One of the pillars of building companies or working on projects is the right toolset. It gives the basis for communication, organisation and pretty much everything one touches and sees. I have spent hours researching stuff and started to document the list so you don’t have to.

 

The best Stock Photo Sites

So you wonder where I got all the nice pics from? Well, I shot most of them myself. Ha! There are plenty sites out there that claim to have decent and free material – however it’s mostly either. In case you are constantly trembling when sober or you run a time-consuming startup, you should have a look at these:

  1. You may want to start with this one: Makerbot. It aggregates nicely pretty much everything in grafix you’ll ever need. Most of the stuff is free.
  2. Pexels. Pretty decent Stock Photo site. Welike.
  3. Unsplash: Free (do whatever you want) high-resolution stock photos. 10 new photos every 10 days. Really nice stuff, landscapes, gardens, plants, etc.
  4. Especially for office pics you might want to look at Startup Stock Photos: This is not a joke. „Take ‚em, these things are free. Go. Make something.“ they say. Go do!
  5. Life of pix: Free pics, big & beautiful. With love from Canada. And please check out that Logo Icon they have. Aw.
  6. Splitshire: The Italian answer to life of pix.
  7. Superfamous Studios
  8. Picjumbo: Pretty decent collection of totally free photos for your commercial & personal works
  9. Albumarium: Very crisp and hipstery stuff. Do not forget to check the license, not all pics are CCC.
  10. Gratisography: Free high-res pics you can use on your personal and commercial projects. Very hipstery. Very nice.
  11. Little Visuals: Something like an fixed plan for photos. If you don’t need them immediately, this is where you want to register. Death to the Stock Photo is comparable: For commercial use, your blog posts, social accounts and mockups. We aim to be just like coffee for the modern creative.
  12. Snapographic: Thanks to Thomas Mühl.
  13. Jay mantri masters his Job. And is generous enough to share his worx. If your are looking for very hipstery, melancholic nature shots, this is where you want to dig.
  14. Madelaine is a mix of a fixed plan and a cluttered mix of pics. If you check in regularly, they reward with wonderful high-res surprises. Also, this site has in fact some Parisien flair to it.
  15. Foody Feed: in case you need some decent food image, this is what you are probably looking for.
  16. Raumrot is a Germany based platform of great and very free imagery.
  17. IMcreator offers an impressively comprehensive collection of free high-res pictures. Some are actually linked to flickr, but they can be downloaded from there.
  18. PublicDomainoffers. Big & Beautiful.
  19. And you absolutely want to check out the pattern library.

 

The best (mostly free) project management tools, chats and apps

The dream of „unfucking communication“ will most likely remain a dream – I often think humans secretly need some chaos and semantic disparity in their communication. But we are getting close: Email is not dead (at all), but some people do a pretty good job in getting as close as possible:

  1. Franz (beta for Windows). Yes! Love it. I know, its ridiculously simple but sometimes this is all it takes. Franz is basically an additional browser that works as a messenger service layer to connect all messengers. If you work with more than one team/company, this is the tool you have been waiting for.
  2. Slack. Don’t know if the company should be valued in the billions, but it is a really really great tool and there is no doubt about it. Use it.
  3. Hipchat (free basic version)
  4. Asana (free basic version). They have a revampet GUI Design and the overall look & feels really helps. It is more than a messenger and more than just an issue tracker. The bad thing about Asana is that it is not the one to rule them all so you will always end up using other tools as well – which takes away much of Asana’s magic.
  5. Planio/Redmine (free very limited basic version. 9 USD/month)
  6. Trello (free basic version)
  7. Google Apps. Still. free.
  8. Zoho
  9. 10.000ft.
  10. Freedcamp (free)
  11. Facebook Messenger. Let’s be honest: it’s a notepad, a wonderlist, an instant team-chat. And one you are using constantly anyways.

 

The 10 most helpful tools/apps for your (startup) office

There are so many smart people making stuff that makes other people’s lives easier. You just have to find that stuff. I give it a shot:

  1. Scanbot: Clean, cheap, smart. All you want to have: It takes pictures of your documents and converts them to crisp, high-res PDFs. Let’s you edit them. Syncs them with your cloud, whatever it may be. You want to have that app. And whatever went wrong with doo, Frank Thelen got it figured out this time. Did I say it’s clean, cheap and smart?
  2. Greenshot. Yes. You may wonder first why this is so helpful but once you have it you’ll know why.
  3. CamScanner: It’s not as sleek as Scanbot and you might have to play with auto focus a lot (it doesn’t scan the documents automatically once it focuses like scanbot does), but it is free in the basic version. If you don’t scan regularly and you don’t mind a „scanned by CamScanner“ – stamp on your PDFs, it does just fine.
  4. Yo: Get communication down to the essential. Are you in? Are you done? Can you swing by? Got my mail? Up for a drink? Let’s go? YO!
  5. Tomato Timer: Yes, it’s not an app, at least not a mobile one. I know that. You should use it anyways. Focus!
  6. RescueTime: I know this is not an app neither, but it comes with an app and you want to use that. Only in case you’re a facebook addict and you are not paranoid of startups selling your daily schedule, of course. RescueTime loggs your desktop activity and tells you what you do all day. This is really helpful to procrastinators like me.
  7. Goodtimetracking: I have been looking for this for quite a while. It seems ironic to install a tracker just a couple of months after fleeing legal billable hour billing systems, but there is something to it. And of course, you should not use that on yourself as it’s more of the ultimate tool for big brothering poorly paid interns. No but seriously: I you have people working for you on an hourly basis, this is what keeps life simpler.
  8. Buffer. Because you will know why as soon as you need it.

 

The best (mostly free) survey tools

You want to ask people question? You are an academic? You are curious about your customers? This survey list can help you.

Researching good tools ourselves, we found out that pretty much every provider has a glitch – sometimes it is the number of questions or participants that costs extra or there are some problems with data export (SPSS etc.). These are the ones that worked best for us:

  1. Typeform. Because Typeform.
  2. Surveymonkey. Expensive but the best.
  3. Lime. Ok.
  4. MaQ online. Free. Not beautiful. But free. And working.
  5. Umfrage-Online. Free for students. Decent tool.

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