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Monday, April 27

✔ Effective Communication in a Team - part 1: my 5 general rules

Note: This article is based on my Editor’s note from the 11th issue of the Polish edition of the Productive! Magazine.

Being extremely happy with the changes that we've implemented by the end of last year in the Nozbe team, I often think that there are still things that can be improved. For example... communication. Between individual departments (e.g. customer service - programmers), between heads of departments and, of course, between me and each of my employees. Especially when you work remotely like we do, good communication is key.

Communication

It's all about effective communication

Communication within an organization is a tool that boosts productivity. It's an element that guarantees that each person knows his or her role in achieving common, company-specific goals and acts skillfully to get them done.

It's also the best "weapon" in the hands of each leader. Effective communication allows to build team harmony and coordinate actions towards accomplishing planned objectives. It motivates employees, raises their self-esteem, engagement and feeling that they're part of something valuable. Employees who are misinformed act "blindly" and waste time (and thus money). When they're stressed out they make more mistakes and become less open. When they're underestimated - it goes without saying...

Based on my own experience of managing a growing team, recruiting new people, working with clients and business partners, I've created a list of rules that may help improve in-company communication. Today I'll write about some general ("technical") rules and in a next post I'll talk more about interpersonal relations:

Friday, April 24

✔ Just Do It! Disarm your own perfectionist

This is the Editor's Note that I wrote for 27th issue of Productive! Magazine. I hope it helps you look at the problem of perfectionism from a different angle.

perfectionism

I've been thinking lately about perfectionism. Laura Stack mentions it in her article in this issue of the magazine, too. It is quite a popular term to use and it has its place in the informal language. However, when one reads a little about this problem, it turns out that perfectionism is a really serious thing. It might lead to the loathing of yourself and others.

Wednesday, April 8

✔ Apple Watch - a productivity review

As I was one of the lucky ones to get a preview unit of the Apple Watch... No I wasn't. I wish I was. Why not me, Apple? I really wish I had early access just like Nilay Patel or Joshua Topolsky or John Gruber... but I didn't. What I did do was study these reviews, all other pieces of information I could find on MacRumors, the Apple Watch Guided Tours and everything else I could find on the Internet... and I decided to write my review of the Apple Watch with an angle on productivity, based on experiences of the few lucky ones who did get to play with this new "magical" device from Apple... and from a point of view of a person who really, desperately wants one... and will try to get it on April 24th. Let's look at the Apple Watch from the productivity point of view and answer a question that's on everyone's mind right now - will the Apple Watch make you more productive? Or will you just become an Apple show-off? Or both?

Apple Watch - a productivity review

When Apple introduced the iPad, Steve Jobs famously said that for the device between a smartphone and a laptop to make sense, it had to be significantly better than both of these at some key tasks... and it was. It's a great content consumption device... and a great productivity device. I should know, I've been using the iPad as my main computer for the last 3 years and I'm in fact writing this review on my iPad Air 2.

Now, when Apple unveiled the Apple Watch, it didn't say why this device had to exist at all. They said all about it "being the most personal device ever", but no arguments as to what it should be great at. And from the early reviews we can learn that the Apple Watch is:

...a beautifully-crafted but quite sluggish mini-smartphone slapped to your wrist that does lots of things, but none of them particularly well.

It's a very harsh assessment of this new device so as a productivity guy who badly wants one, let's revisit all the criticisms the early reviews have raised:

Friday, March 27

★ iPhone 6 plus. It's all about vertical space. Apple got it right while promoting it wrong...

The other day I was showing my iPhone 6 plus to a friend and he asked me about the special "horizontal treatment" of the phone. As you might know, the "plus" model, having lots of screen real estate was blessed with additional features in the horizontal layout and a bigger keyboard... Much like an iPad. And my friend wanted me to show me how cool it was... And frankly, I wouldn't know because I hardly ever use my phone in horizontal mode... Because I think the coolest thing about the plus model is its horizontal real estate! Just look at this 3-part photo:

iPhone 6 plus. It's all about vertical space.

Even with keyboard popped up, I have more space then on the iPhone 5s

Just look at the vertical layout on the left and the two horizontal layouts on the right. Look how much screen real estate I have on my vertical iPhone. I can write and browse at the same time. It's great.

