Fleep User Story: Shipitwise

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

This time, we’re featuring team that believes in taking care of the first mile for any customer – meet Shipitwise! More specifically, they take care of the first mile in international shipping. With their service, the customer can relax and doesn’t have to worry about a thing. At this point, Shipitwise is an easy and affordable international shipping service for individuals.

ShipitWise

The Shipitwise team: [first row] Sander, Helen Kokk, [middle row] Anna, Aleksander, Ako, [and in the back row] Olari, Ragmar and Priit.

The company is very new – it was founded in June 2015 by Aleksander Gansen (CEO), Olari Miiter (COO) and Ragmar Saksing (CTO). Other members on the team are Helen Kokk – UI&UX fairy of Baltics, Priit Kallas – Marketing guru of Estonia, Sander Gansen – startup hustler with Silicon Valley experience, Anna Medjanskaja – genius logistic with life-long experience in transport and logistics, and Ako Tulu – development ninja, iOS pro with Skype background.

aleksander gansen

Shipitwise started taking orders in December 2015 and launched their web order form in January 2016 (try them out now!). They’re currently also participating in the Startup Wise Guys BusinessTech Accelerator.

We spoke to Aleksander, the CEO himself, about how and why they use Fleep. Without further ado, here’s the Shipitwise Fleep user story:

How did you find out about Fleep? 

Two of our founders were already familiar with Fleep from their previous (successful) startup Fututec. It was a simple decision to start using Fleep as our team communication tool. Fleep is a convenient tool and its interface is really user-friendly.

What do you like about Fleep?

I like that the interface is extremely clear and user-friendly, the application is stable and the search engine is fast. We also enjoy the personal service from Fleep team.

What are your Fleep tips?

star conversatons

It’s smart to create clear group conversations and topics in order to save time on searching for a particular subject or fact across all conversations.

Also, I would recommend making use of the possibility to star conversations – this will pin the most important chats or topics to the top of the conversation list, where they are always in sight.

How do you use Fleep?

Our team uses Fleep for private chats, as well as group conversations. The groups involve different people depending on the topic. For example, the Design and UI conversations do not involve people from Marketing and Sales etc.

Fleep user story shipitwiseWe also make use of the conversation email address. We forward emails to the conversation email and they show up in that specific conversation. This is great for when the content is informative and/or needs the attention of the team members in that conversation.

Also, we have found Fleep to be an ideal tool for collecting social media articles that are relevant to the team. We a have a separate conversation for gathering those - SIW_Social media articles.

Who would you recommend Fleep to?

I would recommend Fleep to anyone who is still using email on a daily basis, needs to follow email conversations and operate inside them.

It is a great tool for any international team as well, much more convenient than Slack. When Fleep is installed, all other platforms seem sooo unfinished. We are using Slack at Startup Wise Guys, but every time I ask myself “Why?!”

ShipitwiseEven the members of a family can make use of it! Basically any person with a computer or mobile device would enjoy Fleep.

 

Thank you for sharing the Shipitwise Fleep User Story, Aleksander! You can find all featured user stories under the Fleep User Stories category. Make sure you also follow Fleep on Twitter (and #fleepstories) and Facebook to keep an eye on our news and updates!

Chat for teams

How to Integrate Your Apps And Stop Wasting Time on Busywork

Stop me if this sounds familiar: you’ve just received an important email (from a client, perhaps) with an attachment. First, you download the attachment, assess it, then load up your cloud storage software and transfer it over. What follows is a string of opening various apps to update a status, attach a file or send a notification.

Integrate Your Apps And Stop Wasting Time on BusyworkWhat if you could cut out all of those tasks?

With handy applications like Zapier and IFTTT, you can integrate your apps and become more productive stop wasting time on busywork… Instead of manually uploading email attachments or changing a customer’s status in your CRM, have your apps do it automatically when the time is right.

Whilst it may sound like something out of Terminator, integrating your apps can save you untold hours which could be better spent on more important tasks.

Not only this, but you can even integrate other apps with Fleep to better centralize your team’s communication. You can easily create group chat for teams with built-in potential for to-do lists, shared files and important notes, and also have automatically shipped tomorrow’s forecast into Fleep, changes to Trello cards, payment notifications or anything else you can imagine by integrating this bad boy with Zapier or IFTTT.

