An Interview with Kyle Richey on Goals and Habits – Kirby Ingles

Happy New Year! I hope you got off to a great start with your 2015 goals and habits. A few weeks ago, I connected with Kyle Richey right here on ASmithBlog.com after mentioning Strides in a post. We continued our conversation offline and Kyle agreed to do an interview. What you are going to LOVE in this interview is that Kyle brings his expertise as a goal and habit app developer and his own personal experiences, which led him to creating Strides. Kyle found a problem and created a solution. This interview is loaded with knowledge and experiences that you can use in 2015 for a more productive year. I hope you enjoy!

 

First, a little about Kyle.

kyle richeyKyle Richey is the Founder and CEO of StridesApp.com. He is the owner of Conquer Apathy, LLC. Conquer Apathy makes, markets, and manages websites. Kyle attended Wright University and majored in Industrial and Systems Engineering with a minor in Operations Management.

 

 

 

Q. Tell us a little about yourself and Strides.

A. Thanks Kirby! I have been obsessed with productivity and software designed to improve it for almost 10 years. I am that guy that has bought and used dozens of to-do list apps and project management tools, always on the lookout for the best one. Maybe you can relate?

About four years ago, I was thinking about New Year’s resolutions, and it dawned on me that there was nothing to set, track, manage, and see your progress on all your goals and habits in one place.

There are plenty of apps that let you track habits, but honestly I felt like they were just glorified task managers, some with charts to show you how often you did the “task”. But what if I want to get in the habit of drinking 6 glasses of water per day? If it is only checking one box, am I supposed to keep track of each glass somewhere else, then check it off the list? Plus, very few of them had flexible alerts and a way to hold myself accountable over time.

More importantly, I found that none of the apps out there let you track SMART Goals. So, I set out to create it myself, and after thousands of hours of behavioral science research, customer interviews, prototyping, designing and development, I am extremely proud to say that Strides is finally solving this problem for people in 107 countries.

 

Q. Do you have a productivity or personal growth quote that you can share?

A. There are many great quotes in this space, but this is one of my favorites.

 

It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” – Hemingway

 

My focus is on making it easier and more rewarding to make progress by seeing how far you have come, and that you are on pace to achieve your goal, so you do not have to wait until the end to be happy.

 

Q. Was there a goal or habit that caused you resistance and what strategy did you use overcome it?

A. Definitely. I would say the biggest was choosing the Important over the Urgent. I created a habit tracker with a goal of 5 times a week, and put it near the top of my dashboard, with an alert set to 8:00am so I would get the trigger right when I started working, reminding me to do the highest-impact tasks first. Once I got a streak going, I did not want to break it, so I formed the habit.

 

Q. Tell us when you figured out the importance of goal setting and habits.

A. Wow, great question. In 2006, I was in college, about to graduate in 2008, one of the worst times to look for a job in my field. On July 28th, I had one of the most important conversations of my life with my girlfriend (now wife) and realized that I could either work hard and hope to get a job doing something I was not that passionate about, or get serious about productivity to juggle finishing school and starting my own business. So, I focused intensely on habits designed to help me achieve my goals, and I was barely able to make ends meet by graduation. Fortunately, that was enough to let me keep at it full-time, and I am so glad I did.

 

Q. What would you do if a goal or plan was not working?

A. Typically, I find it is best to re-evaluate, paying close attention to “Why” you set the goal value and date. For example, if you picked an ambitious goal with a date that just made sense, it can be very helpful to think through how the date impacts the effort and stress required. Does the date actually matter, or is it just hurting productivity in the end? We had to push back the launch of Strides 3.0 (sync with iPad & Web apps) multiple times this year to make sure it is a well-developed release, but it is not worth getting stressed out about. In the end, the quality is what matters, so when things are not going as planned, consider changing the date or setting an achievable goal or milestone by that date to get momentum, then try to make up for it after that is done.

 

Q. How has your understanding of productivity changed over the years?

A. In short, a ton. I used to be focused on being “busy” rather than “productive”. I thought that as long as I was stressed and running around like crazy that I was being productive. There is no worse productivity mistake we can make. Productive is greater than busy.

 

Q. We all have had something in life that influenced us to grow, can you share a personal story?

A. My wife and I had our first baby last year, and it has been one of the best things that has ever happened to us, to me, and even my productivity. It is challenging at times, as any parent can attest to, but it also forces you to focus on what really matters, which means you have to prioritize. My patience has also grown tremendously since our son was born, and I am looking forward to having our second baby in May.

