A Dozen Real Desks of a Dozen Real Techies

How does your desk compare?

Desk

Go on, look at your desk … is it a nice, neat, clean with everything in its place workspace or is it an everything out of its place including a cat and even the kitchen sink if we could dig deep enough to find it kind of  environment?

Whichever it is, you’re not alone. In this slideshow we have a survey of the desks of a dozen techies from Anchorage to Zanzibar (well, to be honest, most are from Silicon Valley but we do travel as far afield as South Africa). Some are amazingly tidy, others, well … not so much.

So, pursue these examples, and, if you have the cojones, add yours and your ratings to the list at http://www.gibbsblog.com.

Desk

Name: Jon Christopher.

What do you do? I'm a programmer.

Where? Office.

How long has your desk looked like that? The ball for about eight months. The standesk is two weeks old.  The monitors are mirrored so I can seamlessly switch between sitting and standing. So far, I spend about 80% of my time standing. The ebike in the far right has been in regular use for about five years.

What would you change about your desk? Better/quieter wireless keyboard.

Desk

Name: Dave Nathanson.

What do you do? Mac tech support, various servers, web sites, FileMaker Pro database programming, policy documentation. And an unreasonable amount of email.

Where? Home. The only office I use.

How long has your desk looked like that? 10 years maybe? You can't see the ever-growing pile of books and papers behind the other computer at right. Its functionality has been replaced by the ever-growing file folders behind the scanner.

What would you change about your desk? Clear it all off, especially that big pile of papers behind the monitor. Get it all organized so I could find those things, yet not have to look at them.

Desk

Name: Dennis Mortensen

What do you do? CEO

Where? Office

How long has your desk looked like that? Since day 1.

What would you change about your desk? More Red Bulls.

Desk

Name: Anand Raghavan.

What do you do?​ I am a marketer​.

Where? ​Office​.

How long has your desk looked like that? Days - clean up once in a few weeks - just did that a few days ago​.

What would you change about your desk? ​Less reliance on post-its stuck to my desk​.

Desk

Name: Mike Turco      

Where?  This is a setup at a client's office.

What do you do? Programming and IT consulting.

How long has your desk looked like that? About six weeks, two to three days a week. No paper books whatsoever. Other than mail I receive, receipts, etc. I generate maybe 10 pages of printed material a year.

What would you change about your desk? I would get a big screen like that, shorten my stand-up desk so that I could see past it, put that TV on the wall and use it for a monitor. I like my home office and of all the places I've lived I like this place the most.

Desk

Name: Ann Zumwinkle

What do you do? Web Design and Development, Principal Owner and Art Director.

Where? Home.

How long has your desk looked like that? With the cat? That's Peaches, the calico alley cat with an attitude. She's there regularly. I like that I was looking at Dave Nathanson's desk on the right-hand monitor when I took the pic ... that's Thunderbird email on the left, which runs my life.

What would you change about your desk? It would be nice to have one less of everything.

Desk

Name: Peltier Cooler

What do you do? SQA engineer.

Where? Office.

How long has your desk looked like that? Not quite 10 years.

Desk

Name: Greg Roelofs

What do you do? Software engineer

Where? Office (left) … pretty pedestrian except for the Local Group model of 56 galaxies above it. The individual sizes aren’t to scale but the positions are. The A/C here is ridiculous, so sequential shots show a fair bit of motion. Home (right) [With a 4K monitor being “driven by the NUC and outrageously huge xterms.”]

What would you change about your desk? Office: Dim the lighting and direct the A/C vents elsewhere. But I'd also like to redo the dwarf galaxies (53 of the 56) so they're closer to the correct scale. Home: Still recovering from the remodel, so the shelves and crap in boxes aren’t in their final configuration. Someday ...

Desk

Name: Anonymous.

What do you do? Post Production Mixer.

Where? Office.

How long has your desk looked like that? With the six professional JB speakers, Dolby and Protools hardware and software? Years.

What would you change about your desk? Relocate from the studio to my home studio …

Desk

Name: Dan Bornstein.

What do you do? Computer programmer, mostly. Also a coffee enthusiast and an occasional musician.

Where? Home (left), office (right).

How long has your desk looked like that? About a year and a half in both cases.

What would you change about your desk? Home: I want to raise the speakers up, both to make a little room and so that the monitor doesn't obstruct the sound. NB: The photo isn't staged beyond minor curation of the contents of the monitor; the surface of the desk is in fact typically empty, as depicted. Office: The cords are a mess and could use some neatening / hiding, and I'd prefer to have the monitor on an arm.

Desk

Name: ​Johan Pretorius​.

What do you do? ​Software Engineer​.

Where? Home office (I'm a freelancer, working mostly from home).

How long has your desk looked like that? At least a year, I've recently swapped the Mac and desktop displays around, though.​

What would you change about your desk? I would convert the garage into a study/studio - my current study is smallish. But then again, it's still larger than your average cubicle.

Desk

Name: ​Elizabeth Gschwind.

What do you do? ​Localization Manager.

Where? Office

How long has your desk looked like that? It's been like this for years...

What would you change about your desk? Nothing I would change really - it functions well for me since most of my work is online.