Contactually

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Interning with the Contactually Engineering Team

In April of 2017 I began a four month internship at Contactually in DC. Prior to my internship, I graduated from a Coding Bootcamp in New York City in September 2016. I spent the last 3+ years working in Human Resources at a nonprofit and after attending the World’s Maker ...
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Contactually's Brand New Android Application

Remember when Apple came out with the original iMac in '98? Desktop computers were all the rage with their rounded edges and brightly colored backs. A laptop? Too heavy to carry around! A smartphone? Not even a word in most people's vocabulary. Now we can't imagine a life without our ...
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Creating Scalable Business Intelligence with Redshift, Stitch, Fivetran, and Looker

Companies today strive to be more data-driven than ever before. There is a pervasive thought in business that data can be the differentiator between you and your competitors. If you collect the right data and leverage it effectively, you can create a competitive advantage that can bring strong and sustained ...
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Washington DC's Top Real Estate Agents Using Contactually

Today, Washingtonian Magazine released the District of Columbian, Maryland, and Virginia [DMV] region's Top Agents for 2017! We would like to personally congratulate some of these awesome agents this year who use Contactually! Here's a little bit about each one:

Check out this year's Top Agents Who Use Contactually...

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Adding Read Replicas in a Production Ruby on Rails System with Zero Downtime Using Makara

Thaddaeus Lim When query, schema and index optimizations aren’t enough to support the load of a high throughput database system, fundamental changes in how data flows through that system are often necessary. Over the past few years, our team at Contactually has been fortunate enough to tackle numerous database performance ...
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Contactually has partnered with dotloop to streamline the transition from lead to close

The power of Contactually is that it helps you build personal, authentic relationships with those that matter most to you and your real estate business. But what happens when you're closing a home or big deal? You've nurtured your clients to help find their dream homes. Then comes arguably the most stressful time for both clients and agents -- the transaction. We've partnered with DotLoop to ensure that the transition from lead to close is seamless for everyone involved. [video_lightbox_youtube video_id="CdPa1apcqoE" width="640" height="480" anchor="Watch the video!"]
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Tackling Architectural Debt: How We Replaced a Production Elasticsearch Cluster

Photo by Alice Pasqual As the quantity and complexity of application data scales with any burgeoning startup, we all run into performance and scalability issues. Some issues can be addressed with slight adjustments to existing infrastructure, while others require fundamental changes to the system’s architecture. At Contactually , one such ...
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Contactually's New Feature Recap -- Introducing easier ways to engage, and more!

We're halfway through Q2 of 2017, and we're excited to continue covering more ground. Our latest announcement? We're introducing notable improvements to make you even more efficient while using Contactually. Ever get stuck digging for information on your contact? You're ready to send a Follow-Up, but you've got to search ...
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5 Aspects of Rapid Feature Validation & Iteration

When Eric Ries published The Lean Startup in 2011, he outlined foundational principles of rapidly testing business hypothesis through product experiments. Startups like Contactually know they should split-test, be data-driven, and “Move fast and break things”, but actually applying these principles is another story. Rapidly validating and iterating on product ...
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Building a Better Team at the Contactually Retreat 2017

So, it's 2017. It's been about 2 years since we raised our Series A. The company looks vastly different than it did then. We've hired an experienced executive team from successful companies like OPower, Netflix and AddThis. We have a strategic vision for growth. We are starting to understand who our customer is, and we feel confident that our Product team is rapidly evolving to serve the needs of these customers. That being said, we have experienced a dramatic amount of change over the past 2 years. We said goodbye to colleagues. We welcomed new ones. We embraced real estate. We programmed in new languages. We released new services. We moved offices. Change was our only constant, and we have a team that rolled with the chaos. So, how do we help our team with change? We communicate. A lot. Don't get me wrong, we fail at communicating the right things at the right time in the right way all of the time. But the intention is there, with regular all-team meetings two times a week, a Contactually newsletter, a Wiki that documents our every breath and let's not forget the ever ubiquitous Slack. These forums make sure that Train A knows when Train B is coming and going, but they don't always give meaningful time for our team to reflect, to engage with one another, and ultimately help shape Contactually.

This is why we retreat each year.

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70 Top Real Estate Agents Using Contactually

These successful agents use our real estate CRM to grow their businesses.

