My tools of choice

• 9 minutes to read

I had always been reading these oddly-timed lists of personal favourite tools & services by major influencers and journalists right before the holidays. I found them exotic, to know what tools befit every one of them, and useful, because they allow me to discover new stuff.

Today I was reading Mark Suster’s very own list, and felt compelled to share mine. Not that I am an influencer or anyone particularly interesting, but every now and then I find myself engaging into very interesting conversations where the other person often doesn’t know a product I’m praising or just talking about. And often times, he or she comes back to me to thank me for having mentioned the product, which turned to be a game-changer for him or her.

This list only covers the apps I use that couldn’t be replaced by the competition because of different criteria and that have changed my life for the better.

Here we go.

1. Twitter

As cliché as it sounds, Twitter is my number one tool nowadays. One of the first things I read every morning, and the last one I scrutinise at night before heading off to bed. Twitter has helped me spread the word about both my company MarsBased and my other endeavours such as Startup Grind Barcelona. Not only that, but I’ve met really cool people with whom I engaged via Twitter as well. Some of them I had never met before in real life, such as when I met Mr. Scott Eddy.

Twitter feeds me with breaking news instantly, personal (almost) unfiltered opinions by leaders of thought, the post-game reactions of my favourite football players and the best content of my comedians of choice. From @pmarca’s Tweetstorms, to my daily dose of Cyanide and Happiness, Twitter’s the place to be.

2. Slack

Since we adopted Slack at MarsBased, our life has changed for the better. If you ask me, Slack should become a de facto standard for company chat.

Of course there’ll always be the Atlassian lovers, with all their Confluence and JIRA built in, tied to HipChat. I even have a HipChat t-shirt I got at Startup Grind 2014, but I’m a Slack guy.

Slack Troll. Really troll.

The flawless mobile experience, the clear user interface, the “let’s do less stuff but really solidly” wins me every time. Our company is based on simplicity, so we love simple tools that work well.

I recently wrote about creating the company with my two best friends. With them, I chat over Slack. It’s that good.

Bonus: Integrate with Giphy for the ultimate chatting experience. A gif is worth a million words, sometimes.

3. Pocket

I must admit I’m a terrible Pocket user. I pocket everything I don’t feel like reading at the moment and then end up rarely ever checking it out.

However, in those days where you feel like procrastinating or else feel forced to be offline, Pocket comes as a blessing.

I think my worst mistake was to feed my Pocket with IFTTTdirect from RSS feeds when Google Reader shut down. Apart from that, I’ve thoroughfully enjoyed the experience from the ReadItLater days.

Pocket Things I want to do, but don’t know when will I tackle them. Millions, actually.

Put simply, Pocket is my backlog for personal tasks.

4. Evernote

I wish all tools I use would be that innovative and that creative.

Evernote Planning my holidays to Greece.

Evernote is always pushing to take the user experience to a higher level. And like most companies, sometimes they hit the right key, sometimes they fail, but they never stop trying.

Evernote is also, most possibly, one of the only companies whose all apps (desktop, web & mobile) are brilliant. Kudos to them.

They’re my brain, so I don’t have to remember anything.

5. Trello

Trello has replaced so many apps in my life it’s not even funny.

Trello killed Wunderlist because most tasks I do are not “todo/done” tasks. They have states (backlog, planned, sent, blocked, ready to publish, done, etc.) and therefore they befit Trello better.

Trello I plan the MarsBased blog entries using Trello as well.

Trello killed when I wanted a great mobile experience. Sure,’s mobile apps are killer, but they messed with the calendar so badly, I had to remove them. Having a quick look at Trello, I can see my planning for the upcoming weeks at a project level. Also for my personal tasks.

Trello also killed email and other collaboration tools such as Google docs or Redbooth, when a simple Trello card was sufficient. It also killed planning apps, that bloggers use to schedule their posts.

