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We're Streamtime, makers of project management software for the creative industry. We love design as much as you do and know that productivity and creativity aren't mutually exclusive.

New in Streamtime Web: Collaboration, Create & Send Quotes Online, and Job Timers

Our latest Streamtime Web release includes some great new features that you’re going to love – most notably the ability to create and send quotes to your clients online and collaborate on quotes with your clients and your team.

Create and Send quotes online

Streamtime Web now gives you the ability to create, edit, and send quotes quickly and easily, and give your clients the power to click and accept your quotes instantly, all securely in a web browser.

When you send a quote in Streamtime Web, your client will receive an email with a link to view their quote online. They can add comments, and accept or decline the quote. When they do, you’ll get an instant email notification and can action the quote.

We’ve also added a small detail that we think will make your life easier: When you’re creating a quote for a new client or prospect, you can add that client when creating the quote – no need to create the client first.

Collaborate with your clients and your team

Today we release the first of a series of features that will be web only: collaboration on quotes – the ability to comment both privately within your own team and if you choose to, with your clients. These two-way comments will be visible inside Streamtime Web and client managers will also receive email notifications of comments as they are added by clients. For now, notifications only occur between the Client Manager and the client. Your team can comment on the quote, and we’ll be building in team notifications in the next release.

Start timers on tasks

Also new today is an update to our already successful online time entry tool: the ability to start a timer on tasks. So now in addition to seeing your assigned tasks and adding time against them, you can start a timer on those tasks, or on any new task you choose.

If they aren’t already, these new features will be winging their way to your browser very soon.

If you’re already a Streamtime subscriber and don’t have Streamtime Web, our Streamtime knowledge base has all the information you need to set this up, or alternatively give our support team a call for assistance, we’d love to help get this in your hands.

Highlights of the Australian Design Biennale Creative Forum 2014

Streamtime loves creatives and their work. In line with that statement, we try to show the love to the talented individuals within the creative industry and the little island at the bottom of Australia was packed to the brim with very special talent for the 2014 Australian Design Biennale in Hobart on November 13 – 16.

Streamtime partnered with AGDA, the Australian Graphic Design Association, as a sponsor of this biannual event, sponsoring the Design Crafts category at the AGDA Awards. Streamtime Community Manager, Kye Hush and I attended the three day event which included an exclusive after dark visit to MONA, the D20 Creative Forum and the AGDA Awards themselves.

Danielle (left) & Kye on their way to MONA

The highlight for me was the D20 Creative Forum, the theme of which was ‘Crossing the Line’. Curated by MONA and hosted by Emily Sexton, previously of Next Wave Festival, this forum really resonated with me.

When deciding who to work with, the possible confrontational nature of your work, when to back down and apologise or when to stand up for your beliefs because they align with your values, are questions that every creative must face.

Some highlights from the forum included:

• A panel on Change and Resistance where MONA’s Leigh Carmichael asked “are you a lone nut or a first follower?” To illustrate his point he showed an entertaining video of a guy dancing on his own at a music festival. His belief was that while it’s risky to be the lone nut, it’s riskier to be the first follower.

• Former Greens Leader and Senator Bob Brown, gave an inspiring keynote where he said ”we’ve got to be risk takers, this planet is at stake and it requires thoughtful people to take risks.”

Bob Brown photograph by Remi Chauvin, MONA

• The Activism Incorporated panel was particularly interesting as it posed the question ’When does aligning your brand with a cause ask you to cross the line?’

L-R Juliana Engberg, Marcus Westbury, Casey Jenkins, Elizabeth Pearce and Emily Sexton.

Speaker Elizabeth Pearce, Senior Writer for MONA, is fortunate to work for the incredible, yet elusive David Walsh who encourages crossing the line daily. Yet there was a time when David removed a piece of art at MONA that controversially invited DNA testing for Aboriginality. After consulting Aboriginal Elders he felt the line had been crossed and that it was disrespecting Tasmanian Aboriginals and their heritage.

Casey Jenkins, founder of Craft Cartel and best known for her artwork Casting Off My Womb, saw her artwork and intent questioned by the masses when SBS’s The Feed did an online segment called Vaginal Knitting. Viewed by over five million people, many of whom reacted and commented with disgust, Casey asked herself whether she crossed the line. Her conclusion was no she didn’t as she’d created the piece with the intent on casting off the social taboo about menstruation and the word vagina.

Marcus Westbury, Founder of Renew Newcastle and Renew Australia, still questions whether they are crossing the line in their work of taking unused properties in Australia and working with the owners to negotiate making the space available to creatives.  Working with good intentions and working with those who may not always have the best of intentions is something that they still struggle with.

Working as the Artistic Director at ACCA, The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Juliana Engberg, is always encouraging others to cross the line, but only for the right reasons, not for ‘shock value’. When artist Mikala Dwyer, wanted to lift the social shame behind defecating by doing it in public at the opening of her Goldene Bend’er exhibition at ACCA earlier this year, the ACCA agreed.

Juliana Engberg photograph by Remi Chauvin, MONA

At this year’s Biennale of Sydney, Ms. Engberg as Artistic Director and the exhibiting artists were at the forefront of controversy as Founding Partner, Transfield Holdings were discovered to have links to offshore detention centres through its parent company. The outcome, after ten artists withdrew from the event, was to cut ties with Transfield.

