TMBA549: 10 Tech Tools We Use In Our Business Every Day

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In 2009, we published an episode of this podcast called 10 Great Software and Tech Services We Use to Run Our Business.

Over a decade later, we’ve been challenged by one of our listeners to revisit that list and to talk about the core software and services that we are using to run our company today.

In this week’s episode, we are sharing ten of the most important tools and services that help us behind the scenes.

You’ll hear the specifics of how we use these tools, and why they have become an everyday part of our business in 2020.

See the full transcript below

Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • Why Airtable has become a cornerstone of our business. (6:01)
  • How we communicate internally throughout our company. (13:10)
  • Some of the tools we use to manage our finances. (16:02)
  • An SEO tool that we use on a daily basis. (24:47)
  • A tool to help you optimize your everyday computer use. (31:50)

 

Mentioned in the episode:

Before the Exit – Our New Book
TMBA Masterminds
Partner With Us
The Dynamite Circle
Dynamite Jobs
Dynamite Deals
Tropical MBA on YouTube
Airtable
Zapier
Slack
Trello
Salesforce
Mint.com
Coinbase
G Suite by Google
Hey
Boomerang
Grammarly
Hemingway
Otter
Rev
BetterTouchTool
ExpressVPN

Enjoyed this podcast? Check out these:

TMBA012: 10 Great Software and Tech Services We Use to Run Our Business
TMBA459: The State of Bitcoin
TMBA483: Search Engine Optimization in 2019 (Plus, The Dark Side of SEO)

 

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Have comments about the show?

Do you have ideas for things you’d like Dan and Ian to discuss on future episodes?

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Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Thursday morning 8AM EST.

Cheers,

Dan & Ian

 


 

 

Full Transcript

Dan: Welcome back to the TMBA podcast. So happy you’ve got us in your earbuds this week. I know there’s a lot of crazy stuff going on in the world around all of us right now. But every week we’re here to focus on that topic of location independent businesses, which are the key to so much personal freedom, financial stability, location independence, all this stuff.

I remember back in the day, we used to write lots of blog posts and stuff. And we got a critique that was like, ‘Hey, this whole idea of, you know, location, and independent location independence and financial freedom that’s not life’s end goal’. And I thought to myself, I didn’t mean to give the impression that this was the ‘end all, be all’ of what we’re all doing here. For me, location independence, freedom of movement, financial flexibility and stability. That’s the baseline we’re all seeking. Those are the terms under which we want to live out our lives. And then from there, you know, take it in whatever direction we see fit. It’s not an easy thing to start from that premise. It’s an enormous challenge to change your life in that way. And that’s why we do this show. We love helping you guys grow your businesses.

So let’s do it this week. This week’s show is again prompted by a listener, we love it when that happens, who dropped a comment in the show notes from a vintage TMBA ep asking about our thoughts on tech tips. Now that episode was emblematic of our former obsession with the latest and greatest tips and tools and techniques and software platforms. And that was over 10 years ago. So we’re gonna jump in and do a reprise and talk about some of what we see as the most fundamental tech tools that we use in our business today. And of course, we’d love to hear your thoughts as well.

So before we get into that, I just want to invite you to listen out for a little bit of a mistake, which I will confirm at the end. Let’s get rolling.

Music

Dan: Welcome back to the pod. Today’s episode, let me click back on to the web archive here Bossman, back in November 28 2009 we did an episode called ‘10 great software and tech services we use to help run our business’. Well today we are going to be revisiting a list of 10 such services and see which ones have held up, see which ones have fallen by the wayside.

You know, one of the interesting things about this list, I’m terrified for this episode, is how it’s going to age us. We’re probably gonna have these like old pieces of software. Who knows what we’re going to come up with today, you’re gonna have to listen to find out. One of the advantages of age when it comes to tech, though, is that a lot of the core pieces of software we use to run our company, they have a bit of a Lindy effect to them. You know, used to make fun of me all the time for our tech tips on the podcast because like, ‘Oh Dan just found out about this last week’. Well, all the tools we’re going to mention here today we’ve been using for a long period of time, and they’ve proven their worth. And hopefully they can prove their worth for you, as well.