At MarsBased we also use Trello for our recruitment processes, to manage the availability of our own team & the freelancers we outsource some of our work to, to keep track of our relations with other companies, and up until recently, to control the sales funnel (this was until we moved to PipeDrive).

We will actually blog about that in our next entries, for more detail.

Bonus points: The Trello pet is called “Taco”. Awesome.

6. Mailtrack

Mailtrack Oh, your email must’ve ended in the spam folder! — ORLY?

I wrote about my love for MailTrack a couple of entries ago. MailTrack is Whatsapp’s double-checks in your inbox.

I’m not the kind of person that needs to know whether you read an email or not, but it will surely help me modulate my next conversation with you.

For instance, when writing follow-up emails, knowing whether your potential customer has read the email or not, will allow you pose different questions and lead the conversation avoiding the uncomfortable “I didn’t read your email” or even worse “I haven’t received any email”.

Bonus points: Combine it with FindThatLead to find that email account you need.

7. 8fit

All work, no play, makes a Jack a dull boy.

We nowadays spent a vicious amount of time sitting: by the computer, at meetings, in an office, eating, watching TV shows, etc. Our body is not designed for that, and leading an active life does wonders to your health. Sitting does simply not.

I’ve tried many fitness apps in the past, but none of them engages with beginners like 8fit. Led by Redbooth founder Pablo Villalba, 8fit duly delivers what it promises: fitness for beginners.

8fit makes you feel like your workouts have a meaning. Integration with music & grocery lists are also cool, but nothing I use right now. On the other hand, the fun & creative workouts are a must in my daily schedule. I always look forward to the next workout.

Definitely your app of choice if you want to get fit. Outsource your fitness starting today.

8. Buffer

I couldn’t possibly explain my relation with Twitter and other social networks without Buffer.

I am always on the go, 99% of the times I use my bicycle to travel around, so I can’t use my travel time tweeting or posting in social media like everyone does. I needed something that would allow me to timely post all the stuff I find worth sharing. Enter Buffer.

Not only the app is wonderful, but the company behind it doesn’t fall short in terms of innovation, transparency & company culture.

Bonus: Their blog actually inspired our very own blog, and our adoption of transparency in our company culture.

9. Swarm

Swarm So what, I live in Horta-Guinardó FTW.

When Foursquare decoupled checkins from their main app, all hell broke loose. I even quit it for a few months.

However, what once looked like a terrible mistake, now makes a lot of sense: Foursquare is for finding awesome places & for the casual user. Swarm, instead, is for the die-hard fans that want to share their location with their friends.

If you’ve got a large friend base using Swarm, the app is really useful. You can know whether your friends are close by, if they have already arrived to the meeting point or even discover your friends’ favourite places.

Because I’ve spent time living abroad, and I travel constantly, most of my friends are in other countries. With Swarm I keep track of a big share of them.

If your friends don’t have Swarm, it doesn’t make much sense to use it, in my opinion.

10. Wallapop

If you’re a frequent traveller, you will know that owning too many things makes packing a cumbersome task. And so is moving between flats.

A good way to ease this, is by selling stuff you don’t need.

I’ve always been a trader. I started really early in my life earning my own money by buying/selling Magic and Pokémon cards online. But eBay made it nearly impossible if you wanted to sell cheap and fast.

Wallapop is a geo-located app that allows you to sell your second hand stuff to people close to you. The mobile experience is very good, and I’m constantly selling stuff I need no more.

Bonus: They’ve been hotly tipped as the first 1B dollar startup from Barcelona!

This post was originally published on Medium on 2015-07-06: My tools of choice.

Àlex Rodríguez Bacardit

Àlex Rodríguez Bacardit

CEO and Founder at MarsBased and Director at Startup Grind Barcelona. I run a team of 20 people, where I spearhead the sales and strategy areas. My background in consulting and development (ex-Deloitte, ex-VASS) and my international profile help me with the technical and the business perspective. I love loud guitars, cats, travelling and tacos.