Customer of the Week: Dan Michael
Envato, a company based in Australia, started operations in 2006, launching its first product on August 2006. Envato has an ecosystem of sites that include digital marketplaces, an educational platform, a group of blogs, a design gallery and a freelance network. These services help millions of people around the world get creative, earn an income online, and learn new skills.
Envato helps clients learn skills on Tuts+ so they can make DIY websites, or learn photography so they can sell stock photos, create graphics and video effects to make commercials, film or television.
1. What is your role and how long have you been with Envato?
I sit in a 6-person Marketing team at Envato. I look after the Elite Author program and manage a community of over 650 high value, highly skilled digital designers and developers, across eight online Marketplaces. I’m responsible for designing and implementing reward programs and marketing campaigns that provide value for both author and company.
2. What products or services does Envato offer?
Envato run digital Marketplaces with a global community of designers, developers, photographers, illustrators and producers all learning, building, designing and earning online.
3. What was your biggest challenge before installing Collabspot?
Gmail! Gmail is not my favorite email client, let’s just get that out of the way! But as a lean startup company we use lots of Google products for free collaboration. We also use Basecamp and their CRM, Highrise. So, managing all of my clients over email globally was a bit of a hassle before I found the secret of Collabspot!
4. What was your initial impression of Collabspot? Why do you love Collabspot?
I couldn’t believe that someone had discovered exactly what I needed in the form of an extension! Immediately, I knew that this was going to make my workflow a lot easier.
5. What are your favorite features in Collabspot and why?
First, the seamless integration with Gmail and Highrise. Bringing what is important to me on a daily basis with an easy and intuitive UX, right up front. I also like the ‘BCC for future emails for this contact’-feature. This is important as I don’t want to BCC everyone I deal with (internally not at all, but I email internally a LOT). So, being able to easily identify a client, then check this box, I know that Collabspot will then BCC all future interactions with this client and I don’t need to think about that again. I’m also really keen on the super quick ‘add to Highrise’ feature. New clients in the Elite author program are almost doubling annually so of course I receive lots of email from new authors who are not in Highrise yet… with Collabspot on the scene, I can quickly tick a box to add someone.
Integration with the web app. It’s great being able to see at a glance exactly what I said, the last time I communicated. Or if they are a new client whom I need to add into Highrise, I can do this with a few clicks, without leaving my train of thought, or current email.
6. What was your biggest achievement with Envato?
When I started with Envato, the processes in the Elite program were typically ‘lean’. Now, I am a process freak, I have to admit! I like things to be nicely wrapped in a process and cocooned in a spreadsheet. So I think my biggest achievement to date was taking the whole program on myself, from admin to email outreach, marketing and budgeting until I could finally step back and go ‘ahhh… that’s better!’. Now it’s a smooth running program with loads of slick processes in place to track, measure and report on our progress. I’ve streamlined things from multiple spreadsheets and reports to a single spreadsheet that tracks everything (including merch!) and a streamlined way of doing things that makes sense.
7. What was the biggest challenge that you experienced (with Envato) and how were you able to overcome it?
For me, it was the move from corporate life to startup. My previous experience in a large corporate company meant that I had a great head for all of this process and due diligence, but that doesn’t translate well to a lean startup! So I really had to change my way of thinking.
Being very output driven, I like to be able to see outcomes from my actions and this is quite different at Envato, where everyone is encouraged to work flexibly to suit themselves, and no one is chained to a desk and a mobile phone taking calls Monday through Sunday 24hrs a day dealing with crisis. So I guess my biggest challenge was learning to relax first and trust my own capabilities. It’s been a fantastic transformation and personally I have grown and developed loads in the last 12 months!