#14 – The wonderful world of productivity – our own habits, tools and hacks – and… how to best get in touch with us

In this episode, we will deep dive into the world of productivity tools, processes, habits and hacks. We will share our principles of productivity, calendaring, favorite communication, hardware and broader productivity tools (e.g. CRM). Finally, we will share what tools we are still missing and wish we had. As an “easter egg”, we will also share how to best get in touch with us, so do listen in.

Navigation:

  • Introduction (01:24)
  • Section 1 – Principles of Productivity (02:20)
  • Section 2 – Calendaring & Tasks (13:35)
  • Section 3 – Communication Tools (28:30)
  • Section 4 – Broader Productivity Tools (Note taking, CRM, LinkedIn, etc) (43:51)
  • Section 5 – Hardware (51:54)
  • Section 6 – Tools We Wish We Had (59:03)
  • Conclusion (1:03:10)
Our co-hosts:
  • Bertrand Schmitt, Tech Entrepreneur, co-founder and Chairman at App Annie, @bschmitt
  • Nuno Goncalves Pedro, Investor, co-Founder and Managing Partner of Strive Capital, @ngpedro
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Full transcription: may contain unintentionally confusing, inaccurate and/or amusing transcription errors

Intro (01:24)

Nuno: Episode 14. In this episode, we will deep dive into the world of productivity tools, processes, habits, and hacks. We will share our principles of productivity, calendaring, favorite communication, and broader productivity tools like CRM. Finally, we will share what tools we’re still missing and wish we had.

We will also share some hardware and some gadgets. As an Easter egg, we will also share how to best get in touch with us. So do listen in 

Bertrand: Hi Nuno, I think that’s so very interesting topic for today. Definitely more tactical than usual coming out of a trilogy of the next decade but I think we got a lot of interest on this topic as well, and ultimately that’s one topic that can make us better hopefully near immediately. I hope at least you will find some interesting habits and ideas. 

Section 1 – Principles of Productivity (02:20)

Nuno: And the first section today is going to be around some principles of productivity. So just sharing the high level, how do we think through productivity for ourselves? How do we organize ourselves? What do we optimize for, you know, how do we think through things? And so maybe I’ll start and we’ll go from there.

The first thing for me is, productivity is everything, you know, the ability to optimize my time. To make the most out of my time, so that I have time for myself on a personal level, but I also have time to interact with people, have meetings, calls, time to work, time to actually do some works, do some thinking, write a memo, do a power point presentation, review actual work.

All of that’s really, really important. So I spend  a ton of time, literally, normally, actually on my Sundays planning my week, thinking through what are the flows of my week. We’ll get to calendaring in a second, but really thinking through what sort of things am I trying to get out of this? And it’s very easy to get sort of stuck into tactical stuff, the day to day, do I do 30 minutes conversations or do I do one hour conversations?

Do I do a coffee for this? And then I need to go for that. Under COVID, life is a bit easier because we’re just back to back in zoom calls, but actually during normal life, we actually have to travel. So, you know, thinking through, do I want to go to that place that day to San Francisco, do you want to go to Menlo park?

Do I want to fly to somewhere else? And how many days would I stay there? So all of that, I spent an actual amount of time just around planning.  Once in a while I have moments, I can’t say they’re very well established, but I have moments maybe a couple of times a year where I go back to the drawing board.

And I recall my objectives for the year  and my objectives for the year are normally pretty high level objectives. And then I attach some relatively detailed bullet points of things I do want to get done, and I do want to achieve that year, but certainly I have level objectives. And I revisit those objectives a couple of times a year.

I go back to them. I don’t do like a retreat. I don’t go off and read books for two or three days. I know there’s a bunch of people that do that. Like bill Gates. I actually just spent some time looking to the more strategic elements of my year and how it’s panning out and how that aligns with my tactical stuff.

And those are the times where I start pulling back. So for example, if I feel I’m spending too much time doing, for example, first calls with entrepreneurs. I’ll step back at that moment in time. I’ll stop doing as many calls at that moment in time. And I’ll step back from, you know, doing maybe one hour calls and one hour first calls to 30 minutes.

So I adapt my world around this decision on tactical stuff and operational stuff, but also on the more strategic objectives I want to achieve from the year. And I’m always trying to optimize based on that. 

How about you? Bertrand?

Bertrand: First for me there is a question of where are you, which stage are you in your personal and/or professional life because that will have .a big impact in  framing what you can do, can not do, how you can physically organize yourself as well as what’s truly needed for the job. So depending on if you are VC constantly doing first time meetings with entrepreneurs, if you’re a sales person, or or if you are an exec, or if you are an engineer, then  definitely your calendar needs are going to differ widely. So I think you want to get that, and obviously are you still single, are you married or you married with family, definitely will have an impact on your time available, your responsibilities.  

Myself when I was  CEO for instance, I had a very different calendar but also even when I was running the business for App Annie for eight years, every 18 months to two years I had to re-adjust how I was thinking about the business, but also how I was organizing my calendar. My responsibilities were different, my reports were different,  the scale at which we were operating was different, the quantity of travel I had to do was different so I had to regularly re-assess, how I was working and doing my business and part of how you’re working is obviously managing you’re calendar.  

Nuno: I  think that’s a good point. I used to travel a lot more in my previous life. When I lived in Asia Pacific, you know, 150 flights a year, which is a lot more. And so I always organized also my work around my flights and going to the airport and having to go through security. And that was always an input into how I did things.

I never liked rushing to planes. I still have this, I’ve never missed a plane in my life, you know, knock on wood.

Bertrand: It happened to me once

Nuno: Knock on wood. 

Which means I arrive to the airport earlier and I would work from the airport and do calls from the airport from lounges,  from wherever I could, but I would organize my life around that.

I think the elements you’re talking about around having family, not having family is also pretty essential. The type of work you do, does it require a lot of concentration at specific times of the day? Are you a morning person or an evening person? We know from Pink’s “When” book that obviously different people react to different things and some people are more morning person, morning people.

Some people are definitely more evening people. I’m more of a morning person right now, but it’s very funny. Because I used to be definitely a very late evening person when I was in college as an engineer, even through great parts of my career at the beginning of my career. And somehow I don’t know how I guess, because I’m in the West coast now.

I’m now definitely a morning person. And I wake up earlier and I get a lot of my really creative work done in the morning. When I need to do a presentation from scratch, a public speech from scratch. Work on a product, work on a difficult spreadsheet, et cetera. I would do that in the morning.

And it’s interesting. Cause as you say, there’s a lot of variables here. People change through life. But in any case, you know, I would say I’ve become a morning person. Definitely I am a hardcore calendaring person. We’ll talk about that in a second. I plan my life as much as I can. 

I think COVID in some ways has been the worst thing that could ever happen. Cause I plan it even more than I used to. 

I love people, so I make time for people. Obviously right now it’s a little bit more difficult under, you  know, shelter in place and under all the constraints we’re in. But I do definitely like to meet people and go and meet them sometimes in their surroundings. 

Being in venture capital, as you said, I’m switching all the time between meetings and calls.

So that’s part of my life. And in some ways I need to adapt to that and be part of that. In normal circumstances also need to travel quite a bit, but normally it’s by car. Some domestic traveling a little bit of international, but certainly not the 150 flights a year I used to do when I was based in Asia Pacific.

So for me, those are sort of some of the core principles, spending time with people. And then the final piece is I need time for myself. I need time for myself  and for my loved ones, for meditation, for my spirituality, to think through things, we sometimes spend so much time doing things that we forget to actually think through things.

Bertrand: So Nuno, you are not a robot, that’s what you are telling us, you are not just an AI on a screen.   

Nuno: I’m trying to become one, but I’m still failing. Bertrand you know me very well now. I’m a bit of an extreme person in both senses. We have this expression in Portuguese, you know, eight and 80, right. You know, being eight or eighty, I’m both. Right. So I’m a little bit, someone who is very analytical, loves through pre-program everything.

That’s maybe more my introvert side of the fence. And then the extroverts sides a little bit more happy go, lucky experiments, risk staking. And so I like both of them and I like to calendar both of them. That’s the shocking piece, which is I like to calendar also my free time, the time I spend with friends and get stuff on the calendar, which actually sometimes frustrates the hell out of my friends.

Cause they’re like, why do we need to actually plan where, when, the exact time on any, you know, is it an hour, an hour and a half? I was like, well, cause this sort of fits into something else in my life. And the final thing is I do like having serendipity in my life. I do like giving myself sometimes the ability to move stuff around in my calendar.

If I can. And actually, you know, find those truly unique moments. A lot of the unique moments that happen in our lives, even professionally happened because of that conversation we weren’t quite planning to have with people. And so having space for that and having the ability to move stuff around is also part of how I think through my life.

Bertrand: We all have different ways to deal with that. I think you might be a bit more organized than me on some of this. I would say, me when I was running a  fast-growing intense business a few constraints I had: one was timezone,   t App Annie  we have a global business, so working across US , Europe and Asia, it’s hard because you need to be early and you need to be late, the sun never set, so that part can be pretty hard. Two continents, it’s so much easier people don’t always see that, and that has an impact on how you want to organize your day. Travels as well, specially when it’s inter-continental travels, I’m always smiling when people tell me they travel, but they just travel in one continent, it’s so much easier.

I am not saying it’s totally easy but it’s much easier when you don’t have to constantly deal with jet lag. I become quite good actually at managing jet lag, I have all my tricks to manage jet lag . 

Nuno: You should share. What’s are the tricks?

Bertrand: I would take definitely take some  sleeping pills light ones, completely over the counter, I’m always right careful not to go crazy. I will take some Tylenol for headache and  I will force myself to sleep during the plane, I will force myself to sleep where I just landed, at the normal, regular time, so I will take two sleeping pills, whatever it’s needed to make sure I’m sleeping at midnight at latest, and I’m going to wake up at 7/8. 

So I’m very careful to push myself immediately to the right schedule. That’s part of the game for me, and that works quite well, usually it works better in one direction than the other. Usually it’s easier for me to go west than to go east. But ultimately that work pretty well but you still get tired . It works on the short term but on your body it has some impact back do that. 

Nuno: I have to say I was like master of the universe on this whole jet lag stuff for a while. Doing so many flights here, not only regionally, but globally. And I have an unfortunate thing. I can’t sleep on planes. Even if I’m in business class, I can’t sleep. And so I started creating my own routine.

I don’t take any of the over the counter stuff. And so what I did was I forced myself to actually be awake during the flight on the way in and on the way in, I would only follow the local time right. Now for the red eye flights, that was a pain in the neck. Because you get on the other side in the morning, you still have a whole day to go in front of you.

You haven’t slept at all, but by the time you get to the evening, you are very, very tired. And so that first night I never had issues that first night never, the second night for some reason was always a bit tricky. But then after that I was always good. So that was like when I was “master of the universe” level.

Right now when I do international flights, I have to be honest. It just takes a lot out of me. I mean, obviously I’m getting older, I’m not doing it as often. And although I actually have lost a lot of weight, so it’s easier to do these flights from just a physical standpoint feel I’ve gone backwards on my whole management of the whole jet like situation.

So no longer “master of universe” level. 

Bertrand: Yes, I think the 2nd night, I noticed that as well, or 3rd night it depends, but there’s a specific day in your schedule where suddenly you feel worse  some reason.

Section 2 – Calendaring & Tasks (13:35)

Nuno: So maybe we switch gears to specifics. Let’s talk maybe about calendaring and tasks.

Bertrand: Me I’ve always work actually I was thinking about it with digital calendar since at least 20 years. I had some of the first PDAs, I think Microsoft was calling that at Palm PC, I am worried to get wrong because it changes name every year but I think initially to was called a Palm PC and then it changed to HPC and then it became Pocket PC. So I remember having one of their, if not their very first model that was also a  phone. 2001 or 2002. It was really really early and my point is that’s since then I always had my digital calendar with me and always w with a digital calendar.

So that’s been part of my professional life nearly forever and to have it with me, not just on a computer.  

Nuno: For me the tools, I’m a late calendaring guy I think from a digital standpoint, I remember really heavy use of calendaring, maybe around 2001, 2002 digitally. For a long time, I was still sort of on an actual little calendar in paper. So the beginning of my career, that certainly was the case, but at the beginning of my career, I was a developer.

So a lot of my time was self-defined, it was defined by outcomes rather than actual meetings. And today I’m an extreme calendarer. I mean,  I put everything on my, literally everything in my calendar from free time from the meals I’m going to have now in COVID because I do like my treat meals and I planned them in advance and I look forward to them, to actual calls, of course, zoom video conferences. Meetings time to do stuff. So I don’t actually use the task manager I used to do “to do” lists back when I used Outlook, I don’t use Outlook anymore. We’ll go to email in a second. But certainly my go to is Google calendar on mobile, both on iOS and Android.

I like Fantastical. And, I do use fantastical as my core sort of desktop and laptop experience on Mac. And recently I’ve been playing with Woven quite a bit. And I have, by the way, no interest in any of these companies. I have no investment. It’s fascinating to me how little calendaring has changed over the years.

I’ve now started seeing some interesting companies coming out of the woods and, you know, guys like Timeless, et cetera, trying to go after the market with a different approach to calendaring. But it hasn’t changed that much. We talked a lot about times of the days we already discussed it a little bit. My time of the day I’ve thought, through the years has changed a little bit for my thinking time. I would say my best thinking time is in the morning or in the late afternoon or evening, which is surprising.  

