How I Work
A little while ago the wonderful folks at UseThis.com asked me to tell them what stuff I use to get my work done — the interview is going to get published soon; I thought it might be fun for the Heretics to read it here first.
1) Who are you, and what do you do?
Hi! I’m Pascal Finette. In my day job I head up Singularity University’s startup programs and speak quite a bit about entrepreneurship, technology and impact. I also publish The Heretic, a daily newsletter (and community) for entrepreneurs, founded or co-founded three non-profits (The Coaching Fellowship, Power Up and Mentor for Good), co-founded the GyShiDo-Movement, am on the board of two incredible non-profits (The Unreasonable Institute and CASH Music) and advise a couple of fantastic startups (e.g. re:3D and Standard Analytics). I used to run ultra-distance endurance races; due to an injury, today I am a TRX devotee. I’m married to the incredible Jane Finette — together we own two dogs and a horse. I guess I keep myself busy.
2) What hardware do you use?
I spend most of my time in front of a first-gen 13” MacBook Pro Retina (8GB RAM/256 GB HD). At home I sometimes use an 27” Apple Thunderbolt Display together with an Apple Wireless Keyboard and a Logitech M570 Trackball. We’re connected through an ASUS RT-N66U WLAN router and a previous-gen 2TB Apple AirPort Time Capsule for Time Machine backups (I found the WLAN portion of the Time Capsule somewhat unreliable — thus the ASUS RT-N66U router). I somewhat go back and forth between Android and iOS — my current phone is an iPhone 6. In my bag you either find a Fujifilm Finepix X-100 camera or, when I need more versatility, a Fujifilm X-E2. Talking about bags: I have a slight bag obsession and rotate through a couple of bags in the course of a week; my favorite bags at the moment are the Filson Padded Briefcase and the GORUCK Shoulder Bag. Lastly — I have an aversion against paper; a Doxie One scanner turns every piece of paper I ought to keep into a neat, little PDF.
3) And what software?
During the day (aka Singularity University-time) I live mostly in my browser (primarily Chrome these days) using Google Apps. It’s pretty remarkable how I pretty much never have the need to fire up any of the Microsoft products anymore… My team’s work is organized in Wunderlist, we use Team Reporter at the end of the day to keep each other updated on progress and plans and communicate via Slack throughout the day. As I do a fair bit of public speaking I am almost always whipping up new decks or refining my existing ones — they mostly are made in Apple Keynote; unless I need to pull something together on short notice in which case I love using Deckset. And not to forget Caffeine — an essential utility when you depend on your Mac not going to sleep while you present.
For all my other work I pretty much use plain text files everywhere — be it for my blogs (coding is done in Sublime Text and Markdown files are written using iA Writer) or notes and research (which I keep in nvALT). My websites are all built on top of Jekyll; I use a bunch of custom bash shell scripts in iTerm 2 to keep everything humming smoothly. All my image editing needs are fullfilled by Pixelmator, my whole user folder syncs to Dropbox and a couple of neat, little utilities keep me sane: Viscosity for using a VPN when I am on a public network; Dashlane owns my passwords, Noizio for focus-inducing nature-inspired whitenoise; Spotify for all my music needs (take that iTunes!); aText for text expansion; f.lux to keep my eyes from tearing up at the end of a long day; VLC has long replaced Apple’s QuickTime player for all my video watching cravings; Tweetbot makes tweeting so much more fun; Reeder takes care of my RSS reading needs; Lyn replaced Apple’s Preview and JPEGmini crunches my photos down to a more manageable size.
4) What would be your dream setup?
The one thing I want is a retina MacBook in 12” — I can’t stand the screen (and sharp edge) of the MacBook Air; the 11” MBA is too small and my 13” Retina MBP is just a tad too big and heavy. Oh — and while we’re at it: Can I please have a self-driving car? Otherwise I just need good coffee to be happy and productive.