Uses This

Interview

What do people use to get stuff done?

Tim Hwang

Tim Hwang

Director of Marketing (Imgur)

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hi! I'm Tim Hwang. Currently, I'm Director of Marketing at Imgur. Over the past five years, the site has become a key piece of infrastructure for web culture, and I work to help build a range of partnerships and experimental projects around that.

In addition to the day job, I'm also involved in an ever-evolving blend of side projects: I'm the co-founder of something called the Awesome Foundation for the Arts and Sciences, just finished with a conference called TableFlip, am a fellow at a research center called Data & Society in New York, working on a book about shipping containers, and just got back from a trip to visit all the world's largest balls of twine.

What hardware do you use?

"Old-fashioned" isn't the right word: but I have a pretty humble hardware stack since I tend to run tech into the ground before getting new stuff. My main computer is a 13" MacBook Pro circa 2011, which gets connected to all the necessary peripherals at the home and office. At the office, that is a dual monitor set up, with the laptop mounted on an adjustable Ergotron standing desk. At home, that's a Samsung monitor sitting on a stack of old books.

In the land of mobile, I'm still rocking an early generation iPhone 4, which chugs along with 3G data. Continual upgrades have rendered the thing flaky but still vaguely reliable. For calls and music, I have a pair of Yamaha EPH-100s. I'm also usually packing my old model Kindle Touch.

To be honest, my primary bits of hardware remain analog, despite my projects getting deep into technology: I have a "control room" whiteboard hanging in my room that tracks the status of all projects I'm currently involved in with dry-erase marker (Expos for life), and still design schemes with a run-of-the-mill notebook and a small Muji A6. I'm particular about pens though - I'm always carrying a Pentel Energel NV, a habit I picked up at law school that has been with me since.

And what software?

Software mirrors hardware. Most of my projects involve alchemically transmuting stacks of e-mails into reality, so Gmail, iCal, and gDocs are things that I live by. There are many to-do and personal organizer apps out there - but the muss and feature bloat of all those make them more trouble than they're worth, in my opinion. Day to day workflow and task organization gets tracked with a combination of calendar notes and an elaborate system of text files (always will have a soft spot in my heart for Notepad.exe). I'm inside iWork most of the rest of the time. Apps on the phone are pretty typical, though I've particularly enjoyed Somebody and Spaceteam, as of late.

Outside of that, I tend to keep the social feeds open. Tweetbot is my go-to client for Twitter, and I usually have a tab open with Facebook. gChat is always on invisible, though. Hipchat is our team platform for Imgur, so I'm usually slinging emoji around there on the channels.

What would be your dream setup?

By and large, most setups are productivity theater. Ever-escalating complexity and rafts of features generally distract from the basic tasks that need to be done. Simpler is better: my dream set up is a quiet room with a nice view and a powerful computer running the most lightweight applications that money can buy.

Though, having one of these to work in wouldn't be half bad, either.

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