Rarely is there an industry where you can push the boundaries of society, normality and human and consumer perception on a daily basis in your work. Being creative, whether it’s working in a conventional agency, working for yourself, as an artist, for a museum, (the list goes on), you are given this chance. I’m sure this is one of the reasons people pursue a life in the creative industry.

We left the Creative Forum with minds churning, wanting more.

Bring on 2016.

AGDA DESIGN AWARDS 2014

It was big night in Hobart on Saturday 15th November as the winners of the 2014 AGDA awards were announced at a dinner in Peppermint Bay. The awards were the perfect end to the three day extravaganza that was the Australian Design Biennale.

This year we were sponsors of the Design Crafts category and we were delighted to hand out Distinctions to Studio Round, Alt Group, Re, Klim Type Foundry and M&C Saatchi. We were also lucky enough to hand out Pinnacles to Hoyne Design and Christopher Doyle & Co.

In total 67 Distinctions and five Pinnacles were awarded with Alt Group taking out eight Distinctions across five categories. Pinnacle winners were Garbett in the category Graphic Design: Posters for their Mandela PosterChristopher Doyle & Co in Design Crafts: Writing for Design for their Natasha Cantwell IdentityHoyne Design in Design Crafts: Photography for Design for Dinosaur DesignsRe in Graphic Design: Stationery for Steve Li Acupuncture and Reactive, Sydney in Digital Design: Technological Innovation for The Most Powerful Arm Ever Invented.

These awards showcase an immense amount of creative talent and we were proud to support that talent and be part of this great event.

To see a full list of winners and finalists check out the ADB website.

Photograph courtesy of Foundry.

Tips & Tricks: How to search by a date range

To search by a date range you can use the following formats in Streamtime:

• */MM

Will search for all records created in a month.

e.g */11 will search for all records created in November.

• */*

Will search for all records created this year.

• DD/MM/YYYY..DD/MM/YYYY

Will search for records created within that date range.

e.g 01/01/2014..31/03/2014 will search for all records created between the 1st January, 2014 and 31st March, 2014.

Note: searching by a date range will only work in date fields. These can be found in Contacts, Correspondence, Quotes, Order, Jobs, Time & Materials and Invoicing.

Last Streamtime webinars of the year

We are sneaking in three short webinars between now and the Christmas break.

Join us to learn new skills, top up your current knowledge or confirm your current processes are best practice.

These sessions will run for 30 minutes each Wednesday afternoon from our London office (GMT) and best of all they’re free!

Contacts & CRM
In this webinar we’ll cover the contacts area in Streamtime. We will show you how to create new companies and people, manage contacts and track business opportunities.

Wednesday 26 November 3pm (GMT). 30 minutes

Quoting
In this webinar we’ll show you how to create client quotes.

Wednesday 3 December 3pm (GMT). 30 minutes

Jobs and Tasks
In this webinar we’ll cover creating and managing jobs, creating tasks and tracking time and materials.

Wednesday 10 December 3pm (GMT). 30 minutes

We hope you can join us at one of these sessions but if you can’t, remember you can always book some training. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to schedule a time.

If you missed our webinars from earlier this year you can catch up on our website.

Tips & Tricks: Quickly find overdue invoices

When in a list of invoices clicking on the Invoicing tab in the FileMaker menu will allow you to easily filter the invoice list.

The options include: show last export batch, show overdue invoices and show partly paid invoices.

This menu is a great way to quickly filter your invoice list so you can easily see who you need to chase for payment.

 

 

Tips & Tricks: Analysing client manager performance

A great way for analysing client manager performance, is to run the Client Manager Performance report.

The report shows the value of time captured on a job and how much of that time has been invoiced.


See our knowledge base for more details on the Client Manager Performance report.

Tips & Tricks: Invoicing in instalments

In Streamtime you can create multiple invoices on one job, allowing you to part bill or send instalment invoices to your clients.

All invoices for the job are listed in the Related Invoices tab, and selecting View displays the details of each invoice.

See our knowledge base for more information on how to part bill or invoice in instalments.

Netflix outdoor ad campaign using animated gifs

 

Ogilvy Paris take it old school by using animated gifs for Netflix’s launch into France.

Tips & Tricks: Accessing Streamtime remotely

Following on from this week’s webinar topic we thought this week’s tip should also be about remote access.

If you want to add time, manage tasks and manage contacts from anywhere you can use Streamtime Web. If you’re new to Streamtime, check out the demo of Streamtime Web here. If you’re already a Streamtime subscriber, our Streamtime knowledge base has all the information you need to set this up.

If you wish to have access to your full Streamtime database we have a comprehensive knowledge base article that covers options for accessing Streamtime remotely.

Finally one of our favourite ways of accessing Streamtime from an iPad is using Parallels Access. Our Training Ace, David Hemming loves it so much, he felt compelled to write a post about it on our blog earlier this year. See our blog for more information about how Parallels Access can work for you.

If you have any questions at all about any of the above, then please contact our support team for assistance.

Photo by woodleywonderworks and used under Creative Commons license.

