Earth Class Mail

Meet Lauren McLeod, Co-founder at Flightfox

Our customers rock. We love to share their stories, and are thrilled to introduce you to the next customer in our customer spotlight series, Lauren McLeod, Co-founder at Flightfox - a marketplace of flight experts who find you the best flights.


Thanks so much for sharing your story Lauren. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your company? What does Flightfox do, and what sets you apart?

I love to travel, not just on short vacations, but journeys to live all over the world. This led to my company Flightfox, which is a marketplace of travel experts who help you (and me) travel much better for less. What sets Flightfox apart is our team of genuine travel experts who we call “travel hackers”. They aren’t traditional travel agents; they are genuine travel experts who know all the tricks of the trade and use deep technical analysis to build the best itineraries for the lowest prices possible.

For example, they recently helped me fly from Germany to the US on Singapore Airlines in first class for almost 80% off the retail price. They also regularly help with my frequent flyer miles and hotel programs.

How did you get started and why?

When I began my travels I would run into people who were just like me, but were traveling much better than me. They told me if I search for flights online like everyone else, I’d forever travel like everyone else (i.e. always paying retail to fly in coach). As I learned the tricks of the trade it became obvious there were just too many tricks to learn. So I thought, why not build a marketplace of genuine travel experts who could earn money doing what they love while helping the rest of us travel just like them.

Do you have an incredible customer success story you can share?

Honeymoons are our favorite customer success stories. Most newlyweds have big plans to travel around the world, but they come to us already resigned to fly in economy class and stay in cheap hotels. That’s when we go to work to make their honeymoon more special than they ever imagined.

The most recent honeymoon we did was for Jeff and Danielle. We helped them book first class seats on Emirates for a fraction of the retail price. Nothing starts a honeymoon off with a bang like walking into the first-class cabin of an A380 and getting wined and dined at 30,000 feet in the air for the next 10-15 hours. Here is the testimonial from Jeff’s Facebook page: 

Flightfox testimonial


What’s the best business decision you made in the last year?

Our best decision was definitely to make customer happiness our number one priority. It’s easy to justify a focus on profitability or system performance, but nothing makes us happier running Flightfox than our customers being happy and getting real value, which they often convey to others. Happy customers help us grow too, arguably more than anything else.

Our team wrote and in-depth article on how we measure customer happiness and everything we’ve learned along the way.

Can you share a tip, trick, hack, tool or service with our readers that makes you better, or makes your days more effective?

Our favorite hack, especially when productivity or morale has slumped, is to pick up our things, pack our bags (carry-on only) and work from a different city or country. Meeting different people, hearing different languages, and having to adapt gives you a boost you just can’t get from the latest productivity app. It helps a lot with creative work too, because all of a sudden you’re surrounded by what seems like another world.

Tell us how EarthClassMail makes you better at your job, or your company better at what it does?

Being a travel company that travels, we’ve (so far) worked from Australia, the US, Canada, Germany, Thailand, Estonia, Hong Kong, and Nicaragua. Sometimes for a few months, sometimes for more than a year. Managing a physical mailbox is just impossible for us, even with forwarding because we’re always on the move.

What feature can we add or improvement can we make that would make you say, "shut the front door, I need that!" ?

Mailboxes in other countries. We’d love if EarthClassMail were available in Australia, Canada and European countries so we could operate the same there too. Instead, we have to have our mail sent to friends and family and burden them with opening mail, taking photos, and sending what seems important.

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us today, any parting words or advice for our readers?

Travel! And use EarthClassMail as your excuse to not come home :).

Meet Jordan Harbinger, Co-Founder of The Art of Charm

Our customers rock. We love to share their stories, and are thrilled to introduce you to the next customer in our customer spotlight series, Jordan Harbinger, Co-founder from The Art of Charm. 

The Art of Charm teaches networking and relationship development skills to help clients build charisma and personal magnetism.

Art of Charm, Jordan Harbinger


Thanks so much for sharing your story Jordan, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your company? What does Art of Charm do, and what sets you apart?

