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Opinion Editorials

Today’s Fortune Cookie says Go Do



having a good idea

Today’s lunch brought a reminder that I need to get moving on those good ideas. Coincidentally, this afternoon and tomorrow, I finally have more than half an hour to myself to work on some stuff. 

Project One? The Contact Management System (CMS).

This year, I’m trying out Prophet, by Avidian.  I’ve done Act and Top Producer and didn’t like them at all.  I’ve been using the “I Have An Excellent Memory System” but we’re quickly coming to the limits of that.  Time to get some of these task reminders out of my head and into a system, so there’s room to remember the important stuff.  Like, for example, remembering to buy toothpaste on the way home.

My beef with Top Producer and Act was twofold: I didn’t find either interface intuitive, and I didn’t like having to open a separate application to manage all the stuff that goes on in my Outlook anyway.  Big priorities for me in a CMS are tight Outlook integration and automatic scheduling of predefined sets of tasks.

So far, Avidian’s Prohpet fits the bill.  When a new person emails me, I can click a button, add them to the contacts, create an opportunity, assign them to a follow-up schedule, all the fun stuff you use a CMS for, and it’s all in one place.  I spend my day in Outlook anyway, and my Treo syncs to it nicely.  So far, so good.  Now I must train myself to continue to use it and keep tweaking it to do exactly what I want.

Project Two? The Website Redesign.

Oy.  This is a big project.  Between managing a busy business, a fur-filled household, and ever lengthening rehearsals for an upcoming performance, I’m starting to get overwhelmed.  Since I’ve got a couple other people tied into this project, I need a share-able, online, project management service. 

I looked into the 37 Signals stuff, but don’t see the Gantt chart capability that I want – that’s my preferred view.  If I’m missing that somewhere in there, please someone tell me!  I can use MS Project, but I loose the online sharing.  Google docs, are you listening?

Well, I can get moving on Project One, anyway.  I don’t have time to completely conquer the world today, but I can get started.

What’s the good idea you need to Go Do?

Kelley Koehler, aka the Housechick, is usually found focused on her Tucson, Arizona, real estate business. You may also find her on Twitter, where she doubles as a super hero, at Social Media Training Camp, where she trains and coaches people on how to integrate social media into successful business practices, or at, a collection of all things housechick-ish. Despite her engineering background, Kelley enjoys translating complex technical concepts into understandable and clear ideas that are practical and useful to the striving real estate agent.

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  1. Kelley Koehler

    March 4, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    My bad – Customer Relationship Mangement. CRM, not CMS. The new website is part CMS, so I need to get my CRM going to focus on… oh, forget it.

  2. Andy Kaufman

    March 4, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    I’m in the middle of an all around upgrade myself.

    I’ll admit that my database is in shambles. Contacts are all over the place. Just scanned all my business cards in (thanks @bradcoy) and I’m looking for a place to put them. Thinking of giving RealFutureCRM a whirl.

    Same thing with online project management – Tried basecamp, tried private Ning network, both with limited success. Didn’t know about Gantt charts and now I want those too. (thanks Kelley;))

    Looking forward to a break from real estate to mix it up with the geeks at SXSW & to refocus for Q2, which is rapidly approaching.

    & for the record… CMS, CRM, C??… don’t forget about CMB –

  3. Mike Mueller

    March 4, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    Kelley –
    I’m just tickled pink you have an Alienware Laptop!

    Ok, on the Project Management I’ve tried but didn’t like,

    Both have your Gannt Charts but just didn’t work fly like I wanted them to.
    I’m using Google Docs but as you know it’s ok at best.

  4. Brad Coy

    March 5, 2008 at 4:49 am

    Love web-based storage and business applications these days.

    Re; Have not kicked around basecamp too much but have worked Highrise CRM for around 8 months now and it works for me. Love what these guys are doing. Plays well with Google apps as well. Has been another new fav I’m a big fan of. Lot’s of great bells and whistles like shared folders, links to folders, and a growing number of “open social” platforms that lets you do more with your files.

