel.

Eric

NOTE: Please remember that I'm not employed by DavidCo and cannot speak for them directly. I do blog, however, with David's blessing, but the comments and opinions are my own. For more "official" information about GTD Connect, I recommend that you contact Lisa Peake at the DavidCo offices. She's seriously committed to the GTD Connect program as well as the existing public forums. I'm sure that she would be happy to speak with you.

Posted at 8/16/2006 4:03:44 PM by Eric Mack


Plugged in (Connected) to David Allen and GTD

Eric, I appreciate your reply, and I continue to rethink my position. Also, thanks for giving me permission to share your reply with our group members; I have sent the group the whole reply.

Have a great evening!

Daly

Discuss and learn about David Allen’s Getting Things Done:

{ Link }

Posted at 8/16/2006 4:44:03 PM by Daly de Gagne


Plugged in (Connected) to David Allen and GTD

Eric et al,

Pot stirred. Thanks. Fun (most of the time).

And before I go any further, let me let you know that any of you reading this can contact me directly @ david@davidco.com or 805-646-2734, if you'd like to communicate about what I'm doing, and why...or, anything else that might be interesting!

And before I go any further than that, let me support the Mutual Admiration Society - there are not many people who have hung out as long, as intimately, and productively, with what I'm about, than Eric Mack.

So, Connect is simply a way (of several) to try to generate the best allocation of my resources (time, $, attention) to support the most value creation on the planet.

Here's something I've started to learn: If you're not willing to pay (in time, $, attention) for this information, you won't recognize some of the value of this information.

For those who have ears to hear...

And, nothing that's available now won't be available in the future, as far as I can see.

I'll learn from any pushback. So should you...

David

Posted at 8/16/2006 5:03:56 PM by David Allen


Plugged in (Connected) to David Allen and GTD

David, I've enjoyed the discussion that I started with my post this morning over on our group, and I'm grateful to you and Eric for picking up the ball and running with it.

I agree with you that for some people if they don't pay for somemthing they won't appreciate the value of it. Truth is, though, that probably doesn't apply to everyone. I know that on our group of more than 4,000 people there are folk who cannot afford the cost of GTD Connect, yet they are as much in need of what you are offering as some of the people who can afford it. In fact, it is some of these people who are working at low-paying positions in school systems and social services and churches that really do make a difference in people's lives. I sure wish they could get the benefits of GTD Connect.

That's why I suggested an approach based on $25 a month, which is more in line with what ordinary folk can afford. As well I ventured to put out the idea that perhaps the money raised from GTD Connect could be used as a donantion in the same way that Bill and Melinda Gates have funded a foundation. The GTD Connect revenue could be the basis of the David Allen Foundation, for example, getting things done for the community.

So I look again at my concerns when I wrote what I did this morning, and I know that one of them was the notion that GTD Connect seems to divide folk into those who can afford and those who cannot (but who might have the most need).

The other concern, David, was that everything these days seems to get overly commercialized. Now I know you're in this to make a living as well as because it's something you are gifted at doing and find satisfying. And I think you and everyone are entitled to a living. Perhaps I was just getting too carried away with the the notion of community, and the wealth of peer-generated wisdom that has sprung up all around the world and throughout the world wide web because of GTD. Maybe I was reverting to my hippy days and the old Woodstock mentality because of the open handedness and generosity I have experienced among GTD practitioners (you can be might proud of some of these folk).

You truly have created more than a commercial enterprise. It's phenomenal what has happened as people adopt and adapt GTD. You know, apart from a GTD sense of community, I've got folk on my group who have developed personal friendships through getting together to talk aboout GTD, and I'm sure the same thing has happened on your forums.

Like I said at the end of my my original post over at GTD @ Yahoo groups, David we love you, and you are welcome to drop in and talk with us anytime.