My most creative time is normally in the evening or late evening that has never really changed through time.

And then, you know, I try to organize calls somewhere in the middle of that day. I don’t do very well because the problem is if you have in particular calls, as you were mentioning with other time zones, let’s say Europe, you have to take them first thing in the morning. Otherwise you want to get them in.

And by that time, when you get to your thinking time, you’re at 11:00 AM noon in Pacific time after all those calls. So I try my best, but sometimes, you know, in an ideal world, I would really focus my thinking time, first thing in the morning, and you know, late afternoon, evening,

Bertrand: Me I’m not a morning person in an ideal world which is rarely ideal as you say. Here in Pacific time, morning is Europe , late afternoon and night is Asia. So I am  more late afternoon / evening person. 

I would say if I go back in term of tool, one thing I notice I am also a big google calendar user and I’ve tried many other software.  I notice a few things, one for me that it’s critical for  the tool to be multi-platform. I am very much and we will talk later an Apple guy but I also like to be about to use my windows PC, to be able to use my Android phone, so for me the tool has to be multi-platform and unfortunately too many tools don’t understand the part game of being multi-platform. 

Another piece is about a tool that can be used on the web as well, a tool that can be used very collaboratively and many of the tools like Fantastical have limits on that, and finally because I run everything on google calendar one thing I have seen is that many tools don’t support some features of google calendar properly.

I use a lot of colors, so I color my events to highlight quickly for the eye, is it a travel time and now thank god actually no more travel time, always stay home,  but I also have personal time vs important, vs calls, vs this, vs that. So my point is that I use a lot of color coding and very few tools  support that and support that properly or are able to read how it is colored on google calendar. So I end up being stuck which whatever you get from Google in term of calendaring tools and services, and it took them time to improve, to do stuff like supporting iPad properly natively, but now it’s at a pretty decent stage probably my biggest complaint with them is I cannot natively schedule zoom calls directly from google calendar and they keep forcing me to try to use their crappy google meet service when I absolutely do not want it and I know so many people actually, myself included, who got into trouble because by default google calendar is forcing you to create a google meet and you also send zoom invite and no one knows where you are, which platform you’re truly using.

Since then I have disabled that, I have found out that feature hidden somewhere where you can remove any forcing from google calendar to push you on Google Meet.  

Nuno: Interesting. Well, normally, I’ve always a personal calendar and I always have my work calendar. Now unfortunately, my work calendar, normally I have one or two or core activities, which means I can actually have up to two or three work calendars right now. Fortunately, I only have two work calendars.

One for my role, obviously at Strive Capital, and the other one for my role at Grishin Robotics, and then I have my personal and I’ve always managed those three. I don’t do color coding, well, I choose the colors I like for those three calendars. So I’m always used to those, but I don’t do color coding.

I manage them very, very aggressively. We’ll talk about assistance in a bit  and how that works and those interactions, because obviously my calendars  are siloed, right? So people don’t see everything, you know, assistant in one place shouldn’t see my calendar in the other, certainly from a “what am I doing with that time” perspective.

But I found a new hack that I’m doing and I haven’t figured out if it’s a good thing or not. And it does create a different color code, which is the Google reminders, obviously. Cause I’ve Google home stuff all around me, I give myself reminders at specific times the next day, in particularly in the evening as I’m about to go to sleep and I don’t want to pull my phone.

I don’t sleep with my phone. I leave my phone away. I used to disconnect and I now leave it on. 

Bertrand: What you don’t sleep with your phone?

Nuno: I don’t sleep with my phone next to me. It’s very far away from me, and I used to disconnect it. I now leave it on just for the sake of it, but it’s on silent in some cases in do not disturb mode.

And so that’s the only way I have to give myself commands that I can remember the next day. And obviously it appears in blue, as you were saying, that function of Google calendar isn’t integrating right now, for example with Fantastical or with Woven. It is an element that you lose there.

But talking about two pet peeves around calendaring, and it’d be great to also hear your views on this, Bertrand.

One is weekend working   , and the other one is sort of the, do you have an assistant or you don’t have an assistant? 

My weekend working philosophy is very simple. If you need to work, you work. If you don’t need to work, you shouldn’t, if you can have the time and be efficient during the week and you know, you can get your weekend to yourself and just spend that time you should.

But that’s where calendaring comes in for me. If I know I’m going to work during the weekend, I’ll put that time there, and then I’ll create spaces for me to still have a little bit of time to myself or with my friends or with my family on weekends. I have a very high threshold bar for weekend working when it involves others.

So if I’m getting someone to get away from their families or their weekend, et cetera, for something that has to be a really good reason, either because we need to get something absolutely done by Monday or Sunday or Saturday, it happens sometimes we’re in the middle of a deal or in the middle of an issue with a company or in the middle of something that’s truly important and urgent for us to take care of, but otherwise I’m very thoughtful about other person’s time. 

I’m probably a little bit less thoughtful about my own time, because one thing I’ve realized is actually on weekends, I get great thinking time as well. And sometimes it’s a good time to write that memo that I wanted to write, that article that I wanted to write, that thing that I wanted to come through.

The second thing is really the discussion around assistants and ourselves. I don’t need an assistant. I see the value in having an assistant. I’ve had exceptional assistants in my career. I can remember one or two assistants that I had at McKinsey that were life changing. Transform my life, set up my life in China. 

One of them, the other one made my life literally seamless, which for a guy was doing 150 flights a year was relatively important. So I recognize the value in having an assistant. I’ve spent large parts of my career, certainly when I started in venture capital with my own firm, not having one, because I didn’t feel I needed it. Until this day, I organize a lot of meetings and calls myself. 

I now have an assistant that I work with in one of my work roles. And there’s tremendous value to that. Again, going back to that point, having this ability to separate what’s personal from what’s your professional life, you know, what’s the boundary conditions around.

The work of assistants, I think is pretty important. Although I also have to be honest,  the notion of assistant in Asia Pacific versus the notion of assistant, for example, here in the US, it’s very different, almost two very different extremes. And so, you know, I couldn’t have lived without my assistant that first month and a half, I was in Beijing.

And she definitely did stuff that was well beyond the normal classic executive assistant role setting up my bank account. She could have probably truly stolen all of my money that was on that account, a wonderful, wonderful person, and setting up everything for me, you know, helping me find a place, you know, helping me find a housekeeper, that would have been sort of unheard of in many cases in the U S.

But it was life changing for me. So again, you know, a little bit of horses for courses. We know a lot of you listening to this are not necessarily in the U S, you have different experiences in how, you know, how much into your personal life your assistants go to. I do keep some boundary conditions, but I do recognize that different parts of the world, that is obviously treated in a different way.

Bertrand: A lot of topics. So weekend working for me yes, I mean  if its needed, it’s simple as that and there is always usually some work that I will do during the weekend because it’s urgent or it’s important or it’s something I just to want to be done because I know the week is going to be pretty bad and I just want that done. 

