Category Archives: online tools – chart making made easy

We are visually minded. A picture says more than a thousand words. Or a chart. And because of that we have large stacks of data that we show in charts to comprehend the differences and growth.

To make a chart is actually really made simple. In a few steps you have your chart ready to publish online. If you have your data ready in an excel or CSV file you just can upload them to this online tool to create your graph.

Like they say on the website:

Datawrapper is an open source tool to enable the creation of basic, correct charts for the web. Anyone in need of a modern chart can use this tool.

Within a few steps you have your modern chart.

  1. You upload your data.
  2. Change the color scheme if you want, highlight the most important part.
  3. Tell you story within the graph
  4. Publish it into the format you want and you get your embed code to show in your content online. .

Below I made a chart of all the startups listed in Europe on as an example.

Intention economy

We leave all kind of different trails online of our live. What websites we visit. Which Facebook pages we like. Clicks on emails we get. That is a online trail we are making without noticing.
Sometimes we have such a passion for things we like. We want to express it. We want to share it with the world. We make a trail on purpore. That is exactly what Amazon is after. For them that is really interesting information.

So they bought both GoodReads and Shelfari. Book / library apps where you can show your current list of books you have read. But not only that. also can also add your wishlist of ‘want to read’.

Offtopic: I had a discussion about the best online tool to show off your offline library in a digital world. I once made the mistake of taking the wrong tool. Both owned by amazon but I had to switch from Shelfari to GoodReads app. Better alignment with the Amazon database and a greater community. Although the desktop version is not a beautiful as the Shelfari website.

Amazon did buy these tools. And it got a reason to do so. This TechCrunch article of the takeover of GoodRead sums it al up

The company also shared an interesting stat, which might have sealed the deal for Amazon:
In the last 90 days, Goodreads members have added more than four books per second to the “want to read” shelves on Goodreads.
With over 16 million users? You do the math.

It is so much more easy to convince your customers what to buy if they already indicated what they want. Surprised that and Amazon both have a wish list for you?

Which other signals are there to pick up on? So obvious as sharing our next books to read? Some other items i can think about;

  • Which countries to travel?
  • Which movies to watch?

But probably a lot more.

Sometimes marketing and sales is really easy. Just ask the consumer what he/she wants to have. These are just obvious hits for these kind of companies to chase you on.
(And this kind of data is really valuable: could be a separate business model for startups)

IFTTT: Action is reaction

That’s what my track & field coach use to say to me when I was training hard for my javelin throw. “Action is Reaction”. But quite a lot of time this law doesn’t work on the internet. There is no physical energy to preserve and indeed energy can be lost. And; more important is lost online.

There are a lot of dead ends in all corners of this mights unvisible space. Although we call it a network. It has many road blocks or other barriers where energy is leaking.

Recent developments is that we connect more and more code to each other. Just a precursor of the machine to machine age. or Internet of Things. Every node can better communicate with other nodes in the network. Much of this is done via API’s. One such company and platform that made this really really easy to use is IFTTT (IF This Than That). It connects all these different nodes to each other. So it can communicate with each other and things ‘stay alive’ just a bit longer.

If an event on a internet connected device or online platform happens it will tricker an event on another one. This goes for a lot of different things. With this blog for example I use it to post automatically to my Twitter feed whenever I put a new blog online to post the subject line with the corresponding URL. (Not a huge fan of auto posting; but this one works for me, and only on Twitter).

But many other nodes (or channels likes IFTTT calls them) can be connected. 71 channels in total. Here is my public profile. Not that special, but makes my life just a bit more convenient. And yes, Evernote becomes more central in my life. It is in many ways kind of a back up system.

The more excentric examples are that you get an sms whenever your favorite sportsteam scores a goal.  Or this one. Or your Hue Light is going to shine a bit brighter whenever it is raining outside. This very last one is added just this year and is the very first hardware device that is actually connected via IFTTT. But that will be the way to go.

The internet of things is going to be big. Really big. And you can let it already work in your advance right now! The question is: How many channels will IFTTT have in 3 years?