All the best,

Daly

Discuss and learn about David Allen's Getting Things Done:

{ Link }

Posted at 8/16/2006 6:14:06 PM by Daly de Gagne


Plugged in (Connected) to David Allen and GTD

I'm thinking that the division is possible. However, there is also a possibility the difference may end up more along the lines of Microsoft versus Linux. As David's wisdom get spread farther out, sometimes by Connect users and sometimes not, and others contribute to the mix, there is no reason to think that the "paid" version will end up inferior to the "open" version, at least in its essence. It just won't have the same "star" quality :-)or the same nice clean "package". But, it may very well have the same productivity value. No harm in David making some real money on his contribution to that effort. That being said, I have no doubt that the content is worth the money charged, and if I had the free cash, I wouldn't hesitate.

Looking forward to it all...

Gordon

Posted at 8/16/2006 6:45:09 PM by Gordon


Plugged in (Connected) to David Allen and GTD

Daly, I'm confused. Are you actually suggesting that the money DA makes from his business should be donated to a charity (as opposed to, say, paying his bills, putting food on his table -- and maybe adding to his bonsai collection)?

Posted at 8/17/2006 7:43:23 AM by Scott


Plugged in (Connected) to David Allen and GTD

Scott, I was throwing an idea out -- if anyone needs their income to do the things you mentioned, I think that's all good.

My idea was based on the notion of finding a creative way to put something back -- assuming in a very hypothetical kind of way that Davidco is doing well, I suggested that as a possibility the revenue from GTD Connect could be used to invest in the societ.

The suggestion was originally made in an overall context of making GTD Connect more affordable for those who are serious about GTD, but can't manage the present cost.

Then I suggested the possibility that the revenue from GTD Connect could be used to support some social cause, in much the way that Warren Buffett and Bill Gates do with their respective foundations.

Now I realize it is rather nervey for me to suggest all this on someone else's behalf, and I do not think David has any obligation to respond to "my modest proposal" one way or the other. I was simply thinking aloud.

Daly

Posted at 8/17/2006 12:02:29 PM by Daly de Gagne


Plugged in (Connected) to David Allen and GTD

I remember Eric raving to me about some guy called David Allen and his "managing actions & projects" work back in 1998, how cool it was, how helpful it was to him, and how I should get involved. In 1999 I purchased the MAP tape series when I was up in the US, and devoured it. When I started a company here in NZ later that year, it was required listening for everyone. David's work made a profound difference in my professional life, and I'm trying to get it to work personally too.

I've signed up for GTD Connect because I want to get to GTD Black Belt. The $48 per month is a small price to pay for the incredible wealth of information and contacts I expect to make, not to mention the productivity benefits I'm expecting based on getting to 'mind like water'. And given that I live in New Zealand, and to date David hasn't ventured down here to give a public seminar, this is the closest I'm getting for the time being. When I visited with Eric a couple of weeks back, he graciously gifted me a copy of the GTD Connect interviews with Steve Kowalski and John Frager. It was so helpful to listen to the discussion, and I learnt a lot that I was able to put into practice immediately. I've thanked both Steve and John for sharing their thoughts by email.

With respect to comments above about David "giving back", I think he's giving a huge amount on an ongoing basis. And GTD Connect is a formalized way of him giving even more. I enjoyed his blog while it happened, and I understand his comments that he has to prioritize his time, attention and investments. As he says himself to us in his book ... "you can't do everything".

Finally, although I've thanked him on the phone in years past, I hope to meet David someday and thank him in person. And perhaps he can bring Kathryn down for some rain when she's next hanging out for some! We've had a real wet winter down here this year.

Just my $0.02,

M.

Posted at 8/17/2006 8:34:07 PM by Michael Sampson


Plugged in (Connected) to David Allen and GTD

I am one of those people that Daly refers to working in the community - well a college to be exact. Unfortunately the educational pay here in the UK is very poor compared to industry and perhaps David and Davidco could consider an educational discount like so many software and other subscribers do? Our work is just as busy!

Just a thought!

Posted at 8/17/2006 10:07:21 PM by RHH


Plugged in (Connected) to David Allen and GTD

I really don't understand all this discussion. Is $48/month too much for me? Probably. I really haven't decided. But, to complain about the price like it's some sort of moral corruption is wrong.

