About this project
A token of our appreciation - Friday, July 12: In lieu of a stretch goal, we simply got to work. As a result, Taco's prototype now includes 2 bonus connectors chosen from early backer feedback: Trello and Asana (on top of everything below, of course).
Update - Now a Kickstarter Staff Pick (!)
Update - We're growing! Taco's backers are some of the most productive people in business, technology, and design: Alex Payne (@al3x), Geoff Grosenbach (@topfunky), Matt Tanase (@zenmatt), Dietrich Ayala (@dietrich), Paul Hammond (@ph), Wes Maldonado (@wes), Brian Dorsey (@briandorsey), Todd Sawicki (@sawickipedia).
These backers get stuff done – and they're supporting Taco. Comments:
- "Brilliant development open to community input." - Joshua
- "Delightfully sane and humane" - Abie
- "I love the idea and want it to be real." - Michael
Update #1: Our first backer update has a few ways you'll be able to participate as a backer. Join a product adventure – in chat, surveys, using the prototype, and helping choose new services.
Taco makes it easy to decide what to work on – from the task lists, project management apps, and issue trackers that you already use.
Taco's working prototype brings Basecamp todos, GitHub Issues, Google Tasks, Zendesk tickets, dozens of RSS-friendly services and many more on to one screen. If you've ever had to open more than one browser tab just to know what's on your plate, you know why this matters. Keep using the services you do today.
We're on Kickstarter to support more services, like Asana, Trello, UserVoice, Flow, and Wunderlist.
Most of us don't need another way to create tasks. We need a way to get them done. We hope that Taco is the last task list you'll ever need.
Watch the video to see Taco in action.
After 23 months of using, iterating on, and – eventually – loving the prototype, we're ready to bring peaceful productivity to everyone. As a backer, you'll get access to Taco, early access to the prototype, and most importantly, the chance to influence it with your feedback.
"We" is Troy (@troyd) and Jordan (@fixie). Like most of us, Jordan and I wear many hats. In one day, I could be a product manager, email fiend, software developer, and customer support rep, often for different projects or companies. Each role has its own task list, ticketing system, project management app, or bug tracker, not to mention my personal tasks.
The inspiration for Taco came from two painful realizations. First, that I'd spent 20 minutes doing little more than opening task lists, reading, and getting distracted. And second, that I'd spent a lot of that day working on the easiest tasks to start on, not the ones I found most valuable.
Taco fixes that. Taco gives me one place to see and intentionally decide what I should work on – across my whole life.
As Leo Babauta of Zen Habits says in The Daily Checklist, "Here's a problem worth solving: am I doing the thing I most need to be doing right now?" Jordan and I think Taco is the smallest great solution to this problem.
As I learned, a seemingly-small change can be, well, huge. Now my day is peaceful. Instead of jumping between whatever is tugging the hardest, my day is simply working through the tasks that I've decided are most important.
Taco's prototype is already fun to use. A few times a day, I'll use it to see everything, or drag and drop to adjust what's next, or just see where I stand (watch the video to see what I mean).
I make more progress and almost nothing falls through the cracks. I leave relaxed because I'm confident about where I stand.
As users, we demand minimalism, transparency, absolute privacy, and sustainability.
Taco is delivered as a Web service so that you aren't dealing with API changes and interoperability; we are. Part of Taco's value is that it just works. Also, a Web service means that a mobile view is possible without an impractical amount of work.
Speaking of transparency, as users ourselves, we'd need to know what the funds are being spent on. Because Taco talks with external services, it needs reliable, secure hosting (discussed more in "Risks and challenges"). Your funds let Taco cover the costs of providing backer rewards. The $3,500 is not profit for us.
We've honed the process, built a prototype, and had a taste of the results. Now our goal is simple: help others experience the same freedom. That's where your support comes in.
The Taco prototype can talk with 9 services: Basecamp, GitHub Issues, Google Tasks, Highrise, Lighthouse, Pivotal Tracker, RSS, Tender, and Zendesk. We're here to expand to 20 and make this a solved problem.
Taco doesn't even track new tasks. Think of Taco as bacon: sprinkle a bit on your existing work process to make it better.
As we've prototyped Taco, the few additions came from actual use. An optional daily email with pending tasks. A printable PDF. Oh, and "bring your own workspace" or the workspace you'd love to spend time in. Imagine interacting with one of these (or one of your own) a few times each day:
Because sustainable operations should be baked in from the start. As users, we're tired of free services which run out of money and get shut down, or worse, get acquired and drastically changed.
If Taco can't stand on its own two feet, it shouldn't exist. And since we're asking you to depend on it, that critical mass should be visible to everyone. Crowdfunding is the best way to make sure that Taco's users are its stakeholders.
Taco's prototype is usable now, and as a backer, you deserve to use it. Understanding your workflow and hearing your feedback is incredibly valuable.
