Category: Front Page

Page 2 of 13

Copy2Contact For Android… So Close, Yet So Far

Please skip to the bottom if you’re interested in helping out with a quick little test, but aren’t interested in all the history.

The History of Copy2Contact for Android

Despite my recent not-so-pro-Android post about Android vs. iPhone, we have been working in the background to get Copy2Contact ready for the Android platform. It may seem like an easy task, and it may seem like we started this a long time ago, but there’s more below the surface.

When we started this project, we were gung-ho to get it done, and invested a ton of time and money into building the user interface and porting the Copy2Contact engine over. All went smoothly until we tried actually using the app, and found that most Android phones just didn’t have copy and paste from email at all. This is a big problem given that Copy2Contact works on data that you’ve grabbed from another app (usually email) and onto the clipboard.

I couldn’t believe that a modern smartphone and supposed iPhone competitor didn’t have such a fundamental feature, so I looked more closely. It turns out, some of the later versions of the OS had copy and paste, but it was implemented in a very awkward way, and it wasn’t clear how many users out there even had this feature since the Android market is so fragmented. So we surveyed some users who had expressed interest in Copy2Contact for Android and lo and behold, only two of them were able to copy and paste.

The project was shelved. Not only would it be unusable by most Android users, but the cost of supporting each potential customer to help them decide if they can even use it in the first place would be astronomical.

Fast forward to now, many inquiries later from customers wondering what could possibly be taking us so long. Since keeping watch on the fragmentation issue and the evolution of the Android OS, it was starting to look more likely that it might be time to get the project going again. Having been burned in the first go-around, we started with research. We hired an outside consulting firm to do a market analysis of the different phone models out there, their native email clients, and their copy/paste functionalities. Results were positive… copy/paste is now ubiquitous on Android devices!

So we started development again full swing. Dev tools had improved since the early days, and new capabilities had arisen. Still nothing like the Apple/iOS development environment, but pretty good stuff. I’m leaving out a lot of hard work and dealing with bugs in the tools, OS, or different phones, but that’s nothing new since we’re used to developing with Microsoft Windows, the gold standard for difficult platforms. You can usually get around everything that comes up, it’s just painful.

But guess what… we’re back to square one! The first trial of the new build of Copy2Contact on a real device failed miserably. Not because of any programming failure, but because copy/paste on the device doesn’t work properly! When you copy a signature from an email, the email client puts everything on one line, completely removing the key formatting needed to separate the data into its individual fields. Copy2Contact is smart, but it’s not expecting a zip code to run right into a phone number, for example. Even a human would have to look carefully to realize the jumble of numbers isn’t one big international phone number, or a big typo.

Talk about frustrating, it’s back to research time. The question now is, how many Android devices out in the real world have this bug in their email application? The Android ecosystem is still very fragmented, with about half of Android users out there using a positively ancient version of the OS. But it’s clear this bug isn’t necessarily OS version specific. There are a multitude of different email clients, carrier customizations, and user interfaces out in the real world as well.

How Can You Help?

So that’s where we’re at with Copy2Contact for Android, and we could really use your help! To find out how prevalent this bug is, we’re asking people to complete a little test. Please click here to enter your Android device’s email address, and we’ll send you a little email with test instructions.  It’s a snap to do, and is a BIG help to us. Thanks! We have all the results we need right now, thanks!

Copy2Contact for Salesforce now supports the Chrome browser

Many people have inquired with us in the past about using the Chrome browser with Copy2Contact for Salesforce.com. Often times they’ve been confused as to why Copy2Contact seems to keep opening the dreaded Internet Explorer (gasp!) to work with Salesforce.

Fortunately, our latest release now includes the ability to select Chrome as your browser of choice for use with Salesforce.

Why didn’t we have this before? Chrome has seen a big surge in popularity in recent years, but the fact remains it’s still relatively new and, until recently, lacked the specific means of integration that Copy2Contact needed. Fortunately, the folks responsible for the FireBreath project have built a framework for this kind of thing.

How to get it: There are now two versions of Copy2Contact available, both of which have Chrome support. If you do not use Copy2Contact to create contacts inside Microsoft Outlook or Palm Desktop, go for version 3. It’s the latest and greatest.

If you are a paid user of Copy2Contact Personal or PRO for Outlook or Palm Desktop, you may use either version 2 or upgrade to version 3. Please note that Version 3 is a paid upgrade for Outlook and Palm Desktop users. Full details and discounts for existing users can be found here.

To download either version of Copy2Contact and get started now, go to our download page. Note that you’ll be asked to install the Copy2Contact browser extension in order to use it with Salesforce. Installation should be a matter of just one click from the Chrome App Store.

Please feel free to contact us for support if you have any questions.

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.

Analytics

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.

Sales

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.

Go Fire Yourself

You have your own business, you’re in control of everything, and you answer to no one. You’re living the American Dream. But you want to be more successful. Your business simply isn’t growing like you wanted. Odds are, you have fallen into the trap that countless small business owners are already in – you are doing too much and not doing it well enough.

If I had an employee who wasn’t producing the results I wanted, I would replace him with a new contractor. If you’re not producing the results you want for your business, logically the only solution would be to fire yourself.

Step back for a second and truly consider what you bring to the table. No one, literally, no one, can do everything that goes into building a growing business. At least not as well as it could be done. You need to figure out where your strongest assets are and stop doing all of the things that you aren’t good at and eat up your time. So what are you good at?

I’m a Good Manager

Most good business owners fall under this category. As the boss, you need to manage your team just like a football coach manages his. You never see Rex Ryan throw on some pads and throw a football. That’s not his job. Good managers should manage and delegate well, not do the work of the people they manage. Certainly many small business budgets are prohibitive but with the wealth of contractors available, there are truly very few businesses that can’t afford to invest in assistance in any field.

I’m a Good Developer

Many online business owners are developers who created their very own application or service. But just because you made your own product with your own sweat and tears doesn’t mean you are the best person to run the business end. Developers don’t always make good managers and rarely make good marketers or sales people. Developers need a partner even more than they need employees or contractors. You should work on the technical side of things and let someone else worry about the sales, management, and marketing.

I’m a Good Marketer

Marketers don’t tend to make good CEOs. Maybe because so many people think they are good marketers. Marketing is both a crucial piece of the puzzle but also a very small one. It takes up a lot of time but is useless without the right business or product in place. Marketing is a skill, not the basis of your business, which means you need someone to take care of the really important stuff while you spread the word.

I Just Want to Have My Own Business

Too many small business owners fall into this category. They just want their own business for the sake of having their own business. That’s a fine aspiration but if you don’t have the skills or the drive to run your own business, you don’t want to be a CEO, you just want to be an investor. Look at the TV show “Shark Tank“, the sharks don’t run all of those businesses, they just buy a chunk of the company and count the profits. They may even own the majority of the company and have someone else run everything. If you fall into this category, then it’s definitely time to fire yourself.