Family life is putting some constraints on this but there are also times where it’s truly insane and I mean basically you have no weekends hopefully just for a few weeks at once, but sometimes it happens and you have no choice. I have probably a pretty high bar for others in the sense that  I will not do calls during the weekend for instance,  unless there is something incredibly urgent and important. And if it’s really really incredibly urgent and important then you have to do it, I mean that’s life of being in an important position well paid working in a company, that’s of the game but I’m very careful not to do that too much, and only when it’s truly needed so that people understand that we are careful with their time. 

But obviously another piece is that usually Sunday evening you like to prepare the week, you like to have good visibility on the week, so you end up often with the Sunday evening where  you try to already clean emails, make sure your week is well starting, well prepared because you don’t want to do that on your Monday morning, and already miss half a day. 

In term of assistants, I had probably a similar experience to you in Asia when I move to China. Definitely I got a lot of help from  some incredible assistants . Some stuff in china are really painful to go through in the sense that, you have to go through in person, you have to write some papers, you have to speak good Chinese.

So there is stuff and it’s changing, I’m talking about my experience early on when I move there in 2009, so it has changed but at the time a lot of stuff were not designed for being optimized from you as a user, and would be a complete waste of time so hopefully I got lucky having some really good support, and when you travel a lot it’s also usually quite helpful because you can have a lot of change of travel schedule, of planes, you want to have  someone waiting for you at the airport because are tired, you want that organized, it’s not just purely take an Uber. 

So if it’s intense mode, it can really make a really big difference, if it’s less intense, if you don’t do that a lot, if it’s just once in a while, it’s not such a big deal honestly and I really don’t mind to do a lot of it by myself  when it’s simply less intense.  

Just maybe two segues. One, a couple of pet peeves.

I’m not a huge fan of Calendly. I’m now trying Woven has a similar facility. I’m trying to send a link to the person so that they can book on my schedule. I’m becoming a little bit more open to it, but that historically has been a bit of a pet peeve, that people just send me a Calendly just book it. Again, becoming more open, I would say, I’m changing. I’m certainly becoming much more open to this. 

The part where I haven’t is I’ve tried through the years, a lot of task managers. And I know you have a different perspective on this, that we’re going to hear from. I actually just put it on my calendar.

I’ve become an extreme calendarer, so I don’t really have a task manager anymore. I just put everything on the calendar, but I know you’re different Bertrand. 

Actually not so much. I do a lot of notes, I like to take notes but I would use Evernote for that specifically. But for me for a lot of things if I don’t it put it on the calendar it won’t get down, so usually I end up putting it in the calendar, and for some stuff I might keep moving from week to week, my block of time to another week. Usually it’s because it’s important but not urgent, so you don’t want to loose trace of it, but at the same time it can wait. 

Nuno: I’m exactly the same, by the way. So that’s interesting.

Bertrand: And for Calendly I must say that’s one of these rare innovation that have been happening in calendaring,  and for a long time I’ve been wondering could there be a better way to simply try to remove the need actually for assistants to help you. And in some cases if you have too many meetings, you have no choice, you need that  assistant in order to be reactive.

So Calendly is interesting, but there is a way to use it. Sometimes people they want to meet with me , and I’m like maybe, and  they’re just sending me  a calendly invite with their initial email, and I am like, come on you should be the one trying to look into my calendar, not the other way around, if you want to reach out to me. So I think there is some level of how do you use Calendly in a way that is polite. I am not sure we have the right etiquette yet on using properly Calendly, but at the end of the day I see the efficiency, there is some logic to use it.

So beyond Calendly, one thing for group calendar that I started to use a bit more for task management as a team, is Taskade. It has been pretty useful  in a lot of situations, specially if you have repetitive task as a group, and FYI I’m also an investor in Taskade led by John Xie.

Nuno: Very cool. 

Section 3 – Communication tools (28:30)

So communication tools. 

Mail. I’ve become a huge Gmail fan, in particular, on mobile, it’s such a great experience. I mean, it’s such a powerful, powerful tool.

It’s become my go to tool, certainly on mobile, unfortunately on the desktop  I’m fascinated, desktop and laptop. I’m fascinated by obviously the Gmail experience is interesting, but I have several gmail accounts. I run on Google apps in my work environments and I also have my personal Gmail account.

And so I’d love a place that integrates the whole thing  and Google doesn’t do that for me. I’ve heard in the past there was something really to IP and some IP infringement they didn’t want to do. I have no clue, but it’s such a huge opportunity. Why doesn’t Google address this with Gmail. 

So effectively I have to use Airmail, which is okay. It’s a good tool. It’s not amazing. And so I’m not a superhuman guy.  I know a lot of fans and fan boys out there, I’m not. Maybe at some point I’ll change my mind, but I have my own system around emailing, you know, one of the things I do for example is, it’s also a task monitor. I call email my plan B on tasks.

Because  I leave my emails unread, which means there’s something I need to do with that email. I’m almost always at what I call quasi inbox zero, which for me is, let’s say 30, 40, unread emails across all my mailboxes is what I call inbox zero. So I’m pretty good on it. I haven’t found a need to go to super powered tools like superhuman.

I might, at some point, I do find Gmail has become so much better over the last few years, certainly on mobile.

Bertrand: Yes, that’s the  thing about Gmail is that  keeps getting better really too slowly, slowly, it’s a lot of frustration but at the same time the core power is just there, the fact that you have access to all your emails, that you have a very strong search capability, that the threading system is pretty good, so there’s a lot of good stuff. There’s a lot of very frustrating stuff with Gmail, I hate the fact that I don’t have a proper app for Gmail on my Mac for instance, and I don’t want to just use  the browser for that but I would like to have some better offline capability, that sort of stuff, but at the end of the day, I have not found an app to truly replace it well enough, usually apps will come with some advantage on your Mac, but they all have some issues and you want the real thing at the end of the day plus storage-wise everything on the cloud is so much better. I mean email used to be with files, one of your big place when you lose a lot of space on your laptop, so being fully on the cloud has some benefits there.

Superhuman I’m like you, honestly I feel that approach, you have a private beta that last forever, you have to beg for it, I am not excited. And then when you finally can get in there, they want to schedule a one to one demo and force you to spend one hour to go with their guy over your email, and you have to screenshare your email. Some of if I just don’t like it personally. 

Hey is the new kid on the block just launched two weeks ago I guess, with a splash, being blocked by Apple. don’t know I’ve not tried it yet. 

I would say on Gmail one good news I saw just a few days ago was finally you can use your Gmail app on iPad and do multi-tasking at the same time, thanks to finally them implementing view five years after it has been available on iOS. When I am telling Gmail is evolving slowly that’s definitely their approach and I must say I’m not using much Office anymore specially on mobile, specially for outlook and calendar but   they are pretty strong on that side, they are very fast at following new improvements available on the platform they run on, specially on iOS device, windows obviously so I think they’re doing a very good job to be always there early in term of feature support. But they still have some issue on Mac for Outlook so that’s another thing to solve to them. 

