The life of a startup founder can be a hot mess. You go south if you don’t have the right tools to make your daily work as streamlined as possible.
At Kisi, we use the usual suspects like gMail (Google mail), Slack, Salesforce, Google Drive, Dropbox. For personal music use, I prefer Pandora over Spotify. However, there are a couple of personal “hack” tools that I have started using over the past years – most of them which you may already know of. Even so, I just wanted to share my list of cloud tools as it can make my (and hopefully your) communication and work in general more productive and fun.
Without much further introduction, here is my personal top 10 cloud tools list ranked by their importance:
1. Workflowy’s smart sync function is a life saver
Workflowy is my favourite cloud tool of the trade. I use it for a lot of different things. From simple To-Do Lists, non-security sensitive account information (for example my dial in for the conference call) to customer requests, I have them noted and captured in my Workflowy document.
I specifically like the smart sync function that Workflowly offers. Say if I am writing To-Do’s on the subway – where there is no internet, I can still arrive at work, open my laptop and add additional tasks to the cloud-based document without having to re-write the tasks I captured during the subway. What happens is the Workflowy notes captured in the mobile app during the subway ride will cloud-sync with the notes on my desktop laptop in the office. This is incredible – cloud technology working its productivity magic. It’s such a simple yet a powerful tool. My colleague always says that Workflowy is like the early Apple command line.
2. Zapier is like a handy screwdriver in my tool kit
My work life would go south if I have no Zapier in my tool kit. An easy example: If a customer’s device is marked as “shipped” in our CRM system, the customer gets an email from our company’s gMail account saying that the device is on it’s way. In addition, we use it to push business analytics back and forth between different programs and softwares since not every software tool comes with native integrations and compatibility.
3. Upwork‘s cloud-based workforce gets work done fast and efficient
Upwork is an outsourced workforce at your disposal. When I have a project that requires time consuming research, I just post a freelance work application on Upwork. I will often get a report back. When I absolutely have no time to find the contact information of a contact we really want to get in touch with, this cloud-based workforce works around the clock, helping me to complete my job and task in flash. It is fast and can be completed at a very competitive price.
At Kisi, every new client signup is time sensitive, since we have a brand’s promise to get everything up and running within 10 business days.
When we get a signup confirmation by a client, it’s almost like an alarm bell going off. We get a notification via our payment provider, Stripe, in a special Slack channel we created for it. After that a couple of things happen simultaneously: The customer gets a call, the device is shipped and the installer is coordinated. Cloud integrations between and among softwares is a life-saver for me.
5. Lastpass for managing all your passwords on the cloud
Some prefer One Password but I started with Lastpass and I stuck with it. Currently I have 115 passwords stored in my cloud-based vault. Who would remember those 115 passwords and otherwise? And the best part, it is free!
Logging in into your bank account? With the Lastpass Chrome extension you just have to click the little asterisk next to the “user name” field and everything is pre-filled. Since I don’t pay for the mobile App, I have to login to the mobile website every time I am physically at the bank or need my account information on the go. But hey, Lastpass is better than using the same passwords for every application!
6. Schedule virtual meetings with Join.me
Join.me offers quick and easy share of my screen with someone on the other line. I can just copy a URL and send it via email. It is super useful and I use it everyday ( I use it at the very least 10 times a day.) I am self confessed join.me addict because it makes virtual meetings so much easier. Plus, it doesn’t force the other party to download Skype, GoToMeeting or …. to have a virtual meeting and chat with me.
7. Sales Navigator is an emailing game changer
Knowing who I am emailing is a pretty big advantage. For example, sometimes you just don’t have the time to scroll to the footer to check the titles of your emailing contacts. Rapportive is a neat application which makes your contact’s Linkedin profile pop up next to your gmail email.
8. Boomerang to set the timing of your emails
Sometimes I am working at random hours. If I am working at 2am in the morning, it is strange to send an email to my contact. I also converse with contacts from all over the place and time zones so the timing of when I send my email matters to a degree. To avoid emails sent at awkward times, I use Boomerang to delay the sending of emails to the point in time when I want them to be sent. It also has additional feature where I could also use Boomerang as a tool for auto following up since you can check a box “send only when not replied”.
9. Front for shared, collaborative work inboxes
While we really like gMail, we also use Front for all our general inboxes. Front’s cloud-managed network is useful for general and shared inboxes. If you are applying for a job at Kisi or sending an invoice to Kisi, they will appear in these “social inboxes” The cloud makes it easy to distribute the emails between teams without the hassle and fears of dealing with forwarding chaos. Front lets you to assign an email to someone or let them choose what to reply to.
> Yes. we know we are much faster in replying to sales emails than to recruiting emails. 🙂 We will fix that soon!
10. Recordit to create easy GIF screencasts
At Kisi, we always try to make our product better by better explaining the product to our customers. If someone asks how to use a certain function of Kisi, I just use Recordit to create a quick GIF screencast and send it as a link. The great thing is that they don’t expire, so we use it a lot for our support documentation.
You can see how it works: http://recordit.co/MCVMZPvA4h
Let me know if you have any additions to the list in the comment section and I’d be happy to add them to an extended list!