My keyboard in vertical is big enough to type comfortably.

I'm typing this blog post on my iPhone in vertical mode using the 1writer app and it's really great and fast. Whereas the horizontal keyboard is too big for me and the keys used for writing are in the center of the screen so it's totally uncomfortable to type.

I even lock the layout to vertical...

Yes, I'm using the screen lock button to make sure my iPhone screen remains vertical at all times. I love it so much. Apple was advertising the plus model with the horizontal capabilities but it's the vertical view that's most productive and efficient on this device. It's so good!

Question: How's your iPhone 6 Plus so far? Or if you have a big android device, how's your experience?

Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus

Friday, March 20

★ Begin again: why starting my second company (Remag) is scary, exciting and humbling...

I'm on my way to Wordcamp London to get feedback on Remag from the the best and the brightest in the Wordpress community... And this whole trip is actually a very strange experience for me. It's a mixed bag of scare and excitement and everything in between. Let me explain:

london trip

Why I'm scared

I've been running Nozbe for the last 8 years with amazing success. We have hundreds of thousands of users from all over the world and we're highly profitable with an amazing team which only this year will grow from 20-30 people.

I'm scared to divide my attention between two companies. I'm scared to start something new when the thing I already have has achieved so much success. I'm scared to be a beginner again when I'm already one of the most influential productivity people out there. I'm scared to fail. I'm scared this new venture is ahead of its time and nobody will get it... I'm really really scared.

Why I'm excited

I'm starting something new! I will get to know a totally different world of digital publishing and not productivity. I'm going to Wordcamp London where I know no one. Nobody. It's a completely new world for me. It's very exciting.

I'll hopefully get a chance to get my very first customers again. Very first people who will believe in my vision of the future of digital mobile publishing. First folks who'll tell me my solution sucks. Or rocks. Or is so-so. And if we get traction like I hope we will I'll have an exciting time building a second company from the ground up.

Why I'm humbled

I'm a beginner again. My position in the new industry is non-existent. I know nobody. I am suddenly nobody. I'm just another guy with a startup which is trying to gain traction. I need to suck up my ego and start from square one. Like I haven't done in the last 8 years.

But I'm going to do it. Because I believe so much in the product and in my team that I can't just shelve it all because I'm scared to begin again.

Time to embrace the new beginning!

Question: Have you had a chance to begin something new lately?

Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus

Monday, March 16

✔ Books - my ultimate list of the (audio)books I'm reading now and I've read in the past (updated March 2015)

As a CEO of an established company Nozbe and a hot-new startup Remag I need to keep growing as a leader and the best way to do that is to read lots of books. But how to find time for books? Well, back in 2010 I started listening to audiobooks instead of reading physical books and I went from 2 books per year to around 30... and from then on I've been either listening to audiobooks or podcasts. Right now my Audible library is really huge so I created a document with the list of all the books I read in the past. I was losing track. And I only managed to write about some of them on this blog. Long story short, I decided to share my list of books with you - together with links, notes, everything right here... on this page. I will try to keep it updated. Here goes:

Books I'm reading

I'm receiving lots of emails about the books I recommend so sharing this document with all of you now seems like a no-brainer to me. I'm posting this as a blog post so feel free to post your comments below and suggest books I should check out and let me know what you think about the books I've read. Thanks! Now, here's the list:

Saturday, March 14

★ Dad, let's go to the "iPad store" please! (Or how our children embrace touch devices...)

Recently, I was on a week-long vacation in London. We spent a fantastic week in the Queen's capital, we visited museums, parks, walked a lot. On the last day, we went to the Westfield shopping mall and as always, I ended up in the store of my "favorite fruit company." And I was happily accompanied by my older daughter as they have a zone with iPads for kids to play there. Here's why an Apple Store is a dad's best friend:

kids in Apple Store

While kids enjoy the iPads...

Kids get the iPads and Apple gets it. That's why they have a dedicated place for kids with iPads loaded with latest games for them to play. My daughter loves discovering new games and she enjoys the iPad's touch interface immensely.

...parents get to shop

While my daughter is playing, I can safely browse the store, check out latest accessories and learn more about other Apple devices (like I don't know about already...) And keep talking myself out of finally getting that gorgeous iMac with Retina display... What a screen!

