Monday, March 6
Just last month we celebrated 10 years of Nozbe and today, I'd like write about a few learnings from this experience. I’d like to share my experiences and advice on how not to let anyone convince you that you “cannot” do something and pursue your own goals to achieve success. You deserve to be successful and when somebody tells you that something "cannot" be done, you should pay attention and instead of giving in, find the ways you can make this work. Here are the 5 "cannots" people have been repeating to me over:
Note: The following article appeared first in the February '17 issue of iMagazine - the leading lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts in Poland. I'm a regular contributor and write my monthly productivity column there. That issue of iMagazine was really special for me as we celebrated Nozbe's 10th anniversary at the time. On that occasion apart from my regular column February edition featured a special Nozbe cover and the following article.
1. You “cannot” develop a business “after hours”
As I wrote in the article about Nozbe’s 10th anniversary and my interview, my app was created as a side project. It was just a hobby: I wanted to test GTD principles (the “Getting Things Done” (Amazon|Audible) time management methodology developed by David Allen) and Web 2.0 technology in real life. Even after launching the project in February 2007, I still developed it after hours, working on Nozbe in the afternoons. Even though I acquired my first 100 customers in May of the same year, I still wasn’t sure about the future of the project. I continued to develop it, hoping that it would succeed but it wasn’t until 2008 that I decided to make Nozbe my main source of income and quit my job.
Many wise people argue that in order to achieve success you must drop everything and focus solely on your new venture. I disagree with this and my story proves that if the new project really has potential, you have to give it some time, work “two jobs” for a while and develop the project to such an extent that you are really able to devote 100% of your resources to it.
I’m not the only one who thinks this way. My friend Michał Szafrański, author of the blog “How to save money” did the same and he’s achieving even bigger successes.
OK - so obviously you CAN develop a business "after hours". But there are 4 more "cannots" to go:
Monday, February 13
This month we’re celebrating Nozbe’s 10th birthday!. It’s the perfect time for a short summary of the past decade – in the context of business and technology developments. It's really interesting to see how Nozbe started as a Web2.0 product and later embraced the smartphone, desktop and the watch...
Note: The following article appeared first in the February '17 issue of iMagazine - the leading lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts in Poland. I'm a regular contributor and write my monthly productivity column there.
2005 - why a Nozbe web app?
I read David Allen’s book “Getting Things Done” (Amazon|Audible) and realized I needed to get organized. As a freelancer involved in internet marketing I was taking on more and more clients and I wasn’t able to manage all of my obligations. I searched for various tools to implement the GTD methodology in my life but I couldn’t find anything that I liked.
Thanks to PHP and MySQL magic I wrote a prototype of Nozbe in a single weekend!
I decided to use web technologies because I wanted to have access to the app from anywhere on Earth. Over the next few months I improved the project, rewrote it about twice, and finally in 2006 I decided to start getting ready to show it to the world. If I enjoyed using it, maybe others would like it to. Here's how it went down:
Monday, January 30
It's almost the end of January so I'm pretty late with my 2016 review but... I really needed to write it all down if not for you, then at least for myself. I'be done reviews of 2015, 2014 and 2013 and these served me well so now it's time to take a look at last year, the 2016, here goes:
2016 in a nutshell
Overall 2016 wasn't that bad for me. It's been actually pretty good. Personally my third daughter was born and she's been amazing, I'm still a fit amateur triathlete and business wise we've had some growth and significant product developments. I can't complain.
