Month: December 2013

Project Management Apps (RIP,

——– UPDATE ———

I’m not sure if it’s just because I need the sexiness of a new app every once in a while or if I really am getting busier, but I’ve spent some time reviewing the task management scene and there are some hot new updates I need to throw up here.

I’ve been using Apple’s Reminders a lot recently.  It’s ubiquitous on all my Apple products (MBA, iMac, iPad, iPhone) and keeps track of things in general.  I like the “Today” view as a way of seeing how much I have left before I lay my head down. I also like that Siri can add tasks for me (why isn’t there an API for 3rd parties yet?).  Furthermore, I appreciate that I can share a list with a coworker so that we know how much is left on a project.  However, my iPhone has some kind of a “Today curse” on it, because even after resets and updates, I can’t get it to show me whats on my list for today.  I know this is a major FWP, but it’s stinking annoying.  The other thing that bothers me is how it doesn’t do a good job of handling collaboration or showing advanced views of what I have coming up.  Furthermore, as my list gets increasingly long, it gets more and more difficult to manage things clearly.  I’d like an app where I can dump things into it from any platform, attach coworkers, files and links, and even possibly be able to track and do reviews.

So, I’ve come up with two options: Asana or Todoist (and added a 3rd).

  • Asana is first because it starts with “A.”  They’ve recently redone their iPhone app there are several things that are growing on me.
    • price: free up to 15 users
      • Starting @ $50/m if you need secret projects
    • basic premise: Teams!
    • extra goodies
      • awesome keyboard shortcuts
      • good training videos
      • 3rd party resources
      • email integration
      • customizable views to help you focus
      • other app integrations, like CloudMagic
  • Todoist
    • price: $3/user/month
    • basic premise: Simplicity!
    • extra goodies
      • good keyboard shortcuts
      • excellent help and tutorial section
      • native apps for everything (13 different platforms)
      • simple views that help you focus on exactly what you need to be focusing on
      • custom labels, filters
  • Slack
    • price: free unless you need some advanced features, then $7/user/month
    • basic premise: Transparency of Social Media, efficiency of Email
    • extra goodies
      • integrations tons of different apps
      • fully searchable history (advanced)
      • usage statistics (advanced)

Which one would you chose?

——– ORIGINAL ———

In a couple of weeks I will have yet again trade out my project management app.  I had really started to get into a rhythm with as it offered simplicity with connectivity and a couple of bonus features I came to appreciate.  On the quest for a replacement, I’m reviewing a few and since I was asked by a couple of friends for advice, I figured I would post it for everyone to get some insight together.

My task list has to have a couple of important features in order to make it:

  1. multiple users, so I can share tasks with other teammates (the more the merrier, but I need at least 3)
  2. multiple platforms, or at least a website that’s navigable from a 4in iPhone screen.
  3. less than $30/m, I can’t imagine spending much more than the $0 I was paying for

Programs I reviewed

  1. Action Method (discontinued as of 6/2014), love their methodology written in “Making Ideas Happen,” but the app is one of the pricier options, unless you can get a non-profit discount.
  2. Asana, 15 free users (starting at $50/m after that or for advanced features), and lots of great features like tons of transparency between users, multiple ways to distribute workflows, and a huge library of training videos.
  3. Insightly, integrates with Google Apps, offers CRM, which is super-useful for small businesses that need project management and deal with tons of customers (3 users = free, after that it’s $29+/m)
  4. Videgree, written in my new hometown, Taiwan, and includes a lot of fun features like CRM functions, importing from several different sources.
  5. 5pm, works in scheduling, too.
  6. 2Do, getting more and more beautiful.
  7. Gantt Pro, heavy focus on Gantt Charts, more strictly project management.
  8. Rocket Project, fun independent group that wants to help!

Currently, I’m getting into Videgree, because it ties in with our POS (cash register) system, but I appreciate especially Action Method’s ideals, Asana’s communal aspects, and Insightly’s integration with core products, like Google Apps.  What about you?  What do you use for Project Management, To-Do lists, and/or CRM?


The Leadership Scale – 如何評斷領導力

In 2013 and 2014, there’s been a lot of talk about leadership, especially around Aroma. We’re growing almost more quickly than we can handle, and so we’re looking for new ways to discover leaders, assess them, train them, encourage them, etc. Dorothy might say we’re not in Kansas anymore. I say Aroma’s not 5 people sitting on a couch trying to find out what God wants next. To be honest, it’s bigger than I can handle, and that’s scary. But, it’s not too big for God to handle, and that’s invigorating.

At Aroma, we’re continually looking for new ways to affirm what God is doing in people’s lives and walk with them as they blossom into all that God’s called them to be. But, we’ve also had a lot of questions about our leadership process. Here’s an outline of how we want to handle the move towards leadership in areas of our coffee shop, church, and missions training center.

Here are different levels of leadership as broken down by coffee shop/church/missions:

  1. Friends/Attendees/Teams: These people show up and do a lot of receiving while here.
  2. Part-Time Workers/Helpers/Interns: These people dive right into helping with different aspects of Aroma.
  3. Workers/Leaders/Residents: These people have an increased responsibility for a particular area of Aroma. They may have part-time workers, helpers, or interns that work under them to get the job done, but they have some planning and preparation that needs to be done pre/post events and some medium, to long-range planning for that area.
  4. Managers/Directors/Assistant Site Coordinators: These people are responsible for a particular department, including short, medium, and long-term planning, budgeting, getting more help, training and growing more leaders from within their area.
  5. CEO/Pastor/Site Coordinator: This person (or people in the future) is ultimately responsible for all of the aspects of the ministry the serve.

In order to have greater degrees of communication and more learning happening interdepartmentally, we have established a “leadership team” that is a conglomeration of people from the coffee shop, church, and missions center. They meet together regularly for fellowship, training, planning and visioning. This group is sometimes referred to as “the team.” This is no way negates what other people are doing. In fact, people who participate in this aspect are asked to give more in two key areas: 1) responsibility, and 2) time.

Ultimately, all leadership at The Aroma is spiritual leadership. We are looking for people who want to be used by God in supernatural ways. It’s super important that you approach leadership at The Aroma as an opportunity to invest in the Kingdom. It doesn’t matter if you’re making a latte or preparing a sermon, all work is spiritual work. That’s why, in the words of Irene, “We need to have Mary’s heart while doing Martha’s work.” To be considered for the leadership team at Aroma, in addition to showing your interest through being a leader, director or pastor and sticking close to what various passages of Scripture (1 Timothy 3, for example) have to say about the topic, there are 5 key components:

  1. Calling (2 Peter 1:10): Is it clear that God is calling you to participate in this ministry holding a position of leadership? This goes for managing the coffee shop in the same way that it does for leading a short-term missions team. This can be clarified in a number of ways.
  2. Character (Galatians 5:22-23): Are you living a life that is in line with the Truth of Scripture and committed to being led by the Holy Spirit? Do you regularly participate in discipleship, accountability, mentoring and personal growth? Are you willing to submit yourself to leadership?
  3. Competence (2 Corinthians 3:5-6): Do you show a capacity in your area as well as a willingness to focus in that area for the purpose of growing your skills?
  4. Commitment (Philippians 2:4): Have you demonstrated through your time, talents, and finances that you’re committed to the vision of what Aroma is doing? Are you willing to sacrifice some of your own endeavors so that you can serve more wholeheartedly at Aroma?
  5. Conversation (1 Timothy 4:14): Are you in conversation with current leadership about your aspirations? Perhaps, they’ve approached you. Or maybe you’re approaching them. Either way, opening yourself to having the difficult conversation of putting yourself out there, examining areas of your life, and committing to participating moving forward is an important step! You’ll be continually in conversation.  We value accountability for all levels of leadership.  That means, we work together to figure out what you’re going to do.  And if you say you’re going to do it, then you do it.  We hold each other to it.  Not so that we boss each other around, but so that we do things with excellence.  And when we make mistakes, we’re not afraid to have another conversation.  We could almost add “communication” as a 6th step, but we’ll just leave it at conversation.