Nuno: It’s now important to talk about the famous and age old question of calls, voice calls, versus messaging. And I think on this one, Bertrand we’re similar. We’re both as Xillennials. We’re both between gen X and millennials. So  we have some traits of millennials, and we have some traits of gen X, I think on this one, we’re with millennial, we like messaging.

We like it being non-intrusive, you know, calls need to be booked. They shouldn’t be otherwise they’re robocalls. Why are you calling me? At least I’m like that. I don’t know how you are, Bertrand.

Bertrand: I am the same Nuno. For me my usual approach is  to schedule meetings, schedule calls, and start usually either by email or by chat and then put it on the calendar. So I’m always surprised when some people work differently I don’t mind if I have space on my calendar, I don’t mind some serendipity, at some point also, I see that positivity but I need most of my stuff to be organized and on the calendar for me to be able to work. 

Nuno: And it’s getting worse because of FaceTime on iPhone. Some people are now just FaceTiming you with video on, directly I’m like, mate, definitely I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to talk to you right now. And I definitely the one to connect my video. And so I don’t know what happened to the world, but it feels like something that was so intrusive somehow, you know, people I know thought it’s fine.

It’s not fine. I don’t want to talk to you on video unless we book a time to talk on video, which is a good segue to video and our favorite, favorite topic.

Bertrand: I am a big fan of Zoom. I’ve been a big fan for, I guess over two years now and definitely for me video has been very important, the way I built App Annie as a very distributed organization with many offices in multiple countries forced use arly on to find the best video solutions and because skype and others   were definitely not working so we did use Zoom immediately initially it’s not really there with good hardware and you want good hardware if you have conference rooms and that sort of stuff. So initially they were not on the map, but definitely the past two years for me it has been a game-changer because it’s all the small things, they they are very careful about all those small things, they are very careful about all the small things of making it work behind the scene and making it work in such way that it’s really easy even for people who have trouble troubling on the laptop makes a change a bit I guess but[inaudible 00:40:32] hiding also complexity and making work in an absolutely urning on a laptop. I am exaggerating a bit I guess but they have really done their best on hiding all the complexity  and making it  work in absolutely every case.

So I’m really a big fan, I think they did a good job. And what you see today when you see Google Meet and Microsoft Teams improving very quickly, for me it’s very amazing how they are still playing catch-up on so many things. I mean zoom has an integrated system to filer audio so if you’re typing on your keyboard while using zoom, nobody will hear it, it’s removed automatically, it’s been there for a few years. 

Do you want to have a virtual background? Yes, you have a virtual background with zoom, and the others are just adding that when it’s critical, you absolutely want that opportunity to protect your privacy by using a virtual background, and not just that but they actually support a green screen, a true two physical green screen, so I actually  have my own physical green screen at home and it’s so much better, your virtual background works so much better. So these guys are one or two steps in advance of every other solution, every step of the way, the negative obviously they got under fire for some privacy issues, security issues, the UX is not always great , to be frank, but that hidden power you don’t know it exists, but it’s there, it makes  your life so much better, that’s the big difference and that’s why people might not always know why they use it.

But definitely it’s better from my prospective than the competition, and I’m not even talking, because I will be generous, about other alternatives like FaceTime or Google hangouts because if you want to do any group meeting  it’s simply not usable. 

Nuno: Yes, and I think this is a tale of losers rather than just a tale of winners. You know     Skype   was such a dominant force, and they had such a great product, many many moons ago, and then what happens next is just flabbergasting to me, how even the quality of the service went down, anyway I use Skype very little these days, it’s really a shame. I think another looser, I sort of switched to Hangouts, and it was a great experience and Google Meet. 

But obviously with Zoom you have such a better experience from an HD perspective that it makes a huge difference. 

So and we’ve had all these sort of tales. I mean, Microsoft teams I’ve started using actually more recently. I wasn’t a big user of Microsoft team before. I know they’ve had a great success and traction. I’m not a huge fan either.

Somehow it feels like it’s Zoom’s to lose right now in this space, but now we have some people going after the other angles that maybe zoom is leaving open, like how do you do a broadcast that’s really cool, and you can transmit stuff like here on a TV show, et cetera. 

Which is, mmhmm, and I hope I’m saying that correctly, otherwise Phil Libin might not be very happy with me. Phil is obviously the co founder and CEO of mmhmm, and they’ve now raised some money and it’s interesting that they’re going,  across sort of this digital virtual experience that becomes more professionalized where, you know, you could show slides in a different way and you’re still in the screen and you’re almost like a news caster, at least that’s the promise we seem to have with the product.

I don’t know,  I do wish them all the best. Again, I’m not an investor in the company, but Zoom seems to be really the clear leader in this and they seem to be so far ahead. I hope we don’t have another Skype-like implosion, on the other end.

Bertrand: If I take mmhmm I have definitely seen some value in a solution like this. I’ve been thinking about it  for a while actually about virtual cameras and that’s really what it is, it’s acting everybody’s accepting as a virtual camera so it can actually plug itself into different solutions like zoom. I’ve seen some other solution in video conference, Loom, Speach, for instance where it’s more asynchronous type of video call so definitely a different approach. I think  specially in remote work, work from home, work from anywhere, asynchronous video might be a big deal pretty soon actually.

And I want to share one secret tool I have used with a lot of video call solution. It’s Krisp.AI, with a K. Krisp. It’s pretty impressive, they are the best solution to filter unwanted noise either coming from callers, or your own noise from any videocall. So if you have a baby crying at home, no problem no one will hear it thanks to Krisp, and they’re the only one able to clean up sound to that level.

Nuno: And moving maybe to the messaging tools directly, which we started with because we love messaging. We start with Slack, and Slack obviously another, another amazing spin out or actual baby coming out of a gaming company that didn’t go great. Obviously used by companies of all sizes these days. 

I have to be very honest. I am not the biggest fan of Slack. I think there are other messaging tools out there that you know. I understand the indexing. I understand the channels. I understand the attributions to the channels. I understand all those dimensions that create this workspace that looks great. I don’t know.I always feel like I’m not dissing Slack.

I think what they’ve achieved is impressive, but I always feel there’s something else after this, certainly for corporate users and this isn’t it yet.

Bertrand: So for me  Slack has been very transformative. I would say initially they had a big issue is that it was really bad for mobile, the mobile experience initially  was too poor to be truly usable they started with a desktop mindset as  a tool for developers, but once they corrected that downside, I moved very fast on using Slack and using it internally at App Annie. No question for us it was game changer in a positive sense.  At   the same time there are big limits, I mean they tried to do video calls, audio calls,  didn’t work it was just bad and it’s still bad and you just go on Zoom instead. So that’s one, two the other constraint  is that, it’s really useful inside your own company, for your own teams, but the minute you work with others, it’s a pain in the not work, or it’s very complex to setup.

