Monday, November 30, 2015

☆ Why Black Friday sale is perfect timing for Nozbe users... [on: Nozbe blog]

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:

Why Thanksgiving weekend sale is the perfect time for Nozbe users to start getting organized?

"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!"

Jump to read the entire article »

P.S. The sale is good through Cyber Monday. Details in the linked article :-)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

★ Why it's so great to be in a "good" business and what it means to me, my team and you

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:

Good Business

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!

Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus

Monday, October 12, 2015

★ It takes a team to win. How Poland got to Euro 2016 finals

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:

It takes a team to win.

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?

Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

★ It's all your fault! Even when it isn't!

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:

it's all your fault

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!?

Wrong!

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?

Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus

Thursday, October 1, 2015

☆ I'm not doing it alone! Meet the Nozbe team on video [on: Nozbe Blog]

On the Nozbe Blog I just wrote about our team. No, Nozbe is not just me. We're 24 people now. We've doubled our team in just this last year. Check out the post and watch our Periscope recording:

nozbe team

"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."

Jump to read the entire article and watch our Peeiscope video »

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:

nozbe training

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?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

✔ Nozbe's BACKTOWORK promo - why are we doing promotions anyway? (Hint: to motivate!)

Today we just launched a new Nozbe promo, called "GetToWork". We'll announce it tomorrow on our blog, social media and newsletter. I'm writing this post here on my personal blog, on the eve of officially starting the promo, to answer only one question: Why are we doing a Nozbe promo anyway? Why are we giving these huge discounts now?

Nozbe Promo

Before I answer let me explain how this promotion works:

Normally when you order Nozbe, you can pay either monthly or yearly. And when you choose a yearly payment, we actually reward you with a 20% discount. That's like having a little over 2 months of Nozbe free. Now with this year's promo, if you use coupon code BACKTOWORK your yearly payment will be further discounted by 17% which basically means, you'll get 12 months worth of Nozbe by paying for only 8!

Now, why do we do this promotion and why now?

Let's start with the obvious reason: it's not only about the money. Yes, we get a few additional orders because of this but it's not only about that. I wouldn't discount my product if it weren't for a more important reason.

It's because I want to improve people's productivity.

You know me. Productivity is my passion.

Friday, September 4, 2015

★ A new experience: becoming a micro celebrity

Imagine this situation: I'm in a bar on the beach in my home town, enjoying a quiet evening with my wife and a couple of our friends. When out of the blue someone comes up to me and asks me: "excuse me, are you Michael Sliwinski, the founder of Nozbe?" Wow, that was unexpected. My friends' jaws dropped. And it wasn't the first time this happened to me... Like when I was on a conference in the U.S. and someone asked me who I was and before I managed to reply, someone right behind me started talking about me to them...

me and a Nozbe customer

It's so nice to be recognized at all, it really is. I'm pretty visible thanks to my Productive Show and 10 Steps to Ultimate Productivity course but I'm actually taking credit for a product that I founded, but is being developed by a 20+ person team: Nozbe. So it's not just me. It's actually my team that is being recognized here.

But it's really really nice on a personal level, too. It's just a great feeling.

There's lots of responsibility on my part. When others can recognize you, you have to behave well. You can be goofy but you can't do stupid things. You have to make sure you never leave your integrity out of the door. People look up to you. And that's good.

It feels so great to be recognized for what you love. And I love my job. And I believe we're making the world a more organized place. One happy and productive user at a time. So I'm really looking forward to shaking hands with any Nozbe user I meet.

I do this not just for me but mostly for you!

So if you see me in real life somewhere, don't be shy, come say "hi". Thanks!

Question: Have you ever been recognized on the street by a stranger?

Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus

Thursday, September 3, 2015

☆ New kind of affiliate / referral program [on: Nozbe.club]

We just launched a new affiliate web site called nozbe.club where we're promoting the newest Nozbe referral program. And we even created a special video to show what it's all about:

Nozbe.club

"Over the last 8 years Nozbe has grown to more than 300,000 users - all thanks to our happy customers' recommendations."

"When they decide to use Nozbe, thanks to you they get: a lifetime 10% discount and access to one of the best productivity tools on the Internet. And you earn a 20% lifetime commission every month they stay our happy and productive customers."

"Everybody wins: you help your friends embrace the chaos thanks to Nozbe, they save money thanks to you... and you get a few dollars from us to spend on coffee, movie tickets or whatever you fancy."

This is the idea: everybody gets a great tool to get things done, but on top of that you get a thank-you commission for recommending and they get a thank-you discount for signing up through you.

What do you think? »

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

☆ Building 300,000 users in a cut-throat app category [on: Mobile Growth Podcast]

On the Mobile Growth Podcast I was interviewed by Ashwin Gupta of Upquire. Again, I think we had a great chat with very deep questions about business and startups and growth hacking. Let me know what you think by listening to the episode:

Building 300,000 users in a cut-throat app category

"Nozbe entered the app market in the early days of 2007, when the iPhone launch was all the rage. Fast forward 8 years, and Nozbe has managed to stay relevant amongst competition and tsunami of changes in the mobile space, building a strong user base of 300,000 people in the process. Here’s Nozbe’s mobile growth story..."

