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Rollover: some big changes!

When we launched Fancy Hands almost 4 years ago, things were a bit different. There was only one person on the staff back then, now we've got considerably more. We had dozens of assistants when we launched, now we have thousands. Users could only submit tasks through email, now we have all kinds of apps and interesting ways to keep in touch. But for the most part, our subscription plans have stayed the same. But we're not done, we're super excited to announce a few big changes.

Rollover Tasks

The biggest change is that from now on, your tasks rollover from month to month! So if you're on the 5 task per month plan and only use three, you'll have seven when the next months starts. As long as you have an active subscription, your tasks will continue to roll over. (Once you cancel your plan, the tasks go away). 

Suggested Tasks, Reborn

We've also spent a ton of time working to help you anticipate what you need to do next. In fact, we've totally redone how we identify what you need to do next. Our algorithms have looked at your past tasks, and if you opted in, our system looked at your calendar to help figure out what you should be doing next. We're introducing a totally optional new integration that allows us to help you stay on top of your life. You can hook up your email with us and we'll automatically suggest what needs to happen next. So if someone says, "Hey, let's get drinks later" or "we're heading to Mary and Steve's anniversary next week" we'll take the lead and help you schedule, coordinate, research, and communicate with the right parties... all with just a click of a button. 

Shiny in Chrome

Users have seen these suggested tasks on their dashboard and in the iPhone/Android apps already. But today we're also rolling out a new Chrome browser extension that makes these suggestions available whenever you need them. On top of that, you can interact with your tasks without going to the site, and even get notified immediately when we're done.

Other Changes

With our integration with Google Calendar, we're still the absolute best way to schedule your appointments. However, scheduling is no longer free. Scheduling appointments will now require a task credit just like any other task you send in. However, since tasks rollover, you should have some to use!

Also, and it pains me to say it, because making purchases for our users has always been a popular feature. But we're putting a temporary pause on our ability to buy things for our users for the time being. However, we've had some issues with our partners and haven't been able to keep this feature running 100% of the time. So I made the decision to take it down until we know it will be available for everyone, at everytime, for larger purchases. I apologize about this, but we'll get it back! 

The Fancy Hands API

I'm excited today to announce we're launching the Fancy Hands API!

What is it? The Fancy Hands API enables people to make apps, add features to existing applications, and build businesses using our army of assistants. For a single developer, this means she can build insanely complicated apps in a weekend (since we have real humans do the heavy lifting).

What can you do with it? Well, lots. For example, one of our developers built a mobile app that allows you to book a car anywhere in the country. It's listed with source code, along with a bunch of other application ideas, on our developer examples page.

But it's not just the indie developers. A large sales organization could build an app to handle lead generation: when a new contact hits their Salesforce it could automatically have fancy hands reach out and look into it. Perhaps a third party company could spring up and automatically connect to these sales platforms and with Fancy Hands. They could easily charge on a per lead basis.

Currently, agencies are looking at the API to power promotions for brands. They're reaching out via social media to surprise and delight customers by helping them with shopping, travel, etc during the holiday season.  So if someone tweets about being overwhelmed with Thanksgiving planning, a brand steps in and says "We'll help!" and that's powered by Fancy Hands.

So head over to our developer page, the api explorer, our github account, and we'd love to hear your feedback.

For developers, we had some pretty specific goals:

  • People should be able to build businesses on the API (not just toys)
  • It needed to be super friendly for developers (RESTish)
  • We wanted the best interactive API docs around

What's next? Expect more endpoints and more examples. Want to get your app featured or chat about the API? Email us at [email protected]

App-solutely.

The update to our iPhone app is out! It fixes login issues, location services, and there are some other goodies in store for you.

App-happy.

Our team has been working towards this day for a long time...

We are thrilled to announce the official launch of the Fancy Hands iPhone app! 

You can download it for free here, and if you're new to Fancy Hands, find more information about our service here.

Ta-da!!!

The dashboard screen: 

The task screen: 

You can hold the "new request" button down and speak your request directly into your phone.

You can type out your request if you want to, but no typing is needed! 

