While even the best tools can never be relied on entirely, picking the right ones for a particular purpose can make all the difference between getting on top of your To-Do list, versus feeling like you’re wading through digital treacle. Being a scaleup organisation that supports digital tech companies working on new and innovative solutions, we’re constantly inspired to re-evaluate our own toolset at Tech Nation.
In this article, the first of a new series looking at the productivity tools that we use internally, we’ve highlighted solutions that we use for making introductions, setting up meetings (while capturing what is said), and scheduling future interactions in our calendars. Whether you’re a tech founder or are working for one in a team, we hope that they will come in useful for you too.
- In a nutshell: Transcription software that saves time by using AI to transcribe live or recorded audio
- Price: Free (600 mins/max 40 mins recording); Pro (£6.28pm/6000 mins, 4 hours recording; Business ($20 per month per user/6000 mins/4 hours recording)
- Alternatives: GoTranscript; Sonix.ai; Trint; Transcribe; DeepZen
Kane Fulton, Entrepreneur Engagement Content Manager at Tech Nation, says:
Otter.ai is a huge time saver for anybody who holds meetings, records interviews or wants to capture what is said in videos, podcasts and other forms of media. In a world where it feels like everybody is attending more online video calls than ever before, Otter takes some of the pain away by automatically transcribing voice into text that can be edited, highlighted, commented on and ultimately shared with people internal or external to your organisation. As the video below shows, it can also be a boon for personal development.
- In a nutshell: A virtual watercooler that allows teams to stay connected by the power of voice notes
- Price: Free plan (up to 5 members & limited message history) & standard plan ($5 per month, per person, with unlimited team size & unlimited message history)
- Alternatives: SoundBranch; Flock
Gary Davidson, Entrepreneur Engagement Manager for Northern Ireland at Tech Nation, says:
Think of Echo as Slack, only for your voice. Essentially voice messaging for remote teams, Echo packs a slew of features such as automated transcription, threads, and a Focus mode to help you stay in the zone and avoid distractions. Echo fits perfectly between typing and “jumping on a quick call”, as it’s designed for both interactive and asynchronous communication, combining the convenience of voice with the benefits of text. It’s easy to use too – just click and hold to record messages to teammates or a channel before listening back, or catch up on responses later on in your message history.
- In a nutshell: Streamlines the process of making introductions while at the same time protecting your network
- Price: Free
- Alternatives: It’s unique!
Gary Davidson says:
Bridge is the new LinkedIn. It lets you automate email introductions while protecting a valuable asset – your network. Operating via Gmail, Bridge allows the introducer to send two types of introductions, and it’s easy to use. You simply ask an individual to send information detailing why they’d like to be introduced to someone in your network. Alternatively, they can automatically connect with the click of a button. It all makes introductions fun and most importantly allows you to gain feedback from each introduction – giving you even more ‘super-connector’ powers.
- In a nutshell: Video presentations that make Zoom more fun and engaging
- Price: Free, then $9.99/month for premium features
- Alternatives: Zoom, Presentify, Powtoom, Macro
Harry Rhys Davies, Applied AI Lead at Tech Nation, says:
Mmhmm is a great way to make video presentations fun and more human. Unlike sharing a set of static slides on a video call, Mmhmm plugs in with existing software like Zoom. It lets the speaker appear in the foreground and the content in the background, like a news presenter on TV. Mmhmm’s creative avenues are endless, as the video shows, making it a refreshing alternative to the tired video call format.
- In a nutshell: A layer on top of Zoom that makes for more effective and collaborative meetings
- Price: Free (for now!)
- Alternatives: Zoom, Mmhmm, MS Teams
Harry Rhys Davies says:
Macro is a simple tool that gives your Zoom meetings superpowers. To allow for better conversation, you can see the share of the airtime between participants. You can change the user interface to make it easier to collaborate on work, without being distracted by lots of Zoom windows. And you can take notes, which are shared automatically after a meeting, directly in the video itself.
- In a nutshell: Krisp is a simple tool to get rid of any unwanted background noise in video calls, from barking dogs to traffic, to construction noise, or background chatter.
- Price: 120mins / week free then $5/month
- Alternatives: Noise-cancelling microphones, in-built functionality of video clients
Harry Rhys Davies says:
Krisp is a godsend in a world that’s shifted towards virtual meetings, whereby it uses AI to block out any unwanted background noise. It’s a simple download, you don’t need any special hardware, and it works with over 800 applications – including platforms like Zoom and Slack. Its noise-cancelling functionality is impressively powerful; I once moderated a tech conference using Krisp where, completely unknown to the audience, construction workers were drilling up the road right outside my window!
- In a nutshell: Meeter lists your agenda of virtual meetings for you to join in one click
- Price: Free
- Alternatives: Google Calendar, Outlook, Zoom (agenda)
Gino Brancazio, Entrepreneur Engagement Manager for Wales at Tech Nation, says:
Forgotten whether your next meeting is Zoom, MS Teams or Google Hangouts? Forgotten where you put the link? Or tired of loading up your calendar before each call? Meeter makes it 10 times easier to manage your meetings. It lists all of your meetings in a handy daily agenda in your toolbar and it enables you to join each meeting simply with one click, regardless of the platform. Simply put, it saves time and hassle.