The more you progress in leadership at the Aroma, the more excited I am about seeing you grow! As such, we will be meeting with you regularly to check up on the five areas as well as helping you set realistic growth goals in your areas of ministry. We utilize aspects of the Balanced Scorecard system which means we will all be working together to ensure that you have learning and growth goals set in place. These will help you accomplish stronger processes within your core areas of ministry, which in turn help you get results that become positive outcomes.

I am very excited about what God is revealing to us about 2014 and beyond. I believe Aroma is going to have a great year, because it’s filled with great people who serve an awesome God. I believe God’s calling you to more of Himself, His presence, His giftings, and His wisdom. Please join us this year as we pursue all He has for us!

Furthermore, I want you to be involved for the long haul in God’s vision for your life. I know for some people that means you’ll be around Aroma for a few days on life-changing short-term trip. For others, you’ll be here for 10 years or more. Regardless, I want you to have a sense that God did something awesome in and through you while you were here. This is my commitment: that you feel empowered and invested in.

Some of this was influenced by Andy Stanley’s “Next Generation Leader.” I highly recommend it. I’ve also been highly influenced by Mark Driscoll’s seminar on being in leadership for the long haul, Bill Johnson’s Face to Face with God, and many other books, blog posts, and conversations.

在2013和2014年,我們花了很多時間在探討領導,特別是在馨香堂。 它成長的速度遠超乎我們所想,幾近無法掌控的程度,而且我們正在找新的方法來找尋領導者,如何評估、訓練、和鼓勵他們,桃樂西可能會說我們又不是在堪薩斯洲(不如往昔),我想說的是馨香堂並不是五個人坐在椅子上,試著去了解上帝下一步想做什麼,老實說有點可怕,因為這根本不是我一個人可以掌控的事,但當我想到這對上帝來說是小事一樁時,我便覺得活力充沛。



  1. 朋友/教友/團隊: 這些人會不時的出現,而且在這學習很多東西。
  2. 兼職者/志工/實習: 這些人願意奮不顧身的幫忙馨香堂各方面的事務。
  3. 正職/領導者/居民: 這些人在馨香堂有更重大的責任,且負責特定的領域,可能需要管理和領導兼職者/幫手/實習生來一起完成工作,不過他們在活動前、活動後需要做些計劃跟準備工作,不僅如此,還需要完成該領域中的中長期計劃。
  4. 經理/主管/場地協調助手: 這些人負責特定的部門,像是短、中、長期計劃、預算分配、尋求更多幫助、訓練更多不同領域的領導者。
  5. 執行長/牧師/場地協調者: 此人或是之後的執行長,必須全方位負責該部門大小事務。



  1. 呼召 (彼得後書 1:10): 上帝是否有呼召你在這事工且當一位領導者,不論是咖啡店的主管還是帶領一個短宣隊,呼召有很多種。
  2. 性格 (加拉太書 5:22): 你是否有活出真理的生命和承諾讓聖靈來帶領你的生命? 你是否時常參與門徒課程、權責訓練、指導別人和個人成長? 你是否願意被人領導?
  3. 稱職 (格林多後書3:5-6): 你是否有足夠的能力? 你是否願意繼續專注於該領域且專精之?
  4. 承諾 (腓立比書 2:4): 你是否願意用時間、才能和金錢,來展現你對於馨香堂異象的支持? 你是否願意犧牲一些自己的抱負,來更全心全心的服事馨香堂。
  5. 對話 (提摩太前書 4:14): 你是否有跟你現在的主管討論你的志向? 也許他們有試著跟你談或是你有找他們談過,別害怕去談人生的志向,重新檢視自己的人生,重要的是承諾會持續成長茁壯下去! 你將會一直與他人溝通。我們重視各領導階層的權責關係,也就是說我們一起討論、設立下一個里程碑,如果我們有共識的話,你就去實行! 我們不互相頤指氣使,但我們努力做到臻至完美,互相扶持成長,且當問題發生時,不畏懼去討論,其實溝通的重要性足以變成第六個元素,不過我們總括在對話裡。







Close to daddy

Recently, I was walking around with Enoch close to nap time. I had him strapped to my body with one of those carrier things. Turns out while I was pacing around working on something else, he fell asleep. I kept working, but bumped into the couch a few times while walking around. He never woke up.

