It’s not the 4-Hour Workweek you’re trying to achieve, it’s the 4-hour Workday.

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Back in 2007, a friend of mine from Microsoft recommended me to read the book “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferriss.  He mentions that he was trying to figure out how to build some software so that he could just work 4-hours a week, the software makes money for him and then he could go enjoy life a little more.  I guess because he was working 70 hour weeks at Microsoft and getting paid only for 40.

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I purchased the book and the audio format right away and listen right away and enjoyed every minute of it.  When I got done, I tried to apply it to my business, but it was nearly impossible because I had a consulting services business, Extended Results, which is human capital heavy business. I felt like I bought into another infomercial and I bought the product.  But this idea stuck into the back of my head for 10 years like all good ideas do because they need to be solved and applied.

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In modeling and building my current company Atlas Insights, I really wanted to apply this concept to it.  But again, it is nearly impossible because when you are building and enjoying a company, you just don’t want to work 4-hours.  BUT, I have discovered that it should actually be called the “4-Hour Workday” instead!  With the whole Software-as-a-Service model, you can actually model a business that customers find, subscribe and use themselves. Using all the different social networking platforms, you can model a marketing program that also runs on cruise-control.  Customer contact can easily be managed through software like LiveChat and development can utilize both onshore and offshore to maximize programming expertise.

In my company, I’m basically doing all roles from designer to developer to marketer.  Now that the software has been fully released for Apple iOS and OSX, Google Android and Microsoft Windows, I’ve moved more to Marketing and Customer Relationship in my 4-hour workday.  I spend my time working with my customers onboarding and answering questions which always seems to happen at a certain time of day Monday through Thursday.  Friday’s are basically off days because I have found that not many customer decisions or questions are made on Friday’s.  I think most people in technology sector are checked-out after lunch.

“The 4-Hour Workday”

Achieve a better work-life balance with a method that is actually achievable

I challenge you to re-think how you are actually working.  In your 8-hour day, are you actually spending time doing something productive compared to not-productive?  I think we all know the actually answer to this.  Because of all the social distractions we have today, if you actually focused, I bet you could finish your day in the first 4-hours and then spend the rest doing something you enjoy or being better at your job.

Let me know your thoughts.

Why do it again? Because I want to do it Better! #startup #businessintelligence

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Ever since I launched Atlas Insights, I’ve been asked “why are you doing this again?”  A little history.  In the 2008, I created a mobile business intelligence product that was first available on Windows CE and Blackberry and then moved it to iPhone and Android.  We sold our product to some great companies and enjoy our limited success until that business was acquired by a major software company.

After leaving that company, I decided to dabble in doing data visualizations in VR/AR which was pretty amazing, but basically there is no one out there buying VR software, so I parked that IP for now.  When I was doing some training being a developer again, I decided to test some decisions we made in my past mobilebi software whether they were right or wrong.  I found some interesting answers going through that process.  Then I wanted to rethink how software companies SHOULD be developed and sold over the next 5 years.

Atlas Insights is a completely different company/app from what I’ve created in the past.

  1. I decided to re-think how a software business should be built and run for the next 5 to 10 years. Basically, I threw out all the ways we have learned in our business and MBA classes and started-a-new.
  2. I wanted to build the solution in 6 months instead of 2 years.
  3. I wanted to build the app myself. I did hire a part-time person to help me with the web services api, but this app was basically all designed and developed by me.
  4. This app is available for iOS, Android, Windows, Web and OSX so that all platforms are covered. So, no matter what experience you are looking for, we have it covered on your favorite device.
  5. I wanted to mix your private business data with public metrics sources too. Public metrics have an effect on your business and it is important to have those metrics available wherever you are.
  6. At-Scale. The power of the cloud allows me to be global with very little effort.
  7. I wanted it to sell itself. With the power of social media and your network, you should be able to generate a good customer base.
  8. Love those customers closely. I listen and help as much as I can because those customers are the BEST sales people.
  9. Manage the costs so low that a mobile business intelligence product costs dollars a month and not thousands.
  10. I wanted to do it better based on my decisions in the past.

Can you really build a large business just yourself?  That is basically what I am doing today.  No, I didn’t have to raise millions of dollars.  No, I didn’t have to hire 20 developers.  No, I didn’t have to hire a fleet of sales people.  No, I don’t have a team of marketing professionals.  No, I didn’t have to spend thousands and thousands on hardware and software to get going.

I did this!

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Visit http://AtlasBI.com and see the results yourself.

Is it time to redefine Business Intelligence (BI)? #bigdata #analytics #makebusinessgreatagain

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I believe Howard Dresner coined the term BI for Business Intelligence some time ago. I’ve used this term for probably 15 years and have thrown it around to encompass everything relating to data and getting it in the hands of business users.  Then, over the past 6 or 7 years, everything became BIG Data and Analytics. Catchy huh?  What does that really mean to a person that actually has to make a decision based on where their business is headed?

I was recently reading an article on the pitfalls of bi and it really made me THINK about purpose of the term BI.   If you have read any of my posts over the past 10+ years, you know that I am all about business performance and really trying to get the whole organization focused on specific business objects that are measurable.  When you have people focused on the same Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), then you have the whole department locked in on the same goals all moving towards the end-zone.