So without further ado,10 tech solutions we use to help run our business and I’m sure we’re going to get to more than 10 but the first three Bossman are almost like a holy trinity that sits at the core of so much we do. So I’m going to bring them up all together.

It’s number one, Airtable, number two, Zapier and number three, Slack. And these three pieces of software sit so harmoniously together. And you can essentially, I’ve noticed that there’s a trend in business where people are using tools like Zapier to connect other tools, and then to basically build agile tech solutions that can serve as businesses. So in earlier episodes of the TMBA, we talked about this concept called ‘software with a service’ or a SWaS company. And the idea is that some of these tools are so powerful and so complicated, that the mere fact of just running them for a company can be a business in and of itself.

Ian: Zapier is one of these tools that I feel like is going to be around for five to 10 years in our business. In fact, all three of these feel like they are. Airtable is the one that we started using the most recently. But, you know, people talk Dan, and we’re not developers, about not needing to be a developer or software developer in the future or there needing to be less of them, and it feels like Zapier is the reason for that in a lot of ways because it is so powerful.

Dan: Our team member Alex,I’m legitimately fearful that he’s going to quit his job and go work for Airtable because

Ian: He’s a mensch.

Dan: He’s so good at this and he’s so good at this. I asked Alex, I said, ‘Hey, you know, what would be your biggest recommendation for our listeners if they’re wondering how to put Airtable to use for them?

Alex: My name is Alexander Harling, and I am .. I guess the general manager of ‘Dynamite Jobs’. I commonly recommend it when someone says, I’m looking for a new CRM, or looking for a software that can do this, or program that can do this. I always say, ‘Try Airtable first’. Just try it. It’s low consequence to switch. I mean, switching to anything is scary because you got to learn and such. It’s super intuitive. So yeah, I say, ‘If you have an idea for a product or a program or if you have a need, try to do it with Airtable first’. The amazing thing is there’s an Airtable Community there. They’re like crazy fans. And we’re kind of entering that community now as we’re becoming super fans. Look up what you’re saying, ‘I need an Airtable to do XYZ’. And most likely, there’s a template available and you just copy and paste it. So I guess my sales pitch is, if you are looking for something new and you don’t have the exact software for it, don’t try to buy a software or whatnot. Try to use Airtable first and see if that will do it.

Dan: We often joke that, you know, Airtable is always the first place we look in the company to solve a problem. Do you remember a story where Airtable sort of uniquely saved us money or allowed us to do something that other software didn’t?

Alex: The candidate database. So, we have a database of about 10,000 resumes right now. It’s always being updated and filtered out as people come in and out of our system. And so with the candidate database, what we try to do there is you want it to quickly be able to find candidates, search by keywords and have complete records on them. And you can have a spreadsheet of a candidate. But the problem with a spreadsheet is you can’t add in files.

And so the Airtable allowed us to have thousands and thousands of rows of files and different candidates with their picture, a png file with the resume PDF file, which we couldn’t find anywhere else. So Airtable quickly made a database of all these people and it was searchable. We had a VA go through, and this was your idea Dan actually, it was a very simple idea of it contains everything, copied the resumes and put them into a text form. So we had two fields side by side. One was the actual PDF of the resume. The other was just the text form of it. So we could search it. And then we would be able to filter over 10,000 records to find people with Google Ad experience, to find people based in the Philippines who had been working customer service for two or three years. And that was, that was huge. And we were able to implement that overnight thanks to Airtable.

Dan: Now we’ve since gotten rid of a lot of software and switched over to Airtable to use it for our CRM, the candidate database like you talked about, we now use it for most of our forms across our business, And we also use it for project management, which is sort of interesting. They have a Trello-like feature in Airtable. So it’s become this sort of like Swiss Army knife in our business. Where does Airtable start to break down for you? Where do you see the limitations of it?

Alex: It’s hard to, for example, a great CRM or a common CRM rather, one of the main things is you want to be able to quickly check in with clients and see the status of where things are at and then either have a notification to your inbox or wherever you’re communicating with that client. That was one of the issues, you can add those integrations, it’s just a little bit limited.

Dan: So essentially a marketing integration,

Alex: Exactly, the marketing integration, integrations to our sites based on WordPress right now. I’m talking about Dynamite Jobs specifically. It’s hard to have integrations. So one thing that we’re working on with our dev team right now to post jobs through Airtable and put them right into our site. So we’re averaging almost 200 new jobs a week, it’s about 230 jobs. Instead of posting them on WordPress, we post them through Airtable. And so we just create the record for the job, put all the information in including the logo, the file format, the text, the filters, all those different things and then it gets sent to WordPress. So that’s something else. It can’t it can’t do right now. It takes more work to set that up.

Dan: All right. Thanks, Alex.

Music

Dan: So it’s an interesting thing in our own business. We use it for our CRM, so we manage all of our Dynamite jobs and Dynamite circle members. We use it to manage the status of job listings. We use it to create a searchable database of candidates. We’ve gotten rid of all of our specialty form software. We’re even using it for project management. Maybe if you’re looking for a custom piece of software and you don’t really know where that function in your business is going to go in the future. Check out if Airtable could be a solution for you.

Ian: I will say this though about Airtable, you got to be careful about how much data you keep in there. I think a couple months ago, I looked, and I almost fell out of my chair at the bill. I was like, ‘Wait a second, we could almost probably be paying for Salesforce at this level’. So they’re definitely charging for the functionality.

Dan: In every software, they have different dimensions of price. So we took that number down because we were offering too many client logins, for example. So at a certain point, you’re going to, you know, break your Airtable and decide to go with a custom solution that is going to be more efficient and affordable in a particular dimension. I’ll say this though, one of the interesting things about Airtable is the kind of creativity that it can spark in you. So when you compare a traditional applicant tracking software, which is like really good at what it does, but it does this one thing that people have done in that direction for a certain amount of time, their standards. Whereas you can mimic that functionality in your own Airtable and then get creative. And so we started doing really interesting things like searching the text of a resume, which is something that a traditional ATS didn’t allow us to do, for business information.

Ian: It’s a truly remarkable piece of software. Dan, I think it’s probably one we’re going to use for the next five years too. And, like we mentioned, it is a great way to bootstrap yourself into potentially a much bigger piece of software, a much more expensive piece of software, you know, but to start on Airtable and like us, you might end up staying on Airtable for many things.

Dan: So our second tech solution as mentioned earlier, Ian is Zapier and you know, it’s one of those things like ‘sharpening the too’l sort of task. If you haven’t taken a moment to take a step back and look at the sort of optimizations you can put into your businesses Zapier is a great place to look. We use a lot of zaps. For example, to create records. If you have a CRM that you’re working on. You could have client call records so you could have Calendly zap over to your Airtable. My favourite zaps is when we see new sales come through into Slack. So we have one channel dedicated to sales of certain products so we can stay motivated and also see the sorts of clients that are coming through.

Ian: And again, Zapier is kind of like Airtable. It’s like, all of a sudden, you’re like, ‘Oh, wouldn’t it be nice if I got this information? Oh, I want to port this over there’. And then all of a sudden, you get your bill, and you’re like, Oh, wait, maybe I didn’t need to know all that information.

Dan: I think it’s fair to say that everyone knows about our number three solution which is Slack.

Ian: Yeah, and Slack. Dan, I’ll just mention this. It is hard for me to understand the lines between email and Slack, meaning our team uses Slack a lot. We used to use email exclusively before Slack and now a lot of that conversation has moved over to Slack. At one point about a year ago, we tried to move most of the company back to email. I don’t think that was super successful. So it’s obvious that people kind of gravitate towards this more chitty chatty situation that’s going on in Slack with these threads that you can reply to and easily upload images and things like that.

My problem is kind of the same problem that I have with email, which is I get behind because there’s so much chitty chat going on over there. So I Dan, personally would love to have a set of rules here in 2020. And I would like to know from other people, how they use their Slack and their email together because, for me, it just merges into one big conversation. I’d like a little bit more clarity on which should be used for what

Dan: Yeah, and right now, the rule we’re rolling with, so to speak, is that basically, if you demand that someone sees it, aka if it’s important, it goes into email. Whereas if it’s more temporal and collaborative, it goes into Slack. But of course, the DMS almost instantly nullify that rule and are an exception to that.

Ian: And I’m certainly guilty, Dan, of the chitty chat too, you know, it’s like, ‘Oh, I have a half baked idea. Why don’t I throw it into Slack’, right? Because I wouldn’t dare email that, because that would be a huge waste of time, if you open this email, and I said, like, ‘What do you think about this?’ but it’s an appropriate place for it to be on Slack. And so there’s a lot of noise there, which is, which is kind of distracting. So, you know, again, Dan, I would love a little bit more clarity on you know, how to minimise that.

Dan: Yeah. And I think for a lot of us, we had this kind of love/hate relationship with it. And certainly now that we’re all remote, it’s difficult to imagine having a company without some kind of water cooler, or DM capability in the middle of the day.

For me, it’s simply been about learning how to use Slack, you know, having a different work attitude towards it. I get through my Slack first thing in the morning as fast as possible. And, you know, it’s basically found a place in my productivity habits that, you know, I feel comfortable with. Whereas a year ago, I was still trying to figure all that out.

One thing you’re not gonna hear on the rest of this list is any of these classic personal productivity apps. You know, you think of things like Rescue Time and things that sort of, you know, keep you strapped to your computer and stuff like that. I think as we spend more and more time doing business, I come around to what your perspective has always been Ian, which is like, you know, if you need your team to log their hours, and if you need to log yours, well, then maybe that maybe the problem actually lies somewhere else.

All right. So our number four tool, Ian is Mint.com, a one stop shop to manage all of your bank accounts, investments, outstanding liabilities, and your day to day spending.

Ian: This is on your list. This is not on my list. I just want to be clear about that. But I do have some questions for you. Because I’m not a hater. I’m just not a user. So I logged into the software geez, like back in, I don’t know, 2010 or something like that. I thought it was gonna be a complete solution for me. Here’s what I found: I have a bunch of interesting, weird, odd asset classes that did not fit into Mint.com. Can you tell us a little bit about maybe if they’ve fixed that and how you use it?

Dan: The principal and the reason I put Mint.com on here, is about financial simplicity. And, at the end of the day, you know, you make the money that you save at the end of the year. That is the bottom line for your personal finances, and that’s a critical part of this entrepreneurial journey. And having everything in a simple place that you can administer effectively, and ensure that that money gets to the bottom line is something every entrepreneur needs to be thinking about. And a lot of us don’t.

Some of the biggest money mistakes I’ve made since we’ve started this podcast had to do with over-complication in this. It made it more difficult to file my taxes and so I got a little behind on the filing and then you get a little bit of a problem because you’re behind on your filing and it becomes a domino effect. Whereas I know you use a personal financial spreadsheet and if you look at solutions like Mint.com, it keeps it simple, all in one place. That’s the approach that really works for me.

Now, in terms of strange asset classes, the way Mint.com works, you basically log in mint into all of your financial institutions, it pulls all the data together, it’s got a lot of cool features, like you can have spending alerts sent to your mobile. So if you only want to spend a certain amount of money every month on different categories of things, it’ll help you keep track of all that and you know, ‘What gets measured gets managed’ sort of thing.

In terms of your net worth calculation, which is very useful, you can add strange asset classes, like for example, I own a 2007 minivan, which is not a very profitable asset class but a stable one nonetheless. And that exists down in the sidebar there, as a separate entity that’s not sort of attached to any third party valuation service. I just put in a number there and then that’s reflected on my balance sheet.

Ian: Oh, that’s pretty cool. Because again, it was probably 10 years ago when I logged into that software, it didn’t actually have that capability. It was just simple logic, which is essentially you just want to create a personal balance sheet for yourself.

Dan: The other simplicity platform I really wanted to bring up here, in part to maybe spark a debate and put it out there, is one of the things I’ve really gotten into over the past few years is an interest in investing in cryptocurrency specifically Bitcoin so I wanted to make an investment and did a lot a lot of research and dragged my feet for way too long by the way retrospect. But I ultimately decided to use Coinbase. And Coinbase is a platform that is, you know, regulated by the government, lots of, you know, people that have a lot of financial and banking experience help run the platform. And because of all those reasons, it has a lot of criticism from the crypto community as well. And it’s also considered a liability. So not only do you have a highly volatile asset and Bitcoin, but also you have potential platform risk in going with Coinbase.

This comes back to this advice: the principle here which is simplicity, which is this idea that I’m going to all of a sudden learn about keys and then manage them and have diversified solutions for what ultimately, isn’t life changing money or whatever. Things are going to be different in five years. Maybe you misplaced the key and maybe this and that. And so, for me, I made the choice to go 100% of my Bitcoin investment on Coinbase for this, again, principle is like every new bank account, I open every new credit card I get every new company, we found, the complexity just scales. And complexity isn’t a problem, but it has to scale with what your total, you know, administrative resources are. And for me, personally, I don’t have an accountant that sits next to me all day long. And so I think it makes sense to keep things simple until they, you really, really need to step up the complexity.

Ian: Well, I’m gonna stick with digging holes in my yard. But it doesn’t sound like Coinbase is a bad idea.

Dan: All right, our number five tech tool we use to run our business is Google suite. It’s interesting. We brought this up 10 years ago, and it’s still what we used to run the day, which is a part of the reason I think it’s worth mentioning now. I gotta say, I’m really excited about ‘Hey’, from the guys at ‘37signals’, because I have for a while thought that email is in some ways broken. But the reality is with a variety of different plugins, and we use Gmail templates for our customer service team, I use keyboard shortcuts to move around incredibly fast in there. We use ‘Boomerang’ to do things like send follow up sequences, or to remind you of appointments or things that you want to follow up on. Just absolutely can’t beat it right now.

Ian: It’s kind of still the cornerstone of the business. And it’s almost one of these pieces of technology that’s invisible. You just you just use it and use it seamlessly for the most part across all devices. And it’s just like, ‘Oh, let’s look at this document’. Of course, it’s in Google Docs. ‘Let’s write an email’. Of course you do it in Gmail. And of course, you’re in the ‘cPanel’, you know, messing around with things. So it’s one of these things. It’s been around since forever, and we’ve used it forever. It wouldn’t surprise me if we use it for the next 10 years. But I am also interested to log into ‘Hey’, and see what has changed with email.

Dan: Well, I’ll tell you what. I was there man, when it was like the first month of Gmail. I was signed in, and I remember how shiny those walls looked, and the opportunity that it brought to the table and it was a big deal. And I wonder sometimes: are we going to look at email, like an outdated technology in 10 years or 20? And it wouldn’t surprise me at all. We’re all using instant messaging platforms on all of our devices now and they’ve become incredibly useful not only for interacting with team members and friends and family but also with customers. And you wonder about the kind of marketing dogma 10 years ago was email capture and we’re seeing a lot of people, you know, run very sophisticated things through things like Facebook Messenger. It’s definitely something I think I’ve been a little emotionally resistant to is this kind of like, ‘text message culture’. But I think that’s the way business is gonna get done in the future.

Ian: Ah man that’s just because you’re old, and we’ll see if this becomes true, but it could be the case that we’re all using Gmail for spam email, two or three years from now.

Dan: All right, number six Bossman, we gotta say it. Ahrefs. That’s A-H-R-E-F-S, actually a former sponsor of the show. I mean, if you would have showed me Ahrefs in 2007 when we started our first business, it would have been such an enormous, enormous competitive advantage. And it simply wasn’t possible back then to build such a stunningly powerful piece of software, but essentially Ahrefs is sort of your home base for SEO knowledge about where your site’s ranking, where it’s getting links, and how it can improve those rankings.

Ian: Also where your competition stands against you as well. It’s a very comprehensive dashboard. It’s, it’s a way to track your keywords. It’s a way to track your competition. Very powerful, I’d say. Because a lot of this information just isn’t given in Google Analytics, of course, you have to go out and you have to buy a piece of software that is able to interpret that kind of information that Google isn’t giving you and so we use this on a daily basis.

Dan: All right, Boss Man On to number seven which is ‘Grammarly’ and also for those of you who are writers maybe ‘Hemingway app’. Let me quote one of our team members Bosman, she writes, quote, ‘As a non English native speaker, this is my everyday Saviour. It helps me tonnes with my grammar and spelling and it definitely makes my work faster. When either I write emails or create jobs or write jobs over at Dynamite Jobs. It’s very easy to instal and activate. And it actually helped me to write this’.

Grammarly and Hemingway app are diagnostic tools to basically help you write better. And not only is this cool because the reality is so much of online business revolves around writing, what’s interesting about this, for me is not only that sort of refining those marketing materials or content that you have, but in the case of staff members that aren’t primarily English speakers, but they’re incredibly fluent. Like that gap between Language fluency and then coming across as a native English speaker in emails, there’s a long learning curve between those two things. Between those two things, there’s a big opportunity to hire staff from all around the world.

Ian: And if you’re like me, Dan, and you went to college and you still don’t know the proper place to put a comma, here you are, it’s been solved so I can actually sound like I’m a native English speaker, which from time to time it you might get the sense that I am not.

Dan: It’s funny. Our podcast sound engineer Arison gave us a shout out and he said “Hey, did you know In Grammarly? You can add specific words to your own custom dictionary. ie Dan and Ian isms’. There’s plenty of those. It’s like ‘baller’ is approved.

Ian: You know, Gmail has now started to complete your sentences for you, when you’re composing an email, so everybody can sound like they’re the same person writing the email. Although it does save some time, I mean, I’ll revert to it from time to time mostly because it saves me time actually. So don’t have to type it. I’m just like, ‘Yeah, fine. That’s good enough’. But it’s gonna be interesting to see like, what the, the fallout of all this is gonna be a couple years from now, like, everybody’s just sound the same, what’s gonna happen?

Dan: A related tip and that our team tossed in the document was they do leverage Google Gmail templates quite a bit. So that’s another way where you can work up all different kinds of template emails and collaborate on them. And then just pull them up really quick in Gmail. So quick tip there.

Alright, moving on to number eight. This is an app called Otter. Shout out to producer Jane for this suggestion. Otter is a remarkable piece of transcription software that offers you speech to text or you can upload a file and, in very short order, it will give you a reasonable transcription of what that audio is.

My sense is, it’s probably similar to what’s happening when you look at closed caption on YouTube videos. You know, it’s not perfect, like going to Rev.com and getting that perfect transcript. But it’s quick, it’s super affordable, they have an amazing free plan. And now you might say, ‘Okay, well, you know, Dan, I don’t have a podcast. What’s the point of a transcript?’ Well, there’s two interesting use cases. And one I want to give a shout out to DC member Nabeel, who made a really amazing write up talking about how Otter is making his life better, because he’s able to participate in online meetups webinars and summits because he can get these fast transcriptions of what’s going on.

Ian: And you failed to mention that Nabeel’s deaf and actually that’s the reason why.

Dan: That’s right. And so these kinds of technologies are opening up information to all different kinds of people. So that’s really cool. Also, you could say, you know, some people have physical limitations, others have time. So, if you make video or audio content but a lot of potential prospects don’t want to listen to your podcast providing them with a quick and easy transcript. Could be a really interesting marketing avenue.

Ian: Yeah, yeah, many years ago, somebody asked us, ‘Can you guys provide a transcript for the podcast?’ And at the time, it was super expensive. And then through the years more and more people have asked, and so eventually, we started doing transcripts. And those are available at tropicalmba.com. But here’s the thing for a long time we used Rev and Rev would cost literally 100 to hundreds of dollars every episode. And the real reason we were doing transcripts in the beginning was actually for the editing process. Producer Jane brought this to our internal process basically where we record the podcast, we get a transcript of and then she reads through the transcript and shuffles through, organises it in a way that our sound producer Arison can kind of chop it up.

So super expensive process but super valuable for us. So now of course the costs are being driven down. And kind of ‘good enough’ is almost fine for what we’re doing in terms of these transcripts in the way that we’re in the way that we’re producing our show.

And I would imagine to Dan that this is the way all this stuff kind of goes, the cost gets driven down and the quality is okay at first and then eventually the quality will start to come back up. So for us, it’s okay if we miss a word or two. For some people I realise it’s essential and you continue to use something like Rev but there’s a lot of other services available now.

Dan: Yeah shout out to Rev for just being a really amazing business as well and they sub out their work to a community of distributed workforce across the world as well in order to create those transcripts so pretty cool there. Alright number nine ‘BetterTouchTool’.

Ian: Man you got on my ass the other day about not having ‘BetterTouchTool’. I had my laptop hooked up to the TV and I was shuffling around windows, minimised, you know stuff. You’re like, ‘Dude, come on. 2020 man, ‘BetterTouchTool’.

Dan: Sometimes you don’t know somebody until you watch them operate a laptop. Sometimes Ian, you’re looking over the shoulder of someone from a different generation. And you watch him like double click on everything when a double click is not always warranted. It’s like, ‘You didn’t get the single click memo on this’, and now there’s all kinds of tools that help us to move around our computers faster. And, for me, like I don’t consider myself a tech nerd and so, you know, I’ve only recently started to get hip to the value of speeding up my process when I’m moving around my computer, learning things like keyboard shortcuts, setting up macros in pieces of software like BetterTouchTool.

And I’ll tell you that the killer app here, the killer feature is being able to minimise, maximise, resize and move around various windows on your computer. If you’re not doing side by sides on your laptop or on your large monitor, the reality is you are working slower. And if you’ve got two and a half hours of really good attention a day, for some of us 45 minutes, or even if it’s four hours, we’re not talking about a lot of time here. So if you could save something like 15 minutes a day, that is not insignificant, and it adds up. And the cool thing is things like Gmail shortcuts and BetterTouchTool, you only got to sit down for 15 minutes, pull up a YouTube video about how to best use them on your computer. And while you’re at it, speed up your mouse speed to the fastest it possibly can go. It’ll feel weird for like five minutes, you’ll readjust quickly and you’ll just be a faster computer user, you’ll get more done during those windows that you have time to get things done. So there we go.

Ian: I think the argument for me Dan is: invest in like the the shortcuts on the operating system and the tools that you use all the time like Gmail and Mac OS and things like that, this is just a general concern that I have as somebody that’s ageing, which is like I can’t always just pay attention to the newest, greatest thing. But something that’s going to help me boost my productivity and something that I use every day like my operating system. That makes a lot of sense to me.

Dan: Totally. And again, I understand that people roll their eyes at stuff like this, because I do too about tech tips like this, but I agree with you. We’re on this stuff every day and the stuff that matters is getting done here. That’s the bottom line. All right, our number 10 tech tip is Expressvpn. Because of course, we all need to access Netflix from foreign countries.

Ian: I mean, this is how we watch the Jordan documentary early right is like, just log into the UK and then all sudden now I can watch the Jordan documentary. But honestly, I use a VPN all the time, especially when I’m on like public Wi Fi and travelling. And I’ve used many of them throughout the years. And ExpressVPN is one of the ones that I found to be the most useful because it’s fast. And it always connects. So my problem in the past is, you know, these access points that don’t always work and you end up shuffling through like 20 of them to get one that finally works and has a decent speed. ExpressVPN works all the time, every time and it’s super cheap.

Music

Dan: We hope you enjoyed that one. And did you notice my by no means untypical mispronunciation? Fun fact, my buddies from high school, they’re smart cats. And one of their pejorative nicknames for me is ‘Malapropism Dan’, because I tend to just say words the way that sounds cool to me. And you tell me what you think what’s cooler Zapier or Zapier? I know Zapier makes more sense and it’s the right way to do it. But damn of Zapier doesn’t sound like a cool ass word. I’d say, you know, do whatever makes you happier.

Of course we’d love to hear your top tech tips. What did we miss? Drop it in the comments drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you. And as always, we’ll be back. And as always, we will be back next Thursday morning 8am Eastern Standard Time.

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