Tips & Tricks: Inactive contacts

Do you have a list of old contacts in your database that you don’t want to delete ‘just in case’?

For these contacts change the contact type to inactive, that way when you create quotes and jobs, the drop down list will only return active contacts, making selecting a contact easier and faster.

Is Streamtime compatible with OSX 10.10 Yosemite?

If you’re a Streamtime user and thinking about updating to Mac OSX Yosemite operating system, we recommend the following:

• Server Machine – do not update. FileMaker specifically advise that at this stage FileMaker Server is not compatible with this operating system.

• Client Machines – our testing to date shows that Streamtime will indeed run as expected in the Yosemite environment. We will update our knowledge base if any issues become clear.

Remember: early adopters of any software, particularly operating systems must be prepared to face unforeseen issues. We will do our best to help with those issues, however resolution times may be reliant on updates to be released from Apple or FileMaker themselves.

Please contact our support team should you have further questions.

Tips & Tricks: Save and add another

Save & Add Another

When you’re creating a company contact in Streamtime Web you can select ‘Save & Add Another’ to quickly add more than one person to a company. Great if you’re out meeting a bunch of new clients and need a quick way to get all their details into Streamtime in one go.

5 reasons why entering awards is good for business

Streamtime developer Pius Jeon accepting an award for our Streamtime Web app.

As a company, we’ve had the pleasure of winning many industry awards over the years. Yes the entry process is often time consuming and at times costly, however we’ve found there are also many benefits to entering awards.

1. Great marketing opportunity
Being shortlisted for an award is great PR. Even if you don’t win, it’s an opportunity to promote yourself to new customers, find new supply channels and break into untapped markets.

2. Up your credibility
Winning, being shortlisted or even just being nominated for a business award is a sure sign you’re doing something right, and since it’s a third party that is endorsing you, that also ups your credibility. If you’re lucky enough to win, it is a great way to differentiate yourself from your competitors, and it can become that all important advantage in a pitch.

3. Differentiating your offer
When filling in the application form, you’re presented with an opportunity to reflect on your business offer. It can raise questions like:  What do you do well? What could you be doing better? How do you talk about yourself? What evidence is there for your selling propositions? Focusing on these questions (and others) can help you better articulate your offer and differentiate yourself from the competition.

4. Better client relations
There are few better ways to show that you believe in the work that you do, than entering work on behalf of a client. Clients love to boast about award nominations and if you get to the finals, it’s also a great chance to show them some extra love and take them along for the ride. It’s also a great reminder on how well you work together.

5. Motivating your employees
Awards are a great way of recognising your employee’s hard work and achievements, which can really boost morale. Increased employee moral can also help you attract the right sort of talent to your business. Taking staff to these events is not only a great team night out, but it is also a great chance for them to network, which in itself is promoting your business’ greatest asset.

In fact, all of these and more are reasons why we believe in award ceremonies, and why we’re sponsoring the Wirehive100awards on October 16th and the AGDA Design Awards on November 15th.

Tips & Tricks: Creating a quote with subtotals

Want to create a quote with subtotals? Streamtime allows you to do this really easily.

For full details on how to create a quote with subtotals check out see our knowledge base article.

The drinks are on us

Recently we asked our clients to take part in a survey. As an incentive, we said we’d send out some beers to one lucky client.

We had so many responses with fantastic feedback, we couldn’t pick just one winner. So Big River Creative, Red Dog and Volta you’ll be receiving some drinks on us.

We’d like to thank all our clients who took part in the survey, your feedback helps us to continually improve our product.

Photo by Quinn Dombrowski and used under Creative Commons license.

We’re back with a new webinar series


We’re back with another series of webinars aimed to help you get the most out of Streamtime.

These sessions will run for 20-30 minutes each Tuesday morning from our Sydney office (AEDT), and will be repeated on Wednesday afternoons to allow for busy work schedules and different time zones.

Best of all, these sessions are free! So what are you waiting for? Register today!

Managing Contacts with Streamtime Web
We’ll show you how to create and manage your Streamtime contacts in a web browser.

Tuesday 7 October 11am (AEDT). 20 minutes
Repeated: Wednesday 8 October (AEDT). 20 minutes

Time Entry with Streamtime Web
We’ll show you how to enter time and manage your tasks in a web browser.

Tuesday 14 October 11am (AEDT). 20 minutes
Repeated: Wednesday 15 October (AEDT). 20 minutes

Optimising your Streamtime system
We’ll show you some tips on how to improve the performance of your Streamtime system.

Tuesday 21 October 11am (AEDT). 20 minutes
Repeated: Wednesday 22 October (AEDT). 20 minutes

Accessing your Streamtime system remotely
We’ll show you the different ways you can access your Streamtime system including direct connection, hosted and third party remote access options.

Tuesday 28 October 11am (AEDT). 30 minutes
Repeated: Wednesday 29 October (AEDT). 30 minutes

We hope you can join us.

Tips & Tricks: Managing your client quotes

When a quote is accepted by a client it is best practice to change the status of that quote to indicate that it has been accepted. This will differentiate it from the quotes that are still with the client, or in progress.

When you change the quote status, at the same time you can either uncheck the active status box or lock the quote, this will keep the status of the quote, but it will remove it from your active quote list.

