9 New Transformational Internet Technologies I’m Thankful For

internet-technology-thanksgivingWe’re coming up on Thanksgiving here in the U.S., and I’ve been reflecting on the many things I’m thankful for.

While I’m most thankful for my Lord and Savior – Jesus, my wife & kids, extended family and friends, it never ceases to amaze me at how blessed I am to live in this day and age.

Technology has been transforming the way we live for decades, but 2013 has been particularly transforming for me. While some of the items described below are more “new to me” than new, they have all produced significantly positive change in my work and my life.

9 New Transformational Internet Technologies I’m Thankful For

1) Virtual Assistants – This year we added some virtual assistants to the OurChurch.Com team for the first time. They help us with administrative and other tasks. This has freed up me and others on our team so we can focus more of our time and energy on serving clients, development, communication and leadership. It’s been a huge step forward!

2) JingJing is a great free tool that makes it fast and easy to capture and share an image or video of your computer screen. With Jing, I can record myself doing something on my computer while explaining it verbally. That video gets automatically placed online, and I can share a link to it with whoever needs it. It’s great for showing a client how to do something or delegating a task to member of our team (especially virtual assistants). Not only can they see and hear the demonstration, but they can refer back to it any time they need it. And it’s much faster and clearer than writing out instructions.

3) ooVooooVoo is software similar to Skype. It facilitates audio and video calls online, but what I really like about it is the free video calls with up to 12 people at once. We do our monthly staff conference calls with ooVoo and get to see and hear everyone on our telecommuting team. It’s also great way to see extended family at the holidays when you can’t all be together in the same house.

4) Hangouts on Air – I have really fallen in love with Google Hangouts on Air this year. HOAs enable you to not only video chat with several other people at the same time, but also broadcast it to the world. The video is automatically recorded and published to YouTube too. It’s great for interviewing experts, panel discussions, and even team training events. If you’re looking for a great example, check out Jason Wiser who is doing a great job with his Get on track, Stay on Track series of Hangouts.

5) Virtual Coaching – Some of the biggest steps forward I and OurChurch.Com have taken this year have come as a result of hiring coaches. Big thanks to Ken Manesse who has provided some excellent coaching on leading a business and marketing. Ken and I have never met in person. Instead coaching is facilitated using phone calls, Google Docs and Google+ Hangouts.

No matter what type of organization you work or serve in, if you want to take it to the next level, you will do that far better and faster when you have someone who has already been there showing you the way.

6) Pixlr – I don’t do a lot of graphics work, but occasionally I need to create or modify an image for a blog post or something else quickly. I’ve found the online image editor at http://pixlr.com to be very fast and easy to use. It’s free. And since its online, there’s no software to download or update.

7) oDeskoDesk is a great place to find and hire people to do small projects. We’ve been able to find skilled people who specialize in all sorts of work from creating transcripts to recording voiceovers to developing little, time-saving software tools and more. Instead of trying to learn and do every little thing, we’re learning to delegate the small things so we can focus on bigger, more important things.

8) Solavei – Up until a year ago my wife and I had our cell service with AT&T, but we were frequently going over our limits on minutes, texts and data. Even when we weren’t over, we were worried about going over, checking our usage and trying to conserve. Then we switched to Solavei , which gives us unlimited minutes, texts and data for $50/mo. It uses the T-mobile network. While coverage and data speeds are not as good as AT&T, the freedom and peace of mind that come with no limits has been great.

Edit 11/23/13 The day after I posted this, Solavei put a cap on data. Yet they continue to promote their plans as “unlimited.” :(

Edit 11/27/13 Correction, the cap is on 4G-speed data. Once a user hits that limit they continue to get unlimited data but at 2G speeds.

9) The new OCC Dashboard – Behind the scenes here at OurChurch.Com we have spent much of this year, developing and launching a brand new Dashboard for our clients. The Dashboard provides clients with a much better experience for ordering, invoicing, processing payments and receiving support. When fully deployed it will also eliminate a lot of time and headaches caused by our old admin system.

All of these tools and technologies make “more”  possible – learning more, getting more done, connecting more, helping you accomplish more.

Discuss!

  1. Which if these Internet technologies are you using? Which is having the greatest impact?
  2. What other new tools and technology are you thankful for?

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

10 Responses to “9 New Transformational Internet Technologies I’m Thankful For”

  1. 3dimensionallife Nov 21, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Thank you my friend for ALL that you have taught me about leadership – and how to lead a great team. I always say that, "leaders are learners" and I have learn a lot about how to serve others.

    You all at Our Church are doing a GREAT job of serving your "who's" … lead on LEADER!

    • PaulSteinbrueck Nov 22, 2013 at 11:50 am

      Thanks Ken! I am very thankful for your comment, your coaching and your friendship.

  2. I am always inspired by the way OurChurch.com is always adapting, updating, and staying on the cutting edge. Your team is extremely knowledgeable, highly informative. You are producing great content and I see why you are one of the best website solutions out there! Great job guys.

    • PaulSteinbrueck Nov 22, 2013 at 11:51 am

      Thanks Jason! Very thankful for your G+ Hangouts. I always learn something new from them.

  3. marymargaretwalker Nov 23, 2013 at 3:21 am

    I love all of these technologies! I'm particularly excited about Jing. I can't imagine what a lifesaver and time saver it would have been over the last 17 years of training people in our virtual company. But we are going to make use of it now. I love HOAs! It's particularly awesome that you can include your own technology in this list. Thankful and proud of your own hard work is a great place to be. Thanks for the ideas, the inspiration and the fun you bring with it.

    • PaulSteinbrueck Nov 27, 2013 at 12:29 pm

      Thanks Mary Margaret! Glad to hear you're making use of Jing. I love it. Such a convenient time-saver!

  4. Paul, I am just getting back from losing everything. When the economy went "south" I lost my consulting business, home and wife. I was homeless for two years feeling sorry for myself. Picked myself up and started driving a truck, to earn a living. (Crib notes version). Because on reducing income, I found the Chromebook a miracle for me. Its cheapness and functionality has allowed me to get back to the technical field I so love. Now however, I do it out of pure enjoyment and see myself, slowing getting back to new levels .

    • PaulSteinbrueck Nov 27, 2013 at 12:26 pm

      Sorry to hear of all the difficulties you've been through. But thanks for sharing the impact Chromebook has had on your life. Glad to hear you're rebounding.

  5. awesome

  6. Thank you Paul for laying out the technology or tools that can make ones life much easier. Personally I like Google hangouts and oDesk for outsourcing work in different areas like web design. When it comes to cell phone plans, you mentioned Solavei which gives you unlimited data, text and talk for $50, perhaps you can have a look at GoSmart mobile which uses Tmobile network for a cheaper price like $35 for unlimited talk, text and data. Thank you and looking forward to reading more of your articles.