Friday, January 14, 2011

TGIF: Simple stuff, minimalism vs relationships... and esperanto

TGIF - Thanks God It's Friday and let me share with you some of the most interesting articles I've read this week:
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5 Ways to Lose Your Stuff (Not Your Lover) - by Jennifer Gresham (guest posted on Zen Habits blog)

When going minimalistic it's sometimes very hard to find support in the loved ones. I know that. My wife became very supportive at some point, but initially it was quite hard. Jennifer in this great article explains how to "convert" our better halves without breaking the relationship. Great read.

Great interview with Twitter's co-founder Jack Dorsey who says he's the editor of software and solutions - he's trying to make things complex... simple. Great inspirational stuff for each startup founder.

Google recently announced an absurd move that they'll stop supporting a popular h.264 codec in Google Chrome and they'll start supporting only the "open" standards (which frankly, nobody uses) while still supporting proprietary Flash technology. Tim wrote a great article paraphrasing this move with ditching English support in Google... for Esperanto. LOL.

Have a great weekend everyone!
I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of Nozbe.com - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Friday, December 10, 2010

TGIF: 4-hour body, Failures and Entrepreneurship

Most Fridays I'm trying to share with you what is on my mind lately and here are some things I've been reading that cought my attention:
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The 4-hour body by Tim Ferris

The new book by Tim is coming out and I'm definitely buying this one as well. I've read twice the 4-hour workweek and this one is something I really need right now as I'm trying to re-shape my body (I just lost 10+ pounds!). Here's the book's awesome trailer and the intro and TOC by Tim.

Why startups and businesses fail?

Here's a great article on 37signals' blog where they interview founders of failed businesses to share their lessons - what they learned from failure in their businesses and what they'd do differently. Great read.

Thanking entrepreneurs

This Thanksgiving post by Fred Wilson of AVC is a great reminder of why the world is moving forward. Because of entrepreneurs and their spirit and ideas that change the world. I'm glad to be one of them and to be running a business that helps tens of thousands of people get stuff done better. I'm loving every minute of it.

Hope these posts inspire you to be better and prove to be a good food for thought this weekend! Have a good one!
--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of Nozbe.com - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday links: Travel, Remote Working and Pirates

Let's get back with the Friday's tradition of sending you some of the most interesting things I read about this week and this time they relate to traveling, distance and ... yes, startups.
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You love him or you hate him, but Mike has his moments and this article is one of them. He captured the mindset of guys taking risks to run their own game... I'd like to think I'm also a "pirate" running Nozbe

I really dig how these guys work. My team is all working remotely and we've grown bigger recently so we're also experimenting new ways to be more productive and more effective.

I love traveling and learning new languages and I've always been traveling a lot without spending too much money on it... this is an eye-opening guide :-)

Talking about me traveling, did you see my yesterday's Productive! Show video recorded over my recent weekend trip to London?

Have a great weekend!
--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of Nozbe.com - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday Readership: Seth Godin says we should ship now, ship often

This week's Friday Readership will be all about shipping - I listened to Seth's Godin presentation at the 99% Conference and it really hit home, as I'm about to ship our new online web app that and my "lizard brain" is not helping me much with getting the product ready. But this month we'll definitely ship the beta version. I encourage you to listen to Seth now:

Here's more from Seth about Shipping:

Here Seth says: "Just because it's easy to ship doesn't mean you shouldn't push yourself. The art is in ignoring the fear that pushes you to polish too much..."

Here Seth's is motivating us to ship: "What have you done with your connection skills that has been worthy of criticism, that moved the dial and that changed the world? Go, do that."

Question: What are you shipping soon? Why not now? Now if I can only finish our product and ship it this month!

--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of Nozbe.com - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Readership: Integrity and dealing with haters on the Internet

I feel really bad about neglecting my personal blog this month, but now I'm back!

Today is Friday, so I'm going with my regular Friday readership series where I'm posting a series of links that interested me this week... and interestingly enough it's about the "haters" - people who don't like what you're doing online and write it on your blog or forum in a way they'd never tell you the same thing in your face... here goes:
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Excellent article by Tim about how he deals with haters - he highlights it's important to know how many people do _get_ you and that 10% of people will always take things personally... and if we don't have haters, it means nobody really cares about what we have to say... and that we should live well and simply carry on. Anyway, great read, good advice.

These two great podcasts episodes are really cool - both David and Jason are addressing folks who don't like their book. I like it, I even reviewed it earlier this year and I applaud their advice and all what they've done. They actually inspired me to build Nozbe and I'm their fan. That's it :-)

It's one of the threads on my forums about Nozbe and sub-projects or sub-tasks and they won't appear in Nozbe. The discussion has been pretty hot and I was trying to keep my cool but the outcome was surprising - I got lots of emails from people applauding me for keeping my vision of Nozbe and I even got a cool suggestion by the user named Brian for doing a video on sub-projects and why Nozbe's way better without them. We're producing this video right now :-)

There will always be haters or people that simply don't agree with you. That's a good thing!

To conclude this blog post I just want to say thanks to everyone who's using Nozbe and who keeps on sending their feedback. I do appreciate it - good or bad - I do have my vision for Nozbe. I did launch new Unlimited Nozbe plans two weeks ago and new Nozbe application in the Appstore... and a tiny percentage of users is not happy with either of these two... or both - but overall folks love what we're doing and we love serving them... and this is what counts!

--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of Nozbe.com - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Readership: VC funding & web2.0 startup bubble starring Ning

This week I'll focus on the sick way the web2.0 startup world works thanks to Venture Capital (VC) money pouring in. I agree with 37signals and believe startups should be focusing on making money and not on burning other people's money. When you don't earn your own dough, the decisions you make can be really strange:
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Here you go, Ning and their VC-backed business backfired:

After 6 years in business and burning $120M of other people's money (VC) they discovered that eyeballs don't pay the bills and a free model isn't sustainable. They decided to charge each account now. Not a really nice move, now is it?

David has a great writeup on this subject: Eyeballs still don't pay the bills - draw your own conclusions.

As much as I respect Joel, I'm not sure he's going the right direction with their Stack Exchange web site - killing paying users and creating totally free networks? Well, just look how it worked out for Ning! Again, VC money and irrational decisions. Judge for yourself.

Anyway, I've seen this many times - first web2.0 companies give accounts for free, later they say, sorry, it's not sustainable, we need to charge you right now. It's cheating users. It's not good for customer trust and bad for overall user trust in the industry.

At Nozbe when we give free accounts, you know their limitations and you know they are free forever. If you upgrade, you know what you're paying for and we're trying to exceed your expectations. We actually care about our business model and about our users. We don't care about eyeballs all that much.

When a service offers free accounts and doesn't earn a dime, you should watch out, don't you think?
--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of Nozbe.com - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Readership: VC Roundup - we give big bucks to big Techcrunch'ed hype

Just watched the video interview of three major VC guys talking to Mike Arrington of Techcrunch and can't help myself notice that ultimately it's not about the products these guys are investing in... it's about the hype...
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Why are the VCs investing in hype?

Because they are buyers and sellers in one person - they want to buy the most overhyped deal in the world and later sell it at a bigger price to a bigger "fish" (i.e. company) or do an overhyped IPO. That's their goal. They don't care about the startups they invest in, they care about how much they can sell these for. And you can't blame them for that. This is why they don't buy similar companies with better products... if they don't appear on Techcrunch and are not overhyped, they don't matter.

