Jony Ive: Month of Influence

As Gneo grew from an idea to an app, it gained a physical appearance that required decisions about design, functionality, and form.  During those crucial times, Gneo creators looked to the influence of Apple Senior Vice President of Designer Jony Ive. Ive’s belief that “design defines so much of our experience” and that good design reflects a company’s care for the people it creates for resonated with Gneo.

As we continue our “Month of Influence” and give credit to those individuals who made Gneo what it is today, this week is dedicated to Jony Ive.

The Man

Heralded as Steve Jobs’ “spiritual partner” at Apple, Jony Ive was influential, if not integral, in the creation of the MacBook Pro, iMac, MacBook Air, Mac mini, iPod, iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini, Apple Watch, and iOS 7. Yet before he was crafting history and channeling the direction of design at Apple, Ive was a kid from Chingford, London who liked to make things.

Ive’s father was silversmith and lecturer at Middlesex Polytechnic and his treasured yearly Christmas present was one day of time alone with him in his college workshop. It is not doubt that Ive’s belief in the relationship between design and caring stems from these collective afternoons when he says his father would simply help him “make whatever I dreamed up.”

A persistent desire to create led Ive to study industrial design at Newcastle Polytechnic and eventually to a career in product design upon graduation in 1989. Around the same time he began flirting with Apple products, finding them a welcome relief from the clunky, non-intuitive computer models of the day.

As he moved through the design world, Ive crafted products ranging from toothbrushes to microwaves. Yet his patience expired when a client rejected his bathroom designs for a toilet, bidet, and sink trio regarding them as “too costly” and “too modern.” In that moment, Ive knew that in order to do great work he needed to care greatly and work for clients he liked who possessed the same principles.

In 1992, he made the move the Apple and began to make history.

Gneo & Ive

Despite his vast accomplishments, Jony Ive is a man of great modesty and inherent simplicity, traits synonymous with his design. Ive claims that simplicity is about more than merely an absence of clutter; it is about bringing order to chaos. “Designing different things is easy,” Ive claims, “designing better things is difficult.”

As Gneo grew an appearance, this same ethos drove the self-control and simplicity in design. Everything needed to have a purpose and provide a good and valuable service to the user. Every button and position of button was agonized over and considered repeatedly. User experience and user interface were driven by stringent standards of simplicity coupled with effectiveness.

While technology can seem like the least likely place for compassion and caring, Gneo borrows from Jony Ive’s example that by designing great products we are designing a better world.

How can you create a better world through design? 

Tim Ferriss: Month of Influence

After fully ascribing to Dr. Covey’s “7 habits,” Gneo needed to put it in a framework and Tim Ferriss’s “4-hour workweek” sounded obviously appealing. While Ferriss’ time-minimalistic mantra seemed misaligned with the sleepless nights and 24-hour schedule of a nascent app startup, his ideas on mastering new skills inspired Gneo from the beginning.

As we continue celebrating our month of influence, this week goes out to you, Tim Ferriss. Thank you for the continued inspiration!

The Man

Before he began peddling his “4-Hour” magic and finding fame as an author, entrepreneur, angel investor and public speaker, Tim Ferriss was your average kid from East Hampton, New York. He attended Princeton University, first studying neuroscience and then making the not-so-obvious switch to East Asian Studies.

Post-graduation, he jumped into a career in data storage and concurrently began developing his own Internet business, BrainQUICKEN, an online nutritional supplements company. Before selling his company in 2010, Ferriss partnered with the History Channel to produce a show called “Trial by Fire” where he dared to learn a skill in a week that typically requires years of practice and perfection. He then starred in a similar concept show for HLN called the “Tim Ferriss Experiment” in 2013.

Ferriss’s diverse resume of experiences undoubtedly led to the authoring of his wildly successful book, The 4-Hour Workweek, a battle cry against a workaholic lifestyle. Although 25 publishers initially rejected the book, Ferriss’s ideas resonated universally as shown by its 1.35 million sales and presence on the New York Times bestseller list for 4 years. Since the initial release, Ferriss has scribed an updated version of the book as well as several others including The 4-Hour Body, The 4-Hour Chef, and his virally popular blog.

