October 31, 2014

Real Time Status for Your Business with GeckoBoard

Ever felt like you’d like the 911 status on your business, in one view, one place? All the vitals so you can see, at a glance, what’s going on in the different areas of your company? If you have wanted to combine your web analytics, CRM, project management, sales pipeline, customer support requests, to name just a few, then this review of GeckoBoard is for you.

The first thing to understand about GeckoBoard is that it aggregates the stuff, the information, you need or want to see in one dashboard view. That dashboard might be on your iPhone or laptop or it might be an HD television hanging in your office lobby or manufacturing floor. Each device or monitor counts as one connection and, depending on your account, you are allowed a certain number of simultaneous connections.

For small business owners who are already managing too much information, GeckoBoard provides a way to streamline and simplify the information flow across your desk.

After you sign up for a free trial, I’ll admit it can be a little intimidating to figure out. However, it doesn’t take long to get it working. They are creating a new category of web-based application — a tool that pulls all of your disparate software and applications into one view. The company calls it a “real time status board.” I can live with that. The app comes with some basic parts installed so you can view samples. By clicking “Add Widget” you quickly see how many apps are already easy to connect to, such as:

  • Highrise for CRM
  • Gmail and Mailchimp for email
  • FourSquare for location updates
  • Basecamp or Github for project management
  • Salesforce, Twitter, Freshbooks, Google Analytics, to name a few more and the then you have tools to create custom widgets linking into datasets that are just your own. The custom widget button helps you build from scratch.

Frankly, it is a bit mind-boggling. And that’s my only real wish for the GeckoBoard platform — that they do a bit more work on explaining what it all means for you as a small business owner. For some, it is a big “aha” and quite intuitive; for others, it’s a rabbit hole of “what does this do, really?”

Here is a sample dashboard I created in less than five minutes; after I got up the courage to hook into different data sets of my own.  I set up a search on Twitter for “makers” and “inventors”; then hooked into my Gmail account (I had just emptied my inbox to look organized). I also hooked into one of my websites Google Analytics account and it was all point and click and authorize. Here’s a quick screenshot below. I left the three default sample widgets that are right on top.

If you find yourself jumping from application to application to keep up with your inbox, your tasks, your social media, you could use GeckoBoard to put it all on one screen. More so, if you have information that you want to share on a big screen with your team or your customers as they come into your company offices, you could use it that way, too. It is fairly easy to use and offers a lot of potential for those trying to see a lot in one glance. Plans start at $9/month and scale up based on connections. No credit card to sign up for a free 30-day trial (which is what I used to test it out).

Learn more about GeckoBoard.

7 Comments ▼

TJ McCue - Product Editor


TJ McCue TJ McCue served as Technology/Product Review Editor for Small Business Trends for many years and now contributes on 3D technologies. He is currently traveling the USA on the 3DRV roadtrip and writes at the Refine Digital blog.

7 Reactions

  1. Awesome job on this review post.

    TJ-you’re getting better and better.

    Keep up the great work. You find the coolest stuff!

    The Franchise King®

    • TJ does find the coolest stuff, doesn’t he, Joel? I was just thinking that I want to try GeckoBoard. Sounds useful!

      I am going to digress for a short moment. I can remember when we first started the product reviews back in May of 2009. I didn’t know then if this new feature would flop and become one of those “lessons learned the hard way” — or if it would be something worthwhile. But here we are almost 3 years later. We have 115 product reviews in the site, the majority of them written by TJ. And they are very popular. So I guess we can now say: this is one of those experiments that worked out well. Thanks TJ.

      – Anita

      • You’re right, Anita.

        And, I had no idea that there were that many reviews on the site. WOW.

        Maybe a new blue tab just for reviews is warranted?

        Of course, I wouldn’t want TJ’s ego to get boosted THAT much :)

        The Franchise King®

  2. TJ,
    Excellent talk on the GeckoBoard app. Some of these so-called tools that I’ve seen aggregate social media or projects or email campaigns, but I have never seen one that tries to do it all. I loved how you gave a couple of points of view on how this huge conglomerate of info could be either “wow!” or “where am I”. My big objection from what I could see is the difficulty of reading white on black for the entire screen. I’m really hoping there might be a light background option. Think I’ll give it a look. Thanks for the interesting review.

  3. Wow, I’m honored Joel & Anita. Thank you for the kind, kind comments. I made all the doors in my house 42 inches wide so I would never have a problem getting through… ;-) I’m as thrilled to be on the SmallBizTrends team today as I was to join it 3 years ago. One of the most genuine and useful places on the web.

    Sally, I agree with you on viewing. I didn’t play around to see if one could switch the color/reading scheme, so let me know what you find. My suspicion though is that they’ve been optimizing for maximum readability and somehow this one shows up best in all light conditions. I’m no expert on that part, but.. Cool avatar, btw.

  4. Very interesting review! I’m definitely going to have to look into GeckoBoard myself

  5. TJ: Do you know about other tools on the market, trying to do get an overview of your stuff online? I definitively have to look into this product and have a test drive.

    Anita: I remember talking with you about review of gadgets and tools on Small Business Trends a long time ago! :) I have mentioned TJ’s review to plenty of individuals who are interested in keeping up-to-date with cool new products.

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