The future is “touchy-feely”

Watching my daughter I'm sure the future is mobile and it's all about touch. Just look at the new iWatch (and the trackpad of the new Macbook.) Kids get touch interfaces. They understand the playfullness... so we adults should better embrace the future on the iPads and iPhones. Just like our kids do.

Question: Do your kids "get" the iPads and iPhones as well? Do they try to "touch" the screen of your TV set?

sent from my iPhone 6 Plus

Friday, March 13

✔ It's all about passion! - The End

Note: This is the 26th and the last 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 have been publishing the entire book as a series of blog posts over the last weeks here every Friday, so that you could read it bit by bit (I knew you might be too busy to read an entire book at once). I've been 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 - 26

Passion in Education

While the focus of this book has been passion in business, we can’t forget that in order to succeed in life we need good education. Nicholas Moon, my daughter’s teacher, after reading the first draft of this book, wrote to me about his passion for education. In the chapter about passion for the product I write about “seeing it through the eyes of the customers” and he said this reminded him of the main theme in a book on education called: “Visible Learning”, where a model of “visible teaching – visible learning” is when teachers see learning through the eyes of the student and when students see themselves as their own teachers.

“We rarely talk about passion in education, as if doing so makes the work of teachers seem less serious, more emotional than cognitive, somewhat biased or of lesser import. When we do consider passion, we typically constrain such expressions of joy and involvement to matters unrelated to our teaching.

Thursday, March 12

✔ This tablet "works" - why iPad is perfect for work, study and entertainment

Note: The following article appeared fist in the September'14 issue of iMagazine - the leading lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts in Poland. I'm a regular contributor and write my monthly productivity column there.

This tablet works

Recently, I wrote about my love for my first MacBook Air and, as I said, despite that brief love affair, right now I mainly use my iPad Air 2 for work. Some people still find that "This Tablet doesn't work". As the author of the "#iPadOnly" book and someone who's spent the last 2,5 years working mainly on the iPad, I decided to write this article to convince readers that, especially now, the iPad can be very helpful for both work and study... and play!

For a start, iPad is not Mac (or PC)

It seems to me that many people perceive the iPad as a kind of small computer without a keyboard, which makes them believe that it should work like a computer. They think: if I've got all of my files on my Mac, where will I put them on the iPad? If I'm used to doing things in a particular way on my Mac, why can't I do them the same way on the iPad? After all, everything should be the same or even better, shouldn't it?

Well, no. That's why many people who begin their adventure with iPad feel disappointed. When writing about my first Mac in the previous issue of iMagazine, I mentioned that during my transition from a Windows PC to Mac I had to completely change my habits. I had to learn many things from scratch, and learn to operate new software for doing the same things. The transition from Mac or Windows to iPad is even more painful... but looking back - it's great... and so worth it!

Wednesday, March 11

✔ Chat about Remag - Productive! Show #89

We're back with Augusto talking about Michael's new project - Remag. How it's re-defining the mobile digital publishing. How Michael believes that this is the way to go for the blogs of the future - to create their apps and stay "in touch" (pun intended) with their readers on their mobile devices. On being on their home screens and pushing the content to them. On giving your fans an easy way to subscribe to your content. We talk all about it and some more!

Question: Have you even wanted to have your own app?

Please post your comments below, thanks!

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Tuesday, March 10

✔ The polarizing Macbook, tempting  Watch and... one more thing.

Yesterday was a big day, the "Apple Watch" day... Apple finally explained a little more the new "wearable iDevice" concept so that I think I know what and why I'm going to buy. Today, I would like to discuss with you the Apple Watch and the new Macbook and something more, here goes:

Apple Watch and Macbook

The main problem of my day job is that I need to have all the newest gadgets every year... You see, I need to "sacrifice" for all of you in order to make sure we deliver the best app possible to operate on your device. And so, I had to buy the iPhone 6 plus, I change my iPhone and iPad every year, and yes - I will absolutely need to buy the  Watch... Yeah, life is tough on me in this regard... oh wait... no it's not. I love my job and I love "having to" upgrade my devices so often :-P

And even though I'm #iPadOnly these days, I love Macs. The very first Macbook Air became my first Mac ever and I loved it. So when Apple unveiled the new Macbook yesterday I fell in love with it... and enjoyed the moment where everyone started complaining about the lack of ports on this device... this happens every time Apple makes a device that good. Here's why:

Friday, March 6

✔ It's all about passion! - Logout [part 2]

Note: This is the 25th 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 - 25

Steve Jobs was right

In this book I quoted Steve Jobs a couple of times. The impact he’s made on me and millions of other people is amazing. My friend, Grzegorz, shares his story and pays tribute to the late CEO of Apple:

"Steve Jobs used to say it's really essential to have a job that you really love. And you know what? He was right.

