There’s an App for That

Posted 12.05.2011

Geek Alert Warning: This post will only appeal to busy managers and leaders who use a smartphone.

We’re approaching the time of year where you might be receiving a gift card for the iTunes store or some other online outlet where you can buy apps for a smartphone.  So, if you’re lucky enough to receive an app store gift card, what can you download that will at least make your life a little easier if not totally and radically change it?

I’m an iPhone 4 user and here are five apps that I find myself using all the time (Which of these are favorites of yours? What’s not on my list that absolutely should be?)

Evernote – This is a note taking app that works with text, voice, and camera inputs. All of your notes go to the cloud and are completely searchable. In addition to their smart phone app, Evernote offers apps for tablets and an application for your PC or Mac. I’ve used it for all of my note taking over the past year and love it. I’m terrible at filing and organizing documents.  Because I can search my entire Evernote database for any related word in a few seconds, I don’t have to worry about where I put the notes from that meeting a couple of weeks ago.

LinkedIn – You’re no doubt familiar with LinkedIn, the business oriented social network.  Here’s the slickest use I’ve seen so far of their iPhone app. Earlier this year, I had a meeting with someone I hadn’t met before. About a half hour before the meeting she sent me a LinkedIn invitation which I accepted. I showed up for the meeting and just after we said hello, she said, “I see we both know so and so.” I was a bit taken aback and asked her how she knew that. Simple. She had used the LinkedIn app to check out our shared connections.

Flight Track – If you travel by air, you’ve got to have FlightTrack on your phone. It uses the same system that the information screens in the airport use to relay gate information, flight status and such. It’s nice to have that information in your pocket because flight information changes all the time these days. Flight Track is also probably the quickest way to figure out what your options are to get where you’re going when your original flight is delayed or canceled. Not that ever happens.

Flashlight – This is one of the many apps that are available that allow you to use the LED flash on your camera phone as a flashlight. Sure, it’s not a business app per se but how many times a week do you find yourself wishing you had a flashlight to help read a menu or find something in your briefcase or (man) purse?  It’s also very handy for that last dog walk of the day. (‘Nuff said about that.)

Shazam – In addition to being a smartphone geek, I’m also a music geek.  When I find myself sitting in a restaurant waiting on someone to arrive, I’ll start zoning out on the music they’re playing on the sound system. Sometimes, I’ll hear a great song for the first time or one that I know but can’t remember the artist. That’s where Shazam comes in. You open the app, tap the button and it listens to the song for 20 seconds or so and tells you the name and artist. Again, not a business app, but it’s a nice diversion in a crowded day.

I could go on, but those are five apps that I find myself using a lot and make life a lot or a little easier. What’s on your list?  Share your wisdom in the comments.