Welcome to the latest edition of The Entrepreneur’s Tech Stack. I’m your host, Simon Owens. For those who don’t know me, I write a media industry newsletter you should definitely check out.
Today’s featured entrepreneur is Noah Davis. Noah started out his career as an editor for Media Bistro, a news site geared toward media professionals, and later moved on to freelancing full time. In 2017, he and another freelancer named Bill Bradley launched Three Point Four Media, an editorial studio that creates content on behalf of brands. “We saw an increasing number of companies producing editorial and editorial-adjacent work, and so much of it was bad,” he told me. “Our initial inspiration was to use the skills we developed as journalists — storytelling, interviewing, reporting, writing, understanding your audience —to make it better.” Its roster of clients includes big names such as Google, Dropbox, Conde Nast, and PepsiCo, as well as plenty of smaller, fast-growing companies.
Noah walked us through the products that are absolutely essential to his business:
We’ve gone through a handful of banks — Chase to Rho to Brex and now back to Rho; I think there was a stint with Capital One thrown in there, too? — in search of one that’s simple and easy and suits our admittedly limited needs. When they first launched, Rho’s feature set and design was a bit lacking, but we moved back after getting booted from Brex, and it’s been a solid decision. Adding new vendors and sending money is straightforward. The bank card system is intuitive and gives 1.5% cash back. The support staff is exceptional.
I’ll be honest: We didn’t use Dropbox before we started working with them, but their products are now an indispensable part of our workflow. Replay makes video editing and production much smoother. DocSend helps track proposals and lets us see who’s opening them. Having all our files like our capabilities deck in one place makes finding stuff anywhere easy. Adding contributors to specific projects is painless. For a distributed team (I’m in NYC, Bill’s in Michigan, our freelancers are everywhere), Dropbox works wonders. I know this sounds like a sales pitch, but it’s true!
A few years ago, we transitioned from LLC to S-Corp for tax purposes. This meant we needed to run payroll and thus a payroll provider. We started with Betterworks but switched to Gusto after a year. While the feature set is less robust than Betterworks and setting it up is more labor intensive, Gusto has everything we need, costs less, and is customizable based on a specific company’s needs. For a small outfit like ours, Gusto is the way to go.
My friend James turned me on to Otter’s transcription service. While he’s moved on to more complex programs, we stayed with Otter. It’s not 100 percent accurate but it’s close enough to use to quickly and efficiently transcribe something to find the highlights. As a journalist, I did a lot of interviews in loud places where background noise overwhelmed the AI software. At Three Point Four Media, however, most of our interviews are done in quiet, controlled environments, which dramatically improves the quality of the transcript. We used to pay a human transcriber $1/minute. Now we pay $20/month for up to 6000 minutes.
I love Apple Mail. One of my only real skills is replying to emails in a timely fashion and with Mail, all the emails in my various email accounts are right there. People should use the time they spend complaining about emails instead looking for new applications to help them manage their inboxes.
We send out a newsletter every other week that’s part business update and part links to things we have found interesting. Substack serves this purpose effectively. We’ve gotten a handful of new subscribers from the Recommends feature, so that’s fun. It’s a much-improved experience from when it first launched.
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