I’ve been obsessed with project management and personal productivity for a almost two decades. My experience ranges from tiny lists to gigantic project plans with hundreds of people and resources. In the past I’ve been a certified PMP and managed large engineering teams. What I’ve learned above all, is that we tend to overcomplicate everything.
Four years ago my startup Nouncer failed for many reasons, none of which had much to do with the product itself. Looking at where Twitter is now and how it evolved, it is a clear validation of my original vision. But even if I had gotten passed the challenges that doomed Nouncer, I still think it would have failed. It was just too complicated, too soon.
I’ve long considered Twitter’s biggest asset to be its 140 character limit. It completely democratized personal expression by making everyone as expressive and articulate. It also helped people communicate more by making their content small enough for casual, constant consumption.
A year ago I started thinking about applying this philosophy – empowerment through restrictions – to project management. I’ve started thinking about enterprise-scale problems and what a restrictive tool might look like. But no longer working on large scale enterprise projects, my attention shifted to personal productivity and “home projects”, and so Sled was born.
Sled is an experiment.
There is a lot we don’t know about how to make our daily lives more productive and organized, and how to collaborate better. What we do know is that the wide range of tools and services available to us are, generally speaking, not very helpful. Everything is either too limited or too complicated. Usually too complicated. We know what doesn’t work, but figuring out what does requires experimentation.
Sled is a collaborative list making tool with a strong focus on life events and collaboration between friends and family. Planning a party, a move, getting ready for a new baby, planning a trip, organizing a junior soccer league, or preparing for a marathon, are some of the efforts I hope Sled will be useful for.
The idea is to start with a really solid tool for making lists. Then add collaboration with a few people, a little bit of social features, and later a crowd-sourced knowledge base of lists and recommendations. For the past few months we’ve been focusing on list making and the result is a simple tool to create lists alone or with a small group of friends. Sled is still in its very early stages, but it is usable and (we hope) fun.
I’m not planning on writing much about Sled on this blog. Instead, I will focus on sharing my engineering experience building the product. If you want to keep up to date with Sled, follow us on Twitter or Facebook, or check out the Sled blog.
And if you want to check it out, sign-in with your Yahoo!, Twitter, or Facebook account and use invite code: hueniverse.