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How one of my tweets landed Close.io a $585/month customer

One of my tweets is featured in an article on Mention.com:

How Close.io Closed $585 in Monthly Revenue from 1 Tweet.

Check it out!

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Launched: ArticleListen.com – integration between Pocket & Umano to hear your saved articles read aloud

I built a quick mashup/integration between two services that I love using, that I thought would be “better together”. It’s live at ArticleListen.com.

I use Pocket to save a queue of any article (blog post, news story, etc.) that I see on Hacker News, Twitter, Facebook, etc. There’s a web & mobile browser extensions for saving articles you see, and Mac & iOS apps for reading these articles later all in one place, even offline.

Using Pocket can be good for productivity because you may see a headline that interests you, but you really shouldn’t be reading it now. By saving it to Pocket you know you can easily find and read it later. I’ve got a few hundred articles saved from over the past couple years. I often read a few articles at a time, but they still build up.

I also use Umano, which is a service that has professional voice actors record narrated articles from across the web. It’s perfect for commuting. Many of the articles are only a few minutes long, so even a quick trip to the store or walking to the train can be enough to hear an article or two about something that interests you. Tech, current news, etc.

Umano has some article discovery built in (a “popular” page and a way to see which articles your Facebook friends on Umano liked), however they have thousands of articles already recorded and so finding what you really want to listen to is still difficult.

Then I realized that all the articles I wanted to read or listen to were already saved in my Pocket queue, so during part of a couple weekends I put together this site to do a few things:

  • Look through my Pocket queue and identify which articles were already on Unman
  • Allow me to very easily add matching articles to my “playlist” in Umano
  • Also allow me to “Vote” in Umano for the articles that are already in my queue
  • Add “tags” into Pocket for articles that were added to my Umano playlist, so I can easily archive those in Pocket

Umano does have a Chrome extension (and generic bookmarklet) for “voting” for articles, but I wanted my primary queue to be something like Pocket, which is better built for general purpose article saving, I didn’t want to have to save every article to two places, and I mostly wanted to listen to the articles that were already in my queue.

Check it out: ArticleListen.com

Feedback is welcome.

Built using Python/Flask and Bootstrap.

Future improvements I’d like to make: It should continually monitor a Pocket queue for new articles ongoing – looking for matches and adding them to Umano without any user interaction. At the moment you just have to login to the site occasionally.

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The Elements of User Onboarding

I just finished reading “The Elements of User Onboarding” by Samuel Hulick. I discovered the book through the excellent site UserOnboard.com which has chronicled every screen in the onboarding process of several web and mobile apps and added great commentary (positive & negative) on each screen.

If you help make a web/desktop/mobile app, I highly recommend going through a few of these teardowns, as they alone will make you re-think some parts of your onboarding process. These teardowns together with the book have given me lots of great ideas for drastically improving the liklihood that a new user of Close.io will become successful.

For each chapter, I wrote down a brief summary or simply something that stood out to me. By all means, this isn’t a replacement for getting the book – but a teaser and reminder to myself what I read!

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My interview on Sales4Startups about Close.io

Sales 4 Startups published an interview with me about Close.io.

Interview: Phil Freo, Engineering Lead @Close.io

Sales4StartUpsTell us about the Close.io story. How was it started? What problem were you trying to solve?

Phil: Close.io was developed as an internal product to make our own salespeople at ElasticSales more efficient. Our company was doing sales for a bunch of companies (with different types of sales processes and needs) and through all these difference sales campaigns we recognized a lack of good software geared at the day-to-day tasks a salesperson faces. Our team needed to be able to make many phone calls quickly, send more emails, and see a history of sales activity for any given lead without having to do a bunch of manual data entry, and surprisingly none of the solutions we tried seem to actually be designed to make salespeople’s lives better in these ways.cheap water slides for sale

After several of our customers asked if their salespeople could use our software (since they saw our productivity improvements from it), we decided to focus on productizing it, and Close.io was born.

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The startups and services behind Close.io

Originally published on the Close.io blog.

The startups and services behind Close.io

In creating Close.io software for salespeople, we rely on a number of other startups and services to do what we do. While there are alternatives to using each of the following, we have chosen them for specific reasons because we think they’re the best.

The common theme is that these services allow us to move faster and have better insight into our business. We could live without any of them, but it would mean slower iteration and less innovation.

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Interesting TED Talk on Motivation

I listened to a very interesting TED Talk today by Dan Pink. You can watch it below or read my brief notes from it.

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