Another one of my friends bought his first Mac this week. He bought the 13″ MacBook Air which I think it the greatest computer ever made. Since he was transitioning to a Mac for the first time, I thought it might be helpful to send him a list of apps that I find really useful. He and I are both CEOs of startups. He is not a technical founder, so this list doesn’t include development tools.
I am reposting the list here in hopes that it may be helpful to others.
“The Mac calendar you will actually enjoy using”
A calendar app for your menubar. Quick and easy access to a calendar and list of your upcoming appointments without switching apps. I love being able to set calendar appointments by typing a quick sentence while on the phone or processing email too.
ex: “Demo Bizen for McDonald’s next Tuesday at 3pm until 5pm with Bob at The EC”. Try it; it just works.
For someone who is constantly making (and adjusting) appointments and can’t afford to screw up their calendar, Fantastical is under-priced at $19.99. Oh, and did I mention that it integrates with your Google Apps calendar? (Others to, but every startup founder I know seems to use Google Apps for email and calendar).
“The Smart Address Book”
Similar to Fantastical, CoBook lives in the menubar and gives you quick access to your contacts without switching apps. It integrates with LinkedIn and Facebook to provide social information in-context. Contacts can be quickly tagged, and the tags equate to categories in your iPhone contacts. This allows you to mark contacts as “customer” or “media” and then quickly navigate to those contacts while you are on the go.
Also like Fantastical, CoBook is integrated with your Google Apps contacts. This app is way under-priced at FREE.
I run Evernote on my Mac, my iPad, and my iPhone. I have quick access to everything from legal docs (never know when you need to pull info from your articles of incorporation) to meeting notes to articles that I want to reference later. I am guessing you are probably already using Evernote, so just don’t forget to install it.
Of course, Evernote is a free app. It is a good idea to buy their premium subscription too. I have some shared notebooks that are incredibly useful.
Dropbox is the best way to share files with your team. Multiple folders can be shared with different groupings of people. It is also great for sharing large files with clients and vendors. Sparrow even has Dropbox integration so that email attachments are actually shared via Dropbox to ensure that corporate email systems don’t block your email because of an attachment.
Dropbox is free and also has apps for most phone and tablet operating systems.
“Discover a new way to mail on your Mac”
I know a lot of people love the Gmail web interface. I am not one of those people. I don’t like how attachments work, I don’t like not being able to quickly switch between drafts. I don’t like how mailto links work with Gmail. I also find a native mail app to be a little speedier and with Mountain Lion, the notifications are great (when I want them).
Sparrow is a native app specifically designed to work with Gmail. It also has an absolutely killer iPhone app that I use and I am anxiously awaiting their iPad app.
Sparrow also works great with my VIP Email System.
An ad-supported version of Sparrow is available for Free, but it is well worth the $9.99 for the non-cheap-ass version
“Incredible presentations, incredibly easy.”
Welcome to the Mac. Now you never have to use Powerpoint again. It is no coincidence that expert presenters like Ethos3 prefer Keynote to Powerpoint. Also, grab the Keynote Remote app for your iPhone. Next thing you know you will be giving presentations like a master.
There is also an iPad app for Keynote. It is great for giving one-on-one presentations. You can always have your deck with you since you never know when you are going to need to pitch. Keynote for Mac is no longer bundled as part of iWork, which means it is now only $19.99. Pretty great.
You need Excel. Period.
Keynote is great. Pages (Apple’s word processor) is fine. Numbers (Apple’s spreadsheet) is total garbage. Maybe it is fine for a Little League coach making a team schedule, but we need to do real spreadsheets. There is no substitute for Excel. Not Numbers. Not Google Docs.
Go ahead and buy the full version of Office for $149 so that you can open Word and Powerpoint files that people send you. The latest version of Office for Mac even supports Excel Marcos.
“GrowlVoice is an intuitive and fully-featured Google Voice client that brings the power of Google Voice to your Mac’s menu bar.”
That pretty much sums it up. Send and receive SMS from your menu bar without switching apps. Notifications pop up when you receive a new SMS over Google voice. Read and listen to your voicemails.
At Bizen we use Google Voice extensively. Growl Voice let’s me sign in to multiple Google Voice accounts and switch between them. It is very handy and definitely worth the $4.99 if you use Google Voice.
You might notice that many of my favorite apps live in the menu bar. Here is what mine looks like:
From left to right: RescueTime, Fantastical, CoBook, Twitter, Evernote, Dropbox, Garmin ANT, GrowlVoice
Did I miss anything? Leave a comment or send a tweet to @jaxn.