Contactually evaluated the most recent rankings of 2016 ("The Thousand")* and highlighted over 60 top-ranked real estate agents using Contactually. According to REAL Trends, those on the list are "recognized as the top one half of one percent of more than 1.1 million licensed Realtors(r) nationwide." The agents below believe in the importance of building and maintaining strong and lasting relationships with their clients, and they are using technologies like ours to help them grow their businesses. *In partnership with The Wall Street Journal, real estate industry resource REAL Trends has released rankings of top individuals and teams every year in a list called The Thousand. For the past 11 years, firms submit applications to represent the most qualified candidates, and REAL Trends ranks sales professionals in categories of average price, sales volume and transaction sides.

70 Top Real Estate Agents Using Contactually:

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Engineering Great Design Process

Contactually is a company all about people and relationships. We love our customers — and hope they love us too! For this reason and many others, strong usability and user experience design are critically important to the success of our business. I recently joined Contactually to lead the user experience ...
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Postgres at Scale: Query Performance and Autovacuuming for Large Tables

Photo by Yu-chuan Hsu There are few large, hard to solve problems that keep your typical software engineer up at night — and a malfunctioning database is absolutely one of them. We’ll walk you through how our team at Contactually discovered the issue of query performance slippage on some of ...
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/Contactually Reads: The Best Business Books & More from Our Shelves

Here at Contactually, we love a good book, and if you pop by our office in DC, you'll find plenty of books on the shelves that have helped to shape who were are as a company and how the teams run. We've also made plenty of recommendations here on the blog for best books for professionals to read to improve their business prowess...so we decided to ask our teammates here at Contactually what they were reading. If you're thinking to yourself that you 'don't have the time' or that you're 'too busy' then it might be worth it to think again! Not only is reading a great way to pass the time and unplug from our increasingly connected world, it's been scientifically proven time and time again that reading can help increase your brain functionality, and could potentially decrease your stress levels by up to 68%... isn't that something that's worth making some time for in your life? Whether you're reading books to help you better your business, or you're taking in the latest literary fiction, increasing your reading time is bound to improve your overall health and well-being, which in turn will improve your business! See what we did there?

Best business books + more from Contactually:

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Empowering Developers with Consistent, Safe, and Simple Deploy Scripts

Deploying software is a notoriously risky portion of the software development lifecycle. Our industry is littered with stories of ill-conceived deployments that caused huge headaches to deal with and correct. As developers who enjoy the creative output of programming, it’s easy to neglect the operational details of deployments despite the ...
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Upgrading a Production Postgres RDS Instance with Minimal Downtime

Photo by Luca Bravo Scaling a web application requires numerous database upgrades, each potentially requiring downtime. I’m going to tell you a story about Contactually , and the lessons we’ve learned during a few of these upgrades. Before upgrading — practice, practice, practice. Early last year, we switched from Unicorn ...
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New Content Library and BONUS Spring Email Templates

Last month, Contactually launched new tools for teams, including lead routing. This month we're excited to announce new content library features. You may know that Contactually has curated hundreds of market-proven email templates and best practice workflows and that these are available for download by anyone. Simply visit the library, add content to your account, and modify it as desired. But wait, there's more! Are you a team admin? Your team library allows you to easily share content and work flows with your entire team. Save team members the administrative hassle of creating content from scratch while ensuring consistent communication and facilitating best practices.

Add email templates into your outreach strategy:

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Contactually's Real Estate Dictionary

Blockbusting? Lien? It sounds like I'm speaking another language, doesn't it? Well, I sort of am. I'm speaking real estate. Confusing right? Hopefully not anymore. We recognize that real estate lingo isn't easy to figure out, especially if you're new to the job. So, whether you're looking to become a ...
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Introducing Team Tools -- Drive your team's success

Optimize the way you manage

Even the best real estate teams run into growing pains. When working with other agents, it becomes more difficult to coordinate as a single unit. Miscommunications and a lack of transparency create a disjointed process that affects everyone from team members to their valuable clients and prospects.

Streamline your workload and close more revenue

Contactually's new team tools are designed to help minimize the admin work and maximize closings. Admins and team leads can finally manage their teams without getting in their agents' way. Automatically distribute valuable leads across the team, then track conversions from start to finish without having to constantly ask your agents for updates. Ensure everyone on the team is following up with and nurturing their leads. Gain insight into areas for improvement and increase overall close rates.

"With the addition of Contactually, agent productivity has increased 40%." - David Conderman

Learn more about Contactually for teams...

