Tech Choice: Natan Edelsburg Discusses How He Stays Productive

Posted By on Aug 7, 2013

Natan Edelsburg, Senior VP at Sawhorse Media, Shorty Awards Producer, and writer at Lost Remote (*gulp* all by age 25) talks AOL screen names, youthful mistakes, and how Boomerang saves him from missed email. 

“My first tech memory is signing up for an AOL account in 1995, so I was eight. My mother was always very tech savvy and I vividly remember her pulling me over and saying, “We’re getting AOL so we need to come up with your screen name.” I remember coming up with “nebball15,” which was Natan Edelsburg, basketball, and I was born on November 15. I guess the other big technology influence in my life has been TV technology–I write about TV. I got a DVR right when they first came out, and then around 2005 I got Slingbox. Slingbox is this cool thing that you connect to your cable box so you can stream your TV and watch it anywhere. I haven’t been a gamer since Nintendo 64, but I do have lots of memories of birthday parties with hours-long Golden Eye sessions. Even in college, Saturday night could be going out or staying home and drinking and playing Nintendo 64.

I grew up in Manhattan and went to NYU where I studied communications–great program, but a bullshit major–with a minor in TV production. I was in New York when the tech scene boomed, so I did a lot of startup internships, some traditional stuff, some consulting, and then fell into working where I am now. I met my boss Greg right after the first Shorty Awards in 2009. I consulted for him a bit and did a couple projects, so by the time I graduated they were ready to bring me on. Before that, I thought I wanted to work at Google–I interviewed three times, not because I’m smart, I just had good references from friends. I’m happy I didn’t get any of those jobs because I realized pretty quickly that I wanted to be at a tiny company. There’s nothing better than being one of the first employees, it’s a whole different perspective.

I found out about Boomerang about two years ago when Greg and I were joking, “Remember those good ‘ol days when Outlook would schedule emails?” We were like, “Wait, why can’t we do that anymore?” So I Googled “send later for Gmail” and you guys came up. If you ask anyone who works with me, they’ll tell you that Boomerang is my absolute number one because I don’t want any email go unheard. With Boomerang, I know when I haven’t received a response, which 99% of the time is because the recipient just didn’t see my message. Sure, sometimes they’re ignoring me, but even when they are and I email back, “Just wanted to make sure you got this,” they’re a lot more likely to respond. I’ve actually never missed an email since I started using Boomerang. I also use Rapportive. It’s great because it’s almost like, part one of my Boomerang process, “I gotta figure out this person’s email address!” It’s so easy to do. Here’s another really good one, have you heard of WriteThatName? It scans the signatures of all my emails, people’s phone numbers and email addresses and whatever’s there, and automatically adds the information to my contacts. Awesome, right? I pay for premium.

There’s a whole issue when you’re out with someone and hear something cool that you want to remember. The easiest thing to do is email yourself like, “Remember to check out Boomerang.” My boss Greg told me about Captio, which automatically opens a new note that’s already set to email myself. It’s great. I use the Gmail app, obviously only until I buy an Android phone so I can use Boomerang for Android. I’ve also been starting to use TaskRabbit a lot more. TaskRabbit is a really cool scaled freelance economy meets delivery system. For example, when I was going to Austin for South by Southwest I got to the airport in New York and looked in my bag–I’d left my computer charger at home. Right before I got on the plane I posted a task, “I’ll pay thirty bucks plus however much the charger costs to go to the Apple store in Austin and have it waiting for me in the lobby of the hotel when I arrive.” So when I got to the hotel I had a Mac charger.

I just don’t sleep, that’s how I watch a lot of TV. I used to torrent a lot–I’ll describe that as my youthful mistake. The truth is, I torrented only because I couldn’t access something. I saw it as, “I have to download this show because there isn’t a way for me to pay for it.” Now I do a lot of iTunes, thank God I have a job and I’m not a poor college student anymore, so I’ll download stuff for my iPhone or my iPad and watch it on the plane. I also use the Hulu app a lot, and Netflix obviously. I just finished marathoning Orange is the New Black; I think the actresses are all great and I love Jason Biggs. I’m a big Dexter fan, Breaking Bad fan–we’re in a golden age of dramas in my opinion. Guilty pleasure: The Kardashians. I’m fascinated by those women, they’re like our royal family. One of my favorite all-time TV shows is Friday Night Lights. I was in Dallas once and I almost drove out to a random high school football game. Then I was like, “If I do this I’ll feel like a creep.” But I wish I had.

In terms of scheduling when I’m going to watch stuff, DVR is the best thing. I’m such a hardcore TV watcher that I still pay a huge cable bill just because I like DVR. I’m like the last twenty-something with a cable bill, but I like knowing that I can watch my favorite shows right away. I blog about TV on the side, so I write about a lot of apps. There’s a startup I just heard about called Alert Me TV that’s all about alerting people when their TV shows are on.

Muck Rack is the number one thing I use to get news because it alerts me any time a journalist tweets about about a term I’m interested in. I also use NowThisNews, which has gotten popular in New York. They describe themselves as “social mobile video” and cover breaking news in a really fun, hipster kind of way–it’s definitely built for our generation. Whenever I’m in a cab or between meetings I’ll open that. I once got a New York Times subscription in college because I had an internship at a big management consultancy, very corporate, and I was like, “I should get the newspaper.” It never worked out. I am a digital subscriber because whatever, it’s four bucks, but if I’m given a choice between video and text I choose video every time. That’s why I love NowThisNews; I could read a bunch of sources and figure out the news… or I could just have someone talk to me.

I’m a huge LinkedIn-er. I don’t care so much about being like, “Oh, I have over 500 connections,” it’s more a way to keep track of where my contacts go. One good example is when I was coming out here: I checked my network to see who I’m connected to in this area and recognized that one of the people who helped me get an interview at Google back in the day had moved from New York to Mountain View to work on Google Glass. I guess I’m on Facebook? I mean, I use it. You have to, right? It’s funny to think that when we’re eighty Facebook might be seen how we see print newspapers. Now it’s like, “Print newspapers? Our parents and grandparents get those.” When we’re old our grandchildren might be saying, “Facebook? Our grandparents use that.””

Natan was interviewed in San Francisco on Wednesday, July 31st. Neither Natan nor Baydin, Inc. received compensation for mentioning products in this testimonial. 

If you’re a Baydin products user willing to share the technology you use to stay productive (online or in person), please contact I’m very Caltrain-friendly.

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