Do more, be better

Much To Do About Nothing

by Jessica on 11 January 2012, filed under Working It Out

It seems there is a new ‘to-do list’ application on the market almost every day. Many come and go quietly, hardly a blip on the competitive landscape, falling short with their usability and design. Others come from developers trying to scratch an itch; talented people who lack the time or desire to be there for the long haul.

While few apps survive past the first 2 – 3 years, there are several significant players out there who exhibit all the energy, focus and motivation needed to get across the line. It is interesting to note that many of these serious applications come from well known figures within the tech industry with considerable funding at their disposal. Ex-Facebook, Ex-Microsoft; these people know what they are doing.

So while it is easy to write-off each new entrants as “just another to-do list app”, it is much harder to argue that there isn’t an opportunity here for new startups. By virtue of aforementioned well funded, high profile projects, the market has been validated and yet no one ‘owns’ this sought after space. This is an almost universal problem, “how can I get more done and not drown in the sea of things I have to do?”, but there is no ‘go to’ answer. Ask a group of professionals how they manage their tasks and you will get as many different answers as people you approach. Ask a stranger walking past you on the street which online solution they use to help manage their to-dos and the likely answer is, “I didn’t know such a thing existed!”.

Many members of the tech start-up community scoff at online to-do applications because there are so many attempts and so few successes. These are apps targeting a seemingly unobtainable horizontal, instead of the classic, clearly defined vertical market. ‘Horizontal products’ can be used by all different people; if you build email software that’s horizontal, if you make software to calculate the solar panels needed to heat a house, that’s a vertical.

I certainly agree that it is a hard nut to crack, but as any business 101er can tell you, high risk = high reward. So don’t let us see you rolling your eyes next time another to-do app venture comes along, because when the dust settles, the ones that come out on top will definitely have the last laugh.

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