Here's how you'll help shape Taco as a backer:
- Use the prototype. Start using the prototype when the campaign ends (in addition to any other backer reward).
- Influence its evolution. Tell us what is and isn't working. Share as much detail as you choose through a semi-formal weekly survey.
- Collaborate with us. Exchange ideas with Jordan and I (and with fellow backers) in a casual text-based chat room.
Although Taco will remain minimal, you deserve to be able to help us sweat the details, or at least watch as we do.
How much support is appropriate? Here's two ways to think about Taco's value to you.
If a single task list helps you be 1% more productive, at $30 per hour, that's $600 per year of potential earnings ($1,500 at $75/hour).
Another way to think about it is in relaxation. How much is it worth to sit down on Friday night and read a book while completely relaxed, secure in the knowledge that you didn't forget anything?
Taco began life as "Taco Foundry" because a taco foundry was the most incredible thing I could imagine. We started calling it Taco, and as with Taco itself, the smallest great name won.
We call ourselves purveyors of fine productivity for a reason. Taco was handcrafted at New Work City and Plaid in SoHo (New York), Vivace in South Lake Union (Seattle), ProjectiveSpace in LES (New York), HUBBA in Ekkamai (Bangkok), Lab80 in Hongdae (Seoul), Collective Agency in Chinatown (Portland), The HUB in Pioneer Square, and in dozens of coffee shops, bars, and parks around and between them.
We think of ourselves as Taco's caretakers. Our role is to a provide a way to make this sustainable. That's where you come in.
Thank you for your support. We look forward to delivering fine productivity.
While Taco stems from our own experiences, we're fortunate to build on the efforts of others. These influenced our thinking and the many avenues which we explored or tested on ourselves.
David Cain, Raptitude
- "I realize now how much of my time is spent without being fully aware of what I’m trying to accomplish."
- "Why am I deciding to do something else right now? Have I finished this, or am I just at a hard part that I want to avoid?"
Kyle Baxter, TightWind
- "every bit of the product was designed to serve that purpose, and when a product’s been designed that way, it’s like a very clear thesis: people see what it’s for from the product itself."
Clifford Nass, Stanford University psychologist, for Talk of the Nation
- "The research is almost unanimous, which is very rare in social science, and it says that people who chronically multitask show an enormous range of deficits. They're basically terrible at all sorts of cognitive tasks, including multitasking."
Frank Addante, for Inc. Magazine
- "I'd say you should not have a To-Do list without a Not-Right-Now list .. on which you put things that you don't have time to work on right now, but you don't want to take off your To-Do list."
Thorin Klosowski, Lifehacker
- "Our attention system is a top-down priority list (and distractions are bottom-up). This is the key feature in any to-do list."
Chris Bowler, Grounded & Steadfast
- "I'm focused on using services that I've paid for and for whom I am the customer and not the commodity"
Peter Bregman, for Harvard Business Review
- "Make two lists: Your Focus List .. Your Ignore List. .. Some people already have the first list. Very few have the second."
Janet Choi, for Lifehacker
- "Overstuffing our lists causes a continuous thrum of worry in our head, and this constant disquiet has negative effects in tackling the very tasks that are so worrying."
- "The effect of task interruption and closure on perceived duration" (PDF)
- The effect which was tested in this study: the Zeigarnik Effect
Rob Foster, Mysterious Trousers
- "I believe that even if you designed the most perfect and useful app possible, that the act of adding in these visceral elements will make people love your app on an even deeper level."
Risks and challenges
Here's the 3 major risks we're aware of and what we've done to mitigate them.
1. You might not like Taco.
To us, this is both our biggest risk and our biggest chance to shine. Taco only matters because - if - it makes an impact in your day-to-day productivity and relaxation.
To mitigate this risk, we've spent 23 months iterating on the working prototype. We did that so we're thrilled with it and so you can get a very good idea what Taco does and how it works. We hope this is the best of both worlds: having the chance to influence Taco while also knowing what you're helping create.
2. Taco may not work with all of the productivity services you use.
Obviously we will try to choose services which make the most significant impact for the most backers, and to do so transparently, but that isn't enough.
To mitigate this risk, Taco can work with tasks from any productivity service which provides an RSS feed. While it's not perfect, supporting RSS means Taco can connect with any open external service (or a custom service of your own creation).
3. Taco may not be reliable.
Taco depends on Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) from your other productivity services, which means Taco's data access depends on them. Also, Taco's own hosting needs to be stable and secure.
To mitigate this risk, we extensively test the APIs, including using automated monitoring to detect problems and test cases to detect API changes. Also, we're experienced and paranoid: Troy operates mission-critical services and is listed on Google's Security Hall of Fame. Finally, we've chosen to host Taco itself on a thoroughly-vetted service called Heroku. Heroku is used by tens of thousands of other services, which means it is a known quantity (and even that backers can evaluate it).Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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