Archive for the ‘Entrepreneur’ Category

Is Your Website Design Falling Behind?

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

We started developing JibberJobber in March of 2006.

That wasn’t too long ago, but a LOT has changed in the world of the internet since then. Our first design (UI/UX) was fine, although we had a list a mile long of improvements and enhancements.  We focused a lot more on processes and features than on making it look pretty.

Later, I got a message from someone that said the design was outdated (read: not keeping up with popular websites), and although he liked the functionality, he couldn’t “trust” us with his credit card for an upgrade because the design didn’t instill trust.

Isn’t that interesting?

So, we began to look much more seriously at the UI with the idea that we wanted people to TRUST us.  They needed to feel confident that we were still around, and still making improvements.  Changes (and keeping up) with UI would, I guess, help that.

In 2012 we did a big new redesign (I blogged about it here). Within days someone completely new to JibberJobber wrote and complained that the design looked too old, perhaps something from the 1990s.

You seriously can’t please everyone.

I’ve had graphics artists and layout people sign up, while in job search, and within 20 minutes delete their account saying they didn’t like the design. I hated that. I wished they would have said “man!  Change this!  Change the color!  Change something!” instead of just “don’t like UI.”  I know, I know, it’s not their responsibility to say what to do, but if one of them emailed and said:

“I love the tool, but the design could use a lot of work.  I have a lot of suggestions… here are five of them.  Feel free to incorporate those, and if you are interested in a consultation, let me know. I do this professionally and would love to help JibberJobber’s look match it’s awesome functionality.”

See what I did there?  First, the person didn’t whine and stomp off like a little kid who didn’t get what they wanted, second, they offered specific solutions, and third, let me know that they were bought in and wanted to be a part of the team (even if just a contractor).

I would have absolutely had that conversation, and would have most likely hired them for the next step, to see if they could really walk the talk.

But I got never got that email.  Not once.

Design is hard.  I feel like we’ve been focusing on it a lot this year, and it’s frustrating to watch other sites with design crews go crazy and essentially define what great design is supposed to look like.  But this article by Greg Story really helped ease that frustration: And They All Look Just the Same. At the very end he says ” It does nobody any good to have a web that all looks the same. Be mindful of the user’s needs and business requirements, but for the sake of success, go a different route. ” Read the whole article, it is excellent.

I’m not saying we don’t want to have a better visual experience.  We do, and are working on it, and will continue to work on it.  But I don’t think I’m going to fret about not keeping up with Twitter’s, LinkedIn’s and Facebook’s UI, when really what my best users and customers need and want is better UX – the experience, the functionality, the tools, the reports, etc.  Yes, UI will be a part of that, and we’re aware of doing better there, but no longer can I waste time worrying about “keeping up.”

What do you think?

 

Seth Godin on What Marketers Are Getting Wrong

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

I have read this once or twice and wanted to close the page…. and move on.   But I can’t. I keep re-reading certain lines.  Thinking about how this applies to the JibberJobber user experience.

Godin is a genius.  And this article needs to be reread regularly: Seth Godin on What Marketers Are Getting Wrong

Take that, social networking!

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Social, including blogging, has evolved so much since I seriously got involved back in 2006.  Eight years ago.

First we saw comments go from a blog post go to Facebook… and Twitter… and all of the sudden the blog felt like a cold, lonely place.

Then, we saw people giving up their blogs and moving to Facebook or whatever they thought was better.

During the eight years I’ve blogged regularly, on multiple blogs… but especially my JibberJobber blog.  It is refreshing to see an email from The Publicity Hound (Joan Stewart) that includes this:

–People are becoming fed up with Facebook, and
online marketing experts are recommending that you
blog more, Facebook less.”

I never thought blogs were going away, and there are a few things they are better at than social networks (and a few things social tools are better at than blogs).

I see them all as tools… why not use the right tools to do the jobs needed, instead of one tool to try to do all jobs?

Best Shipping Confirmation – I should do this on JibberJobber

Friday, November 8th, 2013

When you interact with someone, do they feel special?  Check out this AWESOME shipping confirmation from Woodworkers Source. I’m going to include the text here in case the original blog post goes down:

“I have some great news, Joe.

