Great Tips for Increasing Unproductivity

19 Sep

For the past month or so I was working with my awesome team on releasing a new product – Slik.IO (go try it. Now! Seriously!). It was a stressful month. A month I tried to get my productivity to the max. Most of the time it went pretty well. But some days, I just couldn’t get shit done.

And then you come across yet another post about how to increase your productivity. Everyone is so damn productive and only you feel like your body weighs 50 tons, your mind can’t even solve 1+1 and all you want to do is sleep. Are these people really that productive? I doubt it. They just seem like robots but I’m telling you a secret now. Hold on tight. They too have days that they just can’t get shit done.

This post is for the human beings amongst us, that occasionally feel like even the simplest task seems like climbing the Everest. So when you’re felling like that, I say take this feeling to the max and let go completely. Here are a few tips that will help you increase your unproductivity:

  1. When you feel that unproductivity arrives, fight it not my friend. On such days, unleash your worthless self and just be unproductive. The same tasks will be there tomorrow. With a fresher you to solve them.
  2.  Don’t use time tracking tools. The one I don’t use is Harvest.
  3. Multi task. Do as many tasks as you can. Simultaneously.
  4. Don’t focus on important tasks in the morning.
  5. Don’t focus at all. Think about the future, the past, your kids, your wife, your last vacation.
  6. Turn on notifications from all your electronic devices so they could comfortably distract you.
  7. Allow meetings to take forever. Convince everyone that Titanic encapsulates some meaningful insights about the business and that you must watch it all together, right now. On a second thought, convincing everyone to watch Titanic might result in everyone committing suicide. On a third thought, it might be a good exercise to test who’s the weak link in your team. Fire all the team members that didn’t commit suicide. You don’t want to work with people that like this movie.
  8. Do more meetings.
  9. Get up late.
  10. Drink alcohol. A lot.
  11. If not alcohol, don’t be tempted to drink water. Drink anything that can get you dehydrated. Or don’t drink at all. It’s a known fact that when you’re dehydrated you do less.
  12. Don’t exercise. They  say it makes you happier and more productive.
  13. Watch a lot of TV. Especially reality shows. It will get you addicted and ensure a long, unproductive period of time.
  14. Don’t organize anything. Allow mess.
  15.  Don’t stop hesitating.

And now, if you want to be productive read the following great posts about productivity. Believe me, they help a lot.

And some tips to make you happier (which eventually improve your productivity).

What about you? Any un/productivity tips I missed? Leave a comment and let’s discuss.

Tips for the newbie entrepreneur in San Francisco

15 Aug

 

Oh, San Francisco. The heaven for startups. The place where tech is the air people breath. The place that tech companies advertise on buses.

Box advertisement on a bus

Box advertisement on a bus just outside my apartment

I just came back from a trip to the Bay Area. I just love this city. Clear the fog and you’ll get one of the best places to live in.
During my last stay I met a lot of awesome people and companies (in the order I met them): KeenIO, CircleCI, Heavybit, StartupMonthly, Totango, Buffer, Stripe, Synqy, Envoy, Stride, Sqwiggle, PayPal, Chegg, ImportIO, StartupCompass and many more. I want to point 2 companies that made my stay even more perfect: WisePricer and LocBox. So thanks to both of them and if you’re a retailer, selling online, you should really check them both.

During my last visit I started assembling a list of tips/facts/things to expect/you name it, for the newbie entrepreneur in town (not saying that I’m not newbie…). Here’s the list (in no particular order):

  1. It’s all about tech. If you’re not in tech you’re an alien.
  2. People work standing up. I guess someone wrote that it’s healthy…

    Standing working station

    The image is not too good, I know. It was a lousy attempt to use Android Photosphere

  3. It’s ok to be rich here. You’ll have a lot of rich friends.
  4. On weekends with great weather the place to be at is Dolores park.

