Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, our economy was undergoing a dramatic transformation to one that is predominantly service based. How we travel, how we shop, how we view entertainment—and of course, how we use software—has all been offered as a monthly fee.
And just as we’ve changed the way we offer services, we’ve changed the way we operate as companies. This creates new opportunities to further develop solutions for how we collaborate, manage our schedules, manage our teams, and generally work toward better productivity.
There seems to be an endless supply of innovative products on the market to help companies work better—sorting through them all can be a daunting process.
But after interviewing scores of SaaS founders, we selected seven tools that every company should consider.
Email and chats are a poor substitute for face-to-face conversations, but written communication does offer an enormous advantage in that you have a record of what was said. But with Fireflies, you can have the best of both worlds. It’s more than just a transcription service for Zoom and other teleconferencing platforms, it’s a virtual AI assistant that joins your meetings alongside you—and can even join meetings without you.
When the meeting is over, it will send you a full transcript you can then add comments to for collaboration with other members of your team. It integrates with all the major conferencing platforms, such as Zoom, Google Meet, WebEx, Skype, and BlueJeans, and plugs into a ton of major platforms, such as Slack, Salesforce, HubSpot, Dropbox, and more. And with a decent freeware option, there’s no reason not to give it a try.
“Where Fireflies becomes interesting is when people are having too many meetings—‘I don’t remember what I said on a Zoom call two hours ago because I’m having back to back to back meetings.’ People are saying, ‘I need something that can just help me organize and capture all my meetings in one place. I really need a Google search for my meetings.’
And that’s where Fireflies is really valuable for people, where it’s able to capture everything automatically. It’s able to join the meeting, and then afterwards, people can go back and search across every single meeting they’ve ever had.”
Krish Ramineni, co-founder and CEO
See our full interview with Krish:
Fireflies is great for documenting your meetings, but what about getting those meetings on the board to begin with? There’s nothing terribly complicated about scheduling meetings—but it sure can be a pain.
We often resort to Doodle polls and other methods to try and get everyone on the same page, but even those resources can require a high level of maintenance, especially if people aren’t following up. It would be great if we all had someone who could check in with each invitee, ask about their schedules, coordinate with other members, and follow up if they’re slow to respond.
And that’s what you get with X.AI (but as you guessed, it’s an AI bot). Most people probably don’t realize just how nice it is to have this chore off their plate until they try it. And with a free option, it’s worth the experience.
“We schedule meetings. That’s it. There is no slide two. That’s the end. I’m sure most people can empathize with the pain that comes with getting two or more people together. It’s not that it’s difficult or that you don’t know how.
You know exactly how to get you and me on the calendar for next week, Wednesday at one o’clock. It’s just that it’s yet another chore in your inbox. And if I could somehow escape it, my life would be a little bit better.
The funny thing though, is that most people come up with one fantasy for how they can escape this, which is that I spend 25 years at timing, and then at some point in my mid fifties, I’ll get a human assistant. He’ll be called Tom. And my life will be wonderful. That just seems like a lot of time to do a lot of stuff, to get Tom to kind of manage your calendar.”
-Dennis R. Mortensen, co-founder and CEO
See our full interview with Dennis:
For those of us who work in distributed teams, and would rather avoid scheduling meetings as much as possible, there’s Loop Team. This is an especially useful tool during the COVID-19 pandemic, where so many of us are stuck at home, no longer a mere shoulder-tap away from a quick chat.
Our home offices may bring some welcome comfort and amenities, but it’s nice being there with your coworkers for quick check-ins and hellos. Loop Team gets you back there again, virtually speaking.
It offers what they call a “virtual office” that gives you a real-time online presence and instant access to your team members. That means if your coworker wants to chat briefly about the latest sales data, there’s no need to schedule, no need for meeting ID numbers or passwords.
Just one click and you’re there. Loop Team creates a sense of connectedness that makes you feel like you’re all in the space again.
“We interviewed 100-plus individuals who work fully remote for both partially distributed teams and fully distributed teams. There were some common themes: a sense of loneliness, a sense of accountability, getting a sense of who’s actually around, the sense of being left out or disconnected.
And so what we’ve done with Loop Team is address a lot of those things through what we’re calling a virtual office, which provides a form of real presence, a quick way to shoulder tap. So it’s more seamless—less friction to jump into a conversation while also providing a way for you to see what’s going on and what you’ve missed so you don’t feel as disconnected.”
