GTD Connect

I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but I signed up for GTD Connect this week. GTD Connect is David Allen’s subscription service for GTD aficionados. It costs $48 per month, which is a good deal more than I’m accustomed to spending on a web-based service of any kind. I’m planning on trying it out until the end of the year, then re-evaluating it and making a decision on whether or not it’s worth sticking with.

For anyone else out there who might be considering it, I thought I might put together a write-up on what you get through the service. I did a bit of web searching before I signed up, and found a bunch of blog posts on the service back when it just started up, but I haven’t seen much mention of it anywhere recently, so I wasn’t sure how it was shaping up. It looks like it launched about a year ago (August 2006), so now is probably a good time to take a look at it and try to see what it delivered in its first year.

Here’s my take on the service as it exists right now, with the caveat that I’ve only been playing with it for a few days.

While the service is primarily web-based, there is a monthly mailing that goes out to members. The original intention was to do eight audio interview CDs a year and four issues of GTD Quarterly (a newsletter on GTD), so each month, you’d get one or the other. There have only been two issues of the newsletter so far, but there have been some extra CDs sent out, so there’s been something mailed out each month either way. All the past mailing material is out on the web site so new members can download any of the older stuff in MP3 or PDF format.

I downloaded the two newsletters. The first is 16 pages and the second is 20. There’s some good material in there; maybe a little fluff, but overall good stuff. Many of the articles are similar in length and tone to the essays in “Ready for Anything”, for those who have read that book. Some of the articles are less philosophical and more practical.

There’s a podcast feed with all the past audio material, both the interview CDs, and a bunch of other material. If you subscribe to the feed in iTunes, and pull down everything on it, you’ll get about 700 MB worth of audio and video (mostly audio). The videos are just short 2 minute segments with David talking about a single topic. There’s about 30 hours worth of audio out there. (There are some longer videos up on the site that aren’t in the podcast feed.)

The web site includes a couple of interesting features. First, you can set up a weekly e-mail reminder about your weekly review. That’s pretty simple; you just pick the day of the week you want to receive the reminder. The e-mail you get will have a few encouraging words from David, so it’s a bit more than just a simple reminder. Second, there’s something called the “Intention Journal” which is basically an open-ended e-mail reminder system that you can use for anything you want. It has a bunch of GTD-related categories, and suggestions about the kind of things you should use them for, but you can really use it in any way you like. The whole e-mail reminder thing is something you could likely do just as well (and a lot cheaper) with Backpack or Remember the Milk. It’s nice to have a GTD-focused system, though, so you’ve got a framework for figuring out the kinds of things you want to get reminders on.

There are also members-only forums on the Connect site. That’s all done through the same system as the public forums at www.davidco.com/forum/, so if you’ve seen those, you’ll know what to expect. Given the $48/month buy-in, there’s a better signal-to-noise ratio on these forums than probably anywhere else on the internet. You really don’t get trolls or spammers, for obvious reasons. It’s really refreshing to go through the forum messages, and see a bunch of on-topic posts written largely by people who know how to write, and spell, and think.

There are a few other things going on with Connect, but I think that covers the main stuff. Is it worth $48/month? I’m not sure yet. If it was $10/month, I’d say yes, definitely. I can easily wrap my head around the idea of paying around $100 a year for something like this. But paying more like $500 a year is a hard sell.

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