  5. Matt Collinge - the 604homesguy

    March 5, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Kelly, I am using TP and getting tired of it (4+ yrs later). I used it to manage my email which is fine when I am in front of a PC, but because its in TP I can’t get in on phone, even in TP Mobile. This is no longer acceptable to me. I do like how it saves a record of email to client’s history automatically.

    I have even considered using Google Calender, but haven’t looked into it enough to know if it is powerful enough. I looked at Prophet recently so its good to hear some feedback on it. I’ll chekc out Highrise as well.

  6. Carson

    March 5, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    I am currently using basecamp to manage a website redesign, and I love it. I also use Highrise for my new CRM tool, which I have never been able to use regularly until now. I’ve never seen a Gantt chart on Basecamp, and that would be a great addition but I really like the simplicity basecamp offers. My number one criteria was web based and simple.

  7. Kelley Koehler

    March 5, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Interesting responses, guys, thanks.

    I am Gantt Chart Girl – afraid it’s a must-have item for me. Too many years with the ol’ dorky engineers, I guess. I looked at Basecamp, created an account, futzed around a bit. There’s lots of potential there, but all I really really want is the Gantt.

  8. Bob Fortner

    March 21, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    Just signed up for the free version of Highrise. So far, so good. I’ve used TP, Outlook, Online Agent…. didn’t like any of them. My big thing now is anywhere access. Using Google Calendar and Gmail and both sync to my Blackberry.

    The Mobile Gmail app is great. All my email on my BB, the same as on my laptop or desktop. I can search by any word in an email and be looking at the email my BB is seconds. Google Docs with the Firefox extension is great too!

    Highrise looks really promising. Simple CRM available almost anywhere. Now if I could just find a mobile version to get my info on my Blackberry.

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Opinion Editorials

Online dating is evolving and maybe networking will too

(OPINION EDITORIALS) How has the online dating industry been disrupted during the pandemic? And can we apply a few pointers from this evolved model to networking?



Woman networking through Zoom video call with two other women.

We are often reminded that hindsight is 20/20 – a proverb that means “it is easy to understand something after it has already happened”, and how ironic that is since we are in the year 2020 and not sure we can fully comprehend all we are learning and what hindsight this will bring.

Reflecting back to six months ago, there were many of us that didn’t have much of a clue about what the rest of 2020 would look like and how we would have to adjust to a more virtual world. We’ve updated our ways of working, connecting with colleagues, socializing with friends, networking with those in our industry, or looking for a new job.

Microsoft suggested that we have seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in about five months. For example: MS Teams, Zoom, and Google Meet have become the new way to host networking sessions, work meetings, and “chats” with colleagues; Tele-med appointments became the norm for routine or non-911 emergency doctor appointments; curbside pickup at grocery stores and food to-go orders via online ordering became the new normal (they existed before but saw tremendous growth in number of users).

We also had to learn how to create engaging and interactive ways to connect solely through a screen. We are already Zoom fatigued and wondering how online meetings have zapped our energy so differently than in person. It turns out, looking at ourselves and trying to talk to a group is a lot for our brains to process.

The Atlantic shares a great article about why the Zoom social life might feel so draining, saying that “Attempting to translate your old social habits to Zoom or FaceTime is like going vegetarian and proceeding to glumly eat a diet of just tofurkey”. No offense to vegetarians, of course.

You could argue though, that we’ve all been interacting via screens for years with the dominance of social media channels – whether it was posting our thoughts in 140 characters on Twitter, or sharing photos and videos of our artisanal sandwiches/cute kid/pet pictures on Facebook. But this seems different. Times are different and we will not be going back soon.

In this interim, many people are trying to make the best of the situation and are figuring out ways to connect. We will always need human connection (and without the germs, even better).

What about our single friends? If they don’t have anyone in the house to already drive them crazy, then where can they go to meet new people and/or possibly love interests?

While many experts are trying to predict the outcomes of this global shift, it may be hard to know what will change permanently. We know many industries are experiencing major disruptions – online dating apps being one of them.

