Blog Post

Closing the doors on Brisbe

business, entrepreneurship, productivity, start-up

The time has come for me to face reality and stop working on Brisbe. This was a hard decision for me but I know it’s the right one. No one ever says start-ups are easy and I can say truthfully that working on Brisbe was not easy. My friends who are close to me know the countless hours I’ve invested in this and know how seriously I was taking it. There are a few reasons why I know this is the right decision but the deciding factor is the crowded market with significant competition, mainly from Google. The final nail in the coffin was Google’s announcement of an Google Hire applicant tracking system.

Brisbe was meant to be a tool to help people organize their life, both personal and work. I think we can all agree life has gotten a lot more complicated but we still think we can keep control of it with honey do lists or notebooks in Evernote. This antiquated tech is just not cutting it anymore. We don’t need more to-do apps, we need a system which understands how we function. I wanted Brisbe to do a little thinking for us, so we could offload it from our thoughts. Instead of thinking as ‘to-do task’, thinking as ‘Reading task’. Instead of ‘to-do task to pay John’ it should be ‘Payment task to John’. Instead of ‘to-do task, interview new job applicant’ it should be ‘Interview task for new applicant’ We need to move beyond weakly typed to-do apps and into strongly typed to-do apps (programming reference, if you know you know). You might be thinking that these are very dissimilar tasks but somewhere out there is an HR person who needs to track job applicants at their job, remember to pay their rent to their roommate, and read a book their friend recommended. They’re stuck using Goodreads, Venmo, Google’s new applicant tracking tool, among the many other apps they have to use daily. TripIt for travel. JIRA for work tasks (among many other such similar tools). Google Calendar for meetings. The list could go on for awhile. And not only do we need apps to plan our time, we also need apps to fulfill the tasks. Uber for drives. Hilton Hotels for a place to sleep when traveling. American Airlines for flights. Again, the list can go on. We need apps for every thing we plan and we need apps for every service we need to execute those plans. Some apps are combining them such as Venmo being able to schedule payments and Uber now allowing scheduled pick-ups.

I think Google is best positioned to implement something like what I planned with Brisbe, they just need someone close to the top that can put all their pieces together.

I think there is a serious need to change our thinking about how we organize and plan. We are already dealing with ‘app-life-fragmentation’ as we need individual apps to organize. The average professional will need to use dozens of apps to keep sane. It shouldn’t have to be this way. At the end of the day everything we do is governed by physics. We have limited time and are limited by our physical bodies. We can’t be in two places at the same time. If I assign myself a reading task, I have to sit down and physically read and that takes time. If I need to pay my friend rent at the end of the month I have to coordinate transferring money to them and that takes time and logistics. So many tasks we perform can be boiled down to simple issues of who/what/why/where/when. Physics. If Jared Kushner wants to get out of a meeting he can have his assistant request his physical presence somewhere else because he can’t be in two meetings at the same time. I have yet to see an app think of organization this way, but the first one to get it right will be extremely wealthy. One app that seems to be getting close it WeChat, I’m excited to see where they go.

There are still many ideas I was building into Brisbe that don’t exist in currently available tools but hopefully over the next few years Google or some other software company will start implementing them. I will continue to be frustrated with existing tech until some group with more resources than me can build this tool.I will publish a few blog posts that go into a little more depth with my ideas and hopefully it will spur some development somewhere. In the meantime Brisbe is good enough for me to use so I will continue using it but I won’t allow access to any more people.

Much Love!

Matt Sommer