creative tools


For long form writing I use Scrivener. Its a fantastic platform for organizing ideas and keeping you on track with the overall manuscript. For my book I started working in Pages, then moved to Word but only really got going when I switched to Scrivener. Provides full backup to Dropbox.

RSS Reader - Rich Site Summary aka Really Simple Syndication 

The Idea Accelerator. Since the death of Google Reader I have tried a ton of different alternatives. These days I use Digg Reader or Feedly. They work well on all platforms, especially the iPhone. A great way to push through a ton of information, stay up to date and keep your ideas flowing. For a more casual experience Flipboard on the iPad is a more magazine like experience. Its really just a fancy RSS reader with a pretty front end that used images as well as text. You cant scroll through the feeds as fast but it still works.

Idea Collection

I use Evernote as a general collector but also find myself using more old school methods like Bookmark Folders (Chrome), the Post to Squarespace Bookmarklet (Draft mode), email with subject tags, Notes and yes, even paper. I collect on all these formats and while its a bit confusing I have a methodology that sorts and filters everything. It is always genre specific. (Update: Im now using OneNote. Im finding it much simpler and cleaner than Evernote.)

For audio Ive tried a lot of different iPhone recording apps but always revert to the built in Apple version. Every few weeks i scroll through the recordings, I title each bit with merit and also tag it with "song" and then email them to myself. Then i can either search them via email or iTunes.

File Sharing and Backup

Dropbox all the way. If Im sharing files with people as a one off WeTransfer is also a great free tool.

Website Platform

I've used WordPress for years but finally got sick of the confused and unintuitive back end. (Sizing photos by percentage, WTF) I messed around with Tumblr, contemplated Bandzoogle (a great all in one service for musicians) but in the end settled on Squarespace. Thats what this site is built on. Its got a well organized and simple backend. Everything is drag and drop and photos and videos always snap to the correct, logical size. Works on all formats: web, phone and tablet. It doesn't handle email so for that you have to go to a secondary platform, try: Gmail, Rackspace, Office 360. The videos are run via Youtube and Vimeo Pro. The music on the site is served via Soundcloud.


For we host them on a dedicated Media Temple server and use Amazon SES to handle the emails. For Squarespace is self hosted so that makes it simple.


Ive used a number of different services but somehow I ended up with Godaddy. There are cheaper solutions out there but once you find yourself in an ecosystem its simpler to have everything in one place for renewals etc. (Once back in the day, I missed the renewal date for and had to buy it back, not fun!) The backend is fine, usable. What I don't love is the up sell of secondary services every time you are checking out. 


Im really an Apple geek. Im not saying its best but im locked into the ecosystem now. Everything syncs, everything works and thats whats important to me. Clean, simple and efficient. Macbook Air (13 inch) and iPhone. I still find the iPad to be a bit toyish, best reserved for Ninja Fruit and Modern Combat. 

Virtual Private Network VPN 

I don't love the idea of being tracked online so I use a VPN. There are plenty of good choices but I like Private Internet Access. Its pretty much seamless integration, fast launch and doesn't noticeably slow down my network.  They have plenty of choices for ISP location. The one negative is sometimes is seems to stall my email especially in hotels. You can read more about VPN's here and here.



Mailing Lists

If you are a musician Fanbridge is a good option. It allows you to trade signups for songs and has a ton of other features related to music. I also really like Mailchimp, simple and clean with good templates.

Ad Blocker

I use the AdBlock Plus extension in Chrome. You can unblock sites that you want to support by allowing ads. Really works and make the web a whole different place and a new experience.


Ok, don't use the same password for everything you do online. Just don't do it. 1Password is the best way to generate, store and fill passwords. It also make filling online forms fast and simple. Great tool.


Behance is where artists, designers, art directors and illustrators post their portfolios. If you are hunting for a great designer start here.


Freshbooks is cloud based online accounting software that really works. Simple to use with an iPhone app that allows you to track and photograph all your receipts. You can send invoices via email, see when they have been opened and easily track the money going in and out. Then just export the report for your accountant. For reimbursable expenses I use Expensify. Their iPhone app lets you track and photograph expenses, and assign them to different reports. (Prefect for Speaking) Both of these tools are fantastic and have completely simplified a part of business that I usually dread.

Social Media Syndication

If you want to update all your networks at once the best tool Ive found is Buffer. You can post and schedule posts to all your social networks with one click right from you desktop or phone. I use the paid version because it allows you to syndicate to more channels. I am in every way a first adopter of tech because I like to experiment, test and play but I am actually terrible when it comes to posting on social media. Me on Twitter and Facebook.

Presenters Remote

I love the Logitech Professional Presenter R800 works flawlessly even when i wander into the crowd and to the back of the hall. (and the battery lasts forever) Via Mitch Joel

Presentation Software

I use Keynote '09. The newer version is slick but wont allow me to customize the presenters notes the way I like so no upgrade for me.

In-Ear Monitors 

Now that we have two guitar players its pretty damn loud onstage. Over my career Ive moved back and forth from floor wedges with side fills  to in-ear monitors and now im headed back to ears. I did a fair bit of research but in the end just follow the advice of Matt my tourmanager/soundman. Im going with custom JH Audio Roxanne's and JH13 Pros as backups all which are being made for me right now. I went with the Roxanne's because Corbyn at JH did a fantastic up sell on me :) and the 13s because they are suppose to have a more neutral low end. Ill let you know how they are.


AcousticBoucher is a quebec company and they make incredible guitars. Ive written a ton of songs on my Boucher Native Goose and Jon uses it live at every show.
Electric - Gibson Les Paul “Classic”

Microphones for Music

Sennheiser wireless mic, mic pack and in ear transmitter.

Other Sites and Services I like

Design - 99 Designs Set a price and run a contest for your design work.

Analytics - Ive got Google Analytics synced with Squarespace but to be honest the analytics provided by Squarespace itself is more than enough for me.

A/B Testing - If you want to get geeky and start testing how different pages of your site will perform when you tweak the design, you can try A/B testing tools like Google Content Experiments or Optimizely. These services allow you to test which designs and features perform better by sending out 2 or more versions and then reporting back how users reacted and which are more engaging. I mess around with this stuff for fun mostly as a learning experiment but it quickly outstrips my attention and then I just go with the design ideas I like best anyways. If you are a business that lives and dies through site engagement then you probably should be doing A/B testing.  What colour blue should that buy button really be?

Online Store - Shopify is a startup that began in Ottawa. Beautiful stores and easy to setup and use. I really like what they do.

Accepting Credit Cards (physical) - Square provides you with a dongle (little plastic square) that plugs into your phone or tablet and allows you to swipe credit cards. A lot of my friends use this and rave about it. Its the second be big startup for Jack Dorsey (his first was Twitter). Here's a not to flattering article on the company.

Crowdfunding - There are a lot of great crowdfunding startups you can use to help fund your project. Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Crowdfunder etc. Make sure you read the fine print, some will only give you the money if your project gets fully funded while others with give you whatever you raise with no minimums. The one thing to keep in mind if you take this route is to keep the rewards you offer simple. Making up the rewards and reward levels is easy. Fulfillment at the end of the project can become very complicated and labour intensive.

PFD Signatures - I have always hated this...PDF email, print, sign, scan, email back. Now with phone apps like PDF Expert you can do it all in your phone. Open the PDF, touch where you want to fill or sign and send it back out. Progress, its the little things.

Travel app - Tripify is great for keeping track of your flights and hotels. Just forward emails of your itinerary to your Tripify email and they are automatically added to your schedule.

Bookmarklets and Extensions - These are small bits of code that you can install in your browser that allow you quick access different features of apps and services. They really help to speed up your work flow. These are a few that I use: 1Password, Post to Squarespace, Evernote, Buffer

Carousel - Finally a photo and video backup and organization app for the iPhone that really works. Its part of Dropbox so I actually trust it to store my photos and videos.