So when you click the My Active or All Active buttons within the quote list you can easily go about managing the quotes that still need to be worked on or chased up.

 

3 reasons why you should embrace co-design and collaboration

The London Design Festival held last week had lots of interesting talks and exhibitions going on all around the city. One of the panels I attended was Co-Design and Collaboration, the panelists brought great insight on the subject, and its influence, all from very different perspectives.

But what is co-design and collaboration? While there’s no official definition in the dictionary, it is essentially the concept of sharing the design idea, creation and process and collaborating with others to obtain greater results.

If you’ve always wondered about the impact a co-designed environment can have then these interesting findings may interest you:

1. Speed

Unilever did some great research into Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor and initially spent nine months trying to find ways to solve this issue. When they joined forces with a collaborative consultancy they hit the ground running and found a solution in less than a month! The power of an inspired community in this case, allowed for great concepts to be brought to the table and a much faster resolution.

2. Deeper consumer engagement

Understanding your audience will always allow you to build a better product. The “affinity pyramid” described by Cecilia Weckström from Lego is a useful technique to better understand your user base and draw deeper consumer engagement.

Cecilia said that the user level at the top of the pyramid is the most engaged of all users. These are the ones that would share their thoughts with the community and are extremely knowlegable about the product.

However looking at the base level users they found great insights too. As an example, they would ask kids to draw something. Instead of analysing the drawing itself, they would ask them why they came up with their ideas, thereby drilling further into the core insights of the product. Smart huh?

3. Increased Profitability

Another great example of a co-designed environment resulting in a greater product experience was provided by Nathan Waterhouse at OpenIDEO when he spoke about the Global Airline app.

This app was designed to understand passengers needs, improve service onboard and get quick feedback from staff about new initiatives being tested.

A total of 6000 staff members were engaged in the app and the results were surprising at times. For example, they asked cabin crew for input on meal selection. The results increased customer satisfaction with meal choices by 7%. Other benefits were an increase in staff satisfaction, as a result of working in an environment where they felt their voices were being heard. There was also an overall increase in profitability due to the reduced waste of food.

There is a lot of food for thought (no pun intended) on how to make changes to your business to enable a co-designed and collaborative space and even to change attitudes. I hope this inspiring way of working has sparked ideas that you might be able to apply and benefit from in your own companies.

Tips & Tricks: My active jobs

To easily see the list of jobs you are working on, go to the job list view and click the ‘My Active’ button.

The ‘My Active’ button will look at all jobs with an active status, where you are the owner.

 

Tips & Tricks: Best practice for closing a job

Once you’ve sent the final invoice for a job, it is best practice to close the job so it no longer appears in your active or work in progress list.

The easiest way to do this is to lock the job once you have sent the last invoice.

When you print, save a PDF or email a PDF of an invoice, Streamtime asks you if you want to lock the invoice or the job.

Selecting Lock Job has several benefits. First, Streamtime will check the job to see if there are any uncompleted tasks and give you the option to complete them.

Second, by locking the job, Streamtime will change the job status to invoiced and remove it from your active jobs list.

Finally, by locking the job you’re ensuring no one can make changes to the job unless they have administration rights.

Tips & Tricks: Using projects in Streamtime

A project in Streamtime is essentially a grouping function that allows you to group a series of jobs and/or quotes together for reporting purposes. This is done via a project number, and this number gets assigned to any jobs or quotes that you wish to be part of the overall project.

A project number is commonly used to group a series of jobs that might be part of a bigger project, or even a series of jobs that might be part of a monthly retainer.

See our knowledge base for more information on creating projects in Streamtime.

More profit for creatives

To be a profitable creative business you need to have systems in place that will help you gain more control over your projects.

Streamtime, Xero and The Wow Company will solve all your project management, invoicing and accounting needs. Together we’re the perfect combination to make your creative business more profitable.

But don’t take our word for it, see what Beyond Design had to say:

As a bonus, if you are already a Streamtime customer in the UK, The Wow Company will pay for your Xero subscription for 12 months. For more information on this great deal call Wow on 0845 201 1580.

Streamtime, Xero and The Wow Company are the ultimate team for your creative business.

Font Men – Hoefler & Frere-Jones before the split

A lovely little short film featuring Jonathan Hoefler & Tobias Frere-Jones before the big split.

Talking money with clients, why is it so hard?

At CreativeMornings Sydney last week, Jason Little gave an inspiring talk on Failure. One of his key points was our failure to talk money. He said, “designers, we’re terrible with money, we undersell ourselves, we work for free”. Unfortunately, that statement is often all too true.

In order to be competitive and get the job, we lower our prices and sometimes even work for free. By doing this, we are basically telling the world that our time isn’t worth much, when in fact, time is our most valuable asset.

To avoid this, it’s important we understand just how much time it takes to complete a job. It’s very easy to dismiss an hour of our time in order to win a job, but what happens when that hour turns into 10 hours? That’s a lot of effort for no more money. The easy way to track time is by doing timesheets. Yes they’re tedious and boring, but they also show us just how much effort we put into completing a job. So when a similar job pops up again we have a very good idea of just how much of our time it will take to complete it and can quote accordingly.

When talking money with a client, it is also important to agree to get some form of payment up front. There’s nothing worse than delivering the goods and not getting paid for our time and effort. In other industries this is standard business practice and we shouldn’t be afraid to follow suit. Send an invoice before the job starts asking for a percentage up front and don’t start the work until payment has been received.

If you haven’t seen it already, check out the talk below by Mike Monteiro for CreativeMornings San Francisco. It’s titled F*ck You, Pay Me and it’s enlightening.

Of course there are times when working at reduced rates or for free is potentially mutually beneficial. If we’re working for a not for profit, then the work itself might be rewarding enough. Similarly, working for a particular client might allow us total creative freedom and could possibly score us an award or two. But these circumstances should be the exception to the rule.

Remember: don’t be afraid to charge for your time or request payment up front, and most importantly, don’t undersell yourself and the work that you do.

Photo by Ken Teegardin and used under Creative Commons license.

 

Tips & Tricks: How to create favourite reports

If you find you run the same reports over and over again, you can set these reports as favourites in Streamtime.

Simply click the heart next to the report you want make a favourite, it will then be available in the favourites tab.

See our knowledge base for more information on reporting in Streamtime.

 

Tips & Tricks: A quick way to find active jobs and quotes

In Streamtime, you can easily see the quotes and jobs you’re currently working on for a client by going to the client record in the contacts tab.

When you’re in a client record simply click the Active Quotes tab and you will see which quotes are currently active for that client.

By clicking the arrow next to a quote, this will take you straight to that quote so you can view and/or amend it.

If you wish to see active jobs for a particular client, you can click the Active Jobs tab.

Again by clicking the arrow next to the job you wish to view, this will take you straight to that job.

Finally if you’re in a supplier record you can similarly view any active purchase orders associated with that supplier by clicking the Active Orders tab.

Clicking the arrow next to the appropriate order will take you directly to that order, enabling you to view it, amend it etc.

Streamtime wins AUS Mobile & App Design Awards 2014

We were delighted to pick up the award for Project Management Software at the AUS Mobile & App Design Awards last night.

Our Lead Developer Pius Jeon (pictured above left) and Interactive Designer Cam Trollope have worked very hard to deliver this product and it is great to see their hard work rewarded.

If you’re new to Streamtime, and would like check out our award winning work, you can see a demo of Streamtime on the web here. If you already use Streamtime, our Streamtime knowledge base has all the information you need to set this up, or alternatively give our support team a call for assistance.

Tips & Tricks: Simple scheduling in Streamtime

In Streamtime you can create tasks directly onto the Task Calendar for simple scheduling.

Simply find the staff member that is free at the time you wish to schedule the task, double click in the space available and follow the prompts.

See our knowledge base for more information on scheduling in Streamtime.

Tips & Tricks: Manage contacts from anywhere

Just met a potential prospect? Need to check a supplier’s address to pickup your proofs, or call your client from the taxi to let them know you’re running late?

With the latest update of Streamtime on the web, you can now create and manage your contacts from anywhere.

Managing contacts has never been easier.

If you’re new to Streamtime, check out the demo of Streamtime on the web here. If you’re already a Streamtime subscriber, our Streamtime knowledge base has all the information you need to set this up, or alternatively give our support team a call for assistance.

Tips & Tricks: Compose and Hold

Selecting Compose & Hold before emailing a quote, purchase order or invoice out of Streamtime will create a draft email with an attached PDF of the relevant item.

This allows you to double check the item and add any additional attachments before clicking send.

Tips & Tricks: Quick keys for Streamtime on the web

With Streamtime on the web you can use quick keys to enter information faster.

Quick Timesheet Entry

In your personal tab, simply type ‘n’ to go straight to a new time entry.

You can also click ‘esc’ to close the time entry window without saving.

Quick Company Entry

In the companies list, type ‘n’ to create a new company entry.

Again you can click ‘esc’ to close the new company window without saving.

If you aren’t already using Streamtime on the web, our Streamtime knowledge base has all the information you need to set this up or alternatively give our support team a call for assistance.

Tips & Tricks: Streamtime support

Need some Streamtime help? We use TeamViewer to give remote support to all our subscription clients, at no additional cost.

Simply download TeamViewer from our website and call one of our Streamtime Aces.

By downloading TeamViewer onto your machine, our Aces are able to see what you see and help you faster!

TeamTime – Voyage en France

Every year we like to treat our hard working staff to a bit of a break and some team building. We call this TeamTime and this year Team Northern Hemisphere were sent to Paris. Here’s my take on our three days of fun and frolics in the City of Light.

Day 1

After an early start we arrived at our hotel in Paris at around 13:00 local time to be greeted by Aaron and his family who had been in Paris for a few days already. Aaron had obviously spent too long in Europe as we all received double cheek kisses. Those red pants are bright in real life too.

After checking in, our first activity was to head out in teams to find three local places of interest. Our activity bag included (among other things) postcards of three destinations that our teams had to get to and then have a photo taken in front of. Mode of transport was the Velib (Parisian hire bikes). The weather was hot, and the cycling hard going at times, so the water and Redbull in our packs were very welcome.

Our team made up of myself, Neil and Nate got some great shots of The Lourve, Eiffel Tower and the Quarter Invalides which we followed with a leisurely (mostly liquid) lunch at one of the many street cafes on our way back to our hotel. The other teams of Aaron, Michael and Dani and Miel, Ryan and Mark also had great fun getting their shots among the many tourist attractions in Paris.

The evening included more drinks at a bar near Pont Neuf, followed by a cruise down the Seine with a lovely three course meal. It culminated in a fireworks display from the Eiffel Tower and nearby bridge to celebrate Bastille Day. A pretty awesome show and a really nice way of spending our first evening together in Paris.

Day 2

Day two started with the realisation that no one in our hotel had hot water, so after a very quick shower and a hearty breakfast we headed to Montmartre to enjoy a bread making lesson from Franco-American chef Alex Dreyer.

We had a really informative and hands on couple of hours resulting in a large batch of focaccia, traditional baguettes and many different styles of brioche. We got to enjoy the bread with cheese, meats, pates and of course wine.

After lunch our next stop was to learn how to play Pétanque/Boules with our host Victor in place Dauphine. After a brief history lesson, we took to the sand, splitting into teams to perfect our skills. I was pleased to learn that the most important part of the game was enjoying some more French Wine. Just as well for me, since the activity ended with an all-in game which was won on a single demon boule from Mssr. Clement to knock my winning ball flying.

The day ended with a team meal and as it was a beautiful, warm evening, most of us went on to enjoy a few more drinks in the local bars before bedtime.

Day 3

Day three began with more cold showers and after breakfast we headed over to the Eiffel Tower for a climb up to see the sights of Paris from above. The queue for the elevators was ridiculously long, so we decided to ascend on foot.

Once we reached our destination we were rewarded with some great views over Paris, which we followed with another leisurely team lunch as a restaurant nearby.

Afterwards a few of us jumped in taxis back to the hotel while others chose to have one last ride on the hire bikes before we said goodbye to this wonderful city.

All in all it was a really fun trip. Tiring, hot, with the odd cold shower thrown in for good measure, but lots and lots of good times had by all. It was a great team building exercise and will live in my memory for a long time to come.

 

 

 

Why do we do timesheets?

A few weeks ago this image of Seinfeld’s soup nazi was doing the rounds, and while it made me laugh, it also got me thinking, why is it so important that we do timesheets?

For as long as I can remember I’ve had to do timesheets as part of my various jobs in the creative industry, just blindly accepting that it was part of my job requirement. But I never really stopped to ask myself, “why”?

While timesheets may be an obvious benefit to business owners—allowing them to see how much time their staff are putting onto a job—it’s not so easy to see how timesheets benefit the rest of us. To most, they’re a right royal pain in the butt, taking up important design time.

So what are the benefits of doing timesheets? Well it just so happens, there are quite a few.

By tracking your time correctly, there is total transparency on the job. All the people involved can see how many hours work was required to complete the job, allowing the people that will create future estimates to have a better understanding of just how many hours that type of work takes, and those creating the invoices to charge the right amount for the job.

There are also clients that are invoiced based on the actual time it took to do the job, rather than based on an estimate. So if timesheets aren’t done, the client won’t be invoiced correctly. Essentially, they’ll be paying less for all your hard work.

Or what about this old chestnut, the client changes the brief in the middle of the job and now you have to spend extra time and effort getting the job done. Someone has usually given the client an estimate, but if you don’t track your hours, it’s hard to see if the client has gone over that estimated time. By tracking your time it will be much easier for the client service team to see that there are extra hours on the job and potentially charge that time to the client. Wouldn’t it make you feel better about doing the extra work if you knew the company was getting paid for it?

The cynics among us may see timesheets as a way for business owners to keep tabs on their staff, but think of it this way, if you have to work late to get a job done, or spend extra hours on a job because of complications, isn’t it a good thing that your company knows you put the extra hours in?

As a result of doing timesheets, jobs will become more profitable and if the business is making money, that’s good news for everyone.

Tips & Tricks: Grouping Contacts

It’s just over 5 months until Christmas and maybe you’re already thinking about which of your lovely clients and suppliers will be getting a gift or an invite to the Christmas party.

By using the sort field in Streamtime, you can group and label your contacts, making it easy for you to search for those contacts when the time comes.

The sort field can be used at a company level to group your contacts together, for example, based on industry type. It can also be used on a personal level, for example, indicating which contacts within a company will get that Christmas gift or party invite.

Once you’ve assigned a sort value to a contact you can then easily use that field to search for those particular contacts.

See our Knowledge Base for more information on how to use the sort field to search and create a contact list.

Tips & Tricks: A shortcut for searching by today’s date

When in a date field in Streamtime if you click Cmd – (hyphen) on a Mac, or Ctrl – (hyphen) on a PC, the date field will automatically populate with today’s date.

This will enable you to search all invoices, time entries, quotes etc that were created today.

Providing better customer service – insights from BoS 2014

Last week Michael O’Riley (Head of Support) and I attended Business of Software 2014 Europe for two days of inspirational talks and networking.

A number of the sessions looked at providing better customer service, so here’s a few tips on this key area.

Gaming app developer and guru Kathy Sierra introduced us to the concepts behind producing killer apps. These included taking into consideration the context that the app is being used in; the key being that we focus too much on making product X better rather than getting people to be better users of X.

