Category: Musings

AppGratis: Great Success!

I recently reached out to the fine folks at to see if they could help get some exposure for Copy2Contact for iPhone. I’m very glad I did.

If you’re not in the know about AppGratis, you’re missing out! It’s free app for your iPhone that gets you one free app per day. But not just any app… the AppGratis team works with developers to offer apps for which you’d normally have to fork over some hard-earned cash. This means you’re getting great premium apps you might not otherwise try, for nada.

The AppGratis team told me they were looking to promote more utility and productivity apps, so Copy2Contact would fit right in. After discussing a bit about how things would work, we decided on a date and set things in motion.


What happened next was quite a show, at least from my perspective. AppGratis has worldwide reach, so the promotion started in the wee hours of the morning (I’m in the Eastern US time zone). I awoke to a tangle of error messages and problem reports. Our web server had crashed at 3am due to all the traffic they were sending our way.

The app distribution is handled by Apple’s servers, but people new to Copy2Contact were impressed and using the Tell A Friend feature at an astounding rate, putting a load on our server that it was simply not set up to handle. I could hardly believe it, and the day was just starting.

I reached out to the folks at, who handle our dedicated hosting, and they were able to add resources to the server and get it back to full capacity in what can only be described as “lickety split”. Those guys are geniuses and I highly recomend their services to anyone needing business web hosting.

The rest of the day of promotion was uneventful. A few support requests came in from people with questions, and even a couple people telling us how much they like the app. It’s always nice to receive those kinds of messages.


When the dust had settled the next day, I had a chance to look at the numbers. This is where things got really interesting. As a result of the AppGratis promotion, we had well over 230,000 new people try Copy2Contact! And it turned out the promotion didn’t even run in the US or Italy due to scheduling conflicts. AppGratis has a pretty impressive reach!

Even more interesting is that the AppGratis folks said that the results were better even than they were expecting. This speaks both to how great Copy2Contact is but also says people are craving useful utility apps for their mobile devices (a fairly new category for the AppGratis guys).

Bottom Line

Now, how does this affect our business bottom line? That’s a more complicated issue… Giving people something for free doesn’t directly generate a single dollar of revenue, but the idea is bigger than that. Obviously we benefit from the exposure, which is hard to get these days with all the marketing noise out there. We were also hoping that new users of the iPhone app would go back to our web site and buy the PC version of our software, but interestingly, not a single one did!

So in the short term this netted the company zero $, but I think in the long term we’ll be better off having more people knowing the Copy2Contact name. We’ve always found it challenging to make people aware of the concept and this kind of thing helps a great deal. And though we don’t get access to these new users directly in order to market other products to them, we did have about 200 sign up for our mailing list and we can occasionally push messages out to the app when we announce new products.

We’re hoping to repeat the AppGratis promotion with their US user base, and it will be interesting to see if the results differ. Top countries in the first round included Brazil, Spain, Germany, and Mexico, where Copy2Contact is not as accurate. Since it works best with US, UK, and Western European contact information, their US users may like the app even more. I’ll write again when we have some results there.

Overall, thanks, AppGratis!

Transform The Way Your PC Works For You

We see tons of cool stuff in the productivity space. Because it’s our passion, we find ourselves checking out other products that help you get back the only thing you can’t buy: Time.

One of the coolest products out there in that space is ActiveWords. With a modest investment on your part, it will change forever how you use your Windows computer. Sound like a tall order? Read on…

Back in the day, IBM had teams of people with the title “Systems Analyst”. These folks would look hard at systems, processes, and workflows to see how to improve and streamline them. Today, that title seems to have gone away, yet at the same time there are hugely successful blogs like Lifehacker, where the goal is to literally “hack,” or analyze the processes in your life… to think about what you do, how you live, and how to do it all better.

If you stop for a moment and think about it, no matter what you do there are countless things in your daily routine that you do over and over again. Writing the same stock email, logging into the same sites, opening the same folders, contacting the same people. We live in a digital age, yet still work in a pre-computer mentality. It’s like buying a top of the line iPhone and only using it to make calls.