Jump to listen to the entire episode »

Monday, August 31, 2015

✔ HitRSS - a story of my failed startup project from 2005

About a month ago I posted about one of my first big "startup project" ideas: QTbar - free Windows launcher. In that post I explained how that project influenced me and taught me a lesson or two about entrepreneurship. And indirectly helped me launch Nozbe and make it a success. Today I want to talk about my other, more recent project, called HitRSS which I launched in 2005. How I was very bullish about this project... but it wasn't my passion so when I launched Nozbe in 2007 I started gradually giving up on HitRSS and left it unmaintained for the next few years... and eventually I shut it down. Here's the story:

HitRSS

When I started HitRSS I wanted it to be something between FeedBurner and Blogger... and I was very excited about it and wanted it to be big.

How HitRSS "forced me" to start Nozbe...

In order to be successful with HitRSS and have more time to develop it, I decided to get better organized. I read a book by David Allen called "Getting Things Done - The Art of Stress Free Productivity". I started researching productivity blogs and productivity apps... I even started using Microsoft Outlook as my task manager... but in the end I didn't find a tool that would help me get organized so I built my own and I called it Nozbe. While developing Nozbe I got so well organized that I had time to work on both apps, Nozbe and HitRSS. Nozbe was launched in February of 2007 and I thought I'd keep developing both apps. It didn't work out. Here's why:

Friday, August 28, 2015

✔ How to build a DIY teleprompter in 5 minutes + tips on using it when recording videos

I'm in the middle of recording a new video series for Nozbe trial and special "back to work" offer for September. Some of the video footage for this series will be me speaking to the camera, just like in my 10-step productivity course so together with my video guy, Marcin, we decided to quickly build a teleprompter so that I didn't have a chance to forget my lines. We built it out of a print paper box, glass from a picture frame, towel and of course an iPad! Here it is:

How to build a DIY teleprompter

For a person like me, who's very passionate and likes to speak a lot, a teleprompter is very important! It helps me calm down nerves, focus on my message and deliver it clearly. But when using a teleprompter the danger is that one starts mindlessly reading what's on the screen and what's even worse: the viewer sees it. It has to be natural, here are a few tips:

Thursday, August 13, 2015

✔ How to recognize the difference between "hate" and "constructive feedback"

As makers of Nozbe which is a mainstream productivity software, we get lots of feedback. Having more than 300,000 users makes us very happy and proud, but we don't always receive happy emails. It's usually me, the founder, who receives the praise and it's our customer support department who gets the blame for customers' problems, software bugs and stuff that doesn't work the way it's supposed to. Luckily most of the time we receive very constructive and great feedback from our users (thank you!). Sometimes however we get not-so-nice emails ("hate") sent by not-so-nice people ("haters" or "trolls"). The thing is, for an untrained eye it's sometimes hard to distinguish between "hate" email and a "constructive feedback" email, so the other day I wrote this on our internal "customer support" wiki:

cloudy feedback

Constructive Feedback

This happens when a person who is an active Nozbe user writes to us that something is not working... or that they would like a feature that we don't have yet, or our competition has it, and they'd love it, too.

If something is not working as they hoped it would, they might get upset. Upset at us, at Nozbe, even at themselves. But they wrote why they were upset. And they wrote to us all that, because they care.

How we respond:

Monday, August 3, 2015

✔ QTbar - my first small global "success" - a launcher toolbar app for Windows 98/Me/XP

This is a story of a small Windows application I made back in college (in 2000-2002). Back then I was a Windows user and I wrote this application to help me launch programs/files/bookmarks faster on my computer. I gave it away for free and I reached a total of around 100,000 downloads of the app, I think. It was my first “major” and “global” success. It wasn’t a business success, but I learned a lot building and distributing it. In this post I’d like to share QTbar’s story. You’ll also find links to download the app, if you dare want to try it. Here goes:

QTbar

QTbar = Quick Tool bar

I didn’t like it, that in Windows getting to files, links and apps was so difficult. Unless you dumped everything on the desktop. That’s why I built this app. So I could quickly visit my favorite web sites, open files on my hard drive and launch my most-used programs. At that time I was really happy with Borland Delphi programming environment. I was using Turbo Pascal which I knew from high school and was applying visual objects from Windows on top of it. It was like building LEGO in a computer. And I love Lego.

As my application was really a tool bar, I called it Quick Tool bar and got the QTbar.com domain. I didn’t know if anyone would use the software, so I decided to give it away for free (freeware) and this is how my adventure started. In this post you’ll learn all about it from the beginning to the end:

Friday, June 19, 2015

☆ What would I do with 1 Billion dollars? [on: KarolZielinski.com]

My friend Karol Zieliński asked me on his blog this question: what would I do with 1 Billion dollars if suddenly got it? Well, I give 5 things I'd do...

Check out these few quotes or read the entire article:

1billion

"...it usually takes time to get used to big money. That’s why many lottery winners end up poorer than before they won..."

"...I guess I’d first divide this sum into smaller chunks, like 100M or 10M or even 1M dollar chunks…"

"...With all of the investments I’d focus on long term growth and profitability, to be able to slowly in the long run multiply this 1Billion fund."

Jump to read the entire article »