Another wonderful piece of software has landed in my lap. Workflowy (gack!) is “just” an online form to, you know, write shit down. I’ve been a GTD freak for a while now, not obsessively, but enough to get me through my days. And I’ve always found that the old hipster PDA served me better than any other kind of technology. Workflowy may just possibly change that, at least when I am online.1
What worries me is that it seems to be free. And I want to pay for it. Because, in the end, I want Mike and Jesse to work for me, and not some other guy who wants to buy my eyeballs.
I’ve come round to this way of thinking since abandoning first del.icio.us and then trunk.ly for Pinboard, which is quite simply a better bookmarking site. I paid up -- less than $10 -- and I am rewarded by knowing that Maciej can devote his time to making Pinboard work better for us, the users, and can (I hope) make a reasonable living doing so.
This business of just who “free” software serves was also behind my recent attempts to get out from under Scoop.it, which started off free enough but now wants to charge me $12.99 a month for a clean RSS feed. Yahoo is currently letting me do that -- for free. But for how long? 2
In managing academic references, I've been using the free version of Mendeley in anger, and discovering that it is deficient in many, many ways compared to the paid for Bookends. I’ll probably write about that in more detail later.
For now, though, I would really like to think that some software developers, somewhere, are looking at the essential tools that smooth online existence (RSS reader, content curator, bookmarker, GTD thing; probably not picture or video sharing) and maybe taking a leaf out of Pinboard’s book to consider a radical new business model: let users pay a little, and then work for them.