What I use

As you know, I don’t get in many arguments with people about what technologies they use. My stance has always been to use what enables you to do the best work you can do. However, I do have software and
hardware that I use (almost) daily that helps me get stuff done and enjoy life.

Here’s my current list of those things I use most often. I’d love to hear about your favorites. Please drop me a note or hit me up on twitter.

The Setup

iPhone: Hasn’t enough been said of these devices? I think so.

iPad Air: This device is used for consumption. I browse the web, read books on Kindle and occasionally stream a movie.

Macbook Pro Retina 13 inch: This is my main machine. It’s a 2013 model, still works like a pro and has all the firepower I need. When I’m at my desk, I hook it up to a nice large display so it’s easier to get distracted with dozens of tabs open.

Ping Backpack:It may be a little scholastic, but it’s big enough to hold my tech and enough clothes for a weekend trip. The pack also fits under the seat in front of me when I fly.

Notebooks & Paper: I tend to keep a lot of notebooks and paper handy. I’ve used almost every kind. The ones in use now are Field Notes, Baron Fig Confidant and good ole fashion blank paper.

Pencils & Sharpies: 90% of the time I like to use pencils for note taking and sketching. The other 10% of the time I use Sharpies. I picked up the marker tip from an old signalvnoise post. Made sense to me and it stuck.


iMessage: I text a lot. I try not to have long conversations here but it’s nice that continuity exists when discussions carry over from phone to computer. Plus if I need to get on the phone with someone or have a chat, a quick ping will let me know if they’re available. This is how I use sms as sonar.

Slack: Right now we’re using slack for internal chatter on projects. The plethora of integrations Slack offers makes it easy to keep all the talk in one stream. The ones we use most are Drive, Hangouts, Dropbox and Github.

Basecamp: I’ve never found a project management software that works exactly how I want it to. That said, this tool has proven to be solid for task management and client discussion threads. My favorite combo is Basecamp + Project Hub. The project hub gives clients visibility into project’s milestones and progress without getting them stuck in the weeds of the day-to-day details (Thank you Dan and Brad for introducing this concept).

Hangouts/Skype/Uberconference: Typically, I’ll use whatever our clients use (and are comfortable with). In the last year, it’s been one of these three. Has anyone tried Wire? I’d like to.

Dispatch: On my phone, I use Dispatch. It does unified inbox well and allows me to triage emails quickly. I also like how well it works with sending items to Evernote, Pocket or Sunrise. I haven’t found a good email client for my computer. I’ve used Sparrow, Airmail, Mailbox and a dozen others with little joy. Right now I’m using Mac Mail. Eh.

Tweetbot: Works well as my phone Twitter client. On the MBP, I just use the native application.

Limechat: Easy to use IRC client.

Join.me: Fast and simple screen sharing.

Tradecraft & Work

Draft: Since the sunset of Editorially, I’ve used Draft for writing most of my personal web content. It’s a clean Markdown editor and does a nice job with version control. Draftin hooks up to WordPress, Mailchimp and Tumblr so I can easily export into them for publishing.

Scrivener: I bought it way back in 2009 per a recommendation from Chris Laney. He had used it for his novel and loved it. I use it primarily for short stories, scripts and such, which is to say it gets under-utilized most of the time.

Google Docs: For typing up copy for work projects and notes from meetings, I use docs. It’s easy to share with clients and collaborators and most people have used it before.

Sketch & Sketch Mirror: John Peele turned me on to Bohemian Coding’s product during version one. I’m not going to be featured on Dribbble anytime soon, but I like having something to prototype ideas on that I can hand off to a pro.

Sublime Text: I’ve tried a couple of text editors and Sublime Text seems to be the one I come back to. Thinking about trying Atom again. Maybe.

Dropbox: Does anyone use anything else for file management?

Github: Our main source code manager.

Keynote & Pages: These are my go-to applications for producing presentation decks and proposals.

Cloud: Screenshots automatically uploaded for sharing. I’ll pair it with Glui when I want to annotate the screen grab.

Recordit: When I need to record a quick screen video, this gets the job done.

Harvest: We use Harvest for invoicing and time tracking. Most of our work is not billed hourly, but we keep it for internal auditing.

Pipedrive: Simple and painless are two criteria we look for in software. Pipedrive fits the bill for us when it comes to managing opportunity pipelines and light CRM.

Hookfeed: FanPack needs something for pulling customer insights from Stripe. Hookfeed works for us.

Bench: We use Bench for bookkeeping. The application is nice and the customer service is fantastic. Best of all, it beats having to do this type of work myself. Checking in and exporting a file for the accountant is all I have to do.


Sunrise Calendar: Like email, I haven’t found a perfect calendar app. This one works as well as any.

Evernote: I need a place to store things that might fall out of my brain. I need to get better at finding them when I go back to look.

Timeful: I’ve been using this app for a few months to manage to-do lists. The app combines those with your calendar. Timeful also has intelligence built-in so it learns your habits over time and will drop things in your calendar like advanced planning. I may use this as my calendar too once they add the ability to invite others to events.


Overcast: By far my favorite podcast player. Thank you Marco for building this.

Boom 2: This equalizer app makes my sound sound good.

Rdio, Soundcloud & Spotify: I consume music from all three of these platforms.

Audible: I love listening to audiobooks. I’m not sure of another way.

Kindle: I read a lot. I still like real books but I find myself reading way more here than ever.

Pocket: Did I mention I read a lot? Pocket is my catch-all for blogs and links to read later.

YNAB: In my house we give every dollar a job. You Need a Budget app makes it easy for us to Sow, Save and Spend.

Dark Sky: This beautiful weather app is the best I’ve found for forecasting and letting you know what’s going to happen soon. Living in NC where the weather can change quickly, Dark Sky has been super helpful.

Instagram: Outside of Twitter, Instagram is the only social network I actively use for personal use. What about Facebook? No. What about Linkedin? For professional use only.

Fitbit: For health tracking I’ve used this for a while. Not in love though. Any suggestions?

Whoa! I use a lot of stuff.

If you made it to the end of this without getting a twitch, give yourself a gold star!

I’m sure there’s more I’ve left out, but this list is pretty comprehensive.
2015 may see some of these change as I’m constantly working to simplify and improve.

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