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24 Useful Apps We Use Everyday

Hello there!

A little story: At Makeshift we love starting stuff. (Finishing, er, well, let's save that for another newsletter!)

In the process of starting and making new things, we noticed some patterns about what makes products successful. And one of the biggest impacts you can make on your business is to choose the right tools, which is why we're motivated to make tools for startups, and we'd love it if you signed up for some of them.

Here’s our top list of the tools we use everyday at Makeshift. Some are industry standards, others might be new to you. We’d love to know which ones you use, and of course, which ones we’re missing out on - drop us a line at or tweet us @makeshift.


Heroku Postgres - Heroku makes it all possible. The concept of Platform as a Service has had a huge impact on the startup ecosystem, saving us untold hours of pain. We wouldn’t be able to to do what we do with it, and we build all our apps on Postgres, so we can understand our data better.  
Github - One of our favourite companies in the world. We use Github for code management, documentation and bug tracking. 
Sublime - The best text editor in the world. Everyone at Makeshift uses Sublime (except Tanja who’s a die hard vim-mer) 
Honey Badger - No-one wants to write error management code, and now they don’t have to. Yes!


Google apps - Google apps is getting a bit bloaty but it's amazing how much you get for so little. We use it for email, calendars and docs, especially spreadsheets pulled out of Wrangler.
Hipchat - Inbox overflowing with gifs while you search for that vital email from a customer? HipChat has helped us reclaim our inboxes at Makeshift. In between all the gifs it's made our work more focused and less interrupted. 
Intercom - We add Intercom to every app we ship. We don’t use it as well as we should, but when we do, its an amazing timesaver. - Followup.CC is a sales team's dream. Send out an email and BCC yourself with a certain time like to have the email return to you 2 days later as a follow-up reminder. 
Boomerang - Can't deal with an email today? Boomerang allows you to send an in-bound message back to yourself at a later date. It also works with outgoing messages in case your recipient is in a different time zone and won't appreciate a message at 10pm at night. 
Linkydink - We built linkydink for ourselves because we were so disappointed with all the other link sharing services. We just wanted links - often the signal in the noise of Hipchat, email, twitter - in our inbox every morning. If you want to know what we love to read, follow our group.


Sketch - Sketch has finally enabled us to cut the cord with Adobe. Its a graphic design app built for web era designers. We love it. 
Omnigraffle - Nick is a die hard user of this. Ok, it's pretty out of date, but for rapidly sketching low to high fidelity wireframes across lots of states, Omnigraffle is still one of the fastest tools to use. 

Project Management

Record cards and foam boards - Because we’re all in one location we can use old skool project management tools, and for us, record cards and foam board just works best.  
Trello - Having said that, we do tend to keep copies of our foam board backlogs on Trello in case we do end up remote working - and with Trello’s new voting feature, we’ve even started opening up some of our roadmaps to everyone.
Workflowy - Workflowy is simply the best way to organise your thoughts. Its like your brain, only as a SaaS app. 

Analytics - We use to control all of our event tracking data. We hate being stuck using analytics services (which is why we built Wrangler) but we know how useful event tracking services like Mixpanel, Google Analytics and Intercom can be. So we put everything through first in case we need our data later. 
Mixpanel - We use Mixpanel for pretty much just one thing - funnel analysis. Everything else we don’t understand, but Mixpanel’s funnel analysis is really useful. 
Wrangler - Almost all of our analytics is now provided by custom SQL reports written in Wrangler (which is a big part of why we use Heroku Postgres). Writing custom reports means we get the data we need, and nothing we don’t. We subscribe to key reports and get them every morning as emails, or we use Google Spreadsheets to produce charts when we need them.
Google Analytics - we use this, but everyone hates it.

Doing things more effectively

Citymapper - we all use Citymapper to get about town and meet people. Its a joy to use, and really really useful, especially for people like CBM who move between NYC and London a lot. 
oDesk - We don’t outsource any dev work at Makeshift, but we do use SQL analysts we’ve found on oDesk to help us with reporting. oDesk’s vast network, and its sophisticated filters, means you can get really great analysts working for you, at amazing rates. We just add them to Wrangler and the start asking questions of our data. 

Data viz

d3js - the sexiest data viz tool in town. Ollie use this for spotting patterns.
Navicat - the least sexy data viz tool in town. Paul use this for his ERDs.


Pact - Coffee. The most important startup ingredient of all.

Deskbeers - What a great idea. Well done Mint.


So, there you have it - a first draft of the tools we use everyday at Makeshift. We'd love to know what tools you use, drop us a line, a tweet or drop by and say hi.

If you don't know what we look like, below is a picture of all of us, taken by London's most famous startup photographer Paul.

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The Makeshift Team

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