Tools I Use: Objectives and Key Results

What is an OKR?

Why use Objectives and Key Results (OKR)?

Why not just use KPIs or just keep using roadmaps?

Roadmaps are floating and fluid, but do not necessarily address objectives nor key results aside from what might get done once they start. Aside from feature building, what is the point of all this work? Welcome to the world of OKRs.

I digested the audiobook titled Radical Focus about OKRs which was a great 3.5 hour primer in the use of them in a startup.

Here are a few more resources on OKRs:

Roadmap Alternative FAQ

When Performance Is Measured By Results

Do you use OKRs? Why or why not?

Tools I Use: digital mind mapping

Ryan Holiday explains “The Notecard System: The Key For Remembering, Organizing And Using Everything You Read.”

This system may work in the physical world (I respect that if you need everything to be physical for some reason).  I see all this possible as a digital mind map to minimize duplication (it is just a link or lines drawn to the same dot), less rewriting, simpler organization that travels with you anywhere and easier categorization for those comfortable using digital tools.

I find it interesting to watch people squirm while I explain how I do this using digital tools as they still have a reluctance (resistance) in giving up their legacy methods using paper due to their own comfort zones. If they don’t want to change and get out of their own (way) comfort zone, it is their own problem to solve.

I prefer tools and information to follow me anywhere/anytime rather than going to where it is all physically located in order to review/iterate it. Especially since new ideas are fleeting, need to be captured (vs. vanish with memory) and get linked to other ideas/needs at some point.

Yes, one of the tools I use is digital mind mapping. Not on a paper, but rather fully editable ideas. I find it a good tool for forming and dissecting ideas. Before creating an outline for a book, I start with a mind map. As I continue existing projects, I mind map them.

Mind mapping helps create dots (ideas) and connect those dots (drawing lines/relations) such as:

  1. keywords/keyphrases
  2. related articles (links)
  3. related images (links to drawings, photos, infographics whether they are mine in Google Drive or from the internet)

Then, it becomes clearer to see what gaps are there and which gaps you want to fill.

Once you are comfortable with scope (self-imposed limits) of ideas you want to cover (and what you don’t want to cover), it is easier to form an outline for writing a book.

I also use mind mapping to cover who and what topics I have covered with my podcast interviews and what I want to do in the future.

Here is a list of mind mapping tools you can use (free or paid). I happen to use Mind Meister.

And that is how I use mind mapping. How do you use mind mapping?


Tools I Use: Fiverr and Upwork

When I need creative or design work done such as book covers or logos, I rely on Fiverr.

When I need technical work done such as podcast editing or copyediting, I rely on Upwork.

I have used these services for a few years now because they provide great value and great results.

The quality of the results is based on the individuals you find and task.

Both resources have a lot of talented people you can find with reviews, ratings, and skills you are looking for. I often filter to the most experienced people in their field who are very actively doing their craft really well.

The rates are very reasonable and you can even pay per task completed.

Keep in mind the remote workers need some context to complete the task you assign to them. Most will iterate the work they produce if you present feedback on what needs enhancement and how.

Most will iterate the work they produce if you provide feedback on what needs enhancement so they have some direction.

Have you tried Fiverr or Upwork?  If so, how did you like it?


Tools I Use: Text to Speech

text to speech

Previously, I wrote about dictation and transcription services I use for speech-to-text.

Now imagine getting anything on your computer read back to you.

There is a little-known tool available on most computers called text to speech.

Why do I use this little-known tool meant for accessibility? I am not illiterate nor blind, but I do use this often because my ears are available more than my eyes are.

This is the same reason I listen to audiobooks and podcasts. Ears can take constant input. Eyes are needed for many things to see around you, guide you and also read.

If I need to “read” an online article, email or document (like an ‘exciting’ contract), this will read aloud all text as-is. Your computer may have multiple voices to choose from to read this text Verbatim.

  1. Find ‘text to speech’ in your system preferences.
  2. Select a voice you want to read the text and the rate of speed for the machine to read it to you.
  3. Memorize the hot keys to hit to activate this function
  4. Select some text on your internet browser or within a document.
  5. Hit the hot keys.

It will read just about any text to you so you don’t miss it.

Yes, you can control the rate of how fast or slow you want text read to you.

I use this text to speech to do the first passes of editing and proofreading of my eBooks.

Audio is faster than typing or reading (I speak fast too). This is the same reason why I recently adopted and use an Amazon Echo Dot. I can ask Alexa any of its 15,000+ different ‘skills’ which includes continuing an audio book from Audible.

Some apps call it ‘read aloud’ feature. Adobe Acrobat has this feature to read PDFs back to you as well.

Have you tried using text to speech to save yourself time?

Tools I Use: Competitive Intelligence and Analysis

As a startup advisor, I speak to dozens of startups per month. Competitive Intelligence and Analysis is one of the biggest gaps in knowledge for many entrepreneurs. They do not understand who their competitors are, how to find them, plot them, track them and understand how they differ until it is too late (and eat their lunch in front of them).

Competition did not just go away. It should not be ignored before starting any venture or project. In fact, before I start any project I look at the competition so I can understand it, find their strategy, strengths, weakness, opportunities, and tactics.

Rather than going on a 2000 word rant like I have in the past about how I do this and why you should too, I thought I leave it up to you by simply sharing a few books which can help you research this yourself since you have to do your own homework for your projects and ventures.

While many of the books on this topic out are amazingly out of date, there are a few books about this in the modern business world: