Tuesday, July 1, 2014

✔ Why running almost barefoot with Vibram FiveFingers is good for my health and fitness.

I bought my first pair of FiveFingers shoes (feet gloves?) a little over four years ago. Yes, they were weird at first but after some getting used to, I fell in love with the comfort of walking almost barefoot. Today I'm running in FiveFingers almost exclusively. Earlier this year I read about a study where researchers supposedly managed to prove that these shoes were injury-prone. Moreover Vibram, the company behind these shoes settled a class-action lawsuit and agreed to refund customers their money. I don't want a refund. I just bought a new pair. Here's why:

Why running almost barefoot with Vibram FiveFingers is good for my health and fitness

Before and after my knee injury...

I didn't run much in my first FiveFingers shoes ("Classic" model), I only started running seriously "barefoot style" when I got the "Bikila LS" model. I began running regularly mid 2012 and until mid 2013 picked up the pace to ~5.30min/km at 10km distances... mostly running on the beach (soft surface). Then my friend invited me for a longer 15km run on a pavement. I was afraid in the FiveFingers shoes I wouldn't get enough cushion or support so I chose to run with my friend in "traditional" Nike shoes. Boy did I make a mistake. We ran a half-marathon. At km 17 my knee started hurting me... but I finished my run... only to discover I seriously injured my knee.

As I explained in my last post about the "Born to Run" book, my doctor later told me I wasn't built for running. Well, I dismissed his advice, got back to running and now I've just ran my first 10km run below the 50min time. In FiveFingers again (this time the newest "SeeYa" model). However, what I discovered was that running in FiveFingers is not as straightforward as you might think. It's all about "how" you run:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

✔ My first triathlon - excitement, self-doubt, drama and joy - how I won my fight with the resistance

Yesterday I finished my first ever triathlon. I'm so, so happy. Especially that I was very close not to finishing it. Twice. Yes, my first triathlon is a story of excitement... followed by self-doubt and later drama that for a few minutes put me out of the race... and joy of fighting the odds and finishing it in the end. Here goes:

2014 is a fitness year for me

I started strong with lots of regular running and a thanks to a new style of eating /I managed to lose 15+lbs. Suffice to say, I'm in the best shape of my life. That's why when my daughter's teacher asked me if I wanted to run a triathlon with him I decided to give it a try. He told me about the "sprint" distance (750m sea swim, 20km bike ride and 5km run) and I thought it was tough enough to get me out of my comfort zone and reasonable enough that I had a fighting chance of finishing it. And it was only a little more than a week away, so I knew I didn't have lots of time to prepare. I was excited to give my first triathlon a try. Well, it wasn't that easy...

Saturday, April 19, 2014

✔ Yes, I'm a Christian (Roman-Catholic) and I believe Jesus Christ to be my Savior

Happy Easter everyone! Hope you like my special post for this Easter weekend. Well, last year I launched our 10-Steps to Ultimate Productivity Course where in the 8th lesson about the "Weekly Review" I admit to being a Christian. I also state it clearly at the end of my "about" page. I didn't think it was really such a big deal... until I started receiving very nice emails from my Nozbe users and my blog readers. In this blog post I'd like say why I believe it's important to openly share your belief system with people you're connected to.

Yes, I'm a Christian (Roman-Catholic) and I believe Jesus Christ to be my Savior

I was really blown away when I started getting messages like these:

"I wanted to send you a quick note today to let you know I appreciate the you boldly sharing your faith, and I want to encourage you on the journey!" (Dave)

or

"What really captured my attention was in your course video on weekly review where you stated that you are Catholic and that you begin your weekly review with prayer. (...) It seems that our values are aligned in wanting to help individuals and organizations thrive and be as productive and healthy as possible." (Brad)

And I got many more emails like these. And from people of different nationalities. What really captured my attention was the fact that folks were surprised I was so open about my belief system. I think everyone should be doing this, here's why (and how):