According to Digital Trends, Tinder still ranks as one of the top dating apps. However, now that people are sheltering in place and/or social distancing, there’s a new app taking over as a way to “meet” someone a little faster, while also allowing you to stay behind the screen, sans mask.

Slide is a video dating app that changes your first-date frustrations into real connections and instant chemistry. Explore video profiles, go on first dates via Video Calls at your fingertips, and find that chemistry before dating IRL.”

So, while Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge play quarantine catch-up, Slide is stealing their market share.

How? With video.

Slide recognized the massive success of short-form video platforms like TikTok, and have translated it to dating. They focus on features like:

  • “Vibe Check”, which gives you the option to video chat immediately after matching with someone to see if there’s chemistry. This will save you from long or misinterpreted text conversations and money you may have spent on that first date.
  • A video-first approach that lets you see the real people behind the profiles so you can pass if they aren’t really who they say they are.
  • AI-assisted creation of “future bae” profiles that help suggest your best matches and spare you extra swipes. If Netflix can find similar suggestions…

As of August 2020, the Department of Labor and Statistics estimates about 13.6 million people are currently unemployed and searching for a new j-o-b. Is it possible that some of these newer ways of connecting online could be included in how we network for a new job/career opportunity?

For example, instead of sending a connection or networking request on LinkedIn, what if we could send a quick video about our story, or what we’d love to learn from that person, or how we’d like to connect?

Would that create a faster, better, possibly more genuine connection?

This would seem worth exploring as many job connections are created by in-person networking or reaching real people vs. solely online applications, behind a screen. Some other formats that have seen increased use are Marco Polo for video chats (you don’t have to both be available at the same time) and FaceTime group calls.

It might be worth exploring how short-form video platforms could assist job seekers in networking, outreach, and connecting with others. These are just some ideas as we continue to watch this digital transformation unfold.

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Opinion Editorials

Minimalism doesn’t have to happen overnight

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) Minimalism doesn’t have to mean throwing out everything this instant – you can get similar benefits from starting on smaller spaces.



Minimal desk with laptop, cup, books, and plant.

Minimalism. This trend has reared its head in many forms, from Instagram-worthy shots of near empty homes to Marie Kondo making a splash on Netflix with Tidying Up with Marie Kondo in 2019. If you’re anything like me, the concept of minimalism is tempting, but the execution seems out of reach. Paring down a closet to fit into a single basket or getting rid of beloved objects can sometimes seem too difficult, and I get it! Luckily, minimalism doesn’t have to be quite so extreme.

#1. Digitally

Not ready to purge your home yet? That’s fine! Start on your digital devices. Chances are, there are plenty of easy ways to clean up the storage space on your computer or phone. When it comes to low stakes minimalism, try clearing out your email inbox or deleting apps you no longer use. It’ll increase your storage space and make upkeep much more manageable on a daily basis.

It’s also worth taking a look through your photos. With our phones so readily available, plenty of us have pictures that we don’t really need. Clearing out the excess and subpar pictures will also have the added bonus of making your good pictures easily accessible!

Now, if this task seems more daunting, consider starting by simply deleting duplicate photos. You know the ones, where someone snaps a dozen pics of the same group pose? Pick your favorite (whittle it down if you have to) and delete the rest! It’s an easy way to get started with minimizing your digital photo collection.

#2. Slowly

Minimalism doesn’t have to happen all at once. If you’re hesitant about taking the plunge, try dipping your toe in the water first. There’s no shame in taking your time with this process. For instance, rather than immediately emptying your wardrobe, start small by just removing articles of clothing that are not wearable anymore. Things that are damaged, for instance, or just don’t fit.

Another way to start slow is to set a number. Take a look at your bookshelf and resolve to get rid of just two books. This way, you can hold yourself accountable for minimizing while not pushing too far. Besides, chances are, you do have two books on your shelf that are just collecting dust.

Finally, it’s also possible to take things slow by doing them over time. Observe your closet over the course of six months, for instance, to see if there are articles of clothing that remain unworn. Keep an eye on your kitchen supplies to get a feel for what you’re using and what you’re not. Sure, that egg separator you got for your wedding looks useful, but if you haven’t picked it up, it probably has to go.

