I’m taking a break from the normal routine of writing up what I hope are helpful takes on public relations and content marketing to put together a list of things that make my life better – personally and professionally – in hopes they might improve yours, as well. So without further adieu, my favorite things:
FOR MY WORK
I used to work for a company that spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in time and money to get its sales team to use Microsoft Dynamics CRM. It was a miserable failure. Why? Because it required too much work. And because it was so much work, it was never accurate. And because it was never accurate, it was never used. Quite a circular problem.
Streak is the anti-Dynamics, a super easy to use Gmail plugin that makes it easy to create a custom PR pipeline with the following stages – Lead, Response, Interested/Not Interested, Interview Secured, Interview Held and Article Ran. I now have an instant snapshot of where we are with each of our clients, with a great degree of confidence that the information is accurate and up to date.
I hate tracking hours, but with flat-fee retainers and a fast-growing client list, I need to make sure the Propllr team is giving each of the startups we work the attention they deserve. Like Streak, Harvest is incredibly simple and intuitive, and makes it easy to track and monitor time. Available via the web or a mobile app, it’s great for an instant snapshot of what work is being done at any given moment.
This has to be the best and most practical blog for startups – and for those, like me, who love startups – anywhere. I’ve been doing PR for 20 years, and First Round Capital’s blog regularly features insight and fresh thinking that makes me better at my job.
Whether talk of RIBS by Caryn Marooney, head of PR at Facebook, or Brooke Hamilton of Brew Media offering her take on whether startups should try DIY PR (I agreed with her answer, which was “sometimes”), First Round Review serves to both strengthen sound convictions and to knock around the fragile ones.
And that’s just the PR side of things. It’s also great in areas like growth, operations, equity, recruiting, design and many other critical issues for any startup founder.
There are other content aggregation sites, but Prismatic always has content I want to see – and content that’s relevant to my clients. I set it up for key categories, like big data, IoT, e-commerce, financial technology and design, and it does the work, feeding me great content throughout the day.
FOR MY LIFE
If you don’t agree that this is the greatest travel mug ever made, I will fight you. Without an annoying handle, it slips into any car cupholder or backpack pocket. Being air tight, it keeps coffee hot until it’s gone. Being metal, it’s basically indestructible and easy to clean.
And for the 6am flights to NYC? Take it to the airport empty, fill it up at Starbucks, and then board the plane without worrying about where you put the mug – throw it in the seatback pocket, throw it on your seat. Seriously, it’s just a mug, but it’s so great I might cry.
This is the most perfect media app anywhere, and it’s a wonder they don’t all do it this way (I’m talking to you Sports Illustrated, with your 6-point type). The Times makes it easy to navigate by section, with fast retrieval of bold headlines and just enough copy to get a gist of the article.
A must-read every morning.
I’m no outdoorsman, but I keep finding myself stumbling onto Outside Magazine, which does an incredible job pairing amazing stories with fantastic writers. Not much more to say than that, and to get addicted yourself, I recommend this story on a foolhardy, but inspirational, sailing trip across the Pacific by a couple brothers from Chicago.
Even though he’s going to lord over all of us a few years down the road, Jeff Bezos deserves huge credit for the Kindle, and to me, the Send-to-Kindle browser plug-in is its killer app. It’s really one of the best distraction minimizers I’ve ever used – rather than read that fascinating article about the rivalry between Jack White and Patrick Carney of the Black Keys, I can click the Send to Kindle button instead, and know that it’s saved for a rainy day.
So, in no particular order, those are some of my favorite things, large and small, physical and digital. They are a mix of the meaningful, utilitarian and diversionary, and I encourage you to try them out if you’re not already doing so.