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Guy Kawasaki’s Thoughts on Online Life

Guy Kawasaki’s Thoughts on Online Life
Guy Kawasaki

    Guy Kawasaki visited Ireland to deliver his Art Of The Start talk at the Irish Software Association’s annual conference. His ‘Irished-up’ version of the talk was warmly received by a packed house. Despite his busy work and tourist schedule (this was his first visit to Ireland) Guy found time to sit down and discuss his online life, how he stays in touch with everything that is going on out there, and his new venture, Alltop.com.

    1. Hi Guy and welcome to Ireland. I can only imagine how busy you must be with all of your interests. Can you give us a sense of how you stay on top of all your online activities – how do you handle email for example?
    GK: It’s sheer determination. I spend hours every day answering email. I also have an online assistant to help me with the easy ones, but I don’t have many easy ones. I am basically attached to my Air.

    2. What about feeds? Are you a big reader and subscriber?
    GK: As the content guy behind Alltop.com, I have personally found approximately 1,200 feeds. I also read feeds for Truemors stories. I’m probably about six standard deviations from the norm when it comes to feeds!

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    3. What are the tools that you have discovered in the past couple of years that have made your online life easier, more productive or more pleasurable?
    GK: My main tools, aside from Office 2008, are MarsEdit, Ecto, Typeit4me, GrabberRaster, Yojimbo, and NetNewsWire. I have found all of these essential for my roles as a venture capitalist, blogger, and entrepreneur.

    4. With regard to your new site, Alltop.com, I suppose my first question is the obvious one – tell me about the gap you spotted that led you to develop Alltop.
    GK: We saw how popurls was sending Truemors as much traffic as Google, so we figured out that single-page aggregations are popular things. We started with Celebrities because we thought it would attract celebrity news fans. Then we added Fashion. Then Sports, Gaming, and Macintosh. And we just kept on going. Now there are more than twenty topics.

    5. I have heard some people accusing you of stealing the idea for Alltop from popurls. What do you say to that? What about Original Signals?
    GK: They should ask Thomas Marban if he feels robbed. Before we did Alltop, I asked him why he didn’t do more topics and if he cared if we did Alltop. We acknowledge popurls all over Alltop – in fact, there are two links to popurls on our home page. Do you see any links on Apple’s home page to PARC or links on Microsoft’s home page to Apple?

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    Regarding Original Signals, I didn’t even see the site until after we opened up Alltop. I didn’t know the site existed – so much for extensive competitive analysis by an entrepreneur! I saw popurls, loved it, got Thomas’s ‘permission,’ convinced my partner in Truemors (Will Mayall) to agree, contacted the developers of Truemors (Electric Pulp), and off we went.

    6. Why do you think there has been such a low takeup of RSS tools (especially readers) by web users?
    GK: I’m glad you mentioned this. In fact, this is the conceptual gap that Alltop addresses. We provide “aggregation without aggravation.” Take it from someone who knows: It isn’t easy to find the RSS feeds of many sites. I sometimes think companies literally bury them. So to really use RSS all you have to do is (1) find a site you want to read; (2) find the feed in the site; (3) know that Netvibes, Pageflakes, iGoogle, MyYahoo, NetNewsWire, etc exist and where to get them; (4) learn how to use them; (5) remember to boot a separate application or go to personal page to read your feeds. And even if you do all of this, most of the feed readers do not present articles in a clean, compact way. It’s a miracle that as many people use feeds as they do.

    Personalization is relevant for people with more time than money. Alltop is for people with more money than time. (Guy Kawasaki)

    7. Can I assemble a personalised “My AllTop” page now or will I be able to do that in the future? What plans do you have for features and tweaks on Alltop?
    GK: There’s no such thing as “My Alltop” for anyone except me. In a sense Alltop is Guy’s Alltop (he grins widely). But I know what you’re really asking: Will there be customization and personalization? The answer is a definite, “Maybe.”

    It isn’t a no-brainer to do this. The people who really want personalization can already do that with the products and sites I mentioned. I don’t want Alltop to be a better Pageflakes. I want to get the people who will never hear about or use Pageflakes. Perhaps true personalization – I mean at the Facebook / MySpace level – is relevant for people with more time than money. Alltop is for people with more money than time.

