Join me at the Cloudforce 2 Developer Conference in San Jose on 6/22.  This is going to be a great event.

Can a single app change the world?  Yours better, or you have to ask yourself why you’re going to the trouble of writing it.

I started thinking about this yesterday while working on a spec for a new app.  A few iterations in, if felt complex, muddy — like something that would increase instead of decrease the chaos.  So I changed it.  It now has a tighter purpose, fewer objects, more relationships and one innovative feature that might change the world if I get it right.

Why does this matter?  In the wake of some interesting articles over the weekend on the Internet and your brain, I started to wonder if I was part of the problem or part of the solution. 

One article noted:

Scientists say juggling e-mail, phone calls and other incoming information can change how people think and behave. They say our ability to focus is being undermined by bursts of information. (NYT, link below)

The next followed with:

Only when we pay deep attention to a new piece of information are we able to associate it “meaningfully and systematically with knowledge already well established in memory,”  (WSJ, link below)

As app developers, we have a choice: we can attempt to grab a new slice of people’s already highly divided attention or we can help them focus.  For enterprises and enterprise app developers, our mission must be the latter, we have to make apps that help people focus, that help people see and understand more with the app than without it.  It’s very difficult.

Chatter does this in a very interesting way — focusing deeply satisfying and highly productive social interaction in a secure app around a shared purpose — and Chatter Labs apps do this in a very interesting meta way.  Chatter is already changing the world.  I’m happy to be even a small part of it.

Your next app doesn’t need to be the next Chatter (spoiler alert: mine isn’t), but it does need clear vision, purpose and focus.  It needs to help users concentrate, understand and act.

And that will change the world.

Have you see Chatter Labs’ Google Alerts to Chatter?  Very cool.

With apologies to Dewey Finn — “One great rock show can change the world.” 

Your Brain on Computers, Matt Richtel, NY Times

Does the Internet Make You Dumber?  Nicholas Carr, WSJ 

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