    Dolores Park

    Dolores Park on a sunny Sunday. You will never guess but what you see is a square Hula Hoop… Only god knows how to use this. More on god later…

  5. Yosemite Park is not that close to SF as it seems. Driving all the way only to spend there one day is not such a great idea…

    Yosemite Park

    Yosemite Park

  6. Be prepared for a lot of Asian food. If you want to get lunch at a decent price, $6-$9, around SOMA, Asian is the default option.
  7. SF is fu#%#$^ expensive. Rent is insane.
  8. I found that GetAround and Lyft are better options than ZipCar (a lot of the times).
  9. There’s always a trendy blog post that everybody’s talking about. Nowadays it’s Do things that don’t scale by Paul Graham. A must read btw.
  10. If you’re using .NET, get the fu@% out of here. You’re not welcome.
  11. And if we’re talking about Microsoft and Windows, if you’re planning on coming to meetings with a Windows machine it’s like you’re underdressed. Go get yourself a MacBook and we’ll talk.
  12. Public transit suck. At least I wish it was better. If you’re going out of the city, rent a car (see tip #8)
  13. Forget about parking.
  14. You probably won’t meet anyone who was born and raised in SF.
  15. Tons of great music in SF. From the weirdest shit to mainstream. You’ll find it all.
  16. Engineers are scarce. If you’re a good engineer, come work for a company in the Bay Area. I promise you’ll get paid more than you get paid now outside startups kingdom.
  17. The same goes for great designers.
  18. And really good sales people.
  19. If you’ll drive 45 minutes in any direction (except the ocean…) the weather will be just great. When you get back to the city, check out the clouds. They are only above SF. It’s like god is saying: “well, you can’t get it all…”. BTW, I’m sure god lives in SF. And he’s got a startup. Maybe something with cloud…

    Clouds over San Francisco

    Clouds over SF. On the way back from the Valley

  20. Speaking about god, everyone I met here is an atheist. I wonder if god joined the trend…
  21. Go to meetups. Connect with people. Talk with everyone. People are welcoming (usually…). The guy seating next to you in a coffee shop can be your next customer.
  22. People are willing to help. The SF tech scene works on a pay-it-forward model. So ask for advice and reach out to people. You’ll be surprised by people’s willingness to help. Just don’t forget to pay it forward.
  23. Coffee shops are a great place to work from if you’re coming for a short period. My favorite one is Wichcraft on 868 Mission st. But there are many great ones that won’t just kick you out because you’re costing them more than what you ordered…
  24. If you’re coming for a longer period coffee shops won’t do. Try one of the million co-working places around town. But even better, try to get a place at a growing startup. Usually they take more space than what they currently need because they leave space for growth. That’s where I worked from. My awesome friends from WisePricer (a growing startup) hosted me in their place which they rent from a larger startup, LocBox. This way you’ll get to see how these great startups you read about at TechCrunch run. It’s fascinating to see.
  25. Lastly, something general about the US which really annoys me. When you pay for stuff. The price you see is not the price you’re going to pay (because of tax addition). It doesn’t make any sense. I always feel like I’m being ripped off. Anchoring my brain on one price and then paying more.

Feel free to comment and add things to this list. I promise I’ll add the best ones to the post.

 

7 day trip to Portugal

30 Jun

Recently I got back from a 7 day trip to Portugal with my wife. I decided I’ll start sharing my trips as well. Kind of a reminder from the trip because that in this era we’re not printing photos anymore and what you have left from a trip is a Dropbox folder full of photos no one will ever see again. For the first time, I’m going to use DoAlbums for creating a digital album. It’s an awesome app my friends Eyal Keren and Erez Rusovsky are developing.

As for every blog post I write, this one will start with the soundtrack. This one is from a concert we’ve seen during the trip, Nick Cave at the Optimus Primavera Sound festival in Porto. Here he plays Stagger Lee. One of the craziest moments in one of the craziest concerts…

Day 1 – Sintra

SIntra

We landed in Lisbon, rented a car and drove straight to Sintra. Sintra is a beautiful town just an hour drive from Lisbon. It’s full with romantic architecture from the 19th century, places on top of the hills with great views and alleys full of restaurants and places to drink Sangria. When you walk down the streets of Sintra one might feel he’s walking in a ferry tale… We took a room in Oh Casa Sintra. The hosts are warm and friendly and it’s a lovely place to stay.

What to see: Palacio de Monserrate, Quinta da Regaleira, Castelo dos Mouros

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Day 2 – Heading north to Arganil

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On day 2 we started heading north. Before arriving in Portugal we read about (this one’s in Hebrew…) a place that we must visit. It’s a small farm called Quinta de Cadafaz. It’s a few minutes drive from a small village called Arganil. It’s in the middle of nowhere. Only forest around you. You hear only birdsong and the sound of a stream nearby. It’s so quiet you hear your own ear buzz… If you’re visiting Portugal you shouldn’t miss this place. The host, Sebastiaan, has an interesting life story and he’ll tell you all about it over a homemade, delicious dinner and a bottle of a Vino Tinto (red wine in Portuguese :).

Sebastiaan has a huge Rottweiler that will take you out for a hike around the beautiful nature. Yes, you heard it right, the Rottweiler (it’s a dog!!!) takes you hiking. Sebastiaan just tells him “to the river!” and the dog starts walking you to the river. If you take the wrong path he just stops, looks at you with an angry face and then you know, you shouldn’t mess with him…

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Day 3 & 4 – Porto

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We arrived at Porto in the afternoon. We found an apartment with Go2Oporto. It’s right in the center of Porto. It’s really nice, decent and clean.

In the evening we went to the Primavera Sound Festival which was disappointing. We were at a Nick Cave concert that was awesome. Nick just exploded on the stage. But it was really short. Other than that we wanted to see Rodriguez but he cancelled. Out of 3 nights of the festival we were there only 1 night…

In the next day we walked the streets of Porto and enjoyed the city very much. It’s one of the oldest cities in Europe. It’s at the Douro river estuary. The Douro river splits Porto to the Porto city and Vila Nova de Gaia. On both sides of the river you’ll find good places to eat and on the Vila Nova de Gaia side you’ll find a lot of places to taste wine. Especially Port wine which is one of Portugal’s most famous export.

Things to see: walk along the Douro river on both sides, drink a lot of wine, Palácio da Bolsa, Casa da Música, Dom Luís Bridge. If you’re there in time, go see a soccer match of Porto. I didn’t get the chance…

20130531_125954

Day 5 – Alto Douro

Alto Douro

From Porto, we started heading east along the Douro river. It’s a magical area, filled with wineries (they call them Quinta) and beautiful scenery. It’s just a heaven. If you’re in Portugal, you must go there and drink gallons of wine. It’s one of the oldest places for making wine and it entered the Unesco world heritage list in 2001.

I recommend doing this road in 2 days accompanied with a driver that doesn’t drink…

We slept at Casa do Visconde de Chanceleiros. It’s a beautiful place that won TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice award in 2013. This is the view from the terrace in our villa:

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And another photo of the Douro river:

20130601_152249

 

Day 6 – Driving to Lisbon

On the 6th day we mainly drove south, towards Lisbon. We passed through a town called Aviero and continued south on the road near the ocean. We made a quick stop at Figueira da Foz which is a small, touristic town by the ocean. We went there only because I had a huge craving for putting my feet in the ocean… I live near the sea but still the ocean has its effect on me. It’s kind of endless and mysterious.

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The beaches in Portugal are strange. From the coastline, you have to walk a long distance  until you reach the water. I guess it’s good because they’re not building “on the water” and ruining their beaches.

In the evening we arrived at Lisbon. We found a place to stay through Airbnb. An awesome apartment in the Baixa district which is the heart of Lisbon.

