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?
United By Blue, courtesy of Entrepreneur Magazine.
Article By: Diana Ransom
“In this season of Young Visionaries, we talk to entrepreneurs tackling social, cultural, and environmental goals by harnessing entrepreneurial principles and out-of-the-box thinking to create positive change.”
“There are 7 billion people on the planet and the world is at a point in history where if we don’t start conserving the resources we have, our future is very grim. We use the equivalent of 1.5 Earths to provide the resources we use every year. I would love to be part of a movement that uses business to make a real and lasting positive impact on our planet.”
Get to know United By Blue’s Chief Trash Collector, Brian Linton, with Elite Daily’s Entrepreneur Profile.
Vote Brian Linton for Entrepreneur of 2012
The apparel industry is among the world’s most environmentally damaging. Every year, fertilizer runoff from traditional cotton farms creates aquatic deadzones, millions of gallons of factory waste dumps into waterways, and countless single use plastic bags end up in aquatic ecosystems.
UBB has impacted the apparel industry not only by adapting our own supply chain to reduce our negative impact but also by developing the infrastructure to host ocean and waterway cleanups within the company to increase our positive impact.
UBB uses only organic cotton, canvas, and dyes in shirts and bags. By switching product packaging from single use plastic bags to paper bags made from rapidly renewing banana fiber bags, we reduced plastic in our supply chain by 80%.
Additionally, we’ve developed the infrastructure for planning and hosting ocean and waterway cleanups. In so doing, we’ve impacted our industry by demonstrating that for-profit brands can own their positive environmental impact without outsourcing it by donating profits to non-profit organizations.
UBB cleanups are co-hosted with retail partners, including major retailers like Nordstrom, Dillards, and Belk as well as dozens of smaller retailers. Through these partnerships, UBB raises industry expectations for both environmental impact and customer engagement.
Brian Linton: Entrepreneur Magazine’s Entrepreneur of 2012 Finalist
United By Blue (UBB) is a brand of apparel that sells sophisticated apparel and accessories for the rugged lifestyle, including a line of organic cotton t-shirts, waxed canvas and leather bags, and jewelry handmade by American artisans.
UBB products are sold online, in over 200 stores in the USA (including Nordstrom and Urban Outfitters), and in 60 stores in Japan. UBB has also cultivated strategic partnerships with Subaru and Sperry Top-Sider.
UBB has a social mission: for every product sold, UBB removes one pound of trash from oceans and waterways around the world through company organized and hosted cleanups.
This week, we interviewed Brian Linton, who founded United By Blue in May 2010 as a way to help the world’s oceans and waterways in a more hands-on capacity. United By Blue sells awesome organic T-shirts, bags, and accessories; they organize their own cleanups so that for every product sold, United By Blue removes a pound of trash from oceans and waterways.
At Designed Good, we partner with people and companies who have found creative ways to blend awesome product design & social responsibility. I caught up with Brian to ask what it’s like to build a brand that means something a little extra.
KG: So we’ve read up on the origin story on your website. Specifically, I keep hearing something about 30 fish tanks in your room growing up. Could you elaborate a little on how and why you got started?
BL: It really started with growing up overseas. Growing up in Singapore really gave me access to different places and I was fortunate enough to get to travel to 40 countries before I got to college. I got to see the good the bad and the ugly when it came to waterways and oceans. In western Thailand, the water is pristine and beautiful. But it just wasn’t the case everywhere.