So they have a new service, Slack connect, I’ve not tried it, but hopefully it’s getting better from that angle but for what it does, I am a very strong fan. 

Nuno: Yes. And on messaging, I don’t do SMSs that much anymore. So that’s one thing that has changed dramatically over the last decade or so. You know, WhatsApp used to be go to, I’ve had a lot of negative experiences with WhatsApp, with being served ads on Facebook that are clearly connected to conversations I literally just had on WhatsApp. So I’m trying to move as many people as I can from a work perspective, outside of WhatsApp. 

It is still wildly used, but I don’t get this and it can’t really be used for stuff that’s highly confidential. They say it’s end to end encrypted. But if then the meta information is analyzed in the middle, you know, so much for end to end encrypted.

I, with Chinese friends or friends that are based in China, Wechat is obviously the go to, for very obvious reasons, including some of the limitations around some of these tools that happen in China. I’ve used other messaging tools for other types of things that are not related to productivity, like Line for gaming.

I still use a little bit of telegram, very much linked still  with the whole blockchain movement. Again, I don’t use it that much. And my new big winner, is definitely, definitely Signal. And fingers crossed and knock on wood all at the same time that it is by far the safest and most secure out there.

I hope that is the case. And I’ve moved a lot of my work-related pieces to that. 

Just to end, maybe from my standpoint, with a pet peeve on messaging, Facebook messenger, Facebook for me is for friends or friendly personal like interactions. If you must absolutely send me a message for us to book a call for work then okay. But otherwise using access to my Facebook messenger to try and get pitch decks in front of me or Instagram messenger in the same way, to get pitch decks in front of me, I hate it. It’s one of my pet peeves. I always tell people, send me an email. Let’s connect on LinkedIn. Let’s do something else, but definitely, you know, Facebook messenger is not for my professional stuff.

Bertrand: Yes, I’m definitely like you here,  I don’t like to receive pro stuff on Facebook messenger. But that’s true that in Europe and in many parts of the world , you end up having a mix of personal and professional on Whatsapp and in China the same with WeChat. So it’s a bit difficult to separate the two sides  from these tools unfortunately. But here in the US where they don’t use Whatsapp or Wechat, you  end up with a different situation.

Nuno: And maybe our Easter egg of the episode, just to finish this section, a lot of people have asked us, you know, how can I best reach you? How can I talk to you guys? Obviously, if it’s related to professional work, as investors  in our daily activities, my personal preference is LinkedIn.

If you don’t have my email, if you don’t have a warm intro, warm intro obviously be the best, but if you don’t have that warm intro, if you want to do a cold reach out, is LinkedIn. 

And LinkedIn, you should, basically explain, one why you’re reaching out to me, and two that you heard it here first in our Easter egg in episode 14 of Tech Deciphered.

Different situation.

Bertrand: Yes, I’m probably the same . There are many things I like LinkedIn and many things I don’t, but Linkedin is doing a good job so, yeah as long as the invite to connect this clear about what is the topic, and why should I answer, and how you know me, so that it shows that it’s not some broadcast to thousands of people, I’m okay to read stuff coming from LinkedIn but it has to be precise, it has to be clear why you want to connect, and what’s the topic and why it’s of interest to me.

Section 4 – Broader productivity tools (43:51)

Nuno: Very good and moving to broader productivity tools, customer relationship management, note taking, et cetera. 

Basically I’m a huge fan of Google apps  and the Google suite. We’ve used it for a while at Strive and you know, a lot of my work-related environments  are Google apps based. it’s a really easy transition from Gmail to Google apps. So huge fan of that. Also the integration of Google Drive and the ability to actually save stuff away.

I do use Dropbox once in a while. I don’t use box that much, surprisingly enough, but certainly Dropbox once in a while, but Drive is sort of my go-to and it links well, this interaction between the personal and the professional space. So I do use it quite a bit. 

Note taking, I know we have slightly different views on this.

You’ve already mentioned before that you’re an Evernote user. I used to be a avid Evernote’s user. I met the cofounders way back when 2006, the last PC forum that was ever done, and And I remember being such a fan of them. And then something happened. Evernote syncing had issues for a while. I was getting all these notes that were garbled.

The pricing schemes were nonexistent, there was really one pricing scheme. And then when they moved to different pricing schemes, they did something that I think wasn’t very cool, they started limiting access from different devices and do stuff and I stopped using it. And today I have to be honest, I use Google Keep, I’m not fully happy with it, but it is multi-platform back to your point made earlier.

Multi-platform is really important to me as well, and it’s sort of stuck and I’m willing to experiment with new stuff. But certainly right now, I don’t think I’ll go back to Evernote. I’ll just stick on Google. Keep.

Bertrand:  I’m a big fan of the Google Suite as well for maybe around 10 years something like this, what I’m not a big fan however in Google Suite is Google Drive. I mean, Google Drive is just so tough to use, to find something to organize. I just don’t like it. 

So if I have to store files if it’s personal it’s Dropbox, if it’s professional it’s Box. That’s how I separate the two, I always seen Box being a bit more professional oriented in term of features, and Dropbox has a simplicity of use, cleanliness    And for me it’s also easier to have 2 different systems for different needs.

For Notes? I’m a big fan of Evernote since early on on mobile.  I think they were one of the first app of it’s kind for the iPhone and for sure disappointment that it doesn’t feel it’s getting better. It has been stuck for the past 5 years, it used to be extremely buggy at some point, completely not working. It got better, definitely less buggy but at the same time nothing has changed or improved and their team solution has not worked. So for me it’s more a case of using it for my own notes to myself but not working with others, for Evernote.  

Nuno: On CRM, I’m a venture capitalist. So the name of the day is Affinity. Obviously everyone in VC talks about it. And you know, those that are users  are really big fans. I’m not an exception. I love using it for our purpose of managing deal flow, of managing contacts, of seeing who’s contacting who, of having that information readily available, of having it populated with Crunchbase information.

So really powerful tool. I’ve never been much of a Salesforce user. We’ve used, in our lives, different solutions for CRM, shockingly enough, even Wiki pages on Atlassian, which was not a very good solution, this was way back when. You know, we’ve used Streak. It has some positive stuff. It’s really good for email and for funnel management email, but it then lacks a lot of other things around it.

Use Notion, which is really more of a database play. Again, some definite issues around connectors and how we’re getting that information through. I know some VC firms do use Salesforce. I think for now, Affinity seems to be a winner for me as a user coming from the venture capital space.

