Nate Klaiber was the Lead Application Developer at KISSmetrics where he worked mainly on APIs and platforms. Over his 15 years of experience working with APIs and platforms, he saw a lot of trends that opened up opportunities for collaboration. Nate noticed that many companies had a web, desktop, iOS, and Android apps, but none of them talked to each other. With companies opening up their platforms, Nate saw this as a great opportunity to mix and match data. It’s his passion for mixing and matching that lead him to start his own company Device Independent LLC. When Nate started his company in 2007, he needed a solution to track his time and manage invoices, so he gave Billings a shot and has been using it ever since.
I’ve been using a Mac for as long as I can remember. I love the simplicity of the Mac. I used to have a Windows machine when I needed to be able to do some tinkering on that platform. Once I made the switch to Mac there was no looking back.
I simply needed a solution to keep track of my time. There wasn’t a solution that was good at both time tracking and invoicing that didn’t involved a lot of manual work. When I started my business in 2007 I was recommended Billings by a friend of mine. They had tried another solution and ended up switching to Billings. I like to find tools that work and stick to them, and that’s what happened once I found Billings. It did everything I needed it to do. I love it.
I have some clients that need to have a lot of detail throughout the project and need to know how many hours I’ve put in. They often get a kick out of the fact that when they ask me how many hours I’ve put in, I can tell them “I’ve put in 32 hours, 42 minutes and 43 seconds”. I like that with Billings Pro I can see a breakdown of activity for each client. There are a lot of useful reports in Billings Pro that are really simple. This makes it easy to show my clients exactly what they need.
I most certainly do use Billings Pro on my iPhone & iPad! The New Timer Widget is really nice to quickly start timers. I use that when I’m on site or in a meeting with a client. A lot of times I use Billings Pro on my iPhone to see a snapshot of where I am. The view from the home screen on the iPhone is wonderful because it shows me my hours and money made. For me it’s all about the hours. From the Billings Pro home screen I can see the time, unbilled information, and the stats all at a glance. It’s very convenient.
The biggest benefit I’ve gained with Billings Pro is time. I don’t have to spend a lot of time manually figuring things out or building reports to give to my clients. It’s a huge time saver. I have certain clients that need their invoices a certain way and I can easily set those up as templates in Billings Pro. It takes a lot of overhead work out of the way for me. It just works.
That’s a tough questions to answer. I would say the reports. They’re very well done and very simple. There’s a handful of things I could list. The organization and the timers are really great. When I’m working and I have Billings Pro open all I have to do is select the project and time slip and I’m off. That convenience is huge. It takes the work out of sight and out of mind.
Most definitely. I recommend Billings Pro to a lot of colleagues I work with whether they are designers, illustrators, or software engineers that need to track their time. To other people that may be starting their own busienss, I definitely recommend Billings Pro.
The biggest thing is picking the right projects and the right clients. When I started out there was a lot of time spent trying to find more work and fill in the gaps, rather than finding less work and more focussed projects. I definitely gravitate to the API and platform projects. There are a lot of great companies opening up their data and so we’re seeing mash ups. I personally track a lot of my data. I use my Nike watch for running and it has an API. I use Automatic in my car to tracks my trips. I keep track of my reading sessions when I read books. There’s a lot of data that I can cross reference with geo info, weather info, etc. Those are the projects that I find most interesting because there’s a lot of opportunity in those mash-ups.
The future for us will be continuing developing platform and APIs. Whether you’re inside a company or you’re on the outside of a company that has an API and opens it up publicly, the benefits are great. Being able to take those to companies and show them the benefit to having an API available– making it simple for people to connect and use their data within other systems in a secure fashion–that’s the biggest thing for me. Five years from now you won’t know what the data is going to look like, the landscape, or the data storage, but the data models themselves never change. When I’m taking a trip in my car I have a start location, start address, geo information, end location, end address, and I have some stats in the middle. That won’t drastically change from now until five years. And it’s the same with running. Having good data models at the core will help a business grow no matter what the platform.
I want to stay small and focused. I don’t want to chase after the quantity of projects. I want to find the companies that are invested in the same strategy and want to work towards making things better. The fewer and more focussed, the better. I’m in Ohio and in this Cleveland area we have a great group of people that know each other really well and respect each other. Different projects need different people with different expertise. You can find a project and bring people together and it helps to make a great product in the end because the people are really focussed and good at what they do. They’re not trying to wear a bunch of different hats in the process.