I occassionally receive emails enquiring about why we’ve slipped behind schedule or asking when will a feature appear. Perfectly valid questions, but I thought it might help everyone’s understanding if I shared a little of how we’re set up and how we work.
First though, that wasn’t actually a complaint. Most bug fixes and lots of great feature ideas all started with the emails you send, they’re the life blood of what GTDInbox is trying to achieve. So please, don’t stop
I will omit our history for sake of brevity, other than to mention that for the first 2 and half years GTDInbox was very much a sideline project maintained only when I could whereas now (as of early 2009) it’s my sole focus.
The company that will support GTDInbox is The Inbox Foundry Ltd, and that was incorporated about 2 weeks ago. Who is The Inbox Foundry? Well, right now it is Pete – the guy behind all the great designs GTDInbox now has – and I. I work on GTDInbox fulltime, and Pete works when he can. Stephen – who is the coding guru responsible for the very powerful framework that GTDInbox is now (as of 3.0) built on, is employed elsewhere but will hopefully be taking the framework to its fullest potential in the future.
And that is it! 1 full time and 2 contributors. I hope this explains why progress is sometimes a little patchy This was especially true for the first few months, where all our efforts were on rebuilding from scratch; and it has taken all that time just to get things to a ‘basic releaseable’. We’re gradually moving beyond that now, but I’m still bogged down in all the non-product details that must be done to get to launch (website, support, business misc, promotion, etc.).
A typical day might include bug fixing, new product development, refactoring to keep the codebase clean (which is vital with such a small team – complexity spells product death), copy writing, email answering, UI designing, product planning, marketing planning and countless more little chores. Although for the sake of sanity I do try and break the days up into one or two areas of concentration.
All of this raises the question of what drives me/us. If I’m candid, the product development is undeniably hard (in view of our resources), and the uncertainty involved does weigh heavily (is the next feature a good idea, will Google clone us, can we break through). Fortunately, there is an answer – and that is ‘great possibilities’. I love what we’ve already done, and even more so the blank canvas of what is still doable. That alone would be fun; but even better it has value – email is such a sorepoint for so many of us that it’s just plain satisfying to work towards improving it.
Actually on the subject of the blank canvas, the coolest thing of all is how GTDInbox is built. We have a very firm vision of the workflow we want to put in Gmail; but here’s the great bit: the interesting features are not limited by what we want to build. GTDInbox now makes Gmail plugin-development very easy, so anyone competent with coding can extend the functionality without clogging up the core product. I have no idea what will be created, but I am confident it will be new and exciting – because frankly, email has plenty of scope for it (interpret that how you will!).
I’m conscious of talking too much here, so I hope this little overview is enough to give you some insight into the team and goals behind GTDInbox. If you have any specific questions, fire away in the comments!