Tim Ferriss’s wide influence seeps into the business world as well as he serves as an angel investor and advisor to new businesses. His partnerships include now-well-known names such as Uber, Evernote, StumbleUpon, Shopify, and DailyBurn (to name only a few).

The Ideas

A look at Tim Ferriss’s life and accomplishments spur two questions: “How did he do that?” And then, “How can I do that?” Hailed as this generation’s “self-help guru,” Ferriss builds on the foundational ideas of Stephen Covey and other productivity and leadership experts to develop his own brand of advice for living expertise, with a characteristic twist of extremism.

Simply put, Ferriss promotes the idea of mastery being possible and personal limits being surmountable, if not illusory. He puts ideas to the test on himself, creating experiments where he is the human guinea pig. Ferriss begins each experiment with deconstruction, breaking down a complex practice or skill into its component parts, carefully avoiding “failure” points that could build bad habits. He next employs the Pareto principle that states that 80% of your value arises from 20% of your work, thus catalyzing personal productivity.

The next step is the most critical: timing. Ferriss believes that what you learn hinges greatly on the order in which you learn it. Don’t force yourself to learn to cook when you are under the gun to cater a dinner party. Hone skills in a “no stakes” environment for optimal mastery and growth. However after this initial learning, make sure that you put yourself in situations where you indeed have something to lose. Throw that daring dinner party and create the motivation to follow through with a daunting prospect.

Tim Ferriss & Gneo

Gneo loves Tim Ferriss’s boldness to create big goals and actually accomplish them, an ideal to which we hope all Gneo users aspire. Gneo employs Ferris’s advice of taking large goals and breaking them down into smaller, more chewable tasks. With notebooks, these goals can be differentiated in Gneo and progress can be measured through finished tasks.

Whether your goal is French cooking mastery, ancient Japanese horseback archery, or simply getting in shape through daily exercise, using the ideas of Tim Ferriss and the tool of Gneo can help you get there more effectively.

What goals will you dare to set today?

Month of Influence: Stephen Covey

While Anthony Keane is credited for the actual creation of Gneo, the many thinkers and productivity gurus who influenced him provide the real catalyst for the Gneo of today. In honor of those inspirational men and women, we are dubbing September as the “Month of Influence” and taking each week to profile and credit these integral individuals.

To kick off the month, we begin with the esteemed Stephen Covey. Although he passed away tragically in July 2012, his ideas and principles live on, especially in the Gneo community.

If Dr. Covey had a fan club, Gneo would run for president, that’s how crazy we are about him.

The Man

If you are a highly successful person whose triumphs can be traced back to seven habits, then you are likely a disciple of Stephen Covey. Renowned productivity and leadership guru, Dr. Covey’s best-selling book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” sold more than 25 million copies since it was first published in 1989.

Covey began his life in Salt Lake City, Utah. As a boy, Covey was highly athletic but a severe leg injure forced him to switch his focus from sports to academics. After graduating early from high school, Covey went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Utah, followed by an MBA at Harvard University, and finally a Doctor of Religious Education from Brigham Young University.

Following his education, Dr. Covey went on to pursue a variety of projects including the authorship of his many successful books, the establishment of FranklinCovey, the Stephen Covey Online Community, and involvement at Utah State University including teaching as well as the Stephen R. Covey Center for Leadership.

Beyond his professional work, Dr. Covey’s personal life included similarly prodigious accomplishments. He and his wife Sandra, were the proud parents of nine children and fifty-two grandchildren.

The Ideas

Stephen Covey pioneered the idea of character over personality in relation to success, presenting the idea of aligning personal values with universal principles. Principle-centered living and principle-centered leadership stand at the core of the Covey teaching, and resonate with a large audience as they transcend individual differences of politics, philosophy, religion, socioeconomic level, gender, lifestyle, and age.