Pocket: reading when you can

I bump into many long articles that might be interesting during a day. On Twitter. On Zite. On Feedly. On Yammer. On LinkedIn. On Google+. and with good old email. The problem is, most of the time, you browse for something else or you just have a short timespan. So it got you trickered but you cannot coop with it right at that very moment.

The solution is here. But first a little detour. A few things count for me to judge in a few seconds if an article might be of interest;

  1. Who shared it (on which social media platform or blog)
  2. The title of the article
  3. and a few seconds of scanning the article.

That is actually weird to make a yes or no decision about a work which easily took a couple of hours to make. But at the same time. It is in this information overload age needed to be any functional online without drowning in all the data. Missing out as a solution.

Anyhow; if I have made the decision that I want to read this article later on I will send it to Pocket app. What use to be “Read it later”. It is perfect in many ways:

  • It removes all ads in the text or the surroundings. Plain text with visuals without any distractions from flashy banners or other irritating factors. (Advertisers; never choose CPM on these websites!)
  • Offline reading
  • Ready to read on any device
  • It remembers where you left of, and so you can continue reading on another device
  • Once again: It also has a channel on so you can deliver articles easy to other places on the mighty internet.

And ofcourse many other options. Point is. You bump into many articles during a day if you are online. And can now read on the devices that are mainly for consuming content. A tablet or (the bigger screen) smartphones.

Works perfect for me!

RememberTheMilk and all other to do’s

I live with RememberTheMilk (or RTM). All things I have to-do in one system. It is always with me on my smartphone, tablet and laptop. Always nearby to get my head empty for actions I think of but cannot do anything about because of the location, time or other things that can influence the action. And like I wrote before. No short paper notes everywhere or tattoo like pen writing on your hands.

There are plenty of to do list tools and programs available. It doesn’t really matter which one you choose. You have Evernote, wunderlist, WorkFlowy and many more. I somehow have a little bit of vendor lock-in because I am used to RTM the system already.

And it proved their business model because I went from free to pro. (more on that in a later blogpost). I was using it more and more and suddenly it became a factor that I wasn’t always in sync. But for those few euros I have a system that tells me what I still have to do.

My stats right now: 1068 completed, currently 114 actions. (Not all actions, I have my bucketlist on there too. But still it isn’t that large a number if I must believe David Allen)

I learned a lot by reading “Getting things done” by David Allen. (Recommanded!) I used it wrong. Quite a lot of actions on my list were actually projects. Which means I haven’t actually made the items small enough to be an action. I haven’t given enough time to actually think about all different actions. It keeps floating around in the mind if it is still on the project level.

So stupid but it makes such a difference to think just a bit longer about a project beforehand. It makes it much more easy to do the action because it is such a tiny step. Just a call. An e-mail. An order.

Highly recommended to have such a system installed! Have you got such a system?

Rapportive – personal social crm

Every time I send an email via Gmail on my laptop I’ve got extra information about the person I’m sending this email to. Really easy to see a picture, check on function, current employer / business and on which social platforms this person is. Indeed something  like a personal social crm.

Only available if you have gmail, chrome and on a pc/laptop. A lot of if’s. I know. But Rapportive gives you extra information about the one you send your email to. Somehow email missed out the part were you can add a picture to be more personal. This tool is perfect to better recognize in real life (scary I know ;)) the one you already talked to online.

You can see below what happens if I add an emailadress into the ‘send to’ box. On the right side the Google adds will disappear. Instead you get a picture and more information about the one on ‘the other side of the line’.

Rap capt

Extra plus: less chance to e-mail the wrong “Peter” with all your secrets.

Online storage & Murphy’s law

I want to be device independent and don’t want to wear any hardware on me for any data. Yeah, the cloud. Such a lovely place. It is the place for me fo:

  • Email (duh)
  • Upload my pictures immediately when I go into a wifi connection with Dropbox.
  • Address book in (still searching for what once could do, my personal social CRM)
  • All my notes i write in Evernote (changed it from Google Drive – much easier to connect with f.e. IFTTT, easy to search and )
  • All my documents in Dropbox. All Sync on
  • To do list / actionlist with rememberthemilk
  • My music playlist is on Spotify- access all the time.

