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Race Between iOS, Android Not Even Close

I don’t believe in brand loyalty. I’m a big fan of being open-minded when it comes to technology, and I try to get my hands on everything. At the same time, I’m quick to realize when one product is obviously superior to another one. That’s why I was a little stunned when I ran across this article about Android dominating the smartphone market in recent months. Why buy a calculator when you can have a supercomputer for the same price?

The iOS vs. Android debate isn’t like the Pepsi-Coke debate. There are significant differences and one really is far better. If anything, it’s like the Coke-Pickle Juice debate: there’s a pretty clear winner. Really, the Android-iOS debate is just like the Windows-Mac debate. Many people still use Windows but few will actually try to argue that it’s the superior operating system, or they just want to feel better about spending hours reinstalling their system or twiddling with anti-virus software instead of getting work done.

Just this year I finally dabbled in the Android space. I wanted a phone with a real keyboard because between the virtual keys and the spell check, my work emails were starting to look like they were written by a third-grader. Upon playing around with a few phones, I realized there were worse things than having your phone decide you mean “pubic” instead of “public”.

Before we can even compare Android to iOS, we need to compare Android to Android. Ice Cream Sandwich and Jellybean, the last two versions of Android to be released, are definitely better than the previous Gingerbread and (ugh) Honeycomb releases. There are a million Android phones, but admittedly the Samsung Galaxy is a much better phone than many low-end options from a plethora of manufacturers. That having been said, if we’re going to talk about Android dominating the smartphone market we need to acknowledge that most people do not have a high-end Samsung and most people do not have ICS or Jellybean.

That in itself is an inherent problem. There are dozens of different Android phones running dozens of different versions of the OS. Does that create more options for the consumer? Sure. Are most of those options good? Not by a long shot, but at least they can double as paperweights.

Every year Android releases a new version with a cutesy name and leaves every previous phone model and Android version behind. Want to upgrade your iOS 5 to iOS 6? No problem. Want to upgrade your ICS phone to Jellybean? You have a better chance of upgrading your Toyota to a spaceship.

Of course, this creates problems for both developers and users. For users that want to have the best phone possible, Android’s deals with half a dozen different manufacturers makes that impossible. While many people bash Apple for releasing an ever-so-slightly better phone every year, there is a good chance a better version of your Android phone will be released by a different manufacturer within weeks or months of your purchase.

At the same time, developers have to test their applications for a plethora of different phones and operating systems. That means a much longer time to market or sometimes no Android app at all since the effort isn’t worth it. Think I’m exaggerating? Take a look at what the fragmented Android environment looks like in graph form. Here at Copy2Contact, we did a survey of Android users interested in getting Copy2Contact for their phone, and found that many of them didn’t have a copy and paste feature, or couldn’t find that feature on their phone. Hello, customer support nightmare.

Speaking of apps, the Google Play Store is an absolute mess. Comparing the iTunes store to the Google Play Store is like comparing Walmart to the guy selling fake watches in Battery Park. It’s touted for allowing more freedom than iOS but as with the hardware, having a lot of options isn’t the same as having good options. Yes, Apple has very strict guidelines for the apps it allows into the store. But when you go into the Apple store, you never get malware, you seldom get really buggy apps, and you can actually find what you are looking for.

Google doesn’t really have too many guidelines for their apps. It’s no surprise that the Android store is filled with incomplete, buggy apps and apps loaded with malware. This is especially problematic if you have a business and can’t control what your team puts on their phone. I’m big on securing business data and the lack of checks in the Android environment simply puts your data at too much risk. Android is called the Wild West for a reason, and it isn’t because of their funny hats.

If you search for an app by function rather by name, expect to see a ton of useless apps with a handful of downloads right next to great, established apps. Why download Salesforce when I can simply get Ted’s CRM listed right above it? It’s impossible to sort, and the unchecked abundance of apps makes app searching incredibly time consuming. Also, with a few exceptions, Android apps tend to have more bugs and fewer features than iOS apps.

Every phone is also preloaded with a ton of bloatware from whatever manufacturer you chose. Granted, the iPhone has some too, but not nearly as much and the apps are rarely as useless as the copy of SCVNGR that I was never able to delete from the phone. Worse, most of the stuff on your phone just keeps running in the background, eventually slowing the phone down to a crawl. It’s like getting the full Windows experience but in phone form.

Searching for ways to get my Android phone to work the way I wanted, I headed straight to Google, where the only suggestions were that I “root” the phone. Is it too much to ask that the phone be ready out of the box? Sorry, I just want a phone, not a $300 do-it-yourself project.

Besides all that, there can be no argument that iOS is far more intuitive than Android. Apple has always prided itself on its sleek and easy-to-use interface and their phones reflect that. While I really like many of Google’s web applications and services, particularly for their minimalist approach, their phones are cluttered and need more getting used to.

At the end of the day, Fandroids will be unconvinced that their beloved Android hasn’t quite caught up to Apple. Their phones do, after all, have an extra eighth of an inch of screen space and the Bump app works way better! I say just look at the stats: Most phones’ battery life can’t compare to the iPhone and the iPhone 5 is unequivocally faster than any phone out there. There is one thing we can all agree on though, any iPhone or Android device is still way better than a BlackBerry.