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

✔ Why We Get Fat? by Gary Taubes - (audio) book of the week

It's been a while since I posted about a book of the week and not because I wasn't reading anything. Far from it. I've been listening to quite a few books lately so I'll try to post more about it and today I want to start with a book that completely changed my life in the last 3 months... and it's about eating, dieting and health... and its contents are contrary to the popular knowledge. The author really explains why we get fat:

Why We Get Fat? by Gary Taubes - audiobook of the week

Get this book on: Audible Amazon

When I summarized 2013 I noticed I wanted to lose weight. About 10 lbs (4-5kg) this year to achieve my "perfect bodyweight". You see, three years ago I got chubby. I gained about 10kg (22lbs) to a really alarming weight of 80kg (176 lbs) which at my height (1.68 cm / 5'4) is starting to look pretty bad. I didn't feel great. So I got to work. Over the last three years I started getting in shape: I'm running regularly now, I do fitness training, I eat healthier... and I started to feel I was in the best shape of my life... but I only managed to go down to 74kg (163lbs) and not much below that. Of course, with fitness training and running my muscles got heavier, but still, I could tell I had still too much fat in my body. Then I read this book "Why We Get Fat?" by Gary Taubes... changed my habits and in 2.5 months of 2014 I managed to achieve my perfect weight of 67kg (147lbs), which is about 13kg (30lbs) less than where I was 3 years ago. And I keep maintaining this weight. Here's why this book changed my eating habits so much:

Friday, December 13, 2013

✔ How to never forget to pay your bills (thanks to Nozbe)

Just recently a friend of mine called me up and asked for advice regarding bills, she said: "I usually pay all the bills on time. Especially when I receive them in the mail - they're easy to process - I get the bill and I pay it right then. Recently many companies start sending me e-invoices (via email) and sometimes I slip and pay only when they call me to say my payment is overdue. How can you help me set up my payment reminder system so that I will remember about all these bills and be able to pay them on time? How do you deal with that?". Here's how I do it:

How to never forget to pay your bills (thanks to Nozbe)

I use Nozbe to track all my bills. (duh!)

As Nozbe founder I use my own software for managing projects, communicating with my team and other business-like tasks... but I also use Nozbe for these small administrative chores like paying the bills. What David Allen says in GTD (Getting Things Done), it's important not to think about something... until you have to think about it. This is why I set up my bills in Nozbe and I'm being reminded about them only when I need to deal with them. Not earlier, not later. Here's how my setup looks like:

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

✔ Moral compass. On being honest and what I'm doing every day to make better decisions.

Recently I read the book by Dan Ariely called "Predictably Irrational" and I think it was a fantastic book. I'll blog about it later but today I wanted to focus on something that really struck me there and influenced how I approach my work every single day. It's about moral compass and prayer and being a better person. Here goes.

Moral compass. On being honest and what I'm doing every day to make better decisions.

As you know I'm Catholic. Having said that, daily habit of prayer has always been something I've been struggling with. It turns out being able to talk to God is a skill and it's not that easy to make it regular, honest and not boring or repetitive. Following advice by Michael Hyatt I was trying to read the Bible every day using the "One Year Bible" Kindle book. The problem was, the habit of reading a piece of Bible every day wasn't sticking with me... I'd read one day... and forget... or "not have the time" to read the other... until I read Dan Ariely's book and found out about an experiment that changed my point of view dramatically:

Monday, July 29, 2013

✔ How my entrepreneurial parents inspired me to start a company

Whenever I get a chance to speak at a conference or have a Q&A with an audience, or get interviewed for a podcast, people always keep asking me the same set of questions: "What made me start on my own? Why after college did I pursue my own company instead of a career in a corporate world? What were my parents thinking of my choice?" Well, I always respond that it's actually my parents who are to blame here. They are entrepreneurs themselves.

