Want to know how to figure out what startups really matter? Delete everything from your phone. I’m being serious: just delete it. I’m assuming most readers will instantly think “uh, you’ve got to be kidding me”. That’s a rational thought, however I was forced to delete my phone this weekend when upgrading the iOS version on my iPhone, losing close to 1,000 photos and all of my apps.

For you, I suggest you back up your photos and then do it: delete everything. While Apple has tracked which apps I have, I actually felt a sense of relief: I no longer had all this clutter on my phone.

For app addicts like me, we periodically browse through the app store when we’re bored in an attempt to find out useful ways to waste time. I also download apps to monitor the market. Over months and years you end up with pages of applications and you also end up afraid of deleting any of them since you MAY one day use them (HINT: you won’t). While Apple has introduced a way to group apps, it doesn’t make it any easier to find apps.

Only the most obsessive people take the time to clean up their apps (I’m looking at you Dann Petty). Prior to having my phone deleted I actually spent 3 hours while waiting on a delayed flight back from SXSW organizing my icons, so I probably fall in that group. Enough about my mobile habits though, the point of this post is that you can instantly figure out what startups have truly made it once your phone is cleared.

You instantly get down to basics and download the apps that matter most to you. While I’d love to hear what apps make the cut for you in the comments, I figured I’d share which apps made the cut for me below. Make sure to let me know which apps are must-have for you!


If you are an iPhone user and haven’t paid the $1.99 for Sparrow, [go do it. Seriously, this app is killer. Apple’s native mail application is horrible, especially for Gmail users. I love using Sparrow as I can archive, add labels, and efficiently clear out my inbox.

Asana has become our company’s to-do list/project management software. With a slick mobile version I love Asana. There are a bunch of features that I think the company should add (primarily those that help me more efficiently prioritize which tasks I’m working on at any minute) but they’re doing a great job and I love the mobile app so I’m sticking with it.


Ultimately I use the iPhone music player to play all my music and I have Shazam for finding songs on the radio and Pandora once in a while (although I typically use Pandora on desktop, not mobile).


As we previously wrote, [Cinemagram is an awesome way to turn friends into a movie production team. It combines video and picture in a really creative way and they’ve been exploding in recent weeks. Instagram and Camera+ are my most commonly used photo apps.


I love the idea of having a mobile command center in my pocket. That’s why I’ve downloaded a few apps that give me assistants on the fly. While I had a task the other day that no service could accomplish (I needed might light changed on a fan that’s 20 feet in the air and also haven’t tried Zaarly yet for it), I love the concept of having a team of assistants wherever and whenever.

The apps I’m using for assistants is Exec, TaskRabbit, and Zaarly. I also have yet to bite the bullet and get a full-time assistant service but maybe at some point I will, in the meantime I’m using these apps.


Chat is an interesting space because there are so many types of conversations people have. At SXSW, GroupMe served as a tool for organizing people and keep in touch with a smaller groups of contacts to find out what was happening. While I haven’t used Voxer actively yet, it’s on my phone as well as I understand the idea of sending short messages when you don’t want to have a conversation and don’t feel like typing out a text message. I downloaded it in case I decide to start using it like the rest of the world.

Skype is self explanatory and I also have FB Messenger for some reason even though I typically just use the Facebook app for responding to messages.


Everybody needs a break once in a while. I have a few games that I enjoy playing and while I download countless games, I’ve deleted all of them and have only kept three: TempleRun, Bejeweled Blitz, and Tiny Wings.


Just like taking a break, everybody also needs to eat. Three apps help satisfy my food cravings: Yelp, OpenTable, and UranSpoon. I’m assuming you’ve heard of all three of these so they don’t really need much explanation.

Socializing/Content Discovery

I still need to keep in touch with people who I am not in daily contact with and for that I use obvious services: Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, and occasionally Path. I’ve also been testing out Highlight, Glancee, and a new app called Shimmy, to see if anybody can crack what’s being branded as the “social discovery” space, a space I was developing in months ago. For Twitter, I use Tweetbot as my mobile client and for everything else I use each company’s native app.

I also use Flipboard and Pulse for other interfaces to my various feeds as well as Kindle for reading books (not exactly social but fits in the content space).


While I don’t access my money on my phone, I love using it to collect money from others! That’s why I have two apps: Square (to collect payments in person) and Charles Schwab (to deposit checks). Aside from those two, I don’t really need much else to manage my money.


Finally, I need to be able to get anywhere on the fly and have a place to stay. At least that’s how I’d like to perceive my life. In reality most of it is spent behind my sexy new standup desk, but when I am travelling (which actually is relatively frequently) I need services to help me get there. Uber has become my defacto cab service for when I can’t hail down a cab. Yes, it costs a bit more but the service is incredible. Considering that I typically get nauseous every-time I end up in a regular cab in San Francisco, Uber cabs tend to be worth it.

Kayak I use to find flights and I typically use Hotels.com for hotels (although not through an app). I then have wishlist apps that I use to dream about awesome places to stay or live including AirBNB, Sotheby’s, and Trip Advisor. Aside from those, I’m pretty much set on my travel apps.


Delete your phone data (after you’ve backed up your photos)! Then you’ll instantly know which applications truly matter most. If you have any apps that you use regularly that make the cut, please post them in the comments below! ](http://startupstats.com/how-to-turn-your-friends-into-a-movie-production-team-2012-03/)