Obviously I do recognize that as a CRM, depending on your specific business, if you’re an entrepreneur, if you’re in sales, et cetera, Salesforce might be a better solution, but certainly being in VC, Affinity is my go to right now.

Bertrand: I’m a big fan of Salesforce from the perspective that, I’ve been using it for like 14 years and it’s super powerful and it’s super configurable, and you can do a lot crazy stuff on it. The problem is you can do a lot of crazy stuff on it as well and therefore  it is becoming very difficult to manage. It’s actually its own IT world in itself . The big power is the fact that you can integrate with so many solutions, that you can configure it, but again it  probably goes too far and it’s becoming too complex. And obviously one of my  biggest issue has been the UI, that has always been trouble. So there’s a new UI now but it doesn’t feel like natural to it, and the other piece is, it has always been a disaster on mobile, so using Salesforce on mobile has always been a big pain in the ass.

And every year there’s a new launch at Dreamforce, like this time this is fantastic, you will see, and you wait it to available, and then it’s just as bad as usual, so that part I don’t think  they ever got mobile right.

But for me, yeah. I will have trouble to think about managing anything of some size without Salesforce. I think is it’s a very small team, it’s definitely overkill these 

Nuno: And there are other tools we didn’t talk about, like PipeDrive and a few others.

Moving maybe to LinkedIn. I’m a superpower user of LinkedIn. I use it for literally everything that you can imagine, and it’s really around connecting with people. I even use it for cold calling if I need get in front of a startup, when I need to get into a deal that I know is happening. And for some reason I haven’t had access to it yet. 

I use it very, very strongly. I have to be very honest. I’m sort of disappointed at LinkedIn over the last few years, the way they managed, the uptake for pricing. Similar a bit to Evernote was in my opinion, sorry guys, even before the acquisition for Microsoft was a bit douchey and how they’re trying to move people to be premium users.

I make it a fact till this day that I’m not a premium user. I was for periods of time. And now right now I’m not, unfortunately there is no alternative, like with Evernote and the note taking space here, there isn’t. It has become spammy, the whole InMail thing and getting spam through there is not cool guys. I mean, just not okay. 

And so I think they’re testing a little bit, the goodwill of users on LinkedIn. And at some point it might backfire, at some point, there might actually be an alternative to LinkedIn and people will just leave in droves because it’s a little bit too much. And I know Bertrand, you have a couple of other pet peeves with LinkedIn that are very important.

Bertrand: Yes, LinkedIn, I was thinking back, I’ve been a very, very early user. I think 2003 actually when I started using it. So, one of the first, hundreds of thousands of users if not, tens of thousands of users. I was also one of the first time on Facebook at the time when it was still private, only for university students. 

And I remember signing up to these 2 nearly the same week and being quite impressed about these two services.  I moved all my contacts on LinkedIn, I don’t want to bother manage contacts anymore, but as you said, just recently discovered that, now that I moved all my contacts to LinkedIn, they don’t even let you download your contacts. You can download their first name and last name, you don’t have access to emails, phone numbers and the like anymore. So for someone like me who stopped using a separate    contact book, address book, I was very angry to discover that’s one of the features  they removed. And in some case they  remove it to make you a premium user but in that case it’s fully removed. And I’ve been a premium user of of Linkedin for I don’t know how many years 10 years, 15 years, I’m not sure. For a while because there is value. But I have been also quite angry at how all the stuff you took for granted available was step by step removed forcing you to become a premium user.

So very disappointing. Another piece is that they had trouble to go to mobile, make it work really well, their messaging is still subpar, that’s for sure, no question if you use any other messaging service, so I really wish  they do it better and for instance they still don’t support Split View on iPad, making it painful to use on iPad, but hopefully that will get solved. It’s definitely one of these tools that you cannot live without. 

Very good.

Section 5 – Hardware (51:54)

And maybe we move to hardware and gadgets. We have not talked about that in a long time.      

We have not talked about gadgets in a long time, so always a big question: can I do all my all professional work just with an iPad pro instead of a Mac or PC, and what about Mac vs PC itself?

I’m a big fan of the iPad.  I have an iPad mini and an iPad pro, different usage, different needs. Just a fantastic tool, but for me it has never replace a proper PC and Mac. Because I want to use my external screen, I want to use complex software, so I will use iPad depending on the circumstances. But for sure, in the past one of the benefit of the ipad, it is super light, you bring it for just a coffee or something, your home, you can as well bring your big 15″ Mac book and that’s not a big deal so, I would say I am probably using a bit less my iPad pro for  professional reason than I used to.

Nuno: It’s very funny. I actually love my iMac. So that’s my desktop experience. And, through shelter and place, that’s been the most fascinating experience. That’s sort of my place of office and work. I used to be a huge iPad fan. I really haven’t bought an iPad in a while. I miss it. think I will go back to it at some point.

I haven’t really found the right iPad for me yet. I believe. And, from a laptop perspective, I’m all the way Mac, interestingly enough, I was a very early user of MacBook pro and I haven’t bought a Macbook pro in a long, long time. I now like the smaller Macbooks. I’ve been Macbook Air, Macbook, MacBook Air, Macbook.

I think I’ll end up in something a little bit smaller  for my experience around laptops.

Bertrand: Yeah I’m  using too much iPad to consider anything but a Macbook pro because I need to have more power, so if you take a regular Macbook plus an iPad it makes less sense. 

Nuno: And maybe phones, because this is important. Phones is one of the ways that Bertrand and I have linked the most over the years because of our collections of phones. I’ve sort of slowed down my collection, but I’m I think at 242 phones or something like that, I’m now only buying three or four a year.

I have one iPhone a year, so I buy the latest iPhone flagship. So I’m currently obviously on the 11 pro and I buy Android devices. And right now I’m on the one plus eight pro, which is really my favorite Android device. I think one plus has done such a great job over the last few iterations on their flagship and I normally always buy the pixel and I think it’s become, I’m not very happy with the last pixel for certainly the pixel 4 XL.

It’s become more of a habit than anything else. Cause I’ve had all the Nexuses and then, you know, I want all the Pixels, let’s see, you know, Google, if you’re listening, please do a really nice Pixel 5, or make it up on 6, I don’t know. And then, the two last plays that I’ve been doing, one is black shark, which is a brand by Xiaomi  for mobile phones that are for gaming.

It’s a really funky looking device. I just love the way it looks. It’s a really powerful device. And finally, the Samsung S20 ultra, which is, I mean that camera’s just, mindboggling, I love my one plus, but you know, if I want to take the best zoom photo of all time, I’ll go on that phone and do that.

So again I switch regularly every few days, I switch between phones. It’s a strange thing, I know. A lot of people say it’s strange. and I switched between one iPhone and several, and several Androids, but you compete with me Bertrand, you have a lot of phones as well. Come on.

Bertrand: I’ve tried so many phones over the years, the big difference with you is that I don’t collect, so if I stop using one I just get rid of it, I don’t keep the collection else  you end up with too many. 