Compare that to the times he’s in bed and the slightest, little sound or movement wakes him up. Parents, you know what I’m talking about.

That reminded me of our lives with our Heavenly Father. When we are close to Him, the jolts of life don’t seem to bother so much. We are in His rest. But when we are far off, trying things on our own, those jolts seem to be more derailing.

Which do you prefer?

Moses: Lessons on Faith, Leadership and Jesus

One day, after Moses has grown up, he’s out and notices an Egyptian beating an Israelite slave.  Moses kills the Egyptian and runs away from Egypt out of fear that he’ll be in trouble.  Out in the desert, he meets a family in Midian.  The father of the family is Reuel/Jethro and one of the daughters is Zipporah.  Moses ends up marrying Zipporah, and he seems like everything has just worked out on his own.  He’s a shepherd and does the day to day shepherd thing.  But then, one day, he sees something out in the desert that seems a bit strange: a burning bush.  An Angel of God appears to him in this bush.  God called to him in the bush.  He tells Moses to take off his sandals because he’s on holy ground.  God tells Moses that he’s seen the trouble the Israelites are in and he’s going to help.  He’s going to bring them to a land flowing with milk and honey. This is also called “The Promised Land.” But Moses responds by questioning if he’s the one (3:11).  God promises that He will go with Moses (3:12). Moses questions again thinking that the Israelites won’t believe him. God promises that they will.  God gives him some special signs to show that He’s met with God (4:3).  Now, this part is actually just funny.  Moses throws the staff down onto the ground, and it turns into a snake.  Moses runs from it. He also gave him the signs of 1) giving his hand leprosy and 2) turning water into blood.  Moses rejects God’s idea a third time by saying that he’s not good at speaking (4:10).  God promises that he will give Moses words to say.  Moses asks if someone else can do it (4:13).  By this time, God is a little frustrated.  But God still provided another way. He said that Moses’ brother, Aaron, could help.  Moses eventually returned to Egypt and begins making preparations to go see Pharaoh.  He explains the situation to the leaders of the Israelites.  They agree that God is with Moses, and they worship him together.
There are a couple of lessons that stuck out to me in preparing this message.  First, as a person grown up in Pharaoh’s palace, he takes responsibility for things in the kingdom.  That’s why he felt it was his responsibility to help the Israelite who was being beaten.  Did he do the exact right thing?  I don’t think it was right to kill a person.  However, I think the heart behind it was that Moses felt concern.  We can’t just look at things that are wrong in this world and then turn away.  That’s why homelessness must be eradicated (so we do action for Jesus).  That’s why we need to help prostitutes and drug addicts and all of these people in the world who have all of these problems.  It’s our responsibility.  This is a kingdom attitude that it would do well for all of us to adopt. The closer you get to God’s heart, the more things that are broken in this world are your responsibility.  They are ultimately things that God wants to change.  He said on Earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).  He’s put you here to be a part of that.  The important thing to rememberer is that if we try to do it on our own power or with our own thoughts, we end up hurting the situation, or even killing people.  Second, Moses didn’t think he was equipped for what God had called him to.  Remember all those excuses he made?  What if the people don’t listen?  I’m not good at talking.  Blah, blah, blah.  STOP MAKING EXCUSES!  Take a step of faith and see how God continues to move.  Maybe, you don’t feel equipped to change the business that you’re a part of.  Maybe you don’t feel like you’re good enough to meet with your friends and share God with them.  The truth is that God will, what he wants you to do, is something that you can only do with His help.  And if you are attempting something that you can do by yourself, then your dream is too small. We’re talking about God using this shepherd to set an entire nation free.  Trust that God will find a way for it to happen.  Fear is what holds us back from the destiny that God has called us to.  Fear is making God small and your problem big.  Faith says “God is bigger than my problem.  I can see that God is going to do something here.” I wonder if Moses had listened to God instead of making excuses if Moses would have done the whole thing, without needing Aaron’s help.  It’s something to consider.  What if instead of fear, we stepped out in faith into the big difficult situations that are in front of us.  Last, God puts you in the context of a community that can and wants to help. Moses had his immediate and extended family, including Jethro (who we will probably see more of later), Zipporah, Miriam (to come) and Aaron.  Don’t ignore the team of people that God has put around you.  You don’t need to do this by yourself.  Ask for help!
I also love how these things ring true of Jesus as well.  Moses was led by the Spirt (Numbers 11:25).   Moses did all of his work because he had the Spirit.  The Bible explains this about Jesus, too.   He is God, of course.  But Jesus was also a man.  In fact, the Bible says that He set aside all of His godly power so that he could show us how to live as us (Philippians 2:5).  Jesus did everything He did (all the miracles, all the prophecies, all the blessing, all the teaching) as a man.  The Bible says that He was filled with the Spirit.  That’s God’s desire for each of us.  Not a life where we just try to make it from week to week.  Not just a fun time on Sunday night and then a crappy rest of the week.  I’m talking about power and love from God.  I’m talking about being filled with His presence EVERY DAY.  In Acts, the Spirit was poured out (Acts 2:17), which means the Spirit rests on all of us, if we’re willing!
However, the thing that stuck out to me the most was the whole burning bush scene.  I love the fact that Moses just steps to the side to see what crazy thing is happening.  Right now, I want all of you to think to this week.  What is something crazy that happened.  What is something out of the ordinary.  I really believe God is speaking to us in many ways.  He uses His word.  He uses prayer. He uses family and friends.  He uses the church community.  He also uses circumstances and things around you.  Listen up!  God’s speaking to you.  Maybe he’s calling you to transition into something crazy and new, something you never thought you could do.

