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The roof is a part of the house that does not demand repairs on a regular basis. But checking them constantly and making the required repairs will increase the life of the roof. When it comes to roofing, there are a few things that you can do. But you would definitely need the service of the professionals to do any major repairs or replacements.
The replacement of the roof is a process that demands a considerable amount of money. So it is safe to go for the best in the business. The best roofing contractor can ensure an unparalleled quality of service of your roof repair or your roof replacement. These are some of the things that you should consider before choosing a roofing contractor.
A valid license is mandatory for a roofing contractor. The license is the proof that they are legal and also the assurance that roofing repair and roof replacement procedures comply with the building codes. The license for the roofing contractor is provided by the state government. Providing the license number to the person who is hiring them should not be an issue to any roofing contractor.
Hiring a roofing contractor without proper insurance is one of the worst decisions that you could make. It is not just a mistake; it is more like a risk. If there is any case of property damage or injury you might end up facing some legal issues. It is mandatory that the contractor’s insurance should cover the compensation to the workers and the general liabilities. Check the insurance the insurance certificate of the contractor before starting the replacement of the repair process.
Remember that it is always better to go for the local contractors. Many might think what does location has to do with it. The fact is that local contractors are very familiar with the people, area and geographic conditions. Choosing local contractors also helps in the long run. It will be easy for both in case of an emergency in the future. To zero down to the best contractor in the locality search for roofing seo to get a clear picture of all the roofing contractors in your area.
Verbal Estimates from contractors cannot be accepted at any cost. A guanine contractor should be able to provide his or her customers with a written estimate at the end of the consultation. If there are any doubts in the estimate, make sure to clear things at the very instant. It is mandatory that the customer should have a clear picture of the expenditure in detail.
If there is a communication gap between the contractor and customer, then there are good possibilities that things might go wrong. Not responding promptly, not giving clear answers, bad customer service and delay in actions are few things that indicate that the contractor is not worth for anything. Not just for roofing but any business communication plays a major role. Choosing the contractor with bad communication and attitude will definitely incur the customer with a huge loss.
It always becomes challenging when one decides to purchase the Best Pet Vacuum cleaner. This challenge arises when one is not well informed of the vacuums which will best suit his cleaning needs. It’s normal for you to be challenged due to the large variety. Vacuum cleaners will come with different sizes, shapes, price and varying features. But don’t worry because from now you won’t just walk into a shop and purchase the first one you see. Here are the 5 different types of vacuum cleaners suitable for every home.
Upright vacuum cleaner
This vacuum is popular due to its ability to use it while standing. You do all your cleaning while standing. It features different designs from which you can choose from. This vacuum brush bar comes has the ability to remove dirt from hard to reach places hence appropriate for carpets and rug cleaning. You might choose this as your option but also take time and compare it with the other vacuum cleaners.
Canister vacuum cleaner
These vacuums don’t varry much from the upright vacuums. The mobility feature is the added feature. For these reasons, canister vacuums are convenient for carrying around the house when cleaning. In addition, it also possible to move it under furniture and other lower places where the upright vacuum can’t reach. They will also save your space as they are small in size. Appropriate for cleaning walls, couches and dusty corners too.
Robot vacuum cleaner
This is an automated cleaner which cleans your house while moving. They will save your effort and time. You won’t have to worry that your house will be disorganized. This because it will come with sensors fitted on it. It will automatically detect any furniture within your house. Due to it, its high tech nature will be expensive than most of the vacuums.
Handheld Vacuum cleaner
This vacuum has handles to be held on the hand when cleaning. Due to its handheld feature, it has multiples uses which may include.
- Cleaning car seats and other parts inside the car
- Cleaning pet hair
- Removing cobwebs from your house
- Appropriate also for cleaning spills
Because of its simple nature, it is usually very cheap. With $50 you can get yourself a single piece.
Each vacuum cleaner comes with a different set of cleaning capabilities. The stick vacuum is a lightweight cleaner appropriate your basic house cleaning. Its name is drawn from its handle which has a stick design. These vacuums work perfectly on bare floors, carpets, and even rugs. They will normally vary in prices depending on your cleaning needs but not that much expensive.
As you have seen vacuum cleaner will be of different types with different cleaning capabilities. Now you won’t just walk into a shop and pick a vacuum just because its appealing in your eyes. Depending on your budget and your cleaning needs you will be in a position of choosing the one which best suits you. You are an informed customer who will be able to make choice between the many brands of vacuums available.
Beginners and non-experts on the stock market industry would now be able to contribute and attempt their hand at stock market speculation themselves. Search for short term loans uk to get information about the initial investment in stock market. On account of online information offering the best advices and guides stocks, the market is currently made progressively accessible to more individuals.
To begin, get yourself a respectable and sound guide from an expert. For this, you’ll have to join with an internet exchanging firm. There are numerous online firms that offer free record enlistment. What makes a difference is that you won’t be left alone, when you’ve begun. Here are a few tips to picking a solid exchanging site as your investing guide:
A solid web based exchanging firm should show you the devices of the exchange, and also be your guide in each progression of the business.
Any web based exchanging firm would need to have you join with them since it is productive for them that you do. Be that as it may, there are numerous false online firms that would not falter at exploiting your ventures. A standout amongst the most well-known plans these fake destinations would attempt is the “Siphon and Dump” plot. They’ll publicity and swell costs of stocks and afterward dump these on speculators who have no clue what they’re getting into. So be watchful while picking which internet exchanging firm you would need as your guide.
