The tools we use to run an international company, the lean way.

Cloudoki Lisbon office, brainiacs building the future

Remember the days where you would need your own email servers? Your sync was terrible, no or shitty webmail, and you calendar only available on one clunky machine (or hell, an actual paper booklet). Or share a file with you team? Let alone remote people? Your files on some slow server behind an even slower VPN connection?

Good riddance.
These are some of the tools we use to operate:

  • internationally
  • location-independent
  • cost-effective
  • scalable
  • fast and with low overhead

For some the most obvious tools in the world, for others those they wish they could be using, some day, but are held back by company policy and/or size.

Email, Shared Calendars, Cloud Storage: Google Apps

Not that we want to push everything to Google, per sé, but they do have these things down. Easy to set up, integrate, and cheap.

Priced incredibly competitive, a mere € 4 / user / month gets you:

  • an email address (obviously), using the Gmail interface and/or synced on any device
  • 30GB of drive storage (this includes your email storage)
  • Online calendars (again that sync with anything)
  • Google Docs, that includes documents, spreadsheets or presentations, all from a web client, and supports collaboration by default

Everything is stored in the cloud, so you have 24/7 access on any device, and if your laptop crashes or your phone falls into the pool at that party, not a problem.

Drive, for storage, supports group/user management, so our team has full access to all the files they need, anywhere in the world, on any device, but are locked out of the business management documents.

Something I find very useful: we have an issue list spreadsheet that is shared with our client. He/she can input directly, I relay/translate to our ticket system, and update the spreadsheet to keep the client informed. Saves a ton of PM and interpretation work, and the client actively participates.

Daily communication: Slack

We started off using Glip, but Slack is everywhere and integrates nicely with some other services we use, like Jira and Git.

Compare it to IRC (chat) for work. Fast communication, saves a ton of time and emails, searchable and plays well with other services. We have offices with about 2000 km in between, it's our main line of communication.

Project management, todo's and sprints: Jira

Jira is a powerful project management tool, that is highly customizable and has Agile methods built-in. They call it 'issue and project tracking'.

It's a great way to break down a project into sprints and tasks, and monitor the progress of your project, down to individual tickets.

Jira integrates with Slack, we have a channel that shows the updated tickets in real time.

Up to 10 users, it's $10/u/m. More pricing details here.

Version control: Git

Obviously.

We have both private and public repo's with documented, open source software available to anyone. Take a look.

Notes: Evernote

I've been a big fan of Evernote for a few years now, and I hope they keep making their core better.

I have my Evernote on my Mac and my phone, allowing to take or access notes anywhere (they have a web app as well, of course). My notes are tagged by project, so it's a pretty good way to store information, from hundreds of meetings to what movies I need to see or groceries to buy.

Anything from the most important information of the year, down to random thoughts, quotes or links I need to save somewhere.

It's freemium, and has 3 paying versions: Plus, Premium and Business, offering anything from higher monthly uploades, passcode locks to collaboration, user management and presenting tools. I'm still on free.

Life is Music: Spotify

Because Spotify.

My music anywhere and everywhere, not only seamlessly transitioning from one of my desks to my headset to my car back, but also sharing playlists with co-workers, friends and family.

I still have MP3s of live sets/versions,the occasional song I can't find on Spotify, and my own work, but Spotify quickly became my primary tool for music.

Spotify launched in 2008, and now has over 10 million users.
Try the Discover Weekly.

Social: Buffer

A simple and powerful tool to schedule posts, build your follow base and engagement in less time. The pay is worth the time you save.

Which tools do you use? Do you have some to share?

We, Cloudoki, are an international team of application architects and developers. Let me know if we can help.