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Opinion Editorials

Today’s Fortune Cookie says Go Do

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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 KelleyKoehler.com, 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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8 Comments

8 Comments

  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 – https://youtube.com/watch?v=H3MOXUxaf8c

  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,
    https://www.dotproject.net/
    and
    https://www.phprojekt.com/

    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; https://www.37signals.com/ 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.

    https://box.net/ 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

Can we combat grind culture and injustice with a nap?

(OPINION EDITORIALS) A global pandemic and a climate of racial injustice may require fresh thinking and a new approach from what grind culture has taught us.

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Sleeping cat with plant, fighting grind culture.

Information is delivered to us at warp speed with access to television, radio, and the internet (and more specifically, social media). We are inundated with messages. Oftentimes they’re personalized by something that a friend or family shared. Other times we manage them for work, school, or just keeping up with news. Many entrepreneurs already wear many hats and burn the midnight oil.

During this global pandemic, COVID-19, we have also seen a rise in awareness and attention to social injustice and systemic racism. This is not a new concept, as we all know. But it did feel like the attention was advanced exponentially by the murder of George Floyd on Memorial Day 2020. Many people and entrepreneurs felt called to action (or at least experienced self-reflection). And yet they were working at all hours to evolve their businesses to survive. All of this happening simultaneously may have felt like a struggle while they tried to figure out exactly they can do.

There are some incredible thought leaders – and with limited time, it can be as simple as checking them out on Instagram. These public figures give ideas around what to be aware of and how to make sure you are leveling up your awareness.

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Director of the Center for Antiracist Research – he has been studying anti-racism and has several books and interviews that help give language to what has been happening in our country for centuries. His content also delves into why and how white people have believed they are more than people of color. Here is a great interview he did with Brené Brown on her Unlocking Us podcast.

Tamika Mallory – American activist and one of the leading organizers of the 2017 Women’s March. She has been fighting for justice to be brought upon the officers that killed Breonna Taylor on March 13. These are among other efforts around the country to push back on gun control, feminist issues, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Brené Brown – research professor at the University of Houston and has spent the last two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She has been listening and engaging on how racism and our shame intersect. She also speaks about how people can reflect on themselves and where they can take action to better our society. She has some antiracism resources on her website.

With all of this information and the change in our daily routines and work habits (or business adjustments), what is a fresh approach or possibly a new angle that you haven’t been able to consider?

There is one social channel against grind culture that may not be as well-known. At an initial glance, you may even perceive this place as a spoof Twitter and Instagram that is just telling you to take a nap. But hold on, it’s actually much smarter than that. The description says “We examine the liberating power of naps. We believe rest is a form of resistance and reparations. We install Nap Experiences. Founding in 2016.”

It might be a great time for you to check out The Nap Ministry, inspired by Tricia Hersey. White people are called to action, and people of color are expressly told to give time to taking care of themselves. Ultimately, it goes both ways – everyone needs the time to recharge and recuperate. But people of color especially are being told to value their rest more than the grind culture. Yes, you’re being told you need to manage your mental health and include self-care in your schedule.

Through The Nap Ministry, Tricia “examines rest as a form of resistance by curating safe spaces for the community to rest via Collective Napping Experiences, immersive workshops, and performance art installations.”

“In this incredibly rich offering, we speak with Tricia on the myths of grind culture, rest as resistance, and reclaiming our imaginative power through sleep. Capitalism and white supremacy have tricked us into believing that our self-worth is tied to our productivity. Tricia shares with us the revolutionary power of rest.” They have even explored embracing sleep as a political act.

Let this allow you to take a deep breath and sigh – it is a must that you take care of yourself to take care of your business as well as you customers and your community. And yes, keep your drive and desire to “get to work”. But not at your expense for the old grind culture narrative.

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Opinion Editorials

The actual reasons people choose to work at startups

(EDITORIAL) Startups have a lot going for them, environment, communication, visible growth. But why else would you work for one?

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Startups meeting led by Black woman.

Startups are perpetually viewed as the quintessential millennial paradise with all of the accompanying perks: Flexible hours, in-house table tennis, and long holidays. With this reputation so massively ingrained in the popular perception of startups, is it foolish to think that their employees actually care about the work that startup companies accomplish?

Well, yes and no.

The average startup has a few benefits that traditional business models can’t touch. These benefits often include things like open communication, a relaxed social hierarchy, and proximity to the startup’s mission. That last one is especially important: While larger businesses keep several degrees of separation between their employees and their end goals, startups put the stakes out in the open, allowing employees to find personal motivation to succeed.