There are a great deal of online stock firms that take into account individual non-proficient merchants who need that hands-on methodology in managing their speculations. An incredible stock market guide is one who can indicate you the instruments of the exchange, as well as how you can monitor your ventures, also.
Search for an online guide that offers its non-proficient financial specialists with web-based exchanging bolster administrations
Be careful about internet exchanging firms that offer to deal with your speculations for you. That is not an indication of a solid guide. Continuously solicit to take control from your speculations. Search for an exchanging webpage that offers administrations like direct speculation alternatives, postings of autonomous stock news sources, and in addition seminars on online stock exchange. These are signs that a firm does not just need you on board, it will deal with you and your speculation by going about as a dependable stock market investing guide.
Information is fundamental. While picking an internet exchanging website, ensure that the one you is refreshed and all around informed, especially in the markets you’re keen on. There are destinations that serve that offer imperative statement information, diagrams, news and information. There are additionally different locales that cook explicitly to the web based exchanging network as far as offering instruments and applications that assistance beginners with examination, gushing stock statement information, and other valuable information.
Try not to restrain yourself to what your online firm can improve the situation you. Picking one that is dependable as your venture guide is half of the work done. The rest is dependent upon you. When you get the hang of online stock exchanging speculations you’ll be increasingly sure about investing greater picks.
Technology is drifting on all fronts in 2018. The jump to artificial intelligence is standing out as truly newsworthy, big data is getting bigger, and wearables are moving to new ventures at a hot pace — these are just a couple of the technology trends that you have to stay mindful of amid the following couple of years.
As a technology executive, you have to grasp the trends and relentless the ship for an immediate course when coordinating these new innovations into your business put. Being fruitful in the business takes in excess of a comprehension of what is seemingly within easy reach. You should have the capacity to give your organization the foreknowledge and want to comprehend why the selection of these trends bodes well and, most importantly, regardless of whether it will profit in the coming years.
- Demonstrate your eagerness
Regardless of whether you originate from a Computer Science foundation or not, it’s essential to have hard proof of your enthusiasm for processing. Join a figuring club, take in a programming dialect (C++ and Java are especially looked for after), or assemble your own site (attempt WordPress).
- Hone your abilities
Come to an IT bootcamp (Microsoft run one, as do PC clubs) to indicate duty and activity, as well as enhance your specialized abilities.
- Turn into an ace communicator
One angle worried again and again in the necessities for technology-orientated graduates is the significance of interchanges abilities – yet it’s one which is regularly neglected by understudies.
Utilize your opportunity at college to pick up understanding of working in groups (e.g. sports clubs/theater/discussing), both enhancing your companionship gatherings and your range of abilities. Work involvement and temporary positions additionally present extraordinary routes for you to propel yourself out of your correspondence “safe place”.
- Locate the correct condition for you
Find out about the workplaces in various firms, contingent upon size, working game plans, item center and preparing openings. Equipped with this data, you ought to have the capacity to work out which condition suits you best – the adaptability and acknowledgment of a little firm or the structure and clear profession direction, (yet relative namelessness) of a big firm.
Finishing entry level positions in a scope of situations is a fabulous method to learn direct where you fit in, as much by finding what you adore, as what you don’t.
- Keep your finger on the beat
It merits remembering that a solitary change presented on Facebook can reform the whole internet based life area. One refresh to a financial trading system can have the effect between a multi million dollar trade, or a multi million dollar misfortune.
While it’s an outrageous model, to land a high-flying position in such a dynamic and quick evolving industry, you have to ensure you keep over all the most recent improvements – from the ramifications of Facebook’s most recent changes to what’s behind a claim among Apple and Samsung, from Microsoft’s latest software discharge to the most praised gaming character existing apart from everything else.
Scrolling through the tech section of any news site can often make you feel like you are in some futuristic science fiction world where anything is possible. Whether you want to live forever, change the channel with your mind, or simply never have to shop for inanimate objects ever again, it’s all going to be possible and some of it already is.
Anti-aging creams have been around for years and the desire to look younger is almost entirely ageless. From actresses and models to mothers and grandmothers, women have paved the way for an industry of “age-defying” makeups and plastic surgery treatments that can make any part of your body look younger than it is. With the help of science and technology, anti-aging has never looked so good. By using genetic modification, scientists in Japan and Australia have been able to essentially turn the aging process on or off. In some lab rats, they have actually been able to reverse aging, causing degradations in tissue to disappear and literally turn back the clock.
When the punks of the late 70’s were putting piercings in places people couldn’t imagine, little did they know that they were giving us a preview of things to come. Instead of tiny studs or rings, implants are essentially piercings using computer chips instead. Whether it’s a magnet placed inside of your earlobe or a tracking chip into your child’s arm, implants are increasing in popularity and technology. With contact lenses that can display information, we are only steps away from an implant that simply displays statistics directly into your eyeball, giving you a digital dashboard for the world you see. Scientists are even working on radio chips that are installed into your brain stem, allowing you to control radio devices with your mind, including televisions, cell phones, and cars.
Tired of paying for all of that stuff in your house? Kitchen utensils, dishware, tools, and furniture can sure be expensive. Furnishing a new home or simply trying to fill your first apartment can take quite a chunk out of your income. Imagine if you could simply download all of those things the same way you might download a song on your phone. With the acceleration in technology around 3D printers, this is actually something you could do today. As time goes on, costs are expected to go down and it’s something we are already seeing with smaller versions of these 3D beasts. Some companies aren’t waiting around, though, and have already developed printers that can literally make you a coffee table, chairs, or anything else your imagination can come up with. After your initial machine purchase, you’ll never have to buy furniture again. Don’t like your sofa anymore, use it for materials and make a new one. The possibilities are endless.
With all of the advancements, it’s no wonder that the future of technology is already here and growing exponentially. If you want to be a part of it, just imagine your wildest desire and use technology to make it come true!
Chris Cardell has shown thousands of business owners how to grow their business.
I interviewed Chris Cardell, founder of Cardell Media to find out more. This interview is the hundred and fifty eighth in a series of DW startup interviews. Big thank you to Chris!
Avoiding the Dangerous Number One
Chris Cardell is a strong believer in the golden rule of the entrepreneurial world: the most dangerous number in business is one.
As UK & Europe’s leading provider of online and offline marketing information for businesses, Cardell knows that Entrepreneurs can’t rely on one of anything – whether it’s one key customer or client, one key employee, one key supplier, one key product or price, or one key marketing method.
It’s a lesson he knows well and has continued to teach during the more than 20 years that he has helped Entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
As one of his current clients at Cardell Media puts it: “The lesson that we learned during the recession was that you can’t be reliant on one business source, which is something that people who have listened to what Chris Cardell has to say are aware off.
“That’s one of the first things you learn when you sign up to work with him,” according to Dan Butt of Now Chartered Surveyors, whose one key business source prior to the recession was High Street lending institutions.
He is just one of the many business owners that Cardell and his marketing company, Cardell Media, have helped get out of the “one” mode.
“The majority of businesses have one or two or three vital customers who – if they were to go – would cause major difficulties,” Cardell said. “On the face of it, it is very appealing to have one great customer paying you oodles of money and who is enjoyable to work with. But all the positive points are outweighed by the risks involved in that dependency.”
For one, this type of situation makes business owners weak, because at some level, they are operating from a level of fear, according to Cardell. It also means the Entrepreneur doesn’t have a system to bring in new customers, so the business can never grow.
It’s a situation Cardell knows firsthand. He was in the “one key client” position early on in his career, a situation that worked well for both Cardell and the client at the time. And although the relationship ended amicably, he said most of these types of relationships end badly.
“FREEING YOURSELF FROM THAT DEPENDENCY SHOULD DRIVE YOUR ENTREPRENEURIAL ACTIONS EVERY DAY”
Chris Cardell said:
“YOU NEED TO HAVE ENOUGH CUSTOMERS SO THAT IF, DESPITE YOUR BEST EFFORTS, YOU LOSE SOME, IT DOESN’T MATTER.”
Having gone from one key customer to Cardell Media’s tens of thousands of customers, he said: “I can assure you that the difference is not just financial. It’s psychological. I don’t want to lose a customer. But if it happens, it makes zero difference to my life. That is a key element of what financial freedom is about.”
While one key customer is bad, the “just one” key form of marketing is even worse.
It’s also fairly common, he said, noting that about 90 percent of businesses are dependent on just one or two forms of marketing to get customers, usually Google, referrals or Facebook.
“I have lost track of the number of businesses I’ve heard about who were making small fortunes purely from free traffic from Google. They were completely dependent on it and everything was going fine until Google did one of its algorithm changes,” Cardell said.
“THESE BUSINESS OWNERS WOKE UP ONE DAY TO FIND THEIR WEBSITE HAD GONE FROM THE TOP OF PAGE 1 OF THE SEARCH RESULTS TO PAGE 5 OR 10 – OR IN SOME CASES, THEY HAD COMPLETELY DISAPPEARED FROM THE SEARCH ENGINE. END OF BUSINESS.”
Of course, he continued, there are also “the business owners who got all their customers from Yellow Pages – until the year that their phone number was printed wrong. Or the businesses that were totally dependent on Google AdWords – until the month a couple of years ago when Google closed the accounts of 30,000 businesses in a policy crackdown.
“I’m sure you get the idea,” he said. “The first step to marketing success is to find one or two methods that work to attract customers. The second step is to do whatever it takes to find two or three more, so you’re not dependent on the first ones.”
Again, this is an area that Cardell knows well. He grew his business from a small company to a multi-million pound enterprise by using a wide variety marketing methods, including Google AdWords, Facebook and other online marketing methods.
But he said he also has spent – and continues to spend – a huge amount of time and resources on direct mail, newspaper ads and multi-channel TV advertising.
“Why? Because I don’t want to be dependent on the online element.”
While he is proud of the rapid and dramatic profit increases he has helped business owners achieve, he said, the more important work they do together is to build a long-term, multi-marketing approach to growing their businesses.
And yes, he practices what he preaches. For example, he has spent about £3 million of his own money on Google AdWords. He handles the Cardell Media ad campaigns himself, making him very qualified to be Europe’s leading trainer of Google AdWords.
“I’ve trained more people in AdWords than anyone in Europe”
he said, noting that it is absolutely crucial that businesses advertise through this medium because people are always searching for products and services on Google.
Another area where Cardell works diligently to change attitudes with Cardell Media members is the idea of one product and one price.
He continually encourages them to think about offering premium products/services, so that they can charge premium pricing. In doing so, they are offering more than one product and reaching a larger number of potential customers.
There will always be those who will buy the most high-end product available, he said. And when Entrepreneurs add in that higher-priced option, their more basic offering will look even more affordable so their sales will increase too.
He used Apple’s recently released watch as an example of why business can’t fail with a high-end version of a basic offering.