A big pitfall is that we don’t always acknowledge the pain that a user has to go through to get the app to do what they want it to. Many developers simply expect users to have the knowledge they do and all too easily ignore the real pain and frustration a user might be experiencing.

Helping users to feel that their problems are temporary or typical is key to motivating them to believe that this is simply a step towards ultimate success.

Day one closed with a session from former CD Baby owner, Derek Sivers. Derek’s happy nature and positive approach is infectious and in itself an enviable quality to adopt when dealing with customers. The session was an outline of six great customer service philosophies that he had gleaned over his years at CD baby and since. Here are his top tips:

1. You can afford to be generous – Good service comes from generosity and abundance. Bad customer service comes from a feeling of scarcity and survival mode type thinking. Generosity is based on the long term outcomes whereas survival mode thinking forces us to focus too much on the short term.

2. The customer is more important than the company – Derek highlighted a value choice between being defensive of your brand and doing what’s right for the customer. Placing the customer first has to be the number one priority – they are your business and your best brand ambassadors after all.

3. Customer service is a profit centre – whilst sales are obviously more profitable, the profits to be gained from this powerful area are huge. We should all be investing heavily in this area and recognise the difference it makes to our bottom line.

4. Every interaction is your moment to shine – we have so many touch points with a client, the vast majority of them coming after the sale. Good customer service isn’t about being as efficient as possible; friends are not efficient. Inefficient time allows the opportunity to build a more personal relationship with your customers.

5. Lose every fight - Being happy to lose every fight is another way to ensure that the customer is first. It’s a difficult discipline, but it’s important for anyone working in the customer service sphere to catch themselves before being defensive. Practicing empathy is key to this and remember that the loudest critics are often potentially your loudest advocates.

6. Rebelliously right the wrongs of the world - You have an opportunity to show everyone else how it’s done. Not following norms in dealing with people is a potential for competitive advantage. Think of the worst customer experience you’ve ever had and do the opposite.

The day culminated in a great meal and opportunity to spend time with peers at all levels of the business. It was interesting for me to witness that whether talking to someone who had sold their company for millions, or had a company that had been going for 10 years, or were a new startup, the challenges we face and the opportunities we are presented with are incredibly similar.

Day two included a number of interesting talks including one from Sarah Hatter, formerly of 37signals, and now of CoSupport. Sarah gave a presentation on ‘humanising the web’.

She presented ideas on how we can ensure that our communications with customers are less robotic and more personable. The session was primarily focused on the language that is used on websites and in email communications, with advice on how to make them more friendly.

Whilst these things may be obvious, it was good to remember that small tweaks in the way that we speak can have a massive effect on the outcome of the conversations we have and the relationships that we are trying to cultivate.

Reflecting on the lessons learnt over the two days, I feel proud to say that at Streamtime, we place a lot of emphasis on customer service. It’s one of our main propositions to new and existing clients. We have developed a culture of caring about our customer’s needs, of going the extra mile and doing what we can to ensure their success. But there is always room for improvement, and the BoS conference provided some great tips on how to sharpen those skills.

Tips & Tricks: Scheduling around public holidays

Do public holidays like Easter Monday, Spring Bank Holiday and Labour Day just creep up on you? You can plan for them in advance by including them on your Task Calendar.

First create an internal job called Public Holidays, then simply go to Jobs > Task Calendar and find the date of the public holiday and double click in the field. This will create a task on the calendar, first prompting you to select a job, then to create a task on that job.

Select your newly created Public Holidays job, then:

1. Select the task from the drop down

2. Select the staff you wish to be assigned the task. To assign it to all staff, hold down the ALT key and click on each staff member’s name

3. Include the estimated amount of time for the task, if it’s a public holiday you’ll want to allow 8 or 9 hours

4. Choose the Due Date – this should be the same day as the Start Date if it’s a public holiday

And that’s all you need to do. If you like, enter the specific holiday name in the task notes and give the job a colour so the tasks stand out on the calendar.

Click Save and the public holiday will now appear on your Task Calendar. So no more scheduling work when you should be enjoying a public holiday.

See our Knowledge Base for more information on creating tasks like public holidays and annual leave on your Task Calendar.

Tips & Tricks: Add time from anywhere

Didn’t get time to do your timesheet at work? Would you like to be able to add time via a phone or tablet on your way home?

With the latest update of Streamtime on the web your staff can now add time and complete tasks from anywhere.

Our Streamtime knowledge base has all the information you need to set this up or alternatively give our support team a call for assistance.

Doing your timesheets has never been easier.

Tips & Tricks: Easy navigation

When you do a search that returns a list view in Streamtime, you can get to a detailed view by clicking the arrow next to the first item in the list.

Once you’re in a detailed view you can use the arrows in the top right hand corner to navigate through the set of found records, rather than going back to the list view each time.

If you want to quickly jump to the last record in the list, simply hold down Cmd (Mac) or Alt (PC) when clicking the right arrow in the navigation bar and this will jump you to the last record.

Alternatively if you wish to go back to the first record quickly, hold down Cmd (Mac) or Alt (PC) and click the left arrow.

