Alright, who are we kidding — we went into stealth mode months ago and there is a very good reason for that. The Giggle blog posts, newsletters, etc have slowed to a crawl (our last one was in November … I believe) and I’m betting many of you are chomping at the bit to know what we’ve been up to. The good news is that you won’t have to wait too much longer!
The GigBooks development team has been working tirelessly to bring you the new version of GigBooks called “Refreshed”. We won’t lie … it has been a challenge every step of the way. First, we had to decide how best to proceed in developing GigBooks and there were many difficult decisions to be made. At the beginning of 2009, we were no longer happy with our development partner and therefore brought everything in house in order to have complete control over how GigBooks was being developed.
The next major initiative related to the existing code base which was not where we wanted it to be. We had to decide whether to begin gradually rewriting GigBooks one module at a time in order to finally have an application that was as nimble and maintainable as it should have been in the first place OR scrap the entire thing (including all the time and money we spent over a year and half) in favor of starting over. As with any important decision, both options had significant pros and cons that were weighed carefully.
At this point we had established an internal development team at our headquarters in Erie, PA and ultimately decided to begin the process of rewriting from the ground up. This decision afforded us several awesome advantages:
- We free ourselves entirely from the limitations of a code base that wasn’t properly designed in the first place so that we can be as innovative and creative as those of you that use GigBooks on a day to day basis.
- The focus of the rewrite would be placed on usability and user experience — the things our members were telling us they wanted to see changed the most. We could do anything we want in order to make GigBooks the most intuitive business management tool for creative and service based businesses.
- Once released, we can continue to quickly and regularly release new features and functionality aimed squarely at streamlining the things you do on a day to day basis.
- Peace of mind that GigBooks can continue growing and enhancing the application that many have come to rely on to run their businesses.
And so we set out on a mission to begin anew and I am happy to say development is moving along superbly! We will gradually begin releasing GigBooks Refreshed in the next couple months. We are currently working on a plan for launching the new application that includes a transition period where current members will be migrated over to the new platform. More information will be shared as we finalize the details.
Here is what you can expect at the launch of GigBooks Refreshed:
- A greatly improved user interface/experience based on direct feedback from all of you over the last year and a half. We have brought on a talented group of web application designers and I am certain you will be pleased with the results!
- The #1 request by members and prospective members alike has been related to the GigBooks calendar. We heard you loud and clear. For photographers, GigBooks Refreshed will launch as the only studio management application to provide native support for true bidirectional, web based synchronization with your external calendars such as iCal, iPhone, Google Calendar, Outlook, etc. Lots of other great Calendar related functionality will be available as well!
- Restructured modules that are designed to be simpler and more intuitive. For example, Leads, Contacts and Clients from the original system have been merged into a single module tentatively called Relationships and the functionality has been expanded to allow for management of Vendors, Employees, Subcontractors, Partners and any other type of relationship you might establish with a person or organization in the course of running your business.
- The Pricelists area of GigBooks is being completely reworked and rethought so as to allow for quick and easy setup of products/services/credits, packages and the pricing of each of those items.
- Invoicing is being augmented with a brand new Estimates feature that will tie into Agreement generation and brings the entire process of quoting, contracting and billing clients full circle.
- Favorite features such as electronic signatures through EchoSign still exist and are also being enhanced with new functionality.
- Ultimately, Jobs/Projects (whatever you want to call them) will utilize a new workflow engine.
- Mass emails will become a reality.
- New integrations with other innovative software companies will be possible.
We are extremely excited about the future of GigBooks and are in a better position to serve your business management needs than ever before. Continue watching your email and the Giggle blog for more details!
Happy Thanksgiving to all GigBooks members and anyone else reading our blog! Sorry for the lateness of this post, but life has been exceptionally busy over the last month.
We hope you enjoyed the holiday with family and are beginning to look forward to the coming booking season that is sure to leave you even more thankful. As always, let us know how we can help and keep watch for some exciting announcements from us!
New GigBooks Calendar
The new GigBooks calendar is almost ready for primetime! Not only will the new calendar sport a super sweet, clean interface — it also provides the latest and greatest in member requested functionality. You can have multiple, color coded calendars, share calendars with other GigBooks members, sync your non-GigBooks calendar software with your GigBooks calendars via ICS feeds and even import your non-GigBooks calendars into GigBooks via ICS feeds. All this and much more is coming this month!!
To get a taste of the ICS feed capabilities, check out the fully synchronized iCal calendar below:
iCal synched w/GigBooks
Mobile devices can sync with the GigBooks calendar too! Check out the iPhone screenshot below:
iPhone Sync w/GigBooks
Calling all DC/Baltimore Photographers — GigBooks will be in town for the DC Pictage User Group tomorrow. The details are below and you shouldn’t miss this event as we will be hosting a discussion on photography sales techniques + showing off parts of the new GigBooks platform including the greatly anticipated calendar that allows for sharing, iCal sync and much more!
Date: Monday, September 14, 2009
Michael Bennett Kress & Associates
7906 Woodmont Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814
We hope to see you all there!
NYC was a blast as usual! Thanks to Shari of Silk Studio for pulling together another amazing PUG in the great city of New York. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation on the business of photography and the opportunity to share my insights into sales, workflows, business management and even the future of the photography industry.
The evening kicked off at about 5:00 PM with a very organic conversation about the best ways to generate new leads for a photography business. We talked about the ups and downs of many lead generation and advertising services available to photographers. Shari then officially started the meeting with the Pictage agenda and a quick “around the room introduction” of everyone present.