 

Q. Tell me what are some of the challenges you are facing today and how are you overcoming them.

A. The delays with this release have been my biggest challenges this year. It has been very difficult having to rewrite most of the app, all while coding the iPad app and a Web app that is catching up with 2+ years of iPhone development in a matter of months. We are overcoming it by improving our communication, tracking our progress, holding each other accountable, setting goals we can achieve quickly to build momentum, and pushing forward every day.

 

Q. Do you have a productivity tool or system that helps you get more done?

A. We use Trello for development tasks, Slack for communication, and Strides for our goals and habits.

 

Q. Can you give a piece of advice that would help us develop more focus.

A. It sounds funny because I realize not everyone is developing software, but one of the biggest things I have learned about focus is “build a business, not an app”. This can be applied to absolutely anything…I was originally trying to create an app company, building multiple $0.99 apps, throwing out a big net and seeing what I could catch. That strategy almost never works in the long term, partly because you are too spread thin, but mostly because you are never able to think big and focus on the highest-impact thing…the thing that will add the most value.

 

Q. What is the most influential personal growth or productivity book you have read?

A. I tried, but I can not pick one: “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown and “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday are both influential books I have read recently. “The Dip” by Seth Godin is one of my all-time favorites. For behavior change, “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg is a classic.

 

stridesQ. What can we expect from you and Strides in the future?

A. Strides 3.0 is due out next month, so it will be available on iPhone, iPad and Web. The Web app is responsive, so it looks great on all smartphones, tablets, laptop and desktop computers. Beyond that, we have designed and prototyped about a year’s worth of awesome features, including Accountability & Collaboration, goal-oriented Tasks & Projects, and Integrations with popular services. Here is to a productive 2015!

 

 

 

Q. How can we connect with you?

A. The best place would be twitter.com/iMakeStrides. Thanks!

 

Planning Your Social Media Strategy for 2015 – Reade Milner

Liken jkj

2015 promises to be bigger and better for businesses as it welcomes new twists and turns for social media strategists. Interesting predictions have been surfacing left and right, and seeing how accurate a lot of these predictions could be, planning for next year could prove to be interestingly challenging.

Building a Strong Social Media Strategy for 2015

How do the 2015 forecasts look? This should be the first thing in mind as you build the kind of strategy that is most likely to succeed this coming year. As expected, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are going to continue dominating their respective fields. New social media platforms like Ello, which claims to be ‘anti-Facebook’ has caused quite a buzz and is expected to make waves for 2015. Facebook ads are predicted to show a considerable increase in pricing, although this is not really surprising considering their past trends. Based on these facts, it is time to start creating strategies that are specific to each platform, while also finding ways to integrate content distribution throughout all the social media tools you utilize.

Assessing Your Assets

Where do you start with your strategy? A logical starting point would be assessing the assets and resources that you now have and figuring out what your weaknesses and areas for improvement are. Do you have the right people on the job? Are your skills polished enough to pull this off? How much time are you willing to give to social media marketing?

  • Dealing with people. Looking at the people you now dealing with, have they proven to be capable of boosting your social media presence and turning potentials into actual sales? If the answer is an easy no, then you also have an easy solution. Get people who can do magic in converting random social media users into followers, and eventually, into paying customers.
  • Dealing with skills. Do you think your team’s social media skills need some updating? Considering the continuous flow of trends in the industry, it is very important for social media marketers to go with the flow and move along with trends. In social media, the biggest mistake you can make is remaining stagnant. Learn more about emerging trends and stay on top of your game.
  • Dealing with time. How much of the work are you willing to do? If you believe that your time is better spent on another aspect of the business, hiring a virtual assistant will be the most logical next step. It saves you time at a low cost and leaves you to focus on core business responsibilities that you’d rather do yourself.

Moving with the Times

Of course, just because you create a strategy now does not mean that it will remain to be your blueprint for the entire 2015. Things happen and circumstances change. Especially when it comes to social media, you have to be ready for surprises. Make sure that you are willing to move with the times and tweak your strategies on a quarterly, monthly, or even weekly basis.

So, looking at what you have strategized so far, do you think you’re ready for 2015?

