App Update 3.0

The team at Cap & Compass is excited to announce an update to our popular Crib Sheet app.

For starters, we’ve added three new life 101 topics:

  • Interviewing
  • Mortality
  • Watching Football

On the iPhone and iPad, we’ve updated a number of elements to give the app a more snazzy iOS 7 look:

For customers with a mobile website, we’ve also added an optional fourth tab (see the “MSU Web” tab).

To promote reading more life 101 topics, our app now offers easier topic navigation (previous/next buttons):

You’ll also find a variety of other subtle, valuable improvements.

We think graduates will love this app update. Enjoy!

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New product: eBook

Since 2001, we’ve sold over 750,000 copies of our popular book, life after school. explained. Today we’re excited to offer it as an eBook.

What is it? In short, our eBook is a digital version of our book. It’s easy to set up and can go “live” in minutes.

To help promote your eBook, we include fun invitations to share with graduates:

You can even promote your eBook from the custom cover of your physical book by purchasing both products:

To learn more, download “Life After School. Explained.” from the App Store or Google Play and select any customer. Or just visit our website.

We think graduates will love it and hope you do, too.

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Book Update

We’re excited to announce the biggest update of our book since we first wrote our book.

We’ve added three great new topics: Watching Football, Mortality, and Interviewing.

You’ll also notice a complete redesign of the pages. Compare our new pages (top) to old pages (bottom):

We think your readers will love the ‘minimal’ approach and focus on detail:

Request your free sample to see our book update. We think you and your readers will love it.

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New Life 101 Topics

One of the favorite parts of my job is creating new life 101 content for our book and app.

Our topics reach tens of thousands of readers annually, so we’re thoughtful when we add something new. Is the topic worth adding? Is it helpful?

After starting with an initial list of fifteen potential topics, we narrowed the list down to three. And the winners are…

Watching Football (sneak peek) – How can you enjoy watching “the big game” with friends when football doesn’t interest you?

Mortality (sneak peek) – What happens when a loved one passes away? And do I really want to be an “executor”?

Interviewing (sneak peek) – How do you get the big job after landing the big interview?

Look for these updates in our book and app soon. We think you and graduates will love them!

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Beautiful app icons

We’re excited as more and more schools and organizations join our “app family”.

Much like our book covers, we love to see the creativity of our customers in the design of their app icons. Below are just a few recent examples.

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App Update 2.5

We’re excited to announce a update to our mobile app, Crib Sheet.

For starters, our app now takes advantage of the big screen of iPhone 5. You’ll see more news and more life 101 content in one glance.

Once you try it, you’ll immediately notice the difference.

In your news menu, we’ve added “# selected” next to each category name to better show which feeds you’re reading.

You’ll also find a few more minor improvements. Details matter.

The update is live for most of our customers today. We hope you love it!

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What’s on the minds of your alumni?

With our new crystal ball (kind of), we give you a window in the minds of your alumni to discover what they’re really thinking. Then take action with this data!


In your dashboard, we supply detailed statistics across four new categories. Learn what is read and shared most in your app by your collective alumni.

Life 101 Topics
Learn – Over the last 30 days, is homeowners insurance getting read?
Do – Send a timely mailing describing your insurance partnerships.

Learn – Is news about your baseball team popular recently?
Do – Start a free ticket promotion in exchange for address updates.

Learn – Surprised in the interest for renovations to the student union?
Do – Consider a capital campaign linked to these renovations.

Features (example)
Learn – Are videos your most popular features?
Do – Add more videos to your website and email blasts.


Our new stats provide unique, real-time insight into the minds of your alumni. Then use this treasure trove of data to cater your program to their needs.

We hope you love it!

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Product Design: What We Believe

We believe that design (broadly defined) is the key to any good product, so we felt that we should share our design beliefs with you.


Attention to detail
We obsess over fonts, shades of color, and the pixels in an icon. Details matter and get remembered by customers.

We remove stuff to create value. We explain health insurance in about 500 words.

Minimize friction
We minimize taps and headaches. If you don’t notice friction in our products, then we’re doing our jobs.

We don’t do everything. By focusing on just news, life 101 topics, and deals in our app, we have the time and attention to do these things well.

Mobile is unique
For our app, we design specifically for tiny, touchable screens used by real people with short attention spans.

No whiz-bang
We don’t add features which sound cool but get used just once.

We make products to be loved and shared. Our life 101 topics have soul.

Respect users
We ask ourselves, “Would we like this?” when building something. Our approach to advertising is respectful.


We have a responsibility to our customers and users to produce great products. If you believe what we believe, then you’ll love our book and app.

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Your Mobile Strategy: A Fish or Dog?

When my daughter turned five, she begged my wife and I for a pet. So we got her a “starter” pet, a goldfish.

For a day or two, she watched “Peter Pan” swim in a circle. But after a week, her fish got ignored (“he’s kinda boring”).

When my daughter turned seven, she begged for a “petting kind of pet”. So we brought home Maggie, a basset hound. Six months later, I took this photo:

My daughter is still obsessed with Maggie because she greets her at the door, delivers her teddy bear, and makes her smile. Maggie is an interactive part of my daughter’s life. Therefore, she gets a lot more attention.

As you plan the mobile strategy for your office, ask yourself: are you giving your alumni a fish or a dog?

Mobile websites often fall into the fish category. They look better than a regular website on a phone, but the content doesn’t change much and they don’t offer anything to engage alumni:


Our app is the basset hound in this analogy by:


And if you already have a mobile website, our app is a great tool to send more traffic to it.


Give your alumni something as interesting and interactive as news, life tips, and deals in a beautiful format and they’ll return again and again (and stay engaged with you).

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Reduce the cost of your app with helpful ads

In our app, we give you the option to include relevant, useful ads to help you reduce the cost of your app.

To do this, we start with a crazy idea: ads should improve the app experience of your users. If your alumnae reads about “auto insurance,” she might appreciate learning about an auto insurance discount available to her.

So we designed Crib Sheet from the ground up for “good ads” (nothing obnoxious):

– Each ad is related to a life 101 topic (e.g. auto insurance)
– Maximum of one ad per topic
– Only your partner ads (affinity partners or ads you’ve sold)
– Ads visually match the app design (nothing annoying)

Search for “MSU Crib Sheet” in any app store to see ad examples in an app.

Automatic Discount (Sponsors)

To help you easily reduce the cost of your app through ads, we’ve partnered with some of the country’s top affinity partners as app “sponsors” (e.g. Liberty Mutual).

To receive an automatic discount off your app subscription, promote your affinity partner (sponsor) by:

– including their ad(s) in your app
– incorporating their logo in some of your app promotional materials

Sell Ad Space (do a little legwork)

If you’re in contact with any other advertisers (besides our sponsors), you can sell your own ad space in the app:

– Keep 100% of the revenue (you choose the ad rates)
– Ads need to be related to a topic
– We provide you an (optional) “ad-sales sheet” to provide to your advertisers
– If you sell ad packages (print, web, etc.), add the app to your “ad portfolio”

Promote Internal Partners

As an added bonus, promote products and services from your own organization as “deals” in your app:

Controlled by You

You can add, edit, and delete your deals right from your dashboard:

And you can even send automated emails to your advertisers showing statistics and more.


Alumni appreciate these limited and relevant ads in their app because they provide real value when reading about a given topic.

Take advantage of the financial benefits of ads with little effort (a sponsor discount) and/or a little hustle (sell ad space). You never know, you could even get paid to provide this valuable app to your alumni.

Please contact us with any questions!

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