Desktop Tools and Web Apps We Think Every Startup Could Use

At Springest we like being productive and efficient and being a web company we almost naturally love clever desktop and web apps that help us do our work more productive and efficient. We couldn’t imagine living without the tools on this list :) Oh, and we all use Apple at the moment, so don’t be sad that there are no Windows specific tools on the list…

Development

  • Github - ticket management + git repository + pull requests = bliss. (Check out our public repos)
  • DeployHQ - our updates are easily deployed to all our servers using Deploy.
  • Sequel Pro - A supercharged and very usable OSX desktop alternative to phpMyAdmin, loved by both the SQL pro’s and the SQL challenged.
  • LittleIpsum - Easy toolbar shortcut for generating various Lorem Ipsum variants.
  • Color Picker Pro - Get any color from your screen and into your clipboard buffer in any format you like (rgba, hex)

Communication

  • Yammer (+ sometimes Gabble) - our internal communication tool for things that are interesting for everyone (we don’t have an internal newsletter).
  • Campfire + Propane - used for having seperate channels, because we don’t want to crowd Yammer with development or country specific discussions.
  • Mailchimp - For our newsletters for clients and site visitors.
  • Adium / iChat - Almost everyone works with headphones on, because we share 1 big (235 m2) space, so reaching out to someone works best via instant messaging.
  • Tweetdeck - Even though most of us hate the slowness and seeming instability of Adobe Air apps, Tweetdeck is still the best desktop Twitter client for following lots of searches and lists and managing multiple Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.
  • Snapengage - we recently switchted from Olark to Snap Engage because it’s a bit slicker and has more native options. So far the best online chat tool (connects with all IM networks) out there.

Product / design

  • Balsamiq - we create mock-ups for all our new features using this simple sketching tool. All mockups are saved on Dropbox so other can easily copy and adapt.
  • Skitch - screengrabbing and -sharing like it ought to be.
  • Google Apps - we use Mail, Calendar and write all our documentation and KPI reviews in Docs and Spreadsheet.

Backoffice

  • Moneybird - the best online invoicing service available (in Dutch). Hooked up to our own systems using their API for even more awesomeness.
  • Adyen - Superfast growing Dutch payment provider, we use them to help our education providers pay, via their great API.
  • Dropbox - Of course for sharing files, we don’t have any local network attached storage.
  • Airfoil - See below…
  • Spotify - Most of us have (company-sponsored ;)) Spotify Premium accounts, combined with Airfoil and our decent speaker setup that helps scare the fish a bit every afternoon ;)

Productivity

  • TextExpander - keeps all the frequently typed text easily available to us. And who knows Martijn will one day open source his list of 100’s of common Dutch typo’s that he lest Texexpander fix…
  • Things - some of us are GTD‘ers (one pushes the other by being so tight on todo followup…), and Things is one of the best tools for managing your todo’s and projects, on iPhone and Mac.
  • SizeUp or Divvy - All of us have Macbooks so at the office most work with 2 monitors. SizeUp and Divvy help you manage windows with shortcuts; quickly maximize, move to other screen, etc.
  • Alfred - Not just an application launcher, also much better search options than Spotlight (what it’s based on), totally awesome.
  • Evernote - For taking notes of just about anything
  • JumpCut - Stores your last n items in your clipboard. Never again that empty feeling when you accidently overwrite that huge chunk of text in your copy buffer. Be aware that it does store your copied passwords in plaintext for all to see though, so don’t forget to clear the buffer every while.
  • 1Password - This password manager lets you use long, hard-to-guess passwords without breaking a sweat. Great browser integration, especially when you use the hotkeys (⌘ + \) and AutoSubmit.

SEO / Online marketing

  • Buzzstream - Helps us manage linkbuilding and partnerships, very handy tool. We recently had a conference with their team and they’re improving the product with that feedback (eg. the link discovery wasn’t so good in non-English countries).
  • SEOmoz - We have a Pro account there to monitor rankings and use their excellent Open Site Explorer to do SEO research.
  • MajesticSEO - great link research tool with it’s own spidered dataset.

So what are your favorites?

We’re very curious to hear your own favorites. What have we missed? Or do you want to know how or why we use an app? Feel free to ask in the comments!

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