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What really happens when you work from home…

Enter [what’s been on my mind]

As much as I love working from home (on my couch…in my pajamas…), I must admit that when I’m at the office, I’m much more alert and effective.

Blink [see a new perspective]

The article Snack Laundry Lunch Clean Snack reveals a survey with disturbing results: what employees confess they are actually doing while they work from home.  For example, “43 percent of workers say they’ve watched TV or a movie while ‘working’ remotely, while 35 percent have done household chores, and 28 percent have cooked dinner.”  When I work from home, I find that my taste buds are uncharacteristically high-maintenance:  This iced coffee sure sounded good 10 minutes ago, but now I want a hot earl grey tea…and wouldn’t some toasted almonds be a great pick-me-up?…perhaps with a bit of dark chocolate…Is it lunch time yet?…I should probably start something on the stove right now…and take out that chicken to thaw for dinner…

It’s amazing how much time I spend in the kitchen when I work from home.

Shift [try it out]

If you must work from home, establish some boundaries.  Turn the television off, designate your lunch break, clarify when you’re on the clock versus off the clock, and finally – don’t work in your pajamas.  You probably won’t just lie down for a second when you’re in heels and a skirt (or a suit and tie).  But when you wear pajamas, you’re halfway to a nap.

Listen [hear from our community]

At Innovatively Organized, we not only work with busy entrepreneurs who work from home, but my team and I work from our home offices as well.  It certainly takes discipline to set boundaries around your time in order to stay productive when you work from home.  Just because you have a home office, doesn’t mean you should be watching television or doing laundry during the day.  It’s important to set up your home office to operate efficiently and feel welcoming.  This helps you avoid sitting on the couch with a laptop where it’s easy to get distracted.  Also, I’ve found it is important to set expectations and have open communication with family members when you work from home.  If you aren’t used to it yet, the lines can blur easily.”  –Elizabeth Bowman, President & Founder of Innovatively Organized

Innovatively Organized is also hosting an event tomorrow that will give tips for mobile professionals – find out more here.

 

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Recap on the Future of Mobile with Charlie Kindel

Charlie Kindel spoke about the Future of Mobile to a packed house last night. I was going to write up a recap of the event but Curt Woodward with Xconomy did an execellent job! Enjoy!

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Future of Mobile: Where’s it all headed?

Charlie KindelThe world is on fire about “mobile”. Yes, it’s old news (early 2012) the number of smartphone sales has exceeded the number of PC sales. Ok, but where are things really headed? If you’re a small business is now the time to think about making sure that you’re website is mobile friendly? I just looked at my Google Analytics and 26% of my website traffic is now coming from a mobile device. Of that 82% is coming from an iPhone or iPad. The remaining 18% comes from Android, while Microsoft Windows Phone is just a fraction of 1%.

We are very lucky to have Charlie Kindel, a Seattle angel investor and former general manager of Microsoft’s Windows Phone unit, who will be presenting on the Future of Mobile!

Register here for the event, August 28 at 6pm!

Here’s my list of questions for Charlie:
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  • Should we develop on iOS, Android, or Windows Phone or can we just “Write Once Run Anywhere”?
  • Is HTML5 going to nuke native apps?
  • How will Android fix their fragmentation problem?
  • Who’s going to win the mobile payments battle?
  • What are people doing on mobile that they aren’t doing online?
  • What does Microsoft have to do to get back in the game?

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What are your questions for Charlie?

More about Charlie Kindel: Charlie Kindel is founder & CEO of a Seattle startup doing innovative things where space and time collide (www.bizlogr.com). He is an active angel investor, mentor and advisor in the Seattle startup community. Charlie was previously the GM for the Windows Phone 7 app platform at Microsoft. During his 21 year tenure at Microsoft, Charlie built a broad range of products and technologies ranging from Internet Explorer to Windows Media Center, Windows Home Server, and Windows Phone 7. He started his first software company while in high school in 1983 and built some of the earliest shareware apps for Windows. He is passionate about customer focus, lean methods, going deep technically, soccer, and cars. Read his musings about startups, technology, and other random things on his blog and follow him on twitter @ckindel.

Mobile Credit Card Terminals: Innerfence vs. Square

You carry your phone in your pocket – why not your credit card terminal?

With advances in portability and user friendliness, businesses both large and small are losing the wires that tie them down and making the switch to mobile credit card terminals.

San Francisco giant Square took on Redmond-based Innerfence. I own both the Square credit card reader and the Innerfence reader for the iPhone and iPad. There are many options in the marketplace today but I love these two mobile payment terminals. And here’s why.

Innerfence

Innerfence’s credit card terminal has many benefits for all sizes and types of businesses. I do love free, I was beyond excited when I heard Innerfence offers a free credit card reader for your device. Innerfence is easy to use, has stable and solid hardware that requires only a single card swipe and, of course, it is always secure. If you have multiple devices that you’d like to use for transactions, Innerfence allows one account for all of your devices and your funds clear in 1-2 business days.

We all know customer service is important and talking to real people makes all the difference. Innerfence has an entire team of troubleshooters in Ohio to provide friendly and helpful 24/7 customer service. Innerfence is compatible with many devices including iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android, and Windows phone. With all of its useful features like including maps, signatures, electronic receipts, refunds, and transaction history, Innerfence will solve all of your payment headaches!

Fee Schedule:

Innerfence

Square

$25 per month

$0 per month

24 ¢+ 1.74 – 3.79% fee per transaction

2.75% fee per transaction; manually-entered cards cost 3.5% + 15¢ per transaction

SQUARE

Square was the first app and card reader that I owned. At the time, I was operating a small side business and couldn’t afford to have additional monthly charges to run cards. The $0 fee per month was a big win for me, as well as the lower percentage per transaction. The Square app is easy to use and I was able to automatically receive payments in my bank account the next business day. Square has a helpful feature that offers the ability to pull monthly reports.

