How Share As Image Got to $1,000 Recurring Revenue

When Walter saw how his recent post on how iDoneThis reached $1,000 in recurring revenue struck a chord among readers, he thought it would be illuminating to talk with other entrepreneurs about their journey to $1,000 recurring revenue.

Here’s Walter’s interview with Adam Rotman, creator of Share As Image, a tool that helps people turn quotes into images.

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The Secret to Marketing that’s Impossible to Copy

As marketers, we’re always searching for a formula for how to be successful — but there’s no formula for this:

What Do You Want to Learn from Wistia?
While watching Wistia’s recent dance video promoting a feedback survey, I realized that it wasn’t the production, the camera, or the lighting that made the video so compelling, or explained why I watched and shared it with friends. It was the personality of the company’s people shining through.

Wistia offers an incredibly comprehensive guide on how to make incredible marketing videos for your company, but there’s one vital ingredient to successful marketing that can’t be taught in an instructional video.

Today, it’s company culture that creates marketing messages that spread. It’s that secret sauce that’s impossible to replicate.

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How Benjamin Franklin Stayed Focused on What’s Important, Every Day

image Benjamin Franklin was a man who got a lot done. He was “a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat” — in addition to being one of America’s founding fathers.

But early in life, Franklin was just another guy who struggled with time management. At age twenty in July of 1726, on a sea voyage home to Philadelphia from London, Franklin began to think more about what productivity really meant and how to achieve it.

What was important to Franklin was not the external goals of making money or being famous. It was about the type of man he wanted to be. Out of that thinking, Franklin developed his thirteen virtues, a list of character traits to live by.

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Twitter CEO Dick Costolo’s Unexpected Advice on Preserving Startup Culture in Your Company

Startups are fast-moving and exciting, with a culture of getting stuff done. So it’s one of the biggest shocks for startup founders to see that culture change as the company grows, and naturally founders often get nostalgic for the days of yore.

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Founder of Evernote Phil Libin has seen his company skyrocket to a billion dollar company in six short years, ballooning its headcount from 45 people in 2010 to pushing 400 just three years later. Growing concerned over what that precipitous employee growth meant for Evernote’s company culture, Libin reached out to Dick Costolo, CEO at Twitter, who’d gone through it before.

As Libin recounted to PandoDaily, he asked Costolo how to preserve the startup culture at Evernote that had made it so successful. And Costolo gave him an unexpected response that stuck with him, shaping his views on scaling company culture.

Don’t, Costolo said.

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Break the Bad Habit of Ineffective Meetings

Why do we continue to have bad meetings? Seriously, 99% of the human population seem to hate them, and there are surveys showing again and again that there are x many meetings everyday that cost gabillions of dollars worth of wasted time and productivity.

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Is it some horrible concoction of misplaced optimism that this time it’ll be better, resigned acceptance that this is a required dog and pony show — the business world’s tradition of dance, monkey, dance — and a massive buildup of bad meeting history that’s created such intense inertia that only superheroes can help us pull away into the light?

Imagine that a group of you had to build a doghouse like Snoopy’s, and you got a toolbox, some wood, and pencils and paper. Your team is revved up about this cool doghouse, you can envision it, you have all these super useful tools, but all your team does with the pencils and paper is doodle pictures of cute dogs instead of making a blueprint or marking down measurements. Then when you run out of paper, you ask for more paper — only to doodle more pictures of dogs.

That’s how we’re treating meetings. Meetings are a helpful tool to decide and plan things. But misused, they’re just a bunch of meaningless doodles that don’t lead to anything being built and Snoopy with no place to live.

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Why Foursquare, BuzzFeed, and Shopify Use Google Snippets

There’s one internal communication tool, little known outside of tech circles, that’s been the management engine behind many of tech’s biggest successes. Known as Google Snippets (having started as an internal tool at Google), this single tool has grown to become one that many of the best technology companies use to keep their teams aligned and working in sync while giving them the freedom to work creatively and autonomously.

The reason the system at Google caught on is that it’s not only powerful but incredibly simple to use.