How my entrepreneurial parents inspired me to start a company

When the communist curtain fell in the beginning of the 90s, my parents were "intellectuals" (meaning, they had a college degree) with lousy jobs. In the communist times in Poland the "physical workers" were promoted and were earning better salaries than the college graduates. My parents were barely making it paycheck to paycheck. However, the fall of the communist dictatorship made it possible for people to start their own "small companies" and my parents ceased the moment. They started their own companies, here's how it went down:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

✔ Take the blame. It's really your fault. Learn from it.

It's not natural to take the blame. It feels better to blame the other guy... like when we are late - to blame it on the traffic, nanny, the kids, iPhone's reminder, whatever... whenever we screw something up, we try to come clean and say it's not our fault. Well, it really is our fault. In this short post I want to tell you why learning to take the blame is critical to your success. Learn to accept it's your fault... to really learn something from it!

Take the blame. It's really your fault in the end.

We're moving to a new house with my wife and while searching for houses we had to make appointments with many real-estate brokers. One of them was Joan (not her real name). She was a very warm, driven and motivated person and she was about to show us the house we'd ultimately decide to take... but it wasn't all that easy.

In the first meeting I almost crossed her (and the house) out completely because when we showed up for our appointment in front of the house to visit it, she said she didn't have the key! I was like "Seriously? How do you want to show us the house without the key? Why did you drag us down here at an appointed time... totally unprepared?" and then it all started...

She started telling me this story where the neighbor had the key but she talked to her and agreed to get the key in the morning, but then she had to buy groceries, and then her assistant wasn't in the office, and then... - I stopped her.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Combating Resistance - the 10-step productivity course recorded!

A few months ago I announced on this blog I was planning to record the video course: 10 steps to ultimate productivity!. It took me a little while to get the recording going but finally we started recording last week and yesterday we finished the recording process. It was a roller coaster of an experience... but definitely one of these moments you feel you're alive.

Combating Resistance - the 10-step productivity course recorded!

As I mentioned in my last post I was scared it wouldn't work. We had only a little over a week to record an 11-unit course (Intro + 10 steps) in 5 languages. It was the first time I hired a professional recording crew, it was the first time I had to use tools like tele-prompter and speak for almost 12 hours straight into the camera... and do it every day in a different language... and wearing make-up (crazy!). It was the first time I had to record myself speaking Japanese (luckily for me - Zofia, our Japanese "Happiness Officer", recorded most of the course in Japanese... which was a "first time" for her as well :-)

The "Resistance" was with me at all times

I wanted to give up several times while recording the course, here are a few examples:

Thursday, February 7, 2013

An interview with me - Michael Sliwinski's story - it's all about passion!

A few days ago Apple accepted our Nozbe iOS apps and I celebrated 6 years of running Nozbe. I can't believe how time flies. I launched Nozbe on February 1st 2007 and although 6 years have passed, I feel like I'm just getting started! To celebrate this anniversary I wanted to write a lengthy blog post summarizing what happened in that time... but I decided to do it a little differently.

An interview with me - Michael Sliwinski

I'm very happy to report that the story of Nozbe has served as inspiration for many young entrepreneurs and startup founders who (like me) are dreaming of making a small dent in the universe by running an app that serves thousands (if not millions) of people all over the world.

That's why I'm quite often humbled to be asked for an interview - mostly in English (a few examples: Firepole Marketing, Startup Success Podcast, Productive Superdad, The Daily Saint, Work Awesome, Daniel Gold or Take Permission Media) as well as in my mother tongue - Polish (like: MamStartup, Megafoni, Produktywnie, Mediafun or AK74).

That's why, to celebrate my 6th-year anniversary of running Nozbe and to create a resource where hopefully you can learn more about me, my story, the good, the bad and everything in between... I decided to publish this as an interview with myself. Enjoy! Here goes:

Monday, January 21, 2013

My fitness summary for 2012 - running, exercising and losing weight

If you're following my Instagram feed or my Twitter profile you know I'm and avid runner. I also exercise wherever I can. Getting back in shape was a decision I made about three years ago when I found out I was getting quite chubby because of the nature of my work and my eating habits. 2012 was the best year for me as far as my fitness is concerned... and I think 2013 will be even better.