You'll be able to refer to all of your previous tasks right on your phone. Anytime you need the information, there it is: 

Our assistants are celebrating like this: 

And our app developers are taking a little break.

TaskRabbits!

By now, you know how to use your Fancy Hands assistants. They can accomplish anything for you that can be done from a computer or a phone, including: 

  • Making reservations
  • Doing research
  • Administrative support 
  • Travel research
  • Placing phone calls
  • Scheduling 

Now our assistants can help you get things done beyond the computer and phone. 

We’ve teamed up with TaskRabbit to easily connect you with people who can help you in person. 

TaskRabbit is a website and mobile app for outsourcing errands and jobs to background-checked individuals in your community.

Here at the Fancy Hands HQ, for example, we needed coat hooks to be installed. 

So we sent a Fancy Hands assistant this message: 

Please find someone who can come today during our business hours and install six coat hooks in our wall. They should have their own drill and level and other needed tools. 

The assistant replied: 

Hello, the lowest TaskRabbit bidder for this job is Frank, a handyman with all of his own tools. He will do this job for $50 and he can be there in two hours. Does this work for you? 

And voila, we got hooks! 

When you use your Fancy Hands assistants to hire a TaskRabbit, you won’t have to create your own TaskRabbit account, and you won’t need to spend time posting your ad or viewing the various bids for your job.

We’ll take care of everything for you; just send your Fancy Hands assistant your request. Once a handful of bids have been placed on your job, your assistant will let you know what the lowest bid is and ask you to confirm the charge. 

You’ll be billed to the credit card that you used to sign up for your Fancy Hands account through our secure servers – as always when you make a purchase through our system, no one will see your credit card number.

So relax! You can now say things like: 

Please have someone pick up my alterations from Barney's and my dog from daycare and deliver them to me at my house. 

Please get the oil changed in my Batmobile, fill it with gas, and return it to the garage. 

Please send a makeup artist to my home to prepare me for my news conference.

Please book a housekeeper to come clean my home. It’s no castle, just a simple two bedroom.

TaskRabbit is currently available in:

  • Boston
  • SF Bay Area
  • San Antonio
  • Austin
  • Chicago
  • Seattle
  • Portland
  • Los Angeles
  • Orange County
  • NYC

We love finding new ways to simplify your life! 

All Hands.

Integration is the name of the game lately at Fancy Hands HQ.

We want to add as many options as possible for your work delegation! 

We started with Google Calendar

Next came Basecamp

Then Do.com

Then it was Evernote's turn. 

Today: Asana

The way it works is simple: 

  • Add [email protected] to your project.
  • Pick tasks that you don't want to do.
  • Assign those task to Fancy Hands.
  • Watch as they get marked as completed.

If you haven't used Asana before and are curious about it, check out their website here, and some articles here: 

Asana Unveils Android App

Asana Unveils iPhone App

Asana Is Great & Free!

Fancy Hands is putting some magic into yours! 

Nice Assist.

Our clients are thrilled to have an entire team of assistants working for them. 

With a team working for you: 

  • you can submit several requests at once, and different people can tackle them all at the same time. 
  • you have coverage seven days a week. 
  • each assistant has a different skill sets, and they choose to work on the tasks they know the most about, so you get the most knowledgable assistant for each job. 

But sometimes, it's nice to appear as if you've got just one assistant. 

And so we are pleased to introduce a new white-glove feature called Personal Touch. 

You can now create a specialized email account and make up a name for your entire team of assistants. 

Our founder Ted Roden uses the name "Lucille Bluth", so when he is setting up a meeting, he'll cc "Lucille" on his email and say to his recipient, 

"I've cc'd my assistant Lucille on this email, she'll help us find a time and place for our lunch."

All of your Fancy Hands assistants will now email third parties from the email address that you dedicate for them, and they will all answer to the name you've given them. 


This feature has been tested in beta for a while, and people have enjoyed getting creative with naming their assistant.

Harper Reed, the former CTO of Obama for America and Threadless.com, being light years ahead of his time and techno-focused, named his assistant Robot. And we suspect that some people actually believe that he built a Robot Assistant to manage his schedule.

Luckily for you, our assistants are all very real people, working and living in the US, ready to help you today. 

What will you name your assistant? 

