Stephen Wolfram's (Founder of Wolfram and WolframAlpha) Productivity Hacks and Personal Infrastructure Hacks he Employs
What a fascinating read how this really high productivity always connected CEO has organised his life around the tech he uses through decades of productivity hacks. I love the fact he mostly works remotely from home and even gives his talks from there. He "runs" his meetings whilst walking on his treadmill! And yet for some things he carries a pen and paper.
If you know anything about WolframAlpha and some of the AI technology his company has been creating for the last 32 years you'll probably want to read his story. He does not just sell a product... he created those products for himself to use, and they happen to be useful for everyone else too. I wish more CEO's were so into using their own products (although I suppose the founders always are, its what happens after the business passes onto someone else).
"At an intellectual level, the key to building this infrastructure is to structure, streamline and automate everything as much as possible—while recognizing both what’s realistic with current technology, and what fits with me personally. In many ways, it’s a good, practical exercise in computational thinking, and, yes, it’s a good application of some of the tools and ideas that I’ve spent so long building. Much of it can probably be helpful to lots of other people too; some of it is pretty specific to my personality, my situation and my patterns of activity."
"I’ve had the same big wooden desk for 25 years. And needless to say, I had it constructed with some special features. One of my theories of personal organization is that any flat surface represents a potential “stagnation point” that will tend to accumulate piles of stuff—and the best way to avoid such piles is just to avoid having permanent flat surfaces. But one inevitably needs some flat surface, if only just to sign things (it’s not all digital yet), or to eat a snack. So my solution is to have pullouts. If one needs them, pull them out. But one can’t leave them pulled out, so nothing can accumulate on them:"
"These days I don’t deal with paper much. But whenever something does come across my desk, I like to file it. So behind my desk I have an array of drawers—with the little hack that there’s a slot at the top of each drawer that allows me to immediately slide things into the drawer, without opening it."
In some ways, I do similar things but at a way more superficial level... seems I have a role model now to follow here ;-)
I love that he also lists at the end of his article all the products and tech that he uses. It confirms too that that old fashioned looking phone is, in fact, an Iridium satellite phone and not a 20-year-old Nokia phone.
|Seeking the Productive Life: Some Details of My Personal Infrastructure—Stephen Wolfram Blog
Some of Stephen Wolfram’s “productivity hacks” to make his days and projects more productive. Daily life, desk environment, outside the office, presentation setup, filesystem organization, Wolfram Notebook systems, databases, personal analytics.