Thanks to my blog I am having a professional adventure of a life-time at the age of 39. Seriously. If in 2006 someone had told me that in a few years time I was going to visit half of the world discovering the most interesting technologies available on the market and that the chairmen of the biggest corporations were going to read my scribbles and that I was going to have my own company and team, I would probably laugh in their faces.

Thursday, March 5

✔ Passion, routines and entrepreneurship - Productive! Magazine 26 interview with Evan Carmichael

Evan Carmichael tells us how he stays positive and highly productive every day. Learn about his morning routines, weekly calendar and looking for a real passion. Find out what his goal for 2015 is as well!

Read more in Productive! Magazine: http://ProductiveMag.com/26

Question: What do you do in the morning to stay positive and energetic for the rest of your day?

Please post your comments below, thanks!

Check it out:

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Watch and comment on YouTube

Video: Download VIDEO of this episode

Audio: Download AUDIO of this episode

If you have enjoyed this episode of the Productive! Show, please subscribe:

Subscribe to VIDEO podcast | Get VIDEO from iTunes

Subscribe to AUDIO podcast | Get AUDIO from iTunes

Monday, March 2

✔ Nozbe story - interview with me for "Stories of the best Polish apps"

This is an interview that I granted at the end of 2014. It was published on Spidersweb.pl - one of the most popular Polish tech-blogs platform. It was a part o a series on Polish apps used internationally authored by Hubert Taler. If you want to dig deeper about my story, check out my Interview about Nozbe and my "about" page on this blog and my recent blog post about our 8th anniversary.

Story of Nozbe

1. Were the Nozbe apps and web service launched at the same time? Which platform did you focus on at first?

Nozbe is not just an app - it's a whole suite of productivity apps for time, tasks and projects management. Apart from the web access, we offer apps for Mac, Windows, Linux, Android… and of course for the iOS platform, meaning iPhones and iPads. When I launched Nozbe in 2007 iPhone had just been presented by Apple. I didn't realize, at the time, how much the world was going to change and thus I thought that Nozbe would be a web app forever...

Even Apple's point of view seemed quite similar - at the very beginning it was only possible to build iPhone web apps, not native ones. I remember it very well - they started selling iPhone in the US in June 2007 and I decided to quickly develop a simple "web app" for iPhones which I called "iNozbe". I made it together with my customers - as I lived in Poland I couldn't even touch the real iPhone... I wrote the code for the first version within a week and I released it for testing. The users who owned iPhones reported how the things were and I would fix the bugs and update the app. My zeal was finally appreciated by the industry in September 2007 and I was invited as a speaker to the Office 2.0 conference to San Francisco. It was then when I got my first iPhone and a chance to see how my app works on it. And there's more...

Friday, February 27

✔ It's all about passion! - Logout [part 1]

Note: This is the 24th 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 - 24

Find your passions

"Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." - Steve Jobs

What are you passionate about?

Money, status, cars, luxury items... are cool to have, but they don't inspire people. Passion inspires people. Passion attracts people. In this materialistic world we're living in, passion is what sets us apart and it's what we all need. That's why it's so important to be passionate about something. It's so crucial to really find your passion and now it's your turn to discover your 7 (or more) types of passion.

It's all about passion!

I've been running my own company for more than 10 years now. I've failed several times at first to finally succeed with my productivity application because I followed my passion. I first discovered it and later followed it all the way.

Over 7+ years of running Nozbe, I discovered all these types of passion that drive me today. Hopefully this book will inspire you to find your calling, your passions and your drive... and I assure you, you'll live a fantastic life, just like the one mentioned in this quote: