Inspired by Mike Arrington’s post about products he couldn’t live without, I’ll give my own version. One of the interesting things about reading Mike’s must-have products is that they don’t change so much from year to year, despite all the new shiny objects that pop up almost every day on our favorite tech blogs. For all the would-be killers that exist, most of these products have been in development for quite some time. As the co-founder of Friendfeed stated in his recent post, it takes a while for an overnight success. In Mike’s list, only a couple of these products have launched in the past 18 months, and even then, most of them were from already established entities, such as Geni’s product, Yammer.
Here’s my list of what I use darn near every day, which helps me traverse the web. Of course, my own start-ups would be included, but taking those away, here’s what I have (in no particular order):
WordPress: Whether I am blogging, checking my blogging stats, or writing drafts of blog posts that never get published, it’s one of the simplest platforms that I know of to write a blog post. WordPress’s parent company is also an inspiration on how to make easy to use, customizable platform, to enable others to create their own use cases. I recommend it to any and all people looking to start a blog, and although simpler platforms have emerged, I still feel like WordPress has much more horsepower. Few people know that WordPress has been out there for a while.
Pageflakes: I have a feeling that these guys won’t be on the list next year. For one, they have not evolved, nor iterated with what it could have been. Everyone loves social, and Pageflakes and Netvibes from how it’s marketed, screams anything but social. I argued before that Pageflakes and Netvibes should have been Friendfeed, before Friendfeed, and I still believe it. I import all of my favorite feeds from across the web and every day, I use it as my personal dashboard to check out all the news in my space that I need to be aware of. It’s been great up until now, but I have a feeling that Friendfeed will be my new Pageflakes next year, for significantly more information discovery.
iPhone 3G: This is one of my favorite devices I’ve ever owned. The ability to have unlimited software for unlimited use cases is the ultimate distribution platform. My favorite apps are Shazam, Yelp, Facebook, Pandora, and several of the SGN games.
Facebook: Facebook in my mind is the ultimate address book that connects me with anyone and everyone that I’d like to keep in touch with. It was interesting going to the high school reunion this year, because as opposed to the 5-year high school reunion, I knew what everyone was up to, before I got there. Facebook has mapped the perfect social graph, and their evolution has been remarkable. They started off doing one thing better than anyone else, and has inspired the now “it” companies such as Friendfeed and Twitter.
Gmail: I check my email hundreds of times a day, and nobody does it faster or better than Gmail. ‘Nuff said.
Firefox: This is my favorite browser of choice. While some are jumping on the Google Chrome bandwagon, I just feel so much more secure with Firefox, even if it seems a tad bit slower in some ways. Internet Explorer is a pain to use, and some features and functionality that you’d expect to be standard, just aren’t there.
YouTube: I check out my brother’s YouTube channel on a regular basis, and I use it frequently to hear and see just about everything, whether it is a new song, or a funny clip. YouTube is the ultimate vertical video search, as we all know. I think 2010 will be a huge revenue year for them.
Techmeme: This is where I go when I need a quick glance at the major stories of the day, and to hear different perspectives on similar technology stories. It’s a great way for me to make sure that my Pageflakes has covered just about anything and everything going on in tech for the day. With the addition of the human editors, I feel like they do a good job of maintaining some objectivity in the stories that are covered.
Hacker News: Another news source, but what I love is that entreprenurially minded folks find great stories of interest and after going through my Pageflakes and Techmeme, I come here to make sure I haven’t missed anything, but every time I go back, I find a great story, mostly from people that aren’t big blog publishers.
Delicious: When I find a great story, or something I need to check out, I use this bookmarking tool to house all my important links. The great thing about it, is that I’m building a personal search engine, and whenever I need to reference something, I go right back to delicious, and it finds awesome links that I may have forgotten about several months ago. When going through hundreds of articles a day, it’s hard to remember the exact name of a company that’s doing something interesting, or a perspective that’s worth perusing again. Delicious is awesome, and I’d be willing to pay for it now, if they had charged for it.
Twitter: I’ve been hard on Twitter in the past, but it’s the best information discovery engine that I have. Most people use it to be social, but based on the people that I follow, I’ve found awesome information, links, and referalls that I wouldn’t have found anywhere else. Please get groups. I know there are a ton of Twitter apps where you can enable grouping, but man, I’m too lazy to find out what’s best.
In the end, like Mike’s list, these companies have all been around for a while. Everyone thinks of YouTube’s ascent, but it’s emergence was far from the norm.