Zapier

Zapier

As almost anyone who’s seen the Process Street blog in the last few months can attest — we love Zapier. Frankly, to us, business process automation is the best thing since sliced bread. However, even I will hold my hands up and say that it’s not necessarily the easiest app to wrap your head around.

Essentially, Zapier acts as a platform through which over 500 different apps can connect, code-free. Think of it as a plug adapter which allows you to connect to any wall socket in the world – it translates the information for you so that you don’t have to touch the wires. All you need to do is choose the “Trigger” and “Action” for your desired process, or “Zap”.

The problem with Zapier is that there is a huge difference between making a basic Zap and realizing just what this incredibly powerful platform is capable of. For example, you could link your Gmail to save all email attachments sent to you into Dropbox. Alternatively, you could insert a filter into the middle of a process to send specific attachments to their own folder (let’s say, “Holiday Photos”).

Integrate Your Apps And Stop Wasting Time on Busywork Zapier takes this idea of complete automation even further with their Multi-Step Zap feature. Whilst previously a Zap was limited to one Trigger and one Action, now you can add as many Actions as you wish. Again, this can be hard to visualise if you aren’t already familiar with Zapier, so let’s use an example we all know; Fleep.

Currently, Fleep integrates with Zapier as an Action, meaning that you can send a message in Fleep when your chosen Trigger is detected. At a basic level, this means that you could send a message in Fleep with the details of a Tweet in which you were mentioned. Why settle for that though?

Creativity is your only limit with Zapier. So, instead of just sending a Tweet notification, why not automatically create an invoice from a Paypal sale, save it into the correct folder in your cloud storage, email the customer to say that payment was received and then receive a Fleep message with a link to the invoice, all without lifting a finger?

IFTTT
IFTTT

IFTTT is like Zapier’s (slightly less powerful) little brother. That’s not to say that it isn’t a fantastic app, but instead that it focuses on simplicity, usability, mobility and solo use, rather than a business-wide approach.

First up, IFTTT focuses on a much more basic concept; “if this, then that”. As such, naturally, you can only integrate two apps with each other at a time. However, there are an (almost) infinite number of these integration “recipes” which have been created and shared by users, free to access and set up with only a click.

Integrate Your Apps And Stop Wasting Time on BusyworkThis puts IFTTT head and shoulders above Zapier for instant usability. If you want to carry out some basic integrations and don’t want to learn an entirely new app to do so, this is most definitely the best way to go about it. Be warned though; IFTTT does not share the same number or breadth of apps which Zapier does.

So, take your pick; either or both of these apps can be used to automate or combine countless others which you’re currently wasting time with. Whether you’re looking to boost your productivity by cutting a chunk out of your to-do list or you’re looking to make your employee onboarding as slick as possible by centralizing your communication effectively, consider using Zapier or IFTTT to take the load off your shoulders.

Go ahead and boost your productivity! Save those hours for tasks that you actually need to interact with; after all, it’s better to work with your data flow than be chained to it.

ben-headshot
This is a guest blog post written by Benjamin Brandall. He is the head of content marketing at Process Street, and writes at benjbrandall.com.

 

Chat for teams

Fleep Pinboards: to pin or not to pin?

Fleep pinboard

For most people the word “pinboard” associates with a board covered with cork fixed to a wall so that messages and pictures can be pinned onto it for display. Fleep Pinboards are not much different. We’ve created the concept of virtual Pinboard to pin important information and files.

In its essence Pinboards help to collaborate. As the pins are conversation specific and open to every member of the group it creates better visibility as well open discussions and organic team work. Everyone in the conversation can pin, edit and unpin the pinned messages, they’re shared and open to everyone!

How to pin, edit and unpin messages to Fleep Pinboards?

pin messages fleepGetting the important information bits pinned to a Pinboard is simple, all you need to do is right-click on a message in a conversation and choose Pin from the message action menu. That will add the message as a digital sticky-note to your Pinboard of the particular chat you’re currently in.

To unpin a message from the Pinboard you need to click on the Pinboard icon button on the panel on the right-hand side of the conversation, right-click on the pin and choose Unpin from the list.

You can also Edit your pins! This allows you to add or remove information from your pin if you should wish to do so. The pins belong to the conversation and therefore anyone in the conversation can Edit or Unpin the pins if they should want to.

fleep pinboardThe date, time and author of the pin (visible in the end of a pin) is based on the person who pinned the message or who was the last person to edit it.