“Along with their main offering of the Apple Watch Sport, which starts at $349 (£230), they also launched a premium price version that will range from $10,000 to $17,000,’’ he said. “The more that Apple has us talking about the $10,000 watch, the more we forget to have a conversation about why a $400 or $700 watch is actually pretty expensive.”
Enough said. It’s easy to get the picture. Perhaps that why Cardell Media has had a hand in creating more successful Entrepreneurs than any other marketing business in the U.K.
Cardell can take a situation from today’s news reports, like the Apple watches, and put it in easy to understand, practical terms for all sorts of Entrepreneurs – whether it’s on premium products and pricing, AdWords, or avoiding the forbidden “one key” of anything.
I interviewed Patrick Smith, Convertable founder to find out more. This is the two hundred and first in a series of DW startup interviews. Big thank you to Patrick!
How would you describe Convertable in under 50 words?
Convertable is a simple web-based closed loop marketing platform that automatically tracks the source of conversions from the moment a lead is submitted through a contact form all the way through the end of the sales funnel enabling you to truly measure ROI of marketing campaigns.
How did you meet co-founder Chris Hull?
I first met Chris in January 2007. A mutual friend introduced us when he found out that Chris was looking for a web developer for his web design studio. At the time, I specialized in building websites and dabbled in SEO, so I partnered with Chris building the websites that he designed.
Before long, we found that most of our web design clients were asking about how to get traffic to their website now that the new site was built. Since we were hearing the same question over and over, instead of referring them to another firm, we realized there was enough demand for online marketing services that we decided to start a separate search marketing firm in April 2008.
While at Streamline, I spent a lot of time trying to increase the number of leads generated through our clients’ websites by digging through analytics data to identify the best performing sources of traffic and uncover things that could be improved. After pouring through analytics and conversion tracking data, we could see which keywords were generating conversions but there was no way to keep track of which keywords generated conversions that resulted in sales.
What gap in the market did you discover that inspired you to launch Convertable in 2012?
Because traditional conversion tracking and web analytics tools (like Google Analytics) only offer aggregated, anonymous metrics, tracking leads hits a dead end once the form is submitted. And since most forms do not pass along web analytics data within the lead email (or to a CRM), it is impossible to tie the original source to each individual lead to the end of the sales funnel to determine how much revenue was generated by each lead or marketing campaign.
While there are several tools that offer similar features, there are currently no other services in existence that do exactly what Convertable does. The concept came to us when one of our search marketing clients asked us for a way to track their web leads through the end of the sales process. We were unable to find any 3rd-party solutions that did this, so we decided to build it ourselves.
How long did it take to put together the initial version of Convertable?
The initial concept came about in 2010 when I was working on monthly SEO reporting for one of my clients. This particular client is very results-oriented and was excited about the results Streamline has achieved for them, as far as increasing the number of leads through their website. Every so often, they would get a very promising lead and they immediately wanted to know exactly how this prospect found their site. I came up with a process to identify the source by tagging each conversion with a unique identifier, looking it up in Google Analytics, and sending that information back to the client. Oftentimes, the best leads were generated from the SEO or PPC campaigns which made the client appreciate our efforts that much more!
While it was great to be able to have solid evidence our efforts were generating high quality leads, we typically did not ever find out if the lead resulted in a closed sale or how much revenue was generated since we were not tracking the leads throughout the entire sales process. Not to mention the fact the manual process of looking up the UIDs in Google Analytics was quite tedious and thus we realized we should develop a system to do all of this automatically. Initially, we simply wanted the tool built to use only for our own clients and thus we hired a freelance programmer to develop the first barebones version in late 2010. As we received more and more positive feedback from our clients, we realized others may be interested in using Convertable. As a result, we decided to overhaul Convertable and launch it as its own product in late-2012.
Convertable is currently free. What’s your revenue model?
We had literally been working on the concept of Convertable for several years when we decided to open it up to beta users. The beta launch was really just to see what kind of marketing viability there was. Since we launched it, we have had over 700 users create accounts with minimal marketing effort on our part. Even though these are non-paid accounts, we felt there was enough interest in Convertable to continue to develop the product.
Our immediate plan is to continue to work on improving the core functionality and build the user base. In the near future, we will announce paid plans for users who want more features.
What do you feel makes Convertable stand out from competitors such as Wufoo, Google Analytics and Saleforce?
WuFoo – WuFoo is the industry leader in building contact forms. Their plans are affordable to most small businesses as well. However, WuFoo specializes in the building of web forms and thus does not focus on the tracking and updating of leads throughout the sales funnel whereas Convertable offers form building, lead tracking and lead management.
Google Analytics – 82% of websites use Google Analytics for tracking user activity. It is very easy to use while being robust and not to mention free, so it is easy to see why so many websites use it. However, Google Analytics is simply an analytics tool to track activity on websites. So once a lead is submitted through a contact form, the tracking hits a dead end since the Google Analytics data is not passed along with the lead and updated through the end of the sales process, which could take weeks, months or even longer to be finalized. Without the lead management and individual lead tracking components, using only Google Analytics for measuring the performance of online marketing campaigns is not sufficient.
Salesforce – Salesforce is likely the most popular CRM platform in use today. However, we have heard numerous complaints from business owners over the years that Salesforce is unnecessarily complicated to use and too expensive for them to justify using it. Salesforce is also removing the ability to track the sources of web leads, especially for Google AdWords campaigns.
