After getting back from the lull of the summer it was time for us, and I'm sure other companies, to change up some processes and get organized. We've got an eye on startup tools coming out of the region, like Pipedrive for Sales, Flowdock for team collaboration, or any number of time tracking apps, but what tools are the most efficient companies in the region using to measure and stay focused?
We reached out with a pretty open-ended question, and we're grateful for these CEOs to take the time to let us know how they work. As a disclaimer, I've put in referral links for Dropbox and Slack because ArcticStartup could use a little discount, but feel free to google these companies if you feel that's unethical.
Are there any other tools out there your team has found useful? Have you built anything custom you're really proud of? Let us know in the comments.
Carl Waldekranz - CEO of Tictail
For data tracking we use Mixpanel to build funnels and monitor retention but RJ Metrics to query our database and follow our main KPI's in realtime. With an abundance of tools to track, analyse, visualise, break down and share progress for your startup I think we've reached a point where the important thing is to decide which 2 or 3 tools will be key to your business metrics and stop there. There's been many times in Tictail's history when we've tracked behaviour across different sets of tools only to learn that they give us different signals and while both may be different versions of the truth you need to agree internally which data to follow and where. Otherwise teams will act on conflicting assumptions.
For communications we're heavy HipChat users but are now switching over to Slack cause of the threaded conversations which simplify feedback, especially for design. I'm pretty addicted to Streak to keep my inbox in order and to remember follow-ups and track VC relationships and recruitment.
Finally GitHub is a huge part of Tictail. Apart from delivering deployments it's where we store all information about everything - it's the memory bank of Tictail. We run our company by OKR's (which I would recommend that you do to), on our Github wiki every team member can see what everyone else are working on as well as update their own status.
Markus Pasula - CEO of Grand Cru
Flowdock [team communication]
We're currently pretty happy with most of it. For agile project management we might do some more experimentation with more powerful tools. Trello is super fun, because it's so easy. Supernauts has lots of custom build stuff.
Google Apps, Flowdock, Expensify are all something we are really happy about and they work well. Tho with communication tools like Flowdock, email, skype, etc. the tool itself is not enough, you actually need to make sure that people dont use it the wrong way which can become very unproductive
Jüri Kaljundi - CEO of Weekdone
Shortly it's mostly Skype-Weekdone-GoogleDocs-Dropbox for main things, very little e-mail, Snapengage for customer web chat and Join.me for screen sharing and demos, GoogleAnalytics and MonitorBacklinks for analytics, Pipedrive for CRM.
I remember I also wrote one post loosely related to remote workers tools.
Kaljundi mentioned he's a big fan of Google Docs instead of productivity tools, so I asked him why
At various points in life with Weekdone and other teams where we have had 3-5 people involved, we have tried various project and task management tools, but have always fallen back to use Google Docs after a few months. It's just so much more flexible and easier, until the data sets don't get larger. What we mainly like about flat files and spreadsheets is the one sheet view - it is so much easier to get to any information and add something new. Productivity tools might want you to fill in a form with tens of fields and open sup-pages and windows. In docs and spreadsheets, it takes a fraction of seconds to navigate to the right place and add or modify something. No need to Add, Edit, Move or Delete - you just do it in-line.
Had a quick look at our "Weekdone product roadmap and todo items" spreadsheet now. 213 lines in a 9-column spreadsheet. All filtered and ordered by columns as needed. Loving it.
As for the biggest part that we've built ourselves are tens and tens of analytics tables and views on top of the back-end of Weekdone. We track everything: new sign-ups, their sources, activity levels. 30+ reports as I looked right now. Our main daily statistics dashboard has 22 daily metrics, also multiplied to weeks and months. It takes me one second to say the number of new Android sign-ups, new customer objectives or stream messages posted on any day, week or month. Not sure, but again much easier to look at than a special analytics app (although we do use Google Analytics as well).
Our main integration is to push everything from our use database to Pipedrive, so based on the activity stats we always know who are the promising new sign-ups to talk to daily.