2014 Lessons from Experts Part 1-Jed Jurchenko

2014 has been an exciting year—I published my first book, started a blog, and had the privilege of becoming a regular contributor right here, on Adam Smith’s Blog. As someone who considers himself new to digital platform building, my 2014 goal was to learn from the best, and this pursuit led me on a journey of seeking wise advice. I did this by reading a multitude of books, taking a number of online courses, and personally emailing successful authors and bloggers. During this process, there was a phase in which I oversubscribed to email newsletters in order to receive the free eBooks, e-courses, and other lead-magnets. This led to a period of feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of email flooding my inbox, and an opposite phase of unsubscribing from the majority of these newsletters.

 

Leadership

 

After my year of seeking advice from the experts, there are two thoughts that stand out in my mind. First, when it comes to building a digital platform, the majority of the lessons from experts seem to be offering similar advice:

1) Write high-quality content.
2) Publish consistently.
3) Create a lead magnet—such as an e-book, seminar, recourse list, etc. that will give your tribe a quick win, and offer it in exchange for your audiences e-mails address.
4) Build your e-mail list, build your e-mail list, and continue to build your e-mail list.

Thousands of people currently follow this advice, and I have noticed that while some are experiencing mild success, others are overwhelmingly prosperous. This led me to wonder, If so many people are doing the same thing, yet some are moderately successful, while others are having massive success, what is it that makes the difference?

Since I haven’t yet reached the point of being massively successful myself, I am not able to answer this question from the position of an expert. On the other hand, I do know what has caused me to continue following a handful of leaders, and the results are surprising. I have discovered that I am continuing to follow the leaders I do, not so much for the information they pass on, but because of who they are. It is their character that makes the difference. Here is the first of my favorite platform building leaders of 2014, and the key lessons from experts I am learning.

Sandi Krakowski

My interactions with Sandi began by accident. She followed me on twitter one day, and I followed back. Then Sandi sent me a personal message. Although I don’t remember what the message said, I do remember that it was a simple, friendly greeting, and as a result, I found myself browsing her website arealchange.com. I was immediately impressed with the sheer number of followers Sandi has on social media and how active her followers are. Every post had an abundance of likes, retweets, and shares.

Fast-forward to a few months later. The publishing coach I worked with encouraged me to seek out endorsements for my upcoming book. Although this book was months away from being completed, my coach suggested that I “begin now” and “go big”. So, I put together an executive summary of the book, along with a PDF of the first two chapters and e-mailed it to my favorite authors requesting their endorsement. However, I quickly ran into a roadblock as I discovered that it was much more difficult to get in contact with these author, speakers, and leaders than I had realized. Many of them had no public contact information available. Others had a general e-mail address where my request was either lost in the shuffle or filtered out by an assistant.
Remembering my coach’s words to “go big”, I thought of Sandi. I knew very little about her at the time, except for the fact that she had a very large social media following, appeared to be an excellent copy writer, and loved Jesus. I decided that this was enough for me. Since my book was on leadership, psychology, and Jesus—and Sandi seemed to share a similar passion in each of these areas—I decided to send her an endorsement request. What happened next taught me more about platform building than the majority of eBooks and courses I took over the year. During our brief interactions, I noted the following.

  • First, Sandi’s e-mail address was readily accessible.
  • Second, within an hour of sending my endorsement request I received a thoughtful reply from Sandi herself.
  • Third, although Sandi didn’t provide an endorsement, her e-mail reply left me smiling and hopeful. In this short message Sandi outlined her endorsement process, let me know that if I followed this process, she would certainly consider my request, and let me know that she was believing that this would be a project she could fully support.

Suddenly I knew why Sandi has such a large following! Master communicators not only share valuable information, they also:

  • Make themselves available
  • Are willing to invest in the people around them, and
  • Genuinely long for the best interests of those they lead

As leaders and communicators, I believe that who we are is more impactful than the information we share. A leader’s character is often remembered long after their message is forgotten. Sandi is the first of three leaders whose character inspired me in 2014. Although our interactions were brief, they were also memorable and as a result, I am seeking to be increasingly accessible as I invest in and hope for the best for those I come in contact with. With that said, should you need to connect with me this year, you can contact me any time at jed@coffeeshopconversations.com.
Next week I will share with you a second lessons from experts social-media interaction of 2014 that is continuing to influence how I lead and communicate. Until then, know that I am here if you need me and that I am wishing you the best as we kick-off 2015. It’s going to be an incredible year!