You already know how much time Copy2Contact can save you by cutting down on the amount of time and keystrokes it takes to copy contact and appointment info. ActiveWords was created with a similar concept in mind. When you add it into your daily work life, you’ll immediately begin to save time as well as reduce the tediousness of repetitive tasks. No additional applications to go through, no “system” for keeping organized, but your PC will be working for you, instead of the other way around.

How It Works:

ActiveWords is based on the 80/20 principle. In this case, the idea is that 80% of what we do is repetitive and predictable. It isn’t just another productivity tool: ActiveWords provides the tools to make your behavior more productive, in a way that you can readily customize to your needs. It allows you to “name” or create shortcuts in a way computers should have been able to do for years but haven’t because, let’s face it, they’re still busy working out the bugs in Internet Explorer.

Here are some of the ways ActiveWords can turn your PC into much more than just a fancy typewriter:

Launch Applications: If you’re always using Microsoft Word or Evernote, you can add a shortcut like “mw” or “en” in ActiveWords. Now, typing “mw” and pressing the spacebar anywhere on your computer will tell ActiveWords to launch Microsoft Word. At that moment, the penny will drop and you’ll realize that you can do this for every application you regularly use and never click through your start menu again. And ActiveWords works great in the Windows 8 desktop, too, where there is no stat menu at all.

Open Folders and Documents: But it gets better… If I want to open my Google Drive folder or a specific document in any of my folders, I can easily create ActiveWord for that as well. As soon as you get ActiveWords, you’ll become obsessed with creating as many shortcuts for your day-to-day life as possible. 

Replace Text and Typos: This feature is similar to what you can do in Microsoft Word but allows you to take that experience to any application on your computer or on the Web. ActiveWords comes with its own spellcheck that works in any text form but you can add your own if you frequently misspell certain words. I always struggle with “tomorrow”.

But the best part of this and likely most-used feature is the “replace text” function. We all have names, addresses, emails, and messages that we type over and over again. How many times have you sent your email address to someone and mistyped it? If I want to type Nicholas Maddix, all I have to do is type “nm” and press the spacebar twice. My personal email address is “ep”, for business, I type “eb.” Small things, but they make a big difference. On a larger scale, if I get an email from someone that wants information on learning to use Copy2Contact, I can type “gs” and a full stock response about how to get started will appear in the reply box.

Launch Sites: You can also launch your internet browser and a specific site all at once. If I want to open Gmail, all I have to do is type in “gm” anywhere and I have instant access to my inbox.

These are just the basic functions that you can use as soon as you purchase ActiveWords. The real draw is the custom shortcuts you can create to do anything you can do with a keyboard. For example, not only can you open Gmail immediately, you can create a shortcut that automatically logs you in and opens a specific message thread. You can create a shortcut that will open up several windows or documents at once. You can create a shortcut that will instantly track a selected package you bought from Amazon. There is nothing you can do with your keyboard that you can’t automate with ActiveWords, unless you do some pretty weird stuff with your keyboard!

ActiveWords was built to answer the basic question of “why don’t computers understand us?”

We all know how well voice commands work on computers, i.e., “not at all”. But if, say, you have to open that same department shared folder about a zillion times a day, typing “df” and hitting the spacebar will make it something you don’t think twice about. That’s the magic of ActiveWords.

Here’s where you can try out or buy ActiveWords.

Author’s note: The guys at ActiveWords aren’t giving us any compensation for this article whatsoever, except maybe some good karma. They’re great guys and I just love the program!

Understanding The Value of Copy2Contact

I interact with a lot of potential customers who inquire about Copy2Contact. If they haven’t been referred by a friend who uses it, often times they wonder if it’s worth buying. They’re right to be skeptical… everyone’s trying to make a buck these days.

Usually the free trial seals the deal. Many customers have told me over the years that once they tried it, they were hooked.

But other people need to understand the value from a different perspective. We’ve created what I think is a pretty cool sales tool, and we’d love to get some feedback on it.

