TBT 121 | Platstack

 

There are so many online productivity tools out there with their own unique functionality, but of course, some will rise to the top. Platstack is a great example of a productivity tool with a clear-cut goal in mind, and is simple to use to boot! Penny Zenker is joined by Steven Kiger, who serves as the Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Platstack. Together, they talk about why, out of all the productivity tools out there, you should be getting on Platstack. Is your web browser constantly saturated with tabs to look at later? Then this recent development in productivity technology should appeal to you!

Listen to the podcast here:

Platstack: Stacking The Odds In Your Favor With Steven Kiger

I’m excited to have Steven Kiger here because he is the Cofounder and Chief Marketing Officer for Platstack. We’re going to find out what that is because it’s a unique new productivity tool that I’m excited to show all of you. He’s focused on creating digital products that improve the way that we interact and experience content in the digital spaces. That is so needed because we are quickly and easily overwhelmed with the overload that’s available to us. Steven leans heavily on his years of background in experiential and humans centered design so that’s how he comes to this. Without further ado, Steven, welcome to the show.

Thank you. I appreciate it.

I love different technologies that help to make our lives easier, save time or invest time in the places. I understand that you have this new digital platform. Before we talk about that, I want to know what’s the passion and excitement behind creating these tools for productivity.

Here at RocketSource, we work with a lot of leading-edge and enterprise-level companies. We’re always trying to find products or services that are needed in the marketplace. Platstack is the second product that we’ve launched. The first one is a company called Pulsemotiv. It’s an audio engagement platform where you can upload audio and guide users through your website on a personal basis. It’s similar to this but it’s being able to talk to people through your website, add that personal touch, tell the why of your business and we found some interesting angles around that.

Platstack itself, in general, is a platform. If you go to Chrome, I’m sure you’re the same, you have 50 tabs open at any given point. You don’t want to exit out of those tabs because you never know you might need to come back to that. What we wanted to solve first is being able to literally with one click of a button, save all those tabs into what we call stacks. It’s essentially a digital folder where you can add any link that you want. It could be a YouTube video, a podcast link, a book, a website, a blog, an Amazon link or whatever it is. What’s nice about it is, you feel confident closing down those tabs. The next day, let’s say you have a folder for all your business organization that you do every day. With one click, you can open up all those tabs again. You can easily save, close, and open all your tabs at any point.

Does it automatically login for me?

Yes. As long as you’re logged in through Google or Facebook. What’s cool about it is you can, if you want to, share that stack with other people. Let’s say you’re in college and you’re doing research on a new subject. You found a couple of Wikipedia articles, YouTube articles or videos and your friends have done the same thing. Before, you’d have to email them or text each other. What you can do now is you can all organize or collaborate together and put all those links into one stack. You can start to look at everyone’s research and ultimately come up with the best solution. What we’re finding here at RocketSource is, I have a stack with one of my clients that has 35 links in there.

It could be Google Docs, Google Drive, Google Slides, Google Analytics or a couple of websites. What’s nice about that is every time I log into the platform, I know exactly where those links are. I don’t have to go to Google Drive and try to remember, search and find what that platform is or what that link is. From a truly digital organization, it solves a lot of problems where you’re having to remember. What’s cool about is you can add notes. Let’s say you save a link and you want to add context around the link, “Why did I save this link?” “You should check this out or I saved this link because of this.” In two weeks when you go back to the link, you’re not, “Why did I save that?”

In my head, I’m looking at all the different uses. All across the board, it’s fantastic because it’s true that we don’t always finish a task that we start. In my Mac, or maybe it’s Chrome that’s doing it, it’s shutting the browser down. I’m logging in and I’m like, “I lost everything that I was working on yesterday.” I was researching a blog and all of those sites are gone. It’s so frustrating. I could see it for personal, client, project use and for outsourcing. It’s fantastic.

TBT 121 | Platstack

Platstack: You can have 50 given tabs open at any given moment, but you never know when you might need to come back to them.

 

The coolest thing and what we like to call it is Stack It Forward and it’s our initiative. We’re excited about it. My background is in design. I’ve been a graphic designer for years and I get people all the time asking me, “How did you get started? How did you get these clients? What did you do?” I’m a person that likes to help starters and people that want to be an entrepreneur. I love to help them. Where Platstack is such a cool and unique opportunity is, imagine if I had a stack for, “If you’re starting with graphic design, go here with one link. Here are the best books to read, podcasts to listen to, videos to watch and blog articles to read.” Adding all that content and all those links no matter what they are into one digital link, those people can consume that over time.

Penny, you might be someone that loves podcasts where someone else might like to watch videos. Everyone likes to consume content differently. This platform allows that user to be able to consume it how they want and whenever they want. The other cool thing is, let’s say I added a link. I found a cool blog article and you’re going to get notified, “You followed this stack. Steven added another link. You should check it out.” It becomes a way to follow people, but not follow them to have people tell you what they think like Twitter. It’s literally creating value by curating knowledge. That’s a cool angle that we’re excited about that hopefully over time will start to grow.

My mind is going crazy because I’m part of this new app program that also curates knowledge on an app basis. I could see how this could potentially be connected because if it’s on a browser, it’s not as usable on the phone.

We’ve done a lot of user studies and a lot of people consume content through their mobile devices. We are actively building out mobile and native apps. With a click of a button in whatever browser or platform that you’re using, you’ll be able to save it into a stack without having to log in or anything. That is coming.

This is going to be my new favorite tool because sometimes I find that it’s the simplest solutions that are the biggest and the best solutions in terms of the difference that they make. I am definitely excited about this particular solution. It’s powerful. You’re going to send us to a website.

We’d love any feedback. We’re actively in beta now. As part of the beta, there are going to be bugs and little things that we’re finding. We’re looking for people that are willing to squint their eyes a little bit and say, “This is a platform that we feel we could use,” but also give us awesome feedback that we can implement into the next version.

I’m a geek like that. I’d love to be on there and give you some feedback. I’m sure there are some other people online who would do that. Do they go to Platstack.com?

Yes. The reason why we call Platstack is a platform to stack your links. You can register through Gmail, Facebook or an email and you’re in, and you can get going.

Is there anything else that you’d like to share?

It will be interesting for people to start using it. What we found is, you’ve got to save at least ten links to start. The big thing is, you’ve got to create a new habit out of this. We’re making it as easy as possible. You don’t even have to log in to save links and I’ll show you that as part of our Chrome extension. At the end of the day, we want to make it easy for someone to say, “With one click, you save a link somewhere and you know it’s there.” You can always come back to that.

You can even add reminders or alerts to it so you can say, “This link is too long. I’m at work and I know I can’t read now. Send me a reminder on Sunday at 5:00.” I know I’ll be sitting on the couch and at that point, you’ll get a reminder that says, “Check out that link that you saved.” We’re trying to make it easier. With so much digital clutter and so many websites and content, we want to make it easier for people to save their links, but also easier for people to consume content that maybe they’ve never found. Hopefully, you’ll find the value out of that.

Outside of your own apps, which you’re passionate about, are there any other productivity apps that you say are important in your life? I’d love for readers to know about that.

Platstack is essentially a digital folder where you can add a link that you need. Click To Tweet

We use Slack for internal communication between our team. We have a small team of fifteen so it helps a lot. The other big thing we use is Jira for development cycles. We do a lot of development in-house. When I was a solo entrepreneur, I used Asana a lot for project management. I know Basecamp is pretty good. They’re free, which is cool. They used to be charged. Any of those project management tools are super nice and helpful, especially when you get more than two people on a project. From a business perspective, those are probably the ones I use the most. What’s cool about this platform is you can use it for business and personal. I have stacks for golf. I’m a big golfer and I’ll find videos of fixing my swing. They save those on the same platform, which is cool so you can segment it out. Here’s my business stuff and my personal stuff. As you find cool content, you can save it. I found that I’ll start saving stuff on YouTube because you have your favorites on YouTube. I’ll find stuff on Reddit and Instagram and now you have to remember, “What platform did I save that on?” What’s cool about our platform is, it crosses platforms.

That’s a big advantage. I don’t have to go searching across all those platforms to get it. Are there any other personal productivity tools that you use or how do you manage your email? Is there anything there that could be useful for the people who are reading?

Not really. I’ve tried the note stuff like Checkmark. I honestly like sticky pads and sticky notes. It feels good to check stuff off. When I’m balancing anywhere from 5 to 15 projects at any point, having a platform like Jira or even Monday.com we use here personally as well.

Our readers always want to know because you think differently the way that you’re putting these stacks together. The things that you might use might be different than some of the other people that I have on so I like to ask that. What’s your definition of productivity and why?

For me, productivity is being organized either personally or professionally. It is a big part of balancing so many projects. When you feel organized, you feel confident. That is part of it. Even at home, I know that Marie Kondo is a huge Netflix series. Being organized makes your life better. For me, I found that when I clean the house and my computer, I feel better, more confident and I can do more.

Hence, you’re helping people now to organize themselves as well so there seems to be a theme. Thank you, Steven, so much for giving us that insight. Let’s go in and do a demo.

This is my personal stack or personal account. What’s cool about this is you can add multiple accounts over here. I could add my personal one and my business one as well so I can toggle between the two.

Some of you might not know this, that’s a standard Google Chrome function, correct?

It’s Google Off is what it is. You can log in to multiple Google emails, and toggle between them too. There is a lot here. Here there are six logins.

Is it a plugin for Google?

No. This is not a plugin. This part is the extension. This is native to Chrome. You can do it in Firefox, it doesn’t matter. For all the users, definitely use this on Chrome now, because we have a Chrome extension. We will be building a Firefox extension as well and we will have native and mobile apps coming up as well.

I wanted to point that out because many people have multiple email addresses. They may not realize that they can have different tabs that are associated with each of those emails and whatnot.

This is my desktop and this stuff is changing all the time. Next time, you might log in and it might look a little different but we’re visual. We’re almost Pinterest-like. We want people to look at pictures to remember what they are. This is my personal stack. These are for when I’m sharing my knowledge to the world. Let’s look at the design inspiration. Click here and this is what you call a stack. It’s going to load. What I’ve found for this stack is inspiration for websites or design in general. These are sites that I use when I’m looking to design a website, an app or design a brand. These are the websites that I like to use so all these are different websites. You can with one click, open up all 42 of these links or you can go individually and click on this, and this is going to open up this website.

What about subsets within the stack?

I have one for design systems so I’m building out one for design systems. Here are some good write-ups, a Medium article, actual design systems that you could go to look at and see how they’re using it. Here’s how you create a design system, websites that you can do and videos. You can segment out inside a stack based on media type or subject matter. As a user of, “I want to learn about design systems,” I can click open five links. Here are my five videos that I can play in line if I want to, so that’s cool. I’m using Logan’s computer so he’s got a lot of stacks going. Instead of going to YouTube, you can play in line here. You can do either. Back to what I was saying, you can add notes. Imagine if you were sharing this with someone and say, “Penny, check out minute two for X, Y, Z.” I can add this and now when you come and see this video, you can say, “Minute two is where I want to focus my time on.” You can add context to your links, not just, “Here’s your link.” It’s like, “Check out this part of this link.”

TBT 121 | Platstack

Platstack: Platstack is free for any user that wants to incorporate it into their workflow.

 

You can add notes, comments, reminders that say, “I want to watch this video tonight. I know I’m going to be at home.” You can get granular on when you’re saving links, what they are, where they’re going, when you want to look at it, and what information is there. This is a good example of organizing. If someone wanted to learn about design systems, they could go to Google and do a search but they’re going to find all this information that’s probably not relevant. I, as someone who’s built design systems, have found the best of the best. Here are the best write ups and best videos. I’m still building on this one so why not follow someone that’s done it before? I’m curating all the best of the best for you.

Another cool thing about this is, let’s say I’m logged in to Platstack, but I’m not on the site. What’s cool about this platform is because of the Chrome extension, I can go and click on Parking Lot, click Save to Link and it’s going to automatically save that link to that Parking Lot Stack. I didn’t even have to log in or go to the site. With the extension, I can save to whatever stack I want. Here’s the one that I saved. You don’t have to log in. The other cool thing is, and this is fun, is this is going to automatically add all your tabs that are currently open. I can go here and start dragging links over.

One of it is for the personal productivity aspect of it but I’m super excited to be able to quickly share knowledge. I’ve spent a lot of time and effort finding the best sites, videos, tools or whatever and I get excited then about being able to share it. That being said, is there a private basis because I can invite people? Can they be public and private? I might say certain resources are my knowledge and expertise. I want to maybe have part of a membership where people buy it and other times when they’re free. How do you organize that?

You can toggle everything private or public by clicking at a stack and changing it from public to private.

If it’s private, can I invite people?

