Product & Startup Builder

BusyBody will work out when you're busy

Added on by Chris Saad.
Caleb, one of our new testing recruits, sent me an email today with a great article entitled "How to cut through the info blitz and actually get some work done".

It's a great read and proves, once again, that there isn't any field of software and information services that Microsoft isn't involved in... even Attention Management. They have a very theoretical (it seems like a Microsoft Research project more than a product at this stage) project called BusyBody that seems to focus on predicting how busy a user is and creating a model for the 'cost of interruption'.

That's ok, Yahoo or Google will have to buy us one day to catch up ;). But that's another story.

The article discusses the impact of unmanaged interruptions on a user. A study reveals that people can loose around 10 IQ points while they are both working and being interrupted by incoming email, IM and other alerts.

It goes without saying that with an alert management mechanism like Touchstone in the mix (assuming one can funnel all their alerts through our platform) that we might help in reducing the 'noise'.

Another idea they raise is the ability for an attention management platform to go into low impact modes where the user is trying to concentrate on a specific task and wants to turn the volume down on interruptions. We considered a similar idea for Touchstone for when the user was 'idle' or away from the computer, but this article has given me the idea that it might also be useful to have a 'low impact' mode as well.

We have always maintained from the beginning. Touchstone will be judged a success not by the amount of items it displays, but rather by the number of extraneous items it suppresses on behalf of the user.

Good work Caleb - thanks for letting me know about this great article!