All posts by Jennifer Kish

5in5 Reviews: Smallknot – keeping your community tightly knit

Smallknot has upped the ante for social lending, making it possible for you to directly support the small businesses in your neighborhood.

Instead of relying on big banks for loans, the small businesses that give our local neighborhoods their personality can use Smallknot to ask for help directly. It creates a personal bond between business owner and the consumers, and the consumers get to see their money being put to good use – a little bit “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” combined with community outreach.

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5in5 Review: Docracy: Don’t find yourself in a legal bind

Docracy is an web service that offers an open, collaborative database of legal documents.  You may not be in need of one right now, but there are plenty of situations that could arise that you will, and hiring a lawyer to draft one for you can be very pricey.  Docracy gives you that service for free, just search their database of documents created by professionals and your peers to fit your needs.  Find a document, edit it and even sign it right there.

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5in5 Review: Muck Rack – Verified news in one place & tools to connect with journalists

I find, more often than not, that I become aware of breaking news from my Twitter account.  Most recently, the unfortunate passing of Adam “MCA” Yauch.  Several tweets posted to my feed and #ripmca started trending.  Given my admiration for the rapper and my knowledge of celebrity death hoaxes via Twitter before, I googled it to make sure it was actually true, which I found out it was indeed.  Twitter has become, whether you like it or not, a new site, but with sometimes questionable credibility.  This is where Muck Rack comes in.  A website that, as their tagline says, offers the news of tomorrow today by gathering the tweets from verified journalists.

Muck Rack gives you the ability to see what is happening based on whats trending, top stories or from top publications.  The trends tend to be more news based rather than #idontunderstandwhy or #worstpickuplines.  Ugh, I just broke a nail while typing this entry out, there goes my french manicure #whitegirlproblems.  Anyways, although Muck Rack is a site for anyone, its also a great tool for journalists. Once you become a verified user than you have access to a place to earn more followers, keep up with what your colleagues are saying and receive the Muck Rack Daily in your email.

See what journalists are saying in real time all in one place.  Muck Rack’s advantage over your twitter feed is the verified journalists posting about real news and not just some comedian’s opinion (although I highly recommend following Michael Ian Black.)

For startups (or anyone with news to share) MuckRack Pro gives you a leg-up by providing lists of journalists who cover nearly every topic and tools to follow and engage with them. By engaging in conversation with the journalists on your beat before you have news, your far more likely to get coverage when you have something to share.

 

5in5 Reviews: InsideDigs: Inside track for apartment hunters


There were two things that I always loved about trick or treating.  First, obviously, was the abundance of candy, but secondly was getting a glimpse into someone’s house for those few minutes.  I would aimlessly stick my hand into the bowl, (come on, let’s face it, candy is candy) and take a peek around the person’s house.  This was just due to my sheer morbid curiosity, but when I became an apartment renter those glimpses would be followed by thoughts of, “I wonder if they have a washer and dryer in the basement, how big is their backyard, is it oil or gas heat?”  InsideDigs gives you an intimate look inside to what could be your next apartment.

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5in5 Reviews: Huntsy: Happy Hunting!

Job searching can be an emotionally exhausting experience, take it from me – I’ve been on the hunt (pardon the pun) for months now.  Refreshing multiple job board each morning, surfing through the endless tabs I have open for each prospective job, and the nagging question of, “did I apply to that one yet?”  As is true with every job, organization should be a high priority for job hunting.

Huntsy gets your on the right track in three easy steps:

“Search your favorite job listing sites as usual.
Click the Huntsy extension when you find job you like.
Save it to Huntsy, stay organized, get reminders, and more.”

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5in5 Review: Favorly: Help me, help you.

Favorly has made lending a hand a fun and social event. Assemble a network of your peers to help you out, or volunteer your time and skills to help someone else out.  Besides just that personal sense of accomplishment, you can also get rewarded with badges and karma points which later could help you out later when you need to ask a favor – you’ll be more well known and people may be more inclined to help you.

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5in5 Reviews: Scroll Kit makes the web your blank canvas

I love the internet.  I spend most of my time on the internet.  But don’t ask me how the websites get so pretty.  I dabbled in website production in the past, and I know your basic HTML – I used to make my MySpace page pretty groovy.  But for me, coding always seemed like an impossible task. But Scroll Kit has come along to help all of us internet users, not internet makers make beautiful professional looking websites without coding!

Scroll Kit’s editor really is easy to use and straight forward.  You have the control.  Even if you have never made a website before, if you have basic computer knowledge, I promise that you can create something from nothing using this service.  It is essentially your blank canvas but instead of painting you’re coding without knowing (and I’m a poet and didn’t know it!).  Sites like Tumblr and WordPress have given everyone their own blog and several templates to pick from.  Scroll Kit can give you your own website and unlike other websites, it gives you the “kit” you need to create your own not pick its look and layout from a list.

I took a test run to see for myself just how easy it is to use, and it really couldn’t be any easier.  If you can use a mouse, you can use Scroll Kit.  Below is what I made in 5 minutes (in keeping with 5in5NYC theme). 

Scroll Kit offers the ultimate in website creativity paired with the added bonus of its user friendly platform.  The advantages to Scroll Kit really are endless as are the possibilities for your website.

Want to see what you can create with Scroll Kit? Take a test drive and share your experiences and what you’ve made in the comments.

5in5 Reviews: Songza gets you in the mood

Have you ever wanted to listen to music but just couldn’t decide what you wanted to hear?  Scrolling endlessly through your iPod or shuffling through cd’s?

I know you have because it happens to me all the time, and in those moments I wish someone would just come along and put something on for me that I feel like listening to.  Songza has come to save the day!  Their “Music Concierge” feature is what separates it from its competitors – Songza brings new meaning to the phrase “setting the tone.”  It suggests certain playlists for you based on the time of day, your mood and specific genre preferences – and will only get smarter the more you use it.  For example, what I listen to when I work out is very different than what I listen to when I’m cleaning the house on a Sunday afternoon. And a Friday night sure has a different feeling than a Monday morning.

Along with playlists contributed by listeners, Songza has enlisted music experts to curate each playlist giving you a unique song experience, its not an algorithm choosing songs and artist it thinks you like, they KNOW you’ll like it. But in case it doesn’t strike your fancy, there is a skip limit of six but, based on my personal experience, you won’t have to worry about that because the playlists are that good.  There is also a thumbs up and thumbs down selections to customize your listening experience.

Songza has also partnered with brands to give them yet another way to connect and engage with their audiences.  The men’s lifestyle website Thrillist has created the ultimate summer playlist with an assortment of new, cool songs that they think are the perfect accompaniment “for driving with the windows down or pre-gaming for a festival (but not at the same time).”  Listening to it now, I have seemed to develop an overwhelming urge for a cold beer and a hot dog.

Like Nietzsche, I believe that life without music would be a mistake, and like Songza I also believe that good music makes good times.  Songza’s insight into the importance of a great soundtrack to any day or occasion is what gives this site a leg up on the otherwise stiff and limiting competition. And if the expert playlists and endless supply of music isn’t enough for you, how about the fact that its 100% free and there are no audio ads!

So, what music suits your mood?

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Jenn Kish (aka @StartupJenn) reports on the companies featured on 5in5NYC and covers other NYC tech news. You should hire her!