I think the issue with calling everything BIG DATA or Analytics is that it really means so many things to so many people.  What does that result in?  Yep, you guessed it, everyone creating their own playbook and running in different directions on the field.  That is no way to win the super bowl, just ask any NFL coach.

We need to go back to KPIs and Scorecards!

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Oh, I know a bunch of you just rolled your eyes, but deep down, you know that I am right.  You just spent $50,000 or maybe even $100,000 or maybe even more (sucker) on a self-serve tool from one the big vendors because the sales person sold you some magic words “that if you buy my tool, you’ll find some insights you never knew before that will make you money.”  Hahahahahah.  Dude, you just been had…  I’m sorry to tell you that. The only person that is going to make any money is that sales person on their commission.

Here’s the deal, ask ANY leader in your company which metrics are important to them and I bet they may say about 7 to 10 metrics and they are known metrics that have been around for years.  Yep, that is it.  Why?  Because that is the heartbeat of the business that is important to them and their department.  Also, the best thing about defining and labeling your KPIs is that your business logic is contained in that metric that everyone can now trust the source.  Try to do that with some random bar chart someone created in a self-serve analytic tool.

Seriously, we have to get serious and do the right thing for the business and not your career about being a so called data scientist.  I think it is time to put all these cool new terms and animated bar charts into their appropriate buckets and get back to making businesses great again.

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Oh yeah, what do you think we should rename business intelligence tool?  Are businesses intelligent?  The people are, but not the business.  I believe we should call this “Business Insights“.  Because, at the end of the day, that is what we are trying to do as professionals, we’re trying to provide Business Insights to decision makers in the company so they can make the right decisions going forward.

Enjoy the day, Patrick

How many UI/UX designers do you need to create a mobile app? I have access to thousands. #android #iphone

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In my previous company, I had two amazing app designers.  Whenever I had some wild idea in my head, I would go to them and they would turn that crazy idea into something I could see.  As I do the opposite, I really can’t afford to have a designer on staff basically sitting around 99% of the time.  Design is a very personal feeling, you need as many inspirations as possible from many people, not just a couple.

You can scour the web on sites like dribblebehanced and many others to get ideas from.  Heck, some of these sites you can purchase the templates from $15 to $50.  Need a logo or brand design, another $250 to $500 and sites like 99designs can get you started.  You give these designers some of the examples you like, then they all submit their mockups and you vote on which one you like the best.  Narrow it down and purchase and you’re done.  Literally, designs will take just a week instead of months.

When you’re building a software company, all the old ways you have been taught the last 20 years you need to throw out the door and into the trash.  Pivot your thinking on process and you’ll see amazing productivity gains and cost savings.  Design is one of them, you think it has to be done a certain way, but it doesn’t have to.  Experiment with these sites and see what you come up with.  I think you’ll find more inspirations and ideas from this method than the old way of doing it.

Help that help.   Patrick

AI Is About To Go Mainstream And Reshape The Workplace

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AI-powered apps are software capable of performing higher-order tasks associated with the work of educated office workers. With narrowly focused “brains” optimized to perform a particular task within a narrow domain, AI-powered apps can schedule your business meetings, answer common customer requests and notify you that your connecting flight is delayed by 20 minutes when you thought you had 5 minutes to sprint to the gate.

Outside the purview of IT, employees, teams and entire departments will champion process re-engineering efforts with AI-powered apps, whether they realize it or not. As each individual app eliminates a “task,” the employees who assemble their own “stack” of AI-powered apps will automate many of the mundane parts of their jobs. Teammates eager to be productive and stay competitive will fast follow, as will department managers who want to demonstrate techno-prowess and cost-cutting efforts to higher-ups.

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2015/09/29/ai-is-about-to-go-mainstream-and-reshape-the-workplace/#.hgxtno:HH2c

Enjoy, Patrick

Creating your #Windows10 app mockups with #PowerPoint. It’s actually pretty easy. #startup #piedpiper

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As I begin my journey into discovering and defining a new application opportunity, I mentioned last week that I stopped creating business plans and just use PowerPoint to create my plan.  This week I’m beginning the process of creating some application mockups.  I know how to use Photoshop and Illustrator, but again, I fall back to my favorite mockup tool, PowerPoint!

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As I begin this journey, I mention that I’m going to build my new app using the new Windows Universal app design language.  Desktop/web is a very import productivity piece to my application with mobile as an extension of information consumption. Microsoft provide a great wealth of information over at https://dev.windows.com/en-US/windows-apps for you to read and download.  One of the assets they provide are these templates and storyboard assets for PowerPoint.  It save a TON of time inserting, resizing and moving elements around.

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I use the Slide Master pages in PowerPoint to put in my Windows 10 shell.  I do this because it is nice to have the desktop appear as I create new screen mockups.  Then you can either turn it on or off.  Pretty slick.

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Now the Windows 10 window frame I just create with a series of shapes and change the background colors giving me the look and feel of Windows 10!  Simple!  Now you are off and running creating your app elements using the storyboard feature or just importing your images directly.

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Try it when you are mocking up your next app.

Enjoy, Patrick

If you have 15 seconds, please take my Managing Your Money Software POLL #finances

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I’m doing a survey of my network to see what kind of software and services you use to manage your personal finances.  This includes your checking, savings, investments and credit cards.  Please take a few seconds and check the boxes for what you use. All responses are anonymous and please share with your friends.

Thank you, Patrick