I see Millennials as little boys and girls, like myself, who grew up learning what a deadline is through renting movies from the local video store, or how to be responsible thanks to their Tamagotchi, and who had their first AI encounter with the creepy but cute Furby.


Twenty plus years later, we’re the startup generation with inflated egos, and we’re dreaming of becoming the next Musk, Jobs, Wojcicki, all thinking “just wait ‘till we get that awesome big, game-changing idea, and the world will see how special we are!”


Well, almost.


I started coding at the age of 12, by my second year of university I’ve hacked a public billboard in the city centre. So, I always thought that my future is in the new cool business which came out of a genius concept I came up with. 


Today, I’m startup founder getting close to my 30s, spending day (and often night) servicing and closing customers with a team of dedicated employees. There was no overnight idea, or instant success - it’s an average job, with average idea that god me started, and incremental changes as well as gradual improvement that got me where I am now.


So, I think that I’m more than qualified to talk about the topic of building a product, starting a company, and having a run at it.

Don’t Break Your Back Trying to Change the World

‍Adult life isn't fabulous, no matter what your Instagram profile says. My first job was in a successful medium-sized IT company where we build some great software. However, there was a constant tension between front-end and back-end developers.


If you don’t come from this world, I should explain that there are times when these teams must cooperate, and their tasks heavily interwine. That’s where the muddle begins, teams tend to reject assignments they were given if they feel overloaded, which leads to bottlenecks, incomplete tasks and project lags.


This is a big problem a lot of software development companies of that size are facing. The issue costs a lot, and it exists even outside of the software development industry.

It’s frustrating, and it was bugging me, because no one seemed to be bothered enough to do anything about it. Which is why I decided to give up my 9-to-5 job, gather a group of friends, and start building a software which 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’s 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. You’re not at college anymore, and the goal of your company isn’t to impress your friends. This is business, and your job is to make your customers satisfied.


To do this, you must rely on:

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

 

And I understand, the hardest thing to accept is that your awesome new idea isn’t working. Raising a startup can be madness, and I often feel like I’m trying to fight fire with gasoline. New possibilities are behind every corner, and you need to make decisions based on gut feeling and assumptions.


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


Soon enough, me and my team started working extra hard to put out this feature as soon as possible. We had no idea if it was going to work, but it just seemed like a great idea!


It failed. Big time.


It was new, it was cool. None of our competitors 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 because organizational structures are different, and you can’t compare each team’s work.


This feature didn’t bring any additional value to our product. It took up a lot of resources in terms of time, energy and focus, so I had to cut it loose. Even though it was “my baby”, even though I believed it was innovative and interesting, the KPIs and feedback were showing that I was wrong. Therefore, I had to be accountable and say no.


Keep Your Generation Y Gene on the Leash

‍Our generation was raised with a strong sense of optimism and possibility, which probably made us a bit more arrogant than our older colleagues. Successful entrepreneurs are always overconfident, and that’s a good thing. Yet, the core reason for many failures in the startup world lays there as well.


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’s hard to comprehend it, but once you embrace the fact that your knowledge is limited, and accept the mechanism of metrics and KPIs as your most valuable feedback, you’ll be much more likely to move forward and succeed.


Once I learned this, all the ideas I had to improve our employee tracking software were carefully thought through.

Wrap Up

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 fascinating 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.

This article was originally written on October 17th, 2017. It was updated on November 25th, 2019.

Workpuls Teramind ActivTrak Hubstaff DeskTime Time Doctor RescueTime Kickidler Veriato Work Examiner
OVERVIEW
Price $6/user/month $6/user/month $7.20/user/month $7/user/month $7/user/month $9.99/user/month $6/user/month $9.99/user/month $150/licence/year $60/licence (lifetime)
Free trial 7 days 7 days No 14 days 14 days 14 days 30 days 7 days Yes 30 days
Ease of use Very easy Difficult Very easy Easy Easy Very easy Very easy Very easy Very difficult Easy
TRACKING METHODS
Unlimited (tracker working 24/7)
Fixed (defined working hours)
Automatic (when computer is connected to a specified network)
Manual (start/stop)
Project based (track time only on projects)
GENERAL MONITORING FEATURES
Stealth mode
App and website usage
Real-time monitoring
Offline time tracking
Attendance
Activity levels
Keylogger
Geolocation
Remote desktop control
Website/activity blocking
SCREENSHOTS AND RECORDING
Screenshots
Screenshots on demand
Screen recording
PRODUCTIVITY FEATURES
Productivity trends
Websites and apps labeling
Category labeling
Productivity alerts
ADVANCED SECURITY FEATURES
User behavior analytics
Data loss prevention
Advanced file and web monitoring
REPORTING
Productivity reports
Team reports
Timelines
Email reports
Access management
PLATFORMS
Web
Mac desktop app
Windows desktop app
Linux desktop app
Mobile app iOS, Android iOS, Android iOS, Android iOS, Android iOS, Android Android
Browser extension Chrome Chrome Chrome
Other Citrix, VMware Chrome OS
OTHER
Support Phone, email, online Phone, email, online Phone, email, online Email, online Phone, email, online, in-person Online Phone, email, online Email, online, Viber, Whatsapp Phone, email, online, support ticket Phone, email, online
Knowledge base
Video tutorials
Integrations comming soon
API
Deployment cloud, on-premise cloud, on-premise, AWS, Azure cloud cloud cloud cloud cloud on-premise cloud, on-premise on-premise
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
Screenshots
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

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