Launching The Essential App Series

Today we are launching a new string of posts, called ‘The Essential App Series’.

The goal of The Essential App Series is to showcase apps by their flawless set of functionalities and their ability to deliver great user experiences. Thus, the displayed apps won’t necessarily be new as ‘recently listed on Product Hunt new’. To open the series (and prove our point in a proud-ish style) we’ll start with an app that has been around for 3 years now. If it weren’t for the impressive iterations that come out virtually every quarter, this app could easily be labeled as ‘old’. Yet, it feels incredibly new.

Essential Notebook App: Google Keep

Keep was launched in 2013 by Google, and despite being listed among 2013’s 50 best Android apps by Time magazine, it somehow managed to stay under the radar for a long time. To be fair, competing against a well-achieved product like Evernote (and a zillion built-in note taking apps) does not sound like an easy task. However, things started to change in 2015. That year, Google released Keep for iOS, and updates for both Android and iOS began to show a leaner product, with improved functionality and design. But let’s see why Google Keep is, above everything else, a keeper (pun intended):

  1. Nimbleness: Unlike other note taking apps, Keep is fast, and using it feels good. It excels at doing the most important thing for an app of this kind: taking notes in just a few seconds.
  1. Layout: a key aspect of Keep is the way notes are displayed on screen. You can choose the grid view or the list view, and that’s it. It also allows tags, an option for those who really care about organization. Furthermore, notes can easily be moved across the screen, rearranged and deleted without messing up what we have in front of our eyes.
  1. Integration. Being a Google product, Keep is fully integrated with Chrome and Android Wear, synchronizing inputs in real time across platforms. It also allow users to copy any note to Google Docs. Have an idea while you’re working on your desktop computer? Click on the Keep extension button, take the note and review it later on your phone – if you want to.
  1. No connection required. In a similar way to Google Docs, Keep allows you to take and save notes even if you’re not online. A useful feature in the neediest of times.
  2. Extra features. While not central to a note taking app – but very much welcome – Keep offers a reminder function. In addition, it’s able to grab text from images and allows comments on notes, a function that will instantly be cherished by those who use project management apps like Trello. Moreover, it displays website previews if you insert links on notes: forget about link-guessing or crypto-words for websites you’ve pasted on a note.
  1. Cost. There is no cost attached to Keep. No freemium models, no pay-walled functionalities. Completely free to use!

To conclude, one last aspect that shouldn’t be overlooked. As a Google product, Keep will likely have proper support from its parent company for years. The risks of having an ageing, non-updated product are close to zero – which is important for an app whose function is to keep thoughts and ideas alive. If you haven’t downloaded Keep yet, give it a try. You won’t be disappointed:

Keep for Android

Keep for iOS

Keep Chrome Extension

Next in this series, the absolute best writing app in the world. Follow us for updates!

 

In this era of stories, inbound marketing is king

 

It hardly is news that tech has marked a new era for storytelling. Stories are thriving, making themselves available in multiple formats for audiences measured in the billions. We, more than ever before, live in an era of stories.

Not long ago, stories were equally beloved by our ancestors. However, the processes of production and distribution were by rule far more expensive than now; as a result, the amount and diversity of stories were limited. Can you imagine how much did it cost to print tens of thousands of newspapers and physically distribute them across cities, states, and countries?

Nowadays, things are different: writing encompasses no paper at all, reaching audiences can be done by hitting the ‘enter’ key, and producing a multimedia feature requires nothing but a smartphone. By the time blogging became a thing – think the early 2000s – dozens of millions were publishing stories on a daily basis. Soon after, there were hundreds of millions and along came the inbound marketing explosion.

Generally speaking, inbound marketing is about creating content to generate awareness and, eventually, leads and customers. While most inbound marketing actions consist in the production of texts, there is no limit to what can be done. Infographics, video, slide presentations, art and beyond: everything can be tuned-up to fit an inbound marketing strategy when the main goal is to tell brand-related stories.

However, the production of text has two key advantages that make it an inbound marketing darling:

  • It’s SEO-friendly. A great way to improve a website’s visibility is to produce relevant content, which will impact on its ‘search value’.
  • It’s inexpensive. As long as you can rely on someone (ideally, a writer) to produce content, you’ll be fine. Publishing and distributing? Well, websites do that. For the most part, they’ve been created for that.

