We know that e-mail will kill us all, and ultimately the “real” message is that technology is all about fewer people doing more.

So, before we’re over run by technology, let’s look at some of the ways that we can use technology as we work on distressed assets.

Here is a list of some of my favorite tools or resources:

  • News, Blogs & Twitter: the amount of information available on-line (from each of these sources) is unbelievable, and even overwhelming.  How do I harness it;  and get it in a useful format?  I use Google Reader to learn about or follow topics of interest, people and companies.  It is a great educational tool, and a “secret” surveillance tool.  And I have several apps that put information in a magazine lay-out.
  • Research:  I lean on these information sources – and I can’t remember the last time that I looked up something in a book –
    • Google Scholar – click “scholar” in the “more” drop down box at the google home page.  This tool gives you access to court decisions, legal journals and more.
    • Community sites – these collect or aggregate blogs, podcasts and resource materials all around specific groups or topics.  However, these sites seem to be slow in growing (at least in the commercial real estate space – they are growing in the consumer space).
    • Law firm resource sites – take a look at the “client resources” tab on this blog’s homepage  for instructions on accessing the 90+ papers and presentations made by Winstead on issues relevant to distressed investments.
  • On-line File Rooms:  tools such as SharePoint (downside: you must build it) and RealWorkSpaces (upside; designed for commercial real estate) both focus on imaged documents and using technology in the work flow.  Typically, these services or tools furnish automatic e-mail alerts with each new posting of an imaged document – among other good work flow improvements.
  • Task Lists: I use Google Tasks to create helpful task lists, which I can access from my PC at work and my Macbook at home; and on my iPhone and iPad using the NoteMaster application.  Result – I always have access to my lists.
  • Shared Folders at the Company:  this is the easy way to give the entire work group or the Company access to imaged documents and materials.  This needs to be your mantra: image, image, image.  Use a thoughtful folder system on a network drive that your entire team can access; then image the entire closing binder and other materials; and store the imaged documents and materials in the appropriate folders.  No more wasting time looking for the physical file – or losing the physical file.

Please comment below, and “add” your favorite tech tools.