Online services our startup subscribes to


A few months ago I posted an entry about online services I subscribe to personally. Since then my startup has been funded and I'm even more so looking for ways to leverage online services for productivity gains.

So some of these are repeats, but a bunch are new. I'm really curious about what other startups are using successfully, i.e. what I'm missing.



  • What: group chat.
  • Why: persistent rooms for congregation/communication.
  • Love: easy to use UI.
  • Hate: multiple devices cause sign in/out issues.


  • What: company activity stream.
  • Why: distributed team can keep tabs on company.
  • Love: creates a more social environment.
  • Hate: AIR client can't do multiple networks at once.


  • What: forum.
  • Why: enable a community among DuckDuckGo users.
  • Love: nice mix between q/a, idea voting and general forum.
  • Hate: too easy to post without signing in.


  • What: 3-way video calling.
  • Why: hate going to meetings in person.
  • Love: way more personal than phone and hands free.
  • Hate: often peoples' Internet connections aren't fast enough for good video.


  • What: online email.
  • Why: solved my Gmail issues (slowness, sending limits).
  • Love: 2-step authentication (though can get that on regular Gmail).
  • Hate: can't add free (lower) accounts once paid for higher ones; switching between accounts a pain.


  • What: online code repository.
  • Why: easy private collaboration; nice organization support.
  • Love: easy segmented collaboration.
  • Hate: nothing.

Back office


  • What: online fax.
  • Why: my home fax sucks.
  • Love: easy.
  • Hate: feels expensive.


  • What: electronic signatures.
  • Why: scanning and signing stuff is a pain.
  • Love: nice email workflow.
  • Hate: can't control the signing date.

  • What: accounting.
  • Why: can access on multiple machines and easily share.
  • Love: wizards are pretty smart.
  • Hate: can't get access to help system.


  • What: customer service and support center.
  • Why: manages knowledge base and customer interaction.
  • Love: keyboard shortcuts.
  • Hate: can react a bit slowly; seems like it could get expensive.



  • What: virtual assistant.
  • Why: don't waste time on mundane tasks.
  • Love: can do everything over email.
  • Hate: they don't do credit card payments yet (on your behalf).

LastPass Logo.png

  • What: store your passwords.
  • Why: I can easily log into services across devices.
  • Love: works.
  • Hate: glitches here and there on certain sites.


  • What: sync your bookmarks.
  • Why: have my quick launch bar/links be the same across browsers/computers.
  • Love: works.
  • Hate: chrome extension has to kick-off manually for some reason.


  • What: get emails out of your inbox and back when you need them.
  • Why: I like 0-inbox and it helps with reminders.
  • Love: works.
  • Hate: it disappears every now and then forcing me to refresh.


Amazon Web Services.gif

  • What: cloud services.
  • Why: run as primary host.
  • Love: spin up new nodes in minutes across the world.
  • Hate: dealing with EBS issues; instances fail more than (I think) they should.


  • What: virtual (shared) servers.
  • Why: shared development resource for community platform.
  • Love: cheap, root access, no bs.
  • Hate: larger plans expensive.

dns made easy.png

  • What: managed DNS.
  • Why: speed, uptime, built-in monitoring, failover and global traffic redirection.
  • Love: just works, cheap, great support.
  • Hate: nothing.


  • What: server monitoring.
  • Why: gives alerts when on-server things go awry.
  • Love: Android notifications; alert types (exact process, system resources); great support.
  • Hate: new alerts don't remember your default (usual) settings. 

Update: Also check out a similar post from HelloFax.

Full disclosure
: HipChat, HelloFax, DNSMadeEasy, Linode and FancyHands links above have embedded affiliate codes. (I really want some custom emoticons from HipChat!)

Update: We also heavily use Asana (for project management). I didn't include it because it is free, but it is worth noting.

Update 2: more good comments on HN.


If you have comments, hit me up on Twitter.
I'm the Founder & CEO of DuckDuckGo, the search engine that doesn't track you. I'm also the co-author of Traction, the book that helps you get customer growth. More about me.