Tools I Use

I love a good tool and while some people have an addiction for fast cars, fast drugs and hello kitty (just hello kitty for me!).

My thing is tools. Not tools that build things like hammers. High tech tools.

I love nothing more than a good tool recommendation.

I’ve never met a gadget I have not liked.

I could open an electronics super store with the gadgets I’ve accumulated.

While I buy heaps, and convince myself I’m doing it so I can help you, the reality is, simple is best.

You can start your journey to making your first dollar with free computer time at your public library, a cheap pen and a notepad.

No Tool (and it pains me to say this) is compulsory to making your first dollar.

It’s amazing what you can get at a public library, apart from access to the Internet, most have electronic book lending! The worlds knowledge is available to you.

My mission is to give you the skills you need to convert your knowledge into your first dollar.

With that out of the way let’s look at the tools I use and recommend.

By the way if you haven’t gotten your copy of my book “Your First Dollar” you can get it here for free. It will show you step by step how to use these tools to make your first dollar.

Kanban Board

The kanban process for entrepreneurs has to be one of the greatest single advances you can do to increases the chances of making your first dollar. Here’s what I use…


I use this white board. I like this size as it constrains what goes in the option column – at standard post it note size I can fit 10 post it notes across and seven post it’s down.

I like the constrain and it’s easy to pick up and move around.

Whiteboard Marker Kit


I’ve fallen in love with Sharpies and the fine nib size is perfect for post it notes.

For extra flair – I love using the Gold sharpie (High Quick Starts will get me – High Fact finders – black is cool and the most sensible.

Post-It Notes

I fully expect a major sponsorship and some sort of medal for my promotion of 3M post-it notes. Use the originals (the cheaper ones don’t stick as long and also curl)

Get ready I’m about to rock your world…

There is a correct way to open and use post it notes. This video will change your life…


There are so many awesome tools and software available for recording and saving research. Trouble is the vast majority of you will never open them up once you loving set them up (High Quick Starts – I’m looking at you!!). If you have a Kolbe follow through score under 6. You need a physical box for your research.

The science also tells us we remember more when we write stuff down. High Quick Starts, low follow through like me, this will be fun and will change your life.

3×5 Cards

Here are the 3×5 cards I use, I get 500 at a time!

3×5 Card Holder

I have one of these for each project and store them in my project box.

The Box

Cranky Twyla Tharp- who is awesome – taught me this method. One box per project. Here is what I use, my notes, my scribbles, all go in here.

High Quick Start:

High Fact Finder

Entrepreneurial Operating System

Realising there are three type of entrepreneurial operating system’s and they are completely different was a game-changer for me in helping people to understand how they act. The key to this is a fifteen minute test you only need to take once.

Kolbe Index

As you’ll see in my book “Your First Dollar”, Knowing your Kolbe Index and applying this to how you approach building your business is a game-changer (and I never use that term lightly)

Grab the test here.

Take the Kolbe A™ Index

Stationary I love

From here on down, none of this is necessary! These are the tools that as the awesome Marie Kondo would say “Bring me Joy”

With that out of the way, lets get our cool tools on.

Rode A4 notepad

My 50 minute focus finder pad of choice. I also use this when I’m doing story boards and user story mapping. Cool tip, when you are doing an initial story board use a sharpie. It’s thicker line forces you to be less detailed – which is exactly what you need to do when you are first figuring stuff out. (Hat Tip to Jason Freid for the suggestion!)

I also use the dot graph paper, great for both writing and drawing. I write with fountain pens (YOLO) and fountain pen addicts around the world agree the Rodia paper is awesome.

Rode A5 notepad

I use this one in my every day carry bag. Perfect for taking notes in the field – Oh, I forgot to mention each page is perforated at the top. Which is perfect for tearing out and throwing in the appropriate research box.

TWSBI Fountain Pen

Warning, I’m serious once you’ve gone fountain pen you’ll never go back. I gave this fountain pen to OG Dean Jackson a few years ago and I’d like to think this enhanced his awesome ideas by at least 10%.

This is a great place to start – I write small so I use a fine nib. Then you can pick your ink’s below.

Sailor Professional

Ready to take it to the next level – no one does fountain pens better than the Japanese in my opinion. Get your self a sailor 1911 with a fine nib and boy-oh-boy it’s like writing in smooth chocolate. Here are the two sailors I use.

High Quick Start:

High Fact Finder:


For you high fact finders – here is my favourite blue/black ink

For you high QuickStart low follow through types – YOLO!!!

Dean Jackson and I use this Purple Ink of the year from Pelikan. One of the reasons fountain pens are so cool is there is a literal world of colours and inks to choose from. When I write in pink, orange and purple in makes me smile. I am easily amused.

My Bag

I have a bit of a bag addiction, fortunately not the Louis Vuitton type but what those in the niche (and yes there is a huge niche) call my “Every Day Carry”

Here is the current champ…

WaterField Bolt

I have a lot of WaterField over the years, they keep releasing awesome stuff. There recent backpack called the bolt is just about perfect – watch the video on the site for details. It’s expensive but It will last for ages.

Bolt BackPack

Tom Binh Tri Star

If I’m traveling for a couple of days, the Tom Binh Tri Star is my go to bag. I used to travel with two large suitcases! I have minimal travel religion (and yes, that’s a big niche too!!) given the amount of travel I do and you will do – getting some knowledge here is a great idea.

Tom Binh Tri Star


My Recording Gear

I love recording and have had a fascination with recording since I was a kid – it blows my mind what you can do with your smartphone and some inexpensive kit. Some of the below is not necessary to get started on your podcast – In fact, you can just dial into a conference service, get a recording and then record your intro on your smartphone.

Yellowtech Mic

This is expensive. But it’s also awesome. I use it to record one on one interviews, intro and outros, I can record on a plane, I can record on a train, I can record in a car, I can record on a street. Thanks to the incredible voodoo built into this microphone it sounds awesome everywhere and I can chuck it into my backpack.

YellowTech Mic

Zoom H6

Need to record a group – then this baby is awesome – it can run up to six mikes. Battery operated, portable enough and the quality is excellent, it also does a million other cool things!

Shure SM58

The hard working indestructible mike of the rock revolution and perfect for recording interviews and groups (One mic per person)

Sure SM58

XLR Cable


Zoom H1

This baby can be used to make a backup of an interview. You can also use it to record a good audio track when you are out recording yourself. You can also put it into your pocket with a lav mike and record your presentations and webinar stuff

With Final Cut Pro it’s trivial to line up a separately recorded audio track. Remember the most important part of any video is it’s audio!!

Zoom h1

Lav mic

Panasonic Video Camera

You know – sometimes when you need to do a video – you need a video camera. This Panasonic is a great consumer level video and great for recording workshops, ballet concerts and wild thoughts from the office. I also invested in this senhiser MK420 mini zoom microphone which has paid for itself many times over. I’m not a huge fan of futzing with mics, but if you are within a few feet of the camera – like in my office – it works a treat.

Panasonic video camera:

mk 420 mike

Dictation Gear

As I super high quick start, super low follow through, writing is my kryptonite. I have to come up with a series of tricks to be able to write – (As I write this, it’s early morning, timer is 20 of 25 minutes, I have “History Maker” song looping on repeat, and I’m using my typing iPad to minimise distractions, I also log the number of words I bust out and record them on a yearly calendar, all this – just to type this copy, oh – I had a ristretto Nespresso as I do with every session and I will be allowed five minutes of Clash Royale after I finish!

Yep, just to type 650-750 words in 25 minutes.

If I really need to smash copy, my typing speed of about thirty words a minute does not cut it.

You may love writing – but can’t touch type – which is a serious problem. I’ve surveyed over a hundred pro-bloggers and the minimum typing speed is 60 WPM – touch typing.

Here is an article where I talk about what’s involved in dictating and tricks you I use to write when your are not cut out to write


There are two vital ones.

One of these tricks is to use a purpose built dictaphone.

This is the one I use, yes you can get cheaper. I got this one because of its mechanical controls – you do not want to be guessing if you are recording or not. You need to focus on the words.


Less Overkill

Got a question about a piece of gear – shoot me an email to [email protected]