On the other hand, geo-politically it wasn't that good, the government in my home country is destroying the stable democracy we used to have, UK wants to do a Brexit and the USA decided to choose a self-indulgent liar as a president. Some people call 2016 the "Windows Vista" of all years. It wasn't that bad for me so if you're curious to know more, read on - hope this inspires you:
Thursday, December 1, 2016
As you know, at Nozbe we don’t have a central office. We all work from our homes. When I talk about it, people look at me with disbelief and doubt. Especially when I tell them that our core team consists of more than 20 people and we also regularly work with several other companies. We do everything remotely and over the Internet. And with the use of the latest apps. Today, on December 1, 2016, I'm releasing a new book that talks all about it: "No Office Apps":
The fact that we work entirely remotely may seem like an obstacle but it has made us think about effective forms of communication. We can’t simply walk up to a colleague’s desk so we had to learn to communicate in different ways. Working in a remote team made us realize that effective work in a distributed group requires communication on many layers and that using modern apps can help us achieve our objectives more easily.
In this article I’m going to describe the apps that we use and briefly discuss how we use them.
If you want a longer version of this article and a deeper dive into this subject, please get my latest book here: "No Office Apps How the Nozbe team uses modern technologies to communicate better and get more done." - it's completely free! :-)
Monday, August 1, 2016
✔ No Office, Productivity and Running a successful online business - where I was invited to talk about these things?
As Nozbe and this blog became more popular, I got invited to many events, speaking engagements and podcast interviews. Some in English, some in my mother tongue (Polish). Here are a few I'm really proud of and where hopefully you can get value from by listening to me talking about No Office, productivity and business:
(Photo credit: Wojtek Frasz - me in front of a 2000 people audience on Element Talks conference in 2016)
Here's the list. I've started with the most recent appearances:
Monday, July 18, 2016
As everyone probably knows, I’m an incurable optimist. For some, it’s even become something to joke about :-) Not that I have a problem with that – it means that my optimistic attitude is working, and it’s contagious. Optimism helps me in every aspect: relationships with others, business, managing my team and… productivity. In this article I want to show you why:
Note: This article was first published in Polish as The Editor's Note in Productive! Magazine Polska in June '16.
(Not) a difficult choice
Just consider these two options: you can complain about having too much work... or be happy that you have a job, that you have control over a lot of things, and that you achieve bigger or smaller successes thanks to your own effort. You can be depressed if a campaign that you organized didn’t have the desired outcome... or you can get the team together, analyze all the data and create a new, more effective campaign. Which of these options sounds more appealing?
You tell me:
Monday, February 1, 2016
My company Nozbe just celebrated 9 years today. Wow, it was a crazy week, an interesting year and an amazing stint so far. Not everything went as planned but I think it's safe to say we're on the right track. And I still can't believe how the time flies. Just read my posts after 7 years or 8 years to compare. And this year I'm even more bullish on Nozbe than ever. Here's why:
We doubled our core team to 20+ people
Just as I wrote on my 2015 review blog post, we practically doubled our team at Nozbe in a year. And now we're all in to capitalize on that and really find our spectacular growth. The longer I'm running Nozbe the more I realize how much more can be done. How many more people can be reached. How many you still have to convice to stop using email for collaboration. How many teams should just communicate through tasks...
This year with my bigger team we have bigger goals than ever before.
We launched Nozbe Business
It's a big deal. And we've had our first customers today already sign up for Nozbe Business. It's a whole new world for us but we're ready. New challenges, new features, better support and most of all - helping companies implement Nozbe to literally multiply their productivity and "internal happiness" of having people get lots of stuff done in sync with each other.
I particularly love the new "shared projects" with three roles: admin, user and guest. And I can't wait how our customers implement this in their organizations.
New logo, new design... and the best Nozbe ever
I can't highlight enough how much I love new Nozbe 3.0 and what my team has done to make it an amazing release. I pushed them and they pushed me... and together we made miracles happen to make it the Nozbe 3.0 release for our 9th anniversary - and I say it was worth it. This year will be all about 3.X Nozbe branch, with lots enhancements, polish and great collaboration features.
9 years in... and there's still so much to do. And it all comes down to the same 5 loves (laws) of my work. Thank you everyone who made my February 1st my own personal #NozbeDay.
As they say, the journey is the ultimate destination and I'm priviledged to have you join me. Thank you.
Question: How did you like our Nozbe 3.0 release all the goodies that came with it?
