My vision of Millennials is all the big girls and boys who, like myself, have learned the meaning of deadlines through renting from the local video store, responsibility via their Tamagotchi, and had their first AI encounter with the creepy but cute Furby.

Twenty years later, we are the startup generation with a bit of an inflated self-image, dreaming of becoming the next Musks, Jobs and Wojcickis – just wait ’till we get that awesome big, game-changing idea, and the world will see how special we are!

Well, almost.

Having started coding at the age of 12 and hacking the public billboard in the center of my city in the second year of studies, I’ve always imagined that my future would inevitably carry a cool business developed from a genius new concept I somehow came up with.

Today, I’m a 25-year old startup founder, spending day and night servicing and closing customers with a team of dedicated employees. There was no overnight idea or instant success, just an average job with the average colleagues that got me started, and incremental changes and gradual improvements that got me where I am now.

Don’t break your back trying to change the world

Adult life isn’t fabulous. My first job was in a successful medium-sized IT company where we built some great software, yet there was a constant tension between front-end and back-end developer teams.

In software development companies, every once in a while the time comes when back-end and front-end devs need to cooperate, and their jobs heavily intertwine.

This is where the muddle begins – kind of like the neighbors who constantly toss “junk” over the fence into each other’s backyard, teams tended to reject assignments they were given when they felt overloaded; which resulted in bottlenecks, undone tasks and project lags.

This was a big problem, it costed a lot, and it is an issue that exists in almost any company with teams that are supposed to cooperate.

Frustrating as it is, it bugged my mind even more that everybody was aware of this, yet somehow no one seemed to be bothered enough to change anything. So I decided to give up my 9-to-5 job, gathered a group of friends, and together we began building software that would solve this problem.

The idea was to make the entire work process completely transparent, by quantifying the amount of work done by each team and individual. It would track how much time individuals spent on which websites and apps, how many hours each team worked, and how many minutes and hours were wasted.

Simply and unglamorous, that is how the best remote employee tracking tool Workpuls was made.

A bit later, when I learned that automated time-tracking software was already a thing, I was worried that we were reinventing the wheel.

However, it turned out we made a real difference by making a change in the approach to the problem; because we used the data we had gathered from our clients to adjust the features of our solution and meet the demands. We took an existing wooden wheel, put a tire on it, and made it more applicable and convenient for the customer.

This was the most valuable lesson for me as a young entrepreneur. It is important for my generation to understand and accept the fact that most of us can’t create billion-dollar companies, and that is ok.

More often than not, the world will keep spinning without a radical tech innovation, while at every minute it craves for better solutions to the things that are already out there in the market.

Unless you’re an artist, the best way to produce new value usually isn’t to be insanely creative and obsessively dig for a radical new idea that no one ever had before; but instead to listen closely to the signals from your surroundings, recognize the problems, identify their source, and try to come up with a different solution to it.

..And try to KISS

Keep it short and simple. This is not college, and you are not trying to impress your friends; this is the market, and your job is to make your customers satisfied. For this, your only reliable methos consist from:

  • Trial and error, based on
  • Obeying the metrics.

It is the hardest thing to accept – that your awesome new idea isn’t working. Raising a startup is madness sometimes, and I often catch myself feeling like a firefighter trying to halt a fire with gasoline. New possibilities emerge constantly, and the decision often need to be made based on the gut feeling and assumptions.

Once, I came up with an idea for the new feature of our software, which was supposed to compare the productivity between different groups within the company and rank them accordingly, in order to help management track productivity among departments and prevent potential disputes.

I made myself and my team work extra hard because I was so excited to put it to work as soon as possible – there was no way of knowing if it was going to work at that point, but it just seemed so great.

It failed big time.

It was new and cool, and none of our competitor had it, but it was just as well useless. Although some particular teams might have been compared (like front and back-end devs), most of our clients simply couldn’t apply it since each organizational structure was specific, and each team’s work was usually incomparable.

That feature did not bring any additional value to our product; in fact, it was very costly in terms of energy and focus, so I had to decide to cut it loose. Even though it was “my baby,” even though I thought it was innovative and interesting, the KPIs and feedback were showing that my assumptions were wrong, so I had to be accountable and say no.

