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Beautifully simple. Showcasing your creativity is easy with Portfolio.

When your creative work is your life’s work, nothing is more important than having a beautiful portfolio website. With Portfolio – which comes free with any Adobe Creative Cloud plan – you can quickly and simply build a website to showcase your creative work, so you can get back to doing what you do best.

Flexible Custom Design: Our layouts are the foundation to build your own unique Portfolio. Pick one as a starting point, and then customize it to create a tailor-made website. Your work looks beautiful and polished in Portfolio, whether you choose an “off-the-shelf” layout, or prefer to customize.

Responsive Design: Ensure your work looks great across devices with a responsive layout optimized for all screen sizes. Preview your website on desktop, tablet, and mobile as you edit.

Painless Customization: Our editor is designed to take the pain out of editing and creating your website. Focus on what you’re creating with a distraction-free editor, and see your creative vision come to life in just a few clicks.

Live Editing

Watch your changes as you make them, using the simple editing remote. Anything you can see, you can customize.

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My thanks to Adobe for sponsoring the site this week! Sponsorship by The Syndicate.

Monday, June 20

Mobile app revenue is on track to exceed $100 billion by 2020. A few apps are making over a million dollars a day but unfortunately the large majority of app publishers today make less than $500 a month. The publishers that dominate the app stores are the ones with the deep pockets required to collect, process and utilize data at an extremely sophisticated level. The rest, whether it’s indie app developers or many Fortune 1,000 companies, simply have basic mobile analytics to try and understand their users.

Pyze Growth Intelligence brings the same sophisticated intelligence and marketing services that big companies use to the fingertips of all app publishers. Pyze automatically understands the entire userbase, uses machine learning to create clusters of similar groups and automates interactions with each user to put your app’s growth on autopilot.

Intelligence Explorer selectively targets the entire user base through automated segmentation and real-time explorations across key behavioral attributes like engagement, loyalty, revenue, attrition-risk, and more.

Growth Automation creates interaction points used to onboard new users, engage active users and resurrect users in attrition, automatically driven by behavioral intelligence, milestones and key user actions.

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My thanks to Pyze for sponsoring the site this week. Sponsorship by The Syndicate.

This interview with MetaFilter founder, Matt Haughey, has made the rounds. It’s an excellent read, a difficult story, and is filled with a ton of business lessons.

My two biggest takeaways from it were regarding (a) the importance of income diversification and (b) the importance of an business operations savings fund that holds at least 6 months of operating expenses.

While these two principles have always been a part of how I run my business, reading Matt’s story about MetaFilter reminded me not to get lazy about them at all.

I also was thinking about how the fine line it is between running a bootstrapped business that has plenty of savings in the bank but that also doesn’t operate with a scarcity mindset, and becoming fearful or anxious about cashflow.

The key there, I believe, is having the long-game in mind. It’s not wise to hoard all your cash, but neither is it wise to spend too quickly. Once you have that healthy amount in savings, then stop saving and start investing more aggressively.

Related reading and wisdom:

Thursday, June 16

Corbett Barr:

We know what needs to be done. The strategy part is almost laughably simple. But the execution… the execution phase is the graveyard of good intentions.

Showing up day after day after day, to do repeatedly do something, requires incredible self-discipline and focus.

Tuesday, May 17

Have you ever wanted to schedule your email rather than send it right away? Or sent an email to a wrong person?

If your answer is yes, then MailButler is just the right thing for you.

This program allows you to schedule an email to be sent at a specific date and time. So you can fulfill lots of tasks in advance by writing several emails at once and letting MailButler ensure their scheduled delivery later.

Or another familiar situation: incorrectly addressed, unfinished, or in any other way mistaken email. Luckily, MailButler keeps the email in your computer’s outbox for a short while once you’ve pressed “send”—just define how long you want this safety period to be. During this time you can undo the sending of the email and correct it the way you want.

There are 7 other cool features that MailButler adds to your Apple Mail, such as the ability to convert emails to notes, upload attachments to the cloud regardless of size, create beautiful signatures, and more. The developers are regularly adding new components to this list.

Check it out now! Use this coupon code to get a 20% discount (valid for one month): TOOLS_TOYS20

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My thanks to MailButler for sponsoring the site this week. Sponsorship via The Syndicate.

Monday, May 16

The silliness of the name is (I hope) inversely proportional to the awesomeness of what we’re doing…

In a couple of weeks I’m leading a group through The Focus Course. I’ll be doing the course myself — sharing my daily progress on the community forums — and so will hundreds of other folks.

Click here to find out more and RSVP.