My fitness summary for 2012

When I confessed to my friend Miguel Guía that I felt I was getting out of shape a few years go, he said that I was enjoying a fit body in my twenties and I took it for granted... and now I'm in my thirties and need to do something about it. Especially when my daughter was born I stopped doing any sports (I was regularly training Karate Shotokan and basketball before) and gained 10 kg (20 lbs) by the time my daughter celebrated her first birthday.

Gradually in 2010 and 2011 I was trying to exercise more, my wife convinced me to start running... and I felt better. I was losing weight, gaining some muscles and feeling I could get in shape... but it wasn't until 2012 came along that I finally put my habits in place and made the biggest difference. Here's what happened:

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Giving thanks for good to TV, Radio and Newspapers

Yesterday was "Thanksgiving" in the USA and though we don't celebrate it here on this side of the pond (aka Europe) I'd like to give thanks to the television, radio and newspapers. A big thanks. They really were an important part of my life growing up. But they are not anymore. At all. My habits have changed. I don't need these artifacts of the 20th century anymore... and I don't think I'm alone here...

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How I started out with an old TV and 2 channels

I was born in Poland in the communism times. We had two national channels. And that's it. Then we started getting some satellite TV... but our old TV boxes could receive up to 8 channels... but then we got new ones, better cable television... and now we live with 100s of channels with nothing interesting to watch :-)

In the communism times I used to stay in the line for half an hour every day to get the daily newspaper. I didn't read the news but there was a comic there and I was collecting comics. And my dad read newspapers. Now he doesn't. Neither do I. If I ever have to stand in a line again, it's to buy a newest iGadget, not a newspaper :-)

When I got my first car, I bought myself a good radio receiver. It had to have RDS and other cool technologies to pick up good signal. I liked listening to the radio. These times are gone.

I don't watch TV - I watch TV shows and movies

That's right. Even though we do have cable at home, we only use it for my 4-year old daughter to watch her favorite cartoons. Although it's changing as well as she prefers watching them on the iPad from iTunes. Times are changing. This is how I "consume content" nowadays:

1. Shows (and movies) on Netflix and Hulu

Thanks to a friend of mine I managed to set up a Netflix and Hulu account and thanks to a VPN provider I can watch them nicely while living in Europe. The geo-restriction is dumb. Especially that I'm a paid subscriber to both of these services. This is how I watch TV shows without actually watching TV.

2. Movies on iTunes

Having an American iTunes account enables me to watch all the newest movies from the comfort of my home. At $5 bucks, renting movies is cheap (and they stream instantaneously in HD!) - I don't have to go to a rental shop and waste time only to find out that a movie I want to watch isn't there yet (or anymore)... or is not on Blu-ray. Seriously. Who goes to rental shops anymore?

3. I don't watch "bad" TV News

TV News should be just called "BAD NEWS" actually. This year I watched them a few times only and each time I was totally appalled by the number of times they mentioned seriously tragic things. They just need to have our (viewers') attention so they focus only on the negative. That's why I don't watch bad news. I'm a positive kind of guy.

4. I listen to audiobooks and podcasts

When I'm running or driving I prefer to listen to the audiobooks as I can focus on hearing what the person "from my iPhone" is reading to me. When I'm checking email or doing work that doesn't require too much focus from me, I'm listening to podcasts. There's no room for radio here. And I don't mind.

5. I read RSS and digital magazines

I'm the publisher of the Productive! Magazine after all so I like digital magazines but most of all I like RSS - where I can subscribe to many of my favorite blogs and read them daily using the fantastic Reeder app on my iPhone or iPad. And if I really want some more up-to-date news'y kind of stuff - I check my Twitter timeline.

