Founder Series - Trestle
Monolist's Founder Series is a blog series interviewing Silicon Valley startup founders about how they and their teams stay organized and productive.
Can you tell us who you are, and what you're currently working on?
I'm Rishab Hegde and I'm currently working on Trestle — the perfect internal homepage for your company. Once a company has over 100 employees, it becomes almost impossible to know everyone in the organization. That can make it difficult for you to know who to talk to when facing certain problems or decisions and to know who you're working alongside on a day to day basis. Many companies have started to solve this by building solutions in-house, sometimes dedicating many engineers to building and maintaining such software. I'm aiming to build this for them instead!
What brought you to working on this specific problem?
I've worked in several companies that have done this and I know how hugely helpful this software was to everyone in the company — but I realized that each company didn't need to dedicate resources to building this themselves. I'm aiming to build the best "intranet"/people information tool out there so that companies can focus on what they're good at. I also love building things that help people collaborate better and form better relationships :)
How many people are currently on your team? What are their roles?
Currently it's just me but I hope to build a team in the near future! I'm developing the product myself and doing all the sales, but I've hired a freelance designer because I'm awful at design and for this product, I believe design will be key.
What apps or tools are you using to stay productive? Can you describe how you're using them?
Inbox by Gmail — this is my biggest life saver. I have no idea how I would deal with e-mail without Inbox's to-do list style of email. I know several email clients offer similar functionality now, but I love how easy it is to track what I have to respond to and when with snoozing and done-ing emails. I also use reminders in Inbox frequently so that Inbox truly is my day-to-day todo list.
Pen and Paper — I use a Moleskine notebook and Pilot G2 pens for meeting notes. I love the feeling of physically writing something down, it feels less rude than bringing out a laptop during a face to face meeting, and I definitely remember things better when I write them down.
Notion — To keep track of various resources, links, rough drafts, ideas, etc. I use Notion. It's like a better version of Evernote or OneNote - a great, simple application to track notes.
Dropbox Paper — When creating design docs, proposals, or anything that is slightly longer or needs more media than what e-mail is good at handling, Dropbox Paper makes everything I write look amazing with little effort from me.
HabitBull — This is more personal rather than business, but for habits that I want to form, I use HabitBull. It's a really simple iOS app that allows you to track whether or not you completed a habit for the day. Currently trying to get into the habit of flossing and reading more often!
Google Calendar — Great calendar app for keeping track of my meetings, works flawlessly.
GitHub, VS Code, iTerm — What I use for developing :)
Had you experienced any pain points or learned any lessons that lead to your current system?
Google Calendar used to be an afterthought for me — I used to just accept invites that other people sent to me and assumed I would just remember my other plans. Meetings started falling through the cracks and I was double booked often, so now I put literally everything on my calendar.
I used to use Wunderlist for random lists (such as shopping, books to read, movies to watch, etc.), Google Docs or Dropbox Paper for keeping track of ideas or important links, but I couldn't find what I was looking for half of the time so I consolidated everything into Notion and now I spend much less time looking for the information I need.
Do you have any other tips about staying organized and productive for founders?
Getting a good e-mail and calendar habit is extremely important. I'd also suggest setting a block of time each day to deal with e-mail and mostly ignoring it (unless something urgent comes in) outside of that, otherwise it becomes hard to develop stuff as you're constantly getting distracted.