We are not trying to make Convertable into a full blown CRM, marketing automation platform or web analytics software suite. Our goal with Convertable is to keep it simple, easy to use and affordable for our users. That being said, we are working on an API to integrate with other third party services.
Has Convertable got the feedback and growth you expected since launching?
Yes, we have received a lot of very useful and positive feedback. It is great to hear that other people are finding it as useful as we did. We have also gotten great input on improvements and additional features from our users
You recently launched custom thank you pages, any other new features coming up?
We have several ideas for new features we plan on adding sometime down the line, but two features I am especially excited about and are currently being developed are the API and a WordPress plugin. Several of our beta users have requested these features. We expect that these additions will greatly add to the growth we have experienced thus far.
In December you worked with a National sporting goods manufacturer to improve sales and a small 10-minute change resulted in a 30% conversion increase overnight. Can you tell us a bit more about this?
Chris actually wrote a detailed blog post, but the basic idea is that we changed the “Add to Cart” button from blue to red so it was more likely to catch the eye of the user. One simple change can obviously make quite a significant impact.
You have a growing team, are you on the look out for developers at the moment?
We are still building Convertable while we are running our businesses full-time. We would love to add more developers to the fold but we will first need to start generating revenue and/or acquire fundraising to do so.
Where do you see Convertable in 5 years time?
Within the next 6 months, we expect to get the paid plans in place so Convertable will start to generate revenue.
Within 12-18 months, we hope Convertable is producing enough revenue that it’s fully sustainable on its own as a standalone business with a team of full-time developers.
In five year’s time, we would like to be known as an industry leader in the online marketing analytics space.
Can you convince the reader to start using Convertable in under 50 words?
Anyone can track the sources of conversions in Google Analytics. However, if you want to take the next step and identify the sources of the leads which convert into actual sales so you can determine how much revenue is generated by each marketing channel, then check out Convertable!
I interviewed Ritu Raj, Objectiveli founder and CEO to find out more. This is the hundred and twenty fourth in a series of DW interviews. Big thank you to Ritu!
Describe Objectiveli in under 50 words.
Objectiveli is the best way to manage all of your organizations or personal Goals and Objectives in one place, in real-time.
Objectiveli Drives Outcomes that matter, fulfilling your Goals and Objectives, instead of losing focus; managing day-to-day emergencies and “things to do”.
Describe yourself in one sentence.
Ritu is a serial entrepreneur dedicated to bringing innovative services and systems to market, which create new experience for people at the same time makes a difference in their lives.
Tell us a bit about your background, from founding pioneering computing company Avasta (acquired by Navisite) to founding Wag Hotels (the largest chain of dog hotels in the world!) and OrchestratorMail.
I was a senior executive with TMP WorldWide, and in the beginning of 1999, got a DSL at my house to access corporate data over VPN. That was the genesis of Avasta. There was an inordinate demand for sys admins and DBA’s – we figured if there was a way to bring economies of scale to manage the server operations, there was a business there, left my very well paying job to start Avasta.
Accenture was a large investor in Avasta, joined Accenture and was burnt out on technology. Wanted to create a company where you did not have to sell, and was closer to people. Discovered the huge market for dogs and cats services, completely fragmented, run by mom and pop shops. What if I could bring scale, design and engineering into it – that’s how Wag Hotels got started. OrchestratorMail was started as my own interest in coordination, and the language/philosophy of action – built an application which could streamline, create a taxonomy of action terms over email, for all people coordinating over email, specially globally, different cultures – bring closer the gap between intention and interpretation.
What made you decide to start working on Objectiveli?
Objectiveli was like a light bulb while talking to a senior executive who uses OrchestratorMail, and loved it. I realized at his level he was only interested in Managing and Tracking Outcomes, with his team of 10 executives. It was not that he did not look at things todo, but his job was to fulfill the goals and objectives of his company.
I had met him for dinner, and could not sleep, thinking about how outcomes get tarnished with things todo. They were two different things, all things you do, does not mean that it fulfills the outcome.
I had seen a similar thing when I was doing some work for Walmart Labs, my friend had 12 engineering teams under him, and it was really difficult for him to get the status the objective of every team. Somehow in our culture there is a tendency to talk about what we have done (todo’s) and not the outcome that we have produced. People build wiki’s while running large projects, and in 3-4 weeks no one uses them. Yammer, and other communication tools are about exchanging information. Not necessary about reporting and tracking outcomes.
Who uses Objectiveli?
Objectiveli is being used currently by a few companies to manage their Goals and Objectives, in an operating environment. Objectiveli manages, tracks and communicates all the changes, re-negotiations that take place while reaching the end goal.
The other constituent who use Objectiveli, to my surprise were regular people. Now they had a simple platform for setting, managing and tracking their Goals and Objectives. One of the communities that’s really taken it on is the Mommy Blogger Community.
I believe in the future Objectiveli would also play a big part in the schools and classrooms. Most teachers are trained in creating Outcomes for their lessons planning, and also are teaching goal setting in the classrooms.
Who is the team behind Objectiveli?
Objectiveli was built by several engineers, the main developer behind Objectiveli is Jonathan Yankovich, before I met him I was working with Steve Yancharas, to build the UI, and most of the UI I built. I had to learn Illustrator, but it was worth it.
What technologies have you used to build Objectiveli?
Objectiveli is still in its infancy but so far has it got the feedback and growth you expected since launch?
I think we have more than 500 users, and at least 10% of them are still using it past a month, we would know about the rest soon. We are getting a lot of feedback, a lot of it is about how people love the interface, and some about how to navigate the interface. We have plans to rework the interface, as we realize that it’s not as smooth as we want it to be.