We then picked up our discussion where we left off and continued to explore sales techniques that I have found effective in converting wedding and portrait prospects into paying clients. Other topics included best practices for ensuring a quick delivery of albums to brides and grooms and a presentation of GigBooks. There were plenty of questions and lots of laughs!
If you were with us for the NYC PUG last night please leave a comment and let us know how you liked the overall format of the evening.
Following the PUG, Julia Newman took Shari and I to an amazing Ethiopian restaurant in the East Village. It was an experience I won’t soon forget! Thanks to everyone for making last night a great evening in New York.
We will be performing maintenance on our servers this Saturday, July 11th between the hours of 10P and 12A EST. There may be a 15 minute period where the GigBooks site and application is unavailable. We appreciate your patience during this scheduled downtime. Thanks and have a great weekend!
It is with great pleasure that GigBooks welcomes Jamie Weiss of Jamie Weiss Photography as our newest staff member. It is likely most of you will eventually have the wonderful experience of dealing with Jamie during the course of your relationship with GigBooks as she is taking on the role of Member Services Consultant for Photographers. Feel free to say high to Jamie by emailing her @ jamieweiss at gigbooks dot com (sorry for the cryptic address, but we’re trying to preserve her inbox from the inevitable SPAM associated with posting an email address on the internet).
Jamie Relaxing in the Sun:-)
Jamie Doing What She Does Best
Jamie comes to us with years of experience as a photographer and also as a GigBooks member. In fact, it was Jamie’s love of the GigBooks application and desire to get involved beyond her own use of GigBooks that resulted in her becoming a member of the team. On a not so distant trip to the Knoxville PUG, where she is the PUG leader, Jamie offered to take on a position with GigBooks and utilize her marketing background to help us continue to grow the GigBooks family. Alas, her offer was too good to refuse and we flew her into Erie, PA the first week of June for training.
We know Jamie will be a huge asset for GigBooks and look forward to her involvement in growing GigBooks to help photographers manage and build their own businesses!
As a Pennsylvania native who is used to 140+ inches of snow during the winter — I could get used to So Cal! Beverly Hills is a lot of fun and somehow I managed to hang out with all of our Pictage friends in LA again on the anniversary of my first visit to the LA PUG. Jules confirmed this when she checked back through her PUG history.
As usual everyone in LA was awesome and it was nice to see some familiar faces along with plenty of new ones. Simon Anderson, Pictage’s new Chief Marketing Officer, even joined us and was busy taking notes on everyone’s suggestions throughout the evening.
We were in our second night of a new PUG presentation format and according to the feedback we’ve heard so far — it was well received. For any of you in attendance, please feel free to let us know what you thought.
Here are some pictures courtesy of Jules Bianchi that will have to hold us over until we catch up again soon!
The Whole Group
Justin @ the LA PUG (Smile)
Kicking off the Summer 2009 PUG tour was San Diego and as usual SD was warm and sunny! Getting to San Diego wasn’t without its challenges though. First, I was supposed to get up bright and early at 2:45AM EST in order to drive to Pittsburgh for my 6:17AM flight; however, I woke up to the wonderful chirp of birds and light beginning to flood my bedroom @ 5:45AM. The airline was unusually willing to help out and allowed me to standby for another flight and got me out on the next one, but that wasn’t before I managed to take out a turkey with my Expedition on my drive to Pittsburgh!!
When I did arrive, Jared Bauman of Bauman Photographers and ShootDotEdit was kind enough to pick me up at the airport and take me to dinner. I honestly don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but the food was good.
We then met up with San Diego PUG leaders Jeff & Erin Youngren of The Youngrens at their beautiful home and the location of the PUG meeting. It’s always great to catch up with Jared, Jeff & Erin when I’m in town and if the cost of living weren’t so darn high — I think their friendships would be enough to have me packing the bags and moving out to San Diego.
Kevin Mudd of Cool Cake Photography kicked off the meeting with a great studio spotlight and did a great job of unknowingly building a lead in to my presentation for the evening. For our second PUG tour we decided to introduce a new presentation format that consists of an open discussion on sales techniques and how improving and streamlining the entire sales process can lead to revenue and profit growth. Feedback was positive and I took the new format with me to LA the next evening!
Kevin's Studio Spotlight
The New GigBooks Presentation
Thanks for another great PUG in San Diego!
Life at GigBooks has been so crazy over the last two weeks that I am just finding the time to post about the fabulous Erie Wedding Professionals meeting Amanda and I hosted on Monday, June 1st!
Let’s start by explaining that June 1st was my 27th birthday and the group had decided to hold the meeting without prior knowledge of this fact. When it came to light; however, it seems that some of our great friends thought it would be fun to celebrate my birthday in a unique way:-)
First there is a beautiful cake that Cindy’s Let them Eat Cake made for the occasion. By far, the most awesome birthday cake I’ve ever had! See for yourself.
Amanda is holding the cake while everyone else sings. Awww!
Then there was the Mohawk incident…. evidently Jerry Ricci decided it would be a good idea to bring along some hair gel and get the guys to participate in some humorous mocking of my hairstyle:-) I think Heather and Christine take the cake on this one though!
Heather Mencer in "Mocking the Mohawk"
Notice all the Mohawks (and Duct Tape Soul Patches too!)
Thanks guys! I appreciate the effort and it was hilarious!!