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10 Most Influential Gadgets in 2014

10 Most Influential Gadgets in 2014

I’m pretty much the geekiest person I know, and as such I usually keep track of some of the more unusual and/or useful gadgets being released at any given moment. For the most part I stick to technology related stuff, but I’ve been known to branch out a bit as well. Below you’ll find a list of things I feel are cool, unique, useful, and fun to use. Just remember: these aren’t in any particular order, it would have been much too difficult to actually rank them in any fashion!

10. Aeropress

MIG2014#1

    Imagine if you could take a Keurig machine, fuse it with a french press, and then shrink it down to about the size of the average male fist. That, my friends, would give you the Aeropress. It’s one of those things where you see it and go, “huh, why didn’t I think of that?” It makes it easy to get the one or two cups of coffee you need in the morning without forcing you to waste plastic k-cups or complicate things with a larger drip maker or french press.

    9. iPad Air 2

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    MIG2014#2

      Perhaps this isn’t the most original thing to put on a list like this, but there’s no denying how influential Apple’s line of tablets is. Though it probably isn’t worth it to upgrade to this if you have an Air, anything older than that will be crushed by the Air 2. It’s also a nice preview of the kind of performance you’ll see with the iPhone 6S, as it uses a triple core processor that’s likely to be used in Apple’s next smartphone…

      8. Waterpebble

      MIG2014#3

        Have you ever asked yourself, “boy, I take too long in the shower, what can I do to save some precious water!” I’m here to save the day with the Waterpebble, a handy little device that will let you know when you’ve been in the shower too long by flashing angry lights at you. Just set it to however long you want to be in the shower, and it will let you know if you’ve gone overboard.

        7. Mophie Space Pack

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        MIG2014#4

          For some reason Apple has chosen to make their phones comically thin instead of giving them the big batteries they deserve. Well, luckily for you Mophie is here to bring you the multi-day battery life you desire. It’s a case, and an extra battery, all in one! What more can you ask for? I’ve used one and can answer that question: not much.

          6. Oculus Rift

          MIG2014#5

            Virtual reality is here! Well, almost. Based on how quickly the software development for these little electronic visors is coming along, we should be seeing some cool virtual-reality related stuff within the next few years. I haven’t used one of these things yet, but I have seen some of the kinds of software they run. Though it’s not quite on the level of The Matrix yet, we’re well on our way.

            5. Misfit Shine

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            MIG2014#6

              I almost bought one of these when I was running every day, and for good reason. They’re a stylish and unobtrusive way of gauging how active you are on a daily basis. It basically looks like a watch, with little lights encircling it. The lights blink on depending on whether or not you reach your activity quota for the day, and its settings can be controlled by your smartphone. Nifty.

              4. Apple Watch

              MIG2014#7

                I’d be remiss not to include one of the bigger item announcements of 2014. It’s basically an iPhone for your wrist. I’m not sure if they’ll catch on, but I have no doubt that some of the cool kids will adopt them the day they’re released.

                3. Nest Learning Thermostat

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                MIG2014#8

                  Control the temperature of your home from the comfort and familiarity of your smartphone’s screen. Supposedly this will help you cut down on your heating/electric bill, since I guess most people are too lazy to get up and manually adjust their thermostat (not being sarcastic, I’ve seen it happen; it’s basically human nature). I’m not sure if it works with air conditioning systems too, but I’d imagine it does. From what I’ve read you’ll probably be able to connect it to the internet in the future and have it adjust automatically based on the weather outside, which is pretty cool.

                  2. Pillow Talk

                  MIG2014#9

                    Are you in a long distance relationship? Well, luckily for you you’ll soon be able to spice things up just a bit through the use of a new product dubbed “Pillow Talk.” It’s simple enough: you and your significant other wear a ring (or it might be a band, I read conflicting reports) that monitors your heartbeat. When your heart beats, your girlfriend or boyfriend’s pillow pulses with a soft glow. It’s almost like they’re right there with you! I’m not sure if this will work too well for light sleepers (the constant glow might become annoying), but I’d give it a try at least.

                    1. iPhone 6

                    MIG2014#10

                      Wouldn’t be much of a gadget list if it didn’t include an iPhone! I know what you’re thinking…there’s three Apple products on this list. Trust me, I’m no Apple fanatic, it’s just that compared to the competition they’re usually the most influential products in their category. Once again, the iPhone has taken the globe by storm, and it’s doubtful that any gadget will ever exert as much sheer influence as this thing does (at least for the foreseeable future). Do you own one of the more eclectic items on this list? Share your experiences with it in the comment section below!

                      Featured photo credit: Anna Bashmakova and Oculus Rift/ Sergey Galyonkin via flickr.com

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                      Last Updated on October 16, 2019

                      11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

                      11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

                      Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

                      Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

                      Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

                      In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

                      1. ScheduleOnce

                        ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

                        ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

                        ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

                        Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

                        Available on Web

                        2. Calendly

                          Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

                          You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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                          Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

                          3. Assistant.to

                            For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

                            From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

                            While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

                            Available on Web

                            4. Acuityscheduling

                              Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

                              It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

                              Available on Web | iOS | Android

                              5. Pick

                                Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

                                At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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                                Available on Web

                                6. X.ai

                                  For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                                  This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                                  Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                                  Available on Web

                                  7. YouCanBook.me

                                    is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                                    They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                                    Available on Web

                                    8. Doodle

                                      Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                                      It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                                      You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                                      While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                                      Available on Web | iOS | Android

                                      9. WhenAvailable

                                        WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                                        Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                                        Available on Web

                                        10. Rally

                                          Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                                          Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                                          Available on Web

                                          11. NeedtoMeet

                                            Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                                            NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                                            While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                                            Available on Web

                                            Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                                            In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                                            To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                                            Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                                            A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                                            Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                                            If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                                            Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                                            With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                                            The Bottom Line

                                            Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                                            Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                                            Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                                            Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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