My 5 favorite 'business hacking' tools

by Michael Bernstein on February 20, 2017

I work with a lot of technical people, and technical people love tools. This isn’t a criticism: I love tools too, for the most part, so we get along great. I’ve been asked for the list of my “can’t live without ’em tools” enough times that it crossed by “I should blog about this” threshold, so here we go!

I want to send an email campaign: Use Drip

Drip is super simple, extensible, and it just works. I first experimented with it when I was at Code Climate, and have pretty much used it for everything since, including the campaigns for my Pizza Book and the Reify mailing list.

My favorite parts of drip are:

  • Good, easy to consume metrics

  • Sophisticated action-based email campaigns work super well

  • Very reliable

I need a CRM: Use

Note: I’m not a religious Salesforce user, so I have no comment when people ask me how it compares. I’ve used often, recommended it to others who have loved it, and would choose it today if I were back in the SaaS trenches. It has great search functionality, tracks email well, and again, it just works.

My favorite parts of are:

  • Saved searches as dashboards

  • Email integration is flawless and “remind me if they don’t respond in a week” is literally a goldmine

  • Lead view provides nice timeline with integrated notes

I need to make a nice looking diagram: Use Keynote

I know — weird, right? For some reason I started doing this a while back and I just can’t break the habit. Keynote has just enough shapes and colors and such to make putting together a simple vector diagram simple. I don’t even know how people do this otherwise, seriously.

My favorite parts of Keynote are:

  • Star

  • Speech bubble

  • Rounded rectangle

I need to calculate statistical things: Use Wizard

I recently spent a bunch of time publicly fawning over spreadsheets. Afterwards I felt a bit bad about it, because I actually have another tool I love that helps with similar goals: Wizard. Wizard is a serious stats app that lets you get down to the business of statistics without making your brain want to leak out of your ear. Give it a shot, it’s brilliant.

My favorite parts of Wizard are:

  • Makes determining correlations in data sets a breeze

  • Visualizes basic statistics of small data sets easily

  • Capable of more advanced maneuvers like survival analysis, etc.

I need to edit some text: Use Atom

At the end of my last stint as a full-time programmer, I had started to switch from using vim to using Atom. When I switched over to the dark side, I couldn’t ditch my editor. I found ways to make it adapt. The fact that I still write scripts often enough to make it worthwhile also keeps me stuck in the Atom world. But really, I’m happy to be there.

My favorite parts of Atom are:

  • Markdown preview mode is revelatory

  • Actually pretty lightweight if you’re not editing a bajillion things at once with 95 plugins running

  • File navigation and search paradigms ported from older editors means you don’t have to compromise your favorite features

What tools do you use that I left out? What categories of tools do you need a recommendation for? Let me know!