One of the downfalls to Square is the small card reader. I had to run cards multiple times, making clients nervous that I was stacking charges up on their card. Much of the time, the transaction would need to be manually entered, costing me the manually entered transaction fee.

Overall, both companies offer products that allow businesses to swipe cards on mobile devices and keep the client interaction face to face.  Innerfence has a wonderful support team compared to Square, which could take hours to get an issue resolved due to the extremely hard to find helpline number.   If your business runs over $1,000 worth of transactions, I highly recommend speaking with a representative before you make a decision on which mobile payment terminal will suite your company best.

We would love to hear your thoughts and the payment method that work best for your company.

To sign up for your free Innerfence credit card reader click here.  To sign up for your free Square credit card reader click here.

 

Mobile Health’s Best: Nike FuelBand, Sleep Cycle, and Jawbone UP

I own both the Jawbone UP and the Nike Fuel Band. Being a geeky guy that likes data, I was quite interested in tracking sleep and exercise. When the Jawbone UP came out, I immediately got one. However, there are other options out there so I decided to write a review on the Nike FuelBand, Jawbone UP, and Sleep Cycle alarm clock App.

Jawbone UP

The Jawbone UP tracks sleep, movement, meals. I think the Jawbone does an awesome job packaging and marketing their products. In fact, I think they do a better job than Nike when it comes to marketing and packaging. The thing that I really like about the Jawbone UP is that it tracks how much and how well I sleep. After using the Jawbone UP, I became aware of how I felt after 5.5 hours versus 6.5 hours versus 8 hours of sleep. Then after seven days the device became defective and stopped charging. I took a chance on buying the device because I knew Jawbone had a no questions asked refund policy. Jawbone’s product idea was really good, however, I think they took a chance and launch the product before they done adequate QA testing. I pretty much feel like Jawbone blew it as being first to market with a defective product has jeopardized the trust with the consumer.

Tracking Sleep

With a dead Jawbone UP, I was able to find an alterative app for tracking sleep called Sleep Cycle alarm clock, created by Maciek Drejak. The Sleep Cycle App has over 1 million downloads and does an even better job tracking sleep than the Jawbone UP. It also only costs $0.99 and has almost 10,000 ratings. This app acts as an alarm clock that analyzes your sleep patterns and wakes you in the lightest sleep phase – a natural way to wake up where you feel rested and relaxed. Sleep Cycle monitors your movement during sleep using the extremely sensitive accelerometer in your iPhone. The nice thing about this, is you don’t have to wear a bracelet when you sleep.

Nike Fuel Band

The Nike Fuel Band is similar to the Jawbone UP but it does not track sleep and costs more money. It tracks steps, calories, and time. It also tracks something called Nike Fuel, a metric that Nike put together on its own that matches a person’s movement through the wristband’s accelerometer against data collected on how rapidly oxygen is consumed. The band is thicker and more sturdy than the Jawbone UP.

Nike+ Twitter Response: How are calories calculated by the Nike FuelBand? Updated: 2/27/2012

The surface of the band also has a cool digital display that gives you immediate stats about how many steps you’ve taken, calories burned, and shows you the time of day.

Nike FuelBand Is Better Than The Jawbone UP

Let’s compare two working products and let’s pretend that Jawbone UP solves it’s defective battery issue. Here’s why the Nike Fuel Band Is Better:
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  • Nike FuelBand charges wirelessly. It uses Bluetooth Low Energy and syncs to the iPhone App. Jawbone UP has to plug into the headphone jack to sync.
  • Nike FuelBand provides you stats on the display for immediate feedback. Jawbone UP doesn’t until you sync it.
  • Nike FuelBand doesn’t have parts that fall off and get lost. Jawbone UP has two pieces that could fall off and get lost. It also could fall off and get snagged on things.
  • Nike FuelBand tells time. I didn’t think this would be that good until I realized there is one less thing that I have to wear. Nice to lose the wrist watch. It definitely something you can wear while playing contact sports like soccer or football and not worry about it scratching someone.
  • Nike FuelBand is more suitable for me than the Fitbit. I was never a candidate for Fitbit because it’s something that I could easily lose. I’d gladly pay $50 more for a product that I won’t misplace or lose. Yes, the Fitbit tracks sleep too, but, again there’s a $0.99 app called Sleep Cycle that takes care of that for me.

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Keep It Simple and Do It Really Good

Some companies compete by having more features and being cheaper. Nike is showing that you can charge more money for a high quality product. As an entrepreneur I like this model better than competing on price and could write a long blog post on why it’s better to charge more for a product than be at the bottom of the barrel. Nike, while not first to the mobile health band race definitely is capitalizing on Jawbone’s misstep. It’s too bad for Jawbone because Jawbone’s marketing team really did a great job with their marketing effort.

Updated: March 6, 2012

How to Soft Reset Your Nike FuelBand

While up skiing, my FuelBand would not sync to my iPhone. I tried to make my iPhone forget about the FuelBand and then try to re-pair it via Bluetooth. That didn’t work in fact, I could not get my iPhone to even see the FuelBand as a Bluetooth device. I called customer support and they walked me through how to reset or reboot the Nike FuelBand. You hold down the button on the FuelBand until it says “reset”, click the button one more time, and it will reset or reboot the FuelBand. You will NOT lose any data that is on the FuelBand. It’s kind of like rebooting a computer or turning on and off any electronic gadget.

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