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Readers- Your Feedback is Needed!

Sunday, February 28th, 2010
Posted in Joel, Marketing by Joel Gross

I am thinking about putting a lot of work/money into a new business idea and before I do, I really need to get some feedback on my basic hypotheses.  The idea is to build an web application that helps people to track their productivity and make it into a scoreable game so they can compete against themselves to get better.  Please check my hypotheses below and give me your feedback:

  1. People need to track their productivity
  2. People need to track individual task items
  3. People perform better when they have hard numbers to measure themselves with
  4. Bosses need a way to better track all of their employees productivity
  5. The 3 basic factors in judging productivity are: Quality of work, Difficulty of task & Importance to the business
  6. PEOPLE WOULD PAY MONEY FOR A TASK MANAGEMENT SYSTEM MEASURING THE 3 POINTS ABOVE

I would greatly appreciate everyone to either use the comments below to give me your feedback on my 6 basic hypotheses.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask and I will get back to you as quickly as I possibly can.

I REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR HELP!!!

9 thoughts on “Readers- Your Feedback is Needed!

  1. #1 is sort of a silly assumption. A more accurate hypothesis would be “Some people track their productivity, and some of those people NEED to do so.” Also, #6 is a pretty big leap, too. I think that if you got enough corporate users using it, that you could charge them for licenses. Also, some freelance professionals would get value out of it, but few would pay for it. It’s a GREAT idea. I think you should do it. But you’d have to execute on it perfectly. Making work a game is smart as f***.

  2. It seems like the product would be too difficult to develop for a wide range of businesses. Quality, Difficulty, and Importance all end up being pretty intangible in a lot of fields and don’t necessarily produce consistently, especially in businesses where performance depends on human interaction. My sales position, for instance, is part luck and part performance. This seems like it would be a novelty item to one or two companies, but would never bear significant further development unless you could determine a way to have a broader sample base preemptively. A manufacturing company can often measure its own entity performance based on quality, output, and demand, but how would your program be a successful addendum to what they do? A more interesting piece of software would measure productivity of people who spend most of their time at their computer. Maybe recording key strokes, having a specialized index of terms commonly used for their field to compare typing against, tracking mouse activity, time between user input, etc. Every old white male boss would love this little bit of employee voyeurism.

  3. Can see plus and minus to both sides. For the individual it could be a motivator. To a company (non union) it would indentify areas and people where improvements are needed if used constructively. Unions would never sign off on it…but union members may want to consider it for those who represent them. The government could cut their work force 40% by weeding out the dead wood but then Washington would close. I am humored when they talk about cutting services on a local and state level when fire, police and garbage are the only ones working on a daily basis…but the current administration is going to have all the unemployed out building roads…Guess that may have been more than you wanted Joel!

  4. Cameron- Thanks for the support. I am really excited about making work a trackable & competitive activity. Jordan- The product is definitely for office workers, not for manufacturing or other areas where I think it would be difficult to implement. Alex- I would love to see something like this implemented in government, but government employees would never allow it.

  5. I’d like to see a free version with basic metrics and the entire kit and caboodle for a small monthly fee.

  6. As with many employee/performance evaluations, people tend to look for ways to perform to system standards, rather then necessarily doing the best quality. This might be a fatal flaw in such a concept= people stop doing good work, they work so that the software thinks that they are.

  7. Jordan, I thought of this issue. People will not be rated by software, but instead by their manager. The manager will edit their tasks entereed at the end of each day and rate them from 1-5 on quality, importance to the biz and difficulty of the work. Hard to game your own manager… and if you can, then the company has bigger problems.

  8. Are you familiar with RescueTime.com? Seems sort of similar. My two cents is that 1c: people are going to respond positively if it’s a game, and they use it for self-improvement. 1c: people are going to respond negatively if it’s being used as a tool by their bosses.

  9. Scott, Thank you for your help. I have used RescueTime.com and actually also attended a presentation by the company’s founder at Seattle Startups. I liked it but I am trying to accomplish a different goal with this web application: I want to allow people to score themselves/their employees based on how productive they are. I would like to turn work into a trackable game like World of Warcraft (which is essentially people doing work – “grinding” – in exchange for exactly measured results -”leveling up”). I think people perform far better when they can see incremental & measurable results from what they are doing and can make it into a game/competition. I could see potential backlash of this tool being used by their bosses to measure/pay them though. However, I think that with good management people will really appreciate this tool and how it allows the most productive employees to be rewarded the most (not just the most attractive/ friendly employee… unless that employee is in the customer service biz). I appreciate your insights, you always have good points! Joel

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