Fleep User Stories: Lingvist

Fleep User Stories is a series of blogposts that tracks the lives and experiences of the teams and startups that use Fleep in their daily business.

This time we talked with Ave Habakuk, the community manager at Lingvist.

Lingvist, Fleep user storiesWhat is Lingvist?

Website: lingvist.io
Facebook: TheLingvist
Twitter: @TheLingvist

Lingvist is a smart language learning software that aims to significantly reduce the time needed in language learning. We do this by tailoring the learning process to every individual user in real time, to best suit their knowledge and skills. The technology of Lingvist combines mathematical methods from nuclear physics (CERN) with contemporary language science and is developed by the people who created Skype. Although all this sounds incredibly complicated, learning with Lingvist is actually rather simple. The program is currently in private beta.

The company was founded just over a year ago by Mait Müntel, Ott Jalakas and Andres Koern. The company’s inception came about after Müntel, who has a background in physics and had been working at CERN for several years, became interested in learning French and couldn’t find a fast enough way to do so.

Lingvist team, Fleep user storiesHow many people in the team?

Altogether there is 8 of us here at Lingvist and incredibly enough, we are spread out across 4 locations – Tallinn, Tartu, Stockholm and London. Having everyone on the same page and sharing information is essential for quick progress of a startup. I suppose one could say that Fleep is something like our water cooler, where we all meet daily and where all the important conversations happen.

How did you find out about Fleep?

Jaan Tallinn, an investor we share with Fleep, suggested we take up using it since according to him, it is the best communication app for building a startup.

How are you using Fleep?

We mostly use Fleep for conversations that are centered around particular topics or projects, some of the most recent include setting up new metrics or hiring an UX designer. It is really great that not all the participants have to be online for the conversation, which is something that happens often with people working in different time zones. It is easy to back track and see what was discussed while you were away and still have access to the files that were set up, such as screenshots of CVs. Most of the Fleep chats are between our team members, but we also occasionally include people from outside of the team, as it is more convenient to have a multiparty conversation on Fleep than on e-mail.

Any Fleep tips, tricks or habits that you’d like to share?

We have come to use Fleep for quick access to some frequently needed information. For instance the UK phone numbers of team members temporarily in London are pinned to the sidebar of our TechStars conversation and some frequently needed access URLs are pinned to the development chat. No need to go through e-mails or bug your colleague several times – the information is just there, highlighted next to the relevant topic.

So much about Lingvist, one of our cool startup Fleep users! But this is not the only story from our users we have, if you’d like to get more stories like this in the future as well, feel free to follow us on Twitter (#fleepstories) or Facebook and check out the rest of the stories as well.

How New Technologies Help Small Businesses

How New Technologies Help Small Businesses

Time and money – two things every small business owner needs desperately. Thus, it is important to know how new technologies help small businesses.

A manager has to wear so many different hats, that there are often not enough hours in a day to carry out all the things necessary to keep a company up and running. When it is finally the time to share the dream with workers, business owners find themselves passing over some responsibilities in exchange for welcoming in others.

Management and administration coupled with human recourses is enough to leave anybody overwhelmed. Therefore, it should not come as any surprise that 60% of companies with 100 or fewer employees are turning to human resources technologies to lighten the load (according to a 2015 report from The Starr Conspiracy Intelligence Unit).

The role of HR personnel is very different in a small or mid-size organization, so it is very important to know how and when to invest in human resources. Use of HR technologies can lessen the time spent on administrative tasks up to 50% and save almost 40% in administrative costs.

Recruitment 

small businesses

In the pre-internet days, HR recruiters had to rely on printed publications, such as newspapers, to post jobs and get prospects for open positions in their firm. While other methods, such as networking, were also used, HR recruiters did not have the ability to post a job offering in one or more locations and have thousands of people see it at once.

In recent years, career-based sites like LinkedIn have begun developing automated outreach systems to passive candidates on behalf of companies – advanced outreach distinctively tailored to specific candidates. More on that note here.

