How To Sync Google Calendars Between Domain and Non-Domain Users (iOS and Web)

Written by Michael Tauscher on . Posted in Blog, Calendar & Scheduling, Google, Workflow

Sharing calendars can be tricky business; either your team uses a shared CMS calendar (e.g. Basecamp, Salesforce, etc.) and receives notifications via email, or each member of the team maintains his/her own calendar by manually updating each event.

By using Google Calendar (and a few tricks) though, you can have an instantly accessible and real-time calendar that doesn’t require an extra log-in.

To start, determine who will need to access the calendar both now and in the future. As we discovered recently, there is no way to make a calendar readable and writable to someone outside of a specific domain. In other words, if john@example.com wants to share a calendar with john@gmail.com, he can, but john@gmail won’t be able to make any changes or even view event details.

Thus, if you’re planning on collaborating with people outside of a single domain, make sure that the creator of the calendar is not part of a domain. Using our example, we want john@gmail.com to create the calendar and then share it with john@example.com and others.

iOS Integration

If you’re an iOS user, there are just a few extra steps you’ll have to take to integrate your new team calendar with your proprietary Calendar app.

First, make sure that you’ve set up the Gmail account that the calendar is being shared with as an Exchange account. Our post about scanning business cards with your iPhone includes a photo tutorial in case you’re wondering how it’s done.

Next, using Safari navigate to http://m.google.com/sync and log into your Gmail account. You will then be prompted with a list of devices so choose the iOS device you’d like to sync. Then, under My Calendars select check box for the shared calendar you’d like to add.

Finally, open your Calendar app and press the ‘Calendars’ button in the top-left. Scroll down to the Exchange section and select the shared calendar that you chose to sync in the last step. That’s it, your shared team calendar events will now appear in your iOS calendar!

How to Scan Business Cards and Set Google Calendar Follow-up Reminders (iPhone)

Written by Michael Tauscher on . Posted in Blog, Calendar & Scheduling, Google, Productivity, Workflow

By using the ScanBizCards Lite (read: free) app available for iPhone and Android, you can easily set up automatic reminders so you never forget to follow up on newly made connections. Here we’ll present a full walkthrough for the iPhone though the same app is available for Android and thus this process can probably be completed in a very similar fashion on any Android device.

1. Adding your Gmail account as an Exchange account
(note: also see this Google tutorial for more info)

To accomplish this you’ll want to navigate to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendar > Add Account… > Exchange


Once you’re prompted to enter your account information, put your full Gmail address as both Email and Username e.g. info@financealpha.com as well your password in the password field

Next you’ll be prompted to input a server, here you’ll want to enter m.google.com


Don’t worry about the Domain field, you can leave that empty

2. Configuring your Gmail Exchange account for calendar sync

Once your Gmail account has been successfully added as an Exchange account, navigate to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendar > Fetch New Data > Advanced > Exchange (or whatever name you have for the account) > select ‘Push

Next, navigate to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendar > Default Calendar and change your default calendar to your Gmail Exchange account e.g. info@financealpha.com


3. Download the ScanBizCards Lite app (free) 

An app store search for ‘ScanBizCards’ will easily find the app, available for both iPhone and Android


4. Scan a business card using the ScanBizCards app

Open the app and select ‘Camera’ to scan using the iPhone’s built-in camera. Try to center the image and make sure that there are no shadows across the face of the business card if possible.

Once the scan is complete, you will have the option to manually fix any mistakes that the scanner might have made. Once all mistakes have been corrected, select ‘Add to Address Book’ then ‘Done’.

You will then be prompted with a number of options, select ‘Add Follow-Up Reminder’. Here you can set when and how you would like to be reminded to follow up with your new contact. When you have finished setting your reminder, select ‘Done’.

5. Calendar sync complete!

Your follow-up event will now be visible on both your iOS calendar and Gmail calendar (remember: only the calendar set as default will display the event). Changes made within either calendar will now be reflected in the other.

