Gina: We had an idea. This may have been your idea. I don’t know. Our ideas.. We share them.
Chris: They go back and forth.
Gina: They go back and forth. They’re they’re all. They’re all ours, always.
Gina: Hey everybody. Welcome to the Postlight podcast. I’m Gina Trapani. I am the CEO of Postlight and as always, I’m joined by my partner, the president of Postlight Chris LoSacco. Hey Chris.
Chris: Hey Gina.
Gina: How’s it going?
Chris: Good. It’s great to see you.
Gina: Great to see you too. You know, I have an idea for today. We spend a lot of time complaining and grumping about bad software, right? It upsets us. We help our clients…
Chris: All the time.
Gina: … Make better software all the time. It’s one of our, you know, driving factors is dissatisfaction with really bad software because we know how much better it could be.
Gina: So today I wanted to talk about some software that we really love. Really good software.
Gina: Because I know, you and I both, I think have kind of love affairs with new products or things that we’re really into or using. And we, we talk about them. We’ll be like, “ah,” shoot you a slack message. “Ah, this thing is so good.” And I thought we should bring a little positivity. Talk about really good software today.
Chris: Absolutely. I mean, you have to be able to look at the good, as much as you’re looking at the bad. And we do spend a lot of time talking about the bad. So let’s, let’s spend a little time talking about the good.
Gina: Let’s do it, let’s do it. Let’s just go. Let’s kind of go, go through a list. Let’s just name a few apps, platforms, software, whatever they are that, that make us happy and bring us joy. And that we think are really good.
Chris: Great. I got the first one. We’re probably gonna get a bunch of listener mail about it, but I don’t care. It is an email client called “Superhuman.”.
Gina: Oh, Superhuman. it’s so good.
Chris: I know you use it too. So..
Gina: I do.
Chris: We’re preaching to the choir a little bit.
Gina: I do. Tell me what you like about Superhuman.
Chris: Okay. Well first let me describe what it is. So Postlight the, you know, the email infrastructure that we have is the Google ecosystem.
Chris: We have Google workspace. Gmail, Google calendar and the like. And Gmail has a set of APIs, programmatic interfaces that they expose so that people can build apps. I, I think both within Gmail and on top of Gmail. So I think it’s actually… I’m gonna admit it’s been a long time since I used the stock Gmail interface, but I think there’s a sidebar where you can sort of deploy apps that interact with email, right alongside it. But developers can write, you know, email clients that essentially let you interact with Gmail without having to be in the Gmail, web UI, or the Gmail app on your phone. And one of those clients is Superhuman. Um, and it is an interface that prides itself on speed, letting you get around and work with your email really quickly. And they have a bunch of shortcuts, is how I would describe it. Power user features.
Chris: That are all about, you know, working with your email really effectively. And, you know, it’s actually really interesting. I don’t know if they still do this, but when I signed up and I think when you signed up, they do like a one to one onboarding session. So you actually have to join like a 45 minute call with someone from Superhuman….
Chris: ….to have that. It’s, it’s actually very weird. ‘Cause you go through your email together, which feels very personal?!
Gina: Your own email. Yeah. It’s very personal. You bring up your inbox in front of the person who’s onboarding you.
Chris: Yes. And, and it’s, you know, as far as Postlight is very much a Slack- based culture, I would say. A lot of our conversation and work happens in slack, but email is a fact of life. Like you still have… there’s a lot of, especially with clients, there’s a lot of things that happen in email. I deal with hundreds of messages a day. Like it’s just, it is… You know, email, it, it’s one of those things that is like part of the fabric of our workday, nowadays. A small improvement in being able to process and get through email, can have a tremend – like one email message can have a tremendous impact, ’cause you’re doing it constantly throughout the day. Um, and something that’s great about superhuman is they really rely on the keyboard. So you can get around the whole interface with keyboard shortcuts. They were one of the first apps to have command K support . If you hit command K it brings up a action bar. So you can type in, “remind me about this in two hours,” or you can type in “forward this to Gina,” or “this is an intro.” and so you want to automatically, you know, BCC the sender and you’re replying to that person. It makes it really easy to reply in line. If you highlight a bit of text and hit R it’ll add it to your reply, like, there’s just a bunch of like short, keyboard-first shortcuts that make it really easy to get around. And then there are a bunch of just really thoughtful touches. Like if there’s a date in an email, And you hover over it. It brings up a sidebar of your calendar for that day…
Chris: …Which is super nice. If you’re writing an email and, and you mention a date, it’ll, it’ll tell you. If you are looking at an email, and there’s one sender or a couple of people, CC’d, it’ll show you some information about them in the sidebar, which is super nice. It allows you to do, like, reminders, like, I mentioned. So you can say, “remind me about this in two hours.” You can also do, if you’ve got the mobile app, you can do “remind me on desktop,” which is one of the killer features. I use this all the time.