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Automatically Capture and Follow Up with Facebook Leads in Contactually

In case you're not familiar with Contactually yet, we created it because we saw the importance of building and maintaining authentic relationships in our business. Part of that means capturing the relationship at the very beginning. While Contactually does not help you with lead generation (other than leads you're getting through your network), what we can do is help you build a relationship once you get that lead. In an example of the power and flexibility of the Contactually platform, we're going to show you how you can capture someone who clicks on one of your Facebook ads, drop them into Contactually, and immediately start following up with them. To use that, we're going to create a Facebook Lead Ad, and use Zapier to connect that to Contactually. If you're not familiar with Zapier, think of it as the glue that helps to connect applications together.

Start following up with Facebook Leads...

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Introducing: The Contactually Referral Accelerator for RE/MAX

Think about how many marketing emails sitting in your inbox that you ignore or delete each day. Too many, right? So doesn't it feel backward that many real estate agents and CRMs continue to rely on drip campaigns? Engaging leads and your sphere takes personalized messages, not just pretty pictures and flashy subject lines. That's why Contactually's excited to announce the release of our Referral Accelerator plan for RE/MAX.

Learn more about the exclusive Referral Accelerator...

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Introducing: The Contactually Sphere Accelerator for KW

Think about how many marketing emails you ignore each day. Tons, right? So doesn't it seem backward that many real estate agents and CRMs continue to rely on drip campaigns? Engaging leads and your sphere takes personalized messages, not just pretty pictures. That's why Contactually's excited to announce the release of our Sphere Accelerator plan for Keller Williams.

Read on to learn more about this exclusive plan for KW....

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K9to5: Contactually Makes Connections with Animals

The minute you walk into our offices here in downtown DC, it's pretty clear that we're animal-lovers. Most likely you're greeted by one of the resident dogs and nearly everyone is a pet owner or a lover from afar of our office hounds. Dogs have been a part of the Contactually family since Day 1, when our founders Tony and Zvi were bringing their pups Tucker and Astro to the early stage Contactually meetings. We currently have 6 dogs that are regulars in the office, and average about 3 pups a day. Having dogs in the office is an awesome benefit, not only for stress relief and entertainment, but for employees who don't need to worry about rushing home to let the dog out or finding a dog walker. It was a pretty easy leap for us to do our community outreach partnered up with the Humane Rescue Alliance of DC and last week we got to go over there and so some of the 'heavy' lifting at the shelter

Contactually and the animals:

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How To: Work Proactively on a Team While Working Remotely

Being a remote worker is not for everyone. It is simply not possible for everyone to work alone yet also be part of a team. This kind of work requires inner strength and concentration mixed with an open communicative style. It can often need multitasking skills, working on simultaneous projects or doing one task while talking to colleagues on other issues. Work timeframes may become more flexible with long evenings or early starts, or working over the weekend. It is possible, however, to be a proactive team member, and indeed a more effective one, when not actually in the office or with the entire team each working from home. Since our employees here at Contactually have the option for flexible hours and a few teams have remote members, we decided to tackle the often contentious topic of productively working from home or remotely!

Read on for how to work remotely & be proactive:

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Contactually Announcement: A New Partnership with First.io

We're very excited to announce the launch of our partnership with First.io, a great step forward for Contactually as a whole in intelligence and real estate agent productivity. This partnership will generate a new Contactually product, powered by First, that will give real estate agents unseen, proactive knowledge about their ...
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Contactually Named in Swanepoel Power 200

Every year, Stefen Swanepoel's firm names the top 200 leaders, movers, shakers, and all around trendsetters in the real estate industry. Past honorees have included leaders from realtors.com, Zillow, Realogy and HomeServices of America. Swanepoel notes that countless debates, research and discussion goes into the final list of 200 and ...
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In case you missed it -- Contactually's new feature recap

You may have been busy with family and friends. You could be last minute holiday shopping. Maybe you're getting ready to close out 2016. Whatever the reason, if you missed the updates coming out of Contactually -- here's your chance to catch up. Everything you need to know so you can fully leverage Contactually's new features to help you achieve all of your 2017 goals.
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Founder's Day 2016: Celebrating 5 Years as Contactually

Since our company's inception in October of 2011, we've found different ways to celebrate Founder's Day and this year, of course, was no exception. This was my first Founders Day and I had big expectations to live up to. This year, we turned five. This is a very special milestone for startups, cause if you've made it this far, you're probably doing something right. Founder's Day 2015 included a highly contentious scavenger hunt that had the entire company running around DC.... We went in a slightly different direction this year to great success - if I do say so myself - and after several months of planning, we arrived at a near perfect day to celebrate Contactually and everything we do, represent, and love. Leading up to the big day, I met with the Founders a few times in the planning process to see what had been done for prior Founder's Day and collect feedback on what they'd like to see this year. For the most part, they let me run wild with my ideas (for which I am very appreciative). As I ran wild with my ideas, I also kept them a secret from most of the company and it wasn't until we got to our first destination on the morning of, they had no idea what was in store for the whole day.

Read on for the FULL story of our Founder's Day...

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The Real Estate Accelerator: A Contactually Exclusive

Here at Contactually, our mission is to help grow the businesses of our customers. Whether we're on the sales team, marketing team, product and engineering team, the customer success team or anything in between, we come to work every day with one goal: Figure out what our customers need to be successful, and then deliver it directly to them. In the last few months, we've talked to hundreds of real estate professionals in an effort to understand exactly what they need. We've had conversations with brand new agents, agents with thirty years of experience under their belts, buyer's agents, seller's agents, team leads, brokers, assistants...we've covered them all! It quickly became clear to us that real estate agents needed more than what we were already providing in our professional plan at Contactually, so we turned around and spent months coming up with a solution.

We are so excited to announce our newest plan: The Real Estate Accelerator.

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The Best Tweets from NAR Annual 2016

This year, Team Contactually headed to the National Association of Realtor's annual conference in sunny Orlando, Florida. They spread the good word of Contactually, shared laughs with customers and new friends alike over playing the real life Bucket Game and even made a side trip to nearby Harry Potter World. It was overwhelmingly successful and the team back at Contactually HQ in DC was understandably jealous. Luckily, we were able to follow along the adventure on Twitter with #NARAnnual, which garnered thousands and thousands of tweets over the course of this year's conference. screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-3-25-33-pm Okay you're right, we can't possibly grab all the best of the best tweets that went out over the 4 day conference, but we've curated some of our favorites here. One of the most impressive aspects of the conference? The Gen Z panel that NAR put together to talk about how they view real estate and how they like to communicate. As the up-and-coming generation, having a better understanding of them will help to further inform future marketing and communications campaigns. And as always, social media was a major theme and top of mind for many of the panelists and Realtors in attendance.

Tweets from #NARAnnual2016:

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Introducing Contactually Slack & Facebook Messenger Integrations: from Contactually Labs

The world of chat

Our business, like yours, is built on relationships. The trust and rapport you build up with clients over the long-term help build your real estate business. And similar to personal relationships -- whether you've realized it or not - you've come to trust the technology that surrounds you. How often do you speak with Siri? A simple voice command and you have your answers within seconds. Or what about driving directions? Simply input location and you're guided by voice, turn-by-turn. The shift towards friendlier, more personable tech is empowering agents and brokers alike to create even more growth in their business. New integrations and chatbots have been helping agents and brokerages become more productive overall. With the ability to quickly log and automate activity, agents are feeling less of the burden of administrative work lingering over their heads and cluttering up their days. "I'm typically on the go in my daily routine, so I try to do as much as I can to make the most out of my time. I usually use Google or Alexa voice commands to make sure I schedule appointments in the moment, or else I may forget." - Brandon Doyle, RE/MAX Results Although some new technology is novel and exciting, at the end of the day, it may not solve any problems for you. If anything, it's just another thing you've got cluttering up your phone, computer, or brain! There have been no shortage of attempts to revolutionize the industry
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UPDATES: Contactually's New Features Recap

If you've been living under a rock

Your time is of the essence -- we get it. Whether you're in a crunch, busy with work, family, the holidays you might have missed some of our new features. We're excited to announce we've got a bunch of new updates to help streamline the way you work, and make your overall Contactually experience that much better.

New features recap ahead...

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Bridge the Gap & Grow Your Business with Contactually

It happens to all of us in every aspect of life- we know we should do something but we choose not to. Right? We know we should exercise more and eat healthier. We know we should reach out to that old friend. We know we should vote. We know we should make the time to volunteer and give back. But we don't. Instead, we focus our energies on creative rationalization and procrastination. We do it in our professional lives, too. There are things we know we should do but find reasons not to. Don't agree? Not you? Maybe not. Let's put it to the test.

Ready to better your business?