The pins are listed on the Pinboard in the order they were added (the latest one is pinned to the top). Furthermore, you can also include files in the pins.

Why use Pinboards?

Pinned messages stored to the Pinboard can easily be used for different purposes. We’ve used Pinboards to keep track of bugs, holiday schedules, weekly tasklists, upcoming events and plans, backlog items, important links, notes to self and to the team. Where and how really depends on the conversation topic and context.

But enough about us, we’re curious to know how you’re using Pinboards. Share your thoughts and ideas with us in Twitter or Facebook!

Fleep: How to work in a remote team?

How to work in a remote team

Fleep is a distributed team. Our people work remotely from two different cities, and for most of our team members, working at home is common. So, we have our own tips to share when it comes to the oh-so-current question: how to work in a remote team?

Handling the team in itself is not really an issue for Fleep, however… trying to pull all the people together virtually can be a challenge in itself.

How to work in a remote team: Communication

It can’t be emphasized enough how important good daily communication is for remote teams. Especially for the ones that are building a communication tool themselves.

Our day-to-day business, conversations, development, bug chats and discussions all take place in Fleep. We pride ourselves for dogfooding our own product. This helps us understand best if we are building a useful product that would work for start-ups and teams similar to us and helps us pull our remote team together.

Jeff Atwood from Stack Overflow writes: “You need a way to casually ping your fellow remote team members and get a response back quickly. This should be low friction and available to all remote developers at all times. IM, IRC, some web based tool, laser beams, smoke signals, carrier pigeon, two tin cans and a string: whatever. As long as everyone really uses it.”

And that’s the case with us as well. It’s not unusual that conversations in Fleep carry on during non-working hours in the evening or even on weekends. It’s up to the team members to decide whether they’ll respond right away or when the new workday starts, different people have different approaches, but the conversations stay there, always in sight, whenever you sign in.

With Fleep it’s easy to see who has read the messages and who’s currently active in the chat as well (with our Presence features). This adds speed and relevance to the lean development efforts.

Face-to-face conversations for longer topics

Regardless of how great the chat application is, it can never really replace human behaviour and honesty in real eye-to-eye conversations. In our team, whenever we see that a chat conversation is taking a wrong turn or misunderstandings arise, we call each other using Skype. Adding audio to your communication adds a special layer of trust and understanding. From someone’s voice you can easily detect if they’re agreeing with you or are hesitant and confused.

“Regular catch-ups and conference calls should be scheduled so that work can be fairly distributed and everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing.” states The Guardian in the article How to manage remote working teams

It’s the same for us, we have a regular weekly meeting either in-person or via a Skype call with the team during which we discuss topics that need further discussion or clarifications. We also use these opportunities to share what we did during the previous week and what we will be up to in the upcoming one.

Bringing the team together

Staying in touch with the team using chats and calls is not all it takes for remote teams to feel like they’re connected. Every 2nd week we bring the whole team together to Tartu or Tallinn and make sure that people get enough time for those important one-to-one conversations. Oftentimes that is all that it takes to get on the same page and get some of those invaluable insights shared between team members.

“Developers and designers often need long, uninterrupted periods of time to get meaningful work done,” explains Chad Halvorson, CEO of thisCLICKS in the article Are Remote Teams the Future of Work? written by David Hassell.

Apart from design talks and development discussions (read: heated conversations) it’s also crucial to make sure that the junior engineers working in the team get the chance to learn, progress and tackle the more complicated tasks together with the senior engineers who are not always co-located. This works a lot easier if the person who is helping you is sitting right next to you.

How to work in a remote team

Always in touch, but not stuck together

It’s easy to fall out of touch with remote team members if you’re not sitting across the table with them and it’s vital from the start-up culture point of view to make sure people get the feeling of being united, whenever they come to the office or even when they don’t. That’s why we have a continuous Skype call going on day in and day out between the Tallinn and Tartu office TVs. That way we can see if someone is in the office, if they’re currently busy or simply joke about the fact that they’re playing ping pong on the other end of the line.

Ultimately, the decision about how distributed a team can be comes down to the needs of that team: do you need to talk every day? What type of people are in your team? What are the personal habits of the team members? Once you know all this, you can easily decide which of the solutions works best, or which 2-3 tools you need to make the most out of communication.

We hope you found these tips useful! What kind of tools are you using to make sure the team feels united even when there’s a long distance between them? Feel free to ping us via Twitter or Facebook to share your thoughts!