One of the valuable parts of our weekly mentor classes is the nugget of the week. This recurring agenda item is where every attendee mentions tech tools of some sort. Each mention is typically a mini-presentation of a few minutes in length and provides a simple overview of a tool. The first few times we did this it was easy. Everyone talked about tools they had used for months or years. However, that list soon ran out.
Finding New Tech Tools
Once our “go to” list of tech tools was exhausted we had to research new ones. This is an easy task when you use modern technology like search engines. The providers of tools want to be found. Thus, a search for a tool type and a few qualifiers such as “tool”, “free”, “software”, or “demo” will provide several results. Then it is a matter of spending some time reviewing the results for a tool that appeals to you.
Take Advantage of Demos and Trial Periods
When you are evaluating a tool you want to give it a thorough review, if possible. Unfortunately, sometimes an overview use of a tool is cost prohibitive. If you are like our members then you do not have thousands or even hundreds of dollars to drop on a tool evaluation. However, this is where trials and demos become invaluable. Many modern products provide full featured trial periods of a few days up to a few months. This makes a thorough evaluation easy and economical. Better yet, many tools send out informational emails and tutorial links as part of the evaluation period. These guides can help you quickly assess the key features of a tool and its ease of use.
An Everchanging Landscape
The tools available for developers and anyone working on the Internet change almost daily. Thus, you should make it a part of your regular routine to take a look at what is out there. We provide regular articles on tools and have discussions every week in our mentoring sessions. In the last year, we have had almost no repeat products. This includes articles that are comparisons of several products in a vertical. With numbers like that, you are probably not yet aware of some tools that can provide a real value. Block out some time, do a search or two, and leave a comment about a new tool you have found. We like to share the fruit of our research labors.