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Get Out The Vote with Contactually

Unless you've been under a well-padded rock with no wifi... you know that we have a major presidential election coming up on November 8th. We all know how important it is for everyone to have a say in who leads this country, as well as who represents you on a ...
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[HOW TO] Using Contactually for Recruiting the Best Hires

You may have noticed that developing relationships are pretty important to us here at Contactually, and we believe that developing relationships can be crucial for all different types of businesses. Most of the time we're teaching you how to get referrals to people who are potential clients of yours using your network. This time I'll be taking you step by step through how to get referrals of a different kind: recruitment referrals. Recruiting is core to any business. You can't do amazing work for your clients without having amazing people to do it. If you're a lawyer, you need to hire great paralegals. If you're a real estate broker you need agents to sell properties. In the world of recruiting, referrals reign. If you need some convincing check out this infographic created by Jobvite, a respected applicant tracking technology company. The stat that jumps out to me; 40% of referred candidates are hired, yet referrals only make up 7% of total applications. As a business owner, the relationships of your employees are an asset that can lead you to hiring great people. Those you hire through referrals will cost you less money to hire, will be better quality candidates, and they'll stay at your company for longer. When you add all that in the mix, investing in relationships is a no brainer for this side of your business as well.

3 Steps to start recruiting with Contactually:

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Feature Update: Powerful Search With Custom Fields

As your network grows... Your real estate business is rapidly growing. You're meeting new clients, gaining more referrals and generating new business like never before. With a growing book of business you're more likely to overlook some of your most valuable connections. It becomes increasingly difficult to sift through your ...
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The Contactually Platform: Better Than Ever & More to Come

We have an ambitious vision here at Contactually: The most successful businesses in the world will be built upon personal, authentic relationships with their clients and partners.
And our best shot at fully accomplishing that vision is to provide you with the best platform. We've been pretty transparent in the past about our continued iteration and evolution into a quality platform that, most importantly, you value and trust.
I thought I would share some of the recent enhancements that we have made that already made a big impact on our user experience.
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EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Finalist -- Our CEO, Zvi Band

The spirit of entrepreneurship is alive and kicking in the Mid-Atlantic -- and we couldn't be happier to be a part of the action! Our fearless leader and CEO, Zvi Band was announced as a finalist in the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016 Mid-Atlantic Awards Program. As the world's ...
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A New Way to Find Help in Contactually

As companies grow over time, their tools and applications can get more and more complicated. New features, functionality, and designs built to address problems can result in unintended consequences. They can ultimately become overwhelming for customers. In the past, this has been no different for Contactually. Help and Support for Contactually customers has historically lived outside of the application. This forced our customers to leave the application to find a solution to their problem. Then they had to come back to apply the solution they found. Frankly, it was a messy, convoluted way for our customers to address their concerns. We knew there had to be a better way. Luckily, we were introduced to Elevio. Elevio is an application that takes the Help and Support resources that live outside of Contactually the app, and makes them readily available to you as you work in Contactually. We've integrated Elevio into our Help Menu, allowing you easy access to help and support when you need it, directly within Contactually.

Here's how Contactually and Elevio work together...

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Top Tools & Apps That Get Our Users Through the Day

Sometimes all those apps and tools we have taking up space on our phones and tablets can be a bit distracting. How often are you grateful for an app or a crucial tool for keeping you on task or for making you more productive during your day? We've all had one of those days, where it seems the simple app we have keeping us on task is the only reason we were productive. Since we tend to get stuck using the same tools over and over again, we may be unaware of the other tools out there, or unwilling to try something different for fear of switching up our routine. [caption id="attachment_7204" align="aligncenter" width="900"]https://www.atlassian.com/time-wasting-at-work-infographic Via Atlassian[/caption] There is a lot of time wasted at work, and you'd be surprised to know that some of the biggest culprits are some of the unnecessary things we end up having to do while at work...and not just checking on our Facebook's. According to a study by Atlassian, at least 60% of our time at work is actually spent productively. If you're working a 40 hour work week, that's at least 24 hours spent not being productive. One of the biggest culprits? Answering and keeping your emails organized. That same study found that on average, it takes about 16 whole minutes to get back on track after being derailed by an incoming email. Okay, ready for the good news? We've got the master list of professionals from all different industries of the tools and apps they use to get through their day productively.
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Why We Have an Annual Company Retreat

This year, Contactually trekked to Winchester, Virginia for our annual company retreat. It's a tradition that's been passed down since the first formative year of the company and something that continues to remain an important part of our company culture, even as we grow exponentially and the logistics become a bit difficult. Our CEO, Zvi, handed me the reins as our new Operations Manager and let me go ahead with the planning. He gave me a few stipulations, and a little background and that was that. Retreat 2016 was a sweeping success, one of the best yet or so everyone told me, and it turns out that a couple days away from our desks can do a lot for team bonding and company morale.

An inside look at the 2016 Contactually company retreat....