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Massive Productivity Gain: Get all your employees on CloudApp

CloudApp is the single most important productivity and efficiency tool I use each day.  And if you've read my blogs, you know I use a lot of tools to make my time act as a force multiplier.  But CloudApp is the most indespensible -- I literally use it 20 to 50 times each day (Rapportive is a close second).

Until you use CloudApp to experience its magic, though, it can be a bit hard to understand what makes it so amazing.  So here's an easy, clear example of one of our employees, Nate, using CloudApp, so you can really get how it works.

We have a designer that works remotely.  Nate wanted to ask the designer to do some work on an iPhone screen he was developing.  Below is a screenshot of the conversation they had.  (On a tangent -- we use GitHub, Basecamp & Pivotal Tracker in specific ways to manage projects via a Scrum methodology.  Let me know in the comments section if you'd like me to write a post with an in-depth look at how we use these tools).

Here's the link Nate put into the thread, so you can see the same screenshot the designer saw: http://cl.ly/1H401K373S2d3Q0s1e1i

As I describe in this separate post on how to set CloudApp up on your computer, all Nate had to do to make that URL was take a screen shot of his computer (or phone).  That's it.  CloudApp takes care of the rest -- it listens on your computer for any screenshots you take, uploads them to the cloud, and turns them into a publicly accessible URL that Nate can then share.

Ideas Are Like Sperm

On The Best of Sett

I talk to entrepreneurs who have ideas, and very often they ask what they should do first.

I've had the conversation enough now that I'm going to write a blog on it to give a much more detailed answer than I can in a 5 minute convo or a quick email.

The first thing I'd say is congrats, you have an idea. Not to be too crass here, but ideas are like sperm. They're required in order to bring your startup to life, but an idea alone isn't worth much. In fact, my first big piece of feedback is that your idea is for all intents and purposes valueless. Unseasoned entrepreneurs want to protect their ideas and not tell anyone about them. What I always say is this: If you really believe your idea is so valuable, then go try to sell it to someone. See how much anyone will pay you for it. Let the market tell you how valuable your idea is. If you can get $1MM for your idea, then you've just won the startup lottery and saved yourself from the really hard part: Executing on that idea. I'd sell ideas all day long if I could, but I've never been able to sell a single one -- not even for 1 cent (literally).

So just like sperm, ideas are bountiful and required for life, but they don't accomplish much on their own, and in fact from this point onward in this post I'm going to substitute the word 'sperm' for 'idea' just to drive my point home. And just like only a few dozen sperm reach their destination from millions initially, that's how it goes with ideas as you start to execute on them.

The second thing I'd suggest is you (life)hack together a prototype of your sperm. This doesn't mean the prototype has to be software based. For example, when I started a tech-based real estate brokerage in 2003, part of my model was to use technology to be more efficient, allowing me to give rebates to home buyers. My entire business model was based on establishing strong SEO, building a lead-gen CRM, getting a data feed of the MLS homes database, and lots of other things that would take tons of dev work.

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