People say that ideas are easy, but execution is difficult. When I started penning my book, The Coolest Startups in America (find it here on Amazon) last year, I had a simple thesis: there should be a book that introduces people to startups. But in practice, it was not so straightforward. To write and publish a book, there are hundreds of moving parts and dozens of players.
After six months of writing and hours of interviews (Producteev CEO Ilan Abehassera included!), my idea for The Coolest Startups in America book became reality, available to delight readers around the country on the best startups in the nation. As I reflect on my process, there was one tool with me at every step. That’s right, my Producteev account.
Here is how I used Producteev to move my project from goal to reality:
1. Use Producteev to Brainstorm
Inspiration can come from anywhere. I used my Producteev account to collect quotes, notes and images that would be useful in the writing process. Because Producteev focuses on cross-platform fluidity, I was never pigeonholed into using Producteev.com specifically, instead adding to my account on-the-go via Producteev’s iPhone and iPad apps.
2. Use Producteev to Land an Agent or Publisher
I decided to pursue finding a literary agent and publisher early on in my book-writing process. Because Producteev allows multiple Workspaces within each account, I could keep my writing work in one Workspace and use another for the purpose of securing representation.
While Producteev won’t magically get you interest from an Agent or Publisher, it can help coordinate your outreach. As a first-time author, agency names and publishing houses were esoteric and niche, so I used each “task” in Producteev to store notes on the organizations. And, for each Publisher rejection (happens to every writer like a right of passage), Producteev lifted my spirits because I could cross a name off the list to see a pretty green check mark indicating that I was only getting closer to my goal, never farther from it.
3. Use Producteev to Organize Research
Over a span of about two months, I conducted 50+ interviews with startup CEOs, government officials, academics, thought-leaders, and journalists for The Coolest Startups in America, so staying on top of scheduling could have become a fiasco. Not so with Producteev! Rather than create calendar alerts for checking in with PR reps and sources, I could schedule reminders within Producteev so that the contact information, notes, interview questions and scheduling for each person remained centralized.
I also put Producteev’s labeling features to good use. With 72 startups featured in the inaugural volume of The Coolest Startups in America, organized into 18 categorical sections, colored labels helped to keep the content tidy so I could easily navigate around the tasks for the many chapters.
4. Use Producteev During Editing
When it came time to involve my editor in the book process, Producteev was a gem. I could “assign” chapters to my editor as I finished working on them. If there were items within the chapter for me to review, he could seamlessly assign the task back to me within Producteev.
5. Use Producteev for Publicity
Among bookers, producers, articles, friends & family outreach, volume sales (Plug: Want to order 10 or more copies? Email me for a discount code! ;) and more, there is so much for authors to do after the writing process is complete. No matter whether an author decides to use a traditional publisher or go DIY, book promotion always has the author in the driver’s seat. Producteev is helping me stay on top of publicity for The Coolest Startups in America. In fact, I’m off to cross off the to-do item for this article right now; using a spreadsheet is so last century.
Producteev was named one of “The Coolest Startups in America.” Buy the book to find out about the best new companies around the nation in the first-ever mainstream book about entrepreneurship.
Author Doreen Bloch is an entrepreneur & writer in New York City (hometown: Palo Alto, CA). Her first book “The Coolest Startups in America” was released in February 2012. She is a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council and a former Analyst at SecondMarket, where she worked on the auctions for shares of Facebook Inc. and other leading private companies. Her personal website is http://www.DoreenBloch.com.
“Producteev is an effective way to document our work and helps us make decisions on what should be done next. We use it for team transparency and accountability” - Dan Johnson, business manager, outdoorsman.
- shared workspace
- Android app
- centralized location for projects
- peace of mind
Dan Johnson and teammates at ReallyCheapHealthInsurance.com rely on Producteev to manage web-related tasks, from design to SEO to business strategy. ReallyCheapHealthInsurance provides its clients with instant health insurance quotes from many different insurance companies so people can compare health insurance prices, products, and policies side by side and choose what works best for them. The close-knit team is based in three states and two different time zones. Producteev helps make online collaboration across several states less of a hassle for them.
The team’s entire front end development is managed using the to-do application. Programming tasks, with varying degrees of difficulty, are assigned to appropriate member(s) of the team. They are then easily starred and ranked, in order of priority.
In addition to product development, business goals are measured in Producteev. Leads for agency partnerships, for instance, are tracked with the task manager. From the qualifying stage to the follow up stage, potential partners are notated in the system. Specific actions to be taken are entered and scheduled, as needed. This action-oriented approach ensures that multiple opportunities are leveraged.
Often on the go, or in the field, Dan adjusts by managing his to-do list on Astrid, a 3rd party application for Android. The add-on syncs with Producteev, allowing ideas that come to mind while running errands, to be easily tracked and administered as tasks at a later date.
Finally, Dan also uses Producteev for personal to-dos. He assigns labels to help organize and process to-dos, and like many Producteev users is a fan of Getting Things Done (GTD). “What I really like about Producteev,” he shares, “is the ability to forget about tasks when out camping, fishing, or biking, and knowing that they will be right where I can find them when it’s time to get things done!”
For Dan Johnson, Producteev offers the best of both worlds and makes managing both work and play a breeze.
The company also shares some of the same integration services as Producteev, like an iPhone and google marketplace app.
Nathaniel Robinson is VP of Marketing and a workspace admin. He and his team use Producteev to take their workflow to the next level.
Q: How do you use Producteev?
Nat: We have several workspaces. Today we use Producteev across marketing and business development and sales to ensure we’re all focused and working on a the right things at the right time. It also helps ensure that we’re not duplicating efforts and it helps us work as a team by getting what we need from other team members.
Mostly we use Producteev for tracking our own work, but we do use Producteev to sometimes assign to do’s to other people on the team. Our CMO uses it to assign tasks to us and keep track of our progress. When we want to see what someone is working on, we just click on their name.
I have also found the sort feature, in the footer, quite handy. I typically use it to sort by deadline and priority. It really helps me focus my energy.
Q: Describe your experience with Producteev.
Nat: Producteev really seems to be the only service that caters to our team needs. We needed an online application that would let us track assignments, document work history, let us be mobile and integrate with our other tools.
Many of us use the iPhone app. Also, SlideRocket is a SaaS solution and a Google Apps Marketplace partner and we like to adopt other Google SaaS solutions to manage all our apps in one place.
In addition, I connected my IM client and have used it a quite bit.
Producteev gives great visibility into what everyone is working on and keeps us on track!