And that has an impact on:

Paper is gone.

Search is really important. Everything can be archieved.

Place is irrelevant. Place is not important anymore; no matter where you are. You can do what you want to do with an computer, machine, smartphone or whatever.
(That’s what i also like the cleanness of a Chromebook. in 10 seconds it is in full working mode. almost no local storage, all online) 

Internet must be perfect.

And because of that we can be really efficient, but at the same time Murphy’s Law will be more likely because we assume to be so efficient.

Forget Google Form, forget SurveyMonkey. Go with TypeForm.

Asking for feedback is the best you can do. And speaking for myself: done too little. A way to do it is with quality sessions and talk for hours what can be done better. Or just ask if the customer wants to promote the service or product afterwards. There is a whole research market in between.

Anyway. Not a discussion I want to go into. Because I am just not knowledgeable enough in that exact field. But todat we received feedback in a beautiful designed online tool: TypeForm

Typeform awesome

Today I sent out a survey to get feedback for our event we hosted. We always used to do this with Google form. That is functional. Really functional. And really ugly. But it worked. Today it was a pleasure to work with TypeForm. Still in beta, so chances are something goes wrong. But it is easy in every way. And looks really good!

It takes you step by step through the proces and finally you end up with a survey that looks good. WIthout any line of code involved.

  • Building up your poll or form or survey or questionnaire is really easy. drag & drop. Design and layout can be easily configured.
  • Sending out your survey is easy
  • To answer your survey is lovely. Can all be done with your keyboard and on every device.
  • Beautiful analytics for conversion and time to fill in the questionnaire
  • Lovely dashboard and possibilities to work with your results and data.

If you want to do a quick survey online, forget Google Form, forget SurveyMonkey. Go with TypeForm. Surveys can be fun.

Eventbrite: The online admin tool for organizing your offline event

Organizing an event can be is a real hassle. Even with offline events online can be of great assistance. We used the tool Eventbrite, a booming startup, to handle all things digital for our event.

It is the place to;

* Lead your traffic to (or embed their code in your spot on the internet) with all essential information about your event.
* Arrange your payments (the take a fee offcourse, that’s their business model)
* Keep track of your conversion in every stage, from traffic on site, to ticket sold/registered to check-in and no shows.
* Communicate with your attendees via this platform.
* Check in all attendees at the event itself via their eventbrite entry app. Which you can have access to with multiple accounts to the same event.
* Extract (via excel, csv) all information via the forms into your CRM or database.

Makes life just a bit easier, organizing an event is still a hassle :-) 

Presentain: Interaction during your presentation (and after)

There is a new tool to make presentations more than just a story to doze off and looking at your smartphone. You are still looking at your smartphone but now it becomes part of the presentation. How cool is that!?

Today we had our social business event #change for our customers and partners. To change our way of presenting we used the tool Presentain. The product is still in beta but the guys behind this startup were really helpful. And had such a high standard of service. Damn! Responding times were very fast and flexible to help us out.

What is does? Is gives you the option to directly interact with the audience due to input that the audience can give via their smartphone or tablet.

1. So you can have a poll in which the results immediately shown on the big screen which even move with every extra vote is gets. This is perfect material to react upon during the presentations on how the audience thinks about certain topics.

2. It lets you interact with the host and so you can ask extra questions to the presentor.

3. The presentor uses the smartphone as a remote; which is something you have to get used to. But gives you also information about the current slide, the next slide and how long your presentation is already been running.

4. Afterwards the audience can leave their email addresses so you can do follow up (sales / marketing) activities.

5. You can choose to upload your presentation directly online including the audio (which has been recording via your smartphone).

This is still beta. Not everything is publicly available yet. It has some work arounds to get things working smoothly. But the reactions from the audience were very good!

I am very happy we took the chance and tried something new today. And with a lot more features coming up i guess this will get big. I hope this will change the way presentations will be held to have more interaction and feeling with the people you speak to.