This is how content-on-demand changed my habits

The Internet changed everything. Content on demand changes even more (even though the old media companies still don't want to admit it) to the point that my "media consuming" habits have altered dramatically. I've come to expect that I can watch, read or listen to everything "on demand" and I don't want it any other way. I'm glad I can choose what I "consume" now and it's not being forced upon me like it used to be in the "good old days" of TV, radio and newspapers.

That's why I'm so thankful for the times are live in and for the amazing ways I can access content on demand. TV? Radio? Newspapers? No, thanks.

Question: And how do you "consume content"? Have your habits changed, too? In which way?

Friday, September 21, 2012

iPhone 5 - why I love it but won't take it just yet

Whenever an Apple event takes place, I prefer to stay out of the Apple-related blogs. I always wait to see the keynote myself and get surprised and dazzled by Apple magic. When the keynote went up on Apple web site I watched it and I must say I was amazed by the new iPhone 5... but I decided NOT to buy it yet (so I wasn't standing in a line today as well). Here's why:

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Apple still has the mojo and I believe it's still the best iPhone yet

Just like MG Siegler posted on Techcrunch, I agree that Apple still has the magic and iPhone is like Porsche 911, with each iteration it's the same great device... just a little better. The new iPhone 5 features a better (and longer!) screen, it's thinner, lighter, and twice as fast... it's just better than any iPhone before... so why I'm NOT lining up to get one?

Reason 1. iPhone 4s is still an amazing phone and portable computer

There's nothing wrong with my iPhone 4s. It's fast (and definitely not sluggish), it looks great, works great and syncs well with my iPad to help me get my job done. I trust Gruber when he says the new iPhone is the nicest one ever but my iPhone 4s is also very nice and simply put, works. And I still love it.

Reason 2. The "amazing" Lightning connector

Yep, the connector. I know Apple had to do it, I know they needed to finally take the plunge and go the new connector route. It's 2012 right? Well, I understand it... but I couldn't care less for now. I own the first iPad, the newest iPad (which I use for my iPad only way, 3 iPod nanos and me and my wife own two iPhone 4s.

Lot's of docks

We have three docks for music on each level of our house, we have lots of old iPod/iPhone cables we use for charging our devices, and I own lots of retractable cables (which I love and are great when I travel) to charge my iDevices. I just don't want to use non-retractable cables anymore. I don't want to walk around with a $29 "converter". It's bulky, ugly and expensive. And I'd need at least three of those ($100 bucks? seriously?) I don't want to add more cables to my travel bag.

And did I say I really love retractable cables and I'm not using the original Apple cables at all?

I'm not saying Apple made a mistake with the new connector. It's the moment to change it, for them, but not for me. Once I decide to switch to iPad 4 with new connector and buy my wife and myself new iPhones (5s?) I'll take the plunge. For now, it's too much of a hassle for me.

Reason 3. Minimalism and "hiring tools for the job to get done"

Sometimes it's just good to get back to minimalism and use the tools we have at our disposal. My iPhone and iPad work great with the old connector and they work great overall. I'm very tempted to change but I it would be just for the sake of owning the latest thing.

I also know it'll just add hassle to my life with the new dock connector, converters and all. And the speed bump might be noticable but it won't increase my productivity much. I like my setup and my iPhone 4S and iPad which work together in harmony. And both will receive the latest iOS6 goodies (uhm, and the "improved" Maps app).

Maybe I'll change my mind when the (rumored) iPad mini shows up. Or the new new new iPad next year. I don't know. For now my setup works and my iPadonly crusade is on the right track. I'm not buying, at least until next year/month/week... :-)

I'm not buying an iPhone 5 definitely... maybe :-)

Are you switching to iPhone 5? What phone have you been using before?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Indestructibles - Hermann Maier and Robert Kubica

If you follow me on Twitter you might know I'm following Formula 1 pretty closely and I'm a big fan of car racing in general. The sports I also love watching (and sometimes playing) are basketball, skiing, ski-jumping (well, I wouldn't do that myself) and a few more. I'm a typical guy who likes watching sports in general. And I have a few heros of mine in each of these sports.

