"Autism is a big spectrum, from people with a very severe form who need lifelong care, to people who are gifted in areas like computer programming, art, music. The thing about the autistic mind is that it tends to be good at one thing but bad at something else. Half of Silicon Valley has a little bit of autism. We wouldn’t have Silicon Valley without a little bit of autism. The book argues that in dealing with kids, both the educational system and parents have to focus not just on helping them overcome deficits but on recognizing what they’re good at and encouraging them. In dealing with adults with autism, prospective employers need to see that someone with autism might not be the most collegial person in the office, but he’s really good at cataloguing or she’s really good at drawing. Once society starts to see real-world examples of what people with autism can do, they’ll stop thinking of them as “people with autism” but as individuals. They’ll start thinking of them not in terms of what they can’t do but in terms of what they can do—and do really, really well."
Glass Beach, Northern California
From 1950 to 1967, residents of Fort Bragg, California chose to dispose of their waste by hurling it off the cliffs above a beach. No object was too toxic or too large such as household appliances, automobiles, and all matter of trash were tossed into the crashing waves below, eventually earning it the name The Dumps. Then in 1967, city leaders closed and reclaimed the beach. Various cleanup programs were undertaken.
Over the next several decades, the pounding waves cleaned the beach by breaking down everything but glass turning the sand into a sparkling, multicolored bed of smooth glass stones. The California Department of Parks and Recreation purchased the land and incorporated it into MacKerricher State Park in 2002.
Writer Leo Widrich offers a sneak peek at the next wave of productivity apps that top entrepreneurs like Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin, and Guy Kawasaki are working with daily.
Recently something terribly obvious—yet powerful—occurred to me: If you want to achieve things that no one else has done, you need to do things no one else does.
So, I thought, who achieves things that very few do? I made a list of the top 10 entrepreneurs that I learn from daily. Then I thought, which things are they doing that could really help more people? When I emailed the idea to my Fast Company editor, she came back with something I found valuable:
“One of the problems that crops up is that a lot of people get back with “I love Twitter, Dropbox, and Evernote!” Those are great tools, but might not add that much value for our readers.”
I thought that observation was spot-on. So instead, I asked my favorite entrepreneurs their absolute favorite, yet very little-known tools, they use to achieve everyday tasks.
After lots of correspondences and digging deep into these entrepreneurs’ toolkits, here are their unedited answers:
Tim Ferriss’s top tool: Jumpcut
Tim Ferriss is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The 4-Hour Workweek. Tim is the master of finding unique lifehacks and techniques to help you live a smarter life. The one online tool he absolutely can’t live without is Jumpcut:
“I can’t live without Jumpcut, which saves my ass all the time. Have you ever cut and pasted two or three things, and lost a hugely important thing that you cut first? Jumpcut, which is free, allows you to store (and easily retrieve) 40+ copied or cut things from your clipboard.”
Michael Hyatt’s top tool: Clicky
Michael Hyatt is the New York Times best-selling author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World and he writes one of the best blogs on leadership and productivity that I know. Here is his most treasured online tool:
“My can’t-live-without online tool is Clicky.com. It’s what I use to monitor up-to-the-minute stats on all my websites. It uses Google Analytics, but presents the data in a more useful manner.”
Jay Baer’s top tool: Buffer
Ranked as one of America’s top 5 Social Media consultants and author of Youtility, Jay Baer built an incredible following as one of the most reputable and yet hype-free people in the industry. And he stays on top with the best tools all the time; his choice is Buffer (which—disclaimer time—I’m the cofounder of. Thanks, Jay!):
“Directing people to what I believe to be the most worthy social and content marketing resources every day—for years—is how I built my business. Buffer makes that process of sharing information to audiences so much easier. I can read articles in the morning and add them to my Buffer. From there articles then get posted well spaced out over the day, automatically.”
Hiten Shah’s top tool: Prismatic
One of my favorite tech entrepreneurs is Hiten Shah, cofounder of KISSmetrics, who, if you follow his Twitter feed, constantly inspires with amazing content. The one tool that he said he can’t live without is Prismatic:
“I love to find and share awesome content. Prismatic has made it easier for me to find the best content faster. Now with Prismatic, I don’t have to go to dozens of places to find useful, informative, and awesome content to share.”