First, it's impossible to say at this point, that "it's not worth $48." No one complaining about the price has signed up, got access to all the features and decided that there wasn't $48 worth of value.

Second, not all products are made for all people. Personally, there's this car that I'd really like buy, but the $50,000 price tag is too much for me. BMW is not morally corrupt for pricing me out of the market for their car. Nor do I think they should lower the price so that I can afford it. They just made a business decision that this particular product should be aimed at someone that isn't me.

DACo did the same. They got a few books and some other merchandise at various price points. GTDConnect is, well, the BMW of GTD. We all want it, but we all can't have it. Time and the market will decide if the program offers $48/month of value. If it does, then those of us unwilling or unable to pay that amount will have to suffice with the hundreds of blogs, listservs, etc. If it doesn't, well, maybe we'll see a $30/month product, or various "levels" of membership. "GTDConnect Blackbelt Edition."

Notice to DA: There's the title for your next book. :)

Let's remember, we all feel a sort of kinship with DA because, well, his methods have completely changed us. While he may be a sort of distant mentor to all of us, this is his business. Your business doesn't reduce the price of an item because some people don't like it. It's not personal. Really.

Posted at 8/18/2006 10:10:28 AM by Tim Hoppa


Plugged in (Connected) to David Allen and GTD

As a professional and business owner (architect), I look at David Allen's service as 1) market driven - only in America! Entreprenuership is alive and well; this is what helped build our great nation! and 2) time-saving - if I pay $48 a month and save one hour over that month due to applying his incredible and salient methodology, I have MADE MONEY - not to mention achieving a "mind like water" :) !

Think POSITIVE!

Cheers to David Allen et al!

Posted at 8/20/2006 8:03:03 AM by Jeff H


Plugged in (Connected) to David Allen and GTD

As I said in response to Marc Orchant's post on this, I serve at a nonprofit organization, and it would have been impossible for me to afford David's GTD Roadmap seminar, but Davidco's generous rate for nonprofits made it possible--just one example of how David "gives back" to the community.

Sure, I wish the rate for GTD Connect was less just like I wish I could have bought a Lexus for what I just paid for a Hyundai. But to claim that I am somehow "entitled" to a lower price for whatever reason strikes me as fairly audacious. Enough with this entitlement mentality.

Posted at 8/21/2006 5:44:01 PM by John


Plugged in (Connected) to David Allen and GTD

Here's a comment and a suggestion on this topic.

I have no problem with paying the $48. / month. I'll figure out a way to get multiples of that back in productivity or networking benefit.

Additionally, I'm willing to give up a Starbucks - let's say $2.00 / month - and convert it into 'GTDbucks'. I'll pay GTD Connect $50 / month, they can handle the $2. for philanthropic benefit, and probably get a tax benefit by doing so, and if GTD Connect wants to kick in something additionally, that's fine. That's a Win-Win scenario. Now, if you want to make those 'GTDbucks' available in Hartford, CT, I'll bump my contribution to $4. per month. Enlightened self-interest. Mind like water.

Posted at 8/23/2006 9:53:09 AM by Zach Shoher


Plugged in (Connected) to David Allen and GTD

This is a very interesting discussion because it’s not about a product, it’s about human nature.

I don't fault Davidco a moment for charging $50 per month for GTD Connect. As far as I'm concerned, this new option is simply an ongoing GTD seminar. In the past I never felt robbed because I didn’t have an extra $600 sitting around to pay for the one-day seminar. I also don't feel it's necessary to attend a seminar to implement GTD's useful ideas. In fact, at this point I doubt the seminar would be much more than mild entertainment for me--certainly not worth $600 since I already have more personal productivity knowledge than I can implement. A one-day “rah-rah” session that will get me more excited for about a week isn't worth the cost for me.

GTD Connect, on the other hand, is more interesting because although I have not seen it yet, I imagine that, 1) it goes beyond the same GTD stuff I've heard and read so many times in so many places over the years, and 2) it's continuous, so from a motivational point of view, it provides more value over a year for the same $600. I don’t see GTD as a community, especially not in the “many-to-many” way that most GTD forums and blog networks function. To me GTD Connect is a “few-to-many” extended seminar/group coaching session.

