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A picture of Jamie Sanchez

Jamie Sanchez

Creative consultant, developer (Bit Bash, AnimeChicago)

in community, designer, developer, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Jamie Sanchez, a full-time creative consultant. My bread and butter is custom WordPress development for clients but I frequently work on branding, event planning, and community building projects for Chicago-based nerds and organizations.

My biggest personal project is Bit Bash, an interactive art festival celebrating games with artistic intent, local cooperative games, and unique installations like VR or custom controllers you'd only find in a festival or museum setting.

My other main project is AnimeChicago, a non-profit anime club catering to young professionals in their 20s and 30s who deep-dive into the academic side of the medium.

Lastly, I'm also a WordPress Mentor for Skillcrush where I help new developers launch their freelance businesses or make drastic career changes to pursue a more fulfilling life.

What hardware do you use?

I'm using a maxed-out 2009 MacBook Pro that desperately needs replacement. I've loaded this machine with 8GB sticks of RAM, upgraded to a blazing fast SSD, and have even swapped the little $6 feet when they started chipping off. It's on its second battery and the "Service Battery" notice came back a few months ago. I'm a firm believer that technology shouldn't mirror fast fashion, and that minimalism includes caring for your tech items long term.

My productivity increases with dual monitors, so I'm using a 27 inch LG at home and a hand-me-down Wacom Cintiq 20 with busted pen input at my co-working desk. Magic Mouse, Bluetooth keyboard, and headphones are a must for desk mode.

And what software?

Most of my design time is spent in Illustrator and Sketch since I work on both print and web projects frequently. Craft does a good job filling in the gaps between Sketch's native tools. Photoshop is still my BFF photo editing suite. I also do some digital illustration on the side but have been waffling between SketchBook, Clip Studio, and Krita. Utilities like Noun Project, RightFont, LittleIpsum, and Sip make the day a little easier.

WordPress websites are a strange blend between admin GUI and text editing. I spend hours each day in Sublime Text and have really customized the environment, but the allure of Visual Studio Code is growing strong. I've used dozens of file transfer tools but Transmit really takes the cake. Chrome has been my go-to testing tool but my BrowserStack subscription has been absolutely invaluable for debugging and launching websites as a solo developer. Command line is fine but visual tools like CodeKit and Patterns really help dispel some cognitive load.

As for productivity software... I have opinions. OmniFocus is a great tool but leaves a lot to be desired for long-term planning, so some Google Sheet worksheets fill in those gaps. For collaboration needs, Slack, Dropbox, and Google Docs have worked perfectly. 1Password, Focus, Calendly, Harvest, YNAB, and Quickbooks Self-Employed have paid for themselves a thousand times over. I absolutely love Spotify and Numi, which are just nice perks.

What would be your dream setup?

Realistically: The latest 15" MBP all tricked out, three new 27" displays for all three desks, Cintiq 13HD tablet, and the best noise-cancelling headphones and dictation software suite on the market.

Fantasy land: A tablet like the iPad Pro, with high-end pen sensitivity like a Cintiq, maxed out like a pro-gamer tower, that could function as my primary machine and dock into any station imaginable. Just output to a desk setup with monitor/mouse/keyboard setup, plug right into a VR setup, stream to a media system, or transform right into a karaoke suite.

Someday, I'm sure!