Notoriously, inbound marketing currently stands as an opportunity. Given that production, publication and distribution costs have dropped, developing stories has become an affordable endeavor. In addition, those who share our view of brands as stories in development will find that inbound marketing is a perfect fit for what a brand needs: a space and time to share its voice, its past, and future – the way it wants.

2017’s Q1: The Best Tech & Telecom Networking Events

 

Now that 2016 is water under the bridge, the time to set in motion one of our most important New Year’s resolutions has come: for this year, we’ve committed ourselves to make better choices. While it might appear as a simple, unambitious resolution, it’s not: above everything else, the act of making good choices requires solid options to choose from in the first place – and in turn, solid options demand precise planning.

Over the past couple of years, we had the chance to work with a number of interesting clients from both the tech and telecom sectors. These are dynamic, international companies that not only value performance and dedication, but also the ability to plan for the long-haul. Companies living perpetually with a foot in the present and the other in the future, expecting full understanding of the current situation and awareness for what’s coming next.

Under the light of our New Year’s resolution – and because we enjoy working with this kind of companies, we’ve put together a selection of this year’s best networking events for the telecom and tech sectors. Our hope for better choices extends to every person we know, company we work with and, in this case, readers as well. And by bringing together the great options, we’re taking the first step. Let’s take a look:

 

Telecom Networking Events Q1: Welcome To The World Stage

  1. PTC Hawaii: The Pacific Telecommunications Council Event boasts of acting as a ‘partnership enabler’ for companies and individuals with interest in the Asia-Pacific region. Date: January 14th – 18th. More information, here.   
  1. TelecoDays Mumbai: a must-go for those who wish get a closer look at the international stage. Main industry participants include voice carriers, solution vendors and data carriers. Date: February 6th – 7h. The promise of ‘connections, not business cards’ is a very tempting one.
  1. GCCM London: a signature event organized by Carrier Community, a global telecom club with strong presence in Europe. An ideal event for Senior Managers, Directors, VPs and C-level executives willing to network. Date: February 21st – 22nd. Interested? Check out this comprehensive guide to the event.
  1. Capacity Middle East & Capacity LATAM: heavyweight regional events for carriers and wholesale operators. March 7th – 9th in Dubai, March 28th – 29th in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  1. AWC Miami: The Americas Wholesale Congress (AWC) is the meeting point for the Americas & Caribbean players. For those based in America it represents a short trip filled with opportunities. Date: March 21st – 22nd.

networking-q1

 

Tech Networking Events Q1: Where Magic Happens

  1. Mobile World Congress Barcelona: arguably the largest, most publicized event of the year – and a serious competitor for the ‘best international tech event’ title. MWC Barcelona gets better and better every year: it’s innovation and future trends at its best. Date: February 27th – March 2nd. All you need to know about it  – and there’s a lot to – here.  
  1. Niche events: OFS Los Angeles, BIO CEO & Investor Conference New York: OFC Los Angeles is the main event for those interested in the optical fiber market. BIO, on the other hand, is an exclusive event for investors, professionals and companies of the promising biotech sector.

 

Remember: better options, better choices. Soon we’ll be covering 2017 Q2 events. Stay tuned for updates!

Networking 101: The Basics

Those of us who love assisting to networking events know about the perks and perils of such meetings. These events can be really good for you (and your company) if chosen right, and a frustrating, wasteful experience if not.

Truth be told, choosing the appropriate event is not always easy. In addition to the waves of email promoting a countless amount of different events, there are other aspects – disproportionate media coverage, friend’s recommendations, brand new trends and topics – that end up making the decision process definitely harder than it should be. Well, one of our mottos for this new year is to make things easier, and that’s why we’ve compiled this short (but useful) guide covering the basic of networking:

  1. Core interests vs. peripheral pursuits

Many people fall for novelty just for the sake of novelty. For example, Burning Man has managed to attract the young crowds of Silicon Valley’s startup scene in its past editions and attempts to rebrand it as a prime networking event are sprouting on because of this. However, that fact alone does not mean that Burning Man is for everyone wishing to expand their contact network. Choosing the right demands analysis: thinking about the results that any given even is supposed to produce within our companies and lines of work is a good place to start. Also, when talking about results, we don’t exclusively mean ROI: we think of results as meeting the right people from the right industry.  

