Welcome to my new web site! Both sites: "Productive! Firm" and "MichaelNozbe" are now merged together under this new roof. Hope you like the result! - Michael Sliwinski
Tuesday, May 7
Women have this inexplicable affinity for shoes and purses... and wallets, and jewelry, and other accessories. I'm a guy. Guys have gadgets. Typically guys carry three things with them: a wallet, a watch and a phone. While I wear my watch on occasion (not as often as I used to), I needed to carry my phone and wallet at all times. Now I finally managed to merge these two things into one - a minimalist iPhone wallet.
I've had several wallets over the last few years. The GTD-Notetaker wallet from David Allen, several nice leather wallets... but I never found a wallet I really liked. Moreover when leaving the house I'd have to remember where I'd put the wallet... and unlike your phone - you cannot call your wallet in order to find it.
I also live in a city where temperatures are usually around 20-30 C (50-70 F) where due to the type of clothing I wear I have limited "pocket" space and I always hated stuffing my pockets with a phone on one side and a wallet in the other. That's why when I saw an article on TUAW about Quirky Crossover iPhone5 wallet I decided to give it a try and get rid of the wallet altogether. After a month of using it every day, I'm totally sold on the concept. Here's why:
Friday, May 3
Reid Hoffmann is one of the most successful investors in the Silicon Valley, he's the founder of LinkedIn (which is performing really well on Wall Street as a public copany now) and really a guy who knows stuff. Now he's written a book about career building and I think it's worth a read.
With 19M people without jobs in Europe, we're suffering the biggest unemployment crisis in history. Everywhere I go people complain there are no jobs. While I don't want to go into politics, bubbles and crisis theories, the fact of the matter is that it's just a lot harder to get a job now than before. Although it's a very complicated problem and there are many causes of this situation, the book by Reid Hoffmann and this blog post will focus on only one of the problems: young people don't know how to plan their career. Here's Reid's argument:
Tuesday, April 23
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!
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, April 23
Something I'm very proud of: New @Nozbe 1.5 suite of apps, including New Webapp and Android tablet app
While we're almost ready to launch Nozbe 1.6, the Nozbe 1.5 marks an amazing milestone. For the first time ever we're having apps for all of the platforms: Web, Mac, Windows, iPhone, iPad, Android and soon WPhone.
I know only about one other time-and-project management app out there that supports so many platforms. And the best part is that we're launching 1.6 very soon, with much-awaited speed and flow improvements all around.
And it's the third version of our web app in our 6-year history. Nozbe was born as a web app in February of 2007. We re-launched the web app in August of 2009 and now in 2013 we're launching the third, newest web app. Three complete rewrites of Nozbe in 6 years... but this time we're adding lots of native clients to the mix - here's me and Tomasz, our CTO, collaborating and "communicating through tasks" on all of the available platforms:
Tuesday, April 23
My team is small, about 11 full-time people now, and a few part-timers. Every month I'm doing a 30-minute 1-on-1 with each of them. It adds up to a full day of talking but I want to let everyone know that the CEO is for them - is to serve them and I'm ready to hear their opinions. Very often I get extremely valuable first-hand feedback from my team and some really good ideas. I can hear what's bugging them, how is their personal life doing, where we can help to make their work more challenging and more exciting.
Ryan has a much bigger team with more than 50 people so I'm sure he can't meet everyone regularly - my team is small so we can still do that... and we'll have these meetings next week.
Practical tip - schedule one day for this - and make it 30-minute meetings and let everyone know - publish the official schedule of meetings. In the past I'd spread these meetings across the week and it wasn't very productive, when it's all on one day, I just can prepare for these meetings and attend them all at once and know that this particular day is about meetings.
With my direct reports - my Chief Technical Officer and Chief Happiness Officer I'm talking every week. We do "Weekly Reviews" together. :-)
Monday, April 22
Over the last 6 years running Nozbe I've had people praise our work and discard it, I've had many kudos and lots of complaints. And I had to deal with trolls as well. Marco sums it up:
Now, think of something you saw recently that had a lot of comments or reviews. They’re not all going to be positive. What could its creator have done to please all of the negative commenters? Go ahead, this isn’t a trick question. You know the answer. Nothing.
The thing is, you can't please everyone. And if people disagree with you, it means you have a strong opinion and that's a good thing.
In time-management-app-space I have a strong opinion about not adding "priorities" to tasks and not implementing projects within projects within projects... and these (and similar) principles tell us how we should design Nozbe.
However, when you get bad comments and deal with trolls, the important thing is to never lose temper. Is to always treat them with respect even if they throw bad things at you.
The cool part is the guys who really love your work don't say anything, in our case, they just use Nozbe and get lots of things done every single day :-)
Sunday, April 21
I really like this analysis. And I was following Ron Johnson's career after he left Apple and I was curious (as a non-American) what this JCPenney is and stands for. The problem Ron had with jcp turnaround is that he needed more time... and unlike Apple, they didn't have products people really wanted badly there... Apple stores are great mostly because the products of Apple are desirable. In jcp he had to come up first with a product mix people really wanted.
To me it's a shame of not letting Ron have a little more time and getting back to the old CEO seams like a really bad idea...
