Wednesday, January 22, 2014

✔ I'm officially a decade-long entrepreneur and loving it!

Silently last month, I had an opportunity to celebrate my 10th anniversary as an entrepreneur. On December 15, 2003 I registered my company "" and was officially in business. I was kinda-self employed before, as I was trying to build, hack and sell things while studying at the university, but in 2003 right after my graduation I decided to officially open up my one-man-shop business. In this post I'll share with you a few lessons I learned and why I love every minute of it and why I still believe passion is what matters to me the most.

I'm officially a decade-long entrepreneur and I'm loving it!

As I already posted on my blog, my parents inspired me to start a company. They both are very entrepreneurial and seeing them working on their own in the post-communist Poland and seeing their freedom, ups, downs and everything surrounding entrepreneurship I also wanted to be like them.

I studied business and graduated from business school and also learned to speak several foreign languages - folks like me would start sending out CVs after graduation to the biggest companies they knew... and I decided not to. I opened up my own "Internet company" and as Michael Hyatt likes to put it, "failed my way to a success". Here's what I learned:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

✔ Productive! Magazine on the Android phone, tablet or phablet near you

As I mentioned in my last post one of my team's biggest achievements in 2013 was re-launching Productive! Magazine as an iPhone and iPad app. And our plans were even more ambitious than that. We also wanted to have an Android app and today we're launching your favorite productivity magazine on Android platform

Productive! Magazine on the Android phone, tablet or phablet near you

Visit Productive! Magazine web site and read online on your computer or mobile phone... or get our Android app or iPhone/iPad app - both are free!

As you know I'm a big fan of Apple iGadgets but I also had Android devices in the past and although I don't approve of Google's privacy policies I believe in choice and if one prefers an Android phone or tablet I'll be more than happy to oblige. After all, we've been having Nozbe Android apps for quite some time now.

Productive! Magazine 17 soon!

We'll soon reveal our 17th issue of our magazine so stay tuned and if you want to make sure you'll get it on time, please visit our Productive! Magazine site and get our apps. Thanks to Nozbe's sponsorship I can offer you the inspiration and advice of the best productivity experts on the internet for free :-)

Question: Are you reading Productive magazine? Why? Why not? How do you read it? On which device?

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:

Friday, November 22, 2013

✔ I, NO robot. Android or iPhone or iPad? It's beyond specs, let's talk privacy.

There's this movie with Will Smith: "I, Robot". Well, I just got rid of my Nexus S and Nexus 7 devices (gave them to my team - they'll do the testing of Nozbe) and I can safely say: "I, NO robot." I'm not using any Android device anymore and I won't be doing it in the future. And not just because I'm #iPadOnly and I use my iPhone as both the wallet and phone. It's beyond the technology, my Apple-fanboy status or specs. It's about my lack of trust in Google as far as my personal information is concerned. It's about my right to privacy:

Android vs iPhone vs iPad

Recently I had a few conversations with some of my friends about how Android OS improved over the years and in many ways matches iOS and how the Android phones and tablets are better spec'd in many ways than their iOS counterparts. Apart from my personal conviction that the iPhone is a better phone (Aluminum vs plastic, touch-ID vs pin codes) and iPad is a better tablet (screen, weight, aluminum... design... and apps), what I realized is that when comparing the two platforms, we only talk about specs and design... what we don't talk about are the underlying differences between the two companies that power our devices: Google vs Apple. Here goes:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

✔ Online Business Productivity - book of the week by Timo Kiander

A few months ago Timo Kiander also known as Productive Superdad approached me with an idea of a book - a compilation of interviews with some of productivity experts out there. He did an interview with me and his new book: "Online Business Productivity" is out today. And I'm proud to be a part of it. And I totally recommend this book:

Book by Timo Kiander - Online Business Productivity

In the book you'll find a great introduction by Laura Stack and 19 essays by really a bunch of fantastic people. I had a blast being interviewed by Timo and based on our chat he created a great piece on me with some of the best pieces of advice I ever gave. A few examples:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

✔ iPad is just a PC? A kinda PC without keyboard? Or is it?

A few days ago I received a very nice email from one of #iPadOnly book readers - Jean-Michel: "I just subscribed to #ipadOnly, but it is because I'm not convinced at all :)" and he said that basically computers are just generic tools, like swiss-army knives... and that iPad is just a mobile computer, and because it lacks keyboard it's actually even a little worse than the "traditional" computers.

Great points, good questions. Let me address these in this post (writing on my iPad Air with iPad mini keyboard attached to it :-)

iPad PC

As you can read in my intro to the #iPadOnly book I was involved with the computers for a very long time. I got my first IBM PC XT when I was 10 and now I'm 34 so it's been a long ride. I switched to Mac in late 2008 and to the iPad in early 2012. That's why I have some background and prior experience with various computing setups and that's why I really believe the iPad is DIFFERENT than a traditional computer and it's changing the way we're approaching computing. For three big reasons. Let me explain:

Monday, November 11, 2013

✔ This is our Independence Day!

95 years ago today, Poland re-appeared on the map of Europe. After it had been divided and torn between three countries (Germany, Austria and Russia) for 123 years, at the end of World War I, Poland reemerged as a country again. Today I'm free, I am allowed to speak Polish, I can travel to virtually any country I want, live in any EU country without any problem... and I have close friends in the countries that used to be the enemies. It's just so amazing if you think about it.

Poland is independent

Why am I reminding you about this today? Why am I really celebrating this day?

Because today I'm enjoying and taking for granted the freedom that my fellow Poles were fighting for not even 100 years ago... and I'm just thankful. So thankful for it.