Snippets sends everyone a weekly email on Monday asking you what you did last week and what you planned to get done the next week. When you reply to the email, your response goes onto an internally accessible webpage, and the next day, you’ll get an email that shows you what everyone else in the company is working on.

What began as a modest tool for keeping everyone in the loop became a powerful tool for company-wide transparency, as Google grew from hundreds to tens of thousands of people. With snippets, every employee had access to important knowledge regarding what was happening in the company — a stark contrast from the old days when managers hoarded information and kept it from their reports.

As Googlers eventually spread their wings and left the company for other tech pastures, they brought snippets with them, which is how similar systems became critical management tools at companies like Foursquare.

Here’s why three of the fastest-rising tech companies today use snippets and how it fuels their success:

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How the Golden Rule Melts Away Management Hurdles

Treat others the way you want to be treated. It’s a simple enough concept that long predates any management manual. Yet somehow the notion of treating people like, well, people when it comes to managing them gets lost in the landscape of meetings, memos, and motivational posters.

Is it that power actually gets to people’s heads? Adam Galinsky, a professor of management at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, tested whether there are heady effects. In one study, a group of participants were first primed to feel powerful by writing about a time they felt authority over others. They went on to make more mistakes when guessing the emotional expressions of faces showing happiness, sadness, fear, or anger, compared to the control group.

So the job of managing itself may reduce your ability to empathize and perceive what others are feeling and experiencing. When you lose touch with your team as people, you cause them to feel frustrated, demotivated, and unacknowledged — not only harming relationships but performance as well.

Too many of us have been trained to focus on work, as if it exists in a vacuum, that we forget that fixes aren’t limited to considering and discussing the work itself.  Here’s how three companies avoid that trap by putting a priority on treating their employees like human beings.

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Why I Decided to Move Away From My Team to Live in Vegas

For six years, John Todero worked to build his marketing company Dyverse in Orlando. He decided to relocate over 2,000 miles away with his small team still in Orlando. John tells us about what spurred his decision to move to the hopeful lights of Downtown Las Vegas.

While the number one benefit of being an entrepreneur is the freedom from others telling you what to do and how to do it, the truth is, running a company also comes with a lot of responsibilities that can tie you down. Always working long hours to make sure everything gets done on time and ensuring that everyone stays productive, I never felt it was the right time to up and move — even though I’d felt the urge for awhile.

image After grinding it out for six years in Downtown Orlando running my marketing company, Dyverse, I had a real longing to spread my wings and explore what living in other cities would be like. All the same, I had a small in-house team working with me and I wasn’t sure if our foundation was strong enough yet to be working remotely from different cities.

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5 Tips to Make the Most of Your Company Retreat

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If you’ve ever had to suffer through trust fall exercises or offsites that try to make over ugly corporate morale in one go, you probably dismiss company retreats as a waste of time and money.

Yet the company retreat remains one concrete strategy that startups employ to fuel their success. When you work for a startup, where every day is basically a trust fall, a retreat is not just a superficial motivational exercise in decreeing “let’s do better” but an opportunity to take a step back and realign, rethink, and break down how to do better.

In July, iDoneThis went on a week-long team trip to downtown Las Vegas to do just that. While we’d visited before to connect with Zappos and the Downtown Project, this year things are a bit different:  our CEO Walter lives in Vegas and we’re proud to be in the Vegas Tech Fund portfolio alongside exciting companies like Zirtual, LaunchBit, and Skillshare.

We had a fantastic time connecting with the Vegas startup and Downtown Project community, working out some of our own company kinks, and of course, having fun. We thought we’d share some tips on what made our all-hands trip effective to consider for your own retreats, offsites, or meetups!

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Why Teams with Time Style Diversity Are Stronger

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When it comes to teams, difference is good. If we were all the same, we might as well be replaced with a bunch of robots.

If a team doesn’t come to conflict, it seldom reaches its potential. Without conflict, teams become stagnant, which affects overall morale, productivity and frankly, your bottom line.

Here are a couple quick reasons how contrasting working styles can be an advantage:

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