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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)

Hardware

Computer

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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) 🙂

Tablet

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What I use: iPad Pro mid-2018.

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.

Phone

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What I use: iPhone 11 Pro late 2019.

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

Software

Passwords/Logins

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What I use: 1Password.

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.

Email

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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.

Live Chat/Messaging

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What I/my team uses: Slack.

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.

Project Management

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What I/my team uses: Asana.

There can potentially be a lot to say about Asana, in any year. But, I’ll keep it brief here and just say that I use Asana with teams I’m and for my clients. I like Asana, but think there is a lot of room for improvement in a lot of areas.

I tried using different desktop apps, as I don’t like have to have tabs open in Chrome always, but I’ve grown a custom to it, as I really enjoy using Everhour, which is a time-tracking app for Asana the really helps keep our team efficient.

Everhour extension in Asana 👇🏻

I think you really need to use at the very minimum, Asana premium. Asana premium also annoys me with limited rules and almost forces you into the Asana business plan.

Project Management is one of the most important things to be rock solid on as an agency owner. So, I’m not going to cut expenses on something that is quite important.

Information Sharing

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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.

Browser

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What I use: Google Chrome.

You saw this one coming with my post right above. Safari has been doing some interesting things with privacy (which annoys me as a technical Marketer, lol), but I still don’t see a reason to switch over to Chrome. Guess what, everyone? There is no such thing as internet privacy. If you really think there is, you’ll have a rude awakening if you know/don’t know about cookies, javascript, and the dark web.

Chrome Extensions I recommend for the average user: – Toby; 1Password; Calendly; Instapaper; Grammarly; Open tabs next to current; Video Speed Controller; Tab Pinner; Momentum; Web Developer; Asana; Keywords Everywhere; Link Clump; Full Page Screen Capture.

Task Planner/ToDo List

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What I use: Things 3.

I would say Things 3 is my “central” place for tasks that traverses all my devices and teams I’m on. I really love that I don’t skip a beat, no matter what device I’m on (including my apple watch). They’ve really done a great done of cross-device UX. I love the “Things Helper” which allows me to use a quick keyboard shortcut from whatever tab I’m on and get the current URL I’m on into the things task, just like this:

I use it all the time.

I also use the regular keyboard shortcut all the time – I love being able to add a task into Things without having to go to the application. Keeps me in a really good “flow”.

Everything goes into the inbox just so I don’t have to spend too much time with my ideas right away.

At the end of the day, I organize all my inbox “things” to their respective areas and tasks. Most of the time, that means I’ll need to get things into an Asana project as well.

Some may think this is “doubling-up” and it is to some degrees.

But I really like having a dedicated task manager that is tied to my devices, and not just a browser or when I’m at my computer.

UX plays a really important role in all that I do – which is why I choose to use dedicated apps that have thought through experiences to make computer work a lot of fun.

Calendar

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What I use: Fantastical.

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. 

Even just seeing the colors of my different calendar types at a glance really help: 

Screen Recorder

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What I use: Loom.

Loom is the quickest and easiest to use for sharing videos with others/team members.

Most of the time, that is why I make a screen recording.

However, I’m increasingly making videos on my YouTube channel now.

Also, I have a CRO course out there and will have a much more in depth on to come. So, I use video recorders in multiple ways.

For video recording in which I’m not sharing with others – that generally are longer, I’ll use SnagIt.

I typically edit in Camtasia 2021 or Premiere Pro 2021 (if the edit is more complicated)

Screen Shot

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What I use: SnagIt.

I have really grown to love using SnagIt. They have thought through all the different ways people need and use screenshot features and have created – what I think to be the best product on the market.

Here is an example of the interface (this is a very meta, screenshot of the screenshot tool):

I use SnagIt daily and love that I can link up multiple Drive accounts, YouTube channels (I LOVE being able to not ever go to YouTube and upload my Title and Description directly here), Dropbox account, Slack (very slick integration and by far the fastest way to share to Slack), as a File to your desktop (good for larger images/videos), to Screecast.com (which gives you an automatic short link that you can share, as sometimes you want to share a link in a Google Doc comment, etc).

As with most great apps, it is infinitely customizable it seems.

As we continue to work from home (this isn’t just a “fad”) and create more content every year, having a friction-less way to create content is **very** important.

The companies who buy into media creation and act as their own “agency” are the ones that are going to win, and big, and they already are winning. SnagIt makes it easiest to win.

Note Taking Tool

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What I use: Drafts, Roam Research.

Drafts

Drafts is probably my favorite app for the Mac. I know it’s really hard to even say what is my “favorite” app for the Mac, but Drafts is the most “open” app – that still has an amazing user experience that I know of.

And being able to use it across devices was really a “non-negotiable” feature I needed to have.

For example, I use it all the time with my Apple Watch when I’m out on walks.

It allows me to capture my thoughts, saved it as a draft, and automatically tag it with “watch” and put it in my inbox.

One of my favorite ways to use Drafts is with the quick capture feature on desktop (by far my favorite way to get text into something very quickly)

Here is my using it in combination with TextSniper, which captures text from anything (images included):

I really like the fact that organizing notes is simple (as it should be). It’s based on tags inside of workspaces.

Workspaces can be: personal, work, misc (however you want to create your segments)

Tags are a bit more specific and I use tags by “open” or “closed”.

I like to segment my clients by a given workspace, too.

From Drafts, my notes can go anywhere else. But it’s a strong foundational system of where they will go from here.

Lastly, I really have grown to love writing in Markdown. There are many reasons, but the main one is when I’m writing, I want to focus on, writing. Markdown is the perfect system for that – because it works the same/looks the same wherever you are using it.

All note-taking tools, word editors, WYSIWYG editors, etc accept it. I’m really glad John Gruber and Aaron Swartz created Markdown in 2004.

Roam Research

I have been using Roam Research for 2 months now. So, I’m still very new with it. Roam is where I’m writing my outline for this resource page you are reading right now.

Roam is a very powerful note-taking tool that has many unique features. Probably the most unique feature, and one of the main reasons I chose to switch over from Notion was the internal linking capabilities.

I’ve also really grown to love its simplicity.

Notion has more functionality from a “widgets” you can add in to a note. They’ve created more “direct integrations” that play nicely.

But, I still choose to use Roam because I see they have thought the concept of “building a second brain” and really powerful knowledge management.

Here is a visual of my “Roam Graph” that shows all my notes and how they are linked together:

The point besides the graph looking really cool is that everything (well, almost) is linked to everything. Most note tools are singular notes in a: notebook, folder, tag, etc that basically live independently of one another.

With Roam, you can bi-directionally link notes together. Roam will also “look” for other notes by keywords that you have in the titles or tags that you create.

How the internal linking works with notes:

Example of notes being linked together under a tag:

I use Roam to make sure my workflows are better connected together and it makes prepping for my meetings and pushing things forward a breeze.

It will only get better over time 🙂

Misc Tools

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What I use: Calculator Pro, CopyClip 2, GiFox, TextSoap, TextSniper, Liquid.

Calculator Pro

Best calculator for simple calculations that I can fully do with keyboard shortcuts and without having to use my mouse at all.

Why I like it:

  • Being able to see a log of my previous calculations
  • I can copy and paste my calculations after I’m done to use in my workflows

What could be better:

  • Mobile app that keeps my calculations all in one spot (I would like being able to have my workflows be tied together)

CopyClip 2

Want to copy and paste something that wasn’t the last thing on your clipboard? How about 4 copies ago? Enter: CopyClip 2

Why I like it:

  • Saves me a ton of time without having to remember/find previous copy and pastes
  • I love the default which is exactly the keyboard shortcut that makes the most sense when you open it up to automatically find the clipping you were looking for.
  • Being able to go back as many clipping as you like.

What could be better:

  • If it worked with images
  • Sometimes it fails to start when I start my computer up, and it doesn’t have clippings saved then.
  • If it had a mobile app (there are other mobile apps that I have tried and non work well)

GiFox

Creating GIFs with ease.

Why I like it:

  • Attention to detail and keyboard shortcuts just for GIFs
  • Automatic keyboard controls shown on the screen as well.
  • Sync with: Dropbox and Drive
  • Easily copy to your clipboard for Slack sharing, etc.
  • I like apps that can function entirely in the menu bar, without having to take up space on the dock. An nice UX and workflow up here as well:

What could be better:

  • Optimizing the size of the GIFs to they aren’t a big.
  • Make it for mobile, or at least accessing my GIFs there as well, so I can edit on my phone as well.

TextSoap

Unlimited manipulation and transformation of text in an app.

Why I like it:

  • I can do anything to text in bulk that no other tool allows me to do like TextSoap can.
  • I can create custom “cleaners” that do exactly what I want if the “out of the box” ones don’t work for me. Example: Removing spaces in text to replace with dashes (for adding UTMs to emails) [GIF here]
  • Being able to use REGEX to replace virtually anything and transform text to my liking.

What could be better:

  • Working in more applications. I mainly use it in Drafts or Things, but I would love it if this worked inside of Chrome web apps as well – Google Sheets, etc.
  • I wished it would remember my previous settings, or I could customize them when I open up the app. I don’t like the paragraphs and line breaks showing.

TextSniper

A tool that allows you to capture text anywhere from a screenshot. Even over images.

What I like about it:

  • It does exactly what it says it does and with phenomenal accuracy.
  • You can select “additive” text so I can screenshot multiple things to my clipboard and then paste all at once.
  • You can choose whether or not to keep line breaks
  • You can use text to speech afterwards as well.

Use Cases:

  • I use this almost as my “go to” tool for the quickest way to get information into, anything.
  • I have particularly been using it lately on webinars or slides people are presenting and I can quickly screenshot the info on the page to get into a Drafts note or Roam page.

What could be better:

  • They have done a great job here, not sure what could be better.

Liquid

A text referencing tool so that I can look up information about selected text anywhere.

Why I like it:

  • Quick way to: Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, Translate, etc to any selected text very fast.
  • Saves me a few keystrokes and keeps workflows quick.
  • Being able to customize my keyboard shortcut to start the app however I want.

What could be better:

  • If this would work in more applications – I know some are more “closed” and it’s probably not possible, but the more the better (especially Google Docs)

Subtopics

  1. Athletic History
  2. Book Recommendations
  3. Celebrities
  4. Friends
  5. Home Life
  6. Professional
  7. Projects
  8. Published Works
  9. Streaks & Checklists

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