We run in-residence programs and online training to help people make the big changes they need. The Art of Charm is very nuanced, it’s not just general advice like "look people in the eye and give a firm handshake" - that doesn't produce real results. From handling first impressions to managing intimate relationships, clients can create real identity changes in their personal and professional lives.

How did you get started and why?

I was an attorney on wall street and found that the successful lawyers at the top of the organization weren't just hard-workers, but they had put in the time to develop their network even more than their legal skills. I also found that the people we were hiring were the most personable, not just those with the best experience on paper. This showed me that the top predictor of success was, in fact, people-skills and that's where I've been focusing my energy for the past decade.

Do you have an incredible customer success story you can share?

Some of our most successful clients come from the intelligence and special forces community, many officers have gone through our program. Of the stories we can share, we had one client who after our program left a bad relationship, quit his job, started a company, got in shape, and now travels the world doing what he loves. We see this type of success every time we run a program.

What’s the best business decision you made in the last year?

The best decision we've made was to bring on trusted business partners who can help us with some of the areas we struggle in. This was tough because, as entrepreneurs, we hate to give up control and would rather try to figure it all out than bring on others who can help. So far, this has been an amazing decision, even though it took a while to let go.

Can you share a tip, trick, hack, tool or service with our readers that makes you better, or makes your days more effective?

This is stupid simple, but I use a calendar and schedule everything from meetings to yoga classes. I find that people are always looking for the latest productivity 'hack' and yet they don't even manage their daily tasks well. Having a calendar scheduled out in 15-minute blocks ensures that everything important gets done and that there's time to do it.

Tell us how EarthClassMail makes you better at your job, or your company better at what it does?

I can batch all company mail, taking perhaps 15 minutes per week sorting and opening instead of spending time doing it each day. We also travel a lot for business and I can use the service anywhere. I've even delegated all company mail to my assistant to sort from home, so mail has stopped being a task for me and has simply become a duty that I can delegate to someone else.

What feature can we add or improvement can we make that would make you say, "shut the front door, I need that!" ?

Something that tells mail senders that I'm no longer at this address, or some sort of USPS unsubscribe from junk mail would be a game-changer.

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us today, any parting words or advice for our readers?

My entire existence is predicated on sharing wisdom and advice. I have over 500 hours of knowledge from hundreds of guests on the Art of Charm Podcast, check it out. 

Who's naughty and who's nice. Our adventure in fraud detection automation.

Here at Earth Class Mail we harbor strong feelings. We love things, and we revile things. Take a gander at a few things we love, and a few things we loathe:

We love:

We loathe:

  • Letting our awesome customers down in any way
  • Making preventable mistakes
  • Spending time on fraudsters and other unsavory characters

Unfortunately our business attracts the occasional bad actor. These undesirables suck our team's time away from serving our great customers. These undesirables stink and we don't want them as customers. We'd rather spend time with our great customers vs. dealing with the unsavories and their like.

What to do then? A bit ago we embarked on a journey to weed out these miscreants, so we could spend more time on the customers we love. We wanted to build a system & process that would automatically and reliably:

  • check for potential fraudsters
  • follow up with them to prompt for verification
  • alert our customer support staff, and automate our follow up

To assist in our task, we recruited a few key players to the team. We tapped SiftScience.com for fraud detection, Zapier for workflow automation, Slack for team visibility, and Zendesk automations for automated followup.

WARNING: you may want to caffeinate before proceeding, the weeds get deep on the details.

Ok, so here's how we did it. First we tackled checking for potential fraudsters and making that visible to the team. To do that, we bolted on an API call to Sift every time someone completes an order. Sift offers a cool fraud prevention service that takes in a bunch of info and gives back a fraud probability score. The score ranges from 0-100, with 0 = no chance of fraud and 100 = certain fraudster. Once Sift returned a fraud score, we wired up a notification into our signups Slack channel. This let our team know when a likely fraudster sauntered through our doors. Here's an example:


We let that run for a bit until we gained an inkling of what things meant. We followed up manually on every case that seemed suspicious. After a few weeks, we dove into the deep end of the automation pool to see how much time & effort we could save. Enter Zapier and Zendesk.