Once you decide on a name, create an email address (either with a service like Gmail or with your own company's email address, like [email protected]).  

Then go here to set your Personal Touch up! 

It's a feature that we're excited to now offer for free with your Fancy Hands membership! 

FAQ'S:

Q: How does this work? 

A:

  • Set up an email account for your "assistant". Use your company's email services or any free service (like Gmail). 
  • Go here and enter the email address and name that you'll be using for your assistant. 
  • You'll be given an address to set that email address to forward to. Set that up through your assistant email account. 
  • Return to this page and you'll probably see this message: "We received an email regarding this account, you may need to click a confirm link."
  • Click on that line, copy and paste the confirmation link into a new tab in your web browser, and, while logged in to the email program (like Gmail) as the assistant, you will see a confirmation pop up that you're all set. 
  • Once you're all set, you can email "[email protected]", cc "[email protected]" and say something like, "Bob, I've cc'd my assistant Betty on this email, she'll work with you to find a time for us to meet", and Bob will hear from "Betty" to set your appointment. 
  • If you have your Google calendar connected to your account, "Betty" will add the meetings that she sets to it. 
  • If you have any problems, email support at fancy hands dot com. 

Q: How will I see who my assistant is from now on? If there's a problem, I won't know which assistant was working for me. 

A: You will still be replied to by the actual assistant working on your task. Only third parties will be seeing your chosen assistant's name. 

Q: How will emails going to third parties appear?

A: When you set up your assistant's email, enter the name that you'd like to appear in the email settings. You can choose a full name or a title, that's up to you, like 

-Lucille Bluth

or

-Assistant to Ted Roden (putting "Assistant to" in the first name field and "Ted Roden" in the last name field.)

The email will go to a third party with whatever words you've put in your "from" email settings. The address will be the address that your dedicated email is set to forward to (see example image below). 

Q: How can a third party contact my assistant? 

A: You will start the conversation by cc'ing your assistant on an email to a third party. They can respond to your assistant either by replying to the dedicated email that you set up (example: [email protected]) or the forwarding address that they see in direct communication from the assistant (as may happen if the assistant reaches out to the third party directly to follow up.)

Q: What signature will appear in the body of the email? 

A: When you're setting up your account here, our website will ask you what name you'd like to use. That's the signature that will appear at the end of an email. 

Q: I tried to click the confirmation link once I set up my Gmail account to forward and received this screen from Google: "We’re sorry, but your Gmail account is temporarily unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience and suggest trying again in a few minutes. You can view the Apps Status Dashboard for the current status of the service."

A: You need to be logged into your "assistant's" Gmail account to confirm. If you are logged into another Gmail account, the confirmation process will not work. 

An email exchange will look something like this: 

Fancy mention.

You might know him from Childrens Hospital, Hot Tub Time Machine, or The Daily Show. I know him because we worked together on an Oscar-award winning film called What Happens In Vegas

OK, fine, it didn't win an Oscar. But some guy named Oscar saw it, and he said it was pretty funny. 

Anyway, Rob Corddry is known for being productivity and tech-obsessed, so when I started working at Fancy Hands, I knew he'd love to hear about us. 

Rob's wife and assistant have really enjoyed being able to outsource their busy work to us.

In an interview with Brett Terpstra, Rob explains how much Fancy Hands has helped. 

Brett said that it sounds like the type of stuff that our company does are the things that he asks his own wife to do. 

That's a great takeaway for all of you husbands out there...if you're leaving the unpleasantness of life for your wife to handle for the both of you, imagine how happy she'd be if you gifted her with a membership to Fancy Hands. 

A membership to Fancy Hands? As little as $25 a month. 

Harmony in the home? Priceless. 

(Interview with Rob Corddry and Brett Terpstra of Systematic -

We're mentioned at 45:30) 

 

This Is How I Work.

Check out Tessa Miller's full profile of Ted on Lifehacker here

Current gig: Founder/CEO, Fancy Hands

Location: New York, NY

Current mobile device: iPhone 4S

Current computer: 11" MacBook Air, occasionally plugged into the 27" Apple monitor

One word that best describes how you work: Slouching


What apps/software/tools can't you live without?