Our team of 107 hard working (and exceptionally good looking) employees has – with great care and attention – selected, packaged and shipped your order #XX629 on this beautiful day.

I wish you could have been here to see all the action. When I handed the order to Robert, our master packager, he looked at it, smiled, and slid a pair of Italian leather gloves onto his hands.  As he selected your order, he placed it all on a satin-lined chariot to move it to the packaging center.  And there’s more . . .

Everyone gathered around, held a candle, and watched with hushed awe as he wrapped the entire order in the finest gold-laced cardboard that money can buy – you could have heard a pin drop.

In the end, the guys were so thrilled that they wanted to throw a party just for your order.  We’re talking about a big fiesta with live music and good food. All the action stumped the UPS driver when he showed up.  He thought he was going to pick up the packages like normal, but instead we picked *him* up carried him down the street on our shoulders while the band played.  You can imagine what happened next, right?  Our neighbors came outside to see what the fuss was all about, and when they saw your beautiful order they all waved ‘Bon Voyage!’ to your package, and patted Robert on the back.

Someone must have called the local TV stations because the next thing I knew I had six interviews to handle for reporters who asked, “What does Joe Smith intend to make?”  But don’t worry, your secret’s safe.  I told them, “I don’t know.  Maybe world peace?”  Man!  If only woodworking could do that!

Anyway, the guys hope to see pictures of what you make so we can have another party (I know what you’re thinking . . .).  I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at Woodworkers Source.  We enjoyed every minute of it, and we’ve named you “Customer of the Year.”  That gets you a pretty good parking spot right out front if you ever come see us.  I gotta tell you, though, we’re pretty exhausted.  And we can’t wait for you to come back to Woodworkers Source.”

I think I can adapt this for my JibberJobber upgrades, and I’m thinking a job seeker could adapt it for people he communicates with (within reason).

JibberJobber enhancements – big and little (the finer details of software updates)

Friday, August 16th, 2013

Last night we did a release on JibberJobber with a lot of things.  I share some on the JibberJobber blog but usually not all of them (some are UI tweaks that no one really cares about, but they are good changes to make).  I’m going to try to document all of last night’s upgrades here.

Google Contacts sync.  I’m not talking about this yet because I don’t think it is working 100% the right way… but it’s there in beta mode if anyone wants to try it.  I have done it a number of times and it won’t break anything or mess up your data, but I’m not getting the results I think I should get.  This has been a HUGE project, but it isn’t over yet.

Recurring Action Items.  Another HUGE project.  Documented, with pictures, here.

Interesting menu change: Network –> Contacts.  After years of having the first menu item read “Network” we changed it to “Contacts”.   Both make sense to me but the more we thought about it, Contacts makes way more sense.  Some people were confused at what they would get under Network… but Contacts is more intuitive.  Crazy little change.

Another menu change: adding LOGS to the menu.  I’ve said that JibberJobber is a tool to manage contacts, companies and jobs, and the interactions between them.  You can now see this reflected on the menu with the fourth menu item: Logs (which shows the interaction between any of those three things).

Log Entries and Action Items on the Quickview Stats box: this makes a ton of sense… not only are we looking at the number of contacts, etc. you have in JibberJobber, how about your activities for the last week?  We show you how many Log Entries you enter in the last 7 days, as well as how many Action Items you’ve closed in the last 7 days (we’ll make that a ratio in the future, to show you how many were due, and how many you closed).

Cleaned up notice box.   If another user sends you contact information, or requests to be your coach, or anything like that, you get a notice in a white box in the Action Items panel on the homepage.  We cleaned this up… it is easier to read now.  And, the action links are more intuitive (I don’t remember what the old words were but they were not as intuitive as they are now).  Seems like it isn’t a big deal but it really is.  This takes away friction from the user experience… and we need to take away as much friction as possible.

Finally cleaned up the Add Contact issue that no one reported. But it bugged me a lot.  A few years ago we introduced the ability to track prefix, suffix and middle name… but there was a glitch where the middle name always showed up, even if you clicked the link to hide it.  This made the form see a little more clunky… the box is now gone and the link works fine now.  Whew.  Isn’t it amazing how little things can bug you so much?

