Brent Frei's blog

Is 2015 the Year of Online Collaboration? Software in the cloud has added a number of new dimensions to the way we work. It opens up an environment of instant updates, increased sharing, and collaboration between what might have been disparate groups. This increased sharing and collaboration is a boon to all organizations. Productivity increases, silos are torn down, and teams are kept connected like never before. Of course, this online collaboration has led to the development of a number of new applications, products and services, as well as methods for continuing to improve this collaboration.
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You’ve heard the phrase more than you care to remember: “an app for that”. We’ve seen an explosion of apps over the last few years. Some incredibly useful and pragmatic, others unique and entertaining, but generally more than any of us might have anticipated. Most of us think of “apps” as those little gadgets we download to our smartphones, but it goes beyond that. The big shift to the cloud has created fertile ground for a number of larger, enterprise-wide apps that companies use for some of their essential functions - like project management and CRM.
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Precision Inefficiency

Working in the most organizationally efficient way doesn't come naturally to everyone. Why is that? Too often I ask myself why a colleague executed this or that program without considering how it could have benefited other initiatives underway. The answer to that question was lying on the hallway floor one morning... It’s just a normal 8 1/2” x 11” sheet of paper, but there is a circle, drawn in pink felt mark (of course), almost dead center in the piece of paper. The circle has been cut out, in a rather circuitous manner. The efficiency nut in me took one look at the hole in the middle of the paper and wondered why the kid had wasted the future uses.
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At the end of a full day’s work in our respective fields (farming and software), Dad and I laid our hands on the kitchen counter. It was pretty clear who’d made visible deliverables happen that day. That led me to think about how the soft, “clean hands roles” like mine visibly measure output and impact. There are so many individuals in companies who all contribute to the eventual success. How do you identify the ones who are most critical to the outcome? Instinctively, we have a good idea who the main cogs are in our organization. They’re the ones that keep the machine running. They’re the folks who are the routine ‘go to’ people to get things done.
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Last month, I was talking with Jon Ruzicka a lifelong friend from Grangeville, Idaho, who is now a public high school principal. We were trading stories in our relative fields of interest - collaborative software and primary education. Along the way, we stumbled on an opportunity to use our individual strengths to make a difference.
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