We wanted to send and automatic note to any potential bad guy. The note should let them know that we harbored suspicions of their sincerity. We also wanted to give them the chance to clear the air if our system screwed up and flagged them by mistake.

Zendesk rocks. We use it for all customer contact. We knew we wanted to craft any solution into it. That's where Zapier came in.

Using Zapier, we built a Zap (cool name huh?) that created a Zendesk ticket anytime a potential villian signed up. Here's exactly how we did it:

  • Our ordering app uses Postrgres as a data store
  • Zapier let us sniff whenever a new row appeared in our orders table


  • If an order arrives with a high sift score we created a ticket in Zendesk with the likely fraudster's name, email, and other info. Here's what it looks like:


  • Zendesk emails the likely shady character, telling him/her that our system flagged them as potential fraud, and asks them to verify their identity. Here's what the potential villain sees:


  • To make sure we follow up we use Zendesk's Automations. We check back in 48 hours to see if the potential shadester rectified the situation and corrected our false assumptions. If not, we fire off an action to re-open the ticket and add an internal note so our customer service team can close the account and refund any money. Take a peek:


We hope this gives us more time to spend with the customers we care about. If we can weed out the troublemakers before they start using our service we'll get to do more of what we love - making our awesome customers happy.  

Interested in removing the headache of dealing with your physical mail?  Give us a try.

Effective remote work with Status Updates

This is the inaugural post in the "remote work" tag of this blog. Earth Class Mail has employees across 4 different timezones (I myself am in Sweden), we take remote work seriously and try to be a remote-first company. I have worked remotely most of my life and so there are many things I take for granted, when we should actually make a point to talk about and question even the smallest things. Today I'm going to talk about the status update, what it is, why it exists and some challenges one might come across with it.

What's in a status update?

I've gone through most popular remote-management practices like daily stand-ups on Skype (then Hangouts). In the past few years status updates on HipChat (then Slack) have become a popular replacement for the stand-up. Status updates follow the same principles of a stand-up but can be done asyncronously across people in different timezones. I really like status updates, but they can be done well or not so well, but the tricky thing is that it can be hard to tell the difference.

It's easier to get lazy when writing text than it is when you're in a stand-up and see the other people face-to-face, so it's important that everyone is on the same page and enforce the discipline required to write good status updates.

What's a status update?

So first of all, let's establish a clear definition of what a status update is. By my (and most peoples) definition, it's a text-update posted every day in a chat channel dedicated only for status updates. In our company right now we have a #status channel on Slack where everyone posts every morning, because our team is small enough we can keep this to one channel, but in larger companies you might have a per-team channel for it. But what does an update look like?

The format can vary slightly, but it usually takes on the following form.

<Date>:
Yesterday:
- list of things I actually achieved yesterday
- list of notable things that I had to do, that got in my way of
achieving what I set out to
Today:
- things i hope to achieve by the end of the day
Blockers:
- list of blockers that stand in your way of accomplishing your goals for today (if any)

I have seen variations where the separate Blockers field is left out entirely and instead baked into the the reasons why you didn't achieve what you set out to achieve in the Yesterday field. I think either way of doing it is fine, but having a separate Blockers field may be useful if it can be highlighted sufficiently.

What's the point?

There is a very specific goal with the status update: to keep everyone on the team in the loop and to force yourself to think about what you should be doing. If everyone knows what everyone is working on, people can plan around what's going on and adjust their own priorities based on that. Lucid Meetings has a great blog post about different types of meetings, in which they write the following about the point of the stand-up meeting.

Focus on progress and what people are actually doing, only to encourage team accountability to each other and the plan.

Written status updates have gained a lot in popularity lately, to the point where there are now several services oriented around them. Two prominent ones are Teamreporter and Status Hero, and these companies list a lot of good reasons for why you should be doing status updates.