Where do you see Objectiveli in 3 years time?
I see Objectiveli firmly in place at Enterprises, disrupting some of the large vendors. The key is that we have an operating application driving outcomes, the 800 lb gorilla in the space, is more focussed as an HR application and for annual performance.
We see the Objectiveli apps used by regular people to fulfill the Goals and Objectives in their lives. A major growth in the upcoming but huge segment of coaching and self help.
And personally I want to see it in the classrooms, want to give the young adults a structure for fulfilling their dreams and vision.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
I think to have a startup is to be a champion of eating dirt, getting up and going at it again. We have made small and large mistakes, working with developers who were not masters of the technology stack, not managing or reading the commitment of members of the team. The thing that I have learnt is to be really clear of the founding team’s commitment, pre-funding.
What is the biggest hurdle you have faced or are still facing?
Key hurdle is to build the right team, learning from my previous mistake is that it’s really difficult to be a Product Manager and Sales & Marketing at the same time. I am actively looking for a CTO, an amazing UI/UX person who can really think outside the box and product management and marketing person.
With substantial experience in business and entrepreneurship, what piece of advice would you give to someone starting up?
#1 Initially it’s all about understanding customers for your service or product, beyond the people you know, and keep understanding them. It’s not just the “Customer Discovery Process” it’s a way of life.
#2 It’s all about the process of development, testing, customer acquisition, rinse and repeat.
#3 Know your customer, how would you find them, where do they hang out?
What key goals have you yet to achieve?
#1 Transform the UI
#2 Have a strong Team
#3 Raise Seed Capital
What are you most excited about at the moment?
Currently excited that we have traffic, without spending money, and now working on increasing conversion rate. Also excited how well the concept is being received in the marketplace.
MailChimp is a well known freemium email marketing service.
I interviewed Ben Chestnut, MailChimp co-founder and CEO to find out more. This is the hundred and eighteenth in a series of DW interviews. Big thank you to Ben!
Describe MailChimp in under 50 words.
Monkeys send your email, so you don’t have to. Only they’re apes, not monkeys.
What were you doing before MailChimp?
I ran a web-dev agency called The Rocket Science Group. Pretty much sucked at it.
What made you decide to start working on MailChimp in 2001? Why did you wait until 2007 to dedicate yourself strictly to MailChimp?
Back in 2001, we had multiple customers who needed help sending their email newsletters. They were using really big, expensive, bloated software. We had some “scrap code” lying around from a previous business idea that failed (e-greetings), so we modified the code and turned it into an email newsletter app for them. We opened it up to the public, set up some Google Adwords, and basically forgot about it.
In 2005, we noticed it was a better business than our web-dev agency (it was growing faster than us humans, and its recurring revenue was basically keeping us afloat) so we decided to take all of 2006 to wind down the agency business and beef up MailChimp’s features. We officially hit the “reset button” in 2007 and became a product company.
How did you come up with the name? Does the chimp have a name?
The big, bloated email software back in 2001 required you to manually code your tracker links, your HTML emails, and all kinds of things. We thought it was silly to force users to do a bunch of repetitive coding that a monkey could do for you. We also had this philosophy when it came to our web design projects: “If all else fails, add a monkey. Clients love monkeys.” So we called it ChimpMail. Then we learned the domain was taken. So we called it MailChimp. One day, a customer asked us for our mascot’s name, so we came up with the most ridiculous one we could think of: Frederick von Chimpenheimer IV (aka “Freddie”). It’s amazing when I look back at Freddie’s history. We really didn’t spend that much time fostering his image or brand or anything. It was our customers and employees who brought him to life and gave him his personality.
Your non-traditional creative culture scared away a lot of typical corporate customers. Did this affect your growth at all?
Yep, it made our growth more fun.
Seriously, corporate customers are stodgy and high maintenance. We avoided them, because we always dealt with them back when we were a web-dev agency. We had our fill. The whole point of starting a software business, in our opinion, was to make scalable, self-serve apps. We felt like we shouldn’t need to talk to customers, nor should they waste any of their time talking to us (they should be spending their time smelling flowers, or hugging their mothers and stuff). The app should be so easy, they just get things done.
So that’s what we focused on: making it easy. Turns out a lot of those big corporate customers seem to like simplicity too, and are signing up to MailChimp despite the monkey business.
You often send customers gifts and handwritten postcards. How have you built customer loyalty?
The gifts we send are just fun. We know they’ll surprise the hell out of our customers, because nobody does that kinda stuff anymore. Plus, we’re an online-only company, right? So it’s ironic to send something hand-written and tangible. We love irony.
The goal isn’t to buy any kind of loyalty. I really don’t believe brand loyalty exists (anymore), and I don’t believe a company should waste any time trying to earn it. People want what’s best for them, and they can switch on a dime, because there’s always a new disruptor disrupting the last disruptor. So companies should just strive to keep changing and adapting to their customers’ needs.
I get the impression MailChimp is a fun place to work! How have you cultivated the culture?
I can’t say we really try to make it “fun” around here. Just “fulfilling.” I do my best to keep changing things up and to keep coming up with new, difficult, challenging projects that make your brain hurt. People who think that kind of work is fun tend to hang around longer. Kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy?
What does a typical day as CEO consist of?
On a good day, it consists of a lot of walking around to talk to different teams about what they’re working on. I can help connect ideas, plant new ideas, show people it’s okay to be weird, prevent meetings, etc.
