(Click these to scroll quickly to the sections)
- Live Chat/Communications
- Project Management
- Information Sharing
- Task Planner/ToDo List
- Screen Recorder
- Screen Shot
- Note Tool
Resources to be a Rockstar Online
Some of these are tools I now use to run my Digital Marketing agency online. However, most of these are recommendations for every users of, well, the Internet!
(Last Updated: March 18th, 2020)
What I use: Macs – iMac Pro Retina 27 inch, late 2019; MacBook Pro 15 inch; late 2019.
A lot of people have very strong feelings on this topic…as they should if you spend a lot, or all your time (like me) online. I use Macs because I love great user experiences. Macs have superior users experiences to PCs, period.
I have a wide background of Marketing that covers both technical areas (SEO and running large website crawls with App Tools like Screaming Frog – RAM hogs) and power usage of Chrome with tons of extensions.
I also run Parallels in order to mimic a Windows environment for any user testing, but I mainly have it for using the Excel Windows version (much more powerful than Excel for Mac).
I invest heavily in Macs because they create the best user experience, period (that matters a lot to someone who works lots of hours on computers every day) 🙂
I just recently started using this as a second monitor for iMac desktop and I love using it vertically for a constant “ToDo” list up and calendar during the day.
No surprise here, the iPhone 11 Pro is my go-to camera – both for photo and video nowadays. That is saying a lot, as I still have all my production gear (at least $15k worth) which includes a Sony A7sii. Why would I need anything more than 4k at 60 fps? Seriously, so many people (creative professionals included) think they need expensive gear when the best tool for the job is your mind and what is in your pocket.
I really like the home button being gone now with the extra screen real estate. Face ID works great for me and I love the direct integration with 1Password now, so I don’t ever have to type in passwords for anything. #AintNoOneGotTimeForThat
Literally, everyone should have a password manager like this. 1Password was the first I choose as they seemed to have a better market position at the time (probably still do now) and work better with Macs. I’m super glad I choose them as they now have a “keyboard” so that passwords can autofill with Face ID with the latest release of iOS 12.1.
If I was to work with larger teams, then I would switch over to LastPass for that as it seems to be much eaiser for sharing.
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What I use: Gmail.
Apps to Extend Gmail: Kiwi for Gmail (desktop).
Kiwi for Gmail is what I use for my business, as its apart of G Suite. You can also use Kiwi if you are just a regular Gmail user. I love how Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, etc are linked to Kiwi and it really rewards Google Cloud users. It also has a direct integration with Boomerang, a great little add-on for Gmail which allows you send messages later, return them to your inbox if they aren’t replied to, and even score the likelihood of an email response when you are typing up your message.
Is there anything else? This fit such a need when it came out as I was one of the early adopters. Before, we would use Basecamp and email…now I use the “pause inbox” feature via Boomerang quite often 🙂
What I/my team uses: Zoom.
Zoom is by far the best video conferencing tool in my opinion. There is a reason why the founder left Skype (after telling Skype how the user experience wasn’t the best and them not implementing/listening to his recommendations) he started Zoom. Not only a great experience if you are joining on mobile, switching to different viewers/between screen and presenter when necessary is very helpful. I also love that if you enter a physical room, zoom automatically “know” where you are and you can just “share” your screen and the right screen will come up.
We just recently switched over to Asana. We used Basecamp 2 for the longest time. I feel like we will outgrow it soon, so we are making the switch now while things are a bit slower, and to learn the software, before we get super busy. I can advocate more for Basecamp at this point…but I’ll have more of an update here when we use Asana more. I love that there is an app for Macs for Asana, as I’d much rather use an app than have to go to Chrome to use the project management tool of our choice.
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What I/we use: Google Docs. Google Sheets.
I’m a huge fan of Google’s Cloud products. I really don’t see a reason to not use them exclusively. Especially Google Docs and Google Sheets. Google Docs = Microsoft Word (unless you are an attorney drafting a 200-page legal doc, then I guess you can use Microsoft Word). Google Sheets = Microsoft Excel (unless you are 0.01% of the population who does advanced VBA, Power Query + Power Pivot feeding up into Power Bi. But you have to pay for Microsoft’s version. Where are you can use Google Sheets (up to 5 million rows – and then create another sheet) and Data Studio for free and produce the same results. Google Slides = Powerpoint or Keynote. Yes, it has its limitations, but once again, if you are really using powerpoints to that level then you probably are a professional designer/business pitcher to investors, etc.
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What I use: Google Chrome.
Chrome Extensions I recommend for the average user: Toby; 1Password; Boomerang; Calendly; Pocket; Grammarly; Open tabs next to current; Clip to Evernote; Video Speed Controller; Tab Pinner; Speed Dial 2.
Task Planner/ToDo List
Things 3 for Mac is such a great task management organizer. It didn’t get a whole lot of traction when it first came out, but they have really done an amazing job with the UI/UX and it’s really a pleasure to use. I switched from Wunderlist after I got an Apple Watch and found out that Wunderlist had an Apple Watch app, but it barely worked and was very poorly supported. That lead me to find Things 3 once again and I was hooked since. For something I use as much as a ToDo organizer, I had to have something that worked from my iMac 27inch down to my Apple Watch – and everywhere in between.
I have been using Fantastical 2 for some time now. I have the original Fantastical and they have made great improvements (to an already solid app) for the second version. I’ve never had a reason to use or even think about using another calendar app for my Mac devices. I have all my Google Calendars and even custom calendars in there, too – like when I am “interested” in a Facebook Event, it automatically adds it to my calendar.
I was a longtime Camtasis user for many, many years. Then, loom came along. I wasn’t sold at first. But, over time (when people kept sharing their videos with me) and I was drawn by the sheer number of Digital Nerds a like using it, I had to give it a more serious try. What I really like about Loom (compared to thers) is they never stop fine tuning the details and making it drop dead simple. That’s powerful. I love that they have both a chrome extension and a desktop app. I love all the keyboard shortcut customization you can do. I love how easy it is to connect different audio and video combinations – audio through mic, video of me while only showing my Google Chrome window, etc. I use this tool for prospecting as well – great embeds (with GIFs) to get better CTRs in email. I have over 300 videos to date now…
I used Jing for many years (only as a screenshot tool, because it used Flash for it’s video recorder 🙄). Until it wasn’t supported with the latest update of MacOs Catalina. Then I made the switch to SnagIt (same company as Jing). At first, I was hesitant. When I tried SnagIt out several years earlier, I thought it had a way to go and seemed sort of “elementary” with its features. It felt really geared to noobies. Almost like a watered down Canva. But, its has changed a lot and its not one of my most used tools. One of my favorite parts are all the keyboard shortcuts you can use with it, in addition to synced destinations – like Drive, Dropbox, YouTube, Screencast.com, etc. Fantastic tool I couldn’t live without.
Note Taking Tool
I’ve gone back and forth with many different note taking tools. I used Drafts for some time (and still use it for some circumstances) because I loved it’s simplicity and that it supports Markdown. But, I really got in to the habit of adding screenshots to my more comprehensive meeting plans – and Drafts didn’t support rich text/images like Evernote does. Also, I enjoy recording audio notes if I want to into a note. In addition to the better organizational flow of notes, notebooks, and tags. I have my workflow setup on my big screen to always have an Evernote note on the right third of the screen. And my Chrome browser on the left two thirds of the sceen.