Stephen Covey’s teachings stood on a foundation of three constants that he defined as “change, choice, and principles.” His most popular principles from “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” include being proactive and having personal vision, beginning with the end in mind, putting “first things first”, thinking in a win-win way that promotes the interests of others, pursuing empathy by seeking to understand before being understood, practicing creative cooperation, and finally “sharpening the saw” by living in a state of balanced renewal.


Stephen Covey & Gneo

Where to begin?! The teachings of Stephen Covey are like Gneology 101 but perhaps the strongest shared idea between Covey and Gneo is the idea of beginning with the end in mind. With Gneo, goals are the guiding principles by which tasks are either pursued or discarded. Through the assignment of “urgent” and “important” distinctions, individuals can see how their daily activities either contribute or detract from overall success.

Gneo also encourages people to establish goals that balance the personal, professional, and relational aspects of life. Professional success at the expense of personal health is only a partial triumph. Like Covey’s sharpened saw principle, Gneo espouses the idea that taking care of oneself allows for any effort to produce greater impact.

Are you a similar Covey fanatic? What are some favorite ideals that you have integrated into your life?

Sustainability: The Goal of Rest

The world record for the mile run is 3:43.13. The world record average mile for a marathon (26.2 miles) is 4:42 and the average mile for a champion ultra marathoner in a 100-mile race is 7:04.

If we compare life to running, then distance inherently influences pace. Consecutive 3:43 miles for 100 miles, or even 26.2, is unsustainable. And while a single miler can start and finish a race without a drop of water, any experienced distance runner knows that hydration and nutrition along the way spell the difference between finishing well and not finishing at all.

When the goals are more distant, the pace and plan must be altered and the success or failure of your goals hinges on how well you take care of yourself along the way.

Are you pursuing your goals sustainably? Or are you running sprint paced in a 100-mile desert course? Look at your critically and establish the following patterns:

  1. Find a rhythm and a pace: Nobody performs optimally in burnout mode so ensure that the speed and intensity you begin with can be sustained. As we always say at Gneo, doing more doesn’t mean you are really doing more. Do not confuse busyness with productivity. Part of this rhythm can develop from the simple task of taming your email. With the ubiquity of technology, it can often seem like our smart phones control us instead of the other way around. Founder, Anthony Keane, shared some great thoughts on using your email effectively several months ago.
  1. Balanced goals: Look at your current goals and make sure that professional goals are balanced with personal goals. Just like the spokes on a wheel must be equal in length for it to roll effectively, your life goals should balance one another so you do not become an extreme and unhappy version of yourself.
  1. Delegate and prioritize: Of course a Gneo favorite, assess the tasks on your to do list and ask yourself what can be left undone or even eliminated and what can be passed on to someone else. If it’s not worth your time, don’t do it. Outsource time-consuming and unimportant tasks in order to make smarter use of your time.
  1. Take a break: Whether a break for you looks like a nap or a game of pick-up basketball, insert some fun and relaxation into your day to ensure that the “must dos” of life are punctuated by effective rest. An easy break can be as simple as walking outside. Once free from the four confining walls that surround your workday you may gain a different perspective, a breath of fresh air, and perhaps even a mild sunburn that reminds you that you are alive and human.
  1. Have boundaries: Boundaries are essential. Whether between people or between yourself and the demands of your life, it is critical to develop the ability to say no and to limit how much time, energy, and emotion you are willing to give a task or a person. Be firm! Effective boundaries are those that are immovable.

 

Do you have any sustainability tips to help accomplish your goals? Let us know your #6 and have a great, and sustainable, week!

Play: The Practice of Active Rest

Anyone who has ever made a loaf of bread from scratch knows that the multi-step process consists of alternating periods of action (mixing, kneading, pounding) and rest. But that rest is the opposite of passive.

When a loaf of bread sits overnight on a counter top it is a flurry of dynamic actions with fermenting yeasts and burgeoning shape. The aspiring baker returns in the morning to find a ball of dough that has doubled or even tripled in size from the small orb left out the night before. This yeasty growth and potential developed not because of the baker’s directed action, but precisely by the absence of it.