I mentioned before how I admire Adam Małysz for his great sportsmanship and for being a humble champion. In this post I'd like to talk about two more people I admire for their indestructible nature and persistence:

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Hermann Maier - a.k.a. the "Herminator"

I love skiing. I've been doing this for the last 20 years or so and every winter I try to go for a week at least to drive on beautiful Alpine slopes at amazing speeds... and I even listen to audiobooks while doing that :-)

That's why I've been watching ski championships for many years now and the guy who stood out for me was Hermann Maier - a guy from Austria who apparently was indestructible. Well, he proved it when he had a motorbike accident in August 2001 and nearly had his leg amputated. The doctors said he wouldn't be able to walk in the future...

Well, saying "he proved them wrong" is understatement. He got back to professional skiing only a year and a half later and just two weeks after his comeback he won a race. Seriously, he basically proved everyone else they had no clue about skiing... a guy who was not supposed to walk, won with younger folks at the top of their game. Amazing. He later won a world title again and had an amazing career.

To me, he really is The Herminator.

Robert Kubica - a crazy racer

Robert Kubica is the first person from my country of Poland to have participated in Formula 1. To this date, he won 1 race and had many podium finishes and at some point in the 2008 season he was even a leader in the overall world championship standings (and later finished 4th). He has the talent, the drive and he was expected to be the first F1 champion to have come from Poland.

Well, before the 2011 season, when he showed lots of promise, he did something reckless and participated in a rally race just before F1 season opening. His car crashed and he got out barely alive with a threat of having his right hand amputated. In the end the doctors fought for his hand and he didn't lose it... but he never came back to Formula 1 again. Not for the 2011 season, not for this year's season. Everyone (including myself) started doubting he'll ever come back to professional racing.

And then he started racing in a WRC rally. This was a shocker. After months of silence, Robert Kubica decided to take his rehabilitation to the next level by simply taking part in a car rally in a WRC car Subaru Impreza (and a WRC car is a 300 horsepower car - the fastest type of car there is for a street rally).

He won the race by a large margin. Seriously, I thought he had no fighting chance - after all his right hand is still injured, he's racing in an old 2007 Subaru Impreza and is competing against younger (and totally healthy) racing drivers in newer WRC cars. Yet he won each part of the race (each one!) and grabbed the total win. Incredible. Now I still believe he can come back to F1 at some point.

The power of faith, drive, will and being indestructible

Both Hermann Maier and Robert Kubica prove that, as Nike slogan puts it, "Impossible is nothing". They're winning against all odds, winning with others, with their body, with their head, with themselves. They show what it means to be a real winner. Now, seeing guys like this, you still think about giving up at something you think is "not possible"?

What is impossible? How do you win against yourself and everyone else? Do you know any other inspiring story?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Your biggest competitor? You!

If you are in a business that makes at least some money, chances are you are not alone. You have competitors who are after the same market and who will do everything to crush you and go after the money you are earning. And you fight back. And you lose. Energy. Time. Resources. Money. Because you get it wrong. Because most of the businesses get it wrong. You shouldn't care about your competitors. The truth is, the biggest competitor you have is yourself. And I have a track record to prove it.

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Back to the roots: why I launched Nozbe in February of 2007?

When I launched Nozbe a little over 5 years ago I showed it to the world because I thought that maybe there are more people on this planet who could benefit from a tool that I was building for myself. A tool that helped me organize my projects and my time.

Last week I reviewed the book "Start with Why" and if we go back to its ideas, we can very easily discover that my Nozbe story is a great example of starting with a "Why?". I didn't need a new business. I was doing fairly OK with my consultancy work - I just needed to "get things done" better. And for an entire year Nozbe was my side-project which I kept improving because I loved working on it and fell in love with the community around it. Only when it started bringing in more money than my day job I decided to focus on Nozbe full time (around January 2008).

