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Friday, October 17

✔ It's all about passion! - Passion 3: Product [part 2]

Note: This is the 11th excerpt from my book "It's all about passion" which I wrote and shared as a gift to my readers and my Nozbe customers on my 35th birthday. You can get the entire digital ebook (PDF, Mobi or ePub) for free or buy from Amazon (all proceeds go to charity).

I will be publishing the entire book as a series of blog posts over the next weeks here every Friday, so you can read it bit by bit (I know you might be too busy to read an entire book at once). I'm also doing it to be able to "talk to you" about each chapter in the comments section below, so make sure to post your feedback, questions and your passion-related stories in the comments. Thank you for your passion!

"It's all about passion!" - The 7 types of passion I discovered over 7 years of running my productivity startup

It's all about passion - 11

Passion 3: Product

Learn to say NO

Saying NO is a skill. Especially in relationships. I'm this kind of person who'd always want to make everyone happy and I used to say YES all the time. Until my commitments list just grew so big that I simply couldn't keep up with it and almost blew out. Every relationship counselor will tell you that you've got to be assertive - you have to know when it's perfectly OK to say no and how to do it in order not to hurt the other person's feelings.

Saying NO to feature requests is one of the most important skills a startup team can master.

When users are passionate about your product, they'll send you lots of feature requests. It's a good thing. You should read them and reply. But it doesn't mean you're supposed to say YES to all these requests.

Thursday, October 16

✔ Productivity gadgets: Bluetooth headsets review - Productive! Show #82

Drop the cables and get a bluetooth headset. Actually I have two recommendations for you: Jaybird Bluebuds X for sports and Arctic Sound P311 for casual listening to podcasts and audiobooks when around the house.

Check it out:

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Friday, October 10

✔ It's all about passion! - Passion 3: Product [part 1]

Note: This is the 10th excerpt from my book "It's all about passion" which I wrote and shared as a gift to my readers and my Nozbe customers on my 35th birthday. You can get the entire digital ebook (PDF, Mobi or ePub) for free or buy from Amazon (all proceeds go to charity).

I will be publishing the entire book as a series of blog posts over the next weeks here every Friday, so you can read it bit by bit (I know you might be too busy to read an entire book at once). I'm also doing it to be able to "talk to you" about each chapter in the comments section below, so make sure to post your feedback, questions and your passion-related stories in the comments. Thank you for your passion!

"It's all about passion!" - The 7 types of passion I discovered over 7 years of running my productivity startup

It's all about passion - 10

Passion 3: Product

"Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work." - Aristotle

You're building a great product, right?

Every startup builds a product or service. A service is a product itself so let's cut it short to the fact, that whatever your startup is building, is a product. Facebook, Twitter, Google Search, Yahoo Portal, eBay... these are all products just like Apple's Macbook Air or Mac OSX.

My Nozbe is my product. I built it because I needed it. Not because I wanted to prove something to someone, or because I wanted to earn money. I needed this product and I built it... and more than 7 years in, I keep on building it.

Every startup product is in constant "beta"

When Gmail (Google Mail) launched in beta it stayed like this for more than two years... and then they removed the "beta" sign... although they could have kept it indefinitely. Gmail keeps on evolving, changing and getting better. It really is at beta stage all of the time.

Tuesday, October 7

✔ A sad story of the last one-handed phone ever - my iPhone 5s - my habits will need to change

In September Apple started selling two new iPhones - a bigger one and a bigger-bigger one: iPhone 6 and 6 plus. People kept asking me which iPhone I'd get... as I'm upgrading my iPhones every year... but because of the new sizes (and my relatively small hands) I didn't know what to think of these new headsets... so I decided to go and check them out in the store:

A sad story of the last one-handed phone ever - my iPhone 5s

Being a geek and all, I should have been excited after a visit to a local Apple retailer... after all, the new gadgets were there! Yay, right? Not so fast... I was disappointed. Yes, I tried both of the iPhones - the humongous 6plus and the big 6... and both proved to be too big for me! Yes, both! Too wide... actually. I couldn't believe it - I checked again, and again... and pulled out my iPhone 5s to compare... and this is what I found out:

Monday, October 6

✔ It's all about passion! - Passion 2: Solution [part 2]

Note: This is the 9th excerpt from my book "It's all about passion" which I wrote and shared as a gift to my readers and my Nozbe customers on my 35th birthday. You can get the entire digital ebook (PDF, Mobi or ePub) for free or buy from Amazon (all proceeds go to charity).

I will be publishing the entire book as a series of blog posts over the next weeks here every Friday, so you can read it bit by bit (I know you might be too busy to read an entire book at once). I'm also doing it to be able to "talk to you" about each chapter in the comments section below, so make sure to post your feedback, questions and your passion-related stories in the comments. Thank you for your passion!

"It's all about passion!" - The 7 types of passion I discovered over 7 years of running my productivity startup

It's all about passion - 9

Passion for a Solution

You don't have to bet everything

Many startup experts tell you to just quit your job and bet it all on your grand idea and you'll succeed. Most guys who tell you this have actually never made the leap. I'd tell you to do the contrary. Keep your day job and work on your idea on the side and see how it goes.

You'll have plenty of time to make the leap and take it full time. I started my Nozbe journey when I was married and we were already thinking about having our first child with my wife. And we already had a mortgage. I couldn't make the big leap as I had to pay the bills.

I'm not the only one here. 37signals, the now-famous web-app company was still doing the client work the first year they launched Basecamp - their flagship project management solution. Only after one full year they decided to "ditch the clients" and focus on their web-app. Bob Parsons, now CEO of GoDaddy - the world's most successful domain registrar, started his business of accounting software in the evenings and he failed to get traction his first three years. He persisted and after a few years sold his company to Intuit for millions of dollars.

Only after a year of running Nozbe I decided to take the leap and to work on Nozbe full-time. I hired my first programmer mid-2008 and now after all these years he's still with me and he's my CTO (Chief Technical Officer) and we are working together perfectly. I also hired my first customer-support person and now she runs my entire customer support department. We are like three musketeers.

Thursday, October 2

✔ Productive school? - interview with Mike St. Pierre - Productive! Magazine #23

It's September - the back-to-school time. This is a great occasion to talk to Mike St. Pierre - the tech and education guy, the President of Morris Catholic High School in Denville, blogger and podcaster. In the interview we talk about the way education and technology can work together, iPads replacing traditional school equipment and student books. Mike also shares his experiences and advises on productivity at schools.

More details in Productive! Magazine #23: http://ProductiveMag.com

Question: In what other ways you think schools might get more productive?

Please post your comments below, thanks!

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Wednesday, October 1

✔ What’s productivity really? Productive! Magazine #23 with Mike St. Pierre

This is the Productive! Magazine No. 23 Editor's Note. Our monthly magazine is free and available online as well as the iOS and Android apps - you have no excuse to miss this issue :)

productive23

I would like to make sure that whenever I use the term "productivity" you understand and feel the same way I do. Productivity that I teach and advertise is optimizing and facilitating processes and actions in order to gain more time and energy for doing the stuff we like and spending wonderful hours with people we love.

I've never meant anything else by promoting productivity. It's not about working more, working harder, working longer hours. It's also not about getting more and more and being richer and more powerful. It's more about looking for ways to facilitate things and make life easier, happier and more satisfying.

Friday, September 26

✔ It's all about passion! - Passion 2: Solution [part 1]

Note: This is the 8th excerpt from my book "It's all about passion" which I wrote and shared as a gift to my readers and my Nozbe customers on my 35th birthday. You can get the entire digital ebook (PDF, Mobi or ePub) for free or buy from Amazon (all proceeds go to charity).

I will be publishing the entire book as a series of blog posts over the next weeks here every Friday, so you can read it bit by bit (I know you might be too busy to read an entire book at once). I'm also doing it to be able to "talk to you" about each chapter in the comments section below, so make sure to post your feedback, questions and your passion-related stories in the comments. Thank you for your passion!

"It's all about passion!" - The 7 types of passion I discovered over 7 years of running my productivity startup

It's all about passion - 8

Passion for a Solution

"Visionary people face the same problems everyone else faces; but rather than get paralyzed by their problems, visionaries immediately commit themselves to finding a solution." - Bill Hybels

Just do it. Solve it.

