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Communications

You’ve got the perfect idea for a business, and are excited about building a product that your customers will love. You work nights and weekends, feverishly, trying to turn your dream into reality. It’s too big of a project for you to do on your own, so you start hiring employees to help you. Before you know it, you’re now spending more of your time trying to keep track of what’s going on in your company than you are building the business you love.

What if there was a way you could keep track of everything going on in your company, but only spend a few minutes each week doing it? 15Five promises to make this possible. Let’s take a look and see if this app could start making managing a growing team a simple task that won’t take anyone away from their real work.

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While working as an account executive in my previous jobs, I quickly learned that clear communication from the very first meeting is crucial to understanding a client’s needs – and now, working as a freelancer has reaffirmed that many times over. It’s not easy though – between multiple meetings, scores of emails back and forth and countless phone calls, you’re bound to miss out on certain details.

So what’s the best way to figure out exactly what a client wants – and stick to it? Ryan Scherf believes he has the answer – and he built an app to prove it. What if you could simply create a questionnaire, send it to clients, have them respond and use that as a starting point to build your project on? Osmosis lets you do just that, with ease. But is it really up to the task of solving communication breakdowns? Let’s dive in and find out.

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It’s no secret that online communities, though the technology and structure has been around for a while, are still thriving and are as popular as ever. Apps have managed to take full advantage of this and provide their own take on the message board format and one such example is Vanilla. It takes the idea back to its basics and provides its users with an incredible interface to engage in real conversations.

I originally reviewed Vanilla back in 2010 but a fair bit has changed since then and I’ll be taking a closer look at these changes. Read on to find out more!

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Running a business takes money. In most cases, you need quite a lot of it, and at times the revenues won’t be enough to keep the business afloat. Sure, you can dip into your savings or get a loan, but the ideal solution would be to bring in investors to spread the risk and unlock the value. Besides, investors can turn into mentors, offering valuable insights about running your business.

A rough sketch on a paper napkin is fine when you are trying to raise money from friends and family. To pitch to a professional investor, you will need a comprehensive business plan that doesn’t leave any detail out about the business. Enloop auto writes business plans for you. It might be a sign of the times that there’s an app fully dedicated to helping you raise funding for a startup, but if you find yourself wanting to get your great idea funded, it might be the very tool you need. Let’s put their claim to the test, and see if it’s the app that can help your startup break into the venture capital world.

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Gmail’s still one of the most productivity-focused webmail apps on the ‘net, and its strong ecosystem of 3rd party add-ons and native Labs extras let it morph into exactly the online email tool you need. One popular feature that Gmail doesn’t include is email scheduling, and there’s several tools that have cropped up to do just that. When you need an email to arrive in your colleague’s inbox at a certain time, you can schedule it and make it seem like you sent it right then.

Right Inbox is a new tool for Gmail that makes scheduling emails absolutely seamless in your Gmail experience. It integrates so nicely, in fact, that it’s hard to remember it’s not just a built in feature. Keep reading to see more about it, and why it might be the email scheduling tool you’ve been looking for.

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Everybody knows what it’s like to be the one in charge of organizing that group event. Whether it’s a party, business weekend trip, or a trip up to your favorite camping spot with a couple of buddies, it can be a pain to administrate everything and get all the details down correctly so the event goes smoothly. And if anything goes wrong, guess who everyone blames?

Various tools have been developed to try to make the process easier, but most of them are either far too complicated or not powerful enough to make organizing group events as easy as pie. Capsule attempts to find the proper balance between bloated and overly simple, to make planning group events as easy as it can be. Let’s see if it hits the mark, and can help organizing your next group event easier.

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Quick poll: Would you think of email as a productivity tool? Most of us use email all the time, from our phones and browsers and anything else imaginable, to stay on top of the loads of messages that bombard us daily. It’s a great communications tool, but hardly something that helps you stay more productive. A full screen writing too, a powerful to-do list app, a big red highlighter and a wall calendar might all count for tools that’ll boost your productivity, but email? Not hardly. It usually feels much more like a distraction.

What if email could instead be a tool that could keep you focused on what you need to do, when you need to do it? Perhaps it could bring you messages right when you want to deal with them, and let you write emails when you’re thinking about them but send them when they actually need to arrive in your colleagues’ inboxes. Maybe it could even automatically send those emails you have to send every so often, freeing up your time a bit.

That’s what Boomerang is. It’s a tool that turns Gmail into a productivity tool that makes email run on your own schedule. (more…)

From Amazon’s runaway success with the Kindle platform to Apple’s new iBooks Author tool to help writers create interactive eBooks for their iPad iBooks store, eBooks are the story of the day for digital media. If you’ve ever considered writing a book or creating a new magazine, you’ll want to find the best tools to get your content published in the best way possible.

Calaméo is a digital publishing platform that allows you to publish documents not only for viewing on the web, but also for viewing on any iOS device. They offer native viewing platforms for iPhone, iPad, and the web. The only problem is, you’ll have to stick with their platform rather than selling your creations on any eBook store. Does it have enough to make an author that committed to their platform? Let’s take a look and see.
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Many of us work with people located in different parts of the world and services like email, social networks and file sharing have offered us the ability to do so easily. Even here at AppStorm, Matthew Guay, the editor, and I live over 8,000 miles apart, but we are still able to communicate and work together productively thanks to our internet connections. There’s a range of project management and collaboration web apps around, but wouldn’t it be cool if teams could work in a shared workspace, virtually?

Enter Kohive, an online, virtual desktop for collaboration. Kohive mimics the design of a computer desktop to bring an online collaborative space for your team to work in.

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If you’ve had to get feedback on a product/service or learn about people’s needs/opinions, you’ll agree that web-based surveys are the easiest way to poll your audience – but do you get the most of your efforts? Many people ignore online surveys and a large number also rush through them in order to quickly qualify for any incentives that are offered for filling them out. Is there a way to optimize the survey exercise for marketers and researchers to get more participants and better-quality responses?

Eval.me believes it has found the answer, in people’s innate desire to do good. The app aims to help you build surveys easily and get more people to take them by offering a unique incentive – for every survey filled, the surveyor will donate US$1 to a charity selected by the respondent. The approach to getting a higher number of responses is certainly interesting, but does it really work? And how does the app stand up to the competition? Let’s build a survey or two and find out.

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