On a bad day, it’s just me stuck at my computer.
MailChimp went ‘freemium’ in September 2009 and increased the number of paying clients by 150%, while growing profitability by 650% during its first year. With now over 2 million users, what would you say are the main factors that have led to MailChimp’s success?
I spoke about this recently.
1) Going freemium.
2) Being different. Different in our design, our name, our personality, our approach with customers, and just about everything. By being different, and therefore not dwelling on the competition or playing by their rules, it basically made us more creative and nimble.
Did you expect such massive growth and success?
Expect? No. But massive growth and success is kinda the whole point of starting a business, so I definitely dream about getting it one day. All. The. Time.
What are your thoughts on the future of email marketing?
Like everything else, it’ll change. The challenge is staying nimble enough to adapt.
Can you tell us about the data research you’re doing under EmailGenome.org, which you started to help improve the email ecosystem?
It’s been a challenge just wrangling the massive amounts of email data we have. But so far we’ve uncovered lots of awesomely cool things, along with some awesomely disturbing things. Like the predictability of reader engagement. And how we can find the optimal time to send an email to each recipient. And how there are networks of comment trolls, constantly signing up for certain types of lists. We can also uncover trends in email, like whether or not certain industries are dying. We’ve been able to tell when accounts import stolen lists, and identify where the lists originated from. We can tell who is human, and who is not. Perhaps the most interesting part about this “big data” initiative is the fact that it produces so many innovative product ideas, it’s hard to choose where to begin. The data keeps growing, so the possibilities (and scope) keep growing.
What do you wish you’d have known ten years ago that you know now?
That it takes about ten years before your company really hits its stride.
Where do you see MailChimp in another ten years time?
Not sure what business we’ll be in, but I’m pretty sure we’ll be coming to work in jet packs. Bet on it.
What is your favourite app or piece of software that helps you every day?
Hmm, that’s a hard one. Helpful and used every single day? Communication apps: Gmail, Apple Mail, iChat, and Jabber.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
About 10 years ago, I put my life savings into Apple stock (when it was around $17 a share). It was a wild bet, but I kinda liked where Apple was going, and I thought OSX might be huge one day.
After a year of no change whatsoever in the stock price, I chickened out. I took some stupid advice I read in a book about “diversifying” and I traded it all in so I could spread it out into safer stocks. All of those stocks–every single one of them–flattened out or declined. Sigh. If I could go back in time, I would’ve put all that money into MailChimp instead. I can’t control someone’s stock price, but I can at least have some control over my own company.
What one piece of advice would you give to startup founders?
It’s hard. And just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does. There’ll be times when it just keeps getting worse and worse and worse. Meanwhile, everyone else around you is getting better and happier and richer. You’ll feel like the only one who hasn’t figured it out yet. You’re sinking, your life sucks, and your business isn’t going anywhere. Oh yeah, and you’re not getting any younger, either. And just when you think about finally throwing in the towel, and saying “f* all this!” that right there is the test that all founders are eventually faced with: when things get too hard, you decide to stay, or you decide to quit. My advice is this: Before you decide, look at all those great, successful businesses that inspired you to start your own. They stayed.
What’s the best prank someone has played on you at work?
Years ago, someone arranged for some accomplices to ring my landline, send an email, pop up a chat message, send me a TXT, and call my cell phone all at once. Everything just suddenly started beeping and buzzing all around me. I was paralyzed. I had no idea which to answer first. The sheer logistics of making this happen is pretty impressive, considering this was before telephony APIs.
What key goal have you yet to achieve?
Sadly, I’ve yet to finish a business plan.
What gives MailChimp a competitive advantage?
oDesk enables employers and contractors of technical, business and creative services to build work relationships across the globe.
I interviewed Gary Swart, oDesk CEO to find out more. This interview is the seventy third in a series of DW interviews. Big thank you to Gary for the interview!
How would you describe oDesk in under 50 words?
oDesk is the world’s largest and fastest-growing online workplace, allowing businesses and contractors to work together without geographic limits. We enable businesses to hire, manage and pay a flexible, online workforce, and we enable contractors to work whenever, wherever and however they want.
Who founded the company and how did you become CEO?
oDesk was co-founded by Odysseas Tsatalos and Stratis Karamanlakis; I joined them and a few others about a year later to help build and scale the company. I came to oDesk by way of Sigma Partners while trying to raise money (unsuccessfully) for my previous company. I was attracted to oDesk because of the sound business model and massive market opportunity, as well as by the chance to contribute something meaningful to the world of work.
What kind of growth has oDesk had since launch?
When we first launched in 2003, we were a SaaS company, with technology that enabled people working remotely to collaborate and monitor progress. But when we realized that this technology could have a significant, global impact on the way companies operate and the way people work, we pivoted in 2005 to become an online workplace, with the original technology as the backbone.
The marketplace quickly took off, and since 2007, oDesk has experienced an annual growth rate of more than 100%. Currently, contractors are earning more than $300 million per year through oDesk, and the demand is still incredibly high — we project the online work market will reach $1 billion this year, so we don’t expect our growth to slow anytime soon.
Who vets the contractors available on oDesk?
The contractors are vetted by the clients on oDesk. As a marketplace, oDesk operates as a meritocracy — contractors receive feedback after every project, both quantitatively (with stars) and qualitatively (with reviews). We also offer contractors hundreds of free skills tests, in addition to self-provided quality indicators such as the work history and portfolio sections.
Do users mind the ‘big brother’ aspect of the service?
