My top Apps – by Martin Dower, CEO

Running a WordPress Agency.

A quick peek at our CEO’s iPhone

As a team of two dozen digital nomads, we’re firmly in the “mobile-first” camp. Here’s what our CEO, Martin Dower relies on to keep him organised, and sane.

I’ve been remote-first since the 1990’s and mobile-first for almost a decade. I have used, abused and thrown away more apps than I care to remember. Here are apps that get used the most today – my killer list of 2016, so to speak.

I live and operate remote-first, spending over 2 months away every year, so benefit hugely from being able to interact with the business from anywhere around the globe. I’ve worked in hyper-urban locations, from New York to San Francisco, Toronto to Dubai, Singapore to Tokyo – and I’ve worked on desert islands in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean. Cafe’s, pubs, beachbars, co-working hubs, restaurants, hotels and client premises all share pervasive 3/4G and Wi-Fi allowing a level of work interaction that was unheard of just a decade ago.

Wi-Fi alone does not make you productive, we have carefully crafted our work infrastructure to ensure it works anywhere and encourages remote working. Software is, indeed, eating the world and here is my top list, 20 of the best apps I use.

  • Inbox from Google. Better than the standard email reader on my iPhone, I make lots of use of the “snooze” function.
  • Last Pass (and Google Authenticator). For massively simplified security at a personal and corporate level.
  • Basecamp 3. Our core project management system, works beautifully on the iPhone.
  • Slack. We’ve been using Slack to chat at work for over 2 years. Better than Skype, more focused than Podio and Yammer.
  • Zendesk. We live and die on the quality of our client service. I get to keep a close eye on the hundreds of work tickets our support teams pile through every month.
  • Quickbooks. In just 3 years we’ve been able to cut our monthly accounting resource used by over 90%, you gotta love cloud-based accounting and automation
  • Spotify. I love music, and have been a subscriber since day 1 – despite getting free Amazon Prime Music and a free Napster subscription with my car.
  • Trainline. I travel 10k miles per year on trains, early booking and split fares saved me about £7k in 2015 and simplified administration.
  • Twitter. Everything from TfL updates to MotoGP timing, Twitter is my window into current events.
  • Wolfram Alpha. One of the best and most useful apps on my iPhone. Answers pretty much any question you care to ask. A little bit geeky.
  • Private Internet Access (VPN). I’m a digital nomad with an eye on security so use a VPN to access the web when out and about.
  • Uber. Sorting cabs has never been easier, quicker or cheaper.
  • Nest / Hue & Ring. I’m into home automation, and with no fixed work pattern and frequent extended trips being able to remotely manage the house: Heating, lights and security over the cloud is a boon.
  • Netflix / Amazon Video & BT Sport. Downtime when traveling is a great opportunity to catch up on Season 2 of “Fear the Walking Dead” and any one of twenty or so series that I seem to dip in and out of out when on the move. And Moto GP on BT Sport. I almost never watch live TV these days.

There are many other apps on my iPhone, but these are the ones that I can’t really live without. In fact, there are no core systems that don’t operate mobile-first, everything from time recording to video recording, remote server management to vehicle tracking. Our company is spread across 3 continents and 12 time zones so we rely on being hyper-connected.