Our bookkeeper uses QuickBooks Desktop to manage all of our accounting. She says that the desktop version is better than the online version because it takes less time to set up, and costs less money. But the downside of that for me is that I can’t log in and see everything. But our bookkeeper sends me everything I need for our monthly financial reviews, so I try not to worry too much about that.
We use an accounting firm called Profit Line. Our bookkeeper from the firm is Anna. She runs the New York region for the firm, and I cannot say enough kind words about her. She has seen us from when I owed back taxes, and had horrific finance processes, through putting on our big boy pants, and paying people, collecting W-9s, etc. I really cannot recommend them, and Anna, enough.
Google Analytics works fine, as our needs are minimal. We’re just tracking stats like how many people are going to our site, where are they dropping off, and how much time they’re spending on our site.
Our site is built on a custom backend.
We’re about to launch a blog this month. We’re going to use Medium, but the problem I’ve had with them is that there’s no SEO benefit to having your blog on Medium. There’s no linkback benefit, or web presence benefit. You trade all of that for the community available on Medium. But this isn’t something that’s limited to Medium; it applies to any platform you use for hosting anything. Any place where you’re pushing to someone else’s domain, rather than your own, is a loss for you. I’ve talked to a couple people that run SEO shops, and we’ll probably use WordPress or something similar as an open source blog platform, and have our developers rip code and put it on our backend. We have to do this because we need the linkbacks to our site.
We use Square for sponsors and clients. If someone wants to pay for sponsorship, we’ll swipe their card or have them fill out a credit card authorization form and charge them in Square. And when people come to live events and buy tickets in person, we use Square. We may use their storefront in the future.
We use Eventbrite to collect payments from the people participating in our programs. Credit cards processed through Eventbrite are processed through PayPal, so we use PayPal, by extension. I have a very simple accelerator participant agreement, and Eventbrite allows our participants to check a box in Eventbrite, saying they’ve read it. Then, on their receipt, it’ll say they’ve agreed to the waiver, which is a huge help for me. We manage all of our events on Eventbrite, and it’s great to keep everything in one place.
Credit cards processed through Eventbrite are processed through PayPal, so we use PayPal, by extension.
MailChimp is intuitive and simple. But it’s also relatively limited, in terms of functionality. We only use it for our newsletter.
We use Outreach for direct email and lead outreach. It’s more of an email campaign management tool, and not really for email marketing. You can send an email to a thousand people and it looks like a 1:1 email to each of them. It competes with Yesware, but is honestly already like Yesware 5.0; it’s years ahead.
Infinit offers unlimited sharing of unlimited file sizes. Usage frequency is how they get you to move from their free to paid plan, but their free product is very robust. We use it for business purposes, but a really great example of how I’ve used it was for personal reasons, with my wedding videographer. He had gigabytes and gigabytes of cutting room footage, and I wanted it for later. He was able to send it all to me via Infinit, rather than sending me physical hard drives.
TriNet’s platform is awful. There are no self-service or search functions, and there’s no knowledge base available. It’s all the opposite of intuitive. But I’m stuck with them because they’re price competitive, and I haven’t had the time to switch to Justworks yet. I didn’t go with Justworks initially because they didn’t have comparable plans with TriNet at the time. But even though their platform is bad, TriNet’s customer service is pretty good. They can always answer any question I need answered.
I’m a total Slack junkie! I’ve tried to push all internal communications to Slack. I continually keep reminding my team to not email me, and stop direct messaging me, so everything is kept in the correct channel. I love Slack, but their search feature is awful. And their native application for Mac has a weird user experience format. Menus are stacked on top of menus, and creating groups is terrible. And when and how you can use them is not clear. The groups will work in some places, and not others. The web app is much better than the Mac version, but if I didn’t use the desktop app, my Slack tab would be buried under the 200 other tabs I have open.
There’s a Slack extension called Slacky (for Chrome) that I really like. I wish it was Slack’s app, and fully integrated. It’s super helpful for sending people events and articles. I just click from my web browser, write my message, and click the person’s name, or channel name, and it posts straight to Slack. But because it’s not built by Slack, currently, when I @ someone’s name, it doesn’t recognize them, which is annoying.
People use everything from Google Docs to the Notes app on the iPhone, but I prefer Evernote.
I’m a power user of SaneBox. I’ve used it for 2 years, and it’s a total lifesaver. You can create smart folders and drag any emails into those folders. Then SaneBox automatically creates a rule, and emails from those senders will go into that folder forever.
I use Acrobat for editing PDF docs, and Photoshop a little bit.
Meetup is great for community management.
I use Skitch for screenshotting and editing images on my phone.
We use Google Maps to build custom maps, such as maps that show the highlights of the New York tech community, or maps that show our clients, sponsors, and even partners we have in other countries.
I use Karma for personal and business purposes. If I’m in a place that doesn’t have good WiFi coverage, I use Karma. Often times, I will grab an Uber or Lyft and use Karma to get work done during my commute.
GoodNotes makes your handwritten notes last forever. I take handwritten notes on my iPad, and then GoodNotes will sync them directly, create a PDF, and upload them to Dropbox. And I can see everything on mobile, etc. I can even pull in any file and sign it, or if a pitch deck is sent to me, I can send handwritten feedback via GoodNotes.
I am becoming obsessed with Alarmed. When I have an alert, there’s a good chance it’ll get snoozed or turned off. Alarmed has a feature called “nag me”, a repeat function. I can have it nag me every minute, hour, day, etc., until I get it done.
We were using Google Docs, then moved to Basecamp, and now we’re on Asana. What’s nice about Asana is that I can go in, click on a name, and see how anything is prioritized, and managed. But one thing Asana hasn’t allowed me to do is have workspaces. I’ve been invited to others’ Asana channels, and it’s a crack that everything will fall through. I now refuse to join others’ Asana channels, and make them join mine. Brett, our Director of Business Development, is more of a visual, Trello type of guy, and is not a huge fan of Asana. His big complaint is that Asana’s search feature searches every task ever completed. But in my mind, that’s the purpose of it, and a huge advantage of using it! We used Basecamp in the past, and we loved it. But the big limiting factor with Basecamp was not having a universal view. We’d have a sales project, a marketing project, a current clients/sponsors project, etc., and I could prioritize to my heart’s content and delight. But I couldn’t see a view of what I had to do on any given day. And there was no way to prioritize projects well. Asana allows me to have a “Brian’s View”, where I can re-orient everything. From a personal productivity perspective, Asana is much better because I can see what I need to do at any given time, and I can review time and projects easily. In Basecamp, managing employees was hard, and it was difficult to see priorities and what you’ve done this week.
We started using Hootsuite before there was a Buffer, and it’s worked well for us. We haven’t had a robust social media strategy, so it’s good enough for now. A big drawback with Hootsuite is that when you upload a picture in Hootsuite, it always comes out as a link, instead of the actual media. Whereas, if you upload a picture directly to Facebook, for example, the image shows up immediately.