More on VCs this Friday:

While I still advocate the 37signals way and don't search for VCs for my Nozbe or for the new app I'm working on, there are some valid points in the article like "the sole investor in 37signals is Jeff Bezos, who is in fact a typical example of VC backed startup which was running on losses for years to gain the market dominance" or "VCs are not for everyone" - but because of Techcrunch and overhyped stories of millions of dollars valuations, many startup founders believe the VC way is the only viable way. It's not. Trust me. Trust 37signals :-)

This is a very cool article by a wise man. I can't agree more. I see lots of talent go to the big companies and their startup ideas they might have had... simply die. It's even worse - I saw several times talented startup owners who accepted engineer positions in big companies and killed their startups (to a well deserved fury of the abandoned and cheated users). Especially in Europe people prefer to go for "security" of a steady paycheck than change the world.

Question: What do you think of VCs? Are you Entrepreneurial?
--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of Nozbe.com - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Friday Readership: Switch, Blogging, Electricity and Evernote

On Fridays I tend to let you know what caught my attention throughout the week and this time we've got a book, an end of blogging, a tale of the lack of electricity and an ad for a perfect GTD setup:

Evernote-blog-1
Sorry for this, but I couldn't help it. It's a great day for me - Evernote officially announced Nozbe integrates with them. It's great on many lavels - it's great a bigger player like them is dedicating their time and resources to developing strong partnerships.

Second, the most important reason is that now we all have a perfect GTD (Getting Things Done) setup:
- Evernote for capturing data
- Nozbe for processing and managing tasks and reference materials

Read the announcement on the Evernote's Noteworthy blog and Nozbe's GTD blog

More cool articles found this week:

Michael reviews and gives away a book that I'm currently "reading" on my iPhone as an audiobook. It's a fantastic and mind-blowing book. Totally recommend. Will review on this blog soon too.

Wow, almost a week without power... I'm not sure how David makes it happen. I know I wouldn't. Check his post and description how he pulled this off...

One of my business and programming gurus is taking his blog and writing down. He doesn't believe that after 10 years it still makes sense to build his personal brand. I'm disappointed. I'm not sure I agree with his rationale behind this.

Questions: Did you read Rework or Switch? Reading? How did you like them? Would you survive one week without power? Ever tried Evernote and Nozbe together?

--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of Nozbe.com - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday readership: On writing books, worrying and multitasking

It's Friday and it's time for my typical blog post compilation and this time I had hard time choosing 3 articles for this one as there were quite a few that caught my attention, but here they are in no particular order:

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Reminds me of the discussion we had on my iPad blog post and multitasking. Here's Patrick's take: What Apple is really doing is making technology disappear, surfacing content in a very human way. Even if processing power and battery life are currently capable of delivering multitasking, I’m not sure Apple will implement it in the way we think of multitasking today...
Something I tend to forget and something my wife should practice, too... we shouldn't worry too much, it leads to bad things happening. Here's what Gail says about it: As a mom, when my girls go to a place of worry, I do the only thing I know to do. Since I can’t take it from them, I encourage them to “wait to worry.” Just postpone it. This is procrastination at its best.
Why write a book? by Seth Godin
As I'm contemplating writing a book about bootstrapping a startup, I took Seth's article very seriously: The goal isn't always to spread an idea. Sometimes the goal is to make change happen. A book is a physical souvenir, a concrete instantiation of your ideas in a physical object, something that gives your ideas substance and allows them to travel.
Do you worry too much? Do you really multitask? Do you want to write a book? Yet alone a blog?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Friday Readership: Apple Mac by Microsoft guy, Business advice and Birthday

This Friday will not be about the Apple iPad, but the fruit company will remain anyway. Here's the roundup of articles that caught my attention, you can browse the other "Friday readerships" here:

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I had a pleasure of meeting Don personally twice during my most recent USA trip, we talked and laughed and I asked him about how it feels to be a Google guy after many years of being a Microsoft guy. This post explains it all and shows the conversion from purely Microsoft products to Google and Apple powered ones.

Neil did an interesting post on three-word business advice and most of it is really worth reading several times. He starts with "Time is money" and later continues with "listen to customers" or "use social media". Really great read. One of the people commenting added my favorite ABC: "Always Be Closing" (a sale).

37signals is my "guru" company and I admire them for what they are doing and how they've inspired me and other startup founders in the world. It's their Basecamp and Backpack apps that inspired me to do a GTD web app called Nozbe and find my passion in running it. Basecamp is double the age of Nozbe which just turned 3 which says a lot about how much time these guys are already making it all happen. Congrats guys and thanks again for... basically everything!

Are you also a Microsoft-to-Apple convert? What's your favorite three-word advice? Are you a Basecamp, Backpack or Nozbe user?

--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of Nozbe.com - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Readership: No one really likes the Apple iPad?

OK, so this was Apple's week big time. They first announced their best quarter results ever and two days later they launched the new computing/lifestyle device/gadget - the Apple iPad. What it is is just a bigger iPod Touch and folks have been asking questions if this device really makes sense...

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So here's a roundup of my favorite Apple iPad articles (and at the bottom of everything I'll add my 2 cents):

"It’s about the software, stupid. While all sorts of commentators were focusing on how much Apple’s new $499 iPad tablet computer looks like an oversized iPhone, the key to whether it can be the first multi-function tablet to win wide public acceptance probably lies in whether consumers perceive it as a suitable replacement for a laptop in key scenarios."

So Walt was pretty objective, but most of geeks and gadget reviewers/bloggers didn't like the device:

What's missing from the iPad by TUAW's Mel Martin

While all the final info is not out yet, there were a few major omissions from the iPad hardware. Here's the highly desireable stuff that came out missing: No Camera, No verizon, No notifications, No TV content, No multitasking...

The iPad, much like the iPhone, is completely locked down. The user has no control over what she installs on the hardware, short of accepting exactly what Apple has approved for it...

A lot of people at Gizmodo are psyched about the iPad. Not me! My god, am I underwhelmed by it. It has some absolutely backbreaking failures that will make buying one the last thing I would want to do...

But not all reviews were so bad, some liked it:

Most people won’t yet, but as long as Apple has its base that will buy and use the iPad, they have plenty of time for either themselves or third-party developers to create the killer uses that make the iPad a must-have product for a broader range of people ... there will be no shortage of people willing to splurge on the device just to see what all the fuss is about. They’ll get hooked too.

And I'd like to finalize this post with quote from my favorite NY Tiimes journalist:

"My main message to fanboys is this: it’s too early to draw any conclusions. Apple hasn’t given the thing to any reviewers yet, there are no iPad-only apps yet (there will be), the e-bookstore hasn’t gone online yet, and so on. So hyperventilating is not yet the appropriate reaction.

At the same time, the bashers should be careful, too. As we enter Phase 2, remember how silly you all looked when you all predicted the iPhone’s demise in that period before it went on sale."

What do you think about the iPad? Love it? Hate it? Will you buy it (i.e. vote with your wallet)?

--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of Nozbe.com - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Friday Readership: Less conversation, more iPhone for kids... and clarity

If you're following my Twitter feed this week, you know I've been busy traveling between New York City, San Francisco and the Silicon Valley, but I'd like to give you a portion of cool articles I've found this week (I do this every Friday, so check the rest of my Friday blog posts here)

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I'm missing my daughter right now (will not see her for another week before I return home) and although she's only one year young... she's a daughter of a geek (guilty!) so I'm sure I'll be doing the same as Patrick did: "My three year old daughter now has her own iPhone, though without service so it is effectively an iPod touch. And how did I create a monster, you might ask? Easy. Her first words upon waking from sleep are “Where’s my iPhone?”...

Joel writes about productivity, focus and he has many valid points there: “As companies expand, the people within them start to specialize. At such a point, some managers will conclude that they have a ‘keep everyone on the same page’ problem. But often what they actually have is a ‘stop people from meddling when there are already enough smart people working on something’ problem.”

You can agree or disagree with many of Steve's posts, but this one is really good: "Fortunately there are many actions you can take and mental adjustments you can make that will help you shift from uncertainty to certainty. Here are 11 tips for infusing your life with more clarity: ...."