Saturday, April 20
It reminds me of Jason explaining that when you're running a web business you should charge people money. He said that if you practiced charging money for your products or services, you'd become better at it. If on the contrary you practiced giving your product or service away for free, you'd never come up with the idea how to "monetize" your traffic/content/users.
What Jason is essentially reminding us about is the fact that when you form a habit, things go naturally. When you practice, you are forming a habit.
Saturday, April 20
Great quote that sums it up:
Inbox Zero is merely a philosophical practice of learning to be parsimonious about which and how many inputs we allow into into our lives―and, then, to responsibly but mindfully tend to those inputs
This is key. I try to have my email inbox at zero and all of my other inboxes at zero every now and then and the important thing is to know when I clean up these inboxes, being conscious about them and making sure I tend to them when I choose to, not when others want me to.
Step 1 of my upcoming 10 Steps to Ultimate Productivity Course will deal more in-depth about inboxes and how to deal with them.
It's all about being intentional and aware of where we put our focus and attention and who we allow to invade it and interrupt us. You can spend your whole days just answering email... Or you can create something great and deal with email and other inputs when you choose to.
Saturday, April 20
“Android if you’re talking about market share; iOS if you mean financial success. So far, this is a strikingly different market than the PC business back in the 1990s, when market share translated directly into financial success.”
That's it. It's not like the 90s. What I like is the fact that iOS has a worthy competitor now. What I don't like is that there's only one. Microsoft is nowhere in sight. And that's too bad for the market.
This is why we have Nozbe for all the platforms now and we're doubling down on making them as good as possible. Great reception of Nozbe 1.5 and 1.6 with great speed enhancements is right around the corner...
Anyway, I still say that 800k apps on all the platforms still doesn't translate to the quality. Especially for the iPad. That's why Augusto and I are writing an #iPadOnly book, not a "tablet only" :-)
Friday, April 19
A cool quote:
“Laptop neglect. That’s the best way to describe how the iPad has changed my computing habits since its introduction three years ago. Before the iPad, my MacBook was an all-purpose device, used all over the house for all sorts of tasks. Since I purchased my first iPad, my MacBook is now a single-purpose machine, used only for work. If I was sitting on the couch, I’d have my laptop with me maybe a quarter of the time. Now, I’ve got my iPad 100 percent of the time."
Just think about it - a busy professional like the editor of Ars Technica going iPadOnly... and every day I get more of my friends confessing they are using their iPads way more than they used to.
This is why I wrote a series of articles on that topic on my blog. That's why I'm writing a book called #iPadOnly with my friend Augusto Pinaud (we're almost done with our first draft!). I don't use my Mac anymore, it's collecting dust, it's neglected... I just don't want to use anything else than my iPad to work. It's pure and simple fun. I'm glad more people are moving towards it.
Thursday, April 18
Decisions, decisions, decisions... what I found out over the years: the ability to make quick and good decisions is the key to your success. That's why when I heard about the new book by my favorite authors of Stick][st] and [Switch (both reviewed on this blog and both I highly recommend) I decided to listen to this one. It was a good decision. Now I decided to share the consequences of this decision here with you (see what I did there? ;-)
According to the authors, there are four villains that negatively impact our decisions: * When we encounter a choice we tend to narrow-frame and focus on the most obvious options, very often failing to explore alternative options and possibilities * Then we start analyzing our options, but because of the confirmation bias we tend to gather self-serving information that confirms our most obvious choice * We finally make a choice but short-term emotion will often tempt us to make the wrong one * And then we live with the consequences of our decision but unfortunately we're overconfident about what the future brings.
It's hard not to argue with the authors' logic there. Now, as with their previous books, the authors came up with an acronym (and a process) to make better decisions - they call it WRAP and here it is:
Tuesday, April 16
This is an excerpt from my upcoming #iPadOnly book that I'm writing with my friend Augusto Pinaud. We're aiming at finishing our draft this week and we're aiming at publishing the book at the end of May, right before WWDC. Today I'll discuss the differences between the iPad Mini and the regular iPad. Which one to choose?
I started working #iPadOnly in April of 2012. Half a year before the iPad mini was introduced. Now half a year has passed after the Mini introduction and people ask me whether they should choose the "big" iPad or the "mini" one. In my household we have two iPads - the big one (mine) and the small one (my wife's). Here's what I think about both of them.
Wednesday, April 10
Sometimes to get a task done you need to change your mindset, change your environment, go somewhere and shut off all the distractions... A friend of mine, Augusto Pinaud is doing his GTD (Getting Things Done) Weekly Review in Starbucks Cafe and as I've been struggling with my Weekly Review I decided to give it a try and do it in Starbucks. Here's how it went.
Check it out:
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Monday, April 8
Never heard of the GoPro cameras but now I'm inclined to get one and use it for skiing :-) Again, only this guy knows how much sweat and tears contribute to a success. GoPro must have stayed below the press radar for long and I guess now when they got an investment from Foxconn the press got interested.
Does it mean that if you get no outside funding you get no press interest and can stay below the radar for a longer period of time?
Anyway, it takes lots of years to get to an "overnight" success moment... and even then, the journey is till the reward. That's why I'm so excited about this seventh year of running Nozbe.