It’s called the “Savings Calculator”, and it allows you to estimate the amount of time and money you’d save by using Copy2Contact.

Now, we know that time doesn’t always directly correlate to money, but we also know that there’s value in the way Copy2Contact reduces tedium and makes using your contact manager easier that just can’t be quantified. This calculator is just an attempt at seeing its value from one side of things.

Try it out here and please post your feedback in the comments. Questions, too… I’ll be watching closely and responding.

  • Does one of the user profiles match you?
  • Do the numbers provided seem reasonable?
  • Does the value proposition “speak” to you?
  • Have any anecdotes from talking with friends about Copy2Contact?

After all, you know best how you use Copy2Contact in your job, so the feedback is great for us. And as a bonus, we’ll get to understand our users better and see where we can improve in the future.

How Nate Silver Can Save Your Business

On election eve, every media outlet was talking about how close the Obama-Romney race would be. Not Nate Silver. He had been steadily raising Obama’s probability to win every day leading up to the election. Even as Fox News was covering the election, Karl Rove was claiming that Romney will pull close or even win, the numbers he was looking at told him so. At that point Silver had Obama as a 90+% lock to win. When it was all said and done, Obama won by 126 electoral votes and the guy with the numbers, not the ideology, looked like a genius.

Why had the rest of the media gotten it so wrong? For the same reason so many business owners get it so wrong – we only want to listen to the numbers we want to listen to. Nate Silver is a numbers guy, he processes all the numbers he gets. The media sees a left leaning poll and a right leaning poll and they will give more credence to whichever one supports their ideology. That’s why Nate Silver gets it right and Karl Rove is flabbergasted that the numbers he wanted to believe in didn’t match reality.

The election was certainly a wake up call for the media but it should ring true with business owners as well. No, not because of taxes. Because we all look at analytics, social media followers, sales, budgets, expenses, and tons of other numbers and try to fit those into the narrative we’ve built for ourselves. Instead, we need to resign ourselves to the fact that numbers don’t lie, only people do – often to themselves.

Most businesses have only one goal – more money. Everything you do has to somehow bring in more money. If it isn’t, you’re doing it wrong and you are lying to yourself about how much value all that effort you put in is worth.


First, if you’re simply looking at analytics, not analyzing them, you may as well not use them at all. What you call “good traffic numbers” could easily be untargeted hits that won’t turn a profit for your business. You have to consider what the numbers mean to your business – where is the traffic coming from, where are they landing, how long are they staying, etc. Traffic is not the goal, sales conversions are. Mitt Romney led in many national polls but his massive lead in places like Oklahoma didn’t matter, only the ones in states like Ohio and Florida did. Don’t fool yourself into being married to the traffic numbers if that traffic isn’t doing anything for your bottom line.

Social Media

What you call a “good social media following” could easily be a bunch of people that simply skim over your content daily or followed/liked your page only to get an offer. The number of followers can give your ego a good boost but, as with analytics, if you aren’t engaging the right people, the number of followers simply doesn’t matter.


What you call “good sales numbers” could easily be wasted opportunities to upsell customers, sell them more, or at least get them to refer their friends. For all the effort you spend on marketing, content, and everything else, consider how much return they bring back versus a simple thank you email to an existing customer or a discount offer for referring a friend. Stop acting like a big multinational with a huge marketing department, focus on the basics and stick with what works for you – not others.

Figuring Out Your Business Formula

You hear business numbers guys talk a lot about return on investment. Probably because it’s the only real number that matters. If your investment of time and/or money isn’t paying off, why keep throwing money at a losing hand?

As a small business owner, you’re also strapped for time and cash which means you have to be very selective about where you spend both. This is where most business owners shoot themselves in the foot. We tend to build our strategies based on what works for others. Just like CNN and Fox News, though, all the case studies you read are simply there to support an existing viewpoint. Your own numbers never lie and never lead you down the wrong (and expensive) path. Stop trying to make things fit into “how you want things to be” and realize that the numbers are truly all that there is.