Your brain is the same. It requires periods of this active rest to function and grow.

This month we have been talking about rest: why you need it and the beauty of the well-deserved nap. So while everyday may not be conducive for an afternoon snooze, what are other ways to gain those immutable benefits and live more restfully, even amid life’s daily chaos?

The answer: active rest and play.

Give Your Brain a Break

Human brains focus in 90 to 120 minute cycles before they need a break; a phenomenon that scientists call the ultradian rhythm. To deny this necessity and override the need with an endless, unbroken workday does not make one more productive or successful, it just causes exhaustion, fatigue, and burnout. As humans, we often regard ourselves as tireless machines, but this is simply not true.

To understand the cycle of activity and rest, psychologist Anders Ericsson studied the practice habits of top musical performers. He noticed an interesting similarity among them, as they all seemed to work with this ultradian rhythm, not against it. These prodigious violinists and pianists each practiced in the morning, practiced daily in three separate sessions, ensured that each session was less than 90 minutes, and finally took a break between each section. What can those breaks look like?

Play with Your Rest

Like naps, many believe that intentional play should be outgrown and take its rightful place on the sidelines of an abandoned childhood. But scientists are finding more and more that playing is not just advisable, but actually vital to a healthy lifestyle and relationships.

Play is evidence of a natural curiosity and desire for exploration. It can involve the spontaneous release of bodily restraint (jumping, running, dancing), the mental release to try something new, or creative interaction in an imaginative way. Regardless of type, play is like turbo booster for brain activity. It fires up cerebellum, sending increased impulses to the frontal lobe, greatly improving contextual memory and creativity.

Imaginative play also catalyzes our ability to problem solve. It’s as if years the many years of seemingly pointless Lego building are actually valuable banked experience that enable future adaptation and successful improvisation when faced with a real-life dilemmas.

Play allows release from premeditation and self-censoring, areas that jazz musicians rely on heavily. Musician and researcher Charles Limb studied these improvisational musicians and found that there was actually a shutdown in the area of the brain that controls planned actions when they were performing. This suspension of self-censoring enabled the free flow of spontaneity, flexibility, and novel ideas.

Gneo users, it’s time to harness your inner Ella Fitgerald and get busy with the active rest of playing. Let those novel ideas flow and abandon your inhibition in order to have some fun. How can you insert play into your upcoming week?

Ode to a Great Nap

Kids have it good. They are chauffeured around daily, cooked for, cleaned up after, but most enviably, they are not only allowed, but instead required, to take naps. By mandate, they enter a quiet, dark place, close their eyes, and grab some downtime before afternoon coloring, block building, and general childhood busyness. Yes, kid life is awesome.

But friends, hear this: you are never too old to outgrow the glorious mid-day sleep! Beyond pure physical refreshment, naps benefit adults in numerous ways. While it may seem like wishful justification, scientific research supports the afternoon siesta and it seems only wise to obey such wisdom.

Unequal Slumber

Not all naps are created equal, so before we break down the specifics of why these delightful little afternoon snoozes are so good for you, let’s talk about the factors contributing to a great nap.

  • Time frame: Optimal naptime (as all well-rested toddlers know) is between 1pm and 3pm. This post-lunch time of day aligns with a universal slump in energy correlated to plummeting melatonin levels. Whether you hit this napping sweet spot or not, be sure to avoid catching your zzz’s less than 3 hours before your typical bedtime and interfering with nighttime sleep patterns. Also, if you plan to make napping a consistent part of your day, be consistent in time of day and length of sleep to create a healthy routine.
  • Ambiance: Choose a nap location that is peaceful. Ideally this includes darkness, quietness free from interruptions, and a comfortable temperature.
  • Duration: The difference between an energizing nap and a nap that just leaves you groggy is duration. Aim for slumber that lasts no more than 30 minutes to avoid falling into the deep sleep with counterproductive effects. Even rapid power naps lasting only 1-2 minutes can produce residual benefits in increased energy and attention.
  • Coffee nap: For experienced nappers, it might be time to attempt sleep preceded by a stimulating beverage (counterintuitive as that may seem). Behold: the caffeine nap. Veteran coffee nappers tout the wonders of drinking a cup of coffee and then going right to sleep. Caffeine takes 10-20 minutes to really kick in and hit your system so after the prescribed 20-30 minute power nap, you will awaken to the benefits of sleep paired with the energizing benefits of caffeine. Attempt this double goodness if you dare!