This is the key component to the success of a startup. After all, the startup in theory should be solving some real-life problems and making people's lives all around the world easier.

That's why it's so important to understand your startup's mission as way to solve a particular problem the best way possible. To make sure you're really doing it right, you need to be truly passionate about solving this problem.

Scratch your own itch

The best way to find a problem to solve is to actually look at the stuff that's bothering you and see if you can make it better. Just see if you can scratch what's itching you the most. Usually that's the best start. If you're genuinely interested in solving the particular problem, chances are you'll have more passion and drive to pursue a solution and maybe even build a startup business around it.

Just see what's really bothering you and do some research for available solutions out there. See what works and what doesn't and what is really popular. Chances are you will be thinking: "I know I can do better than that!". If that's the case, go for it.

Monday, September 22

✔ Rolling the dice while winning volleyball world championships

Yesterday I was watching the finals of volleyball world championships and my team won! Poland beat Brazil in an amazing 3:1 game! It was amazing! Now, watching the game and observing how the players handled the pressure of a high stakes game like that reminded me of a business analogy of rolling a dice in a board game... Here's what I learned:

Rolling the dice while winning volleyball world championships

Every dice roll is a new beginning

I read somewhere that we believe too much in the fact that "past performance is an indicator of future success"... And this can be exemplified perfectly in a dice roll:

Every time you roll a dice, you can get any number between 1-6. Any number. The number you got before doesn't influence the number you will get now. You got 6 before? Doesn't mean you will or won't get it now. The 6 of the past doesn't influence the number of now. How could it? Every dice roll is new. The probability of getting any number between 1-6 is the same. Each time...

What does it have to do with volleyball and business? Everything:

Friday, September 19

✔ It's all about passion! - Chapter 2 - Passion 1: Money [part 3]

Note: This is a 7th excerpt from my book "It's all about passion" which I wrote and shared as a gift to my readers and my Nozbe customers on my 35th birthday. You can get the entire digital ebook (PDF, Mobi or ePub) for free or buy from Amazon (all proceeds go to charity).

I will be publishing the entire book as a series of blog posts over the next weeks here every Friday, so you can read it bit by bit (I know you might be too busy to read an entire book at once). I'm also doing it to be able to "talk to you" about each chapter in the comments section below, so make sure to post your feedback, questions and your passion-related stories in the comments. Thank you for your passion!

"It's all about passion!" - The 7 types of passion I discovered over 7 years of running my productivity startup

Chapter 2 (part 3) - Passion 1: Money

It's all about passion - chapt 2_3

Money drives passion in a healthy way

When you love your product and your customers share the love by sharing with you their hard-earned cash, it steams up passion from both sides. You're even more passionate about doing what you do as you get this confirmation in something tangible also known as "money".

I've found that to be very true in my case. The more I earn with what I do the more motivated I am to make my business even better, more reliable and strong. Money, when approached wisely is an enormous motivator that helps you drive your passion forward and you share it with your customers along the way.

Earning money is also a skill - learn it

Asking for money is not easy. Designing a product in a way it entices the people to pay you and learning the pricing the hard way (by overcharging or under-charging) is not as straightforward as it seems.

I've met many startup founders who gave up way to easily because they didn't see the affirmation of their work in a form of healthy income coming in because it doesn't "just come" easily.

Thursday, September 18

✔ The power of iOS8 for better productivity - Productive! Show #80

Well, iOS8 launches today and our Nozbe 2.0 app with iOS8 goodies will launch pretty soon as well. In this video I'm discussing how iOS8 will improve our productivity thanks to unique iOS8 features like:

  • extensions (1Password extension in Safari)

  • notification center widgets (your Nozbe priority tasks at a glance!)

  • share sheets (add tasks to Nozbe from any app!)

And a lot more.

Check out the Nozbe 2.0 app when it's available on our web site: http://Nozbe.com/apps

And in the meantime, enjoy the iOS8 upgrade and make your iPhone and iPad more productive!