Gina: This is huge for anyone who’s got a commute. Yeah. This is huge.
Chris: Exactly. Like I’m going through email and I’m like, “I do need to handle this, but I’m not gonna write a reply right now. Remind me on desktop. And then when I get to the office, I will line it up.”
Gina: Yeah.. You’re on the subway or the bus. It’s a great way to clear out your inbox. Yeah.
Chris: Yes. It’s– it’s so thoughtfully considered. And the design aesthetic is super minimal, which I really like.
Chris: There’s like almost nothing going on. It’s all just the content, which is also kind of a killer feature because there’s just not a lot of distraction, which is, you know. It’s one of those things that’s easy to say, but hard to pull off, a lot of companies say, “oh, we’re gonna make it simple. We’re gonna make this distraction free.” But then if, but then you look at their app or their site, and it’s not that. Like there’s a bunch of…. Stuff.
Gina: Yeah, it’s really true. Yeah. It’s true. Superhuman is great. It’s not for everyone. They, they built a product that.. It costs money. So you’re paying for an interface to Gmail, which is free email.
Chris: Is free mm-hmm.
Gina: And it’s built for, I would say, you know, executives or managers or leaders who have a, a person who helps coordinate their schedule or works with them on their, on their email, or helps set up things. Someone who is in sales. So, so, I mean, for us, you know, prospects reach out to us, and that sidebar, when I get an email, I can see, “oh, this is this person’s LinkedIn, Twitter. This is the last emails that I had with this person.” That kind of thing is very, very helpful. If you’re, if you’re handling, you know, customers or prospects or, or clients. It’s kind of, and it’s targeted toward people who are dealing with a large volume of work email, and need to do things like broker intros or loop in your coordinator to help schedule a meeting. It’s built for, for that, that kind of thing.
Gina: The kind of thing that when I was, you know, a freelancer kind of on my own, or just my personal email, I don’t need as much. Right. But I do need it at work. It it’s, it’s truly built the… and the fee is definitely built to be put on corporate cards, for sure.
Chris: I mean, it’s $30 a month.
Gina: Would you agree with that?
Chris: Yeah. And, and spending $360 for email every year, when I could use a free interface is, it’s a lot, you know.
Gina: Steep!. Yeah.
Chris: Yeah. But like I said, for me personally, the, the time and energy that I get back for that $360 a year…
Gina: Totally worth it.
Chris: …Feels like it pays for itself 10 times over. Like it is, it’s just, it allows you to be so much smarter and more efficient with this, this sort of core part of your job of everyone’s job. I mean, a nice benefit of it is if you’re paying for it for your work email, you get it for your personal email for free.
Chris: And so that’s been…
Gina: That’s really nice.
Chris: …like a nice boon.
Chris: Cause I do the same with personal email.
Gina: We can’t mention Superhuman without saying like, I don’t know. It was a couple of years ago now. Um, there was.. They have this one feature where you can see if someone has opened your email.
Gina: Right. If they’ve opened it, when they’ve opened it, if they opened it on mobile or desktop, and that feature used to include…
Gina: …where they were. Location. Yeah. So I could see that you, Chris opened my email from your mobile device in Brooklyn.
Chris: It’s really problematic.
Gina: It’s problematic, right? There was this huge uproar about how this is like a, you know, these are, this is a, a huge privacy breach. This is not an expectation. No one expects, when you send an email that the recipient. Can then, or, oh, sorry. When you receive an email that the sender can see how many times you opened it and where you were when you opened it. Right? And so it was a huge, you know, totally justified uproar. And I mean, to Superhuman’s credit, they anonymized, they took, they removed the location data entirely.
Chris: Entirely. You can’t even turn it on.
Gina: You can’t turn it on. And they anonymized it. And so they, and they did respond. We got a little bit of a hard time in the. For continuing to, to use it, even given, given the privacy issue.
Chris: I get it. Yeah.
Gina: And look, I gotta be honest. The, the, did this person open this email, feature is, is useful.
Chris: It’s very useful.