 

The Upsides of Laying Down

One of the biggest hurdles to great afternoon sleep is giving yourself the permission to actually do it. All too often naps are associated with the lazy, the sick, and those under the age of 5. Yet more and more studies are hyping the benefits of sleep and encouraging all people to take a snooze.

Here are the hard facts that support your desire to nap and a few of the benefits gleaned by catching some midday shut-eye:

  • Increased alertness
  • Improved cognitive performance and memory
  • Decreased drowsiness, fatigue, and exhaustion
  • Sharper motor skills
  • Reduced likelihood of errors and accidents
  • An overall better mood and ability to adapt
  • Heightened creativity and productivity
  • Improved health through reduced stress and increased immunity

 

In the wake of such convincing evidence, the real question becomes: how can you afford not to take a daily nap?

Gneo users, make it a task, set it to repeat, and ensure that napping is an everyday part of your routine. Tell us about your favorite nap rituals and any tips you have for effective sleeping throughout the day.

What Rest Is…And What it Isn’t

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Humans need to breathe, eat, and sleep. Lack of oxygen causes suffocation in only three minutes. Absence of food results in starvation after three weeks. And only three days of no sleep produces a delirium that causes Air Force pilots to randomly crash planes.

In life, we need rhythm and we need rest.

At Gneo, we are always talking about how to do more things better, but vital to this “doing” is what you are “un-doing.” Productivity is impossible without rest. So, while 24-hours a day of available time theoretically should allow you to do more, it only takes one sleepless night to render you with the impaired abilities of a drunk driver.

What Rest Is…

Since the dawn of the industrial revolution, the market economy battle cry has grown louder, “More! Bigger! Faster!” Coupled with the seemingly unlimited potential of machinery and technology, we come to believe that we too are infinite. Yet this theory only works in an ecosystem of unlimited resources and it only takes one all-nighter and a few skipped meals to realize that we, as humans, are inherently limited.

We need rest to replenish and begin anew.

Rest is anything that enables us to live fuller, happier, more content, less frenzied, lives. While everyone rests in different ways, the end product is the same. Real rest can range from actual sleep, to spending time with family and friends, to sports or recreation, or simply sitting outside and breathing deep.

Ultimately, rest produces sustainability. A life that balances doing and not-doing allows people to begin the day with a refreshed outlook of potential opportunity, instead of seeing life as a drudgery to survive.

Rest Produces Results

Building in time to rest can sometimes feel like an excuse or a weakness, but studies show that the benefits are quite the opposite.

Well-rested minds and bodies achieve optimal performance resulting in greater productivity and creativity. Whether through increased sleeping at night, more naps, or longer vacations, rest produces results: male basketball players scored more free-throws and three-point shots; air traffic controllers had increased reaction times and better results on industry tests; and employees at a leading accounting firm scored higher on year-end performance ratings and had longer tenures at the firm itself.

Even if you are not looking for greater accuracy from the foul line, sleep cause universal advantages including: better health, less chronic and acute pain, lower risk of injury, a more satisfying sex life, improved mood, greater weight control, clearer thinking, better memory, and stronger immunity.

Isn’t it time you got some rest?

Defining Space

Rock musician Sting confronted this idea of rhythm and balance while discussing the relationship of sound and silence during a commencement speech at UC Berkeley’s College of Music. He said, “Paradoxically, I’m coming to believe in the importance of silence in music…I’m wondering whether, as musicians, the most important thing we do is merely to provide a frame for silence. …And is silence the most perfect music of all?”