What did you find interesting this week? Link it up! or @MichaelNozbe me!

--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of Nozbe.com - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Friday Readership: Less is more, Android army and Amplifying complaints

Today I'd like to bring to your attention a mix of three totally different posts that really made me think and challenged my point of view...
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"I think I may have accidentally unearthed a whole new untapped population online: the Android Army." ... "And yet here is this new army of Google defenders, raising their spears and chanting as though you’ve insulted….Apple." - read the complete article where David talks about this new phenomenon.

"The easiest way to force the insight of what can be lived without is by playing a game of constraints" ...."It’s amazing how creative the cuts and sharp the sacrifices become when you’re backed into a corner. It’s when you have to choose that you make the best choices." - great insights by the other David - simply embrace the constraints... but first create them!

Amplifying complaints by Seth Godin

"Here's a common human trick: before you state your complaint, wind yourself up with a preface that makes your complaint even more plaintive and more vivid." - Seth explains how human language and pro-human approach can change the way people deal with you... and they'll actually help you! I'll talk about the aspects of language in business in one of my posts next week.

Have a great weekend! What caught your eye this week? What has inspired you or made you think? Let me know!

--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of Nozbe.com - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday Readership - New Year's Resolutions for 2010

Welcome to my first "Friday Readership" blog posts this year - every Friday I'm gathering the most interesting links with posts I've read recently. You can browse all of the posts from this series here. Today all the posts will be about New Year's resolutions:

2010

Oldie but goodie: It’s something of a tradition at this time of year that everyone writes advice about New Year’s Resolutions. Whether it be on TV, in magazines or on blogs (ahem...), they all seem happy to dish out ill thought advice left, right and center. However I am going to buck this trend and provide a damning indictment of the New Year’s Resolution...

You can also read this article in the #2 issue of the Productive Magazine

Another goodie: The timeless classics for the New Year’s resolution is to lose weight or improve your appearance. This is normally an automatic next action after a festive season of over indulgence! Eight pounds is the average weight gain in the UK over the festive period, and I can talk first hand of people who love nothing more than to drink and be merry over Christmas and the New Year...

This article also can be found in the #2 issue of the Productive Magazine

This one is fresh: I love the week between Christmas and New Year’s. For me, it is always a time when things slow down. I can reflect on the past year and look forward to the new year. I especially enjoy the time with my family and reconnecting with what’s really important...

Maybe we'll ask Michael to make it a contribution for the Productive Magazine #4 :-)

Question:
What do you think about New Year's resolutions? How do you make them work? What's on your agenda this year?

--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of Nozbe.com - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Friday Readership - Business Motivational Quotes, eBook readers and Meetings

So Friday's coming to an end... it's almost weekend so I decided to post some of the cool articles that stuff that caught my attention this week. Let's start with the poster I found on the Signal vs Noise blog:

Meetings

This is so true - and it's why everyone in my company works remotely and when we meet, we eat lunches, we hang out and talk, we don't work together "physically", we use this time to recharge our batteries, get to know each other better and have fun... and loosely talk about our business.

I'm still not sure if what Mike is writing will really be the case so quickly and if 2010 will bring so much change... however due to the fact that the content is "in the cloud" this could really start happening... 

I've read my last books on my iPhone and now I also started purchasing audio-books... there will be lots of new ways of digesting content and it'll be really exciting to see what the consumers will eventually choose as their "dominant" way of "reading"... or there will be no dominant way? Just a set of really powerful alternatives?

Neil has compiled a list of really cool quotes, I'd also add additional one by Henry Ford:

"If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." -- Henry Ford.

Out of the list Neil posted I really enjoyed the one about "buses" by Richard Branson and about competitors by ... Henry Ford, but there are a lot more that will definitely keep you going and keep you motivated while you think about your startup this weekend.

Do you have any inspirational quotes for me for this weekend and next week and beyond? What do you think about new era of publishing with ebook readers taking place of books?

--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of Nozbe.com - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.