Nuno: I’ve tried donating mine just to be clear. And it’s so expensive to even do a valuation on a donation to get a tax benefit that I just gave up. So if anyone wants to buy the phones  or put them in a museum and willing to, you know, take care of the cost, I’m  happy to do it.

Bertrand: So for me one big thing obviously  the balance between iOS vs Android, you have some features on one, some features on the other . I think now, the differences are very little between the two platforms,  so it’s not that anymore. 

For me, it’s more that I see with the iPhone I have better integration with my Mac environment, with my Apple TV, with my iPad and there’s no good Android tablet by the way to be clear. So ultimately it’s more what I value and why am I focused on the iPhone at the end of the day. So I still get an Android phone once in a while. 

And I think the other piece is the screen size I finally settle I think on the regular iPhone pro size. I’ve been one of the first on the Galaxy Note from Samsung, I think the Note 2. And I was amazed by the big screen got very frustrated when Apple did not have a big screen option and went to the Plus and then to the Max.

But now I’m like, you know what? I have enough iPad and Mac and stuff, smaller screen, 5.8 inches good enough for me, if I want some bigger I have another device for that. So I’m not fighting for the bigger screen size, I also felt it was too much a pain in my pocket. And also maybe because I have 2 phones with me, so 2 big phones, that’s really too much at some point, so I finally settled on the Phone 11 pro type of screen size , 5.8 inch.

So let’s go quite quickly ain term of other equipment now that we are spending all our days on Zoom. It’s was time, and we are doing our own podcast.

I decided at least  to   go pro on the equipment for  streaming. So I tried to look at ok, what is it that you can get if you want to be serious about it. Provide good quality image and audio and one thing I’ve learned is that, yes you have a big difference if you get a really good camera, if you get a really good mic, you get a significant difference. 

So for this podcast for instance, Nuno and I both used Neumann KMS 104   mikes. Relatively expensive, but definitely worth it, such a big difference. 

So that’s the mic we use for our podcast. When I’m not podcasting I’m usually using a shotgun mic Sennheiser MKH416, that’s the type of mic you use in Hollywood movies, so super high quality works well from a distance,  it’s not visible you are using a mic, you can be far away from it.

And in some other situation I am using a lavalier type of mic, a DPA 4080, and that’s also pretty convenient, and you can put it low enough so it’s not too visible. But a lavalier never has as good a quality as a these other type of mikes.   and   And finally with the video, going to cameras I re-use my mirrorless camera, my Sony A7R3 it’s just fantastic when you combine that with a 24-70 lens and that you add capture card, you have an insane image quality, low-light quality, you have a background blur that looks natural in the background.

So it’s for me totally worth it,  if you already have a camera. If you don’t have a camera it’s a bit expensive set up, so you might go for smaller equipment . One last piece I already talked about it, but having a real green screen can be really useful if you’re in a room where you don’t have good background. And finally optimize your background, optimize your lights, that’s some of the  tricks and tips when you want to do good video streaming.

Section 6 – Tools we wish we had (59:03)

Nuno: Very cool. So maybe we’ll end with section six on tools we wish we had. Our wishlist maybe for entrepreneurs to listen and start developing some cool stuff.

Bertrand: I think for me my bigger tool video is how could I replace that unholy combination of LinkedIn plus email where people reach out to you and then they follow up by email because you certainly don’t want to stay inside LinkedIn messaging app. So  that’s for me a big one and not just that, that   initial discussion through Linkedin but how do you  keep communicating efficiently with people who are not officially part of your team and your company? Suppliers, Clients. And I think there’s something missing, I know Slack is trying it’s thing to be better but they are definitely not there yet,  they’re great for your own team but not as much beyond. So I think there’s big opportunity there. 

Obviously a better Salesforce, lot a lot of companies are building CRM, I have seen one yet that has convinced me . 

As you say there are some for some verticals like Affinity for VCs. Maybe one question is could we have something that  works for VR, there was always this a concept  that you would meet people over VR, you will do all these cool hangout inside a VR system.

Personally I have not used VR for any social stuff and probably the biggest reason is that there are    not enough users so you won’t find the people you want to talk on VR and the last piece is that on VR obviously we don’t see your face so that’s a big limitation.

Nuno: So there’s a couple of evolutionary plays for me. I think one is, I want a note taking app that’s actually good. Evernote is not it.  Google Keep could be, but it’s not. And I know there’s now some interesting startups going after this space and getting a lot of buzz. So, fingers crossed. and by the way, you know, pro “tip” voice is going to matter.

We already have some productivity tools we didn’t talk about today, around voice recognition and, transcripting et cetera for calls that are really, really cool out there, and a shout out for a few companies in that space that are really innovating. But certainly we feel, or at least I feel that note taking  is a space that should have been solved a long, long time ago and still hasn’t, the same way tasks,  I know I’m extreme calendar, but to be very honest, tasks should be easier. And maybe it’s part of note taking maybe Bertrand, your investment in Taskade, then Taskade will be the winner in that space. We’ll see. 

I hope You hope so for sure. But there’s certainly something around tasks and workflow and I believe note taking that needs to be little bit embedded  and brought together, which unfortunately it’s not where we are today. 

The last wishlist is in a world where there are more distributed teams, maybe even more, you know, fully liquid teams, this ability to connect with people outside the boundary of just the zoom call, the conversation, the meeting, et cetera.

Is something that I think we’re missing. We’re missing water cooler effects. The ability to just bump into people, go into their offices, go into their areas of work and just talking to them. That serendipity is missing. And so idea, I’m missing a “Houseparty” for work. I’m missing something that’s like “Houseparty” where we can interact in a more  informal ad hoc way, for example, now at one of the firms that I’m working with, we’re doing virtual lunches where people eat in front of their screen once a week, you know, can we do something? Can we have tools around that make that experience more of a town hall, cool experience, water cooler experience, going forward.

So I leave that challenge for the entrepreneurs that want to basically go after it.   

Bertrand: I totally agree with you Nuno, that need for “water cooler” type of solution, audio as something more important , not just video. I think that’s totally right.

And I would expect by the way we will see what happens with the new Macs from Apple, but one of the big issue is your default webcam is terrible inside a laptop, I have high hopes that Apple is going to work on it on their new Macs,  and I think that’s one of my expectation is that over the coming 10 years our default hardware, mics, video, will be so so much better than what we have today, and that will make a more enjoyable experience for everyone because you want everyone on your call with good quality hardware. 

Conclusion (1:03:10)

As a conclusion I think we talked about a lot of topics, you can get a feeling where we are both excited on these questions of productivity tools, habits hacks, communication  because obviously we spend so much time in our daily life using all these tools that small improvement can have actually big impact on our daily professional life.   

So I want to thank you for listening to this episode  14 , and talk to you next time.