4 services with incredible user experiences

Some brands just get it. They create such inspiring experiences that their customers can't help but evangelize them. It's the reason why a dirty napkin with the Apple logo printed on it would probably sell. Some researchers even compare fanboy-ism like this to a religious experience. Apple gets a whole lot of attention on this front, but I want to share a few personal favorites, worthy of pseudo-religious praise:


Dropbox is a cloud-based file sharing service that enables users to safely and securely sync their files across all of their devices and the Dropbox web app. It serves as a safe back-up of all of your files that can be accessed from anywhere, so if you lose or destroy your laptop, you won't lose all your documents and photos. Dropbox also enables simple collaborating and sharing through sharable links and collaborative folders.

Why I love it

Dropbox just works. I use Dropbox primarily to sync photos from my photo to my computer, and to send documents and folders via email as links, rather than cumbersome attachments. This ensures that I never have to worry about an email being too big. Finally, Dropbox removes the need to ever "email [xyz thing] to myself" since I can access everything from any computer with an internet connection.

Who else is it good for?

Dropbox is a great tool for anyone. At the very least, I encourage my friends and family to use the free 2GB Dropbox provides as a backup for their important documents and pictures. Dropbox is a particularly good tool for sharing cumbersome files—like photos—with family members or collaborators. Finally, Dropbox for Business can replace a corporate team's in-house server with a lean, flexible, cloud-based alternative.


Chromecast is a $35, two-inch dongle made by our friends at Google that plugs into the back of your TV via an HDMI port, enabling users to "cast" audio and video content from a laptop, phone, or tablet to a TV.

Why I love it

With the ever-rising popularity of TV streaming services like Netflix, HBO-GO, and Hulu Plus—all on demand—cable is looking more and more like an antiquated, costly, and unnecessary frustration. Chromecast allows me to play shows and movies that I find online on the big screen of my TV effortlessly. Set up is a breeze, and it works like a charm. Furthermore, unlike other streaming alternatives like Roku, Apple TV, or Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast can cast literally anything from your computer. So if you're watching a random stream online, or a movie you've downloaded, you can still cast it even if it isn't officially supported by the Chromecast integrated app.

Who else is it good for?

I would strongly recommend Chromecast to anyone who watches a lot of streamed TV and movies via a laptop. Using Chromecast is a cheap way to play the same stream on a big TV, and frees up your laptop so you can watch your show and use your computer at the same time. If you're the type of person who wants to sit down, turn on the TV, and "watch whatever's on," Chromecast is probably not the toy for you. 


Squarespace is a SaaS-based content management system consisting of a website builder, blogging platform, and hosting services. This website is created using Squarespace!

Why I love it

I use Squarespace for myself and for my clients because it makes beautiful websites without requiring extensive (or really, any) coding knowledge. Squarespace is great for my clients because, once the website is up and running, there is no need for the client to hire an IT person or web developer to manage or update the site. I can train small business owners to navigate the admin-side for routine updates in less than an hour.

Who else is it good for?

Squarespace is a great tool for anyone who wants a simple, easily modified website, but does not require unlimited customization. Squarespace is great for portfolios, weddings, bands, restaurants, and small businesses, but is not sufficiently scalable for massive e-commerce sites, or anything requiring accounts. For any simple website—like your mom's law firm, or your uncle's woodworking business, or your friend's wedding—I strongly recommend Squarespace.


Spotify is a social music streaming service operating on a Freemium pricing model. A premium subscription costs $10/month, and provides unlimited streaming of millions and millions of songs. Premium subscribers can listen offline and have full control of their streaming, while free users are somewhat limited in functionality and are powered by ads. Spotify hosts its own myriad of pre-made playlists, and enables friends to follow each other for social music sharing.

Why I love it

I love music, but I'm lazy about it—searching for new music is just a hassle to me. I used Pandora for awhile, but I didn't love it, so I never opted for the paid subscription, and became frustrated by the ads. Enter Spotify. I follow my friends, who create playlists I love. Through them, I discover new music, which I can listen to at any time on the go. Spotify delivers such seamless value to me that I didn't even hesitate to pay $10/month for premium, providing me ad-free listening and the ability to save playlists for offline listening. The social sharing aspect and great interface, in my opinion, makes Spotify trump even other music streaming services.

Who else is it good for?

Spotify does require some effort to get started. If you just want to click "play" and hear music you're happy with, Pandora might be the better choice for you. For big music buffs, availability can be a problem with Spotify. Many classic artists like The Beatles, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, as well as some pop artists like Taylor Swift, withhold their music from the popular streaming service for licensing reasons. If you're savvy, you can sync up those songs from iTunes and still play them through Spotify, but for listeners who prefer to just upload their CDs, and sync up their iPods, Spotify might be more hassle than it's worth. However, if you're open to new technology, love exploring new music, and like creating and sharing playlists with friends, Spotify is hands down the leader in the streaming market.


What else?

Of course these aren't the only great brand experiences in my life—just a few top picks that I can easily elaborate on. Because of my background, my mind easily jumps to tech-y products, but others great brands that come to mind include JetBlue, Bose, Annie's Homegrown, Patagonia, LL Bean, Subaru, Five Guys, and Discover. Of course, these brand experiences only apply to certain audiences—and that's okay. The best way to promote a product or service is to identify the appropriate niche, and fill it up. I fit the niche for all the companies listed here, and it creates a strong sense of loyalty. Basically, there's no limit to the ROI on a great brand experience.