Lisbon is pretty different from how we experienced Portugal till then. Within just a 5 minutes walk in the streets of Lisbon I was approached a few times by drug dealers and people who tried to hook me up with prostitutes… We planned to tour Lisbon in the next day but pretty soon we made a decision to pass on Lisbon and drive 270km to the south of Portugal and see its amazing beaches.

 

Day 7 – South of Portugal

So, we bought a few Pastel de Nata, which is a local, very delicious pastry, and we headed south.

20130603_121450

 

Portugal was blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. While seeing these amazing beaches, we knew we made the right decision to pass on Lisbon and continue with Portugal’s nature.

For the beaches trip we used a list we found on TripAdvisor – top 10 beaches in Portugal.

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In the evening we got back to Lisbon and did get the chance to experience the city. It seems like a lovely city and I hope that one day I’ll have more time to explore Lisbon. Anyway, we did enjoy from it in the short period we were there.

20130604_003032_LLS

 

 

Conclusion

Portugal sounded like a nice place to travel to but we haven’t heard about people who went there thus we didn’t have high expectations. But it turned out to be one of the best places to travel at in Europe. The weather is perfect, the people are warm and welcoming, the food is awesome and the country is just beautiful. And of course there’s the wine thing :). Oh, and another important thing. It’s quite cheap to travel there. So just go.

 

I would love to hear your feedback in the comments or if you have any questions.

 

The best music of 2012

5 Jan

I’ll first admit. The title is a bit misleading. You know, SEO and shit :). This post is about the best music I heard in 2012. 2012 is long gone (a week already!) but I still wanted to share with you people the music that rocked my world in the past year. It’s not necessarily music that was created or released in 2012. Just good music I heard this year. You can hear everything in a playlist. So, without further ado, here it is:

Bill Fay – This World

One of the best albums of the year. Take the time to listen to all of it. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

 

Of Monsters & Men – Mountain Sound

 

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Man On Fire

 

Alexander Ebert – Million Years

Alexander is the lead singer of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros.

 

alt-J – Tessellate

 

City and Colour – The Grand Optimist

 

Shearwater – Home Life

This band really reminds me of Talk Talk (great band from the 80′s). I’m sure they were influenced by them to some extent.

 

Flotation Toy Warning – Donald Pleasance

 

Daughter – Smother

 

Explosions in the Sky – Your Hand in Mine

 

Cherry Ghost – People help the people

 

The Lumineers – Scotland

 

R.E.M & Neil Young – Country Feedback

This one’s from 1998 but I just found it this year and I think it’s great.

 

John Martyn – Glory Box

This is also something I’m pretty ashamed to admit that I only found this year. I say it’s better than the original. What do you say?

 

Sun Kil Moon – Tonight The Sky

One of my favorite bands ever that I finally got the chance to see live this year. Everything that Mark Kozelek ever touched is pure gold.

 

Daniela Spector – Hiroshima

Something in Hebrew for the end. The amazing Daniela Spector.

 

There are so many songs I wanted to add to the list but decided it’s getting too long. Maybe I’ll do a second part. 2012 was a really good music year. Let’s hope 2013 will be even better.

Have a great 2013 and let me know what was your best music of 2012 by leaving a comment. Feel free to subscribe to my channel on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/user/gilsaaaaa. Thanks!

 

 

2012 in review – great report on my blog by WordPress

31 Dec

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 8,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 13 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Followups are key for success

6 Nov

As  always I’ll start with the soundtrack to this post. You can read about why I add soundtrack to every post I write. This is this post’s soundtrack:

A few days ago I followed up with a friend of mine (Eran Gilad, CEO of Tracx, a great tool for social media management). Just an arbitrary catching up. In his response he wrote something that hung in my head for a few days. He said “followups are key for success”. And as much as it’s an obvious thing to say I think that people are underestimating followups. Here I’ll give a few tips on how to remind yourself to followup, after every meeting. Even if the meeting is not that important for you. You can never know. Always remember that you have to be nice to people and appreciate the time they spent to meet you. Exactly the way you expect people to treat you. People are busy and they are not sitting around waiting for you to have a meeting with them. And after a meeting you have to followup again and again to make sure that shit gets done the way you discussed in the meeting.