Employee Training 

A day in the life of a human resource professional is certainly not a walk in the park. A morning could be spent processing new employees and running seminars, then spending the afternoon smoothing out billing issues and passing tissues to anxious administrators.

recruitmentWith tools such as online training, new employees can their training whenever the schedule allows it. The ability to access company information from remote locations eliminates the need for trainers to work directly with recruits on all training. Some eye-to-eye interaction is necessary of course, but online training makes it possible for HR professionals to train a large number of workers quickly and to assess their progress through testing programs.

Communication

The modern technology is helping blow apart the traditional model of management control of all information. In today’s world of Twitter and Facebook, information sharing is instantaneous, and communication has entered organizations much more deeply now.

Great team communication tools like Fleep enhance collaboration between people, forming effective conversations around and keeping important notes. Finding a small business communication software that works for your company is key.

Data Storage 

data storage

For the longest, HR experts generally processed a considerable amount of paperwork; they also had to keep much of that paperwork on file for an extensive period of time. Most of the time was needlessly lost digging through an endless number of files in the file cabinet to find what is needed. We have used cloud services and mobile apps for so long in our personal lives that we tend to forget that at some companies (especially small and midsize businesses) they are still brand new.

According to the 2015-2015 HR Systems Survey, only in 2015 more human resource management systems were purchased than on-premise systems. That is despite the fact that the cloud-based software is easier to implement and take advantage of new technologies and features. When it comes to new technologies, while slow, HR is obviously catching up.

Marketing project management

With so many stakeholders, managers and clients, a marketing team can feel overwhelmed with the number of tasks and responsibilities. Add new channels to that mix along with idea creation, and your marketing priorities are constantly pivoting and changing. To help, you need a tool that will take the chaos out of marketing.

Workzone is a simple, yet powerful marketing project management software that was designed with ad agencies and marketing teams in mind. You can split up creative tasks and collaborate quickly on your marketing plan. Whether it’s a new website or a new blog post, Workzone helps you save time on processes, approvals and projects.

Performance Management 

We could say that the fundamental goal of performance management is to promote and improve employee effectiveness. It is a continuous process where HR managers and employees work together to plan, monitor and review an employee’s overall contribution to the company.

Various software programs make it possible for HR pros to examine worker’s performance using metrics to make sure that the worker in question is meeting the establishment’s performance standards. Employees that do not measure up to those standards can be subjected to additional training or they could be let go in favor of a replacement that can get the job done.

Nate Vickery

 

This is a guest blog post written by Nate M. Vickery, who is a business consultant and the editor-in-chief at Bizzmarkblog.com.

Small Business Communication Software

How to Stop Procrastinating

We all have days when it feels like you just can’t get started on anything. When hours go by and you realize that, somehow, you’ve been reading BuzzFeed and ZDNet all this time.

stop procrastinatingOften, just taking a break and coming back to a problem fresh is enough to jumpstart your brain and get you back on track.

But what happens when it stops being just a phase? When you slip into the realm of the chronic procrastinator?

Sometimes, it takes a whole new approach to knock your timewasting on the head.

How to stop procrastinating? Here are three top strategies:

1. Build yourself an “ideas playground”

If you’re the kind of person who bounces around from idea to idea and finds it hard to focus, Marianne Cantwell’s playground approach might just be the way forward.

ideas playground

Instead of trying to force yourself to work down a linear list, Cantwell suggests scribbling down a few things that you really need to get done, plus ideas of projects that you really want to delve into but never seem to have time for.

First thing in the morning, she says, try picking just one thing you must do today and spend 20 minutes on it. Then, as your mind starts to wander, allow yourself to drift to something else from your “playground” and explore this for a while before returning to the task in hand.

That way, you get to feel like you’re procrastinating – but really, you’re laying useful groundwork for a project you’d never get started on otherwise.

2. Take a “three pronged” approach

If you feel you need a little more structure to your to-do list, try out Barbara Corcoran’s approach instead.

how to stop procrastinatingA leading business guru, Corcoran divides her lists into three parts. The first is a priority section that contains just two or three things she really must do that day, the second is a “review” section of easy tasks that can be dealt with fast, and the third is a list of tasks needed for major long-term projects, which are crucial for business growth.

