Our favourite Tech Superstars Use These Apps Every Day

Dennis Crowley

Photo: foursquare

Some of our favourite tech superstars make the apps that you use every day.But what apps do they use to manage their lives, stay on top of news, and entertain themselves?

We asked and they answered.

Vivek Sharma, Movable Ink

I think the EmbarkNYC app is pretty priceless for manoeuvring NYC transit.

Dave Pell, NextDraft

Dave Pell runs NextDraft, which you can check out here >

I am obsessed with both Mailchimp and Woopra because I am a sick, egomaniacal monster who obsesses over web and email stats during nearly every minute of my life. Both of these apps do a great job of feeding my disease and ensuring that my addiction remains strong. If I am away from each for more than a few minutes, I almost immediately start channeling Bubbles from The Wire.

I am an investor in GrubHub, but even without that factor, I love the app. It figures out where I am and brings me food. It's like the app version of my Jewish mother.

Uber is just a tremendous app. I don't use it much but my wife uses it constantly. And since she first downloaded the app, she almost never asks me for a ride anymore.

Rdio is my music flavour of choice. I dig their UI wherever it is and that includes the iPhone. The fact that I can't somehow block my kids from Katy Perry is really this app's only flaw.

PaybyPhone is a great service that let's me load up my parking meter without needing a card or a pocket filled with quarters. It costs money, but so far, it saves me more.

I really dig the Readabilty app. Their design is inspired and they continue to do everything they can to make it easier for me to find and read excellent content.

Chris Dixon, investor

Uber, Trello, Twitter, Kindle, Foursquare, TestFlight, and a bunch of games.

Mostly I just use email and the browser.

Nate Westheimer, Picturelife

The Chrome browser has replaced Safari for me. Nothing beats auto-completing when you're on the go and have a tiny keyboard.

I'm a baseball and Cincinnati Reds fanatic, so I live off my MLB At Bat app. I watch or listen to most games or at least watch all the highlights.

I use RunKeeper to track my runs. Using it pushes me to get stronger and faster.

Of course Picturelife is one of my favourites. Being able to search for, show and share my 10+ years of 15,000 photos from my phone is super nice.

I use Byline as my RSS reader. It's simple and no frills. I love to swipe to the next story. The Starbucks app is nice. The only app I actually pay with my phone with.

Dennis Crowley, Foursquare co-founder

I heard Foursquare is pretty good.

Dominique Leca, Sparrow

Path, Spotify, Twittelator, and Nike Running.

Dave Lifson, Postling

Tumblr's latest iPhone app is a big step forward for them. There are some UI innovations there that are leaps ahead of what anyone else is doing, particularly the swipe up for photo post and swipe side for text post.

Mark Gurman, 9to5Mac reporter

Some of my favourite iPhones apps include the CNN and AP news apps, Instagram, Reeder, and the Dropbox app. I certainly cannot live without Tweetbot -- an excellent Twitter client with a great design and helpful power-user features.

The ABC Player app, Spotify, and Netflix apps are my go to app sources for entertainment, and games like Flight Control, Real Racing 2, and Temple Run are some of my must-have games on the go.

Nicholas Carlson, deputy editor of SAI

The Seamless app on my iPhone is my kitchen. I'll be sitting on my couch, get hungry, and order food in 2 minutes. I love how it has my credit card memorized. I love not having to talk to restaurant order-takers.

I play golf once a weekend and Golfshot GPS is a huge part of every round. It tells me how far I am from the hole, keeps my score, and keeps long term statistics about my game.

Instagram is my favourite mobile social network for fun. I'm way more selective about who I follow there than I am on Twitter, which is full of news feeds that remind me of work. I love peering into the lives of others.

Evernote's icon illustration, an elephant, is perfect. I really is a software extension of my brain and its memory. Things I store in there include: notes from meetings with sources, ideas for things to give my wife for her birthday, movies I want to see, wines I like to drink, story ideas, SAI management strategies. If I want to remember it, I stick it in Evernote and access from anywhere.

Ed Zitron, Hometalk

GymGoal is the closest we've got to the perfect gym app out there. Powerful, works quickly.

iTransit is a great, thoughtfully-made NY subway map.

While it's more than just an app, Tripit is goddamn amazing at organising all of my disparate travel arrangements into a readable place.

I am weak and coffee makes me strong. I buy Starbucks (hi, haters) and the Starbucks app is the quickest and easiest way I've used to pay for anything ever.

