Ever since the night I was sitting on his neighbor's porch drinking wine and caught Ara coming home from work well after midnight from the company he had just co-founded, and hired he me to "help get things organized," there's been a hard-and-fast mandate to keep all dojo4 operations in the cloud.
We've found that anything in hardcopy tends to become almost instantly useless in its lack of trackability, sharability and unruly use of physical real estate in our small office. We still have a few legacy contracts and that kind of thing that are kept in a single box in the closet, but only because I haven't taken the time to scan them with my phone and get them into Dropbox.
Here's a list of apps and platforms we use to keep ourselves ourselves organized and paperless:
- Google Apps for email, groups, shared docs, and calendars - Google Apps is still the best intergrated system out there. We use the heck out of it, internally and with clients.
- Freshbooks for time tracking and invoicing - There are other great billing services like Harvest, but we find that Freshbooks does the trick nicely, and their customer service is super fast, delightfully cheerful and award-winning.
- Contractual.ly for agreements and contracts - We met contractual.ly founder Martin Ertl right when he was getting the company going, and decided to manage all our agreement online. Like I mention in a recent contractual.ly post, I thought our clients would baulk at negotiating and signing contracts online, but most of them love it, for the same reason we do: it's way easier to manage version control and get the tedious things signed in a jiffy. And for the old-school legal departments that still want things in Word (?!), we just play along, and then store them in contractual.ly after they've been signed. The only thing that we're still waiting on from this awesome service, is better file organization. Martin and his team also provide exemplary and responsive customer service.
- BoxCryptor for logins, passwords and other secrets - We used to use Passpack but found it unwieldy, so we decided to manage our passwords in a simple .txt file, encrypted and shared through BoxCryptor. So far so good.
- Dropbox for files storage - Good ol' Dropbox. We have a team account, which is pricey but storage and access ease has made it worth so far. Sharing permissions and file hierachy can be a bit wonky. We used to just use S3 and have thought about Evernote for certain kinds of file storage. But right now, Dropbox is doing the trick, especially for the designers and their design files.
- Redmine for project management - It's open-source, nicely customizable and easy to use, not just for us, but for our clients. It has tons of functionality but is basic enough to actually be functional.
- Github for releasing code, etc. - Github is obviously indispensable. We use it for everything from managing repositories to open-sourcing operations documents.
- Dribbble for releasing images and design - We are constantly making design artifacts and need a place to release and store them. Dribbble is perfect for that.
- Rdio for curating and sharing tunes - Much of the music coming out of our speakers at dojo4 is sourced and shared through Rdio.
What else is good that we should be using?