On Business Metrics (An Introduction)

As I’ve gotten more and more involved in the business world (media publications and marketing specialist as well as helping to develop new business lines for the English school I used to work for and starting The Aroma), I’ve read and been challenged a lot in defining success.

The basic idea is to move the ball down the field. We want success. The issue is, however, that what we measure is what we give attention to, and what we give attention to is what we care about. Essentially, metrics can begin to define an entire company. For centuries business has lived in the pretext of profit motive – if you’re making more than you’re spending, you’re successful.

1) For many organizations specific numbers like the following may be measured on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.

  • Revenue VS Expenditures
  • Financial ratios
  • CAC (Cost of Customer Acquisition)
  • Marketing Budget
  • Ratio of LTV to CAC (Lifetime Value to Customer Acquisition)
  • 15 Marketing Metrics: Brand Awareness, Test Drive, Churn, CSAT, Take Rate, Profit, NPV, IRR, Payback, Customer Value, CPC, TCR, ROA, Bounce, WOM

2) But sadly, many of these metrics miss social impact, which is important in itself, but becoming increasingly important as customers are looking for added value and social responsibility. So, a number of key words have started to appear in our vernacular. That is, business as mission and social entrepreneurship have started to make an impact on the thinking of those who are measuring. They may use metrics like the following.

3) Another step in the process of metrics measurement happens when believers realize the calling on their lives to execute a kingdom business or life with Heaven in their business. All of this is still quite fresh, but there are some metrics we can begin to discern as we live out the principles of Scripture in connection with the Presence of the Holy Spirit.

Over the course of the coming weeks and months, I will be addressing different metrics and systems I’ve come across attempting to define these three points: 1) traditional metrics, 2) social metrics, 3) Kingdom metrics.