    Think of Alltop as an online magazine rack. You come to the rack, see a bunch of magazines and their stories, and you quickly scan them to see which stories you want to read. If you consistently like only a few of the magazines, then God bless you: go ‘buy a subscription’ via an RSS feed in a customized page or feed reader. If your readers really want personalization, tell them to contact me, and I’ll build an Alltop topic just for them. All it takes is money – hey, you can get a purple and yellow 911 with alligator leather seats from Porsche if you want it bad enough!

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    8. So what do you say when power users say, “I can do what Alltop does all by myself”?
    GK: Some combination of the following: “Have a nice life.” “When are you moving out of your parents’ house?” “Been on a date lately?”

    9. Is there any prospect for demographic fine-tuning on Alltop? (I am a cranky 40-something, you are a beaming 50-something; we have very different interests from 20-somethings. Do you envisage being able to break things down to the point where we can find out where all the cool 40-50 somethings are going on the web and therefore avoid/ignore the stuff we don’t find interesting?)
    GK: I see this as Mission: Impossible. It’s effectively saying that all 40 year olds are interested in the same things, and it’s different from what all 50 year olds are interested in. I find it hard to imagine that this is the case. If you’re a 40 year old who likes cars, go to autos.alltop.com. If you’re a 50 year old that likes fashion, go to fashion.alltop.com. Trying to set up topics for age groups is like trying to create Virgos.alltop.com where we supply what “all Virgos” want to read. There’s no way I can see to categorize like this.

    10. What’s your favorite Alltop topic?
    GK: Hard to say. I love all my children. Egos.alltop.com is the most controversial. No one thought we had the courage to do religion.alltop.com. Twitterati.alltop.com is a fascinating real-time slice of what interesting people are doing. Nonprofit.alltop.com has the potential to change the world the most.

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    11. Coming to the wider topic of blogging, monetizing still seems to be the holy grail for many bloggers. I was interested to note how little you made from advertising on your blog in that ‘first year of blogging’ post you did. I also noted that Businesspundit reckoned he was clearing just $1,000 a month from that revenue stream. You’re a Top 50 blogger and he’s in the Top 4,000 and while I’m fairly sure that monetizing was not a key priority for either of you; considering the kind of traffic and linkage you both get, those are some pretty small potatoes (and we know a thing or two about potatoes here in Ireland). Thoughts?
    GK: Monetizing is over-rated. If people pursued their passions only if they can make money on it, most of us would do nothing. I play ice hockey 4-5 times a week. I’ll never make a pence on it. Some people write journals – they’ll never make a pence on it. Some people play music – they’ll never make a pence on it. How many people will monetize their photography? 100,000,000 people blog. 99,999,000 will never make a pence on it. So what? Blogging is self-expression, not a way to amass a fortune. People should stop looking for grails and start looking for personal enlightenment. (When I asked him about monetizing Alltop, he just shrugged and said, “It’s pure Web 2.0 – we came up with it, we put it up and if we get eyeballs we’ll think about putting ads on it.”)

    12. I saw you in the Macheads trailer. (a) What’s you impression of the film? (b) Have you ever knowingly dated a Windows user?
    GK: I haven’t seen all of Macheads yet. So (a) I hope I’m depicted in a positive manner (he grins widely again) and (b) when I had a social life, computers were not invented yet (he grins more widely).
    Prototypo, ergo sum.
    13. What’s next for Twitter? What about the ‘slowdown’ in social networking sites – is it merger time? What will happen with Yahoo/Microsoft/Google? In other words, the big fat hairy impossible question – where’s it all going for Web 2.0?
    GK: Who knows? Not me, that’s for sure. Who cares? If you just sit around and think about what will happen, you’ll never “do” and then nothing will happen for sure. People should prototype more and cogitate less. “Prototypo, ergo sum.” I wasn’t that great a Latin student.

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    Rowan Manahan

    Rowan is a professional trainer with over 20 years’ experience mentoring and consulting with executives at all levels.

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    Last Updated on November 3, 2020

    20 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

    20 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

    Whether you use your Mac for work or just for your personal projects, you’ve likely found yourself wondering how to improve your productivity. There are only so many hours in a day, and so much mental stamina you can muster before you run out.

