Welcome! Have a great and productive week!

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.

When you're passionate about the solution, you'll know exactly where your product will be headed. You'll just instinctively know which features help you build a stronger and better solution and which don't. You won't feel the urge to solve all the world's problems with your startup. You'll stay focused on your solution.

This worked for me. It's exactly how it happened to me with Nozbe.

Inspired by a problem to solve - the Nozbe story

As mentioned in the previous chapter, I built my very first "internal" version of Nozbe over one weekend "on the side" of my real e-commerce consultancy business. I did it, because I couldn't find a better solution to my "problem of not getting enough done". I tried to use Microsoft Outlook, installed a bunch of to-do apps for Windows (yes, I was on a PC then, only later to switch to the Mac... and now to the iPad... but that's a different story) and checked some online project management applications. Some were really promising but the idea of filling out a 10-step form to add an task seemed like an overkill. I thought I could do better than that.

Over the next months I kept using my tool and continued tweaking it and making it a little better. It didn't occur to me to actually offer it to anyone else as a product. I was past my startup dream anyway.

In 2006 the Web2.0 movement and the rise of many JavaScript techniques (called generally "Ajax") started taking off significantly and caught my attention. I wanted to learn this new stuff and re-wrote my app to support these new technologies. It was so cool that in mid 2006 I decided to stop being so selfish and start preparing the app to show it to the world. It took me another half of the year to finish it up (I was working on Nozbe after hours, only a few hours a day in the evenings while still doing my daily client work).

In February 2007 Nozbe launched. Because I was active in the "productivity community" in the US, many of my "online friends" actually rushed to try it out and they liked the fact that it was so simple and so easy to use. I was happy my idea caught on initially and it gave me hope and motivation to keep on making it better.

It was still my side-project. I would continue working for my clients until around 4 pm every day and then I would switch to making Nozbe better and interacting with growing community of my users. Only a year into it I decided to take the plunge and "fire" all my day-job customers to focus on Nozbe entirely. The rest, as they say, is history.

"There are lots of good ideas, but it’s the combination of a great idea with the personal ownership and passion that leads to persistent execution of the idea that ultimately wins." - Fred Wilson, venture capitalist, blogger at AVC

To be continued... or get the book free and continue reading :-)

Question: What is your favorite app or online serivce? Does it solve one of you problems?

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.

Charging for what you do and actively selling it is not easy, but it's a skill you must learn to pursue your passion and be reminded of the kind of great work you're doing.

When the best-selling author of "Rich dad, poor dad" Robert Kiyosaki was asked during an interview by an aspiring author about what she should learn more of to have the kind of success he had with his books, he responded: "take some sales courses". She was disappointed, she thought she should improve her "writing skills" and not her "selling skills" and then he replied: "Did you write about me as a "best-selling author" or as a "best-writing author"?" That's exactly the case of a startup founder. Learning how to sell the result of your passion is a skill you must learn.

Money is not a target - it's a benchmark

Approaching money as a target (i.e. "I want to earn a million dollars") is stupid, short-sighted and guarantees failure. Money is a confirmation (as I mentioned before) that you're doing something good and is a benchmark that shows how well you're doing it. Money indicates what's happening. It's not a "tap on a shoulder" kind of thing when you have a bunch of free users who are just saying nice things to you because your product is free. Nope. These are facts. Like my product? Great! Are you willing to pay for it? No? Yes? When you charge for a product you really see if people mean what they say. They vote with their wallet. And when they do, you want to offer them your best. One look at my spreadsheet and I can see which months I've been slowing down, I've been taken it in a sloppy way, I've not been at my best. That's why I carefully examine my cash-flow on a weekly basis and analyze it carefully. I don't do it for greed, or to enjoy my success. I search for patterns, problems, templates, schemes... Money helps me see what's going on.

