Wednesday, April 05, 2006

How I work

Fortune magazine has great series, called How I work, on how several succesful business people work: the tools, the schedules, the habits. Interesting how Hank Paulson, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, has never even used email. Or how Bill Gates uses Outlook across two monitors (and still believes Outlook is great - what's up with that?). Google-geek Marissa Mayer, like some of my colleagues, wouldn't trade Pine (text based, courier font) for any other email tool. I bet ya, she authors her documents in vi.

My work environment
My preferred system is my personal Apple Powerbook laptop. However, since my work (files) live on 'the network', I use a variety of systems to do my work. All I need is power and a network. Both my work email and calendar are on Edge servers. This means they can be accessed over a secure (SSL) link, from anywhere and any machine. Normally one is required to log in (over VPN) into the private corporate network. With our Edge mail and calendar servers, I no longer need to log in. This allows for a great level of flexibility. My office is in Menlo Park. My office desktop is a Sun Ultra 20 Opteron based desktop running Solaris 10. At least 3 days a week, I work from other locations within the company using a SunRay. SunRay's a nitfy thin client. Using a JavaBadge, my work environment (my files, my graphical user interface, my open documents, etc.) follow me around throughout the Bay Area: all I have to do is pop in my JavaBadge into a SunRay, and voila, there is my screen. At home, I use my Apple Powerbook, or a company Toshiba M2 laptop, running Fedora 3.

The Tools
I read email using (MacOS X) or Thunderbird (Solaris 10, Linux). Both are configured with many filters, which put my emails in the right buckets, priorities and label them accordingly. On average I get about 150 emails per day.

My personal email is shielded into a Gmail account. I access my gmail via both the brower interface (because it has chat easily integrated), as well as POP to

I use both Safari and Firefox, and opt for ad-blocking proxies.

I keep up to date on technology news, news in the world, friend's blogs via RSS. I use Ranchero's NetNewsWire (MacOS X), Sage and Google Reader as my RSS readers. Recently, I started to use Google Reader a lot more, due to the fact that labeled feeds can be spliced and automatically included in my blog (the right side bar - Interesting bits I read).

Chat: AIM/iChat (waffletchnlgy), Google Talk
SMS: my calendar at work reminds me via SMS about upcoming appointments. I used to synchronize my cell phone with iCal (MacOS X), but due to an incompatibility, it was inefficient to synchronize both personal, work and mobile calendars.

I live on the network, love small and efficient tools. I use quiet a lot of Twiki throughout the day for status updates, product tracking, documentation etc. Oh, and I do carry around a notebook. All work gets divided weekly among five categories: Urgent, Important, Other, Personal and One-on-One. It helps prioritizing all the things to be done.

Where I work?
My 'official' office is in Menlo Park. I work in the Sunnyvale campus (once a week), the Santa Clara campus (two or three times a week) and from home. I get around via both my car, the company shuttle, sometimes the train, and in summer on the bicycle. Here are a few pictures from the Santa Clara campus I work out of regularly.

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