My Virtual Assistants 2018: Nothing New Under The Sun(set)

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Time for my annual wrap-up of how I used virtual assistants to augment my productivity in 2018. Overall this year was a real bummer as there weren’t any new services or paradigm-breakers that I encountered as a consumer. And pour one out for Facebook Messenger’s M, which sunset earlier this year. If even a tech behemoth doesn’t want to subsidize my restaurant reservation requests, then our future is grim…

There are some *very* interesting beginnings in the enterprise space beyond just virtual executive assistants and getting into real workflow augmentation, but I’ll save that for a separate blog post, especially since one is portfolio company 🙂

What Virtual Assistants did I rely upon in 2018?

FancyHands — The old man stands alone. While the service hasn’t gotten any new features — heck, I think they pulled their iPhone app at one point it was so janky — FH still delivers for me when I need very basic tasks (make a reservation, set up a car service, find out whether this hotel has non-smoking rooms) and research completed (what are the five best coffee cafes in Portland, OR) for me. I think you get a discount if you use my referral link. And shout out to my friend Maia who uses FH in creative ways.

Wonder: I use Wonder for b2b’ish research but they’re pretty solid for any type of research question where you could imagine a subject expert needing 30 min — two hours to pull you together an answer. Think of it as someone who is really good at Googling and has some domain expertise. At latest glance they’ve sunset their a la carte model and now seem to be fully focused on enterprise subscription models, but I’ll keep them on this list since I seem to be grandfathered.

Fin: The most modern of the services that I’ve seen, Fin’s suggested uses span personal and professional. Do research! Book a dinner! Schedule your client meetings! If you’re price insensitive and want a pay-as-you-go service, this one is probably for you (assuming you don’t want to set up an ongoing remote EA type of deal). Additionally, true to their software roots, they’ve got a nice app that you can even use apart from the service to send quick ToDo notes to yourself (or others).

What other services am I missing?

Previous Summaries

2017, 2016, 2015

Written by

You’ll find me @homebrew , Seed Stage Venture Fund w @satyap . Previously made products at YouTube, Google & SecondLife. Married to @cbarlerin .

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