Money also helps me think and seek new ways to improve my product. When I see lower conversion rates, I know what to work on. When I see more cancellations, I'm more motivated to convince my customers to stay than ever by just building a better product and service. It's all very well related and money can be a great indicator of what's really going on.

Surprised how money ignites my passion

When you look at the money as a target. When you just want to be rich, it's not very inspiring and you make wrong decisions. Not based on your passion, the values you have... but based solely on the ROI (Return On Investment). Don't get me wrong, watching ROI is critical for your success, just as we discussed earlier... But it's just a part of the story.

Guy Kawasaki once said: "it's all about making meaning, not money" and he said that the proper way to inspire anyone (including an investor) is to say this: "Here's how I want to change the world. And while doing that, here's how I want to earn money for it".

The customers really feel like investors. They're part of your team.

One of the things that surprised me along the way was something I mentioned already - people feel like investors when they pay you for what you're offering. They feel like a part of your team. They share your other passions (for product, industry, etc). They feel they're riding along with you. This lead me to many great conversations with my customers, unlikely partnerships, free dinners, you name it. By paying a small monthly fee for my service people feel like they just joined my team. I love it. They love it. It's very rewarding!

Earning money gives you freedom you never expected to have

Healthy revenue gives you an opportunity to inspire others, assemble a great team of folks who work with you and share your passion not only because of the paycheck, but because they share your vision and are happy to be a part of it. Good level of revenue gives you more freedom to experiment and try different paths in your product or service. It's important not to lose focus there, but I find the freedom to experiment very appealing and again, sometimes we built something surprisingly great just because we could.

It's all about the money when the money is not what it's really about.

You need the money to keep on keeping on and pursue your other passions. It's a tool, a device, a means. And you need it. But you shouldn't want it. Then it'll come to you and help you make your dreams come true.

Now, that we've talked about the money (the essential thing), let's focus on the really important stuff and the other, stronger passions.

To be continued... or get the book free and continue reading :-)

Question: Do you agree with my point of view? What does money mean to you?

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:

Friday, September 5

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

Note: This is a 5th 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 1) - Passion 1: Money

It's all about passion - chapter 2.1

"Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game." - Donald Trump, investor, author of "The Art of the Deal"

Money makes the world go around... kind of.

Money rules the world we live in right now. No doubt about that. But it's not what it's all about. Money is just a means to an end - a happy, fulfilled life.

It sounds nice in definition but the media want us to believe otherwise. In the consumerist world we live in, it's all about the money - it gives you power, cars, houses... the media wants us to believe we can buy ourselves a way into happiness.

The same applies to the startup world. Young, aspiring entrepreneurs are reading high-profile tech blogs where they learn about other young guys cashing it big time with huge company valuations, amazingly big venture capital rounds and fantastic financing opportunities where millions of dollars are just laying around there to be picked up.

These big sums of money only make young startup founders blind. They have very often never even seen more than a few thousand of dollars at a time, yet they seem to subconsciously redirect their motivation towards "getting rich quick... or die trying" (as the rap star 50cent would say).

I was like this when I graduated from college. I wanted to make it big for fame and fortune. And I failed several times to finally understand that to be passionate about money you need to approach it from a totally different angle.

Thursday, September 4

✔ Donating to Charity and my #ALSIceBucketChallenge - Productive! Show 79

Today I want to focus on donating money to charity. How we can help others, create our own "charity fund" and how we ca actively and generously participate in the #ALSIceBucketChallenge. At the end of the video I'll share my own ice bucket challenge (being nominated by @karolzielinski) and I'll nominate @simongrabowski, @alexpl and @wiktorschmidt.

I donated $100 to each of these charities: - ALS: DIGNITAS DOLENTIUM - STOWARZYSZENIE 'DAJMY DZIECIOM MIŁOŚĆ': PIOTR RADON - POMORSKIE STOWARZYSZENIE OSÓB Z CHOROBAMI REUMATYCZNYMI

In this episode you'll get all the details and see me really get wet & cold :-)

Please post your comments below, thanks!

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