I want to know what the weather is, and WTHR is the best-looking and easiest-to-read one out there.

If I'm shopping I probably have a vague idea of what I want but not what ones to get. This leads to mistakes, hence me using Consmr. It barcode scans, which is cool.

Nilay Patel, The Verge

The Gmail app for iOS had a rough start, but the latest version with push notifications is actually quite good, and a solid replacement for the built-in mail app. I use it for my work Google Apps account and leave my regular Gmail account in mail, so they have different notification sounds. I also leave my work Google Apps account setup in Mail with notifications turned off so I can send work emails from the built-in iOS apps.

I record a lot of meetings, and the built-in iOS voice recorder is terrible -- you have to plug the phone in to transfer audio. DropVox records straight to my DropBox account, so the files are just magically on my computer when I'm done.

I take a lot of photos with my Nikon D7000, and Ken Rockwell Ken Rockwell D7000 Guide is a great field reference when I'm experimenting or fiddling with settings. He has apps for tons of other cameras, as well.

I live off the L train in Brooklyn, and Embark NYC sends me alerts when it's delayed. Which is often. It's also really good at trip planning, although the interface takes a second to figure out.

I take a lot of notes on a lot of different devices, and I sync them all with SimpleNote. I use the official SimpleNote app on iOS, but I use JustNotes on my Mac -- it lives unobtrusively in my menubar but it's always there when I need it. My friend Paul Miller wrote a lengthy feature about his SimpleNote workflow before he quit the internet, actually.

Brian Dawson, Brewster

Clear is a refreshing exploration of interaction design. It's a to-do list app that confidently declines the conventions. It's shockingly void of almost all buttons and has an aesthetic free of the finicky and increasingly ubiquitous qualities of skeumorphism.

Instagram is a brilliant example of a crisp, refined experience. It's one of the few places out there where people hang out and make new things. There's no sharing, linking or curating other people's work. I think that's a potent thing that I'd like to see more often.

Ryan Block, gdgt

Sparrow, Chrome, Tweetbot, Simplenote, Instapaper, Hipmunk, Uber, Runkeeper, Instagram, and Pay with Square.

John Herrman, Buzzfeed

Simplenote: It's a nearly feature featureless app that syncs text -- only text -- between platforms. I put everything in here: scraps, notes, to-do lists, entire pieces. The only way to find old notes is to search, but it works fantastically well. There's nothing polished or immediately impressive about Simplenote, but a year after installing it, Twitter is the only app I use more.

StreamToMe: Simple local media streaming app, with one huge advantage over most other (at least, I think): Transcoding. The server app, which runs on your computer, will transcode just about anything, which in turn makes it possible to view my big messy video collection on an Apple TV over Airplay. I have other streaming boxes, and I know this setup *sounds* a little unwieldy, but the ability to just sit down, open and app on my phone or tablet and hit 'play' is just so, so nice.

Last, Osmos: Best iOS game ever, hands down. It's fully native to touch, which is exceedingly rare, the music is sublime, the aesthetic is lovely. Almost therapeutic. Plus it's highly replayable.

Wrapping it up...here are the links to download all the apps mentioned.

  • EmbarkNYC, free
  • MailChimp, free
  • Woopra, free
  • GrubHub, free
  • Uber, free
  • Rdio, free
  • PayByPhone, free
  • Readability, free
  • Trello, free
  • Twitter, free
  • Foursquare, free
  • Chrome, free
  • RunKeeper, free
  • Byline, $2.99
  • PictureLife, free
  • Path, free
  • Spotify, free
  • Twittelator, free
  • Nike+ Running, free
  • Tumblr, free
  • CNN, free
  • AP Mobile, free
  • Instagram, free
  • Reeder, $2.99
  • Dropbox, free
  • Tweetbot, $2.99
  • Netflix, free
  • Golfshot GPS, $29.99
  • Evernote, free
  • Seamless, free
  • Tripit, free
  • Starbucks, free
  • WTHR, $0.99
  • Consmr, free
  • iTransit, free
  • GymGoal, $2.99
  • Ken Rockwell Ken Rockwell D7000 Guide, $4.99
  • Simplenote, free
  • Clear, $2.99
  • Sparrow, $2.99
  • Instapaper, $2.99
  • Hipmunk, free
  • Pay With Square, free
  • StreamToMe, $2.99
  • Osmos, $4.99

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