  • Know what is going on in your team and notice upcoming problems early
  • Improve communication and become a more efficient team
  • Connect remote and/or distributed teams
  • Cut through the project management noise
  • Promote transparency & trust
  • Celebrate progress

Basically, everyone on the team should know what everyone is doing, not because of some sense of keeping tabs on people or justifying their existence, but because that's how teams can work efficiently. It's also a way for you to say to your teammates "Hey, you may not see the result of this directly, but I did this pretty cool thing that I'm proud of!" (celebrating progress). This can either be solved by a lot of public chat communication and internal monologues held in public, or it can be achieved through status updates (or, preferably, a mix of both). I may write a whole separate post on the importance of public "internal" monologues, but as we say, that's a different story.

What's the problem?

I said status updates can be done badly, and it's often hard to tell if they are. Why is that?

The fundamental problem with status updates is that getting the granularity right is really hard, and it's easy to just ignore a status update if the granularity is wrong. You want to write a daily goal, but when you're working on a large project where perhaps the goal for the day is somewhat uncertain, it's hard to really write a succinct and concrete sentence or point-list that will communicate your goals for the day, it's tempting to just write "to get as far ahead in this work as possible". The problem with those kind of vague updates are that it doesn't actually inform anyone of what's going to change during the day, it doesn't highlight what difficulties there are and doesn't let anyone come in and say "Hey, maybe I can help with that!". It doesn't achieve any of the effects we want from a status update, but it will still probably pass for an acceptable update. It's also useful for yourself to think harder about the problem, try to set out a goal even if you know it's too ambitious, just so you have some internal roadmap for the day, it will have a good chance to increase your focus and productivity for the day.

It's also really easy to write something that is too detailed. The status update is not a substitute for a todo-list. If you don't think you'll be able to get to it today, don't write it down. You're also not supposed to write every little detail that you do during the day, as that will add more noise than relevant communication. If there are recurring items you do every day (like create and study a daily metrics report) you shouldn't put that on your list of achievements every single day, it doesn't actually communicate anything to your teammates. Rather than posting that you created and studied a report, post something if there was an anomaly in a report that needed addressing, since that can have real impact to the whole team.

Status updates should explicitly not be about micromanagement or someone keeping tabs on exactly what you do in a day. The most difficult thing with status updates is to find the right resolution. The right resolution for your updates is key, but it's only one that can be found by some amount of trial and error. If it's too much detail, it becomes overbearing and doesn't tell a story of what you are doing or focusing on, it adds more noise to the public communication than it tells a story of what you are working on and where you are heading. If the goal is too lofty and doesn't actually explain what you did that day then it's equally useless, because it doesn't show progress or focus. 

Basically, if you're writing the exact same thing several days in a row, you need to be more specific, and if you're posting a bunch of (5+ items) every day, you probably need to be less specific.

If you are writing blockers, you also need to become fairly good at judging what an actual blocker is. A problem that you can work towards solving is not a blocker, it's something that you can work on, overcome and put on your achievements list for "Yesterday". A blocker is a problem that prevents you from doing your work and you yourself can not address.

What's the solution?

When you get in to the office in the morning, think back on what you did yesterday. If there's things you don't remember, they probably aren't important enough to go in a status update. Try to think of what your overall achievements were for the day, try to remember what made you think "Yes, finished this bit!". Write down those things. Look back at your status update from yesterday and see if they match up, add any major reasons for why they don't match up (if there were just many small reasons, write that).

Then sit down and think of what you're going to do today. If it's a bit undefined, try to define it further, think about what would make you happy if you had it done by the end of the day, and write that down.

Try to think about whether there might be anything that will prevent you from doing what you hope to do for the day. If you can't think of anything, all clear. If you can think of something, put that in Blockers and then go talk to the person that might be able to remove that blocker for you.

Once you get into the habit of thinking of open communication and the fact that this is intended as guidance for yourself and all of your coworkers, you will hopefully get this practice into a solid place that will make everyone feel part of the family.

We love CloudApp


Here at Earth Class Mail, we strive to make you more efficient.   CloudApp makes sharing and collaborating crazy easy.

Need to share screenshots, files, or screen recordings with a single shortcut? Easy. CloudApp lets you do that and gives you a short URL link to share, and it takes just a few seconds. You paste that link in your chat room, email directly from app, or send/paste it wherever you need. Glance below to see the magic in action:

 


You can then comment or annotate on these assets to collaborate amazingly fast.


We use CloudApp constantly; when you’re not physically present with a customer or coworker, a visual demonstration is worth a 1000 words. CloudApp’s screen-recording ensures our people see exactly the right message we want to communicate.

We can also follow the history of any assets we’re working on thanks to a drop history which gathers all events related to the drop (comments, views, annotations, etc.). Our team leverages the open-tracking to see who we need to re-ping. As for security features, they are rock-solid: password protection, timed auto-destruction, and we control accessibility on team assets.

And guess what, you can give it a try with an added bonus! Coupon code: ecm-30.

Get CloudApp Here With 30% Discount!

Lastly, a high five to our collective speed and budding bromance!


 

Meet Robb Gardner, Feature Film Visual Effects Artist

Our customers rock. We love to share their stories, and are thrilled to introduce you to the next customer in our customer spotlight series, Robb Gardner, Feature Film Visual Effects Artist.


Thanks for so much for sharing your story Robb, Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What’s your great adventure, and how does Earth Class Mail fit in?

I’m a Feature Film Visual Effects Artist and I have been traveling around the globe creating images for the movies. My travels have taken me to Europe, Canada, New Zealand, Brazil and California USA. My lifestyle over the last 8 years can only be described as a “Visual FX Gypsy.” Because I’m on the go so much I have to keep all my mail in one centralized location where I can view it with the flip of a switch. This is where the power of Earth Class Mail comes into play. I love the service because I can be working on the Hobbit trilogy in New Zealand be reading my mail and paying my bills accordingly back in the states. It’s a hassle free service that a road warrior like myself depends on.

How did you get started on your path and why?

I have been fascinated with the art of filmmaking and imaging since I was very young when I started making rudimentary “stop-motion” films with my mom’s Kodak Cinespra Super8mm camera. Later I went to film school where I learned 16mm cinematography and video. My first big break came when I was awarded an internship working under a genius camera mentor.

It was him who taught me how to load and operate every Motion picture camera available at that time, including 35mm. This experience literally steered my drive and ambition, I wanted to make motion pictures my career. It’s in my BLOOD. One day I discovered the Amiga graphics computer. This propelled me into the most high-end Visual FX technology and filmmaking in the world. There was no turning back and in the last 20 years I have shot numerous personal projects and I have created the imagery for countless Hollywood films and commercials as the role of Digital Artist in which I’m very grateful. My unquenchable thirst for image creation continues and I find inspiration in everything.

What’s the wildest story you can share from the last few years?

I was in a helicopter hovering over a Favela in Rio de Janiero and was holding my iPhone out a small window filming when the rotor wash sucked the phone right out of my hand and it was lost.

What’s the best decision you made in the last year?

The decision to take a job as Senior Lighting Technical Director on the film “Jurassic World” was the best decision I made in the last year.

Can you share a tip, trick, hack, tool or service with our readers that makes your life better, or makes your days more effective?

Carry a small moleskin notebook and a pen with you at all times and write down creative ideas as soon as they blossom in your head, you won’t forget them and you will be glad later you wrote it down. Also swapbox is a pretty great new service in San Francisco for collecting your packages.

What’s your best purchase for under $100 in the last year?

Google Cardboard Virtual Reality headset.

Tell us how EarthClassMail makes your life better, easier, or more enjoyable?

I have moved 15-20 times in the last 8 years for the line of business I’m in. It’s such a relief knowing that I don’t have to keep changing my address and I can get at my mail, anywhere at anytime.

What feature can we add or improvement can we make that would make you say, "shut the front door, I need that!"

I have all the features I need with Earth Class Mail service. It’s perfect.

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us today, any parting words or advice for our readers?

Earth Class Mail is an indispensable service for road warriors like myself. I don’t know what I did without it before! Get it.

Meet Claire Lew, CEO of KnowYourCompany.com

Our last customer spotlight highlighted a long time Earth Class Mail customer.  This time around we chat with one of our newest customers.   I am thrilled to introduce you to Claire Lew, CEO of KnowYourCompany.com. KnowYourCompany.com is a killer software tool that helps CEOs with 25 to 75 employees overcome growing pains.  I used when I was CEO of HomeFinder.com, and we're implementing at Earth Class Mail this week.

Thanks for so much for sharing your story Claire, Can you tell us a bit about yourself and KnowYourCompany.com? What does KnowYourCompany.com do, and what sets you apart?

Sure thing! I'm Claire Lew, the CEO of Know Your Company. We're a simple software tool that helps business owners with 25 to 75 employees overcome growing pains. The software was originally built by Basecamp (formerly 37signals). Since then, Know Your Company has helped over 8,000 people at companies like Airbnb and Kickstarter.

What do I mean by “growing pains”? As the founder of your company, you start with 5 or 10 people. But then you hit 30, 40, 50 employees. As you grow, it gets harder and harder to know what your employees think about the company, and how they think things could be better. Sustaining a good company culture is tough to do. You just don't feel as "in tune" with your company anymore.

That's where Know Your Company comes in. Every week, you're guaranteed to learn something new about your company you never knew before. You'll learn what folks are working on, you'll learn how people feel about employee benefits, the vision of the company, etc. And you'll learn more about your employees, and feel more connected to them as people.

How did you get started and why?

We were actually originally a software product built by Basecamp (formerly 37signals). In December 2013, they spun it out Know Your Company as it’s own separate company and asked me to run Know Your Company as its CEO (you can read more about the spin-off here).

How did I get involved in all of this, to begin with? A few years ago, I was an unhappy employee. I was working at an early stage ecommerce company. As an employee, I would have ideas and suggestions that I wanted to voice to our CEO – but I didn't feel comfortable doing so. I felt that I couldn’t give open and honest feedback at work.

So I decided to quit my job and dedicate myself to solving this problem. I founded ClarityBox, a consulting practice for CEOs, to help CEOs uncover what their employees really thought about the company, and to help employees feel more connected to their company, as well.

Basecamp (then called 37signals) was my first official client. Coincidentally, Basecamp also happened to be focused on solving the same problem. They were building a software product…called Know Your Company. The rest is history from there!

Do you have an incredible customer success story you can share?

Ah, yes! We're lucky to have quite a few customer success stories. One story that always sticks out to me is about one of our customers, Paul Bellow, co-CEO of Yellow Pencil, a web consultancy based in Canada. He told me that they actually changed their target market as a company because of suggestions that employees gave through Know Your Company. Without Know Your Company, Yellow Pencil never would've learned that valuable insight and made that important shift in their business.

That's just one story, though. If you were curious, we're humbled to have a whole bunch of nice things that other CEOs have said about us.

What’s the best business decision you made in the last year?

By far, the best business decision I made in the last year is to hire our programmer, Matt. He absolutely kicks butt. Plus, we're a small company too – two people, in fact :-) We support over 8,000 people who use our product. So choosing Employee #2 was critical. It goes to show how the right hire can really make all the difference. Matt, thank you for everything you do for us!

Can you share a tip, trick, hack, tool or service with our readers that makes you better, or makes your days more effective?

One tip I try to live by is “focus”. Sure, it's common to hear, "You need to have focus in your business." But practicing that on a daily basis requires real disciple.

For us, as a small company, we have to stay focused in order to survive. And it's paid huge dividends.

To force ourselves to be focused, we'll pick one thing to focus for a month – and only one thing – and throw all of our energy behind it. For instance, one month our focus might be to redesign our blog. Another month, it might be to improve our Icebreakers feature.

By only choosing to focus on one thing at a time, we’re able to execute on that one thing much better.

Why did you choose to become a EarthClassMail customer?

I'm out on the road pretty often, doing a lot of speaking (you can check out some of the talks I've done here, if you’d like!). We're also a 100% remote company (I live in Chicago, Matt lives in Atlanta).

So checking our mail regularly can be a real obstacle. I loved the fact that EarthClassMail takes all the hassle out of it. Now, I no longer have to worry, "Oh is a client's check arriving soon, and will I have time to cash it?” Or, "Am I going to miss an important insurance notice because I'm out on the road the next month?"

EarthClassMail saves me all that time and stress. Signing up for the service was a no-brainer for us.

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us today, any parting words or advice for our readers?

Thanks so much for having me here! Was fun to share a bit about ourselves, and hopefully, it was useful to learn about us too. If you're business owner who's felt those growing pains I mentioned earlier, definitely feel free to reach out to me directly at claire@knowyourcompany.com, or check us out at http://knowyourcompany.com. I’d love to see if we could help.

Have a great week! 

Want to make your business more efficient?  Sign up for Earth Class Mail and say goodbye to paper mail drudgery.

Meet Robert Bergqvist, Co-Founder & CEO of RunMags

Our customers rock. We love to share their stories, and are thrilled to introduce you to the next customer in our customer spotlight series, Robert Bergqvist, Co-Founder and CEO of RunMags Inc (www.runmags.com) - RunMags is a cloud-based CRM & fulfillment software platform for progressive magazine publishers.

Thanks for so much for sharing your story Robert, Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your company? What does RunMags.com do, and what sets you apart?

I’m a Swedish guy with a wife and two young kids and we like to travel to experience different cultures. Last year we moved back from the United States but before we did, we spent a couple of months at a retreat in the jungle of Costa Rica.

When my co-founder and I started RunMags, we set out to transform the way modern magazine publishers do business. RunMags is a cloud-based software platform with a mission to make modern magazine publishing manageable and profitable. It’s an all-in-one, integrated solution for managing CRM, ad sales, subscribers, proposals, contracts, pagination, billing, reports and more. RunMags improves productivity by automating tedious tasks and improving collaboration within the team.

The company RunMags Inc. was registered in the State of Delaware and early on we decided to create an office-less company that would allow our team to work from anywhere in the world. So when registering the company, we made sure to have a mailing address with EarthClassMail in order to fit our mobile lifestyle.

How did you get started and why?

There are a quite a few software solutions in the market specialized in specific fields like CRM, accounting, project management and pagination, but we noticed that there was a need for an integrated solution at an affordable price. Running a publishing business is time consuming and the industry is very competitive; our software helps publishers run a profitable business and increase their sales by reducing tedious administrative work and improving productivity.

Do you have an incredible customer success story you can share?

Certainly! One of our oldest customers is a European magazine that doubled their revenue in the last year. While this is not solely due to using our software, RunMags did help them close more deals faster since great looking proposals can be generated from the system without the need to type up a document.

While growing, the company has been able to maintain a slim organization. Before starting with RunMags, they had several spreadsheets to keep track of customers and sales orders. Sometimes there was confusion about what had been agreed with customers and invoicing was a process that took two weeks of working time. Now each order is managed in RunMags, reminders are emailed automatically to customers and invoicing takes two minutes instead of two weeks.

What’s the best business decision you made in the last year?

In March of 2015, we announced a change to RunMags’ pricing structure to include unlimited free users. Up until that point RunMags had a very traditional pricing structure with a user-based component, in large because we were not sure how the cost of Amazon’s cloud hosting service would increase as we grew and onboarded customers.

Anyone that has implemented a CRM or ERP project knows that user adoption is key to success. The more people that get onboard, the more likely it is that using the new system becomes part of daily life. Once our customer base grew to a certain point, we were able to better predict our cost and concluded that we could give our customers unlimited free users to help them drive user adoption without feeling it necessary to limit the number of users due to increased cost.

