Sixteen years ago I pulled the plug on a traditional corporate career path and all its trappings – and laced up my entrepreneur boots. There were awkward first steps as I learned to walk without the support structure of the “enterprise” – the executive assistant that attended to my travel, the marketing department that built my sales slides, the real estate department that planted me in a luxurious cube.
It was a little painful at first as I hacked out my startup existence but I got it done with a grubby sublet in Santa Clara, desks from Ikea, hungry cofounders at my side, late nights riffing on PowerPoint decks and pushing code. Good times.
But something magical has happened over the last five years. With my latest startup I have the same basic professional needs as in the past – project management, collaboration, workspace, travel lodging, transportation, expense management and fuel – but all of the best hacks are now ridiculously effective apps in my pocket.
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My work hacks include:
I start my day by looking at Trello. It’s my individual task list and my team’s project management tool. It keeps me focused, and whenever I’m curious to quickly see the status of a specific project, Trello shows me everything in motion across the company with status updates, due dates and the ability to leave comments for the team.
My key to professional on-demand workspace wherever I am is LiquidSpace. I enjoy varying up my environment by finding a nearby place to work that matches my needs for the day. That might be a coworking space when I need a jolt of creative energy, a conference room with terrific views for a client meeting, or a private office when I need some quiet time to get through emails.
To get around during the day, I use Uber. As a meeting is wrapping up, it takes me a few seconds to summon a car from the app. By the time I get downstairs, the car is outside. It’s hard to beat that kind of efficiency.
Most of the team meetings at my company are held as video conferences. Zoom helps us stay personally connected despite the fact that we’re a distributed team scattered across five time zones. Zoom works equally well on my iPhone as it does my MacBook, so my team is accustomed to seeing me logged into meetings while in transit, often from the backseat of an Uber or even on a plane. (In-air wireless providers suggest video conferencing is not supported in the air, but it works.)
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5.Sprig and 6. GrubHub:
When lunch time involves heads down work time, I use Sprig or GrubHub to order in good food and stay fueled. Sprig delivers locally-sourced, organic meals right to your office, but it’s only available in San Francisco. Outside of San Francisco, GrubHub connects you with tons of local restaurants.
I happily ditch paper receipts by using Concur. I can snap a photo of receipts and wrap up an expense report on my phone, even while in Airplane mode.
8. Booking Now:
Last minute overnight travel (or having your flight – the last of the day – get cancelled) used to present the time consuming task of finding a nearby hotel. Lately, I’ve been using Booking.com’s new app which brilliantly shows only nearby hotels that have availability now. A few taps later, I have a reservation and can check in.