Check it out:

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Monday, September 15

✔ 5 lessons I learned from my mom - and how she shaped my life

I'm literally writing this post to brag about how awesome my mom is. And to remember that I want me and my wife to be like that to my kids. My mom shaped my life in so many ways that it's hard to describe. But I'll try. There are five life lessons I learned from her. Here goes:

5 lessons I learned from my mom - and how she shaped my life

Last year I wrote about my entrepreneurial parents where I mentioned how my mom, despite having obtained a demanding career as an architect, switched her jobs several times in her life. But there's a lot more to her. Today I want to share with you the things I learned from my mom so that you might hopefully learn something from her as well:

Friday, September 12

✔ It's all about passion! - Chapter 2 - Passion 1: Money [part 2]

Note: This is a 6th excerpt from my book "It's all about passion" which I wrote and shared as a gift to my readers and my Nozbe customers on my 35th birthday. You can get the entire digital ebook (PDF, Mobi or ePub) for free or buy from Amazon (all proceeds go to charity).

I will be publishing the entire book as a series of blog posts over the next weeks here every Friday, so you can read it bit by bit (I know you might be too busy to read an entire book at once). I'm also doing it to be able to "talk to you" about each chapter in the comments section below, so make sure to post your feedback, questions and your passion-related stories in the comments. Thank you for your passion!

"It's all about passion!" - The 7 types of passion I discovered over 7 years of running my productivity startup

Chapter 2 (part 2) - Passion 1: Money

It's all about passion - chapt 2_2

When you're only motivated by money - you will lose

Everything was going as I had planned. Then suddenly one competitor showed up. And another. And one more... and my unique "business opportunity" space started getting crowded.

And these other guys were building a better product than mine! And with more features! Better design, offer, whatever the bottom line was, I started to lose ground.

The thing is, if you're only motivated by the money, you're going to lose interest quickly. This is what happened to me. I started giving up. It was supposed to be an easy business! I was supposed to be rich and famous! What gives?

Friday, September 12

✔ Confessions of a manager

This my editor's note from Productive! Magazine No.22. If you are not a subscriber of my monthly mag, please, check it out and sign up for the newsletter or download the iOS or Android app and read it whenever and wherever you wish.

Productive! Magazine 22

The top two challenges

Between 2003 and 2013 RainmakerThinking, Inc. conducted a survey among 37,419 managers. They asked, "What is the hardest thing for you about managing people?" 87% of responses fell into one of ten most common challenges. As many as 43% of responses pointed to one of the top two challenges facing managers: "Not enough time..." (24%) and "Giving negative feedback..." (19%). I would have probably responded the same.

Tuesday, September 9

✔ Will a new 5,5" iPhone convert people to not only #iPadOnly, but more #iPhoneOnly?

I'm a big fan of working on iOS devices. I co-wrote a book about working ont the iPad and I'm actually writing this blog post on my iPad. I've gotten used to working on both the iPhone and the iPad - I really use these two "computers" all of the time. I carry my iPhone with me at all times... and my iPad most of the times. I hardly ever use my Mac. Now, tonight Apple will supposedly unvail two new iPhones. According to John Gruber, one will be 4.7" and the other 5.5" and the bigger one might have kinda iPad-like features. Will it mean people will use the iPhone even more for their every day computing?

Will a new 5,5" iPhone convert people to not only #iPadOnly, but more #iPhoneOnly?

I switched to using iPad and iPhone for most of my daily work tasks 2 years ago

Yes, the moment I got the 3rd generation iPad (with Retina display and 3G connection) I started migrating my work to the iPad. Started using my favorite apps and loved it. Later I upgraded to 4th gen iPad and now the iPad Air.

I've been hardly missing my PC anymore. I write all about it in my #iPadOnly book. However, recently I noticed I could get lots done on my iPhone as well. I've had all the generations of the iPhone, and my newest, iPhone 5s with the touch ID is really amazing. The screen is big (compared to the iPhone 4s) and the battery life is OK... and the touch ID is cool now that it works pretty reliably. Now, what happens if I get the iPhone 5.5"... is that I imagine using it even more for work. Here's why: