Gratitude is linked to happiness. And sharing useful techie stuff with friends also makes me happy. So I’m starting a periodic series called “Thank You for Inventing This” to honor the various tools I use and like. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not trying to get into the business of product reviews or endorsements. I’m just sharing stuff that makes my life better. Here’s the first installment:
My first shout-out goes to Jotform. It is my go-to application whenever building forms or surveys. Their base-level account is free and fully functional for low-volume projects. Paid accounts allow for more volume, and you can go up and down at any time. Jotform has a simple drag-and-drop interface and the ability to upload files and accept payments. It’s also really easy to customize confirmation emails and thank-you landing pages. Best of all, it’s super easy to embed forms into websites (like this) so you can pretend that you have your own programmer on staff. It’s not as good as Surveymonkey for data analysis, but it rocks in the area of functionality and prettiness. I found Jotform a few years ago and have introduced it to friends who now rely on it too.
Zapier is an invention that I’m just starting to discover. It’s basically a connector app that allows you to link up a whole bunch of other cloud-based programs (including Jotform!) and makes them all work beautifully like one big system. If you have routine tasks that you need to automate, you can set up a “Zap” to do it for you. Think of it as a data-entry intern. Their list of compatible apps is impressive. Again, their base level account is free. You start paying if you need volume or if you need to connect to “premium” apps (business stuff like Quickbooks, Shopify and Salesforce). But it’s actually those apps that are worth the $20/month to connect. You would pay way more than that for an intern!
Finally, I’d like to thank the inventors of Unroll.Me. I am now fearless in giving out my email address because of you. I even find myself clicking “yes” on that checkbox to receive newsletters and promotions. This little service helps control my junk mail, without making me feel like I’m missing out on anything. It simply rolls up all my subscriptions into a daily digest that shows screenshots of each email. So instead of needing to click on each message to open it and decide whether or not I want to delete it, I just scroll through one long email like how I scan my Facebook or Pinterest feed. If I want to actually read one of the emails, I just click, and I can view the full copy. There’s also a control panel where I can tell the program to continue delivering certain emails to my inbox, or unsubscribe completely from the stuff I don’t want to see at all. I like it better than relying on the “social” and “promotions” tabs in Gmail, because with those, you still need to click-click-click in order to scan and delete junk mail. I hate unnecessary clicks.
All of these programs have helped me save my most precious resource, which is time. I’m happier because of their existence. Thank you for inventing this!