Friday, January 06, 2012

Trello: Another Great, Free App

Yesterday I wrote about Evernote, an awesome freemium service I've used since the earliest days it was available.

A couple months ago, Fog Creek Software rolled out Trello. It's marketed (and free) as a "list of lists". I'm not sure how to integrate it with my personal productivity system, but I had an immediate use for it: keeping track of stuff at work. I managed the people who do the infrastructure portion of IT projects. We often coordinate with an Applications group on projects. Although I don't manage all the projects, I'm the Point of Contact for all the joint Engineering-Apps projects, so I have to know what's going on between the two groups. Once Trello came out, I immediately put it to use keeping track of my projects. I can't quite manage tasks with it yet, but I can at least make comments on the project cards and maybe keep track of the next few actions to move the project forward. That way, I have an immediate high-level status available of where my projects are at.

Joel Spolski posted to his website today explaining the methodology behind Trello, and how they plan to maintain it, and how they want everybody to use it.

Trello is free. The friction caused by charging for a product is the biggest impediment to massive growth. In the long run, we think it’s much easier to figure out how to extract a small amount of money out of a large number of users than to extract a large amount of money out of a small number of users. Once you have 100 million users, it’s easy to figure out which of those users are getting the most value out of the product you built. The ones who are getting the most value will be happy to pay you. The others don’t cost much to support.
They've definitely made Trello easy to use. Even in the earliest days of the service, I didn't have to create an account. I was able to log in with my Google account and get started right away. No picking usernames and passwords and waiting for validation emails. To quote The Oatmeal (and I'll slightly censor this): "I need more website accounts like I need an a$$hole on my forehead!"

I'll admit, I let Trello lag for a while. But after reading Joel's post today, I logged back in. I realized I've closed a few projects, and others have moved along. It was exciting. I'll go back to using it. 
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