Right now, we don’t have active collaboration done. It will be soon. The only way to share is it has to be public. Eventually, we will have a function where you’d be able to invite someone to a private stack and you can collaborate that way. It’s not done yet.

How does somebody find your stack, for instance?

We will have a full explore functionality where you can go and search subject matters. We’re going to have an algorithm to figure out who you are and what you like. We’ll start to predict and show you, “This is a relevant stack that we think you like.” As you know, that takes a lot of time and it’s a lot of development work. It’s people that you know and your personal network that you have. We’ll release this to the public where it says, “If you are a designer, come and follow these people.” “If you’re a productivity person, follow this person.”

I’ll send them a link, is that what you’re saying?

Yeah. If I went to this design inspiration because it’s public, I can go to the share functionality and here’s the link so you can share it to Facebook or whatever it is.

It’s publicly or with certain people.

You’ll be able to eventually follow people. I can view my public profile and this is what my profile will look like for someone that’s not me. It’s similar to ones you’ve seen before. You can change your logo, cover image and people can follow all these stacks if they want to. We’re starting on the social side. It’s more of the organization at this point. We’ve probably iterated and changed probably five times so far from all the feedback that we’ve got. We’re watching people constantly. The person running this product, his name’s Buckley. He’s amazing and super talented. He’s done this before. What he loves to do is, and I totally believe in this, sit behind someone and watch them use it.

Everyone likes to consume content differently, in their own ways. Click To Tweet

It’s amazing what you’ll learn. It’s amazing what you’ll find people trying to click things that you can’t click and those usability studies are fascinating. We’ve done a lot of those and we’re looking for more. For any of your users that log in, feel free to reach out to us. Tell us what you like and don’t like and what are the things that don’t make sense. We have a huge list of things we want to get to but we’re super excited about the product. If I was to go in here and save all, instead of having to drag them individually, I could save all these into whatever stack I want. Let’s say Parking Lot and all those links have been saved into one stack.

You can save your day’s work and come back the next day.

For a lot of people, what we’re finding is they’ll have their daily tabs. In one click, click open and it opens up your ten tabs. They’re always there.

When is the launch date?

Probably after we get a little bit more feedback. Once that the socials are done, we can start following people. You can follow now but it’s not robust. You can use it now. It’s totally free. Anyone can use it and try it out. We’ll do a full public launch.

When you do this public launch, what’s your strategy? Are you looking to make this free so you can get a huge user base or are you looking to make it more exclusive and charge for it?

It will be free for any user that wants to use it. We’ve played with a couple of different business models in terms of maybe locking down how many private stacks you can do or if you want to do a private collaboration. Maybe there’s a fee there. There’s a play on possibly business so single sign-on for businesses that can have it be their digital organization tool for everything. That would be more secure so you’d have to pay for that security. Where we think there’s a huge value, and I’m super excited to try this, is if you think of Instagram, Facebook or YouTube. The native ads on Facebook are images and you scroll past it. There’s no value.

Imagine if you did a stack for an ad, meaning, “I’m selling a product,” and inside that stack, not only are there product links but there’s all this information about the product. There are reviews or videos. Maybe it’s a product in the travel realm and maybe you’re giving them the value of where to stay at this X, Y, Z subject. Instead of being an ad, it’s an additive ad where you’re adding value. We think there’s a lot of play with businesses coming on. You’re advertising something but you’re showing value around that ad as well. We’re excited to see how that works.

I’m looking forward to big things. It sounds great.

We’re excited. For anyone that wants to try it out and give us feedback, we are happy to hear it.

If you’re reading, you have this opportunity. Go to Platstack.com and get registered. See how this can help you to be more organized and collaborative with your team and clients and bring more organization both to your work life and your personal life.

Thanks for having us. We’re excited and we’re excited to hear any feedback that you guys have so feel free to bring it on. If you say it sucks, let us know why.

Thanks, Steven, for being on the show. For all of you who are reading, this is a huge opportunity to get in on the ground floor and get your feedback heard because this tool can be made to tailor. As you’re involved now, you can have an opportunity to do that. I’ll see you in the next episode.

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About Steven Kiger

TBT 121 | PlatstackSteven Kiger serves as Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Platstack. Focused on creating digital products that improve the way we interact with and experience content in digital spaces, Steven leans heavily on his 14-year background in experiential, human-centered design.

 

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