Recently, with the help of my fellow partners, I launched a brand new business to the Australian market. This business has been twelve months in the making and I can guarantee that it would have taken a lot longer if it wasn’t for some crucial productivity tools and practices we used. The business is called The Shop Stop. It’s a virtual shopping mall where you are paid to shop!
There are a lot of different photo cataloging and organising applications out there, but the three main ones that stand out are iPhoto, Photoshop Elements and, Picasa. I have used all three at one time or another. Most recently I’ve been using Picasa, mainly because I can manage my photos locally on my computer and yet still have the important ones (or all of them) backed up to Picasa Web Albums and made available to view from any other computer just through a web browser. But, what happens if my computer suddenly dies one day? I know my photos would be safe, but what about all the tags, faces, location information and albums that I’d setup, the extra information that makes all those photos manageable? Would they be safe and would I be able to synchronise all my photos and data back down from the web to my desktop? I wasn’t going to take any chances.
Recently, a group of my colleagues was given the task of compiling a document. The problem was that there was only ten hours to do it in.
The document was an RFP so there were a number of questions that needed responses. Normally, for this task to get done, the team would need to first assess which questions each person would answer. Then, each would head off on their own and try their best to complete each of them. Later, one lucky person would have the added task of copying and pasting all the responses into a single master document, ensuring that each answer wasn’t replicated somewhere else in a slightly different way.
That just wasn’t going to cut it. There are far too many problem with this traditional approach. Not only is there too much time and energy spent assessing and dividing the questions at the beginning, but the logistics of it meant that it really wouldn’t take long at all for the documents to become out of sync – especially if one person sent through a couple of revisions for a question. It also means that the response are less of a collaboration, instead being a set of distinct blocks of text that don’t have any flow.