Silence and sound, activity and rest, sleeping and waking, we need to engage these opposites to achieve a healthy, productive life. As you look toward the coming week, how can you create more space and rest in your life?

Gneo Listening: The Future

Gneo has come a long way from that sparky idea that Anthony just couldn’t shake. From initial inspiration to first round version, through several name changes and a few facelifts, the Gneo of today is energized to meet the evolving needs of a growing body of Gneo Gnatives.
 
Yet despite the changes, one thing has remained the same: Gneo’s commitment to enabling people to get more of the right things done.
 
Where next?
 
Gneo is going global and learning the language!
 
Productivity translates in every language and the team is hard at work to make sure that Gneo does as well. Gneo is also innovating on the initial success with iOS to expand to other new platforms and devices. Before these versions will be released, they are being fine-tuned by the perfectionistic eye of Anthony and his crew, working out core problems and polishing the design to align with Gneo’s commitment to excellence in both aesthetics and functionality.
 
What next?
 
The Gneo team knows that one thing that people really want are better repeat reminders to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. While this feature improvement has been a long time in the making, Gneo is committed to doing it right, not just doing it. Stay tuned for the updates of this integral feature.
 
While Gneo is excited to expand beyond iOS, there are also additional developments coming for iPhone and iPad users including Widgets and extensions with the upcoming release of iOS 8. Also in the pipeline is a Mac version that will expand Gneo beyond the current iOS offerings.

How next?

Gneo is a bloodhound, fixated on the scent of finding out what people want. The challenge (and fun!) of any product is staying both useful and relevant and Gneo is relying on you, our customers, to help.
 
Gneo does not exist in a vacuum, but instead in a dynamic, conversational arena that is eager for communication and feedback. Whether in-person, at conferences and industry events, or online with Twitter and other social media, the lines of communication between you and Gneo are always open. What developments do you want to see? What new integrations should be created?
 
The success of Gneo is inextricably linked to the success of it’s people. If you fail, it fails. So instead of mutually assured destruction, Gneo is perpetually dissatisfied with anything less than mutually assured victory. This mindset is ingrained in the core fiber of Gneo and you can read more on Gneo’s ‘Gneology’ here: http://blog.gneo.co/post/62127637953/gneology.
 
Listen up!

In a world where everyone is broadcasting his or her personal “station,” the Gneo team is committed to listening. They believe that humans were created with two ears and one mouth for a reason and they should be used in in that proportion.
 
The collective knowledge of all of you is so much greater than the individual and Gneo wants to capitalize on that resource. What do you love? What do you hate? What can be improved? What do you never want changed? What dreams do you have that Gneo can help you achieve? What features and tools would make that easier?
 
Don’t be a stranger. Gneo is listening.

Gneo Doing: Launching

In October 2013, the months of planning, endless details, and hopeful aspirations culminated in the actual launch of Gneo v1.0. Anthony and his team released it on the App Store with crossed fingers, confident in a great product, but still anxiously excited to present Gneo to the public with unknown reception. It hit the virtual shelves and they waited…

Gangbusters

…but not for long.
 
On launch day, Apple featured Gneo as Editors’ Choice, a recognition garnered by only 50 apps a year. The team watched as the months of hard work were met with a positive reception and felt overwhelming affirmation as Gneo closed launch weeks as one of most downloaded apps worldwide. The downloads showed that a smart productivity tool with sleek design was in high demand and the Gneo team was excited to provide a resource for people to get more of the right things done.
 
Looking back, Anthony remembers launch week was less like seven individual days and more like one continuous day, as the team navigated the overflow of tweets and emails from newly engaged customers around the clock. The all-nighter excitement was further fueled by congratulations and enthusiasm from fellow “Boosties” and mentors who believed in Gneo before it was fully born. It was truly a best-case scenario, despite the sleep deprivation.
 