This helps Corcoran to keep track of the most urgent tasks while making sure that the little things don’t slip through the net – and without losing sight of the big business goals that keep her ahead of the curve.

3. Write down every idea you have

Perhaps one of the most productive people the world has ever seen, Richard Branson is also a prolific list maker – and he has the system nailed.

Similar to Corcoran’s concept, Branson recommends keeping multiple lists – of small tasks that are satisfying to tick off, of big projects that give you a sense of achievement when you finally draw a line through them, and of big, outlandish goals that represent the things you really want to do, someday.

how to stop procrastinatingThe difference, though, is that what most people might think of as procrastinating, Branson sees as a potential future goldmine of ideas.

“Write down every single idea you have, no matter how big or small,” he says. “Include personal goals in your lists, not just business.”

That way, you can scribble down your daydreams as they come and know they’re not lost – you’ll revisit the idea later, when you’ve tackled the most urgent things on your list. And, whenever you need a little inspiration or motivation, you can revisit your old ideas and remind yourself what you really want to achieve.

Just don’t forget your notebook!

Marek Sanders, copywriter

 

This is a guest blog post written by Marek Sanders, who is a copywriter, productivity enthusiast and Fleep evangelist.

 

Chat for teams

How the busiest people in the world use email

Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Jaan Tallinn, Andrew Mason, Steve Wozniak. Probably some of the busiest people in the world. Have you ever wondered how the busiest people manage their emails?

How do the busiest people in the world use email?Email was never meant for conversations, nor for being used at the scale that it is used today. Email is known as the anti-productivity tool and as a drain on anyone’s workload. Yet email is a tremendous open platform, and the use of email in business communication does not seem to be on the decline just yet. Surely the extremely busy people have to use email too?

Well, we did our research and found a pattern or two in just how they use email. So, here’s an overview of how the busiest people in the world use email…

Concise replies

First of all, it is clear the extremely busy people respond to emails with brevity. Their emails are straightforward, to the point, and usually short. For example, according to the biography of Elon Musk, “Ok.” is a standard response you can expect from Elon via email.

“Ok.” – Elon Musk

Likewise, Jeff Bezos is known to be concise in email communication.

email as chat

Email messenger?

Secondly, and somewhat related to the first point, it’s not uncommon that extremely busy people use emails as if it was a modern chat. As Raul Gutierrez (CEO of Tinybop, Inc.) shares on Quora, he emailed back and forth with Steve Jobs as if it was an email chat.

“If I emailed late at night (past midnight) I got an almost instant response. If I was up and would respond back, he would again respond. . . like modern chat.” - Raul Gutierrez on Steve Jobs’ email conversations

(We bet Steve Jobs would have liked the conversational chat-like experience of emails that Fleep has.)

Assistants vs managing your own emails

Third, it’s no secret that many executives have assistants to help manage the sheer volume of email they receive daily. For example, Tony Sieh of Zappos has a team of email handlers and it is very likely that if you email Jeff Bezos, you’ll receive a response from one of his assistants handling the emails.

how does Elon Musk manage his email

At the same time, some extremely busy people are known to handle all of their own email, with a system in place to help cope with the volume. Andrew Mason, (co-founder of Detour, previously CEO of Groupon) is one of these people, and even Steve Wozniak answers his own email.

Jaan Tallinn, a serial founder and investor is unquestionably an extremely busy person, and has often spoken out about email and business communications (see for example “Why Email’s Days Are Numbered” on Huffington Post or this interview with Tallinn on the topic business communication). In an interview to TechWorld, Tallinn said:

“I really don’t like email as a communication method and there’s a good reason for this. It was invented in the 70s and it was intended for much lower volumes.” – Jaan Tallinn

In fact, Jaan Tallinn uses Fleep to manage most of his email. Thus, it is clear Tallinn manages his own email – especially given that Fleep turns the email threads into effective conversations.

how do the busiest people in the world manage email

There is little doubt email is an inefficient tool for communication. However, as email is the lowest common denominator, even the busiest people in the world have to deal with it.

