7 Essential Online Business Tools that Power You Forward

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As a distributed team, we find tools indispensable because we rely on them so heavily to collaborate and create our collective office space in the cloud. We know the beating heart of running a successful business is successful communication internally as a team and externally with our customers — and without helpful tools, we can’t connect.

We’ve rounded up our seven favorite tools that keep us moving forward. What these seven tools have in common is that they’re easy to use and responsive to our needs. And when tools can evolve as we evolve while retaining their simplicity and effectiveness, they have great staying power.

Here’s the quick list:

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How Buffer Came Out on Top After Getting Hacked

“Aw crap,” I muttered as I looked at my inbox a few weekends ago and saw an email from Buffer CEO Joel Gascoigne with the subject line “Buffer has been hacked — here is what’s going on”.

We rely on Buffer to handle all the iDoneThis social media accounts, so I braced myself for all sorts of toil and trouble as I clicked on the email. It began:

I wanted to get in touch to apologize for the awful experience we’ve caused many of you on your weekend. Buffer was hacked around 1 hour ago, and many of you may have experienced spam posts sent from you via Buffer. I can only understand how angry and disappointed you must be right now….

Fortunately we hadn’t been affected, but I continued to follow updates as they unfolded. Throughout, Buffer was transparent, responsive, and reassuring. They disclosed, accepted responsibility and apologized for the security breach. They communicated not just what they knew but gave us a heads up about their next steps and guidance on what we could do to protect our accounts in the meantime. They also continued posting updates and answering everyone’s questions while resolving the problem.

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Effective Communication: The Best of the Internet

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REMINDER!  We’re giving away some awesome prizes for subscribers who sign up for the newsletter by Sunday, August 18, 11:59 pm EST. 

How Dan Pink Invested in iDoneThis — it started with a to-do item that sat and sat undone for weeks.

Getting to Better Than Optimal is even more important in this increasingly automated, techie world.

Here’s a peek at the 2nd issue of our newsletter. Baby steps!

30 Online Tools That Are So Good, You May Have to Fire Someone.

5 Habits of Highly Effective Communicators.

Prevent Work Related Stress: The Best of the Internet

seems impossibleHappy Friday! Catch up with the best of what we’ve shared on the interwebs this week! 

How the Buffer team uses iDoneThis to build a truly transparent company.

8 Awesome Tech & Startup Newsletters You Should Be Reading

Email is people.

One way to prevent burnout – the done list.

How to build a collaborative space like Pixar and Google.

imageDundee’s Tip of the Week: Find out how to feed what you get done in Trello, Evernote, Github, and Google Calendar to iDoneThis with Zapier!

How Buffer Works Smarter, Not Harder

Buffer stands out among startups not just for its success in building a great social media sharing tool but in fashioning a company culture focused on making work fulfilling, impactful, and enjoyable. What’s fascinating is that they do this as a completely distributed team, spread across multiple countries and time-zones.

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Treat People in the Best Way

Co-founders Joel Gasciogne and Leo Widrich set the foundation for Buffer’s culture according to the tenets of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. Carolyn Kopprasch, Buffer’s Chief Happiness Officer translates what that means for Buffer’s modus operandi: “We want to treat people in the absolute best way we can, and that includes co-workers, vendors, and customers.”

It also includes how the Buffer employees treat themselves. With a unique self-improvement program, they share their progress on anything from time management to healthy eating with their teammates, spurring conversations about different lifehacks and routines. Michelle Sun, Buffer’s growth and analytics expert, tracks fitness routines and getting up early while Leo has been making strides with learning how to code.

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Co-workers become a collective accountability partner for future plans like blogging or exercising, and more importantly, they become an incredible support system. Instead of looking askance when you’re doing work to do something to take care of yourself, you receive encouragement. “If you’re trying to work on your health or your fitness or your happiness level, that affects work a lot too,” Carolyn explains.

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How To Measure Success

First, the seed being sown falls on good ground, but the birds get it. Then it falls on shallow ground and can’t grow. Then on thorny ground, where it withers away. And only with the last attempt it falls on good ground and the seeds grow.
So we must shift our focus. We don’t want to look for which seeds thrive and which don’t. We want to know what the rate of success is.

Buffer’s Leo Widrich describes Jim Rohm’s law of averages in explaining his approach to measuring success.

Great things are not accomplished with a silver bullet shot of optimism but require work and a kind of faith that is informed by reality.

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Image: Sergiu Bacioiu

Shut Up and Listen! The Best of the Internet

Doggies at workHappy Friday! Catch up with the best of what we’ve shared on the interwebs this week!  

3 Reasons to Shut up and Listen Well.

Self-control depletes itself and your motivation. How to refuel from within.

5 hard questions to ask yourself during a conflict.

Why your phone is snuffing your creativity (and is like an endless supply of Cheetos).

The perks at Buffer? Daily improvement and free books.

Dundee’s Tip of the Week:  Hey IDT teams! Do you only want to see certain team members show up in your email digest? Log into iDoneThis, and under the calendar, click on “unfollow” or “follow” to choose whose dones you want to see in your digest.

Amazing Productivity Apps: The Best of the Internet

Here’s a sweet short film, Honk if You Love Someone, that will make you smile. (via Dan Pink, whose book, To Sell is Human, just cameout.) And now, catch up with the best of what we’ve shared on the interwebs this week!

We’re among some pretty cool company in this amex open forum roundup of 10 amazing productivity apps.

Did you make any resolutions this year? Here’s why 88% of them fail and how to make them work.

Put just one word into action to refocus your company and motivate your employees.

Don’t wait! Delegate!

If you liked the film and want to make your own signs, try out some guerilla art using post-it notes! Bonus: not having to stand outside!

Dealing With Office Anger

Not Cranky

Don’t get all inner-Angrybot at work. Eilene Zimmerman wrote recently in the NYT about how to deal with office anger. Tips on how to deal include writing it down:

It might help to vent by writing down your feelings and thoughts, says Deborah Grayson Riegel, founder of Elevated Training in Hewlett, N.Y. The writing process may help you resolve your feelings — and you may want to share what you’ve written with friend, a spouse or someone at work you trust. “That person can read it and tell you if they see something in the situation you aren’t seeing,” Ms. Riegel says.

Don’t suppress strong emotions; this gets in the way of creativity, thinking clearly, and good judgment. Head over to Buffer to read our post about how emotion affects work and motivation!

Find Joy in your Work: The Best of the Internet

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Here’s the weekly round-up of the best of the blog & links we’ve shared on the interwebs!

We have a guest blog post over at Buffer on the science behind what motivates us to work hard.

How we help Reddit get stuff done.

Mike Sun wrote about security and Google/OpenID Integrations.

We wrote about how we need more quiet and slower web to create better, transcend, and find joy in our work.

The struggle to help your employees find larger meaning.

Talent isn’t enough.

How the President gets stuff done.