AwayFind Launches, Brings New Solutions for Email Freedom

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Picture 4.pngSometime late last year, I caught wind of an email productivity tool that was in development. That product, AwayFind promised to help people stop checking email.

Since then, I’ve gotten to know the founder and CEO, Jared Goralnick who has been approaching the product with a very head down, listening approach. I have used AwayFind for some months now, providing feedback and soliciting advice from Jared on the best ways to use the tool.

Yesterday, they launched with big coverage from LifeHacker.

The idea behind AwayFind is simple. Check email when you can (this is a behavioral modification that AwayFind doesn’t tackle, but many GTD-style discipline/productivity systems do. While it is well and good to only check email twice a day, there is always that urgent one that needs attention right now. AwayFind provides a mechanism for senders to get urgent email through to you via an SMS notification.

I’m proud of Jared for his tenacity and vision for this product. I’ve certainly seen it go from a loose idea to a reality. Congratulations to him and his team for launching, but also doing it completely bootstrapped. Save your valuation, keep your company.

Even During a Recession, Small Businesses Still Should Consider Macbooks

I was talking to someone recently who just took a new job at a small web-company. She has been a Windows user all her life but she asked me what she should get in her new job. They were buying her a new computer.

Naturally, I suggested the new Macbook that Apple announced yesterday. The same thing occurred when my dad took a new job with a non-profit and considered getting a Mac, but it was nixed due to concerns over business application and utility.

To be clear, there is no better time to look at Apple laptops than now because the total cost of ownership is usually lower given that in most business environments, the selling point is Microsoft Office and Exchange/Active Directory integration.

Most purchasing managers will get caught in the trap of looking at the higher price tag for the hardware and assume that means that the TCO is higher as well. Let’s break it down though:

Dell Vostro 2510 Apple Macbook 2.0Ghz
Initial Pricepoint $899 $1299
CPU Equivalency Upgrade (2.0 Ghz) $75 $0
Office Software MS Office Pro 2007 – $320 iWork ’08 -$79
Extended Warranty ProSupport (3y) – $268 AppleCare (3y) – $249
PDF Creation Adobe Acrobat – $449 Built in Support – $0
Total Cost of Ownership $2011 $1627

Five Hundred Dollars in difference for the average small business. Not everyone needs Adobe Acrobat, but a lot do! Some companies are inclined to buy MS Office for Mac, but it sucks and iWork has almost universal compatibility. Mail.app has Exchange capability, or the Exchange server can turn on IMAP functionality to make mail clients other than Outlook work better across the board.

If IT purchasing managers take a step back and look at the reality of the purchasing, a hard look at Apple products is a strong move to tighten those belts.

Weekend Productivity Tip: TripIt Calendar Feeds

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I just posted my August travel over on my personal blog. If your schedule lines up, give me a shout and let’s get together and talk about WordPress, or tech world gossip, Lijit, or Technosailor.com, or anything. Doesn’t matter. I like meeting people.

But as I’m coming in to land on this Friday, I thought I’d leave you with a productivity trip. If you don’t use Tripit and travel a lot, as I do, then shame on you. Start using it. You won’t be sorry.

If you keep all your travel arrangements in Tripit, you can of course use it from the web or mobile device like a Blackberry or Treo, but you can also pull all your travel arrangements directly into iCal, Google Calendar, Outlook or any calendar you use that supports the ICS data format (almost all do).

Here’s a look at what my calendar looks like for August as I’ve subscribed to my Tripit Calendar.

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Have a great weekend.

Bonus Productivity Tip in regards to Tripit: Using Tripit is as simple as forwarding confirmation emails to plans@tripit.com. Really. That’s it. 99% of the time, Tripit can parse those confirmation emails and plot your entire trip for you.