Keep your Generation Y gene on the leash

My generation was raised with a strong sense of optimism and unbounded possibility, which have made us a bit more arrogant than our older colleagues. Successful entrepreneurs are always overconfident, and that is a good thing, but there also lays the core reason for many failures in the startup world. We choose to ignore the numbers and metrics when they diverge from our assumptions, hoping that things will somehow work out, simply because we’re uncomfortable to admit to ourselves how we were downright wrong in the first place.

It is hard to comprehend, and even harder to overmaster, but once you embrace the fact that your knowledge is very limited, and accept the mechanism of metrics and KPIs your employee tracking software as your most valuable feedback, you will be much more likely to move forward and succeed.

Thanks to technology, globalization and the Internet, the values and aspirations of my generation are very much alike, no matter the country or family background we were born in (the memes are probably the most beautiful and fascination proof of that). Our passion for success, a meaningful job, and individuality have brought us far, but our hunger for extraordinary and uniqueness might as well be our biggest drawback.

To all of my peers, rivals and partners alike, who are trying to create something out there, I have two things to say: Instead for the Moon, shoot for the market; and instead of your ego, listen to the feedback.

Kronos Humanity Timeclockplus Tsheets Wheniwork Deputy Replicon Jibble EbilityTimeTracker OnTheClock
OVERVIEW
Price (per month)Available upon requestFrom $2 per userAvailable upon requestFrom $6.40 per user + $16Free for up to 75 usersFrom $2.50 per userBasic plan: $30 for 5 users + $5 per additional userFrom $1.50 per employeeFrom $4 per user + $8From $2.20 per user
Free trial30 days14 daysYes14 days14 days14 days30 days
Ease of useDifficultEasyDifficultVery easyEasyEasyDifficultVery easyEasyEasy
FEATURES
Timecard management
Scheduling
Shift Trading
Timesheets
Break time management
Real-time tracking
PTO Management
Payroll
Invoicing
Client billing
GPS tracking
Clock out reminders
Alerts
Manual time
PUNCH-IN METHODS
Web app
Mobile app
Time clock device
Time clock kiosk
Facial recognition
Fingerprint scanning
Geofencing
Group punch-in
REPORTING
Visual reports
Email reports
Time rounding
MANAGEMENT
Permissions
Manager approvals
Add time for others
Integrations
PLATFORMS
Web
Android app
iOS app
Mac desktop app
Windows desktop app
Linux desktop app
OTHER
SupportPhone and onlinePhone and onlinePhone, chat and onlinePhone and chatEmail and onlineChat and phonePhone, email, chat and onlinePhone and onlinePhone, email, chat and onlinePhone and online
Knowledge base
Video tutorials
Community forum
API
Workpuls Hubstaff Toggl TimeDoctor Harvest TimeCamp Timely Everhour Tick TMetric
OVERVIEW
Price (per month) $6 per user $5.83 per user $9 per user $9.99 per user $10.80 per user $5.25 per user $99 for 5 users $7 per user $19 for 10 projects $5 per user
Free trial 7 days 14 days 30 days 14 days 30 days Yes 14 days 14 days 30 days 30 days
Ease of use Very easy Difficult Difficult Very easy Easy Very easy Easy Difficult Very easy Difficult
TIME TRACKING METHODS
Manual
Start/stop buttons
Automatic time mapping
IN-DEPTH TASK AND PROJECT ANALYSIS
Sreenshots
App and website usage
Activity levels coming soon
Real-time tracking
TASK AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Project adding
Project templates
Project status
Task assignment
Task priorities
Budgeting coming soon
Mark billable/non-billable hours
Payroll calculation
Invoicing
ALERTS
Idle time reminders
Deadline alerts coming soon
Budget alerts coming soon
REPORTING
Client login
Productivity analysis
Email reports coming soon
PLATFORMS
Web
Mac desktop app
Windows desktop app
Linux desktop app coming soon
iOS app Beta
Android app
Browser extension Chrome Chrome, Firefox Chrome Chrome Chrome, Firefox Chrome Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge
OTHER
Support Phone and online Email and online Email and online Online Online, email and phone Email, online and support ticket Email and chat Email and chat Email Chat
Knowledge base
Video tutorials
Integrations coming soon
API
On-premise hosting

Ready to Take Full Control Of Your Workplace?

Try the simplest solution today…

Try Now For Free