The change was really well received by customers and I have heard from many of them that it was one of the reasons for opting for our solution as it removed a hurdle in the decision-making process. In the long term, I’m absolutely convinced that the improved user adoption will deliver great customer retention numbers for us.

Can you share a tip, trick, hack, tool or service with our readers that makes you better, or makes your days more effective?

At work I’m all about elimination of things that have little impact and automation of anything that can be done by a computer. Google Apps for Work is such a great platform used by many companies and my advice to other company owners and CEOs would be to make a serious effort to try out Chromebooks and let go of all Microsoft and Apple tools in favor of Google Apps and third party apps for the Google Apps Ecosystem like UberConference, Switch, HipChat and Trello.

Once you mentally break free, you will never want to go back to pesky software updates that suddenly reboot your computer or an IT staff and hardware infrastructure that cost a fortune and break down all the time. With Google Apps, there’s no .pst file that can get corrupted, making you loose all your email. If your Chromebook is stolen, you can have it replaced at a low cost and once you start up the new machine you have access to all the documents and files that you had on the stolen one.

Tell us how EarthClassMail makes you better at your job, or your company better at what it does?

EarthClassMail has really been an enabler for the nomadic lifestyle that we want to lead. There are plenty of software tools and gadgets that allow you to travel and still go about business, but there is also the need for a physical address that government agencies, your bank and others need for you to have.

As we were in Costa Rica, I received an important parcel at EarthClassMail. After seeing the scanned document I had the parcel forwarded to the InterContinental hotel in San Francisco where we were going to stay for a few days on our route to Sweden. A few weeks later, I could pick up the parcel as we checked into the hotel.

What feature can we add or improvement can we make that would make you say, "shut the front door, I need that!"

I’m eagerly waiting to be able to sign in with Google into our EarthClassMail account and to assign user access through Google Admin, thereby making it even easier to use the service. Also, in the name of automation, I would welcome the ability to have EarthClassMail PDF invoices be emailed straight into our cloud based accounting system Xero, using the custom email address we’ve received from Xero.

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us today, any parting words or advice for our readers?

If your line of business allows for a nomadic lifestyle, make sure to sign up for an account with EarthClassMail - then travel the world!

How to Look Ultra Professional in Three Steps


We were excited for the opportunity to publish a guest post in the Grasshopper blog. Here's an excerpt from "Fake It ‘Til You Make It: How to Look Ultra Professional in 3 Steps":

You only get one chance to make a first impression. First impressions often based on appearances, so it’s important that your business’s first impression is a professional one.

What pops into people’s heads when they see your email? What impression do they form when they call you? What do they think when they see your website? The more professional you look, the more customers will choose you and the more money they will spend with you.

But how can you make a teeny, tiny business look ultra professional? Here are 3 quick steps that will have you well on your way.

Earth Class Mail CEO Doug Breaker goes on to provide three excellent tips on putting your best foot forward:

  • Get a great domain name 
  • Sound like a business when people call you by setting up a service like Grasshopper
  • Get a business address that says, "This is serious business" using a service like Earth Class Mail
A professional business address says, “we’re a serious business”, and ensures that random prospects won’t be showing up at your house. Having a separate business address will also help you keep track of business versus personal mail.

Give the full post a read!

Hello Cloud Storage!

We've recently rolled out our cloud storage feature, enabling you to easily upload your scanned documents directly to Dropbox, Google Drive, or Box. This update dramatically increases your efficiency using Earth Class Mail, as you no longer need to individually download each item that has been scanned in your account.

Setup is easy, you simply need to provide Earth Class Mail access to your account and you'll be all set.

Rules can be put in place to auto upload documents as they are scanned, or you can upload them with just a tap or a click. The end result is a streamlined workflow.

To read more about uploading your files to the cloud and how to quickly setup the feature in your account, visit the Earth Class Mail help center.

As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback. We're focusing our efforts on understanding our customers needs and how they use Earth Class Mail, so that we can continue to add as much value to the service as possible.

...and yes, we're pretty excited too :)