Monday, January 25, 2016
In just a week I'll be celebrating 9 years of running Nozbe - a productivity project I launched on February 1, 2007. Nine years. Almost a decade. Started with a team of one. And now we're 24 core team and 10 contractors. I can't believe how fast the time flies and that I've been doing the same thing for almost a decade. So the obvious question is: now what?
What's next for me now? What's next for you?
When I get interviewed or chat with people about Nozbe's success thus far, about our apps for all platforms, more than 300,000 happy users and our team, I get asked this question a lot: Michael, what's next for you?
Now that I'm approaching 9th birthday of my "baby" I've been giving this question particular attention so let me share the way I see it:
Thursday, January 7, 2016
This time it took me a while to do some thinking and reviewing. We're 7 days in 2016 and I'm still processing all the lessons I've learned from 2015. Overall it's been a pretty stable year for me, but some things didn't go as planned or were more challenging that I anticipated. Here goes:
My 2015 in a nutshell would be like this:
I'm still a fit triathlete, but didn't reach my fitness goals, although had lots of fun riding my bike, running and swimming. I gained a few pounds of weight which I need to lose this month to prepare properly for what's to come in 2016. In business I doubled my team count while maintaining the business revenue at the same level as last year. This means in 2016 I need to do less hiring and more marketing, to make up for all of it.
This is the gist of it. If you want to know more, keep reading:
Monday, November 30, 2015
On the Nozbe blog I just wrote about our yearly Black Friday / Thanksgiving sale. While I'm happy it's been so far better than last years', I explain why this sale comes actually at a fantastic time for our Nozbe users. Check out these few quotes or read the entire article:
"It's all about timing. The Thanksgiving weekend is the last weekend of November so if you choose to upgrade to Nozbe PRO now you have December to actually sum up your year and prepare for a great next year. You have a whole month to get to know our tool, get all of our apps and start getting organized."
"Having our sale at the end of November gives us a chance to really show you what we've been doing all this year. The new Nozbe 2.6 with Nozbe.how shared templates, a new version of Nozbe almost every month, faster apps for Android and iOS, as well as great new apps for new platforms like Apple Watch or Windows Phone."
"Seeing people like you "voting with your wallet" for our productivity solution (sometimes even 3 new orders in 10 seconds, just like on the picture above!), makes us even more excited to serve you even better next year and for the years to come. We're close to 9 years running Nozbe and it still feels we're just getting started!"
P.S. The sale is good through Cyber Monday. Details in the linked article :-)
Thursday, October 15, 2015
This year we doubled our Nozbe Team so we've been doing lots of hiring to get this done. And an interview with me is always the last stage of our hiring process. This is where I not only try to "judge" the new candidate. If I feel the person is a right fit for us, this is where I get them excited about working with us. And not only with perks and NoOffice lifestyle we offer, but mostly with the fact that we're a "good" business. Here's what I mean:
Our business improves people's lives
This is my definition of a "good" business. It's a business that improves people's lives.
We live in a busy world...
Especially now in this hectic world our software, Nozbe helps people get organized and get their goals done. Every day thousands upon thousands of busy professionals fire up their Nozbe app on their computer or mobile device to help them get through their busy day.
The thing is, I can't imagine working in a business that doesn't improve people's lives. I know people work for cigarette companies or sell products people never wanted in the first place. I'm not judging, I'm just happy I am in a business that helps others.
And it's not really easy or stress free. This is a privilege and a huge responsibility! People trust us with their projects and tasks. Goals and ambitions. Hopes and dreams. Yet I wouldn't want to be in any other business. That's what I call a "good" business and this is what I tell my team - we are doing something useful and we are on a mission to make the world a better place. This is good.
Question: What's your "good" business about? Let me know!
