I’m The Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Eben Upton And This Is How I Work

It’s Raspberry Pi Week on Lifehacker, so who better to chat with than Eben Upton, cofounder and executive director of the Raspberry Pi Foundation? Eben and his team are the magicians behind this incredible device, a project that started as a way to spark kids’ interest in computer science. Launched in early 2012, the demand for Pi was so great that it quickly sold out — and a year later, it’s estimated that more than 500,000 units have been sold. We caught up with Eben to find out his favourite apps, best life hacks and can’t-live-without gadgets.

Name: Eben Upton

Occupation: Executive Director, Raspberry Pi Foundation

Location: Cambridge, UK

Current mobile device: BlackBerry 9700

Current computer: IBM Thinkpad X40

I work: Messily

What’s your best time-saving trick?

Never do anything twice — spend the time to write a script to do it for you. It’s amazing how easy it is to get sucked into spending five minutes a day doing something that would only take an hour to automate.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

What’s your favourite to-do list manager?

Gmail and a giant wipe-clean wall planner. I work by processing my inbox these days.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?

My bicycle — a 2005 Dawes Audax, indifferently maintained.

What’s your workspace like?

Cubicle land with Lego. And boxes. Lots of boxes.

What do you listen to while you work?

Silence. Occasionally classical music. Nothing with English lyrics, as I get too easily distracted.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

I have this thing where I tidy the bathroom by randomly placing an object a day in the cupboard. You rapidly discover the working set of items that you (or your partner) uses. This was inspired by how close to optimal a purely random cache line replacement can get in an SoC.

What’s your sleep routine like?

Night owl with an alarm clock. I used to be able to wake naturally at the right time, but the time pressure of running Raspberry Pi (and immediately doing an MBA before that) tempts me to stay up too late for that to work.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Get as much information as you can. Nobody can take that away from you. (My grandfather, via my father.)

We’ve asked 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.

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