Gina: It’s very, very useful. And, and yeah, it’s, it’s a tracking pixel. I mean, this is one of those, like,, you know, patterns in email, you know, you see this in marketing emails and, and that kind of thing. Like, you know, you can block these things from your, from your email client, if you don’t want people to see other night, you opened it, but it was definitely an issue. It was a wrinkle. Overall though. I think that that was a poor product decision. The location. But man, is it, is, does it make email so much better and easier to deal with? I can’t stand email. Superhuman makes it actually workable for me.
Chris: Yeah. It has “snippets” too. Snippets is a really cool feature where you can save..
Gina: Ugh, good!
Chris: A thing that you say often, and then, just quickly, with command K shortcut to, you know, put it in the email that you’re writing.
Gina: Yes. Yes.
Chris: So nice.
Gina: It has a very Alfred-esque interface.
Gina: Alfred is another Mac app that I love. It’s that command bar, right. That you can do things that command K inside of Superhuman is a similar, similar thing. If, if you like that pattern, I really like that pattern of interacting with my computer.
Gina: I don’t think it’s it for everyone. I’ve had friends, but you’d be like, I tried it and like, I just don’t wanna learn all these keystroke. And it just seems too complicated. I mean, I think there’s this particular power user who’s, like,, into this kind of thing. Like you and me.
Chris: Exactly what, yes, that’s exactly what I was gonna say. It’s a power user tool, um, seems similar to Alfred. Like if you, if you, I mean, I only scratch surface with Alfred. Alfred has a whole, you know, the, the workflow subsystem that they built is…
Chris: Unbelievable. It’s actually a, it’s an incredible piece of, of software design.
Chris: But I haven’t like gone deep into that pool, but I know people who do and they it’s like you watch them use their Mac and it’s like, “whoa, you’re your four speeds, four gears higher, you know? than I’m working with.”
Gina: That’s true.
Chris: Quickly. One feature I love of Alfred is if you use it as a calculator and you’re adding up numbers, when you hit enter, it copies the result of the, what you’re adding up to your clipboard. So nice. I use that, just for that one thing. I use that all the time.
Gina: Yeah. I was gonna ask you, what do you use Alfred for, for the most?
Chris: Launching apps.
Gina: Launching apps. Me too. That’s number one, launching apps, just open this thing,
Chris: finding files. Number two, I found it to be where spotlight would find like the system default spotlight would find the right file. I would say maybe, I mean, less than half the time, honestly.
Chris: Like it just never seemed to get the right thing. Alfred finds what I want, I would say nine times outta 10, it gets like when I need to look something up on my computer. And it’s really, it’s really slick ’cause you invoke Alfred and then you hit space and then you type in some part of the file name. And it’s it’s index is really good and it usually gets the right thing. Um, and then third is calculator. Those are my top three features.
Gina: Oh, interesting. So I use it for app launching clipboard viewer. The clipboard viewer is huge for me.
Gina: It remembers your clipboard history. And if you copy paste something, your clipboard… oh, I can’t tell you how many times I’m like, “oh, I need to pull up that thing.” I just, and I just, you know, go through the Alfred clipboard and it’s right there.
Chris: Yeah, that’s real nice.
Gina: That’s a big one. You know, I don’t use a calculator in Alfred because my other, just, you know, another app on the Mac that I absolutely love is, is Soulver. S O U L V E R. And it has a quick solve interface, where you can do calculations similar to what you described with Alfred. Like you can copy, you know, you can add up numbers and copy the results to clipboard, but you can do a lot of natural language stuff. Like this number is what percent of that number, or what time is it in Lebanon or, you know, 42 business days from yesterday is what date like you can do, like, really advanced kinds of stuff.
Chris: That’s really nice.
Gina: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And I had like an Alfred workflow set up and then I was like, oh, Soulver just has, this has this quick solve thing. So it is yet another key combo. This is the thing! Every time you…
Chris: So many hot keys!
Gina: Every time! So many hot keys. Literally family members will sit down on my Mac and just be like, my wife was like, “well, how do you do anything here?” and I was like, “oh, you just hit this key combo.” She’s like, “what, what, what is this?”
Chris: “What are you talking about?”
Gina: Like, I, “what are you talking about?” Like, why do you like, yeah. So, you know, it sort of just cakes on to, to the keyboard shortcuts.
Gina: So I have another app that.. We, we went, we went into Alfred and Soulver kind of unexpectedly, but I, I have one more. I have one, I have another app that I’ve been really excited about. I’m a huge note taker. I think by writing, I write stuff down all the time. I, you know, write. I personally like to keep a journal. I keep track of things like, you know, medical history and doctor’s appointments, you know, car repair log, like, house maintenance stuff, like, things that are happening.
Gina: Everything. I just have to write down everything because I know that there was gonna be that moment that it’s like, what is that thing that happened that day? And I know I can, I can look it up. And the.. I’ve gone through every note taking app on planet earth. I mean, really I’ve tried every single one..
Chris: Tried them all..
Gina: Oh, oh man. I have tried them all. And there’s one that I started using a couple years ago and have stuck with probably the longest. And I’ve been the most pleased with, and it’s called Obsidian. We’re gonna link all of these apps by the way, in show…
Chris: In the show notes. Yeah.
Gina: Yeah. So you can check them out. And Obsidian is… it’s a desktop client and it’s a, it’s a mobile client. It’s kind of like a, would call it note taking for nerds a little bit.
Gina: Because it, it is just, it is an interface to edit files, to edit a folder full of markdown files, you know? So if I’ve got like…
Chris: Sounds lovely.
Gina: Yeah. I mean, I’ve got my, you know, Postlight notebook, right? Whenever I go to a meeting, I’m taking notes in the meeting. And so I’ve just got this folder of markdown files. And I like that it’s a folder of markdown files because if Obsidian goes away, I still have my markdown files. I can open markdown files with anything. Right. It’s just text. Huge. Huge. I don’t have to, like, export that to j-son…
Chris: That by itself is amazing.
Gina: Like, it just–it’s all there. So, it’s all readable by just the system. So I really like that. I like that about Obsidian. And it lets you do things like, you know, um, create templates for, so I can say like, I’m, I’m, I’m interviewing a candidate right now and I can, you know, open a new note with pre-filled kind of interview questions that I typically use. Or I am taking notes in a meeting and it fills in, you know, meeting title, date and time, you know, who is there and I can start taking notes immediately. And I set up like a couple of templates for a couple different, like, situations that I, that I’m in. I have a personal journal template that has like a couple of prompts from what I might read about, and this, this is just like one of the most basic and built in features. It’s also… It’s Obsidian is built like it’s very extensible. So there’s a ton of like default, like, plug-ins that you can turn on and off daily notes and templates and snippets and, and then there’s like a bunch of community plugins.
Gina: So one of the community plugins it’s really cool, particularly for nerds who used to be engineers, um, it’s this thing called data view where you can essentially query your pile of markdown files. So if you put it to- do item in your different meeting notes, like, dash open bracket, closed bracket. Exactly. I’ve made like a checkbox now. Right? You can add a checkbox and mark down. That’s a, that’s an item, a check, you know, the checkbox item. You can then in data view, say, okay, show me all my to-dos across all, all of my files in here. I can make a new file. It’s like all my to-dos. And data view, you can say, you know, you can, it’s a, it’s a pretty simple query language you could say, “please show me a list of all the check items through all my files and, and where they, and like what, what note they’re in.”
Chris: That’s really cool.
Gina: That’s really nice. It’s really, really nice. You can very quickly cuz you know, when you’re in a meeting you’re like, “oh this is an action item. This is something that I need to follow up on. This is just a note, something to know.” You know that, but there’s always a couple of, you know, action items, some of which you say aloud in the meetings, everybody knows. And some of which just in your head, you’re like, “oh right. I’m meant to do this thing.” Right? So it’s a quick way to take, take that down.
Gina: Follow up on it later. So big fan of Obsidian use it for a, a bunch of different things. I didn’t even scratch the surface of all that it can do. But they’ve also recently because it’s marked down, I’ve gotten really comfortable with, you know, composing notes and marked down, but they’ve got this really nice preview feature. So you can kind of, you can see the markdown formatting, like, as you’re writing. So it feels like a lot more natural, you know, you’re not looking at hash marks and underscores and, you know, star asterisks, you know. You’re, you’re seeing, you know, the bowl NYX and the different heading levels kind of as you type and they’ve made it actually really made a really nice like markdown composition experience.
Chris: But it’s side by side? Like..
Gina: No it’s in line.
Chris: Oh, it’s in line.
Gina: It’s in line.
Chris: Yeah. See, in line is key for me. The notetaking app that I use on my Mac and on my iPhone is called Drafts.
Gina: Mm-hmm mm-hmm.
Chris: And Drafts is a good piece of software. I don’t use a lot of the, like,, real features of drafts. I do like the composition interface though, because it’s kind of like what you’re talking about. It’s, like, marked down, plus it still looks like text. If my wife looks at my notes, she’s like, “why are you writing code?” And I’m like, “I’m not writing code. This is just, you know, plain text,” but it’s, it’s sort of styles, headings and bolt and italic and block quote and list items so that you get a little bit of something, but it still feels, like,, you know. I use a monospace font. It still looks like the raw markdown that it is. But I think a huge drawback of Drafts is that it has its own little database that gets synced through iCloud.
Chris: You know, which works well enough, but it’s, if I ever want to get off of this, or if this app stops being supported, I, I wish that I had a, just a set of like a folder, a pile of markdown files, like, you were saying, like, that’s really attractive to me..
Gina: Right. Right. Cause you can sync that through, you know, Dropbox or iCloud or, you know, obsidian has its own, you know, sync. I paid for Obsidian sync, ’cause it shows you some, like, version history and things, but it’s not necessary. You can just have a folder full of markdown and sync it or, you know, back it up, however you normally would.
Chris: Yeah, that’s really cool. The, the there’s sort of a common theme here, which is like interfaces that give you, a lot of control, lot of power around your stuff, right?
Chris: Your email, your text. Another one that I think we wanted to talk about is gives you control over your data and that’s Air Table. And Air Table is just, it really strikes this sweet spot between power user tool that has a bunch of bells and whistles, and you can really build some incredible.. Like, I mean, it’s basically like you’re building pieces of software on top of Air Table, much in the same way that you would do on top of the spreadsheet, but it’s that sweet spot between spreadsheet and database and giving you, you know, good tools around those things. And they’ve just done such an exceptional job, making it really easy to understand what data you have and how to make use of it in some very cool way.
Gina: It’s true. Air tables, Air table’s great. we manage the, the, the queue of episodes for this podcast in, in Air Table. It’s just easy.
Chris: In an Air Table base. Yep.
Gina: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. It’s just so easy to sort of prototype a quick database with images and, and you know, different field types. Yeah. I mean, Air Table’s not news to anyone. Well, I still, every time I, I get in there, I, it makes, it just makes me so happy because it gives you, gives you sort of all the user friendliness but also the power of database. It just, it reminds me of like of.. do you remember microsoft access like back in the days when it was like,” oh, this is….”
Chris: Oh my God. Yeah.
Gina: It’s web– it’s web-based access. It lets you just throw together things to show people, datasets to share .With people, with images and things like so, so easily, and create forms. And then with Zappier and like other integrations, you can really do a lot.
Chris: Yes. But I, I think something that’s deceptively… Like something that they did so well, that is deceptively hard is they made it really easy to define a data model. Like..
Chris: It feels like you are creating a spreadsheet, almost. You’re adding columns and you’re defining types, and then you can put in rows and it feels like, “oh, I’m just typing in Excel.” but the reality is you are, your data modeling and..
Chris: ..It made database creation and management accessible in a way that sort of didn’t exist before or existed in the way that like you were just saying is, was like in Microsoft access, which was also a very powerful tool for its day, but this is making that available on the web. And it just, it’s so fascinating to me how, I mean, we’ve seen groups at clients who, you know, are using “custom software” in quotes that is written in the Air Table.
Gina: Air Table.
Chris: Like within Air Table.
Gina: It’s Air Table base, right? That’s right.
Chris: It’s an Air Table base.
Gina: That’s right.
Chris: It’s an incredibly powerful and, and yet accessible piece of software.
Gina: It’s true. The, the one, the big feature. And I think it’s been a while now since they launched this, but the, the big feature that Air Table launched fairly recently was this, this, this ability to– if you have like a master base of data, you can sync out, you can expose particular columns or synced views, right. So you can hide, you know, you don’t have to. All of the columns. Right. You can share some of the columns. Right. So, you know, I’m an example, like, if you had a list of people’s names and their, you know, freelancers names and their hourly rate, right and what kind of services they provided. You could sync out, you know, names and services, right. And not, and not expose the rates. Right. But then others could build bases based on that sync view to add more fields. so it’s a way to kind of link data across different Air Table bases in this way. That’s like very, very powerful.
Gina: And, and, and leads you toward, like,, this is our single source of truth, right? Cause this is, this is always the, this is the dream, right? The single source of truth of data. This is the master list of widgets, right? Like work from this. And when any, anything ever changes here, it should cascade down to every other. Thing that references it, right? That’s the, that’s the basic concept of a relational database. And that’s what Air Table exposes to just a, a power user. You don’t have to be a database, you know, admin, or even a spreadsheet whiz right. It, it just makes it very accessible.
Chris: It makes it very accessible. And, and I’m sure that there are roles that have started to crop up in companies that essentially be, where Air Table is their tool. Like that is the thing that they are using. Their job is managed within Air Table, and that’s just incredibly impressive to me.
Gina: It’s true. I’m excited to talk about this next one.
Chris: I mean, it’s, everybody’s favorite topic, expense management.
Gina: I mean, who doesn’t, who doesn’t love expense management. [laughs]
Chris: who doesn’t wanna think about doing expense reports and credit and credits, corporate spending.
Gina: You, you know, you– I’m gonna give you credit for this. You, you and I had stepped into our roles, you know, very recently and like pulling a beautiful fluffy white rabbit out of a hat. Chris LoSacco was like, “listen, I don’t like the way we manage our expenses and I have a solution. This is it.” And I remember just thinking like, where did he get this? Why is it like, what, what is this? Like? I was like, so I was surprised. And you were like, “no, no, this is it. We are gonna do this.” So tell us, tell us what the..
Chris: This, this is what I do for fun. I look at software platforms and I’m like, I wonder if this is good or not. I, I have used so many of these ex… so what are we talking about? We’re talking about you’re in a corporate setting. You have expenses that you are either you wanna put on a corporate card, like, a corporate American express or something, or you’re paying out of pocket and you wanna get reimbursed. I have tried so many of these platforms that supposedly make it really easy and simple. I’ve done Concur. I’ve done Expensify. We were using Abacus before this. Abacus is a fine piece of software like it does okay.
Gina: It’s okay.
Chris: Um, , it was also really frustrating. A lot of the time, especially for people who were trying to sync corporate Amex charges onto their platform, like, that never seemed to go smoothly and it would always get broken and then it wouldn’t match QuickBooks and there was always something not right.
Chris: But this platform, Ramp, brings things together. So Ramp is all in one corporate spend management. So they do corporate cards. Like they will give you physical cards on the visa network that are Ramp branded. They do virtual cards, which we’ll talk about in a second, they do expense reimbursements. So if someone pays out of pocket for something, you can get reimbursed for it in Ramp. They do spend analysis. So they look at the spending that’s happening across your org and they say, “You’re paying for two design software platforms. You may want to shut that down,” or, “oh, you’re paying for slack monthly. You should switch to the annual plan. You’ll save 11% or whatever. The,” I don’t know what the number is, but “whatever the number is.”
Chris: They will make all these recommendations because they’re looking at all of your commerce. And the, the, you know, if you spend on their credit cards, they give you one point half percent cash back…
Gina: cash back.
Chris: … which awesome for a, you know, Small business.
Chris: Or growing business, so it was something that looked really good. And the, and the thing, why are we talking about it on this episode is because the implementation is really, really good.
Gina: Top drawer.
Chris: It’s top drawer that use, oh, it’s easy to get around. It’s fast. The inter– I mean, you’re dealing with..
Gina: So fast.
Chris: …huge volume or for our business. There’s a huge volume of transactions. You don’t wait for things to load like it’s intelligently, you know, cashed and passionated so that you’re looking at the right things in the right places. It’s really easy to manage users and cards. So when you hire somebody, it’s easy to get them on. When you let somebody go, it’s easy to take somebody off. You can spin up. Anyone can request a virtual card and it gives them a virtual credit number. The approval process can happen in email, but it can also happen in slack or over text message. Like it’s really well done the way they, you know, sort of lined everything up.
Gina: What’s a virtual card?
Chris: So virtual card is, let’s say I am an engineer. And you know, at Postlight we have a professional development budget that is generous for each person. If they want to do an online class or get materials it’s for their own learning. So if I’m an engineer and I want to take a, you know, a react course and it costs $299, I can go onto Ramp and request a virtual credit card for the, for the limit, you know, a $300 limit, to pay my, you know, entrance fee into this class. And the, if the card gets approved, it will issue me a visa card that I can pay with. And I can go up to that limit. And if it, you know, if it goes over the limit, it gets declined and that’s it. It’s managed all in software. There’s no physical card anywhere. It just generates the number. On demand.
Gina: This is so great because we, I mean, we were in a spot where only certain people had cards and they were physical cards. So if somebody else needed a card, they’d have to borrow your card and then they’d have your number..
Chris: That’s right.
Gina: …maybe saved in their, you know, auto fill and their browser, you know, whatever, you know, and then it was like, “wait, this charge, who was it?” It was terrible. So the virtual cards really let you, let people have what they need in order to get their transaction done, but also control any sort of.. I don’t know how many times I was, like, “Oh my Amex, like, we gotta kill this one. I need a new one. You know, like that. I have to go change it everywhere.
Gina: And as, as a user, I mean the end user experience is like, you know, you take, you go out for, you know, take a client out for lunch. I hand over my Ramp card to pay. As soon as the, the, the server runs it. I get a text message. “Hey, you’ve got a charge for this much.” And then I’m in a kind of a dark restaurant. I, I take, I take a picture. Of my, of the receipt. This is so cool. And text it back to Ramp and Ramp is like, ” got it. Great.” You’re good. Like that is the entire like interaction. And I have taken photos of crumpled receipts on the street. at the bus stop, like, half, you know, like, barely legible and it is magical. Right. Got it. I see the date and the amount and like, you know, your receipt has been submitted. It’s incredibly, incredibly good. And it’s on the spot fast. It’s so nice to get that text message. I’m like, “oh right. Let me not forget to do the receipt.” Cause I used to just, you know, stuff, receipts in my drawer. And then at the end of the month, scramble.
Chris: Yeah. Same.
Gina: To make sure that I had them, you know, or..
Chris: Or I would have to go hunting for PDFs, for all these online services. And now if I get an email that something charged my card, like, it’s a recurring service, I forward… So AWS is an example, Amazon web service. We have a monthly account with them. We get billed, you know, for the services that we use it. They, they send an email every month with the invoice. I open it up, I look it over. If it looks right, I forward it to ramp and we’re done. And it auto matches. I don’t have to do anything special.
Gina: So good.
Chris: It’s so good.
Gina: It’s so smart. I, I, once I once forward, so I got a receipt to my personal email. I forwarded the email from my personal account to my Postlight account and then sent it to ramp and ramp says to me, responds, looks like you forwarded this from another email address. You know, you could just add that email address to ramp and just send it to us directly. and I was like, what?
Chris: That is so good.
Gina: And so I added my personal email address and now ramp just accepts receipts from my personal email. I, I mean, so smart, right? Like it was parsing… email parsing is not easy. no, it’s not easy. But if pars the email and said, okay, I see forwarding headers here, and I’m gonna encourage this person to eliminate one step from their life. Right. Cause everybody hates filing exp– filing expenses is the worst.
Chris: It’s the worst.
Gina: Nobody loves doing it.
Chris: I, that, that is such a good example of a thoughtful product person making a good decision there. And I don’t know if it was someone with a title, product manager or engineer or designer. But someone had the thought like this is a common pattern and I’m gonna make it one step easier. And what a delight that is like, that is how you make good software. I mean, once you get the basics, right. Make it fast– we’ve talked about this on the show before, make it really fast, make it, you know, look nice and it’s not cluttered and all the basic stuff, but then you get to features like that and you’re like, wow, I’m hooked.
Chris: That is so good.
Gina: If a piece of software can make a thing that you dread like email or filing expenses actually delightful. That is huge. Huge.
Chris: Exactly. Exactly.
Gina: Wow. There’s so much positivity flow here. This feels great.
Chris: It’s great.
Gina: God, I love great software.
Chris: We should do this more often. I’m just gonna talk about all the software…
Gina: We should! We should, we should.
Chris: We, we should talk about one more, which is kind of like, you know..
Chris: Standby. I stand by standby.
Gina: It’s just tried and true. I added this one, tried and true, tried and true. I added this one. so Google sheets. I mean, just spreadsheets in general, it just happens that the spreadsheet app that I tend to interact with the most is Google sheets, ’cause we’re a Google shop. And I use Google personally. I, I gotta tell you Google sheets in particular. It just, you.. it’s so good. It’s getting so much better. You feel it getting better?
Gina: It’s so smart and more and more, there are just times when I’m like, you know what, I’m just gonna make a sheet that like, does this, I’m gonna model this out in this sheet. And I, I find that it just. It’s figuring out it’s making suggestions. You know, when I enter.. You know, enter in a formula and it’s like, do you wanna fill this in? Oh, it’s like this, you know, fill us in. You know..
Chris: It’s so nice.
Gina: The suggestions are really, really smart. They just launched, they just rolled out a series of new features. One of them was like, you could define. Your own function that you could roll out, like, like, your own sort of custom function, like, like, they have a lot of built in functions like SUM and MIN and MAX and average, you can write your own and then just call it inside of, of your sheet. Which is just like, I mean, kind of, you know, number cruncher plus programmers dream. It’s just this level of, like, customization. That is just, just so nice. And the more I dig into, you know, just, I mean, there’s basic, there’s like, you know, your, your regular spreadsheet stuff, pivot tables and conditional formatting.
Chris: Mm-hmm .
Gina: Referencing other sheets. There’s also, like, magical stuff. Like, like, bring me in, you know, the value of, of this currency, like, right– you know, up to date, you know, or, or the, the stock price for this symbol, you know, right into my sheet. Like that is some powerful wild stuff.
Gina: That is so nice that, that you can do it in a web app. That’s on the web, um, and can, and can pull that kind of stuff, dynamically. I have an embarrassing number of personal sheets. I used to sort of track and run my life.
Chris: You have to inventory your personal spreadsheet library at some point.
Gina: Seriously. Yeah. I know. Seriously when my family was getting vaccinated for COVID, I, I was like, I was, I had everybody’s family. Like everybody in my family is all their names and then their dates. And then like, I was doing these sparklines of like, who was closest to being fully vaccinated by the time we would like, so we could have a family party. Yeah.
Gina: Like, and I shared it. And this is the other thing, because it’s on the web..
Chris: You just share it.
Gina: You shared a link and you can say, you know, copy this. And other people can like.. I, I, you know, I like to, you know, hang around personal finance crowds, like, people model out sheets and then share them and you can copy them and, and make them your own. I mean, we do this at work. I mean, just ad nauseam. We have a..
Gina: …modeling out different scenarios and then, you know, and, and, and adding more variables anyway, love to the google sheets.
Chris: Love to the Google sheets. What, there’s one feature that recently came out in Google sheets. That’s a little bit lesser known, but I really think it’s, it’s great. Which is cell level edit history.
Gina: Oh, so nice.
Chris: It’s so nice. And especially if we’re thinking about, like,, if we’re doing something where we’re, you know, modeling out scenarios or something and it’s like, but how did we end up here? And where do, where were we before? And being able to just look, you know, the whole version history of the document, that’s helpful too.
Chris: It’s a little cumbersome, especially if you’re looking at one particular piece or, you know, a set of data and being able to look at a cell and say, let me just go back a few or let me see, you know, “where did this get changed?”
Gina: “Who was the person to edit this and when?”
Chris: Huge, it’s so helpful. And so, and there are things that we’ve legitimately caught and been able to like get ahead of, because we were able to, like, dive down to that granular, granular level of detail.
Gina: That’s right. That’s right. Yeah. Yeah. I find the version history in sheets is a little confusing. Right. ‘Cause if you have multiple tabs, it’s, like, harder to see which tab where the change, like, unlike a doc where you can see it in one view. But yeah, that, that, that’s true. Yeah. That cell edit history is very, very.
Chris: I love software.
Gina: Wow. I love software. This is good. This felt good.
Gina: And I kept thinking of more things that we could talk about. We’re gonna have to do another one of these. This is like feeling energized. Like I wanna get out there and make really good software that, that competes with, with, with these things.
Chris: Yeah. We should have, we should have some guests on too. If you’ve got a favorite sta… do you, um, subscribe to any of those, like, workspaces or, uses this or? I love those things.
Chris: I love that stuff.
Gina: Oh, I love those things. Yes. We should just ask every guest that comes to the show. Give, give us your favorite product? Give us..
Chris: Your top three. What are the three? What are the three platforms you couldn’t live with?
Gina: We gotta do that. We’re gonna do it.
Chris: And i, I would love to hear from people if there are, you know, specific things that it’s like, I can’t believe you didn’t talk about this, or why haven’t you talked about that, especially when it comes to business software, because there’s so much stuff out there that it’s just bad.
Gina: Such garbage.
Gina: Yes. Please write in, send us a note. email@example.com. My, my, my top three favorites. You have to talk about X, Y, Z. Tell us what your favorites are. We would love to hear it because there’s, there’s a lot of crappy software out there. It’s just a lot of really good stuff. It raises the bar for everybody.
Chris: That’s right. And that’s where we should. That’s what we should be thinking about.
Gina: Yes. All right. Thanks Chris. This was a lot of fun.
Chris: This was great. You know, I, I think we like to pride ourselves on hopefully making stuff that fits in this category, that people are also talking about lovingly and with a feature by feature breakdown of what makes everything so great. If you’re listening to this episode and you have a challenge where you would like, I think I need great software that can help me get to that next level. We’d love to hear from you. Um, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gina: Reach out. We read every note. We read every note. Thanks everybody.