The internet wouldn't be the same without Caterina Fake. In 2004, she launched Flickr, one of the largest photo hosting and sharing sites. Later, she co-founded Hunch, which aims to personalise the web through recommendations and a massive Taste Graph.
Caterina is also chairman of the board at Etsy, on the board of Creative Commons, and an active angel investor. (She has invested in Etsy, Kickstarter, TypeKit, and 20x200.) Her most recent venture is Findery, a location-based app that encourages people to leave notes all around the world. (Findery is in private beta, but Lifehacker readers can skip the queue here!) Being dedicated to this many projects has taught Caterina quite a few productivity tricks, from the fastest way to get through email to the best workspace for creativity.
Name: Caterina Fake
Occupation: Founder of Findery
Location: San Francisco, CA
Current computer: iMac
Current mobile devices: iPhone
I work: Quickly
What apps/software/tools can't you live without?
I like pencil and paper, probably more than most people in tech. I use a Field Notes 80 page steno notebook for taking notes, and a Clairefontaine 4.5"x6.5" notebook for my to-do list. I like to number each thing I accomplish, and when I get to the end of the notebook, the number of things I have done is close to 5000. In my current To-Do list I am at task #603. I admit to sometimes adding things I have already done, and then crossing them out, for an extra frisson of accomplishment. I am also a pencil snob, and am an aficionado of the Palomino Blackwing 602. I make a lot of mistakes and use the eraser a lot, so I have eraser replacements too.
What's your best time-saving shortcut/life hack?
I once religiously practiced a twice-a-day email regime, but eventually it creeped back to being on all day. Thanks for the reminder, I'll try to re-implement that plan! Also, remember: the more email you write, the more email you get. I also tend to generally adhere to the belief that no email should be longer than five sentences.
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can't you live without?
This is very analogue, but there's a really excellent pencil sharpener Lifehacker readers should know about: the Automatic Long Point, 2 phase KUM sharpener, made in Germany.
What's your workspace setup like?
We have a wonderful office in Hayes Valley, with impressively high ceilings, a porch, and lots of plants. Standing desk mania swept across the company a few weeks ago, and more than half the people are now standing. One engineer got a tall chair to go with the standing desk, and we noticed she spent a lot of time sitting on it, so the rest of us resisted the urge. We also eschewed IKEA for eBay, flea markets, and Etsy, so the office feels homey. People in cubicles under fluorescent lights are significantly less productive than people with air and light and environments that feel more like home.
What do you listen to while you work? Got a favourite playlist?
Funny you should ask. Right now I am listening to 'Machine Gunn Eddie' by Nitro, which features the world's longest heavy metal scream. At least, it's the longest heavy metal scream that I'm aware of. There are some accomplished screamers in that genre, and frankly, Nitro isn't very heavy as far as heavy metal goes. In the metal department, it's around tin. But I can't say I listen to Nitro all the time while at work. I keep my headphones on and listen to all kinds of things more conducive to working.
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
I'm good at telling stories. The biggest compliment I've received lately was from my daughter, who after attending a storytelling festival said on the ride home: "Mommy, you tell better stories than anyone!" I was told a lot of stories as a child, mostly by my father, and my parents encouraged me to make up stories myself. I read a lot of fairy tales and mythology as a child, and wasn't allowed to watch any television. Stories and books were the primary media in my life, until the Internet.
What's the greatest piece of advice you've ever received?
Wisdom is pretty plain and unimpressive. Be nice. Floss regularly. Do your best. Don't let the grass grow on the path to your friend's house. Wisdom is always simple, but not easy.
We've asked a handful of heroes, experts and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces and routines. Every week we'll feature a new guest and the gadgets, apps, tips and tricks that keep them going. Want to suggest someone we should feature or questions we should ask? Let us know.