Fixed and enhanced the Quick Add on Contacts.  First, we fixed the Twitter quick add (1).  Using APIs from other companies is a double edged sword.  On the one hand it allows us to do great things.  On the other hand, some companies change their APIs in a way that breaks everything.  We’ve experienced this with other APIs (like Google)… but we finally fixed the Twitter quick add.

We also, at the last minute, added the Quick Add from Facebook (2).  I tried this last night where I went to a Facebook contact, copied the URL, and then pasted into the box (after you click on the Quick Add link).  It worked charmingly!!  Try it (go to the Add Contact page, this is towards the top-right of the page):

Cobranded users get an alternate username and password.  If you get a JibberJobber account through another company (outplacement company, university, etc.), with a single click to create your account, you probably don’t know what your username/password is.  That model makes you go into that system and then get to JibberJobber. By popular demand we allow you to create your own JibberJobber username and password.  This means that you don’t have to go through that system anymore, and if you ever lose access to that other system you can always come back to JibberJobber through your alternate login.  This is critical because the data and work is YOURS, and you should always have access to it. Simply click on Account and you’ll see the option to create another username/password.  This is what it looks like after you have created it (note, the password tab is where you will change your new password, if you ever want to change it):

 Interview Prep without limits on text.  For some reason we capped the answers in Interview Prep to 250 characters.  I have no idea why, maybe to keep it under 30 seconds… or something like that.  Anyway, this limit is gone.  Just try and keep your responses concise :)

Ability to add documents from the Detail Page.  When you click on Associate Documents from a Detail Page you will see a new button to Add a new Document.  Before you had to go to the Doc Manager and add the document, which was a round-about way to do it… now it is a lot easier to easily add a document at the right time.

Cleaned up the Video Library.  Our UI designer had us put these big image icon things in two columns.  That was great, but it really restricted how long a title of a clip could be, and it quickly became a problem.  So we changed it so that only one video would show on each “row,” which gave us as much room as we needed for clip titles.

Another popular request is to only show OPEN jobs on the Jobs List Panel.  In the past you were able to order by open jobs, or do a search (status:open), but those were kind of temporary and required a lot of hard work (okay, well, maybe about 10 or 15 characters). Now, the default view is to show only the open jobs, but you can change that, as you can see in this new drop down.

You can change the Primary Contact from the Detail page.  Before you had to go to the Company Edit page, then scroll to the bottom and then choose a new primary. Now you simply double click on the gray box over Primary Contact and then choose from any Contacts you’ve associated.  You can see by (1) the Primary is Jason, by (2) you can see Barbara is a second (or other) contact, and in the drop down I can easily change from Jason to Barbara.  Note, this is how most of the Detail Page can be edited, but this was one of the few things we didn’t do when we introduced the double-click edit feature.

 You can now associate an existing Contact when you add a Job.  We need to do more work on this (allow you to add a new Contact and associate more than one Contact per Job), but this is an important start.

 

From the Events box it is easier to add a new “event” date.  Before, it said “n/a” and it wasn’t clear how to get a date in the box… now you simply click the “Add” link and it will bring up a Log Entry box with the Event already chosen from the drop down box.  This is 1000 times more intuitive than before.

 The List Panel search now works with quotes.  If you search for Jason Alba you would get results, but if you searched for “Jason Alba” you wouldn’t… now “Jason Alba” is basically the same search as Jason Alba (which is Jason OR Alba).  We need to do the same thing on the general search but it didn’t make it into last night’s release.

When you get an Action Item via email (which is a premium feature), you can customize the email you get.  Before you would get the title of the Log Entry and the whatever you put into the Comments for the Log Entry… now your email is either that OR you can override it and put whatever you want to best remind you of what you need to do.

We now have the duplicate checker on non-advanced imports.  If you unchecked the Advanced checkbox when importing Contacts (a premium feature), it would do a “quick import” and simply import and then tell you how many records it imported.  But, it wouldn’t check for duplicates.  Now we are checking for dups so you can have a cleaner database.  For the record, I always do the Advanced Import :)  I like to see my data and how it is mapped before I pull the trigger.