You’re Using Tech All Wrong – You Only Need One App

The goal of incorporating new technology into your business should be to streamline your work and increase efficiency, not create additional tasks for yourself or clutter your phone with the latest-and-greatest apps you read about on a blog. Between the time you spend searching for that one “game-changing, cutting-edge application” and the time spent learning how to use it, you would have been better off using the cutting edge technology of the 1800s instead: a pen and paper.

The problem is that we’re always looking outside ourselves to find the missing ingredient that will turn that small business into a productivity machine a Chinese sweatshop couldn’t compete with. We see others integrate cool sleek apps into their operations and immediately assume that we must be behind the curve. This is no different than running home to your mom and asking to get the same new toy your friend just got – it’s a fine way to fit in at school, but running out to buy the latest toy isn’t a great business practice, especially since you’ll get bored of that toy and want a new one a week later.

The key isn’t to find an app for every single thing your business does. Instead, find one app that does as much as possible as simply as possible. Why shop at eight different stores when there’s a perfectly good supermarket down the street?

One place to start could be a project management app like BaseCamp or FreshBooks. These allow you to collaborate with a team on projects, tasks, files, documents, deadlines, etc. The only thing they can’t do is DVR this week’s episode of Honey Boo Boo. These are nice full featured suites that allow you to run and track your entire business in one place and that in itself will simplify your life. Still, these can get a bit cluttered which can turn a simple project into an overwhelming headache. Minimalist designs are less overwhelming and don’t make you feel like you’re in a race against time when you look at all the things you have to finish.

Enter Trello. It’s designed to be a simple organization tool that helps you visualize the progress you’re making on any specific set of tasks. I use it as a virtual bulletin board that can break down, track, and manage just about everything. Other apps like KanbanFlow or AgileZen do the same things but I’ll focus on Trello for now since it’s the one I use.

Boards and Lists: When you create your first board, it will be divided into three lists: To-Do, Doing, and Done. You can name your board whatever you want, and you can change the list titles and add as many lists as you like.

The basic layout (To-Do, Doing, Done) is a great a great way to divide projects up into actionable tasks and track your progress. I use the default layout to track what I’m currently working on, but I use other boards to manage ideas, clients, and appointments. Essentially, there is nothing that you can’t use the board for.

I know people who use Trello to organize presentations, track sales, create every type of list imaginable, schedule employee work shifts, vote on company policies and agendas, organize materials, and a ton more.

Cards: Lists are made up of cards. Let’s start with a basic project. Divide the project up into actionable tasks that can be added as individual cards on your list. Then, you can use the simple drag-and-drop interface to prioritize the most important tasks. For better organization, you can label cards, color code them, add comments, and attach files. In other words, this allows you to use your board like a regular project management tool but in one minimalist view.

If you work with a team, you can also use Trello (or the other apps) to delegate tasks and collaborate with your team members. With the permissions settings you can allow your team to view and edit any boards you like. You can set varying permissions for different members and assign specific tasks to members as well.

Tracking: Once you’re set up, you have a great view of what’s happening in your business, what’s on the agenda, what’s in progress, and what’s done. Of course if you customized your lists you can view whatever the board is set up for. One of my boards helps me see ideas I have for blog posts and I organize it based on how developed and ready the ideas are for publication. I use another board as a makeshift CRM, organized into New Leads, In Talks, Working, and Past Clients. There’s no limit to what you can organize and track on your board.

The app also has task and deadline reminders for you and your team. This is especially handy since dealing with employees and freelancers can be touchy. No one likes to remind people of what they have to do, and no one likes to be reminded. Let the app do it for you with email reminders that are set for specific times. You can also subscribe to specific cards to receive notification every time there is new activity and you can add checklists to cards for larger tasks so you can track every little detail.

Which App is Right For You: I use Trello because it’s free, has a sleek and intuitive interface, it works great on my computer and phone, and is completely unlimited.

KabanFlow is essentially the same app but also helps you track hours and includes a Pomodoro timer that creates 25 minute work segments followed by a break. It’s a better app when it comes to tracking time and estimating the time needed to complete a certain task. Their free version allows you unlimited boards and users but the $5 Premium version allows you to assign different permission levels, provides more detailed activity and revision logs, and let’s you filter and search easier.

AgileZen isn’t quite as sleek as the other two but does offer more features for a cost. Their free version only allows you one project. Plans cost from $9 to $99 depending on your team’s size.

8 Tools To Manage Your Time More Effectively

We’re always talking about tools to make you more productive, but the key element of productivity is managing your time as effectively as possible. Overdoing it on productivity apps and services can be daunting but there are a number of applications that you should be using to a) visualize your workload, b) handle it more effectively, and c) see and analyze your results. Here are some great tools to manage your time as efficiently as you can to avoid falling into the trap of not having enough hours in the day.


