Kelly Rowland texting Nelly via Microsoft Excel and then getting annoyed when he doesn’t text back.
He gets better with time…..
Writer Leo Widrich offers a sneak peek at the next wave of productivity apps that top entrepreneurs like Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin, and Guy Kawasaki are working with daily.
Recently something terribly obvious—yet powerful—occurred to me: If you want to achieve things that no one else has done, you need to do things no one else does.
So, I thought, who achieves things that very few do? I made a list of the top 10 entrepreneurs that I learn from daily. Then I thought, which things are they doing that could really help more people? When I emailed the idea to my Fast Company editor, she came back with something I found valuable:
“One of the problems that crops up is that a lot of people get back with “I love Twitter, Dropbox, and Evernote!” Those are great tools, but might not add that much value for our readers.”
I thought that observation was spot-on. So instead, I asked my favorite entrepreneurs their absolute favorite, yet very little-known tools, they use to achieve everyday tasks.
After lots of correspondences and digging deep into these entrepreneurs’ toolkits, here are their unedited answers:
Tim Ferriss’s top tool: Jumpcut
Tim Ferriss is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The 4-Hour Workweek. Tim is the master of finding unique lifehacks and techniques to help you live a smarter life. The one online tool he absolutely can’t live without is Jumpcut:
“I can’t live without Jumpcut, which saves my ass all the time. Have you ever cut and pasted two or three things, and lost a hugely important thing that you cut first? Jumpcut, which is free, allows you to store (and easily retrieve) 40+ copied or cut things from your clipboard.”
Michael Hyatt’s top tool: Clicky
Michael Hyatt is the New York Times best-selling author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World and he writes one of the best blogs on leadership and productivity that I know. Here is his most treasured online tool:
“My can’t-live-without online tool is Clicky.com. It’s what I use to monitor up-to-the-minute stats on all my websites. It uses Google Analytics, but presents the data in a more useful manner.”
Jay Baer’s top tool: Buffer
Ranked as one of America’s top 5 Social Media consultants and author of Youtility, Jay Baer built an incredible following as one of the most reputable and yet hype-free people in the industry. And he stays on top with the best tools all the time; his choice is Buffer (which—disclaimer time—I’m the cofounder of. Thanks, Jay!):
“Directing people to what I believe to be the most worthy social and content marketing resources every day—for years—is how I built my business. Buffer makes that process of sharing information to audiences so much easier. I can read articles in the morning and add them to my Buffer. From there articles then get posted well spaced out over the day, automatically.”
Hiten Shah’s top tool: Prismatic
One of my favorite tech entrepreneurs is Hiten Shah, cofounder of KISSmetrics, who, if you follow his Twitter feed, constantly inspires with amazing content. The one tool that he said he can’t live without is Prismatic:
“I love to find and share awesome content. Prismatic has made it easier for me to find the best content faster. Now with Prismatic, I don’t have to go to dozens of places to find useful, informative, and awesome content to share.”
Jason Calacanis’ top tool: 15Five
One of the most well-known entrepreneurs, Jason Calacanis has founded several companies to date and is now probably best known for his awesome ThisWeekInTV network. When I asked him for his favorite tool, he replied within a few minutes of sending the email without hesitation:
“15Five is my favorite app because it develops deep relationships on our teams quickly and efficiently. I liked it so much I asked to invest… and they took my money.”
Dharmesh Shah’s top tool: Pocket
There are very few people whose every step they take online I follow along with. Dharmesh, the CTO ofHubSpot, is one of them. He built a massive company with hundreds of people, and what helps him do his best work? He shared this:
“I love GetPocket.com. I’m easily distracted (I have “Hey look, interesting new article on the Internet!” syndrome). Pocket helps me stay focused by deferring things I want to read until later so I don’t break my flow.”
Seth Godin’s top tool: Keynote presenter view
Seth Godin, author of the most amazing books, and recently the Icarus Deception, writes a blog that is the only one I read daily. Asked for the one tool he he can’t live without, he said “the presenter view in Keynote, which shows me my next slide before anyone else sees it. I can’t imagine giving a fluid talk without it.”
Leo Babauta’s top tool: HackerNews
The infamous Leo Babauta writes the phenomenal blogzenhabits and is also author of multiple books. Whenever my day gets slightly too much, reading one of his articles for just a few minutes helps me clear my mind. So what helps Leo to get more inspiration and productivity? This:
“I use Hacker News for inspiration and ideas. I avoid most news sites, social media and other sources of information because there’s too much noise. But HN is curated by a smart group of users, has high signal-to-noise ratio, and is where new ideas and tiny startups are being tested at the street level, unfiltered by the media and mass markets.”
Rand Fishkin’s top tool: TINYpulse
Rand Fishkin is the CEO and cofounder of SEOmoz. Rand also gives some of the best advice for startups and businesses on his personal blog. When I asked him for his favorite, little-known tool, he had a great gem for you:
“One of my very favorite tools is TinyPulse. It sends a very short survey to everyone at Moz, asking two simple questions. It’s an incredibly valuable way to get honest, direct feedback about how things are going culture/team-wise.”
Guy Kawasaki’s top tool: Fantastical
Guy Kawasaki is a man who needs little introduction. He was the chief evangelist at Apple and has since then authored more than 10 books. When I asked him what helps him to keep up with his crazy schedule, this is what he came up with:
“Fantastical. Great way to see and edit your calendar without launching your calendar application and switching to it. Very smart, too: ‘4/24 7 pm Meet with Leo’ would create an event.”
[Image: Flickr user Zechariah Judy]
What is your favorite productivity app and what would you add?
Suits Aren’t for Standing in Front of Mirrors
The past few days a several images of soccer star David Beckham showing off his moves while wearing a suit came across my dashboard (likely from this Glamour article) and it reminded me of some advice I’d once read.
Most often, when guys go to purchase a new suit they immediately go in front of a mirror and turn into a robot. Their back stiffens, the chest heaves outward and knees lock. But this is only one way to determine if a suit fits you well. Instead, try walking around a bit and not focusing on a mirror. Sit down in a chair and cross your legs or put your feet up. And perhaps consider kicking around a soccer ball.
The point is to get a feel of how the suit moves with your body. Perhaps the slimness you like in the mirror isn’t the best for when you need to squat down and pick up something off the floor. Or maybe the shoulders don’t quite have the range of movement you’d prefer, although they may look perfect when you’re standing still like a statue.
Your suit shouldn’t only fit you when you’re standing upright, as Mr. Beckham proves. It should make you feel like you can do anything and look great, too.
Finding Affordable Shoes
Shoes may or may not be the most important part of a man’s ensemble, but they can certainly be the veto point. A man can look sharp as a tack in a well-tailored suit, but if he’s wearing dull, square toe shoes, everything was for naught. Unfortunately, nice shoes are expensive. Even the ones commonly recommended as “entry level” brands will retail for $350 or more. So, in an effort to direct readers to where they can find well-made shoes for less, I’ve compiled a list of every place that I know of.
eBay: The most obvious is eBay. We have a customized search link you can use, but you can also employ other methods. Last week, for example, I talked about how Ralph Lauren shoes are some of the hidden gems on eBay, so long as you know how to look for them. The same goes for shoes made by Brooks Brothers. Theirs don’t get as bad as some in Ralph Lauren’s range, but you would still be wise to look for indicators of quality. You can also check out sausages234, an eBay seller who specializes in footwear.
Thrift stores: These will take a little more work than doing a search on eBay, but you could potentially walk away with some better deals. The key is in knowing where to thrift and how to spot quality. Use Jesse’s series on thrifting as a guide.
Good online retailers: There are two online retailers who consistently have some of the most competitive prices around - Pediwear and P.Lal. It would be smart to check with them before you purchase anything, as they’ll often offer price-matching guarantees. You can also check out A Fine Pair of Shoes. They sell really nice English models, and will discount much of their stock at the end of each season. Finally, Franco’s will often have shoes on sale. Right now there are a bunch of Rider Boots, which are very well made.
Online discount houses: Likewise, there are a bunch of online discount sites. Classic Shoes for Men, Shop the Finest, and Virtual Clotheshorse come to mind (though the last two focus more on the Italian variety). Sierra Trading Post also regularly stocks Trickers. You can knock 30% off or more if you sign up for their DealFlyer newsletter. Different coupons are released every day.
Affordable brands: There are probably more brands than ever before selling well-made, affordable shoes. Here’s a list:
- Loake: Loake makes a few different lines, but the one that’s generally worth buying is their 1880 range, particularly the ones that are Goodyear welted and made with hard-bottom leather soles.
- Charles Tyrwhitt: Many of Charles Tyrwhitt’s shoes are made by Loake or equivalent factories. Ignore the lure of sale prices, however. Charles Tyrwhitt’s stuff is always on sale.
- Herring: I have no first hand experience with the line, but my understanding is that many of their shoes are also made by Loake (or, again, equivalent factories).
- Meermin: One of my favorites of the lot. Their shoes are handwelted, which is believed to be a better construction method than Goodyear welting, and they have a semi-affordable made-to-order program. You can read a review I did of them here.
- Shipton & Heneage: Shipton & Heneage sells shoes made by various well-respected manufacturers in England and Italy. Sometimes you’ll find shoes here selling for less than what the original manufacturers would have you pay. Sign up for their Discount Club to receive coupons.
- Made in Maine: There are a bunch of quality shoe manufacturers in Maine. The first that comes to mind is Rancourt, who sells handsewn shoes at a very reasonable price. There’s also Town View Leather and Arrow Moccasins, both of whom also sell handsewn shoes, but mostly of the moccasin variety. Those give less foot support, but they can be good for short walks. Additionally, there’s Eastland’s Made in Maine collection. I bought one of their boots last year, and on the inside, there was a strip of reconstituted leather covering the back (where the heel cup would normally go). The leather fell apart after my third wear, and customer service wasn’t terribly helpful, but to be fair, the shoes still wear fine. Finally, a reader of ours suggested Dexter 1957, but I have no first hand experience with them. Reviews online are scant and mixed.
- Kent Wang and Howard Yount: Both these companies can usually be relied upon for selling decently made things at lower-than-average prices.
- Markowski: I have no first hand experience with this line, but their customers have given positive reports on StyleForum. The shop is based in Paris, but the shopkeepers speak decent English. They also hold sales, which knocks their prices down somewhat even further.
- Andrew Lock: Jesse gave a good review of them here (he even had a shoe expert take them apart).
Allen Edmonds factory seconds: The term factory seconds just means shoes that haven’t passed the quality control process, but often the “defects” are incredibly minor (like a very small nick). You can contact Allen Edmonds’ “shoe bank” store in Brookfield, Wisconsin to make a purchase. Their number is (262) 785-6666.
Suede: Let’s say all the above are still out of range to you. If you can’t afford higher-quality shoes, at least aim for suede. They’ll generally look better with age than a pair made from corrected grain. Perhaps the most affordable suede shoes I know of are Clarks’ desert boots, which sometimes go for as little as $60 on sale. Once you get them, know how to take care of them well, so that you get as much out of your purchase as possible.