    There are dozens of tricks you can use to improve your own productivity and outlook, but if you’re looking for a more objective, comprehensive fix, the best thing to do is equip your Mac with productivity apps designed to help you do more in less time.

    This Lifehack-exclusive list has some of the best productivity apps to help you feel less tired, improve your energy, and ultimately help you get more done every day.

    What Makes For the Best Productivity Apps?

    Beyond productivity tips, there are dozens of productivity apps to choose from too. With that in mind, here are some of the core aspects of ideal productivity apps that have formed this list.

    • Non-intrusive – you want a productivity app to weave seamlessly into your workflow and not cause disruptions. From using the app to the overall display, it shouldn’t cause any interruptions.
    • Good interface – Again, you want to be able to use these apps easily and have them benefit you. The easier you can navigate around these apps, the better.
    • Fair pricing – Many of these have free trials that allow you a good chance to test before you buy. If you do decide to pay for it, the monthly pricing plans should be reasonable for what you are getting.

    1. Todoist

      Available for all iOS devices, Todoist is a note-taking and organization app that can keep you on top of all your projects—both personal and professional.

      Its best features are all free to use, including browser extensions, task creation, and interactive boards you can use to organize all your notes.

      If you want to pay the optional $29 yearly fee, you can get even more advanced features like backups and automatic reminders. Even with the free version, you’ll stay far more organized.

      Download: Todoist

      2. 1Password

        You may not realize it, but you probably spend a ton of time recalling your passwords, especially if and when you forget one to an app you use on a regular basis.

        1Password is an app for Mac that saves and remembers all your passwords for you in one place, so you can access all your favorite sites with a single click.

        You’ll save time and keep all your accounts secure simultaneously. A personal plan is $2.99 per month.

        Download: 1Password

        3. Bear

          Bear is a unique kind of note-taking app designed to make it easier for Mac users to jot down notes on the go. With it, you can create to-do lists, give yourself reminders, and outline concepts for future brainstorming sessions.

          It comes with many different inline styles so you can customize your notes to your personal preferences, and remember the context in which you wrote them. The core version is free, with a $14.99 per year version available as well.

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          Download: Bear

          4. Hazel

            Hazel by noodlesoft is an automated organization tool designed for Mac that will help you automatically organize your files based on any custom rules you want to create.

            For example, you can set it to move untouched items from one folder into another folder labeled “action items” if they haven’t been addressed within a week. It can save you hours of organization over the course of a few weeks. A single license is a flat $32.

            Download: noodlesoft

            5. Alfred

              Alfred is an all-in-one app designed to save you time with Mac shortcuts and convenient custom actions. You can use it in a variety of ways.

              For example, you can access Alfred’s clipboard memory so you don’t copy and paste the same material over and over, or set up custom workflows to automate some of your most repetitive tasks.

              It’s a paid app, with multiple price points based on the features you desire.

              Download: Alfred

              6. TextExpander

                TextExpander does exactly what the name suggests; it allows you to type a short snippet of text, and expand that text automatically.

                For example, you can create a custom expansion that allows you to conjure a full paragraph you type repeatedly by simply typing a unique abbreviation. Once you get used to your custom combinations, you’ll spare your fingers from typing thousands of words.

                An individual account is $3.33 per month.

                Download: TextExpander

                7. Backblaze

                  If you’ve ever experienced a crash, or theft of your Mac, you know how much time a system restore can cost you. You’ll spend hours replacing the files you lost, and lose thousands of files that are irreplaceable.

                  Backblaze is an automated, inexpensive way to back up your entire Mac for just $5 a month.

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                  Download: Backblaze

                  8. Keyboard Maestro

                    Keyboard Maestro is an older app that still has the power to make your life easier. With it, you can automate any number of tasks based on a certain trigger (such as a hotkey combination, or an event like connecting to a wireless network). A single license only costs $36.

                    Download: Keyboard Maestro

                    9. Snagit

                      There are many applications for a good screen-capture app, whether you’re trying to illustrate a tech problem you have or just want to make an interesting meme. Snagit makes it easy, with built-in editing for both still images and video. A single license covers two machines, and costs $49.95.

                      Download: TechSmith/Snagit

                      10. Bartender

                        Bartender is the cleverly-named app that helps you clean up and organize all your menu bar icons. You can also access them quickly with keyboard shortcuts.