When you mention “big brother,” I assume you are referring to our patent-pending Work Diary technology that allows us to guarantee payment to the contractor and guarantee work to the client. The opt-in Work Diary functionality takes screen shots of a working contractor’s desktop six times per hour at random intervals, enabling clients to “manage by walking around” online, just like on site. Clients have real-time visibility into the work as it happens and can validate that an hour billed is an hour worked (part of the oDesk Guarantee). Contractors don’t mind providing this visibility into their work because they appreciate guaranteed payment for all hours worked, without ever having to submit a time sheet or status report, justify their hours billed, or call their customer requesting to be paid. We pay contractors each week based on the sum of the hours logged in the system, for all hours worked — guaranteed.
Is there a secret to effectively managing work remotely?
oDesk’s work management tools, of course!
In all seriousness, I would say the most important factor is communication. Frequent, open communication (through emails, instant message, video chats… whatever works for you) is critical to establishing a healthy, trusting work relationship, and for identifying issues before they become problems. When we look at long-standing client-contractor relationships (many last several years or more), it’s usually because both parties have invested in communication.
How do you ensure a fair price for non-US based freelancers?
Rates for all workers in oDesk’s network are determined by the contractors, not oDesk. Workers set their rates based on their skills, knowledge, personal characteristics, motivation and any other factors that are important to them. We believe that people should be able to command the rates they are worth in a global economy, and with a platform like oDesk, the transparency and visibility into previous work history and rates is unprecedented.
Let me give you an example. A contractor in Russia is making $5 when he starts. He quickly stair-steps his way to more than $30 per hour in one year, based on his stellar reputation from previous assignments on our platform. Today, he has more work than he can handle and has invited his friends onto oDesk to work with him for his clients all over the world. Platforms like oDesk are a great equalizer for enabling everyone to make the wage they are worth in a global economy.
Who should and shouldn’t be using oDesk?
We like to think that everyone should be using oDesk! It has huge benefits for startups and small businesses, because it allows them to punch above their weight in the competition for talent. It can be great for medium-size businesses and even larger companies too, helping them scale their teams cost-effectively.
For contractors, there is demand for such a wide variety of skills and price points, that really I would recommend it to anyone — from the legal counsel to the virtual assistant.
All work types, all company sizes, globally!
What advantages does oDesk have over its competitors?
oDesk is the world’s largest and fastest-growing online work company — we are actually larger than all other online work sites combined. We have achieved these results by being the most innovative company in the space, with the best business model and the right team to execute. In addition, our proprietary work management technology allows us to guarantee payment to contractors and work to employers, which no other competitor can offer.
Does oDesk have any new features in the pipeline?
Absolutely — this interview is not long enough to highlight all of the features and functionality we are adding for our users! Suffice it to say, there is no shortage of things we can do to improve the experience for our users. Currently we are prioritizing our usability and the scalability of our service, so we can earn the right and respect to continue to serve our users and their friends.
What does a typical day as CEO consist of?
It is my responsibility to make sure that I am creating an environment at oDesk where everyone can do their best. This means that we have the right strategy; clarity as to how we will execute on our priorities; and clear roles, responsibilities and standards. With this in mind, I am focused on continuing to strengthen our already stellar team by recruiting and hiring new team members, as well as developing our current team. I also spend a lot of my time externally speaking with customers, journalists and influencers to help share the oDesk story.
With more than 17 years of experience in the enterprise software market, what do you wish you’d have known 20 years ago that you know now?
Just about everything I have learned in the last 20 years! If I had to narrow it down I wish I had known that the internet would be playing such a major part in our lives. I am constantly in awe of how core the internet and technology is to the way we work, shop, travel, and live.
Where do you see oDesk in 5 years time?
The online work industry seems to be quite parallel to the ecommerce industry. Ecommerce revolutionized what most people considered the standard way of living or doing business, and now we can’t imagine a world without it.
Online work is already firmly on that trajectory, having shifted the way millions of businesses operate. In the future, as the technology behind online work improves, it will become an increasingly standard and intuitive way of working.
As oDesk is the largest and fastest-growing player in the online work market, I am very excited about the opportunities this evolution will bring.
What is the biggest hurdle you have faced or are still facing?
The biggest hurdle we faced when we entered the online work space was the issue of trust — for people accustomed to working in the same office, sending work to someone on the other side of the country (or even the world) could seem unfathomable. How would you know the work would be done well, or that the person was actually working on the project during the times they were billing you for it? How would you ensure your information was going to stay safe?
We have addressed this anxiety in a number of ways. First, we created a very transparent and meritocratic marketplace, so you could select exactly who was working on your project, according to their qualifications and reviews. We also rely on our proprietary time-tracking and team-room software to give businesses more visibility into the work that’s being done. Finally, we built non-disclosure agreements into our Terms of Service, so clients’ intellectual property is automatically protected.
What are you most excited about at the moment?
I’m excited about oDesk’s tremendous growth, and the huge opportunities that are still ahead of us. We really have the chance to change how the world works — to help businesses operate more efficiently and effectively, and to help people around the world work whenever, wherever and however they want, on the projects they choose and at the rate they set. I am proud to be helping to bring boundless opportunity and incredible freedom to people around the world through this kind of employment model.
Can you convince the reader to start using oDesk in under 50 words?
Businesses: Hire, manage and pay experts from around the world with just a few clicks, giving you a global, specialized, on-demand superworkforce.
Workers: Choose when to work, what you want to work on, what to charge, and where to work. All you need is your talent an Internet connection.