This navigation works in the contacts, quotes, orders, jobs, invoices and cost matrix sections of Streamtime.

Tips & Tricks: Setting up staff costs

In Streamtime you can assign cost rates to staff members, so when they add time to a job, you are capturing accurate costs against that job.

To do this go to Setup > System Setup > Users and apply a cost to each staff member.

This cost is an hourly rate i.e. what your staff member costs your business, per hour.

Now when a staff member adds time to a job, that rate will be applied and you will have an accurate account of what the job cost your business.

Tips & Tricks: A keyboard shortcut for creating new items in Streamtime

If you want to quickly create a new contact, quote, order, job or invoice in Streamtime, then this keyboard shortcut is for you.

Simply go to the relevant Streamtime tab and click Cmd+N on a Mac or Ctrl+N on a PC.

This handy shortcut will prompt Streamtime to create a new record. So creating a new contact, quote, order, job or invoice has never been easier.

 

Tips & Tricks: Setting your default Streamtime start up screen

In Streamtime the default startup screen is set to the Streamtime splash page, but you can change this so it’s more applicable to you and the type of work you do.

You can set your default startup screen in two places:

The first is on the Streamtime splash page.

You can also go to Setup > My Setup and set your default start up screen there.

So if you’re someone that only enters time in Streamtime you may set your startup screen to default to your timesheet. Likewise if you’re an Account Manager that spends most of your time creating client quotes, then you can set Streamtime to take you straight to the quotes screen.

CreativeMornings part of Vivid Ideas

This month’s CreativeMornings Sydney is a special one. Not only is being held at one of the best venues in Sydney, the Museum of Contemporary Art no less, but it’s also part of this year’s Vivid Ideas.

So come and join us on Tuesday 3rd June to hear Thomas Williams, Founder and Creative Director of Hunt&Co, Editor in Chief of internationally awarded design publication Process Journal and Founder and Editor of MADE, talk on June’s global topic which is Minimal.

As always this event is FREE so book your tickets now.

Tips & Tricks: Creating a client facing job report

If you need to send your client a breakdown of the time and money spent on a job, you can create a report in Streamtime to do just that.

Go to Jobs tab > Job List and do a find for the job or jobs you wish to report on.

Once you have found the job, click on the button with the dollar sign ($) and this will give you a financial view of that job. Note that you’ll need to have either full or partial access to ‘Invoices’ in the setup area to see this button. Talk to your Streamtime admin to have this set for you.

Once you have that financial view click the print button and select ‘Detailed time and orders by job’ from the drop down menu.

You can then preview, print or save the report as a PDF and send it to your client.

Note: The report shows the charge out (sell) rates for the time and orders, not your actual costs.

Tips & Tricks: Turning a quote into tasks

If you’ve gone to the trouble of creating a quote for a client, why not leverage off that quote and turn it into tasks for your staff? This will give your staff a clearer picture of what’s been quoted to the client and how many hours they have to do the assigned work.

As long as a quote is related to a job, then you’ll see a Related Tasks tab on your quote.

Click that tab and on the right hand side you’ll see the ‘Import Tasks from Quote’ button.

By clicking this button it will import your quote into your job, allowing you to assign the quote line items as tasks to your staff. You can even set a start & due date for each task here too.

Click here for more information on how to create tasks in Streamtime.

 

Attention to the details

I appreciate quality and attention to the smallest detail. I also like to see what creators in other fields are making and how they do it. Here’s four videos of people making and assembling luxury goods—taking attention to detail to the extreme—starting with the classic Eames Lounge Chair.

via www.subtraction.com

Watch this: My life in typefaces, Matthew Carter


I watched this TED talk the other day from the designer of such famous (or infamous) typefaces as Verdana and Georgia, Matthew Carter. Well worth a watch.

Streamtime webinars are back

We’ve got a new series of webinars aimed to help you get the most out of Streamtime.

These 30 minute sessions will be run from our Sydney office (AEST) each Tuesday morning and will be repeated on Wednesday afternoons, to allow for busy work schedules and different time zones.

Best of all these sessions are free. So what are you waiting for? Register today!

Advanced Search Tips
Explore some of the more advanced search functions and additional menus in Streamtime 13 to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

Tuesday 13 May 10am AEST. 30 mins
Repeated: Wednesday 14 May 3pm AEST. 30 mins

Financial Reporting Tips
We’ll explain some of the financial detail on your jobs and quotes in Streamtime and also show some of our favourite reports.

Tuesday 20 May 10am AEST. 30 mins
Repeated: Wednesday 21 May 3pm AEST. 30 mins

Become a Streamtime power user in 30 minutes
In this session we’ll show some of our favourite tricks from duplicating templates to using quick keys and other advanced tips, to help you become a Streamtime guru.

Tuesday 27 May 10am AEST. 30 mins
Repeated: Wednesday 28 May 3pm AEDT. 30 mins

Exploring Streamtimer and Streamtime on the web
We’ll show you a great, easy way to add time and materials and view tasks with our desktop widget Streamtimer, and how to access Streamtime on the web from your mobile devices and desktop web browsers.

Tuesday 3 June 10am AEST. 30 mins
Repeated: Wednesday 4 June 3pm AEST. 30 mins

We hope you can join us.

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