When employees find themselves personally fulfilled by their work, that work reaps many of the benefits in the employee’s dedication, which in turn helps the startup propagate. Many aspiring startup employees know this and are eager to “find themselves” through their work.

Nevertheless, the allure of your average startup doesn’t always come from the opportunity to work on “something that matters.”

Tiffany Philippou touches on this concept by pointing out that “People come to work for you because they need money to live… [s]tartups actually offer pretty decent salaries these days.”

It’s true that many employees in their early to late twenties will likely take any available job, so assuming that your startup’s 25-and-under employee base is as committed to finding new uses for plastic as you are may be a bit naïve—indeed, this is a notion that holds true for any business, regardless of size or persuasion.

However, startup experience can color a young employee’s perception of their own self-worth. This allows them to pursue more personally tailored employment opportunities down the road—and that’s not a bad legacy to have.

Additionally, startups often offer—and even encourage—a level of personal connection and interactivity that employees simply won’t find in larger, more established workplaces. That isn’t symptomatic of startups being too laid-back or operating under loosely defined parameters. Instead, it’s a clue that work environments that facilitate personalities rather than rote productivity may stand to get more out of their employees.

Finally, your average startup has a limited number of spots, each of which has a clearly defined role and a possibility for massive growth. An employee of a startup doesn’t typically have to question their purpose in the company—it’s laid out for them; who are we to question their dedication to fulfilling it?

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Opinion Editorials

How Peloton has developed a cult-following

(OPINION EDITORIALS) How has Peloton gotten so popular? Turns out there are some clear takeaways from the bike company’s wildly successful model.

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Man riding Peloton bike with instructor pointing encouragingly during workout.

Peloton is certainly not the first company to gain a cult-like following–in the past we’ve talked about other brands with similar levels of devotion, like Crossfit and Yeti. Now, full disclosure: I’m not an exercise buff, so while I’d vaguely heard of Peloton–a company that sells stationary bikes–I had no idea it was such a big deal.

I mean, it’s not really surprising that an at-home bike that offers the option for cycling classes has grown so much during the pandemic era (a sales growth of 172% to be exact). But Peloton has been highly popular within its fanbase for years now. So, what gives? A few factors, actually.

Vertical Integration

If your company really wants to guarantee the vision and quality you’re aiming for, one of the best ways to enact it is through vertical integration, where a company owns or controls more than one part of its supply chain. Take Netflix, for example, which not only distributes media, but creates original media. Vertical integration lets companies bypass areas that are otherwise left to chance with third-party suppliers.

Peloton uses vertical integration–everything from the bike to its Wi-Fi connected tablet to the classes taught are created by Peloton. Although this may have made the bike more expensive than other at-home exercise bikes, it has also allowed Peloton to create higher quality products. And it’s worked. Many people who start on a Peloton bike comment on how the machine itself is well-built.

Takeaway: Are there any parts of your business process that you can improve in-house, rather than outsourcing?

Going Live

But with people also shelling out $40 a month for access to the training regimen Peloton provides, there’s more going on than simply high-quality craftsmanship.

Hey, plenty of cults have charismatic leaders, and Peloton is no exception. Okay, joking about the cult leader part, but really, people love their trainers. Just listen to this blogger chat about some of her favorites; people are connecting with this very human element of training. So much so that many people face blowback when suggesting they might like training without the trainers!

The trainers are only part of this puzzle though–attending live classes is a large draw. Well, as live as something can be when streamed into your house. Still, with classmate usernames and stats available while you ride, and teachers able to respond in real time to your “class,” this can simulate an in-person class without the struggle of a commute.

Takeaway: People want to see the human side of a business! Are there any ways your company could go live and provide that connection?

Getting Competitive

Pandemic aside, you can get a decent bike and workout class at an actual gym. But the folks at Peloton have one other major trick up their sleeve: Competition. Whether you’re attending a live session or catching up on a pre-recorded ride, you’re constantly competing against each other and your own records.

These leaderboards provide a constant stream of goals while you’re working out. Small accomplishments like these can help boost your dopamine, which can be the burst of good feeling you need while your legs are burning mid-workout. With this in mind, it’s no wonder why Peloton fans might be into it.

Takeaway: Is there a way to cater to your audience’s competitive side?

Conclusion

At the end of the day, of course, Peloton also has the advantage of taking a unique idea (live-streamed cycle classes built into your at-home bike) and doing it first. Plus, they just happened to be poised to succeed during a quarantine. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from what Peloton is doing right to build your own community of fanatics. There are plenty of people out there just waiting to get excited about a brand like yours!

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