How can you find the time to learn all that?
This is a question often asked of me. I tend to poke around new tech stuff more than others. In the end, I pick up enough tools that actually save me time, and yes, the inner geek likes it, too. Sometimes you can tell the question is just asked as a pushback, but more and more, I’m running into people who ask a second question: Have you found any new cool apps lately?
I have, and I will share. This is the first, of I hope many columns where I share how some of the many apps and websites out there that help me, and many others, sell more parts and do our work quicker, better, cooler.
Like many of my favorite apps, this one is free. There is a premium version, but I just don’t see the need for it. Think of Evernote as an intelligent online scrapbook/notebook to hold notes, clippings, photos and files. The magic elves (there is always good magic behind a good app) at Evernote will index absolutely everything you send to your account including handwritten notes, pictures of whiteboards or signs, labels and complete files. You can add stuff to your account by uploading to their website, emailing to your personal Evernote email address or using any of their smartphone apps. Once the files are in your account, Evernote will sync them across your devices or you can then reach them from anywhere using any computer or smartphone and easily share it as well from within the app/website. After your next meeting, try taking a picture of the whiteboard and email it to Evernote; there is no quicker way to take notes.
Indexing is the big thing for me on Evernote. I know many of us take pictures of parts and part number labels with our phones. I’ve been to many meetings where someone is scrolling on their smartphones through hundreds of pics of their kids, vacations, food, cars and dogs to find the one picture of a competitor’s caliper you snatched on that undercover mystery buyer visit. If instead of simply leaving the pic on your phone, you would have emailed it to your Evernote account, the magic elves would have indexed the part number label for you. All you had to do was remember some tiny detail about the label, search for it and voilÀ the picture comes right up. By the way, it also works great for indexing wine labels; so next time you taste a great new Pinot Noir from Oregon at one of those industry meals, make sure to share that Evernote clipping with the author.
Evernote also rocks as a screen clipper. You can save a clip of anything on your computer screen; the whole screen or just a bit of it. I use this feature constantly. At times I just really want to share a small table created in Excel. Rather than sending the whole Excel file, I just clip the table and insert that clipping as a picture on the body of the email. Done right, this trick will make you look good. Also more and more relevant data that we need to review is being distributed via the cloud. I often visit the needed websites for the report, clip the whole screen with the data and save it on Evernote for analysis, tracking and sharing. This means all of that data is now saved on my Evernote account ready for recall.
This thing is so cool and it’s not even an app! It’s really just an email address but a smart one, and a free one at that. I’ll give you some pointers here in a sec, but just go ahead and try it right now. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: “Remember to read Mandy’s column in Counterman Magazine.” It’s that simple. “Reminders made easy” is NudgeMail’s slogan. You will get an email back reminding you of the email you sent before.
We all check email way too often. That’s were the magic of NudgeMail comes in. Why not use email as your quick reminder tool? Their default email address is email@example.com. It will send a reminder back by next morning. But NudgeMail knows reminders are a funny thing, so they will let you customize the address to fit your specifics need. Use the email “to:” to control NudgeMail. Set the “to:” to the firstname.lastname@example.org that you need. For example, “email@example.com” or
“firstname.lastname@example.org” or “email@example.com” or “firstname.lastname@example.org” are all acceptable ways to send a NudgeMail. Enter anything you want in the subject and body of the email, then hit “send.” You’ll get a reminder back via email right when you need it and look like an efficiency expert for remembering every time.
You can also just forward the relevant email to the address that finds the time frame you need.
This week I’m out on vacation. I’ll take a peek at email once a day in the morning. Every email of importance, I’ll forward to email@example.com just to clear my inbox now and make sure all those all-to-important emails come back to me when I return to the office. This is one trick my wife and kids appreciate.
Well, that’s it for this month. Beyond the actual recommendations, remember just to try these and any other apps you find out there. There is no basic curriculum for technology; you learn by doing, just like no one came to your house to teach you how to use eBay, Amazon or Expedia. We just pick the stuff up as we move along with our daily business of selling parts. Your peers and customers will appreciate the effort; and inner geeks everywhere will rejoice!
Mandy Aguilar is the regional vice president for Jacksonville, Fla.-based The Parts House.