About a month ago I had the chance to speak with Richard Parslow from Goalscape about his unique software application called Goalscape which runs on both Windows and Macintosh computers. Having been in the field of psychology and education most of my career I am very aware of just how important it is for us to set goals. Without goals, I know for myself, I am less focused and don't nearly accomplish as much as I know I can. I was just reflecting on a mind map that I created about a year ago that laid out some of my goals for the year. Having my goals visible and spelled out allowed me to see where I was going and what I needed to do to get to my desired objective. When I first set my eyes on Goalscape I was fascinated with the user interface and just how easy it was to use. Goalscape makes a lot of sense as a tool to chart one's goals and to assess one's progress.
I had a chance to interview Richard so that you can learn more about the company and their fine software product, Goalscape. What follows is Part 1 of my interview with Richard Parslow a principal in Goalscape.
BSF: Tell us a little about the Background of your company
RP: Professional sailor Marcus Baur came up with the idea for Goalscape when he was preparing for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. He needed a way to communicate with his crewmate and coach about everything they needed to do in every area. Crucially, he also wanted to be able to identify priorities for all the work; and record progress. The original implementation was a hand-drawn version of the Goalscape goal map. Marcus always knew though that he wanted to implement the Goalscape format in a software tool to provide a proper rich display and enable dynamic updates.
BSF: How did you get started?
RP: We produced an initial Java prototype and used it to generate interest in some key markets: sports coaching, business consulting, life management. We sold enough copies to pay for the next stage of development (AS2 version) and progressed from there to the current implementation (AS3 on AIR).
BSF: Who are the principals?
RP: Marcus Baur, Richard Parslow, Emmett Lazich and Malav Shroff
BSF: What re their respective backgrounds? RP: Marcus Baur Managing Director, Germany Marcus is an Architecture graduate. He sailed the 49er skiff class professionally for 12 years, representing Germany at two Olympic Games. He also won 3 European Championships and medaled twice at World Championships.
Emmett Lazich Head of Development, Australia Emmett is another ex-professional sailor. He coached the 49er Olympic Gold Medalists at Sydney 2000 and has twice coached World Championship winners. He is also a software expert and built fault-tolerant systems for Hutchison Telecom in Australia.
Richard Parslow Marketing Director, UK Richard has a background in financial markets and corporate software. He is another World Champion sailor and coached the Team GBR 49er squad from 2001 to 2006, during which time two different teams won World and European titles.
Malav Shroff Director, India Malav was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and joined McKinsey as a consultant. He is a past President of the International 49er Class Association and is now a successful entrepreneur with several strings to his bow. He also competed at the Athens Olympics.
BSF: Tell us about your position at Goalscape?
RP: I work closely with Marcus on all aspects of the marketing: messages; customer communications; website and presentation text and images. I also negotiate deals with our major corporate customers, play “user from hell” in product tests and do first-line customer support.
BSF: Tell us about how you got started with Goalscape
RP: Marcus showed me the original Goalscape prototype at a 49er World Championship where he was competing and I was coaching. I had worked on software development and other projects and I immediately recognized the power and simplicity of the Goalscape display. Shortly after that we set up a company to develop the concept and market the software.
BSF: Who are the intended users?
RP: Anyone who has ambitious or complex goals! Individuals, companies, consultants (in any field), sportsmen, coaches, clubs and federations… even politicians (should they dare to be clear and transparent!).
The degree of motivation in any project depends on the quality of the goal. Putting goals at the center of attention and making them available for discussion increases the quality of such goals.
Good goals make you money, great goals make you happy, compassionate goals help others, but the best goals do all of the above.
BSF: What is the market you see for such a product?
RP: Goalscape is ideal for providing a visual breakdown of any information structure or project, so it is inherently a cross-market tool… Since human beings are inherently goal-achieving creatures, the market is everyone! For now though, we are focusing on Consulting and Executive Mentoring; Sports and Life Coaching; and Presentations.
BSF: Please share with us about the latest release of Goalscape
RP: Goalscape Desktop standalone software (on download) is on version 2.2.1582.610; and Goalscape Connect (for online collaboration) is on version 2.2.1596.173.
Features common to both Goalscape Desktop and Goalscape Connect include:
• Visual model of any information hierarchy, with unlimited number of levels and nodes (goals)
• Clear display and easy adjustment of Relative Importance (size of slice) and Progress (shading)
• Project work planning: Responsibilities, Timescales, etc
• Shows the overview in a single, easily understood image
• Captures detail as Notes text or attachments (any file format)
• Simple to understand, easy to use (no training or even manual required)
• Full video tutorials embedded as “infopoints”
• Simple restructuring using drag & drop
• Standard hotkey shortcuts
• Smart Search function
• User-definable text fields
• Full support infrastructure: as well as the integral ‘infopoint’ video tutorials there is a full online Help package and a very active customer forum.
See also the Full Feature list: http://www.goalscape.com/Goalscape-Tour
Desktop Goalscape Desktop: all features listed in 2.1.1 above, plus:
• Cross-platform: runs equally well on PC Windows, Mac OSX and even the latest versions of Linux
• Facility to ‘save out’ selected parts of a goalscape – for specific (personal) focus or privacy
• Export HTML reports and PNG images
• Dual language support (English and German – more to follow)
• Smart Undo (extends beyond last Save)
• Easy to download, install and update (standard perpetual licence includes unlimited free updates
Cloud Goalscape Connect: all features listed in 2.1.1 above, plus:
• Simple, easy collaboration by simply sharing project URLs: everyone can read and update the same model
• Browser-independent: IE, Safari, Firefox, Chrome, etc
• Upload goalscapes (.gsp files) created in Goalscape Desktop; download .gsp ‘snapshots’ as backup or for offline work
Corporate branding and other customizations are available for larger deals.
We are working on enhancements in lots of different areas:
• Calendar integration
• Changes in View for Goalscape Desktop (Timeline, Gantt chart)
• Tag and filter
• Enhanced reporting
• Direct print
• Synergetic and recurring goals display
• Budgeting tool (using absolute values rather than percentages, eg $ figures)
• Add platforms (iPhone, other smartphones and touch devices)
• Document history (facilities to compare versions, show latest changes, etc)
• Look and feel tweaks like full goal coloring instead of border colors
• 3D view! …and many more!
Users are also welcome to contribute their own Feature Requests in the public Goalscape “Make Goalscape even better” in Goalscape Connect: