Products I Couldn’t Live Without In 2014

Nick Crocker
Dec 28, 2014 · 12 min read
  • Skype — The greatest reflection of your priorities is your time. Whatever you say about what matters to you, the true test is where you place your time. When I realised that, I was embarrassed to think how inconsistent I was with my phone calls home. So now, every Friday after work, I call Mum from my Skype to her cell phone to catch up.
  • Whatsapp — After reading Atul Gawande’s ‘Being Mortal’, I kicked off a new practice where I get my Mum to send me a message every morning when she wakes up in Aust. She is frequently travelling for work to remote parts of Australia, so I rely on Whatsapp to make sure I know she’s all-OK.
  • Bose Sport HeadphonesBrilliant for calling home whether I’m cooking, riding or running.
  • YouTube —YouTube is TV for me. I subscribe to channels (NBA, Vice, BBall Breakdown, Letterman, Fallon, Kimmel, Grantland, the NY Times, Cricket Australia, ABC News, ATP World Tour, NRL, NPR for example) and then most nights, I’ll scroll through my subscriptions list to see the latest video updates and create a mini-playlist of 5–15 videos to watch straight through. YouTube broke my ability to do that at least 5 times in different ways this year (there was a two month stretch there where playlists just didn’t work at all). For such a juggernaut, it’s still an incredibly broken product. But you can’t argue with the depth.
  • The Web — Kottke, Stellar.io, Brown Cardigan & Pitchfork are my consistent, Saturday morning go-tos.
  • Email Newsletters — Benedict Evans, Mattermark, Mobihealthnews, BioIsChanged, Dispatches, Undercurrent, FiveThirtyEight, Rock Health Weekly & TheSkimm. Unroll.me (covered below in Productivity) makes email newsletters manageable by delivering them to me in a single, daily Rollup.
  • New Yorker — I paid for a physical subscription, but I ended up accessing the online archives just as much. Still the best place there is for writing.
  • Timehop — My daily drip of nostalgia. The second app I check every morning when I wake up.
  • Instapaper + Longreads — The best app and source for reading longform web content on my phone or iPad.
  • Kayak — The simplest place to book flights and cars.
  • Uberpool/Lyft Line — Instead of a car, we have Uberpool & Lyft Line.
  • Expensify — An absolute godsend for reimbursing expenses.
  • Apple Stuff — I run my life on my MB Air, iPhone 6 and iPad.
  • Google Stuff — Google, Gmail, GCal, Chrome, Maps, Docs, Hangouts, Youtube… this is the infrastructure on which I communicate, move, think, plan, browse, watch, and share.
  • Squarespace — After 5 years on Wordpress, I made the jump and nickcrocker.com now runs on Squarespace. Incredibly simple software, thoughtfully made.
  • EveryTimezone — How people who need to worry about timezones live without EveryTimezone is beyond me.
  • Self Control — For those times when you’re own self control is not enough.
  • Workflowy — Lists have run my life since Law school and thanks to Workflowy, now they have a home.
  • Unroll.me — Saving me from untold daily spam waves. My favourite Gmail plugin.
  • Rapportive — Powerful for providing context about the person you’re emailing.
  • Killerspin Jet500 — Table tennis caught on at MFP in a big way this year and my KillerSpin was a big reason I climbed to #4 in the company rankings.
  • Venmo — “Don’t worry about splitting the bill, just Venmo me.”
  • Hyperlapse — Some minutes are better remembered as 10 seconds sped-up. I LOVE Hyperlapse and think it was the best new product released this year.
  • Medium — Simply my favourite place to write. Beyond the best ever WSIWYG writing experience, Medium has been an incredible forum to share my writing — resulting in millions of views, more than a decade of ‘read time’, and even a book deal offer. If you think about the value exchange between Medium as a platform and me as an infrequent writer, you can see why I’ve transitioned all my writing here.
  • Yoga Studio App — The best exercise instruction app. A product masterstroke on iPhone and iPad.
  • 7 Minute Workout App— My go-to workout in a time or space squeeze.
  • MyFitnessPal — If you haven’t, you should try tracking your macros for a week. You’ll be shocked at how easy it is to over-eat carbs and under-eat protein. Knowing calories is one thing, but macros is where the advanced value lies.
  • Fuelband — A little bit of dead man walking on my wrist, but I’ll wear it until the day the Apple Watch is launched.
  • The Lazer Genesis — Finally, a helmet that doesn’t make you look like a mushroom.
  • Standing Desk MatSwitched to standing desks at work and this mat is a lifesaver for end of day achy legs.
  • Dollar A Day — Along with 1000 other people (and growing) I donate $1/day to a charity selected by the Dollar A Day team. Every morning I get an email to see where my donation went. Founded by Perry Chen from Kickstarter and Joshua Kushner from Thrive, Dollar A Day makes charity simple and fun.
  • No-Show Socks — As someone who (1) hates visible socks (2) makes shoes stink and (3) wears a lot of Vans and Sperry Topsiders, the no-show socks are low-key, somewhat emasculating but nonetheless oh so necessary option.
  • Beard Trimmer, Scissors Comb Combo & Beard Oil — As a bearded man now, I have had to learn the ways of bearded men. These tools helped.
  • The World’s Worst Comforter — While it cost just $38, the true price we paid for this suffocating thing was a month of night-sweats and bad dreams.
  • Riedel H2O Longdrink/Highball Glass — Purchased specifically for Soda Stream consumption, these things lasted a single round in the dishwasher before shattering.
  • Instacart — Originally I loved the service, and even went Instacart Plus, but when I realised it was costing me $50+ a shop on top of Whole Foods’ already hefty markup, I soon reverted to Lyft Lining there and doing my own thing again.
  • Uber/Lyft — A customer-centric taxi service is best thing to happen to city life in a long while, but why all the drama? Why does Uber have to flip the Google-ism and seemingly embrace ‘Just Be Evil’ as the company motto. Lyft, which benefited from sitting back and watching the blood splatter, wasn’t immune either — raising prices by 100% on Lyft Lines without saying a thing and then sourly refusing to admit it when asked.

Nick Crocker

Things I’ve Written

    Nick Crocker

    Written by

    General Partner @BlackbirdVC. Supporting Australian startups @Startmate. Sequencing the journey to build strength along the way.

    Nick Crocker

    Things I’ve Written