I spend most of my day in Emacs, which is the only text editor ever invented (it's also a Tetris client, operating system, and punchline). I use Alfred mostly for launching programs and finding files, but recently started using it to view and edit my clipboard history. That's been a game changer. I take a lot of screenshots for some reason and use Skitch for that (version 1—the new version is a totally different app). And of course: OmniFocus, Evernote, TextExpander, 1Password, and Chrome.

What's your workspace set up like?

At the office we have one 40-foot long table that we all sit around. I'll sit there part of the day, at the shared standing desk part of the day, and I'll spend some time on the couch. At my apartment I have this super old desk that I bought from a Goodwill in Portland. It doesn't really fit (space-wise) in our apartment, but I love it.

What's your best time-saving trick?

I try to never do anything twice. If I find myself doing something over and over, I figure out a way to automate it (via Fancy Hands, or Text Expander, or IFTTT). If I find myself thinking, "I should do that thing" more than once without actually doing it, it's pretty clear that I'm not going to do it. So I figure out a way to hand it off to someone else or realize it's not worth thinking about anymore. 

What's your favorite to-do list manager?

I put everything into OmniFocus, but I'm less consistent with working on things on the list. Occasionally I'll go through the list and purge almost everything.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can't you live without?

That would be my wife's camera. It's not that I use the camera itself, but she takes tons of pictures of our two kids and I'll check her flickr feed a few times a day or more often when I'm working longer hours. I get more enjoyment out of that gadget than almost any other. I'd probably give up my iPhone before her camera.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

I'm really great at ignoring the badge numbers on my phone. I don't care how many app store updates there are or unread texts I've received.

What do you listen to while you work?

We have a company Sonos and everybody adds albums to that, but when it's time to put headphones on, I listen to Menomena almost exclusively. I'm a bit obsessed.  

What's your sleep routine like?

I go to bed between midnight and 2 AM most nights. I have two of the world's most amazing alarm clocks to ensure that I never sleep in. They wake me up between 5 and 6 AM to do things like "have juice," "play with trains," and "go to the playground."

What's the best advice you've ever received?

"Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way... turn."

Ted's home phone screen

Evernote-worthy.

Our developers continually push themselves to integrate our service with other useful platforms to make your life easier. 

We're pleased to announce that you can now link your Evernote and Fancy Hands accounts here, enabling your your requests, your assistants' responses and attachments to automatically archive directly to Evernote.


You'll be able to access them from your phone, on the desktop, and anyywhere else that you use Evernote.

By now, if you don't use Evernote yourself, you've probably heard productivity pros speak about how much they love using it. 

Lifehacker editor Whitson Gordon just wrote this article on finally seeing the light and making the connection about how useful Evernote truly is. 

The key to being an early adopter is to approach new technologies with patience and flexibility.

We are all so programmed to cling to our routines and what's comfortable, even if that way of life isn't allowing us to be our best. 

Services like Fancy Hands and Evernote are designed to simplify your life, and once you get the hang of using them, you will find yourself amazed. 

Our founder, Ted Roden, says, "The great thing about Evernote is the more that goes in, the better it is. Everything you have is in one place. I set mine up to automatically save my Tumblr likes and Foursquare check-ins. Now when I think, 'What was that awesome thing I saw on Tumblr?' I can find it in Evernote much easier than tryhing to find it on my Tumblr dashboard."

One of our clients sent this to us yesterday: "You guys have easily added 4 more hours into my days."

Statements like that are why we come to work! 

Give the Evernote integration a shot, and let us know how it works for you. 

Unfamiliar with Evernote? Check out their website as well as these articles:

Evernote shortcuts

Tips from Evernote's CEO

Going Paperless

Evernote magic

Do-licious Integration!

We're pleased to announce our newest feature - an integration with the

Do platform


Do is a social productivity tool that allows you to streamline your tasks and get things done! 

It's free to sign up, and now, as a member, you can integrate your Fancy Hands account, and they'll work magic together. 

It's our goal at Fancy Hands to help you simplify your busy life. 

We'll continue to work towards bringing you more opportunities like this one. 

