If you’re the kind of person that takes pleasure in building a computer — choosing the case, finding the best processor (and cooling system so that you can overclock it), doting over all of the components to maximise your rig and topping it off with LED lighting — then you should probably know Linus Sebastian.
Linus started like many hardware enthusiasts, working for an electronics retailer while tinkering on the side, but as he rose in the ranks at NCIX his video production for them took on a life of its own. Nowadays you can find daily videos on LinusTechTips, his eponymous YouTube channel where he and his team discuss the latest hardware and methods to push your computing rig to the edge. We caught up with Linus to learn about his current setup and how he works.
Location: Vancouver, BC
Current Gig: Technology YouTuber/vlogger
One word that best describes how you work: Frantically
Current mobile device: I’m using a Galaxy S6 Active, but it’s likely I’ll switch back to the Droid Turbo. The camera is much worse, but battery life is everything for me.
Current computer: I’m running a decked-out (512GB SSD, 16GB RAM) Razer Blade 14 (2015) right now with Windows 8.1 but I am super stoked for the upgrade to Windows 10. I haven’t spent much time on Win10, but I’m hearing really great things about it. My personal desktop machine is (sort of) out of commission right now, but is a custom liquid cooled dealie with an 8 core Extreme Edition processor, a GTX Titan, 32GB of RAM, and a 1.2TB SSD. I’ve already got an RTM copy of Windows 10 running on that one, but I *just* installed it for a video the other day and haven’t even setup my desktop background yet!
What apps, software, or tools can’t you live without?
Dropbox and Teamviewer make my life good. I’m self-employed, which means I could be working pretty much anywhere without access to my files or proper computers and being able to make use of that time is huge for me. I also consider Twitter and Instagram to be incredibly important tools for me work since they give me valuable insight into what my viewers are thinking during time that would otherwise be wasted playing Jetpack Joyride on the toilet.
What’s your workspace setup like?
I think the only way to describe my workspace is with a picture. Chaos everywhere. Currently my desk has been taken over by my new video editor because our new office isn’t completed yet, so I’m working on what used to be a table for shooting B-roll in a random room downstairs. It’s got my laptop, a server I’m working on, my hydration cylinder, and a wide variety of other random knick knacks on it.
— Linus Sebastian (@LinusTech) July 27, 2015
What’s your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?
I don’t know if this counts, but the best time-saving measures I’ve put in place are actually OTHER PEOPLE. I know many people in my position try to do everything themselves, but I’ve spent the last 2.5 years building out a fantastic team of people around me to handle things that I used to have to do myself like ad sales (yech).
What’s your favourite to-do list manager?
Until very recently I was using a draft email to myself to manage my to-do list, but I reorganized it last week into a Google doc. My to-do list is shared so the “periodic update” model of something like Evernote doesn’t work as well for me as Google’s real-time multi-person editing does.
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?
I’m a smart watch guy. I get so many notifications that a Pebble Steel smart watch lasts only about half of the advertised run time between recharges, so not having to pull my phone out of my pocket to see if something is important or not is a HUGE time saver for me.
What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? What’s your secret?
I am fairly certain I rock socks and sandals better than anyone else on the face of the Earth. I wear them with pride, confidence, and even a touch of class. Not only that, but my sandals-wearing skills make people who “can’t run right now because I’m not wearing running shoes” cry. I’ve done everything from walking in the snow to riding electric scooters to traversing rooftops in my sandals. There is no better footwear.
What do you listen to while you work?
Usually trashy pop music. I enjoy it and find it easy to tune out. When I really want to focus I put a song I kinda like on repeat. I find the headphones I’m using play a bigger role here than the music I listen to. Something that isolates outside noise well works best for me, which is why I prefer in-ear monitors to bulky headphones.
What are you currently reading?
I tabbed out of the Anandtech review of the Apple watch and an article about the recent AshleyMadison.com leak to answer this Q&A. Both were fascinating for very different reasons.
How do you recharge?
Family time is the best medicine for me. It doesn’t help me rest — I find sleep is better for that — but it definitely gives me a reason to get up every day and build my company.
What’s your sleep routine like? Are you a night owl or early-riser?
I used to be more of a night owl and rarely slept before 2 – 2:30am, but these days the exhaustion has begun to catch up to me and I’ve been sleeping around 1 to 1:30. That sounds later than it probably is because I am NOT a morning person and rarely rise before 9am.
Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _________ answer these same questions.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Execution is everything. Sitting around and planning is worthless unless it turns into something tangible. You’re better off to have 100% execution of a 50% plan than 50% execution of a 100% plan. Nothing drives me crazier than sitting around pontificating about “the perfect way to do something” when we’re in a hurry, which is always if you want to get anything done.
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.