The patterns in how the busiest people in the world use email are evident. The busiest executives manage email with brevity, often chat via email, and use systems or tools to make email a little more efficient.

Chat for teams

Fleep User Story: Funderbeam

Fleep User Stories is a series of blogposts that showcases all the cool people, teams and companies that use Fleep in their daily business.

This time we had a talk with Villu Arak, the Marketing & Communications guy from Funderbeam, who explains how Fleep for their startup is habit-forming, reveals why Pinboards and File Drawer features are in major use and how Fleep provides shelter to tired little files that need a decent place to stay.

What is Funderbeam?

FunderbeamWebsite: funderbeam.com
Facebook: Funderbeam
Twitter: @funderbeam

 

 

Funderbeam plans to bring data-driven transparency to startup investing. There is a massive transparency gap between publicly-listed companies and young startups. This keeps some people from even considering an investment in early-stage companies. We’re working to narrow that gap. This blog post gives you an idea how it could be done.

Of course, it won’t happen overnight. We’ll launch the first step in June by making startup data easy to find, track, and compare. Investor search, analytics, and market intelligence will follow later. But the end goal is to evolve into a global trading platform for startup securities.

How many people in the team?

About a dozen, it’s a 50/50 mix of employees and those who still have other day jobs. Since there is hardly ever a moment when we’re all in the same room together, a sense of shared space is crucial. Fleep helps give that space a shape.

How did you find out about Fleep?

Henn (CEO of Fleep) approached me in March 2013 to help hone Fleep’s tone of voice and write copy for its website. Seeing the product and Henn’s ambition up close this early was crucial in carving out a special F-shaped place in my heart. An opportunity to evangelize came a few months later when Funderbeam’s early team gathered around the kitchen table of its founder and CEO Kaidi Ruusalepp.

Kaidi Ruusalepp

I don’t think we ever used Skype for anything other than voice calls in the team, the consensus to try Fleep as our chat platform came quickly. Skype still hadn’t solved its sync problems across devices, so Fleep swooped in and snatched us.

How are you using Fleep?

People are creatures of habit. There are some email traditionalists who’ve been wary about adding “yet another” comms channel to their devices. So sometimes conversations fall out of the Fleep bucket and clog up the inbox. Sure, conversations that start in Fleep can elegantly manage non-Fleep users through email. But when a conversation starts out as an email with several folks on the cc: line, I can’t channel it into Fleep yet. Now THAT would be a nice new feature.

The majority of our public chat traffic flows in a Fleep conversation we call Funderchat. It’s for links, jokes and general monkey noises — things that help maintain a sense of belonging and shared culture.

Then there are more task- or role-specific chatrooms that have a more productive purpose. “Business and marketing” is a tight four-member group, “Biz dev” is another in-house chatroom, while “Front development” also involves our external development partners. There are plenty more. These chats see quite a bit of action on the Pinboard and File Drawer.

Finally, there are one-to-one chats where a lot of microscopically practical stuff happens. Probably a bit of venting and winking, too.

Any Fleep tips, tricks or habits that you’d like to share?

It’s habit-forming. This spring, Fleep smartly exploded itself and splattered its apps across macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS. Plus the initial browser version to cover any remaining platform gaps. As a result, Fleep conversations now follow me everywhere. Like a stalker I never had.

The main trick with Fleep? Use its basic, simple features. Fleep’s Pinboard is a life-saver, as is File Drawer. Since our teams use a range of platforms, from Dropbox to Google Drive to Trello to Kanban to email, I sometimes just pin or upload stuff to Fleep. This way, I know its address. It feels good, too, like offering clean shelter to a tired little file that’s been living in motels and halfway houses and just needs a decent place to stay. Yes, it’s simultaneously noble, sad and utterly ridiculous.

This is it for this time, if you’d like to get more stories like this in the future as well, feel free to follow us on Twitter or Facebook. We always share the newest content in there!