Goals, the long and short of it
 
In the beginning, Gneo’s short-term goals focused on a successful launch and efficient operations, making sure everything functioned as smoothly as possible. The biggest pre-launch hiccup was working out the kinks in the Gneo and Evernote relationship. Communication and formatting presented more challenges than originally expected and had to be put on hold until after launching.
 
While most short-term goals stayed consistent, initial long-term goals morphed and modified as Gneo grew legs and started running. Long-term plans now include gaining additional functionality in Gneo iOS as well as bringing Gneo to Mac and other platforms and localizing with more languages. Gneo’s partnership with Evernote is a key component to success and Gneo aims to further streamline that relationship as well as connect to more services for an even better Gneo experience.
 
Throughout the entire process, Gneo’s highest priority has been listening to customers and addressing their pain points. Finding out what they want from Gneo allows the crafting of a better and better product, addressing real needs in the real world. Gneo also strives to provide excellent customer service that is immediately responsive and truly helpful.
 
Anthony’s advice
 
Looking back on that first week of energetic chaos, Anthony offers this simple advice to young entrepreneurs, “Make sure you can always see the big picture.” When you are intimately involved in all the details of a project it is easy to get stuck in working out the minor hiccups, forgetting that you are in charge of steering the ship. Remain constantly vigilant about the big picture direction of the company and learn how to delegate the details, building a team you can trust to manage the minutiae.
 
Overall, make sure that you are passionate about whatever you create. It is that love that will sustain you during the difficult times and it is that excitement that will attract others to your product and company.

Gneo Scheming: Planning

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The Gneo story continues…
 
Things undone
 
As you may remember, Gneo began as “What Do I Need to Do”, evolved into “Any To Do,” and at last reached evolutionary perfection as “Gneo.” The name change was strategic but that was not the only thing that required strategy when Gneo decided to launch.
 
The planning behind Gneo was like preparing for battle. While getting things done was important, the more critical decisions hinged leaving the right things undone. There was literally too much to do and too little time to do it, Anthony and his team learned how to be the right kind of procrastinators as a matter of survival.
 
Around the world, around the clock
 
To give Gneo the necessary catalyst for success, Anthony took it to the Boost Accelerator in Silicon Valley. While living in the Valley, the Gneo team could run operations stateside while still being awake to catch the end of the business day in Europe. It was literally a 24-hour cycle.
 
Although that prospect sounds grueling, the environment at Boost was tailored to be both inspiring and symbiotic. Being surrounded by like-minded entrepreneurs made the challenges a team sport as everyone worked hard together. Boost also connected Gneo to a network of experienced mentors who offered encouragement and guidance along the way. For Anthony, an avid hurler, it was like having teammates, coaches, and an arena (ahem, hurling pitch) in which to play the sport he loved.
 
Planning tools
 
Gneo operated, and continues to operate, by developing both short-term and long-term goals. Anthony runs the company by taking a 10,000-foot view and then breaks down broad goals into monthly and weekly tasks. This approach stems from his training in PMP project management in which work breakdown structures (WBS) are created for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
 
A vital tool in the pre-planning of the launch that the Gneo team still utilizes today is Evernote. It replaces email and creates a virtual office for a remotely working team. Shared notebooks allow everyone to add content, make changes, and collaborate on ideas effortlessly. Finding tools that allow you to work smarter, not harder is essential. You simply have to find ways to do all of the right things within the limited available time.
 
Advice about plans
 
When dreams turn into reality and reality turns to planning it’s easy to get lost in everything you don’t know. When asked how he overcame this, Anthony identified three things, “Determination, grit, and belief.”
 
If you too are considering jumping off the cliff in hopes of landing on a dream, surround yourself with like-minded people and be ready to ask for help. Enlisting the wisdom and experience of advisors is crucial and these savvy people are often more willing to help than you may think.
 
Be confident that you will make mistakes, everyone does. Don’t let that deter or discourage you. Many businesses crumble and die before they become the successful regeneration of their former self. Need a visual?
Yes, on the path from initial enthusiasm to ultimate sustainability are the pitfalls of growth, reality checks, and crashing ineptitude. Be prepared!