Uses This

A collection of nerdy interviews asking people from all walks of life what they use to get the job done.

A picture of Davide Agnelli

Davide Agnelli

Managing Director (IDEO Tokyo)

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hello everyone, Davide here.

Computer Scientist (back when evolutionary computation was the next big thing and you still had to drive your own car), Interaction Designer (all hail fellow Ivreans), part-time Venture Capitalist, crypto-enthusiast (here's my crypto Twitter list), and currently Managing Director at IDEO Tokyo. I had been struggling with the question "what did you design lately" until this perfect tweet.

Grew up in Italy, spent about 10 years in the SF Bay Area and relocated to Tokyo in 2013. It's a beautiful, inspiring place and people can actually pronounce my name over here.

What hardware do you use?

My hardware setup is pretty straightforward: 2 Laptops, 1 iPhone, 1 iPad, 1 Kindle.

I keep my two nearly identical 13" MacBook Pro (one old, one new) synced between home and work through Dropbox and Chrome: 100% of the content I need to access is cloud-synced. My laptops are always plugged into a 27" display (one Apple at home, one LG at work) and I believe in single-screen productivity, as long as your screen is big enough and you use a window manager app.

There's a lot of commuting, walking, cycling, socializing and drinking in Tokyo and I would hate to drop or lose my machine. So when I'm out and about I no longer carry anything beside my phone, and it's really refreshing to get home and pick up things from where you left them with zero effort.

Then there's my iPhone (which I'd probably trade for a Pixel if my Japanese carrier allowed), an iPad at home which is non-stop playing videos or podcasts and a reliable Kindle Paperwhite loaded with more books I could possibly read in my entire lifetime.

I've been a carry-on, single-bag traveller for many years and the SDR D3 is my bag of choice.

And what software?

I'm constantly tweaking and improving my work and life-flow.

Caffeine keeps my machine awake and Breaktime puts it to sleep (I typically work in 16-minute on / 4-minute off cycles for increased focus and productivity). Work is Slack, Google Apps, Dropbox. Fantastical is my calendar of choice and Things is for todos. 1Password keeps me sane (do yourself a favor and get on it). Overcast (podcast player) and Blinkist (book summaries) keep me smart. Spotify (music) keeps me flowing.

I believe in a transhumanistic and singularitarian future and I'm a compulsive note-taker: I have tens of thousands of unorganized notes collected in Simplenote and use Evernote for business cards and web clippings. I could talk about Google Photos for days: it is as much of a photo app as a note app to me. After a dozen iterations, I now use color-coded post-it notes for all my handwritten notes, photograph and keep them in Google Photos for easy and instant access. You'd be surprised how convenient that is.

Stoicism is my life's OS.

What would be your dream setup?

Beside longer battery life and wireless charging for everything, not much else I'd want right now.

But I often wish for a more connected and integrated world:

  • A global telco carrier with a lifetime, flat-fee subscription.
  • A biometrics-powered passport allowing me VISA-less access to all countries in the world.
  • A fair, universal tax-scheme proportional to the number of days I spend in each country every year.
  • A service-agnostic messaging app.
  • And of course a single, government-independent and censorship-resistant global digital currency.

It's 2019, people, let's get to work.