Blog

Using Evernote (the right way)

I believe that the best insights are made possible when they’re built from the best knowledge available. Discovering that information gets easier and easier every single day. Medium has become my go-to resource for war stories from the startup community. Twitter, of course, is my source of quality real-time news. Quora is my first move when I need a complex question answered. But I’ve always struggled to hold on to that knowledge once I’ve found it. My brain stores thoughts about as well as my hands hold water, and it took me years to finally find a tool which was

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Talking Tech With Non-Tech People

Explaining complex software to customers who may not have a technical background certainly has its challenges. Frustration for both parties is just one misinterpreted comment away. That’s why it’s really important to get it right every time. I’m a success engineer at Intercom. That’s very different from a happiness engineer because I’m not excessively smiling most of the day. I keep more of a neutral face. We have developers at our company and we have customers, and I sit right in between them. An analogy I sometimes use is that I’m like an API between our developers and our customers.

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Joel Gascoigne on not shielding your team from bad news

Joel Gascoigne: I think there’s an interesting concept that’s prevalent, which I believe could actually be quite dangerous. It’s the idea that as a CEO or executive of a company, you need to shield your team from bad news, the risks of a startup, and other negative aspects that are inevitable on the startup journey. One of our core values at Buffer is to Default to Transparency. This means absolutely everything in the company is shared knowledge. It was scary at first, not least because the idea goes very much against the grain. I found myself hesitating, not because I

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How Slack built a well loved product going against Peter Thiel and app fashion

I enjoy watching companies do fantastically well against the grain. It is the opposite of schadenfreude, and although the Germans may not have a word for it the budhists have the concept: mudita. One example as of late is Slack. We were incredibly early adopters when we jumped from Campfire to it a long time ago. Its valuation growth has been astounding and we love the product. Here are two lessons of Slack’s early success that buck the trend [..] We are big users of Slack here at Data McFly, and even have its integrations plugged into other services so

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Becoming formidable

As a startup founder, the idea of pitching was always compelling. I just knew that if I could get in front of the right people, I could personally persuade them. So when I was getting ready to pitch FlighCaster during the 2009 YCombinator demo day, I knew it was my time to shine. When I got up to the stage, I was able to tell a story and wow the audience. In fact, one of the other founders told me afterwards that he felt like I could sell anything, It was a good moment. Nice read from the 42 floors

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How Do You Know If You Have A “Good Idea”?

Allan Branch: Good ideas usually start with, “Wouldn’t it be cool ___?” They start with a playful suggestion of an idea you have. Usually when you say them aloud for the first time, you feel a brief moment of embarrassment. Then the other person says, “Yes and __.” Yes and… “Yes and” comes from improv comedy. It’s a collaboration statement to build onto something more. It’s a trustful statement that means, “Here’s more…let’s see if this could work, let’s explore this.” Nice advice, good ideas can be easy to miss sometimes. Source: https://lessaccounting.com/blog/good-ideas-vs-bad-idea/

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The Grind vs The Pivot

Fred Wilson: Everyone knows what a pivot is. You launch something, it fails to get product market fit, so you change direction and launch something different. There are many examples of successful pivots. Flickr, Twitter, Slack, and Kik all came out of pivots. But there is another approach to finding product market fit and I call it the “Grind.” The Grind is when you launch something, it fails to get product market fit, and you grind on it, week after week, month after month, year after year, until it does. Usually the entrepreneur who chooses The Grind is obsessed with

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Accepting The Worst

There’s an exhilarating freedom and motivation in having nothing to lose. History is full of amazing tales of underdog ingenuity. Likewise, stereotypes abound of the mighty falling flat, trying desperately to protect what they’ve got. But even more insidious than actively trying to protect what you have, is frequent fretting about how to do so in your mind. It’s so easy to fall into an endless churn of worries about how your precious gains could vanish tomorrow. This is known as loss aversion. It’s the default routing of our evolutionary brains, and it can lead to unnecessary stress, lost opportunities,

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The results of the chromebook experiment

My Chromebook experiment actually worked out great at the conference. My main dev IDE was CodeAnywhere which worked well for coding. It won’t be able to replace my MacBook full time, but it can do the job nicely in a pinch. The Chromebook I used was an Acer C720P, and when I first got it, I didn’t picture using the touchscreen all that much, but it’s managed to come in handy several times since then and is definitely a feature I’ve been enjoying.

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Recommended Reading: The Customer Support Handbook

How do you hire the best support team? What’s the best use of social media for support and service? Should we apologize for the inconvenience? The web’s leading experts are ready to share our answers and experience with everyone, plus share stories and radical advice for building your own exceptional customer experience. In The Customer Support Handbook, leaders in customer support bring their stories of brand failures, triumphs and best practices for support on the web. Finally, all you need to create your own amazing support team in one handy-dandy manual. If you’re a CEO Or Founder: This book is

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