Thursday, May 12

Kyle Steed:

There is never any secret to someones success. There is only one foot in front of the other. There will always be someone ahead of and behind you. There will always be an unfair advantage. There will always be an excuse not to do it.

Back in 2012, I went to the first Circles Conference, and Kyle gave the opening talk. He spoke about the challenges of design from both a skill standpoint and a philosophical standpoint. His point, in a nutshell, was that learning Photoshop is easy compared to learning how to solve problems.

Monday, May 9

When Marco shared his AppleScript for “Automatic Social Discipline” last fall, I built a Keyboard Maestro version of it. Except that my Keyboard Maestro version had this weird bug where it would just quit Tweetbot or Mail after 10 minutes the moment those apps were “out of focus”.

Marco’s new Mac app, Quitter, is much better.

Live smarter by knowing more about the place you care about most. Eve Energy understands your energy consumption — instantly see how much energy your devices are using, and switch them on or off with a simple tap or using Siri.

Taking advantage of Apple’s revolutionary HomeKit technology, Eve offers unparalleled ease of use, advanced security, and tight integration with Siri. Eve Energy connects directly to your iPhone or iPad using Bluetooth Smart technology, without requiring a hub, gateway or bridge.

  • Know your home: instantly see how much energy your devices are using
  • Convenient control: switch your devices on or off with a simple tap or using Siri
  • Gain insights: understand your energy consumption
  • HomeKit-enabled: unparalleled ease of use and advanced security
  • Works with Siri: control your devices connected to Eve Energy with just your voice
  • Easy setup: direct connection using Bluetooth Smart technology, no hub or gateway required

About Eve With Eve, see your home at a glance, right on your iPhone and iPad. The Eve family of HomeKit accessories gathers data on air quality, temperature, humidity, air pressure, energy consumption and more. Gain insights that help you improve your comfort, and make your home a smarter place. Use the free Eve app to view all data collected by Eve and control all accessories featuring HomeKit technology.

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My thanks to Elgato for sponsoring the site this week. Sponsorship by The Syndicate.

Wednesday, April 20

Have you ever wanted to schedule your email rather than send it right away? Or wondered if the person has actually opened your email?

MailButler allows you to schedule an email to be sent at a specific date and time. Thus, you can fulfill lots of tasks beforehand by writing several emails at once and letting MailButler ensure their scheduled delivery later.

Or another familiar situation: you sent an email several days ago, but still haven’t received a reply. What is the best way to react in this case?

Email Tracking, MailButler’s new feature, allows you to know if the recipient has actually opened your email. If you know that the first email has already been read, you can proceed with a follow-up. If it has not been read, you should rather wait a few days.

There are 6 other cool features that MailButler adds to your Apple Mail, such as the ability to convert emails to notes, upload email attachments regardless of size, and more. The developers plan to add new things to this list.

Check it out now! Use this coupon code to get 20% discount on the original price (valid one month): MAILBUTLER_BLANC

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My thanks to MailButler for sponsoring the site this week. Sponsorship by The Syndicate.

Tuesday, April 12

ReadBundle is back, with an unbeatable collection of books and resources for freelancers, designers, marketers, startups, and growth hackers. In our second bundle, you can save 93% on 11 fantastic eBooks — usually $395, this bundle is yours this week for just $29!

In this bundle, books include Design for Founders by Heidi Pungartnik, Bootstrapping Design by Jarrod Drysdale, Emails That Win You Clients by Robert Williams, and Aspirational by Erin Walker.

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My thanks to ReadBundle for sponsoring the site this week.

Wednesday, March 16

We’ve all come to expect the most from our athletic clothes. But for some reason, the clothes we wear to work – when we’ve got to perform at our best — still hold us back. In an age where clothing is getting more and more capable, our everyday wardrobe still feels stiff and constricting — as if it were designed for a static mannequin, with fabric and construction that hardly changed in decades. The time for change is now.

Spearheading the long-overdue reinvention? Ministry of Supply, a menswear brand that uses performance technology and real-life experience to create professional essentials – think dress shirts, slacks, and sweaters — that wick sweat, ventilate, and enable movement just like your gym clothes do, while still looking like traditional office wear.

Take their Aviator 2 Suit, for example. It’s designed to enable extreme movement without losing its formal structure, thanks to a special stretchy knit fabric that looks and feels like traditional woven material. To prove just how capable the suit is, Ministry of Supply co-founder Gihan Amarasiriwardena ran a half-marathon wearing the Aviator 2 (along with a dress shirt and dress socks from the brand), and broke the Guinness World record for fastest half-marathon time while wearing a suit.