And there are several reasons for that:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Productive! Magazine re-launching soon as an iPad/iPhone and Android app

I started Productive! Magazine back in the Autumn of 2008 with the first issue with David Allen. Why did I do it? I was close to celebrating my 2 years of running Nozbe and wanted to contribute something more than just a great time and project management tool to the community. I wanted to also inspire my Nozbe users. I wanted to inspire everyone around me and myself to be better, be more productive and live a happier life. This is what the magazine is standing for.

Productive! Magazine re-launching soon as an iPad/iPhone and Android app

Fast forward 14 magazine issues later...

I love doing the magazine. I get to hang out with great people like David, Seth, Jason and others and I get to connect with fantastic contributors - all ueber-productive people. However, my day job is to run Nozbe and as a CEO of a growing company in a very competitive environment I don't get to have as much time as I'd want for the magazine... and that's why it took me 5 years to create 14 issues... and this year there was none. Until now. I decided to re-launch it and make it bigger, better and more regular. And different... and still free. Here's why:

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

✔ Luck is what ultimately matters... but you can help it!

I read the book "the art of thinking clearly" and it got me confused - it said that luck is what really matters. The author quoted that among business leaders luck is the main indicator of their success. Not their skills or knowledge. I was confused... was I just plain lucky to have started Nozbe?

Luck is what ultimately matters... but you can help it!

If you think about it, maybe I was. When I was building Nozbe nobody knew about it. I had no platform, no following. I was just reading GTD and productivity blogs and once I launched Nozbe I just commented on one thread on "What's the next action" blog - I simply joined a discussion about productivity apps. Well, I was lucky, the late Marc Orchant was reading these comments, signed up for my tool and wrote about Nozbe on ZDnet. Then other bloggers picked it up and suddenly Lifehacker, 43Folders, The Net Worker Daily and other blogs started writing about my new project. I really was lucky, right? Well...

Friday, September 27, 2013

✔ Control is good but trust is better

The Germans have this saying: "Vertrauen ist gut, Kontrolle ist besser!" ("Trust is good but control is better") which actually comes from Russian leader Lenin. While controlling and having control systems in place is a healthy business practice, I'd say in business relationships I prefer to trust people first and control them later.

Control is good but trust is better

In my company everyone works from home. We work like this because it's a lifestyle choice. This way I can travel and work on my iPad from anywhere I want and my team can do the same... and I can hire people from anywhere I want, not depending on their proximity to my office.

In such environment we have two options: either we trust people to do their best and set up systems to enable them to excel... or we set up web cams in their homes, ask them to log hours, work on certain schedule, etc... Well, I chose the first option... but of course, things are not always that easy...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

✔ Why I hate email and what I'm planning to do about it

This was a busy month for me. My company is going through a transition, I just hired a bunch of key people, put my team through V2MOM creation process, organized our team's yearly get-together in Barcelona and launched a cool Nozbe summer promo and refined Nozbe tutorial. We also set up ground work for Nozbe 2.0 to be launched later this Fall. Everything was a team effort but required a lot of focus from me. So I started skipping on email...

Why I hate email and what I'm planning to do about it

It all started a month ago...

...when I needed to focus on what's best for my company. Started creating V2MOMs, strategy, tactics, talking to my team, analyzing our marketing activities, revenue, everything... and testing our product... and wanted to make sure we'd do a great job for our customers this Fall. This all required long stretches of focus so at the end of the day I was so tired that I just started not opening the email app at all. Every day as I focused on my work I continued postponing checking email... and limited to communicating with my team only, through Nozbe tasks and chat (Facetime, Skype)...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

✔ Growing the team and creating our very first V2MOM documents

Two weeks ago, together with my CTO, we organized a Nozbe developer-team meeting in a beautiful Polish city of Wroclaw. All of our developers drove in, I flew in and for two full days we geeked out. We worked a lot, had a few beers and bonded together again. We normally don't see each other all that often as all of us work from home so it was a good time to spend some quality time together. In this post I'd like to share with you one aspect of this meeting - we created our very first V2MOM documents. What's a V2MOM? Glad you ask, let me tell you all about it:

Growing the team and creating our very first V2MOM documents

Before I dig into details, let me get back a little. A few months ago I had a great meeting with a good friend and one of my mentors, Mariusz, who is already running a very successful Internet company (and a lot bigger than mine). We talked about team-building and how to maintain focus and make sure the team feels like "one vehicle driving in one direction" and everyone knows they have a big role to play and depend on each other. He suggested I read the "Behind the Cloud" book by Marc Benioff and implemented the V2MOM system Marc invented. I was like "V2what?" and he explained:

Thursday, August 8, 2013

✔ You don't need permission to change the world: how I co-authored, self-published and best-seller'ed my first book

It's been almost a month since the #iPadOnly book was published. It's the first book I wrote and published in my life... and it's the one I co-authored with Augusto Pinaud and it already became an international bestseller in only a few weeks on sale at a pretty "high" price for an eBook ($9.99). I already shared the story behind writing the book earlier on this blog but in this post I'd like to focus what happened after the book has been published and how I feel as a first-time, best-selling author. Hope it'll inspire you to write the book you've been meaning to write for a while now.

You don't need permission to change the world: how I co-authored, self-published and best-seller'ed my first book

Unique moment in time - you can choose yourself!

I've been a long-time Seth Godin fan and what he's always been preaching on his blog, through his books and in the interview he did with me is that we're in a unique moment in time and we can choose ourselves and not wait to be picked. We can self-publish, self-create, self-show... in other words: "there it is, I built it, hope it resonates with you"... and that's why I wrote a series of blog posts about the #iPadOnly way on this blog and later emailed Augusto and asked him to write the book with me. Now that the book is published, here's what happened and what happens next, and what you should do about it:

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: