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Take my money! Some of my favorite tools... and why I pay for them

Shut up and take my money! These are the tools I pay for

Everyone loves a generous free tier

There are loads of free tools I use to get my work done, and I love recommending free tools for others to use. A quick search of articles and newsletters I've written shows 99 mentions of the word "free". I'm no stranger to the free tier, and most of all, I'm a huge fan of products that use their a free tier to prove their value, and then convert me to a paying customer.

I thought it might be interesting to share some of the products I pay for. Like most developers, I'm pretty sensitive to price: I'm willing to pay a reasonable fee for services based on the value they provide, but I'm also quick to cancel a subscription if I feel like I'm not getting my money's worth.

So with that in mind, here's a few tools I pay for, and why I think they're worth it:

Price: $19/mo, which includes unlimited shows and episodes, and 20k downloads per month.

I've been using to host my podcasts for a few years now. I've used few other podcast hosting services over the year, but I've found Transistor to be the best fit for me.

Killer features: Transistor does many things amazingly well but these are among my favorites: It's easy to use: starting a new show takes a few minutes. Upload your episode and you'll be off to the races in no time.

It never breaks: Never once have I needed to worry about my podcast feed being down.

They add thoughtful features that make my life easier. For example: you can add guests to individual podcast episodes for better SEO (and you know I love SEO), they have great HTML embeds to share episodes and shows on your website.

Transistor makes it dead easy to get your show listed on all the major podcast directories. This is a task that is fairly time intensive otherwise, and loads of podcasters don't do it, which is a huge mistake. You don't want your show to only be listed on Apple Podcasts, do you?

A screenshot from my dashboard
A screenshot from my dashboard. What's that last one on the list? 🤔

Being the nightmare-dev that I am, I've also sent the Transistor team a few support requests while poking around with the Transistor API, and they've always been quick to respond and helpful.

Try it: If you're thinking about starting your own podcast, and want to give Transistor a shot, you can use my referral link to get 15% off your first year:


Price: $12/month, which includes 10 hours of transcription per month, and 20 hours of screen recording per month.

Descript lets you edit audio and video files like they were a text document. Read that again. It's wild. I was an early adopter of Descript, and have been using it to edit Podcasts and videos for years now.

Killer features:

Do you say "um" and "uhhh" a lot when you're speaking? Descript can remove those for you. Do you want to add a section to your podcast where you're talking about a product, but you don't want to re-record the whole episode? Descript can do that for you. Do you want to add a video to your podcast episode? Descript can do that for you.

Descript can export video in portrait or landscape, which makes it trivial to create content for Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

I also love their audiogram feature, which you can use to make closed captioned clips from podcasts for social media.

Try it: ready to make audio and video editing feel like magic? Give Descript a shot using my referral link.

Backblaze - automated cloud backups for your computer

Price: $18/month, which includes unlimited backups for two computers.

Having a backup of your computer is one of those things that many people don't think about until it's too late. I've been on the short end of that stick one too many times in my life, so I take a military mindset to backups: two is one, and one is none. I have my computer backed up locally to a NAS (network attached storage) device using Time Machine, and I use Backblaze as a cloud backup for my computer's hard drive. It's a set-it-and-forget-it kind of service, and I've been using it for years.

Killer features: Install it once, and it does its magic. If you ever need to restore from a backup, you can download your files from the web, or have them send you a USB hard drive with your data on it (for free* - as long as you ship it back within 30 days!). Super thoughtful, and well worth the price for peace of mind.

Try it: If you're not already backing up your computer, you should be. Try Backblaze using my referral link for a free month of service.

Some other bits I've shared online this week

  • 🎙️ My podcast interview with Zeno Rocha from Resend went live last week on the APIs You Won't Hate podcast feed. Zeno is a great guy, and I've been a fan of his work for years. We talked about his new product, Resend, and how he's using APIs to make email marketing easier for developers.

  • This weekend I'll be doing some live coding on YouTube: join me for Rebuilding with Astro Saturday morning at 10am Eastern.

🔌 Until then, unplugging

I'm taking some time off from work this week to recharge and spend some time in the sun. It's something that I try to do regularly to take care of myself - work, life, and everything else can be a lot to handle, and it's important to take time to recharge. I hope you're able to do the same!

I'll be back in your inbox next week with more thoughts on building things on the internet. Stay positive and love your life ✌🏾


Thanks for reading Tiny Improvements. If you found this helpful, I'd love it if you shared this with a friend. It helps me out a great deal.

Until next time - be excellent to each other!

Take my money! Some of my favorite tools... and why I pay for them

I'm a huge fan of products that use their a free tier to prove their value, and then convert me to a paying customer. Here are a few tools I pay for, and why I think they're worth it.



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