#3. Somewhat

Sometimes, minimalism is pitched as all or nothing (pun intended), but it doesn’t have to be that way. Just because I want to purge my closet doesn’t mean I’m beholden to purging my kitchen too. And that’s okay!

Instead of getting overwhelmed by everything that needs to be reduced, just pick one aspect of your life to declutter. Clear out your wardrobe and hang onto your books. Cut down on decorations but keep your clothes. Maybe even minimize a few aspects of your life while holding onto one or two.

Or, don’t go too extreme in any direction and work to cut down on the stuff in your life in general. Minimizing doesn’t have to mean getting rid of everything – it can mean simply stepping back. For instance, you can minimize just by avoiding buying more things. Or maybe you set a maximum number of clothes you want, which means purchasing a new shirt might mean getting rid of an old one.

The point is, there are plenty of ways to start on the minimalist lifestyle without pushing yourself too far outside your comfort zone. So, what are you waiting for? Try decluttering your life soon!

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Opinion Editorials

Your goals are more complicated than generalized platitudes, and that’s okay

(OPINION / EDITORIALS) When the tough times get going, “one size fits all” advice just won’t cut it. Your goals are more specific than the cookie cutter platitudes.



Split paths in the forest like goals - general advice just doesn't fit.

‘Saw.’ – “Vulgar, uneducated wisdom based in superstition”, according to the good volunteer compilers at Wikipedia. See also: ‘aphorism’, ‘platitude’, and ‘entrepreneurial advice’. I’m not saying there’s no good advice for anyone anymore, that’s plain not true. SMART Goals are still relevant, there’s a plethora of cheaper, freeer, more easily accessible tutorials online, and consensus in April-ville is that Made to Stick is STILL a very helpful book.

But when I hear the same ‘pat on the head’ kind of counsel that I got as a kid presented by a serious institution and/or someone intending on being taken seriously by someone who isn’t their grade school-aged nephew, I roll my eyes. A lot.

“Each failure is an opportunity!” “Never give up!” “It’s not how many times you fall!”, yeah, okay, that’s all lovely. And it IS all very true. My issue is… These sunshiney saws? They’re not very specific. And just like a newspaper horoscope, they’re not meant to be (not that I’ll stop reading them).

Example: You’ve been jiggling the rabbit ears of your SEO for months, to no avail. No one’s visiting your site, there’ve been no calls, and the angel investor cash is starting to dip closer to falling from heaven with each passing day.

Does ‘don’t give up’ mean that you use your last bit of cash to take on an expert?

Or does ‘don’t give up’ mean that you go back to R&D and find out that no one actually WANTED your corncob scented perfume to begin with; algorithm tweaking and Demeter Fragrances be damned?

This is the thing about both your goals you make and the guidance you take—they have to be specific. I’m not saying your parents can put a sock in it or anything. I’m thrilled that I’m part of a family that’ll tell me to keep on keeping on. But as far as serious, practical input goes… One size fits all just leaves too much room for interpretation.

When you’re stuck, behind, or otherwise at odds with your growth, are you asking the right questions? Are you sure of what the problem actually is? Do you know whether it’s time to give up a failure of a business and ‘keep pushing’ in the sense of starting another one, or whether you’ve got a good thing on hand that needs you to ‘never say die’ in the sense of giving it more tweaking and time?

No one should have stagnant goals. A pool of gross sitting water is only attractive to mosquitoes and mold. ‘I wanna be rich’ as your business’s raison d’être is a setup for a story about the horrors of literal-minded genies, not an intention you can actually move upon. But that doesn’t mean you need to go hard the other way and get lost in a nebulous fog of easily-published aphorisms.

To be fair, it’s not as if saying ‘Ask the right questions’ is exponentially more helpful than your average feel-good refreshment article, since… This editorial column doesn’t know you or what pies you have your fingers in. But if I can at least steer you away from always running towards the overly general and into an attempt at narrowing down what your real problems are, I’ll consider this a job well done.

Save saws for building community tables.

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