Category Archives: simplicity

Million dollar mouse: Flower Power donates $1,000

Thanks to all our Flower Power customers. On your behalf, we just donated $1,000 to eradicate mice off the Antipodes Islands, which matched dollar for dollar by Gareth and Jo Morgan, means thats $2k towards the million dollar target.

We think its a pretty awesome cause, and love the fact that instead of thinking the problem with our environment is too big, Million Dollar Mouse, plucks off a small part of the problem, that we can actually fix.

So good on you all, Keep buying Flower Power through Powershop, and we’ll keep you posted on all the good your money is doing :)

Some other great causes Flower Power customers have donated to:
$5050 for the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal
$1,000 to the Wellington Hospitals and Health Foundation

And don’t forget, you can get $50 free power, just by signing up :)

Delivering Exceptional Service

Thanks @milesfinlay for pointing out this brilliant article on customer service.

I completely agree. People enjoy working with other people. Regardless of whether they are the cleaner or the CEO, there is no joy in working with people in an isolated business situation. It’s probably why people generally form groups of friends at work.

I think it boils down to whether or not you value the time you spend at work enough to form real relationships with the people you work with. I wonder if that’s the only downside to this article, because you can’t teach the ability to genuinely care about the people they work with, and you can’t fake that type of great customer service.

iPoint2: Stay pointing in the right direction!

Disclaimer: I did design this app, so am very biased :)

However, it IS cool.

iPoint2 is super simple, all it does is allow you to plot locations, and then, wherever you are, it will point to any of your saved locations and tell you the direction and distance you need to go to get there. We kept the interface suitably simple so it doesn’t get in the way of quickly adding points or viewing one. The only extra cool thing we added, was the ability for you to take a picture or upload one of each place, which the compass overlays. This personalises each of your places and can provide a visual reference for those of us who like that sort of thing :)



BUT what’s cool is how you can use it.

One of the initial thoughts is for all those praying to Mecca – it’s a very simple way of always knowing which direction to face. Or your favorite fishing spot, where your car is parked, where your best friend lives on the other side of the world…

What’s even cooler, is that as people have started to use it, they have come up with their own benefits. As this AppShopper review writes:

“Say you’re vacationing in an exotic location and want to head back to your hotel but also meander around a little on the way to see the sights. Or you’re exploring a large park and want to keep track of where you are in relation to the park’s entrance. iPoint2 is perfect for these types of situations and many others.”

I love it and highly recommend spending $1.99 and getting yourself pointing in the right direction.

For anyone who’s interested in their own mobile app, iPoint2 was developed by the geniuses at Able Technology

Financial health

I have a lot of inspirational friends doing inspiration things, but one of the most practical pieces of wisdom Ive stolen in the last year is from Amy Hodgkinson, who got herself into a wee bit of debt in her early twenties (like many I know) and last year, paid the whole lot off.

Her big trick? Quite simple really… In an age of electronic transactions, she bucked the tide and withdrew her allocated allowance every week. When that was gone, so was her ability to spend.

Ive managed to avoid debt (outside of business debt early on, and my mortgage) and I think as a result, Ive become somewhat flippant about money. I have a sneaky suspicion that while Im merrily not monitoring whats in my bank account, Im spending extra on things I really dont need.

So, after several conversations about the requirement for a break somewhere tropical this year, Ive decided to make a real effort to monitor my spending.

My budget is drawn up, my next pay is tomorrow and from now on, I will come complete with a wad of cash.

Great advice for anyone wanted to get in the startup game

A few years ago in Wellington, we had this weird wave of businesses that were so over-hyped, everyone assumed the founders were superstars, despite there being virtually nothing behind the buzz.

Out of the rubble a couple of key names emerged. These people actually seemed to have their heads screwed on correctly and had spent that time, heads down getting stuff done.

Rowan Simpson, has invited a few of them to guest post on his blog about their experiences and lessons from their own startups. Their stories are hugely interesting to read and shine a light on what it REALLY takes to get a technology product off the ground, while being honest about the gap between ‘off the ground’ and ‘driving Ferraris into the sunset’.

The posts will continue over the next wee while, so here’s a link to Rowan’s homepage. If you get lost, you’ll most likely find everything else there pretty darn useful anyway.

Moneyscope: Standing out from the Crowd

One of my favorite customers just sent me the latest review of Moneyscope – a Basecamp style approach to financial planning, that enables financial planners to quickly produce attractive, simple and understandable reports for their clients… As opposed to the typical, hugely complex modeling systems that result in reports no one really understands.

I love this product. I love designing it, I love working with Richard (who is about as onto it as they come), and I love the idea of taking on an industry that, to the ordinary person, is shrouded in mystery and complication.

Moneyscope has never intended to compete directly with the big players – it’s monthly cost and simple functionality attest to that, BUT we are quickly picking up on more and more users switching the vast majority of even their most complex customers to Moneyscope… And this is even before the next release of some cool functionality that will take it to the next level.