Customer relationship management isn’t just important in ensuring the best possible customer experience, it’s a great way to visualize what needs to be done, monitor what your team is doing, collaborate with your team, and analyze results. Solutions range from free basic CRMs like Zoho to large feature-rich CRMs like or Sugar CRM. This is not just a way to stay on top of everything without spending a lot of time, it’s also a great way to make sure your team is on the same page.


All brands need a social media presence, but it can be incredibly tedious to manage all those accounts. With HootSuite, you don’t have to. All of your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and FourSquare accounts are all in one place. You can schedule posts, see analytics on how well your posts are doing, allow your team to post to the accounts while monitoring activity, and it helps you save a ton of time on your social media efforts.

Remember The Milk

Remember The Milk is probably the most popular task management platform out there. Aside from just creating a list of tasks, the app lets you break projects down easily, sort your tasks, schedule reminders, sync with Google, Twitter, or Outlook, and create collaborative lists for tasks for your entire team. Doris is another good application that does the same things as well.


We’ve mentioned Toggl before but it’s definitely worth mentioning again. It’s a very simple time tracking tool and you can quickly put in tasks and time how long they take. This helps with billing and invoicing (the app will even do the math for you and integrate with BaseCamp, Freshbooks, or Quickbooks) as well as visualizing where you’re spending your time. If your team is under 5 people, the account is free, larger accounts are $5 per month per user.

Rescue Time

While Toggl helps you keep track of your work hours, RescueTime is a personal analytics service that monitors everything you do on your computer and mobile device and reports back with very simple-to-use analytics and graphs. By seeing exactly how much time you spend doing things online, you can spot inefficiencies in your day and make real analytics-based changes to improve the effectiveness of the time you spend using your computer and mobile device. Plus, it’s free.

StayFocusd/LeechBlock/Self Control

All three of these are the nuclear option for people who can’t stop going on time wasting websites. StayFocusd for Chrome, LeechBlock for Firefox, and Self Control for Mac block access to specific sites for a specific period of time. This keeps you from drifting over to check your Twitter feed by sending you to a friendly reminder to get back to work.


Thymer bills itself as the project management app for people who hate project management. It’s a lightweight and simple platform that really does make it easier to manage large projects and break them down into tasks. It’s very intuitive and well laid out. It allows you to collaborate and share docs with your team and keeps track of their hours and costs. You can try it for free but plans cost anywhere from $25 to $75 per month.


This is a nice and simple invoicing app that helps you save time on…well, tedious invoicing. You can simply customize your invoice as much as you want, set up recurring invoices, integrate with online payment platforms like PayPal, send pre-invoice estimates, track expenses and costs, and track hours for yourself as well as your team. Ronin offers a limited free account but real accounts range from $15 to $50 per month.

10 Best Crowdsourcing Tools For Small Business

I first learned about Crowdsourcing in The 4-Hour-Workweek, but since the book’s release the idea has taken off in a big way. Crowdsourcing simply means outsourcing tasks to a group of people rather than a contractor. This allows businesses to save money while getting valuable tasks completed, and can be used for many different projects. As productivity geeks, we’re always trying to delegate as much of our work as possible, so let’s take a look at some of the things we can crowdsource and make our lives just that much simpler.

Amazon’s Mechanical Turk

One of the oldest and most used crowdsourcing platforms is Amazon’s Mturk, which is primarily for small, basic tasks that require a person rather than software. There is no limit on what tasks you can post: it can be anything from filling out a survey, keyword research, writing an outline, researching information or leads, etc. You can price your task however you want, and most tasks on the site are listed under $1.


CrowdFlower is all about data. If you need a large data set analyzed, edited, or generated, you submit the project to CrowdFlower and they break the project down into small tasks that will be completed by people all over the world. Once the small tasks are done, the CrowdFlower team will ensure quality and send you the results.

Genius Rocket

This site is like a creative video agency without the fancy Madison Ave. skyscraper. Genius Rocket creates commercials, education videos, viral videos, sales videos, and animations for your business. By crowdsourcing writers, directors, and producers you save a ton of money on multimedia that would costs tens of thousands of dollars at a real creative agency.


PopTent is very similar to Genius Rocket and connects videographers and commercial directors with brands. They can produce everything from a viral video to a legit national TV spot.


Need your software tested? Look no further than uTest. By using the many uTest users to test your application, you can immediately find crashes and bugs, and receive feedback and quickly find solutions. They offer functionality tests, security testing, load testing, localization testing, and basic usability testing.


Similar to uTest, Mob4Hire tests only mobile applications and delivers in-depth results on user experience and usability.


Need documents translated but don’t want to spend a bunch of money on a translation service? Submit it to the translators at GenGo and your document will be translated, checked, and edited by their extensive team of translators.

99 Designs/Crowdspring

Both of these are hugely popular ways for brands to get logo or graphic design on the cheap. 99 Designs offers logo, business card, apparel, postcard, flyer, brochure, product packaging, web site, mobile app, icon, banner, or book cover design. Crowdspring does that as well but helps with brand and product naming as well.


SmartSheet is a unique project management platform that allows you to assign tasks to your own team and then fill any holes or gaps with their virtual workforce. The SmartSheet crowd is integrated with Mturk and other platforms so you get access to a massive amount of people around the world.