Reality check: does Nozbe have competitors?

Seriously? You're asking me if there are any competitors in one of most crowded spaces out there ("Productivity")? The common joke goes that when a computer degree graduate wants to code something they either build a Twitter client or a to-do list application. And I'm not sure it's really that funny...

Just think about it for a moment - with so many competitors and new coming each year, each month (each week?)... I should be going crazy. I should be freaking scared to open my fridge in the morning only to find a new to-do app there next to my yoghurt.

Be faithful to your customers and not competitors

The thing is, what I am obsessing about is my customers - people and businesses who trusted me and are using Nozbe every single day to manage their tasks and projects. Most of them don't care about my competitors - they just want to get their job done. And I should be helping them with it. And this might be the reason why after 5 years we're more profitable than ever, doing great and looking forward to the future (with great improvements in the pipeline) and many of our "competitors" are "coming and going" all of the time (unfortunately for their users, most are folding seeing no money on the horizon...).

But hey, I'm not perfect, I had some lapses, too...

Last year was particularly difficult. First off, my team was too small and I had to build it up, while also building many products around Nozbe at the time with limited resources. I was stressed, seeing a few big entrants into the market with big splashes, lots of VC-backed money and some amazing designs. I started obsessing about them, going different directions, losing focus... and started losing customers in the process.

Now I'm cured. I have a bigger team with very talented people working on some of our best work. Our customers are getting happier seeing us deliver the goodies with our desktop app, mobile web app and more things to come. We're more focused than ever and the future looks very promising. It's because I realized that the biggest competitor to Nozbe in 2012 was not some other company, but was Nozbe version 2011... We're focused on building the best productivity tool we can build.

The key is to focus on your WHY and compete with yourself

When people ask me why they should choose Nozbe over any other solution I could go on and on about how easily we implement GTD (Getting Things Done system by David Allen), how our tool syncs in the cloud with all the devices you (might) have and how we sync with Evernote or Dropbox or Box or Google Calendar... but many other tools offer similar solutions in one way or the other... but the real reason is why we do these things and it's because we want you to be more productive every single day. Because we're building the best productivity suite we can build. Because Nozbe 2011 which was darn good is nothing to what we're bringing in 2012 and beyond. Because we deeply care about your productivity. Because we don't "just integrate" with other services, or the cloud, or anything else for just the sake of it. We do it, because we believe with all these features you will get things done better than before. We ask "why" and integrate later. And with a proven track record and healthy business model we know we can keep pulling this off for your benefit.

Some examples from the real world

When Steve Jobs came back to Apple in 1997 he said: "It's time to let go of the notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose. For Apple to win, Apple has to do a really good job". And just look how it worked out for them.

Conversely when Microsoft saw iPod's success, they launched Zune. They didn't know why they did it (for the money?) but they focused on beating Apple. They lost. Massively. Zune is gone.

When Facebook launched "check-ins" everyone said Foursquare was going to die. Foursquare didn't die. They focused on themselves and kept on improving their app and eco-system and Facebook Places folded and Foursquare is doing better than ever.

Catch yourself if you can!

Just think about how world would be a better place if companies focused on themselves rather than their competitors. How we - the consumers - would benefit a lot more if they focused on us instead of themselves. That's why please take my advice if you're building a startup business - focus on yourself and on out-pacing yourself instead of trying to catch anyone else.

I'm not saying you should completely ignore your competitors and do no competitive analysis at all. It's good to know what's happening in the world. Nothing wrong about that. But again, while you're at it, focus on why this or that feature will make YOUR product better. Catch yourself if you can.

Do you obsess about your competitors? Do you analyze them? Or you don't care? Or you do care but only a little? Do you believe you should? What do you think?