I won’t go over on how to followup. There are tons of posts out there that tackle exactly that. I’ll just share how do I remind myself to followup and catch up with people:

  1. Don’t mark the reminder for the meeting as read

    If you’re used to remind yourself about meetings with an email then don’t mark this email as read until you send a followup email. Other reminders people use are SMSs or notifications on their Smartphone. The same can be applied to these reminders. Don’t clear the reminder until you followed up  to every meeting you attend!

  2. Put the business card you got on your screen

    Silly, but it works. Sometimes, after a day full of back-to-back meetings, half of my screen is covered with business cards.
    It reminds me of how my parents browser looks like because they somehow installed too many toolbars and now they have a thin strip that actually shows the website content…

    Too mant toolbars

  3. Use a CRM

    Use a tool that will manage for you all your sales leads, investors, advisors and  generally all your contacts. While SalesForce is the leading CRM software out there I prefer something much simpler. I use Streak. Streak turns your Gmail into a CRM and it’s doing it great. You can put your contacts in boxes such as Sales or BizDev and add reminders so you’ll not forget to catch up with people. If you’re using other CRM you can use Ecquire to capture contacts in your Gmail and send them to your CRM.

  4. Find out if people are reading your followup emails

    A great tool I love to use from time to time is Bananatag. Bananatag lets you know if people are opening your emails and if they clicked on links. This tool lets you know that your message arrived and was read by the people you send emails to. Sometimes email gets into people’s spam folder and not a lot of people will check there for your email so a lot of times you’ll have to make sure that people got your email. It also lets you know if people are interested in what you’re offering. A lot of times it helped me figure out if I need to send another email or just get the message that the person is not interested.

  5. Every meeting should have action items

    Every meeting you make should have action items after it. For all the parties at the meeting. Without action items the meeting is a waste of time. And action items are the best way to remind you to followup. This is your motivator. You want the people in the meeting to execute on their action items because they’re probably things that will help you. That’s got to make you want to followup, summarize the meeting and let everybody know what their action items are. Add a reminder with Streak to followup again after a few days.

I’ll be happy to hear if you have any other tips for following up and recommendations on tools that might help.

Some good music I heard lately

11 Oct

For sometime now I’ve been in a constant battle with myself whether to turn this blog to entirely about my entrepreneurial experiences or leave some music nuance to it. Finally I decided  that the both can co-exist. Shocking, I know. I’ll have just music posts and in non music posts I’ll add soundtrack. Let’s see what will be the feedback :).

Well, this post is only music. I just wanted to share some really good stuff that I heard recently. Not a lot of text. Just music. No worries. I got it all on a playlist here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NF4H3e_q2k&list=PLWGFwoBp4qX7vi8bjZiX1wUmy8Vg-SEr4&feature=plpp_play_all

The Lumineers – Scotland

A band I got to know in the hardly strictly bluegrass festival that went down in SF. Great band and this is one of their best songs.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Man On Fire

Check out the video as well. Brilliant. And of course a great song.

Odawas – Alleluia

This one is a bit weird but amazing nonetheless.

Arcade Fire – Suburban War

The Middle East – Blood

A band I came across lately. I really recommend on listening to more songs from them.

Bon Iver – Holocene

Just went to their concert. It was really good. This song always makes me want to travel. Check out the video. You’ll feel like that as well.

Thanks for listening. Let me know if you liked it and if not go hear Lady Gaga. I’m just kidding. If you didn’t like it I’ll love to hear about it. F**k the Accolades. Seek the Criticism.

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