Job van der Voort’s setup

Job is the VP of Product at GitLab. Before entering the world of startups and tech, he worked in neuroscience, studying encoding of information in the brain. He joined GitLab after working as a software engineer and moved to product management as GitLab grew. He has a big passion for design (product, furniture, architecture) and (board)games.

Tell us something funny about you

I have a dog called Maçã, which is Portuguese for Apple. That might be a reference to the company.

Show us your desk

I’m so lucky to have a view of the river Tejo (Tagos) from my desk.

The desk itself is a motorized standing desk from Ikea. It’s really great.

From the left to the right:
First a simple pen / stuff holder from Muji. I have many different (fountain) pens that I use less than I should.

I have 3 headphones that I use regularly. The one in the picture is the Sennheiser 518, really great, open headphones. Besides those I use Grado SR80 and Bose QuietComfort 25, the last one for video calls and travel.

The paper is a block from Muji. The pen a Lamy Safari M. It’s on a ceramic penholder that my wife made.

The monitor is a 4k Dell monitor on an Ergotron arm. I can’t recommend the arm enough! It gives you lots of space on your desk and movement. The monitor is connected to the thunderbolt dock that is on the edge of the desk.

The Thunderbolt dock connects my Macbook to the monitor, wired internet, my keyboard and optionally to audio equipment.

Right behind the keyboard, a miniature Millenium Falcon.

Keyboard is a tenkeyless Race II with green backlighting and Cherry Brown switches. I used to have a full Cherry Blue model, but it was super noisy and the full model made my movements between mouse and keyboard less than ergonomic.

Magic Trackpad 2 (also highly recommended).

The dock of the Macbook is a Rain Design Mstand. It’s pretty and well-built. Not easy to take with you though.

The light on my desk is an Artemide Tolomeo LED desk light. Artemide is a standard in lighting; I love their design. I got this one when graduating from University, which makes it extra special.

The chair is a replica Eames Aluminum chair. The patents on these designs have expired, so replicas are indistinguishable from the originals for a fraction of the price.

Hardware

What computers do use (desktop, laptop, mac or pc or both ?)
I mainly use a Macbook Pro 13”. It’s the best middle between travel-size and power. At home, I plug it into a thunderbolt dock, which connects to my main monitor, wired internet, my mechanical keyboard and optionally other peripherals.

I’d like to have a smaller, lighter machine, be it the Macbook One or an iPad Pro, but the performance of the first is disappointing, while the keyboard stand of the second is limiting.

I have a Windows PC for games, but it hasn’t been plugged in for over a year.

What’s your current phone ?
iPhone 6S + Apple Watch

What gear do you use for podcasting ?
I use an ATR–2100-USB through XLR into a simple mixer / amp.

What other useful gear can’t you live without (printer, router, analog stuff…)
I have a small love for fountain pens. I don’t have any fancy pens, but I love to use my Lamy Safari pens on good paper, be it paper from Muji or Rhodia. I like fountain pens with wide nibs, like the Lamy M and B.
I’m also really loving the Amazon Echo (Dot).

I’m always optimizing my travelling gear. I use a Crumpler Trackjack backpack, pack my clothes in little compression packing bags and take a foldable Muji backpack to use after dropping my big bag at the place I’m staying at.

Software

General purpose

OS: macOS Sierra
Browser: Chrome, occasionally Firefox and Safari
Email client: Classic Gmail on my Mac. Airmail on my iPhone. I’m a heavy user of filters on Gmail.

Productivity

Omnifocus: The ultimate to-do / getting things done list. Very customizable, while still being opinionated and focused. I use it on my Mac and iPhone.

Notes: Notes for macOS and iOS is great for quick notes. It’s always there and synced across devices.

1Password: The best cross-device password manager. We switched all of GitLab from Lastpass to 1Password the day they released teams and we’ve never looked back.

TextExpander: If I type _jj, TextExpander expands it into my email address. TextExpander allows you to create any kind of abbreviation that expands into almost any kind of text. I can write entire emails with only a handful of keystrokes.

Other useful apps I use

f.lux: makes your screen orange at night, which is calmer for the eyes. Research is not conclusive if it has any benefits, but it’s nicer.

Photoshop: I grew up using PS and still prefer it over Lightroom and others for photo editing. It’s very powerful, but not very intuitive.

Balsamiq Mockups: I’d replace Balsamiq for a more flexible tool, but it’s the fastest tool to make quick, low-fidelity mockups.

Quitter: Quits or hides inactive applications after N minutes.

Spectacle: Simple window management for macOS. I only use this one, because I remember the default shortcuts.

LittleIpsum: Very simple menubar app that allows you to copy / paste any amount of Lorum Ipsum placeholder text.

Web apps and services

GitLab: I use GitLab for all my work. It’s my work to make it better, so I make sure to use it for every single thing possible.

Calendly: I can just send you a link to my Calendly page and you can schedule a meeting with me there. It automatically blocks times I’m unavailable. It’s an awesome product and better than the AI schedulers that you see coming by, as it requires much less back-and-forth.

Phone apps

Tweetbot: A better Twitter app than the official one.

Narwhal: A better Reddit app than the official one.

Workflow: Allows you to customize “workflows” within iOS that give you the ability to do things that are seen as “desktop only” very fast on iOS.

Airmail: The best iOS email app.

Overcast: I listen to many podcasts. Overcast is a good, simple podcast app made by Marco Arment (of Accidental Tech Podcast and Tumblr fame).

Chrome extensions

Papier: Every new tab in Google Chrome becomes a scratchpad. As Chrome is always open, I use this very often for quick notes. It supports markdown, which is great.

OneTab: Closes all your tabs on a single click and compiles them on a list. Also does this when you force-quit Chrome. You never lose tabs anymore!

The one productivity tip you’d recommend

Focus on less to do more. Plan three big things and do those. Block time in your calendar for hard / long tasks, so you don’t get distracted. Start mornings with everything (email, chat) closed. Block Fridays on your calendar, so you have a day for overflow and unexpected meetings. Work on things you love.

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