Give it a try (start here) and let us know how it goes on Twitter or Facebook

We love to hear from you. 

Snow!

If you're snowed in this weekend, take some time to shoot your to-do list tasks over to your Fancy Hands assistants. They'll keep working through the weather, so you can make yourself a hot chocolate and relax!

Do Less, Live More.

Attention, New Yorkers! There are still a few spaces left for the free talk given by Ari Meisel this Wednesday at 8pm here at Fancy Hands.

Learn how to automate and outsource everything in your life! 

RSVP here: http://arimeiselfancyhands.eventbrite.com/

Déjà Vu.

It's Groundhog Day...again! 

Here's a coupon code: 

i-got-you-babe

For 50% off the your first month!

Over. and over. and over.

In honor of Groundhog Day tomorrow, here's a coupon code

i-got-you-babe

For 50% off the your first month!

And the best line of the movie...

Phil: Do you ever have déjà vu, Mrs. Lancaster? 

Mrs. Lancaster: I don't think so, but I could check with the kitchen. 

Python Open Office Hours.

Fancy Hands is proud to host the New York Python Meetup Group's weekly "open office hours" event. We had a great turnout last night, complete with free pizza and beer. Programmers from all skill levels and industries got together to talk code, ask questions, and help each other out. Here's what the meetup organzier, Gloria, had to say:

This event was really great! Thanks to everyone who came out. It was impressive to have some people just hang out and eavesdrop, ask questions, and learn, while others paired off and helped each other. The free-form way that it worked is exactly what I hoped for, and I want to thank all of you for that.

We'll be meeting here at the Fancy Hands office every Tuesday at 6:30PM. Come join us. We're excited to be hosting this event. The NYC Python Meetup Group has always been a great gathering of people, and it gets better and better. For details, check out the official Meetup page here.

We hope to see you here next time.

50% off for 50K!

Thanks to you, we just hit 50,000 Tumblr followers.

To celebrate, we’re offering 50% off! 

Go to Fancy Hands and enter code tumblr-50k

50% off your first month. 

Expires 1/14/13.

Valid on monthly plans.

Not for gift certificates.

 

Do what you love. We’ll do the rest. 

Hands-some.

The Next Web featured our space in their roundup of Awesome NYC Startup Offices.

Ever felt like you needed an extra set of hands? Fancy Hands, ehm, hands them to you with its service. For a monthly membership fee, users can call in or email their requests, which are then carried out by Fancy Hands’ thousands of assistants who work across the US. Again, an idea born out of personal frustration: Ted Roden founded the company when his life proved too busy to handle on his own.

Fittingly, hands are also the defining office interior theme. You can literally find them everywhere in the office. And this is no outside job: the company’s Art Director David Trawin painted the walls, refinished the furniture, chose the artwork, and adorned the power outlets with wacky characters like Hulk Hogan.

Fridays wind down with a happy hour that includes Nintendo Wii, an assortment of beer (the staff are really into obscure brands), and snacks. Karyn Spencer, Director of Communications: “Sometimes we’ll have chips and salsa, sometimes pancakes. Once we had salsa and pancakes. That was kind of weird.” 

Merry Christmas!

Thanks for a great year! We hope your holiday is a happy one. 

Our developers made you a little treat -

go to our homepage and click on the blue present at the bottom right of your screen. 

Forget something?

It's not too late to order a team of assistants for the people on your gift list. 

You can place your order right here

schedule delivery date of your gift, 

and include a holiday message. 

Stay inside today. The mall is brutal. 

Happy Holidays! 

Monthly Yearly
Up to 20% off yearly plans

Small

3

Requests a month
$6/request
-20%

Medium

5

Requests a month
$6/request
-20%

Large

15

Requests a month
$5/request
-12%

XL

30

Requests a month
$5/request
-12%

All Plans Include...

  • Submit requests via website
  • Submit requests via email
  • Submit requests via iPhone and Android apps
  • Submit requests via text
  • Submit requests via phone calls
  • Your requests roll over
  • We can buy things for you
  • Referring new users, get free months
  • Tons of usage stats
  • Recurring Requests
  • 3rd Party Integrations
  • VIP Customer Service
  • HUGE SAVINGS

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