Chat apps were once for digital p2p1 communication—chatting.
Now chat apps have become the media for news, faux news, entertainment, memes, commerce, and more. They are a combination of, for old school web-ers, a portal, a usenet or yahoo group or bulletin board, and mass email (with everyone in cc).
With chat apps no longer primarily the medium for p2p digital communication, what is the new chat app?
In corporate environment, this p2p role is partly fulfilled by Slack DMs and email. Which app will fulfil this role in personal use case?
I follow a slight variant of GTD, and use my Todo.txt for Android app for task list management. Here are two tweaks I use in the app for parts of the GTD process—quick capture, and easy identification of next actions.
1: Use a special project for quick ‘capture‘
Set up +quicktask as default project for new tasks
New task input opens with +quicktask already selected
I use ‘+quicktask‘ as default project for all new tasks to quickly capture them. This allows me to just note the task in plain English and continue with the task at hand. I don’t need to think about their priority, due date and all other things at the time of capture.
Writing the task down closes the loop and frees the mind. Applying the +quicktask project allows me to easily find the task later during the clarification stage.
When I’m in the clarify or organise stage, I filter the task list for +quicktask and process them.
2: Use a special tag to mark the ‘next action‘
I use ‘#next‘ tag to indicate the next task to focus on in a project. During the organise stage, I mark one task in each active project as #next. This ensures that I don’t have to look through the task list for what to focus on next.
My task list widget is now filtered by #next and sorted by due date. What’s on top, is what I need to focus on now.
By integrating ‘reading’ and ‘writing’ in the same app, you’re forcing the bigger user group1 to also confront tools designed for the smaller user group.
On mobile – skewed by design more towards consumption, than creation – I assume the disparity in these two user groups is even bigger.
Having a standalone reader app, allows it to reach a much larger use case – ‘Help people follow, read, discover’.
Compare this to current use case – install it if you…
post to WordPress frequently from mobile, or
love reading in WordPress reader, despite having little use for other three tabs – write, manage, and notifications?!
A really good standalone reader helps plug in a singular user need2 – reading. That need, in terms of following blogs and websites, only rarely overlaps with the other need that the app currently fulfils – writing.
Though it will place it in competition with feed readers like Feedly, it also has 2 unique benefits as well:
Close integration with a writing platform (related posts, comment & like directly from reader),
The abandoned Google Reader audience that just wants to follow and read feeds, without being overwhelmed with magazine interfaces and more.
A good, successful reader mobile app with large user-base will, eventually, help close the RoI loop: suggest (through ‘discover’) other WordPress/Jetpack blogs, creating an incentive (or delivering reward) for creators using WordPress.
One definition of readers and writers:
– Writers: 7-day active writers – users who posted at-least once a week.
– Readers: Unique visitors per week – including logged-in users, not-logged-in readers, and from feed readers.
Another definition (more relevant to determining use case ratios):
– Writing: Posts /week.
– Reading: Page views /week – again, including not-logged-in readers, and from feed readers. ↩
Should some day also write a similar, smaller, post on WordPress Calypso’s interface – how it needs to be split from current two, into three sections. Currently, the ‘write’ and the ‘manage’ use cases are mixed into the same tab, while ‘read’ is in its own.
Ideally, ‘write’ and ‘read’ – each a singular, frequent use case – should have their own tabs. ‘Manage’ can be in a far-removed tab, or behind a ‘manage’ button. ↩
I worked with one backend-as-a-service (BaaS) provider, Quickblox, where I saw closely users vetting the provider for stability and scalability (successfully). And I followed the rise, sale & fall of another, Parse, where we’re all seeing the impact of it’s folding on a wider community of users.
Combining experiences from both, there’s a business idea ringing in my head:
After writing the previous post, I thought I’d share another script I use, this time to respond to user feedback for my Chrome apps.
All the feedback links in the apps, and the link on page that opens when they are uninstalled, direct to this form.
On submission, the form adds a row to a spreadsheet with each of those input fields in a separate column. Google provides a notification option for whenever the form is submitted. However, the default email sent by Google is quite useless:
The default notification email requires a click-through to see the changes. This is sad enough on the desktop. On mobile, it’s completely useless – requiring me to open a big spreadsheet to see just one new row of data!
A minimal, no-frills blogging app with markdown editing2, inline tagging support3, and draft auto-sync4 to WordPress and Medium
I find WordPress‘ editor too cluttered (despite the distraction-free mode), and Medium‘s too fiddly-gimmicky. In fact, I write most of my posts these days in another Automattic product – Simplenote, and then copy it to my WordPress blogs, or Medium for final editing, formatting, etc.
My WordCounter Chrome app already supports Markdown Extra. Reusing that code, adding Medium & WordPress API support, and adding a #tag parser shouldn’t take long. The only question is do I care about it enough to prioritise it over all the other stuff that’s on the backlog?
For the last couple of months that I’ve had this idea, the answer has been no.