The Wait for Things 3

And Why I’m Abandoning It

How often should an app receive major updates? Every month? Every year? Cultured Code seems to be testing the boundaries of their users’ patience.


About Things

Things is a delightful and easy to use task manager. It’s the perfect companion for everything you want to achieve in life, offering a great balance between ease of use and powerful features.
- Apple App Store

Things, by Cultured Code, is a nifty task management app. It’s beautiful, functional, and fast. It’s almost perfect for users of the GTD method by David Allen.

However, it is missing quite a few features that are available in it’s competitors’ apps. A few of it’s biggest competitors for GTD users include Omnifocus, Todoist, and The Hit List.

This article is primarily about the next version, Things 3, but it is important to provide some background information.


Cultured Code Is as Slow as Molasses

This is not an exaggeration at all. Cultured Code is notorious for taking forever to release new features! According to blogger Shawn Blanc, it took the company almost 4 years to deliver a cloud syncing platform!

As a web developer, I can attest to the fact that great work takes time. That being said, it shouldn’t take 4 years to deliver on a single feature! In today’s fast-paced landscape, users won’t sit around and wait for you. You’ve got to deliver quickly if you want to keep your customers.

Whatever They Release Is Awesome… Whenever They Get Around to It…

A company deserves to be criticized where it is necessary. But, a company also deserves credit where it is due.

That cloud syncing platform that was mentioned? Yeah… It’s awesome! Things Cloud is one of, if not the best cloud syncing platform on the market today. If you don’t believe me, try it!

I can barely hit the “Return” key on my Mac before the task shows up on my iPhone. It is that good.

So here is the question for their users:

Is it worth the wait?

The Wait for Things 3

Users of Things, by Cultured Code, have been awaiting the next version for some time. It’s been almost 2 years since they announced Things 3 and we still haven’t heard anything.

One can find many users on Cultured Code’s Twitter page asking about the next version:

But, Cultured Code is not exactly helpful on the matter. They simply keep referring their users back to the status board. They refuse to acknowledge or discuss new features.

This is infuriating! Are you listening Cultured Code? This is not the way to treat your customers! Give us something! Give us anything! Stop being silent on what will be in the new version! Your users have a right to know! Why do we have the right to know? Well…

The Problem With Silence

People that use productivity and task management software are constantly evolving their methods. So, we need our software to be flexible and evolve with us!

Things has many strengths, but it has it’s weaknesses as well. (Most notably, there are no individual task reminders!) As users, we need to know whether we should wait for the new product or jump ship to something that will be a better fit for us.

But switching productivity apps is no simple feat for GTD users. We have hundreds (if not thousands) of tasks in these applications! It is a big deal to switch!

Users don’t mind waiting and implementing workarounds (e.g. Using a separate app for task reminders) if we know that those features are coming down the road. But, we deserve to know whether we should be investing more time in this software. We bought your software (which is very expensive for an app). You owe us this much.

Poor Customer Service

I tried contacting Cultured Code through their Twitter account to let them know how upset I was about the delay. See the full conversation below:

So far… So good. This is an acceptable and friendly response.

While they may have been going for playful, this came off as a bit snarky. I just finished expressing my disappointment in this matter.

They apologized. All is forgiven. But, I’m sure that they can give me a little more information about this policy if I ask, right?

This whole conversation is frustrating from a user standpoint. I just need to know whether I can count on the direction in which they are developing.

I’m not asking for a copy of their code or for a detailed feature list. If they’ve got a “killer feature” in the works, they don’t have to reveal it. But, at least let us know about some of the improvements that will bring it up to par with their competition.

Want to know how it’s done Cultured Code? Take a gander at the way that 2Do handled this awesome update for their users!


Conclusion

It’s a sad day for me. But, I am officially looking for a new GTD app. I may try Omnifocus again, though I found it to be too complex the last time I gave it a go. I find the Hit List to be visually unappealing. As a designer, this is important to me. Todoist is based on a subscription model. I’m not a fan of subscription models. So, I’m not sure where I’ll go from here.

I’m also quite certain that I’ll check out Things 3 when they finally release it. But, it might be too little too late. If I migrate my massive task list to a new app, I may not be willing to migrate it back.

I loved Things. But, as a user, I don’t like it when a company can’t develop a relationship with it’s users. Cultured Code does not have a releationship with it’s users. They treat us like children who need to be kept in the dark. Not cool Cultured Code. Not cool…

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