By day, Christopher Jobson is a web designer at a financial firm; by night, early morning and weekend, he writes and edits Colossal. Christopher started Colossal in 2010 to explore "the intersection of art, design and physical craft, specifically artwork that is tactile, physical and non-digital in nature."
Each week, he posts 15 or so of the coolest (seriously, coolest) paintings, installations, animations, buildings and pieces of street art from around the world. As he explains it, the site serves as "a reminder that in this digital age there are still thousands of incredible people making work with their bare hands." Christopher talked to us about how he manages a round-the-clock work schedule — from the apps that keep everything running to the tunes that keep him inspired. <
Name: Christopher Jobson Occupation: Sole editor/blogger at Colossal, web designer, dad, husband, forced insomniac Location: Chicago, IL Current computer: 2008 MacBook Pro Current mobile devices: White iPhone 4S I work: Always
A favourite poster by Anthony Burrill
What apps/software/tools can't you live without?
For running the blog, I can't live without WordPress. The site runs on a super easy to use content delivery network called CloudFlare, has fonts served from TypeKit, and great real-time stats from ChartBeat. On my MacBook, I couldn't function without LaunchBar. I also can't use a computer without a Logitech Performance Mouse MX.
How do you manage your to-do list?
My email inbox and a piece of paper. I use Basecamp for larger projects.
What's your best time-saving shortcut?
I get stupid amounts of email, submissions, and spam, but I obsessively keep my inbox at around 20 or so items. It's my to-do list. Is there a fancy name for that? I also read a few hundred websites each day and am sure to at least glance at every item on all of them. I use Chrome and a great plugin called Page Monitor to help with that. I live in Google Reader — even after all these years, it's still the best.
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can't you live without?
I'm not much of a gadget person really, other than my phone which accomplishes so much these days. Next most important would be my Apple TV.
What's your workspace setup like?
Bed, couch, cafe, train, park. Our home is too small for an office or even a work desk so things are 100 per cent mobile.
What do you listen to while you work?
Lately lots of Zoe Keating, Andrew Bird, Girl Talk, Led Zeppelin and Hot Chip.
Christopher's favourite dessert drink, the flaming B52.
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else? What's your secret?
I make an incredible martini because I follow directions from Jim Coudal.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
I love this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson about enthusiasm: "Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your objective. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."
I also love this quote from [This American Life's] Ira Glass about [pushing] something from mediocrity into the realm of something incredible: "For me, pushing myself is way more about 'It's hard to make something that's interesting.' It's really, really hard, and I'm sure we don't succeed with every story on every show. Basically, anything that anyone makes…It's like a law of nature, a law of aerodynamics, that anything that's written or anything that's created wants to be mediocre. The natural state of all writing is mediocrity. It's all tending toward mediocrity in the same way that all atoms are sort of dissipating out toward the expanse of the universe. Everything wants to be mediocre, so what it takes to make anything more than mediocre is such a fucking act of will. Anyone who makes something for a living, or even not for a living, if they're really excited about it…You just have to exert so much will into something for it to be good. That feels exactly the same now as it did the first week of the show. That hasn't changed at all. That's the premise of what it takes to make something."
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.