Not only do the garments adapt to factors like body temperature and movement, but their classic, minimalist aesthetics and color palettes work for virtually any occasion, whether you add a tie for a big meeting or go untucked for weekend errands. Give Ministry of Supply a try for yourself — with 15% off first purchases, now’s the time. Use the code TOOLSTOYS16 for 15% off your first purchase.

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My thanks to Ministry of Supply for sponsoring the site this week. Sponsorship by The Syndicate.

Monday, March 7

Half of us will lose data this year, but you don’t have to. Just back up your data using Backblaze online backup. A mere $5 a month gets you unlimited, unthrottled, uncomplicated backup.

With Backblaze, you’ll know your data is safe — movies, music, photos, tax returns, important work files, or anything else. Backblaze continuously, securely, and reliably backs up all the data on your computer and external hard drives.

Restoring files using Backblaze couldn’t be easier: You can download a single file or all of your data through any web browser, or even using your iPhone. Don’t want to deal with downloads? Backblaze can even FedEx you a flash thumbdrive or a USB hard drive.

You never know when disaster will strike. Hard drives fail, computers stop working, gear goes missing or gets stolen. A spilled glass of wine or a hard drop to the floor can destroy months or years worth of work. But that doesn’t mean you have to lose your data or stop working. Backblaze can help.

For just $5/month, you can securely back up all the data on your computer. It’s easy. Stop putting it off. Start your free trial, and get your backup started now.

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My thanks to Backblaze for sponsoring the RSS feed this week. I’ve been using Backblaze for several years — highly recommended. Sponsorship by The Syndicate.

Monday, February 29

As your company grows, so does your need for technology to support it. Even with a small number of iPads, iPhones, or Macs, it becomes time consuming to individually configure settings. It can be challenging determining which apps to download, how to distribute them, and who’s Apple ID should be associated with the app. Modifying even a single setting requires a user to manually update each device. This job often gets pushed to one or two people taking them away from their primary job function.

This is why we created Bushel — to help eliminate these manual tasks with an easy-to-use tool that requires little investment of time or money. Say goodbye to the manual configuration process of yesterday. By offering Bushel for free for the first three devices, we make over the air device management easy and affordable for organizations of any size. Additional devices are only $2/month with no contracts or commitments.

Save time and money all while keeping your company Apple devices secure. Sign up for free and try Bushel today.

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My thanks to Bushel for sponsoring the RSS feed this week. Sponsorship by The Syndicate.

Thursday, February 18

This coming March 14-17, the organizers of CocoaConf will be holding a special event in the heart of Yosemite National Park. It’s called Yosemite, and it’s a conference for Apple developers, designers, and enthusiasts.

Speakers this year include Andy Ihnatko, Serenity Caldwell, Jonathan Mann, Neven and Christa Mrgan, Jean MacDonald, and Jim Dalrymple. The conference also features two photo walks led by TED photographer James Duncan Davidson, and a Breakpoint Jam with James Dempsey of James Dempsey and the Breakpoints.

Use code “BLANC” to save 20% on your tickets when registering at cocoaconf.com/yosemite.

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My thanks to CocoaConf for sponsoring the site this week.

Monday, January 25

ReadBundle is an unbeatable collection of books and resources for entrepreneurs, designers, marketers, startups, and growth hackers. You can save 90% on 12 fantastic eBooks — usually $285, this bundle is yours this week for just $29!

In this bundle, books include Everything I Know by Paul Jarvis, Email Field Guide by David Sparks, Design for Conversions by Brian Casel, and Build & Launch by Justin Jackson.

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My thanks to ReadBundle for sponsoring the site this week.

Friday, January 8

curbi gives parents peace of mind; helping manage screen time while providing the best solution so the entire family can enjoy the online world as much as the real world.

curbi is now available on Android as well.

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My thanks to curbi for sponsoring the sites this week. curbi is pretty incredible, especially if you’ve got a family of devices you’d like to help safeguard.

Thursday, January 7

Just a friendly reminder that the special price for 2016’s big update to The Focus Course ends today.

As you know, The Focus Course was just updated with about 50 new videos! It’s awesome.

The Course is normally $350, but right now it’s just $297. And, if you hadn’t noticed, today is the last day it will be available at this price.

If you’re ready to bring your life into focus, I’d like to humbly suggest that right now is an excellent time to sign up. It’s the beginning of the year, there’s a slew of new folks just starting out the course, and, well, the price is right.

When you sign up, you’ll get instant access to everything in the course right away.