Read page 25 of this industry publication for this full review, but I think this sums it up:

The discussions with the users of Moneyscope were quite enlightening. We had expected the tool to be used by the mainstream adviser, for simple cases or for initial engagement of clients. The reality is that it is used by sophisticated financial planners as a core part of their advice process.

Keep an eye out for Moneyscope, it’s got the perfect mix of strict focus, simplicity and a massive need from the market.

Making it cool (or not cool)

I watched the Facebook movie. I’m not sure how ‘true to life’ it was, but I one thing I loved was the focus on how important it is to have something ‘cool’. We talk about ‘building buzz’ and all these other marketing, techie terms for ‘cool’, but it was funny to realise, that at the end of the day, the ONLY thing that matters in a successful web app is how cool it is.

I wonder if that’s actually why the internet took off – it inspired a bunch of people who weren’t traditionally ‘cool’ to create stuff that would send their cool factor to the stratosphere – and indeed being cool seems to be a fundamental reason why we now have Facebook, which is even more funny, given that the main reason people use it is to show off how cool they are.

This realisation was was quickly followed by hearing about how they are now playing Mozart in some of the dodgy areas of Christchurch – apparently the sound is so disgusting to the dregs of society, they move on and stop committing crimes in the area.

This tactic seems to have been wildly successful in ‘un-cooling’ the area significantly enough to massively impact behavior, in much the same way as the founders of Facebook believed ads would affect the site.

I’m not sure what the lesson is here, but it feels like there’s something in that.

iFirstaid – Best iPhone App EVER

This is actually not my idea and I know I will be KILLED for claiming this as something I found, but I do think (outside of the creations I’m involved in of course…) that this is the best iPhone app ever.

Why?

Because First Aid is something that we should all know and pretty much all don’t.

Emergency situations are something we should all be prepared for, but let’s be honest, when you are actually in one, who is to say your mind wont go 100% blank or that you will be unable to do anything for fear of doing something wrong?

What an absolutely brilliant thing to have on you – a quick reference guide you can have on hand IF ONLY to give you the confidence of someone with a reference guide on hand.

It’s actually not as uncommon as you might think to be thrust into a life or death situation and even if you do the fullblown 2 day course (without being so bored that your mind closes for the majority of it), staying up to date on the latest best practises and even remembering the basics can be a struggle for those of us with brains like sieves.

So get it now

My new favorite website: Groupy!

DISCLAIMER: While I believe Lance might be a part of this company, and even though Lance and I are in several companies together, I am in no way associated with Groupy APART FROM, I am their new BIGGEST FAN!

I just feel like I have to say that to avoid being accused of underhanded self-promotion.

I LOVE the idea of getting bargains through amassing crowds, and I love the bargains they are giving out. I just referred all my friends and we are going bowling en masse.

I know it’s not unique in the world, but most times you hear about sites like this and are super excited, but NZ is ignored, so you have to sit there and wish you lived in America.

I hope they do well and despite the fact that I will be missing my $10 referral fee for everyone who signs up through this blog post, I hope everyone signs up and we get lots of cool stuff dirt cheap.

Another disclaimer: The only addiction I have discovered that I have is for cheap internet shopping sites… so there is a mild chance I get overly excited when I find them.

The difference between doers and talkers

There are two types of people in the world: Doers, and talkers. Talkers are brilliant at coming up with big schemes and discussing them for hours and then coming up with bigger schemes and discussing them for hours. Doers get stuff done.

I went to a cycle event on Saturday morning at 8am, organised by my friend Claire, who is a doer. Claire is sick and tired of how we as a country are dead set on ignoring climate change, she is annoyed that the council claims to want to make Wellington carbon neutral yet seems to do nothing about it but come up with grand schemes for sometime in the future. Our council, on this issue at least, are talkers.

So Claire organised this bike event. She invited the local Mayors and councilors and a bunch of cyclists and people like me who are normally too terrified to brave our streets on a bike and we were meant to catch the train from Wellington to Petone, then bike back. Basically Claire wanted to show our council and our Mayor what it is actually like for cyclists in Wellington (paying a full adult fare for carrying a bike on a train so that your daily train fare for one person is more than the cost of driving and parking, having to bike along one of our TWO roads out of the city on the half meter of road allocated to bikes while trucks and buses whistle by at 100kms an hour, having cars honk at you because the lights for cyclists last literally 10 seconds and you end up right in their path… You get the point)

So our Mayor came along before going to pull a publicity stunt at the major bike the bays event on later in the day. She was asked to give a speech about biking in Wellington and despite being part of our land transport committee or whatever it is, and despite campaigning successfully on the back of a Carbon Neutral platform for two terms running, the best she could come up with when asked why the council was allowing our bike paths to remain so substandard they pose real risk to bikers was ‘well we talk about it at every meeting. I can assure you, it is brought up at EVERY meeting.’

I can tell you that one of the proudest moments I have had recently was looking at all these people who talk the big talk and spend their lives convincing people of how much they are going to do some day, and comparing them to MY friend, who simply got her act together and did it.