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3 ways to magically find great content

by arjun@profoundis.com

We are living in the age of ‘Information overload’. Everybody talks (read complains) about the tweets, FB shares, videos, articles, Instagram photos, snapchats and more. But if you see the world moving ahead, it has always been to a more options for us (users/customers). In an average grocery store 40 years ago, we had 9000 products and now we have 40,000; but we still figure out the needed ones quite easily. In this process, we ignore ten thousands of products.

Brain can’t focus or process a lot of things. That is the reason why people complain about information overload. It becomes most prominent once we start searching for content. All of us need to consume content and learn, but searching for it is so old school. We need to set up our systems to find great content for us and make it automatically reach us. How do we set up this autopilot? Here are some of the things, which I have done:

1.     Find great content with Facebook

Facebook is an amazing tool to find great content. It is quite simple; just friend/follow the right people, right companies and right lists on Facebook. I can’t tell you whom to friend or follow since it is highly relative. There are three ways in which I add relevant people:

a)     You might know a handful of people whom you already know you should be friends with (or you are already friends with). Go to their friends list, if it is open (in many cases, it will be), and start adding relevant people from there.

b)     The people whom you already are friends with; keep an eye out for their shares with tags. Add people from those tags. This is super useful when one of our friend is attending an event which is relevant for us.

c)      Goto an FB List. Under the name of the list, you have a number of all those subscribers (like this104,137 followers). Click it and you can see the exhaustive list of people.

Facebook Lists to discover content

Facebook Lists to discover content

One of the most efficient ways on FB is to create or follow lists. But how to find the lists to follow? Are you already following some? Copied from Facebook help Center-  ‘Go to your Interests page of your FB and click the Add Interests button at the top of the page to find new interest lists to follow.From there, you can look through our recommendations or search for interests by name (ex: Photography, New Authors, Tech News)’.

To search and add lists – go directly to https://www.facebook.com/addlist/

The good things about FB lists are:

  1. Twitter can’t have more than 500 on one list. Facebook can.
  2. When you subscribe to a list on Twitter, it doesn’t do anything to your feed. On Facebook some items from your lists will show up on your main feed, identified by the list they come from.

3.     Finding content with Twitter

The concept is very similar and simple. Follow the right people and right lists.

Twitter Lists to find content

Twitter Lists to find content

After logging into Twitter, visit a profile. You can see the public lists he/she has subscribed to or a member of.

You can also use Google to find twitter lists. Do a Google search like this; site:twitter.com “startup: list

To consume the lists’ content, I use and suggest Tweetdeck (https://tweetdeck.twitter.com). Tweetdeck can add each list as acolumn and makes it easy to consume these content.

 3.     Feedly

Though I like Facebook and Twitter, it does have some inherent noise. So it makes sense to directly follow the blogs. I use Feedly(http://feedly.com). Feedly is a news aggregator application for various web browsers and mobile devices running iOS and Android, also available as a cloud-based service. It compiles news feeds from a variety of online sources for the user to customize and share with others.

The best thing about something like Feedly is that, you can import an OPML file (other person’s Feedly) and can get fully ramped up in less than 10 seconds. To read about how to import an OPML file – https://feedly.uservoice.com/knowledgebase/articles/235760-how-to-import-an-opml-into-feedly

You can download my OPML. It has over 250 blogs categorized and indexed. Hope that also helps.


How do I manage my email ?

by arjun@profoundis.com

I’m an email freak. That is one of the reasons why we found the problem statement of Vibe and built this. As we always say, we made Vibe for you and us. There are some other simple, yet effective strategies that I use to be on top of emails.

image courtesy: biz30.com

1 Minute replies

If I can reply the email in 1 minute, I will reply to the email even while I’m running to do something else. I don’t write big, attractive and flowery emails, just writes small (30 words), quick and to the point email. Whenever possible, I try to write with bullets or numbering to make it clear and short.

Snoozing emails.

All those emails, which I can’t act in 1minute, I will keep it as unread or snooze it for later. You can use Boomerang, followupthen or several other tools to snooze emails.

Clean follow-ups

Trust me. Nobody replies you the first time unless she/he is the needy. Mostly for startups, it’s the other way around. You are the needy. I used to use followupthen very effectively to schedule my follow ups. Now that Mailbox has come up with Mac app, Android, Iphone apps, I have switched to it. Though it is slightly buggy, I still use it because of ease of snoozing and following up emails.

Attack inbox from the Top to bottom

Yes, the bottom is the earlier email that you got. But if it is so important, trust me. It will come to the top (the other guys will send a reply/reminder). So the latest ones are the ones who needs your immediate attention.

Key words in email subjects or body

I will include key words in subject or email body to make sure the emails are searchable later. At times, it will not be possible to (or you will forget) to add keywords. In those cases, you write another email in the same thread to yourself so that you have all the necessary keywords there.

Email & Calendar

What I’m doing on  a day is decided by my calendar. For each commitment that I make, I will make sure that I have an entry in my calendar and email/mobile alert set up at proper time.

PS: I have heard that you should set a calendar entry for your marriage day, anniversary, her birthday etc. to avoid ‘catastrophe’. Thankfully I’m not yet there. J

Concluding- Email for me in a to-do. Whatever unread (this days in my main folder in Mailbox) is in my inbox means, those many items needs my attentions and work. So they are my tasks. If you tell me something on FB chat, there is a big chance that I will miss doing it. But if you send me an email, 9/10 times, I will complete the task.

Startups and Bloopers

by arjun@profoundis.com

As startups, it is pretty obvious that we will make bloopers. It might be because of misjudgements, miscalculations, technology flaws or any unforeseen reasons.  In our journey with Vibe, we have also made some (not many, yet). To make it even worse, some of them happened with paying customers. What did we do?

Courtesy: Digiwonk

  1. Prompt Action: Initial days of our monetization, we were testing our payment web-hook and somehow we charged from credit cards of a handful of our customers. When you receive money, you will get the payment gateway email. The first and second email made us happy (Yipeee, we got money), but third, fourth and fifth (we managed to stop it at five) made us realize that this is a ‘blooper’. The first and obvious action to be taken was initiate refund. We did it then and there.
  2. Prompt Communication:  One thing that really works is Prompt Communication . Customers always appreciate team who are responsive. I personally wrote to all the five customers of us apologizing for the error, and informing them about the initiation of refund. I was ready to take some small scale stingers. but surprisingly, I got emails with ‘That’s fine <Smileys>”. All of them still stick with Vibe as our paying customers.
  3. Way of Apology: Mean it when you apologize. Last week, we had a server issue for a brief time. The App didn’t retrieve information at that time. Couple of our users immediately wrote to us saying, ‘Vibe isn’t working. What happened?’.  We responded (remember point 2), rectified our error asap (point 1), and apologized. The apology should have elements of compassion, honesty and frankness. People always appreciate these.

Some quick points. Hope it helps. Happy Vibing!