Now, of course, you don’t have to start right now. The Focus Course is self-paced and you have lifetime access. Which means you can start The Focus Course whenever you’re ready, and you can move through it at a pace which works best for you.

(In other news, tomorrow we’ll return to our regularly scheduled publishing, as Fantastic Friday will be making its debut appearance here on the website itself. And there are some awesome things in the pipe for the rest of January and February. But more on that next week…)

Thursday, December 24

It’s Christmas Eve. And as I write this I’m in Colorado with my family.

Which is why today’s Elements of Focus video is all about community.

For those of you who’ve been taking the free class, you’ll know that everything we’ve covered so far — strengthening personal integrity, spending time on what’s most important, recognizing the progress we make and celebrating it, living a focused life, staying healthy when life is super busy, etc. — it is all enhanced through meaningful relationships.

Your whole life is enhanced through relationships.

So here we are. In the midst of the holiday season, where they say it’s better to give than receive. Which is true. But we still need to receive. Relationships are a two-way street, and you need comrades, input, and help. We all do.

Most of us like the idea of giving and providing value. In our work place, in our side-gig, in our down time. We love to help and serve. But what can be hard is asking for help… we don’t naturally seek out mentorship, assistance, and accountability.

That’s what today’s video is about.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch it. Then make a moment to give to someone else by encouraging, helping, supporting, or teaching them. But don’t stop there — I hope you’ll also ask someone for advice, feedback, support, or accountability in an area you need social support in.

Monday, December 21

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I should link to another podcast episode.

Well, today’s your day. Because Katie Floyd and David Sparks were kind enough to invite me back on to their incredible podcast, Mac Power Users.

In the show we talked about all sorts of life-centric stuff related to living a focused life. And, of course, it wouldn’t be an episode of MPU if we didn’t also talk about nerdy topics such as workflows, favorite software, and more.

Wednesday, December 16

Speaking of podcasts that are speaking of success, there’s an episode of the EntreLeadership podcast with Shawn Achor that’s quite excellent.

Shawn Achor’s studies and teachings on what he calls the Happiness Advantage are fantastic. If you haven’t read his book or watched his TED talk, you should definitely check them out. I used a lot of his research and findings within The Focus Course.

So, a few weeks ago, Shawn was a guest on the EntreLeadership podcast. He basically gave a crash course overview on what fuels happiness in our lives and how critical that is to actually attaining success.

Tuesday, December 15

If you’re an entrepreneur (just starting out or seasoned), you’ll love The Fizzle Show podcast.

I’ve long been a fan of the Fizzle Show (they even had me on the show once).

When I was creating The Focus Course earlier this year, I went through a ton of the Fizzle podcasts related creating an online course, building an audience, selling a product. Those shows were instrumental in helping me to build something that was both awesome and profitable. Lately (as in the past few dozen episodes) they’ve just been on fire.

This latest episode of the Fizzle Show is absolutely fantastic. The discussion and advice given by the Fizzle team can literally change your life.

Though the Fizzle Show is usually aimed at the Indie Entrepreneur, this episode on defining success is required listening for just about anybody and everybody.

In the show, Corbett Barr says this:

The more I work on closing that gap between who I am and who I want to be, the more important I realize systems are.

I couldn’t agree more.

If you’ve watched the trailer video I made for The Power of a Focused Life, then you know my stance on the difference between passive living and intentional living. In short, the dreams of our heart (a.k.a. our definition of success) won’t come about by just wishing and wanting. They’re built from the ground up, one day at a time.

And, the best way to make sure you’re making progress, day by day, on the things that are most important to you, is to know what your vision and values are and then keep short accounts with how you’re spending your time and energy.

Friday, December 11

As you may already know, I’m doing a free class. It’s called The Elements of Focus and it starts now.

There are 16 videos I recorded just for this. Each one is fun and personal. We’ll be covering a handful of topics that I believe are most important to meaningful productivity and doing our best creative work.

Moreover, something we’ll be diving into is how to gain traction in your business or side project. As people have been signing up for the class, I’ve heard from hundreds of registrants saying that one of their biggest challenges right now is something related to their career: either trying to build up their new gig, build up a side-project, or considering a career move.

So there are definitely going to be days where I discuss how to gain traction and momentum on your business or side project.

I realize it’s right over the holiday, which is why each day’s video is less than 5 minutes. Plus, if you’re like me, you enjoy taking some of your time off as an opportunity to learn something new and work on a side-project.

Also, while the class is happening, I’ll be working on putting together a significant update to The Focus Course. Registration for the Focus Course itself will re-open on December 29 when all the updates go live!

All that said, check out the free class and sign up. It begins on today (though you can jump in anytime). It’s going to be superfun! I hope you join me.

What is Uuni?

  • It heats up to 840°F (450°C) in less than 10 minutes.
  • That intense heat cooks a pizza in just 90 seconds.
  • It burns wood for an authentic flavour.

Uuni is super fast to assemble — less than ten minutes. It’s easy to adjust the temperature with its clever hopper system. Uuni is made of beautiful brushed stainless steel so it can take any weather you throw at it (we’re based in Scotland so we know!). Check it out, and make sure to read some of the reviews our customers have left — we’re very proud of them.

Food. Fire. Uuni.

$20 off your Uuni 2? Please use the code toolsandtoys

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A huge thanks to Uuni for again sponsoring the site this week. I’ve got an Uuni here at my place and I can tell you that it is awesome.

Thursday, December 3

Last Christmas I was given a Col. Littleton No. 1 Grip weekender bag. It was an epic gift. It’s beautiful.

Then, last week I came across this episode of the EntreLeadership podcast where they interviewed Col. Littleton himself, and he is the man.

I love the part when he goes off on how all the people who copy his bags make things that are cheaper and of less quality — nobody is copying Col. Littleton bag and making it better and more expensive (reminds me of this awesome video by Saddleback Leather on how to knock off their most popular bag).

He also has some awesome thoughts on how to treat your customers / audience, and how to always do more work than what you’re paid for.

There are so many great nuggets in this conversation, you’ve got to give it a listen.

Wednesday, December 2

A couple of weeks ago I recorded 60 videos over the span of 5 days.

(It was much less crazy and much more fun than it sounds.)

41 of the videos are for a major update to The Focus Course that will be going live at the end of this month. And 19 of the videos are for this free class I’m doing, starting on December 13.

Here’s a picture of me looking serious, when what I’m actually doing is wrangling the world’s most annoying teleprompter app.

I just got back all the videos for the upcoming free class, The Elements of Focus. And, one of them got cut from the final class schedule.

So… I thought it’d be fun to share it with you. Because, why not?

The idea behind this video is based on the quote from Dave Ramsey where the says, “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”

Living like nobody else is a curious and difficult metric.

It’s pointless (not to mention rude) to look around at folks and assume they are or are not on track to attain their goals. However, statistically speaking, the majority of people will not actually reach their goals.

We know this because one of the most common regrets of the dying is that they worked too hard and neglected their relationships, values, and even their own happiness. And yet, despite all that hard work, the average retiree at age 65 has only enough in savings to pay for less than 2 years worth of living expenses.

Add on top the fact that we live in an unprecedented “Age of Distraction” where we never have to be bored. In our pocket we carry around instant access to an incessant stream of real-time news and entertainment.

In short, if we want to have any hope of accomplishing our goals and living out our life vision, we need to be intentional and proactive.

But sometimes we don’t know where to start.

So, I humbly suggest that perhaps we should simply start by living differently than most people…

All that said, check out the video. And then, don’t forget to sign up for the free class (if you haven’t already).

Monday, November 30

Lecharl is a watchmaker brand from Sweden. Our vision is to create beautiful, timeless and elegant timepieces, where classic and modern design seamlessly merges. When it comes to design and quality, we at Lecharl follow our own mind and vision, regardless of trends. And this is something we are truly proud of.

Our first model, Born 1929, is available in three different and distinct styles: Black, Gold or Rose gold. And your new Lecharl watch will be delivered in an elegantly designed box.

As a reader of shawnblanc.net, you get a 10% discount on your purchase from Lecharl. Use the code shawn10 when you checkout — and remember that we always offer free, worldwide shipping.

We invite you to visit us at www.lecharl.com. We would also be glad if you want to connect with us on Instagram under @lecharlwatches.

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My thanks to Lecharl Watches for sponsoring the site this week. Don’t forget to use the code shawn10 at checkout to save 10-percent.

Tuesday, November 10

As you may have noticed from yesterday’s link, myself and the team over at The Sweet Setup have been working on a brand new iBook. It’s called Day One In Depth, and it’s available now on iBooks.

This book is the most detailed and extensive guide to Day One available today. Featuring in-depth reviews that cover every function and feature found within Day One, our handbook goes line by line showing you how to make the most of this award-winning journaling app.

I’ve long been a fan and user of Day One, which is why this app was our first choice for a deep dive guide. Not only do I use this app all the time (and have for years), but it’s the sort of app I know YOU could benefit from using as well. Thus, our new comprehensive guide.

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