Kit#13 Tim Osterbuhr

First name:Tim
Last name:Osterbuhr
Country:Germany (based in United States)

Tim, what do you do?

My name is Tim Osterbuhr and I’m a co-founder of DiscoverGeek is a search engine for geeky merchandise. We curate cool products from various places, and all of them are hand-picked.

What is your background?

I was born and raised in Germany. I have a software engineering background from a high school that had a technical focus. I moved to the US in 2011 to finish my Bachelors degree at UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business.

While living in the Silicon Valley, I joined successful startups and earned a lot of experience in running fast changing and quickly growing businesses.

My wife and I have been business partners since we moved to the US. We’ve launched multiple businesses; from developing Android Apps, a personalized children’s book, e-commerce stores, a fulfillment company to DiscoverGeek.

Your favorite tools to help you with your work?

I’m using NirvanaHQ to keep track of tasks, projects, references (e.g. links) and future ideas. I really like their interface and have integrated it into my workflow. In the past I’ve used Trello and Asana, but NirvanaHQ seems to be the most intuitive for my needs. I’ve been using it for about a year now and would be lost without it.

If you do a task hourly or daily, find a way to automate it. Macs already come with a built in automation tool, but Keyboard Maestro has some really cool additional functions. I’m using it to save canned messages, for quick conversions, renaming files/folders, uploading folders and much more. It is usually one of the first tools I recommend to non-engineers for automating their stuff.

I absolutely hate writing lengthy emails just to explain a simple problem. In the past, I’d create multiple screenshots and add arrows + text in photoshop. Jing made that process a lot easier. Jing is a tool that lets you annotate screenshots and record a video of your screen + voice. This is great whether you want to onboard someone or just explain a small function to a customer.

Slack is our company chat tool of choice. Some companies hate chat and fear the distraction of valuable work time, but we haven’t encountered any issues. However, we usually keep memes and cat videos out of the channels. Isn’t that stuff you send to your coworkers via email anyways? ;-)

Or what Excel should be like today. Many of those functions that have been missing or buggy in Excel work in Airtable. Including images/attachments, dropdown boxes and tags are just a few of the functions that work perfectly. We use it to create timelines for projects, collect notes or receive customer feedback.

Your favorite tools on a personal level?

Boomerang is a Gmail extension. It allows you to schedule messages to be re-sent to you at a different time. It is quite useful, if you can schedule an important message to show up again in your mailbox at a later time. Also a great tool to keep track of all your subscriptions. Just schedule yourself an email reminder a few days before the bill is due.

Pocket allows you to save articles that you find online on your mobile device (even offline). Lots of interesting stuff out there that can really cost you work time. I’ve made it a habit to save interesting sounding articles before even starting to read the first line ;-)

Often, the only time people think about backups is after something bad has happened and they lost their laptop / phone / data. With iDrive you can create backups of all your files including system files from your computers and mobile devices. You never know what might happen: your laptop could get stolen, damaged or hacked and everything would be lost. With iDrive you don’t have to worry about that anymore.

Your absolute favorite tool in one sentence?

Build your own virtual assistant.