What killed SohoOS for me

Written by Natasha Goncharova on . Posted in Admin Tools, Blog, Calendar & Scheduling, Customer Management, Document Management, Productivity, Project Management, Sales & Marketing, Thumbs down, Workflow

In a attempt to find an “all in one” solution for startups and small businesses operations management, after seeing so much praise given to SohoOS by TechCrunch, I gave it a try. Michael outlined some of the issues with the service in his post here.

These are the issues that killed the service for me:
1) It prompted me to bring all my contacts from Gmail, which I did, and then I could not find where my contacts were nor could I find how to delete them from the system!

2) There does not appear to be a way to close an account once you open one at SohoOS. On many web-based services, the option to close your account and how to is stated almost on every page or provided in the FAQ page, so that customers feel assured they can; this is not the case with SohoOS as of 1o/2011.

3)  The service states it is is free, however once you get through a hodgepodge of interfaces ‘thrown together’ to give a perception that a user can manage projects and invoicing with SohoOS  (below you can see an interface with the missing logo and less than optimal UI for adding a task), you soon come to a screen where SohoOS wants you to pay for SMS messages supposedly to communicate with your team members, and for documents from Docstock.

At the end I felt “cheated on”. My info was inside the system with no way to take it out or delete it with no trace (no way for SohoOS to use my contacts), and no value was provided within the project management and invoicing screen. After being promised something for free, I kept bumping into screens that were asking me to pay.

Adding a task to a project:

Pay for sending SMS:

SohoOS Docs — pay to use the documents from DocStoc:

 


SohoOS: “F” is for Beta

Written by Michael Tauscher on . Posted in Admin Tools, Blog, Calendar & Scheduling, Customer Management, Document Management, Productivity, Project Management, Sales & Marketing, Thumbs down, Workflow

Roi Carthy of TechCrunch posted an article recently after speaking with Eran Manor, SohoOS’s lead designer, that ended on the high note, “The thinking here is that providing [invoicing, billing features, CRM, inventory & project management] to a sufficient depth allows SohoOS to appeal to a larger userbase. With the US, UK, and the EU constituting 54% of the userbase, this is a smart move.”

Let’s get one thing straight: Users, “growing at a rate of 30% month-over-month,” doesn’t say anything about retention, satisfaction, or the utility of the service. Amid the hype I became one of the more than 400,000 users that their front page boasts, only to find that what is presented as a product in Beta is little more than a, “reverse engineered…iPad app”, it is a “service” that lures you in and then doesn’t let you out.

According to Carthy’s article, SohoOS has discovered that small businesses:

• Don’t consider accounting software a substitute for an accountant

• Don’t see accounting as the heart and soul of their businesses’ management activities.

To the first point, it seems unlikely that small businesses feel duped for using both an accountant and software programs programs.  An accounting program allows for day-to-day entries to be recorded so that when the time comes for tax filing an accountant can easily collect the necessary information.

To the second, accounting certainly isn’t the heart of business management but it is a necessary part.

This, I believe, is where SohoOS has lost sight of their audience. Carthy even praises SohoOS for, “focusing on several services that are key to the daily management of a small business,” rather than “the conventional wisdom, of ‘do one thing and do it well’.”

My criticism for SohoOS then is twofold:

1.       The result of trying to take on so many traditionally divided tasks is a cluttered interface that seems lost between invoicing features and priced-t0-sell business document templates.

2.       The term ‘Beta’ has fallen victim to semantic satiation and companies like SohoOS are to blame. Beta used to mean an essentially finished product that leaves room for rapid user-oriented change, but now simply means ‘something we’ve put together and are still working on defining’.

If a company doesn’t have a clearly defined vision of itself, there is no way that a customer can see future potential. Perhaps my cynicism toward the ‘do everything well’ model will turn out to be the mark of a dying philosophy but until a service like SohoOS pushes companies that ‘do one thing and do it well’ aside, I won’t be investing.

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