So, the first thing to do when searching for the right event is to look at your professional self and separate the core interests (getting to know fellow professionals, for example) from the peripheral pursuits – that is, those that are cool but undefined, with no visible impact on our business.

 

  1. Budgeting

Unless your events of choice take place in the area you live in, budgeting is key. In addition to registration fees, there are many other items to check – and doing so in advance can save you a lot of money. A shortlist should include:

  • Airplane tickets: compare the fares to those of other events you’d like to attend. In every case, try to book – if possible – months in advance.
  • Hotels & accommodation: always check with the event organizers if there are any special deals for attendees. Furthermore, you’ll likely meet other attendees at the hotel, which expands your networking opportunities by a factor.
  • Travel expenses: This may vary a lot depending on the location of the event. Some cities are more expensive than others. In addition, some cities have more things to do than others – whether it’s a museum, a tour or a particular set of activities, attending will require a few extra dollars.
  • Indirect expenses: things like new clothes, gifts and transport add up to the budget in significant ways.

 

  1. Situation planning. This comprises things like polishing your pitches, working on your weak points and developing material to share with others. It’s also about expectations: let’s suppose that the expected results, for any reason, fail to appear. What can you get from the event in that case?
  2. Leaving room for the unexpected. Every plan should leave some space for things that aren’t on the agenda. Many great deals are closed after the formal event, perhaps in a bar while sharing drinks. That’s absolutely fine, though rarely planned.  

 

While results are definitely important, planning should include broader goals. Picking a networking event is picking an experience, and even if things do not go exactly as planned, you should be able to envision what you’ll be getting from it.
These 4 pillars of networking are an introduction to higher, richer experiences. Since networking is a time and money-consuming effort, we thought it would nice to share some of our experience in the field – particularly the things we’ve learned from common mistakes. With the goal of being helpful, we’ve decided to start with the little things – for now, it’s all about budgets, plans and a bit of attitude. In the near future, however, we’ll go deeper into networking: this is supposed to be a great networking year, and we’d be thrilled to be joined by every reader out there.  

Back to basics in 2017: here’s what you need to know about lead generation

 

A common query we get from new clients is how to increase sales and revenue without embarking on traditional pay-per-click campaigns. To quote one of our heroes, not that there’s anything wrong with PPC, but there’s a world of choices other than that out there. Our regular answer, however, tends to point to a defined direction: it’s all about thinking of your brand in a holistic way. In terms of lead generation, this translates into generating interest for the brand, its products and/or services. How? Where, there’s the old-school approach (traditional advertising, mega productions, and so on) and there’s our approach.

As we have addressed before, brands can be seen as a set of multiple stories that are in constant motion and development. Following this line of thought, the main goals are to unleash the brand’s potential and to evaluate the potential for marketing that exists in everything the brand does and represents. This is where the art of generating new leads begins.

Of course, not everything that happens is news or communications-worthy, but that’s one of the reasons why marketing professionals exist. Generally speaking, the transition to a story-guided brand is a great way to start getting leads from unexpected places and audiences. The process itself varies, but often requires a few mandatory steps:

  1. Evaluation stage. We consider this phase to be of extreme relevance. First of all, brands can be very different. Some might need minor tweaks in their strategies, others whole new strategies from scratch. Some are quiet and subtle, others loud and flashy. Some are wasteful, others are precise in their resource management policy. But for every case out there, getting to the bone is a key step that will allow us to see where the brand is right know, how far can and, most importantly, how far should it go.
  1. Planning stage. A holistic approach to the brand will place it as part of one (or more) communities of people and consumers. Here’s where things start to get really interesting. When the brand places itself among a community, it means that a relationship will have to be developed and sustained. Community-oriented actions often do a tremendous job in generating new leads.
  1. Execute, explore, start over. Once you execute a plan, the show must go on. There’s always room for improvement, but no matter what, the brand must start exploring alternatives and planning new actions…it’s all about keeping the story in motion!

A resourceful professional works with whatever is at hand, and creativity can help boost a limited budget. Champions of lead generation are well aware of the potential that a lead-trained eye offers: from a kid wearing the brand’s t-shirt on YouTube to staging a surprise show or producing media stories, the range of possibilities is virtually endless – and the time to act is now.