06 July 2006

Foldera: the new free virtual office

Although I still have not received my own credential for a beta account (hint! hint!), I nevertheless have been able to take a good look at the way Foldera works, having been given this week the opportunity to use an existing account. This is thanks to Marc Orchant, who has recently very kindly invited me to become a member of the virtual advisory board, which he is currently setting up for his new endeavour, ClassFolders, Foldera’s proposed education vertical solution.

The Foldera vision is a simple but very powerful one: organizing the user's work instantly. According to a blurb:
"Foldera is a new way to access and manage your applications, teams, activities and information, sorted by project, from wherever you are in the world. Using Foldera, you can instantly share, organize and archive your information and data."
A, or rather the, key feature in Foldera is the Activity Folder. Activity Folders allow for the automatic sorting and filing of information and documents. Once an Activity folder has been created, each email message, IM, but also documents created in other applications are accessed from within the folder in question. I have found Foldera surprisingly easy to use and managed to do everything I wanted to do quasi-instinctively. It is only later, when I decided to prepare this post, that I took a good look at the online manual, which is unusually clear and helpful.

Screen shot of a Foldera Activity Folder

Foldera is great for group collaboration and working on a common project, as it makes exchanging documents and making comments about them very easy, but it would undoubtedly benefit from including a wiki capability, which is unfortunately missing at the moment. As the concept of automatically filing documents is so central to Foldera, I did find paradoxical that there is currently no possibility to actually archive email messages. The gmail message archiving function has become so central to the way I process emails and get to an empty in-box by the end of each day, that I was disapointed not to find something similar here.

As someone working across platforms (MacOS/Windows) and from two different places (home office/office at the university), I can fully appreciate the advantages using Foldera would have for myself. It could also benefit friends: tongue in cheek, I would venture in saying that using Foldera, my friend Chris Brogan, of Lifehack fame, would no longer be loosing his USB memory sticks! ;^) I was initially seduced by ContactOffice, which I find very useful. However, Foldera really seems to have the potential to take things to a whole new dimension. It seems clear that the Huntington Beach folks are going in the right direction: talks of the integration of applications and possible mash ups are in this respect most encouraging. Now, could it bring about a real paradigm shift? It is perhaps early days to tell, but it seems to be a real possibility.

Coming soon: an interview with Marc Orchant on Foldera and Getting Things Done.

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At 7/06/2006 11:51:00 pm, Anonymous Marc Orchant said...


Thanks for the pre-review of Foldera. You touched on some interesting points. I'm particularly grateful for the suggestions regarding e-mail and Activity Folder archiving. Great food for thought. This is precisely the kind of early feedback we're looking for as we begin the public beta test.

I look forward to our next conversation about Foldera and GTD.

At 7/07/2006 01:02:00 am, Blogger Pascal Venier said...

Thanks you very much for your comment.

Trust an historian to pay a particular attention to archiving and archives, it goes with the territory! ;-)

I am really looking forward to our conversation about Foldera and GTD.


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