Monday, October 12, 2015
Ever since I was interested in football (soccer) I've been reminded of our Polish national team from the 70s. How great of a team it was. How we almost won the World Cup in '74. Unfortunately I couldn't relate to that because all my life our national team was really bad. Until now. And it's been amazing to see them in action and qualifying to the finals of Euro Cup 2016 with most scored goals (33) out of all participating countries. And now that we're in, the press is giving all the credit to two guys for this: the coach and our main striker. And they're right. But not entirely:
We finally have a coach who has a plan and a mission.
When they chose Adam Nawałka for the head coach of our national team I really didn't know who he was. Now I know.
He gets stuff done. He builds teams. He doesn't care about the press criticizing him. About internal politics of the Football Association. He just assembles the team out of the players he chooses and builds the team that scores goals and wins a lot more that it loses. So yes. He deserves lots of credit for his work.
We finally have a world class striker. Robert Lewandowski.
Seriously. He's the guy who scored 5 goals in 9 minutes for Bayern Munich. He scored 13 goals in 10 matches in Euro qualifying. He is the man. But if you look at the stats one more time, you'll see he scored only 13 out of 33 goals Polish team scored in these 10 matches. He let others score a lot more than he did. He orchestrated the game. He's a true leader of our team now. A player who inspires others to play at their very best. Not just a star striker others think of him. He lets the team shine more than he shines. And that's good.
We finally have a team that proudly wins in our national uniforms.
Yes, we have a great coach and a great striker but they wouldn't achieve so much without the other 10 players on the field. It's really about the teamwork. It's about showing each other we can be more. It's about inspiring each other to really push for more and perform at their best.
Watching the last 10 games was a pleasure. Looking at the team play at this level was incredible. Now we really have a great team that deserved to be among the best teams in Europe.
What can I learn from all this?
Now that I have a team of 24 people at Nozbe I need to remember this and every day motivate and inspire my team to perform at their best. Thanks to them we're making this world more organized - and I'm proud of them as much as I'm now proud of our national football (soccer) team. Wow. Great times are coming!
Question: What do you do to make your team perform at its best?
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Just the other day I re-read my blame blog post which I wrote 2 years ago because I was talking to a friend of mine who's an entrepreneur and he needed a lesson. He was blaming everyone for his failures. For his problems. For his lack of success and traction. And it was all wrong because the reality is that it's all his fault. All of it:
When something wrong or bad is happening to or in your business you as the CEO and founder should take the blame. All of it. And based on that you should apologize to yourself, your team, and then fix it.
Too many people nowadays don't do that and use all of their energy to find a scapegoat. This is not right. This is not a way to go. This will not help you avoid the problem in the future.
Of course it's easier to blame the economy, the circumstances, the environment or a co-worker. There will always be someone to blame. And it better not be you, right!?
Yet I advise you to do the contrary. Take the blame right away. Don't focus on finding a scapegoat but focus on finding a solution instead.
Take the blame. Find a solution. Move on. That's it. Good luck!
Question: When do you assume your blame?
Thursday, October 1, 2015
"We had some fun and enjoyed each other's company which is very important for a team that most of the year spends time working remotely from our homes."
"So to get to know us better watch this short Periscope video session that we recorded on the last day of our reunion."
Thursday, September 17, 2015
★ My main competitor: non-consumption. That's why I want to teach productivity rather than just sell Nozbe
Just a little over a month ago I was on the plane from my home town to my parents' place. I was reading Jeff Walker's Launch book after having seen his and Michael Hyatt's videos on launching new products. I'm not launching anything new. I still run Nozbe but for many people who don't know my product, it is actually new to them. And the whole world of productivity is new to them. They just need to get organized. And on that plane ride I came up with an idea how to make this happen:
I developed the How to create your perfect digital productivity system course where in 3 videos I take someone from not having a system to having something that works and helps them get more stuff done.
I've always been about teaching people productivity.
That's why I prepared the 10 Steps to Ultimate Productivity Course. That's why I'm the editor of the Productive! Magazine. That's why I'm recording Productive! Show. When you think about it I've always been teaching productivity...
So why this new course is different?