                        If you’re like most Mac users, those icons get cluttered quickly and stop you from working efficiently. It’s free to try for 4 weeks, after which you’ll need a $15 license.

                        Download: Bartender

                        11. Otter

                        Otter is the Mac app for the note taker who hates typing. It’s an intelligent voice-recognition system and note-taking app that will help you transcribe your conversations, keep notes during meetings, and even take contextual notes to yourself in your own time.

                        Best of all, it’s free to get started!

                        Download: Otter

                        12. Flux

                          Do you often find yourself feeling tired throughout the day, or feeling unable to get to sleep after a day of staring at your computer? That could be because of the unnatural blue light that radiates from your Mac.

                          Flux naturally adapts your display to emit light that matches the time of day, so you can sleep better and feel less tired. It’s also free!

                          Download: Flux

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                          13. PDFpen

                          If you deal with PDFs on a regular basis, you probably find yourself wishing for some kind of tool that can let you mark up those PDFs however you want. Without a dedicated app like PDFpen, this can be difficult.

                          PDFpen lets you edit PDFs in almost any conceivable way, giving you more power and saving you time. A single license is $74.95.

                          Download: Smile Software/PDFpen

                          14. OmniFocus

                            OmniFocus is all about task management. It has a clean interface that allows you to tag your tasks, schedule events, and even automate certain features.

                            It’s one of the most comprehensive solutions on the market, so there’s a bit of a learning curve to get the most out of it.

                            A standard license is $39.99, while the pro version is $79.99.

                            Download: OmniFocus

                            15. Franz

                              It’s tiring to switch between dozens of different chat programs like Facebook Messenger, Slack, and WhatsApp, whenever you want to have a conversation with a different contact.

                              Franz’s solution is simple; offer access to all these apps in one convenient package. And best of all, it’s completely open source.

                              Download: Franz

                              16. MindNode

                                If you’re the brainstorming type, you need an app like MindNode to help you efficiently organize your thoughts. There are dozens of tools you can use to connect ideas in a mind map, or simply jot down notes for future reference.

                                The core app is free, with in-app purchases available.

                                Download: MindNode

                                17. Focus

                                  The internet is a wonderful thing, but it can be awfully distracting. And if you’re like the majority of us, you’ve interrupted work on a project because of some attention-grabbing site or bad online habit. That’s where Focus comes in.

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                                  This app allows you to block the worst offenders with custom time limits and other constraints, so you can focus on the task at hand. A single license is $19.99.

                                  Download: Focus

                                  18. CleanMyMac

                                    Chances are, your Mac isn’t working as fast as it could, thanks to gigabytes of clutter and unnecessary files on your system. CleanMyMac helps you scan your Mac, monitor its health, and ultimately clean it up—so you can handle all your tasks that extra bit faster. A single license is $39.95.

                                    Download: CleanMyMac

                                    19. Grammarly

                                      A spelling error or grammatical mistake can cost you big time. It could be the source of a worse grade on a big paper, or compromise your credibility in the workplace. Thankfully, Grammarly can help you.

                                      This Mac-integrated writing assistant monitors all your writing and makes live corrections, so you’re alerted to your potential mistakes before they become permanent.

                                      A free version exists, but the premium version will cost you between $11 and $30 a month, depending on how you pay.

                                      Download: Grammarly

                                      Focus To Do

                                        Focus to-do is one of the top productivity apps for your iPhone around. It even has a desktop client that you can connect to effortlessly. The app is built around two things: the Pomodoro technique and task management. It achieves these things with amazing balance. All that you have to do is create a task and then set the timer right within the app itself.

                                        There is also great flexibility with the Pomodoro technique as well. You can choose whether to take a 5 minute break, take a longer one, or even skip it. On the task management side, you can also create reoccurring tasks, reminders, and place a priority on tasks too.

                                        Download: Focus To Do

                                        The Bottom Line

                                        These productivity apps should help you squeeze more productive hours out of every day, but they aren’t the only tools you’ll have to help you find success.

                                        Make the time to learn about and experiment with all the life hacks that can make you more productive. By improving your devices as well as your outlook and focus, you’ll be able to get far more done in a day, and feel better doing it.

                                        More to Boost Productivity

                                        Featured photo credit: Patrick Ward via unsplash.com

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