Speaking of the import, if you choose a non-CSV file we’ll now tell you.  Before it just kicked back an error, even though you are supposed to only upload a CSV file, but now it will say something about that (some people try to upload an xls file).

The autosave (3) was a great enhancement we introduced a few months ago.  The problem we found is this: if someone called me and I started taking notes in the Comments box (2), I typically didn’t put a title in before I started to write in the comment area.  JibberJobber didn’t like that.  So, we simply made a title for you, until you make your own: Untitled (1).  Simple, I know, but now the autosave will kick in even if you ignore the title field, which is one of two required fields on that form.

There were dozens of minor word changes throughout the system to make things more intuitive, and other minor changes I’m not documenting here.  I’m sure we have a long ways to go but this was a great and significant upgrade.  Thanks to my team for their hard work and diligence and to the users who gave us suggestions for improvements!

 

Personal Branding for Entrepreneurs? YES!

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

I found a good blog post about branding, even personal branding, for entrepreneurs, on the Adhere Creative blog: Entrepreneurs: Crafting Your Personal Brand

If I were coaching you I would say to focus on what the author talks about in #3 and #4, which is to become the teacher/instructor.  When you do that you are THE EXPERT.  Unless you do a really bad job. Otherwise, you will be seen and known as the expert, guru, etc.

Everyone can do this… you should have enough expertise in your field to teach or mentor someone else.

If you can get gigs to speak at conferences, it is as if the conference is endorsing your expertise.

One other thing that I would strongly recommend is to write a book.  I had NO idea that I writing the first (well, second) book on LinkedIn would propel my brand, and my business and my career, like it did.  I thought it would be a one-time thing with a week or month of hoopla, but here we are, seven years later, and I still get value because of that book I wrote.

James Altucher Story about “just paying the bills”

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

If you want to start a gig just to “pay the bills” and be able to quit your day job, go for it.

I think you can do it.

If you don’t think your gig can become huge, read this post, written by James Altucher: How To Go From $0 To $1,000,000 In Two Years

That is an awesome story.

Kent Blumberg: Why I don’t want a referral fee

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

This is a really interesting post on how to get more business.

For years I’ve been asked if JibberJobber has an affiliate program (aka, a referral fee for people who refer JibberJobber to their network).  The answer is NO.  While affiliate programs were very popular five to ten years ago.

I started with an affiliate program but found it was just not appropriate for our model.  One reason is that most people who asked would refer less than 50 people a year, and the percentage that would actually signup, use it, and then upgrade (for $9.95/month) was very low.  It wasn’t worth it for anyone.

Kent is a professional service provider (executive coach).  If I refer one person to him, that could be worth hundreds and easily thousands.  There is a lot more money to share in that scenario.

But Kent’s post, Why I don’t want a referral fee, goes to another level.

Let’s say you give me a referral and I give you $100.  How was that?  Are you fulfilled?

If you are giving a referral so you can increase your income, $100 isn’t very much.  If you consistently get $100 a day that is interesting, but if you get $100 a year, it is barely fun money.

Kent’s blog post starts out “My business is built on referrals.”  Why, then, doesn’t he pay for referrals?

Another line says: “a (referral) fee would deter me from giving referrals to you.”

WHY?

Read his post to find out what’s more valuable than a referral fee.

 

 

 

 

Tim Ferriss and John Romaniello on getting a 7 figure book deal

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

I LOVE Tim’s blog posts like this… it’s like a formula to go from zero to “successful.”  While you  may not be positioned to write a book, or pitch it, or get an advance, you can learn a lot from this long guest post.

With that, I’ll let you go over there now.  It’s a long post, but it’s worth it. I need to print all of the posts like this on Tim’s blog and study them!

How a First-Time Author Got a 7-Figure Book Deal

Entrepreneur with Cancer: Liz Strauss

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

I just read an interview by Liz, who I know and have interacted with a number of times.  Liz is one of those special ladies you wish you could work with in your life.  She’s awesome.

The interview is great, and it shows some of the reality of being an entrepreneur.  Here’s one of my favorite sentences:

“As an entrepreneur, one day you think you own the world and the next day you’re losing your house.”

Can you imagine building something awesome, only to have something catastrophic yank it away.

Liz is still in control, and she will always be awesome.