-Raj Singh, co-founder and CEO
See our full interview with Raj:
Unfortunately, when you do have meetings, most seem to fall somewhere between totally unnecessary and marginally harmless. But wouldn’t it be great if they were all productive and energizing? That’s the goal of Docket, a retrospective meeting app that, in their own words, “…gives teams a shared online workspace to collaborate on meeting agendas, document important decisions, and track action items for total transparency and alignment.”
They offer customized meeting templates to help your team focus on what matters and a host of collaborative tools that can turn those aimless group sessions into an engaging, worthwhile experience. In addition to making your meetings matter, it can make your team members feel valued and appreciated. They have plenty of major API integrations, and a freeware option.
“If you’re talking about meetings, you often get almost a visceral reaction, right? Unless you’re in sales, you look at your calendar, do you see a day full of meetings? Most people will groan because they think, ‘Oh, this is so unproductive, this is just such a waste of my time.’
Yet we’ve all been in meetings where you come out energized. You have a firm plan of action. You debated the topics, you came up with some decisions, and you felt like a team in alignment and you’re charged for action.
Docket’s mission is to bridge that gap between that groan of pain that you feel when you see your calendar versus that energized excitement of the effective meeting.”
-Darin Brown, co-founder and CEO
See our full interview with Darin:
There are plenty of great software solutions to help manage your employees—but there’s not a lot of options to help manage the people who work for you who aren’t your employees. And in today’s gig economy, for many companies, that can be the majority of their workforce.
Even those with a more traditional employee structure will need some occasional extra help periodically. So how do you manage those schedules and payments? With Allwork. Their system allows you to book contractors, freelancers, and gig workers, schedule them for recurring jobs, and pay them. It’s a must-have for any company with supplemental HR needs.
“Our customers may want to use someone five to thirty hours a week, all year long. Because of the nature of what they’re doing, it’s not really project work, it’s more like, ‘Hey, I need you to be at Bloomingdale’s every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for the next eight weeks.’ There’s consistency for the gig workers, so they’re able to plan ahead in terms of having relationships.”
-Glenn Laumeister, CEO
See our full interview with Glenn:
There’s lots of software out there to help employees better manage their jobs, but Khorus is special in that it’s designed for only one person in your company—the CEO (though it does disseminate information to the staff).
It helps CEOs develop missions, goals, strategies, and keep them focused on the job they need to do so that the rest of the staff can do theirs. Developed by a CEO, there’s no other software out there that’s so specialized for this one particular role. If you’re leading your own company, you should give this one a look.
“We look at Khorus as a platform for the CEO. And we intentionally don’t connect to other data sources because we want the human intelligence in the company to come through. I’ve seen a lot of CEOs that messed themselves up because they want to look at every deal. If you do that, you’re effectively being the VP of sales, you’re not being the CEO.
And so we intentionally don’t connect to other platforms in order to force the employees to make predictions and be accountable. ‘Hey, you told me you’re going to get it done, go get it done.’ How you get it done, that’s your challenge. Whether you get it done, that’s what I need to monitor as CEO.”
-Joel Trammell, founder and CEO
See our full interview with Joel:
Much about life before the COVID-19 pandemic is sorely missed—but no one longs for the experience of getting on airplanes to have meetings in other cities. And yet, there is still something desirable about being in the same room with your collaborators.
This is where The Wild can bring you the comfort and ease of staying home while still enjoying the real-time experience of sharing a physical space with others. Virtually, at least. Through the use of VR headsets, The Wild allows you to work with anyone in the world as if they were standing there next to you.
Their interactive tools give you the ability to build, write, share, and work together in unique ways. The solution is especially desirable for architects and others creating physical spaces, but its potential benefits are for anyone working with remote teams.
“The wild is an immersive collaboration platform at the core. It’s a workspace, and you can do many things in that workspace. I really do believe we can have a meaningful impact on the way our businesses operate, the way our communities are designed, and the way we think about how professional transportation happens across the world.
Because I do not believe we have a strong future when we’re flying across the world for one meeting and then flying home the next day. That makes me feel bad about our future, about what is to come with our environment, with the quality of our families, with the quality of our economy. I want something better and I want the wild to be a part of that.”
-Gabe Paez, founder and CEO
See our full interview with Gabe: