Uses This

Interview

What do people use to get stuff done?

Laura Olin

Laura Olin

Digital strategist

Who are you, and what do you do?

I do digital strategy for Democratic political campaigns, media companies, and nonprofits. Before getting into consulting, I ran social media strategy for President Obama's re-election campaign, so it was my job for 19 months to tweet as @barackobama and I got paid to Tumbl so I was pretty jealous of myself. My fun braggy trivia fact for the rest of my life will probably be that a tweet and Facebook post I put up the night of the election became the most-liked and retweeted in history (until Ellen DeGeneres stole my record with her Oscars tweet - damn you, Ellen). In 2030 no one will remember what Twitter or Facebook are but I will still talk about it anyway.

What hardware do you use?

I was using a MacBook Pro during the campaign because I needed Photoshop a lot to edit photos and graphics, but as soon as it was over I got a MacBook Air. My biceps are less impressive now but I am otherwise a much happier person. I've actually never owned a non-Apple computer - the first one I bought for myself, for college, was one of the candy-colored iMacs. From there I started buying laptops.

Otherwise, I've got an iPhone 5S, an iPod, and a Kindle Fire. I'm one of those assholes who was too snobbish about paper books to get an e-reader but I've had my Kindle Fire for a year and I love it. I read so much more now than I was relying on paper books, I think because e-readers are so much easier to use on the subway. And I think it's important for people who write a lot to read a lot.

And what software?

Most of what I do is writing and bugging people about things and looking at shit on the Internet and tweeting about all of the above. For writing I mostly use TextEdit and Google Docs and, occasionally, Scrivener.

For communication I use Gmail and iMessage and the chat app Adium, which I have used for years and maintain is still the best. As for social media, I've been a Tweetbot person for years - the fonts are just too ugly on TweetDeck - and I'm one of those weirdoes who kind of prefers looking at instagram.com rather than on my phone.

I love the app TeuxDeux for to-do lists and rely on it more than is probably healthy. I recently started using RescueTime to track how I use my time when I'm on my laptop and it is, as I expected, horrifying.

I make the occasional site and am trying to learn more code, and I use Coda for that.

What would be your dream setup?

I feel like I'm perpetually looking for note-taking apps and bookmarking apps that will let me make note of things super-quickly on whatever device I'm using at the moment while also making it really easy for me to find stuff later. I haven't come across that magic thing yet.

I would also like a huge desktop monitor, because who wouldn't love a huge desktop monitor? Maybe in time for 2016.

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