11 Tools the ilos Team Could Not Live Without
Recently, in a meeting with other startups in San Antonio, we discussed some of the problems we frequently encounter. I recommended a few tools that could help out (specifically on the topic of Google Adwords), and people started writing down the names and re-asking, “What was it called again?”
Sometimes big problems really aren’t that big — you just need to know the right tools to fix them. After all, that is why companies start, to solve pain points! After experiencing that meeting, I thought I would write a post about the tools we depend on at ilos. These are tools we use everyday. I hope this article introduces you to a few new tools and make sure to let us know what tools you depend on as well!
Intercom — Customer Communication Platform
Ever since we switched to intercom early last summer, it has literally become one of the backbones of our company. From the live chat on our website (which has increased conversions), to the user data (where we find all our video creation stats), even to finding out where people have come from to find us, I can’t imagine how ilos would function without Intercom.
Although we have debated over whether or not to try Hipchat, we still rely on Slack for almost all of our internal communication. If there is one thing we have learned about using Slack, it’s that the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.
Recently, we really started utilizing the power of “Channels” within Slack. We push to instinctively write on a channel instead of a “Direct Message.” This way, our team is always updated on what is happening within each department. Then, during the last 10 minutes of each day, we scroll through each relevant channel to keep up to speed on what’s happening. This reduces meetings and increases communication between departments.
Make sure to integrate your calendar, Evernote, and Trello Boards just as a few examples, it can integrate with just about anything you want it to.
Google Drive (Especially google docs)
I log on to my Google Drive about 5 times a day. It has become the medium that every single piece of content goes through (including this post). From important emails, to website changes, to blog posts, Google Docs is the where it’s at. For us, it the most efficient way to collaborate on just about any piece of content.
Trello — Visual Collaboration
I just started using Trello, and I can’t believe how much it’s helped with project management. For our blog, we recently created a board called “The Content Creation Process,” which you can view here.
Although it hasn’t been long, ever since we started using Trello for project management, our team has been much more in sync with what’s going on.
The simplicity of Trello is incredible.
ilos — Ridiculously simple screen recording
Over the last month, the ilos team of 8 people has recorded over 264 videos. In other words, we use our own tool quite a bit. Being a small startup, it isn’t uncommon for all of us to participate in customer support.
With ilos, we make videos for our FAQ Pages and our features page when it comes to embedded videos. Among other places, we tend to send a lot of videos through Intercom, email, and chat. ilos is quick to use, and our customers love the visual guidance!
6. Spotify — Music for every moment
Being a songwriter, I really value music. Music has the power to bring me back to what really matters in life, and if I didn’t have that reminder in my day, I wouldn’t be as productive or happy at work.
On a more practical level, certain sounds on Spotify allow me to get into focus mode, including “Simple Air Vent” noise in the background.
Thanks to Spotify’s social features, we are frequently sharing songs back and forth with each other. It is a great way of developing deeper friendships with coworkers without talking about work.
GitHub — Where software is built
I am not a developer but there is no way our product would move forward without GitHub.
But I wanted to double check with our developers to check it out and.. yep, it is.
Wii U — Super Smash Bro’s
You might be thinking, “That’s not a tool,” but for us, it is. In fact, every day at 2:30 p.m., we play Super Smash Bros for 30 minutes. The reason is pretty simple: working in a startup can be overwhelming, and Smash Bro’s is not. Playing Smash relaxes us, and in the end, it makes us way more productive. After the game, we return to work with fresh motivation and can focus for the latter part of the day.
Conspire — Email Networking
Conspire tells you exactly how to get the best introduction to whomever you want to meet — a customer, employer, or investor.
It’s actually pretty simple: you type in who you want or need to connect with, and Conspire figures out a roadmap to get you “introed” to that person.
Conspire makes it incredibly simple for us to leverage our ilos network and join others. Never underestimate the power of an intro.
Buffer — A Smarter Way to Share on Social Media
Buffer cuts our social media time in half and improves it. Keeping relevant content running through all of our social media profiles is really important, and Buffer helps us do it well.
With analytics, scheduling, and suggestions, Buffer allows us to keep all of our individual and company pages alive and well.
Sunrise Calendar — A better calendar for mobile and desktop
I have never been a fan of calendars, but Sunrise is probably the best calendar experience we have ever had at ilos. Sunrise integrates with just about every app you could imagine, from Evernote, to Google Calendar, to Trello.
Think of it this way: we use all these different mediums / tools to remind us of things. It’s almost impossible to keep track of them all. Sunrise organizes all the dings and reminders into one place.
What do you use?
Although tools are not everything, they are pretty damn important. One tool can open you up to a whole lot of ideas on how to work more efficiently. But this post isn’t just about us; we want to hear from you!
Are there any tools (I know there are) that you think I should add to this list? Comment below, and I will add them.