I'm tempted to try GTD Connect, but for $50 a month it would need to be extremely valuable to keep me in the program. If enough people sign up and then discontinue, Davidco will come to understand they need to either adjust the price point or increase the value of their product just like any other business.

Now to the real point of my comment: I think the "disconnect" around GTD Connect is what some people--depending on their background--perceive as a contradictory message from David and company. For example, Eric Mack just expressed a Davidco goal/sentiment that I have seen numerous times since I encountered MAP/GTD: “How do we get this stuff out to more people?" Other expressions I’ve seen touch upon how GTD principles can cause a type of revolution, change lives, change the world, etc.—if we can just get enough people to adopt them.

Because we all interpret messages based on what our own intentions would be if we had said the same words, people hear and assume different things all the time. When some hear the “reach more people” and ”change the world” messages, they might interpret it as an altruistic declaration of devotion to the betterment of mankind, and the only reason one would charge anything for their service is to sustain their family and further get the message out. A more business-minded person, however, might hear an expression that recognizes how great it is that a person can grow their personal wealth by providing a service that actually helps other people.

Another possibly misconstrued message from Davidco is the oft expressed idea that, “If people won’t stretch to pay for something, they won’t value it.” Depending on the hearer, that could come across as a cop-out designed to obsure financial self interest. To others it might be an expression of pure intent that just happens to have an extra financial reward. Another group may take it as a “put down” based on an unjust assumption that they aren’t smart enough or motivated enough to absorb the GTD message without tricking themselves by burning some kind of financial bridge. Finally, some might see it as a way to shame prospective or hestitant buyers into signing up because they feel a need to prove that they are “good enough” to join the top echelons of the “GTD community.” There may be many other interpretation, again based on

My advice to Davidco is to be careful about how informal messages might be interpreted, especially if they can be construed as value judgements on others. Even in his comments above, I think David Allen could come across as both empathetic and/or combatitive. I don’t know David, but from years of hearing from him, I don’t think he is the kind of guy that would ever want to offend someone (or even allow himself to be offended either).

Anyway, another way to appreciate GTD Connect is as a brave new experiment, or a farmer’s field that is being sown to see what will grow. If Davidco doesn’t expand or innovate in some way, in 5 or 10 years, the GTD methodology will have gone the way of the Franklin Planner, Anthony Robbins, etc. That is, it will be “A nice idea that I’ve heard enough about already.” GTD Connect may be the perfect laboratory that helps keep things fresh, that helps keep things evolving. Even if it doesn’t achieve that goal, it may result in a core community that hangs on even when all the excitement of GTD dies down.

C

Posted at 8/31/2006 11:23:32 PM by Colin


Plugged in (Connected) to David Allen and GTD

Colin, thanks for your thoughtful response on my blog.

I think you've captured, in part at least, what several people may have been trying to say.

Colin, I'll send an email to David and the Connect team to alert them to your comment.

I have the privilege to serving GTD Connect team (In a technical capacity) and I can tell you they are very interested to hear from their customers.

Best regards,

Eric

Posted at 9/1/2006 12:44:06 AM by Eric Mack


Plugged in (Connected) to David Allen and GTD

The $48/month will exclude some who are on atight budget and could not easily afford it. (lower economic tier individuals, etc.) Perhaps there could be 2 levels of membership so that more could afford to join up.Is the subscription money being collected going toward pure profit (less expense of creating and running this service or are some of the monies collected going toward goodwill 'not-for-profit' endeavors?)

Posted at 9/28/2006 6:39:03 PM by Mike


Plugged in (Connected) to David Allen and GTD

Very interesting comments and thoughts. 48$ a month for me is too much right now to pay. But I made it a Someday/Maybe that I _will_ subscribe one day or another. Look positive!

Posted at 10/1/2006 12:46:20 PM by Frank Meeuwsen



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