Tools & Technologies

Interview with David Allen on Lotus Notes

In mid-December, I interviewed David Allen from The David Allen Company. The main focus of our conversation was his use of Lotus Notes as a tool to support his work and life. In other words, while we did speak about the power of Lotus Notes for group and organizational collaboration, my conversation with David was oriented around the power of Lotus Notes to enable individual effectiveness and efficiency.

With all the bad mouthing that many people send in the direction of Lotus Notes, it was very interesting to do a deep dive into what makes Lotus Notes work for David and his company. And it clearly works very well! Given the extent to which they’ve integrated it into their personal habits and corporate culture, it would be very difficult to extract Notes and replace it with something else, and for questionable gain to boot.

My thanks to David for the opportunity to speak with him.

Download Podcast (25.5 MB)

Show Notes (54m25s)
00m00s About Michael Sampson
00m20s Michael’s Overview of the Interview with David Allen

01m53s Michael’s introduction
03m18s Being a Senior Professional
03m33s Focus of the Session

PART ONE: The Power of Lotus Notes
04m10s What David finds great about Lotus Notes
09m00s “What do I need to do about that?” (the corporate material)
09m33s Hasn’t the world moved on? Aren’t there other tools available now?
09m58s David’s critical need for offline access
13m36s What about WiFi in the air?
14m33s Tools become “invisible”
14m53s What about other tools that you use for personal productivity?
16m53s David raves about Eric Mack’s eProductivity for Notes application
17m27s Summary statement of how David uses Notes vs other tools
19m23s More databases than staff? David lists some of the DAC applications
21m13s How do you not get lost among all of these databases?
22m18s Protocol for a Database: Reference vs Reminder
23m23s The challenge with inducting new staff
24m08s Discipline to check for new items vs Alerts and notifications
25m18s “We live by DocLinks”
25m28s Databases for managing team projects?
25m53s Task and action aggregation across multiple places? The link to personal responsibility
29m08s Group tools don’t make individuals accountable

PART TWO: eProductivity for Lotus Notes
29m33s Deep Dive into eProductivity for Lotus Notes: The Ultimate eProductivity Tool for Lotus Notes
32m01s The problem of training vs The power of ongoing software facilitation
33m53s David’s favorite features in eProductivity
38m22s Can you get more done with eProductivity? The discipline plus the tool enables this
39m38s Linking projects and actions, and viewing actions by context?

PART THREE: Eric and David at Lotusphere
41m13s David is going to Lotusphere 2009 with Eric Mack
41m48s Eric and David are presenting two sessions at Lotusphere: Managing Lists
44m00s What’s the mystique about Lotus Notes?
45m28s David Allen is signing his new book at Lotusphere

49m10s Concluding comments and thoughts by Michael Sampson
– What makes Lotus Notes work for David Allen and his company
– What would be involved in David changing away from Lotus Notes
– How Lotus Notes improves personal productivity

– Eric Mack and David Allen are speaking at Lotusphere on January 26. See BP304 at You can meet Eric and David at Pedestal 722 on the show floor during Lotusphere.
– Learn more about eProductivity for Lotus Notes at
– Learn more about David Allen and GTD at

Download Podcast (25.5 MB)

Categories: Tools & Technologies