and why they matter even if you’re not a programmer.

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Do you pull the same reports every week to send to your superiors?

Do you pay an intern to enter data from one AP to another every week?

Does your organization have some custom process that you want to implement that your software doesn’t support by default?

If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, then you should care if the software your organization uses has an API.

What is an API

API stands for Application Programming Interface. Just like:

a GUI, Graphical User Interface, lets any interact with the software graphically,

an API lets any application (computer program) interact with the software programmatically. …


Six major pitfalls to avoid Customer Relationship Management hell.

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Don’t end up here

All tools-from the ancient, humble hammer to the forthcoming, sophisticated self-driving car- help us solve some real human problem. The hammer helps us drive nails to attach one piece of wood to another. The self-driving car will help us get from here to there without paying attention to the road or parking when we arrive.

Software is no different. We set up Stripe because we need to accept payments online. We use MailChimp because we need to send updates to our audience.

But what is a CRM for?

If you ask seven people at your organization, you’re likely to get seven different, murky answers intimating some vague voodoo concept like “ a single source of truth”, “knowledge transfer”, or “ an all-in-one solution “ rather than a well-defined system that clearly helps us with concrete goals such as acquiring more customers or raising money from donors. …


How to use science to test your startup ideas

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This is Part Four of my Real-Time Journal — Starting a Startup, where I document in real(ish) time our attempts to start a startup.

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After a few months of brainstorming and refining, Zach and I had an idea we thought was worth pursuing further, Audio Newsletters. Since we’ve read the Lean Startup and learned the lesson of the “just build it” methodology the hard way, we both knew that the next step was to test our idea using science.

So, with clear eyes and full hearts, we began to science. …


A better way to track destination goals in Google Analytics

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Tracking conversions in Google Analytics is often the most important reason people use Google Analytics. The default and most common way to track conversions is a Destination Goal, ie when a user reaches a page, say a thank-you page after submitting a form, Google Analytics count that as a conversion.

Unfortunately, while it is the most common, it is also is the worst way to track conversions. Sure, it’s easy and doesn’t require any technical skills, you just create the goal directly in Google Analytics like so:


The best way to vet your own ideas is to pitch them to yourself

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Photo by Product School on Unsplash

This is Part Three of my Real-Time Journal — Starting a Startup, where I document in real(ish) time our attempts to start a startup.

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After a couple of months of unsuccessful brainstorms and more successful free-wheeling discussions, Zach and I had come up with several ideas we wanted to explore further, audio-newsletters, text-message ecommence orders, and analytics for professional gamers.

At this point, each of these ideas was still vague. However, we did notice some general trends that suggested each might be promising.

Being trendy is good, but not…


How freelancers can calculate the Upwork revenue and fees for each withdrawal for easy and consistent accounting

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From an accounting perspective, your total Upwork billings should be counted as revenue in your bookkeeping system and your total Upwork fees should be counted as expenses.

While it won’t matter from a tax perspective, doing so makes your reports consistent. For example, if you have non-Upwork clients that you invoice via PayPal, the total amount invoiced is revenue and the PayPal fees are expenses. Upwork billings and fees should be treated the same way.

However, Upwork doesn’t provide freelancers much in the way of reports or integrations to make it easy to log billings and fees separately in your bookkeeping system. Because of this, I used to just count the net amount Upwork transferred to my bank account for each withdrawal as “Other Income”, without separating the total billings and fees. …


How to come up with a weird take on the world.

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This is Part Two of my Real-Time Journal — Starting a Startup, where I document in real(ish) time our attempts to start a startup.

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After our Kindle Highlights management idea, Zach and I knew what we didn’t want to. We didn’t want to start our startup without a very clear idea of what our value proposition would be to our customers.

While that’s good, it’s a very long way from having an idea for a startup.

So, after a month break for the 2018 holidays, we got back together to try and generate some ideas for our next venture. …


Creating a startup in the real world.

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Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

There’s lots of great advice out there about how to start a startup. From Naval Ravikant’s recently-started podcast, to Peter Thiel’s Zero to One, to Eric Ries’s all-time classic The Lean Startup. However, all of these resources have one thing in common, they’re written in hindsight — after their creators have already launched massively successful businesses and made tons of money. As a result, the advice (while great) lacks the messiness of actually trying to apply these strategies in the real world before you or your company achieves success.

Since my business partner, Zach, and I are trying to do exactly that, I thought it would be helpful to document in real(ish) time our attempts to start a startup so others and our future (hopefully successful, wealthy) selves can see what it’s like to do it in the real world. …


Three mistakes to avoid when starting a startup

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Starting a Startup — A Real-Time Journal

There’s lots of great advice out there about how to start a startup. From Naval Ravikant’s recently-started podcast, to Peter Thiel’s Zero to One, to Eric Ries’s all-time classic The Lean Startup. However, all of these resources have one thing in common, they’re written in hindsight — after their creators have already launched massively successful businesses and made tons of money. As a result, the advice (while great) lacks the messiness of actually trying to apply these strategies in the real world before you or your company achieves success.

Since my business partner, Zach, and I are trying to do exactly that, I thought it would be helpful to document in real(ish) time our attempts to start a startup so others and our future (hopefully successful, wealthy) selves can see what it’s like to do it in the real world. …


The best way for Google Analytics teams and consultants to filter out their own data.

The data in Google Analytics is only useful if it’s clean. And since you can’t overwrite GA’s data, you have to do everything you can to make sure that it’s clean upfront. One of the easiest ways to dirty your data is to include internal traffic from the GA implementation team or consultant. Because they will likely submit a lot of conversions, events, and pageviews while testing the implementation, they can wildly skew your results.

The standard way to filter out traffic like this is to set up an IP Address filter. …

About

Kevin McLaughlin

Coder at Slide Rule Tech. Podcast Host and Blogger at Socratic Owl. https://slideruletech.com

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