Jason Calacanis’ top tool: 15Five
One of the most well-known entrepreneurs, Jason Calacanis has founded several companies to date and is now probably best known for his awesome ThisWeekInTV network. When I asked him for his favorite tool, he replied within a few minutes of sending the email without hesitation:
“15Five is my favorite app because it develops deep relationships on our teams quickly and efficiently. I liked it so much I asked to invest… and they took my money.”
Dharmesh Shah’s top tool: Pocket
There are very few people whose every step they take online I follow along with. Dharmesh, the CTO ofHubSpot, is one of them. He built a massive company with hundreds of people, and what helps him do his best work? He shared this:
“I love GetPocket.com. I’m easily distracted (I have “Hey look, interesting new article on the Internet!” syndrome). Pocket helps me stay focused by deferring things I want to read until later so I don’t break my flow.”
Seth Godin’s top tool: Keynote presenter view
Seth Godin, author of the most amazing books, and recently the Icarus Deception, writes a blog that is the only one I read daily. Asked for the one tool he he can’t live without, he said “the presenter view in Keynote, which shows me my next slide before anyone else sees it. I can’t imagine giving a fluid talk without it.”
Leo Babauta’s top tool: HackerNews
The infamous Leo Babauta writes the phenomenal blogzenhabits and is also author of multiple books. Whenever my day gets slightly too much, reading one of his articles for just a few minutes helps me clear my mind. So what helps Leo to get more inspiration and productivity? This:
“I use Hacker News for inspiration and ideas. I avoid most news sites, social media and other sources of information because there’s too much noise. But HN is curated by a smart group of users, has high signal-to-noise ratio, and is where new ideas and tiny startups are being tested at the street level, unfiltered by the media and mass markets.”
Rand Fishkin’s top tool: TINYpulse
Rand Fishkin is the CEO and cofounder of SEOmoz. Rand also gives some of the best advice for startups and businesses on his personal blog. When I asked him for his favorite, little-known tool, he had a great gem for you:
“One of my very favorite tools is TinyPulse. It sends a very short survey to everyone at Moz, asking two simple questions. It’s an incredibly valuable way to get honest, direct feedback about how things are going culture/team-wise.”
Guy Kawasaki’s top tool: Fantastical
Guy Kawasaki is a man who needs little introduction. He was the chief evangelist at Apple and has since then authored more than 10 books. When I asked him what helps him to keep up with his crazy schedule, this is what he came up with:
“Fantastical. Great way to see and edit your calendar without launching your calendar application and switching to it. Very smart, too: ‘4/24 7 pm Meet with Leo’ would create an event.”
[Image: Flickr user Zechariah Judy]
What is your favorite productivity app and what would you add?
Geoff Nunberg on the evolution of the words “surreal” and “horrific”:
“Surreal” was a bit of arty jargon until it too became popular around 1970 or so. That initially had a lot to do with the counterculture — the word shows up a lot more frequently in Rolling Stone than on CBS News. But the particular surreality of disaster scenes had another source. In her last book, Regarding the Pain of Others, Susan Sontag noted how often the words “surreal” and “movie” were coupled in eyewitness accounts of the 9/11 attacks — the result, she said, after four decades of big-budget disaster films. Who needs “the irrational reality of a dream” when you have The Towering Inferno?
Allan Savory: How to green the world’s deserts and reverse climate change
Not at all what I expected. For just over half his talk, Savory discusses the issue of desertification, which many of you are familiar with. He (like many others) makes the case for restoring these deserts.
Then, in the last six minutes, he completely blows everyone’s minds. You just gotta see it.
"First, ethics. Thirty years ago, when ethics was not so fashionable, I decided that I wouldn’t work for weapons, alcohol, cigarette, tobacco, gambling, or oil companies or religious organizations. That’s a hard position to take, because it’s a big group, and they’re the people with the money to buy you—to buy your virginity. You can’t imagine how much money I’ve lost because of it. But I shall not change. Second, the project has to be good not just for me and the client but also for the final user. When you work for that human profit, you will have success. Third, I have to fall in love with the client. If you want beautiful children, the parents must be in love."