Matt Alexander (Twitter) was one of the most impressive guys I met at WWDC this year. In addition to the fact Matt is a geek, he’s also an entrepreneur. Most recently Matt started a few companies: Need, that specializes in curating collections of men’s clothing, accessories, and lifestyle products; and Foremost, that sells limited-run, American made clothing. Lots of people have big dreams. Matt just keeps making them happen. So Matt, show us your home screen.
What are some of your favorite apps?
(All of which feel very obvious and dull in retrospect.)
Which app is your guilty pleasure?
On the former, I feel like I’m perpetually ten years too old to be using it so frequently. I do love it, though. (And, as a side note, it’s a really great tool to use as a brand.)
On the latter, it’s gross and everyone hates it, but I just can’t quit. I’ve been a member since 2005 or so and, as such, have cultivated a great deal of connections — in England (where I grew up) and the US (where I live and went to university) — whilst it has also captured a huge amount of my formative moments.
I also have the Dominos app. Which is an app for ordering Dominos pizza.
Which is bad.
What app makes you most productive?
Well, that’s rather difficult.
In many respects, I suppose, I could say Mailbox. After all, that’s where I deal with the vast majority of my correspondence.
Truly, though, I think Slack is my most productive app.
We run all of Need and Foremost in Slack — and we rarely email within the company any more — so it’s become my go-to mechanism to check in with the team and ensure we’re on the right track.
I’ve got a number of our tools (e.g., Braintree, GoSquared, and ZenDesk) setup to report directly into Slack, too. So, when I’m out and about, I can quickly glance at a private channel or two and get an immediate understanding of what’s happening with the company.
Fantastical also ranks highly, but I just don’t rely on it as much as I do the unique characteristics of Mailbox and Slack. It’s more of a much better solution than it is something entirely different.
What app do you know you’re underutilizing?
Nonetheless, I struggle with staying on top of my to-do apps.
I tend to keep most of my day-to-day tasks on track without much of a system. I know people are probably shuddering, but my mind is always with me and up-to-date. My apps, on the other hand, are not.
Which is, admittedly, my fault. I’d be lying to myself, though, if I thought I’d suddenly change my habits drastically in that regard.
What is the app you are still missing?
Apps for Need and Foremost, of course.
I’m kidding. I’m not that terrible. (Although we are working on both. Hint.)
Seriously, I’d love an app that allows me to manage both of my companies a little more seamlessly. Where Slack has obviated email and brought my team much closer together, I’d love to see someone take on the broader workplace.
All of our documents and services live online, but I’d love a quick glance dashboard to gauge our traffic, sales, tasks, and so on.
Many such services exist on the desktop — Grow is a good one — where all your disparate metrics and points of interest are collated.
On my phone, though, I move between a wide selection of apps, many of which I simply ignore.
Equally, I’d settle for an app for GoSquared.
How many times a day do you use your iPhone/iPad?
I live on my iPhone throughout the day. It’d be impossible to count.
With regard to the iPad, I have an iPad mini 2, but its usage is limited to reading and playing embarrassing games on the sofa.
What Today View widgets are you using and why?
In order, I have Launcher at the top as a quick launch directory for Weather, Google Maps, OmniFocus (which is fittingly embarrassing), and Uber.
I have ESPN for football scores. (The football with feet, rather than the American one with hands.)
Stocks. Because I have two companies and need to make myself feel like I know what I’m doing.
What is your favorite feature of the iPhone/iPad?
It’s been said before, but I’m genuinely able to run my businesses from my iPhone.
Regardless of where I am in the world, I can rely upon my phone (for the most part) to enable me to run the day-to-day components of the company.
And that’s really an amazing thing.
A massive runner-up is iMessage. As someone who moved away from home in 2006, it was always difficult for me to stay in touch with my friends for years. And then iMessage came along and it became free, easy, and built-in. It was an enormous moment for me.
If you were in charge at Apple, what would you add or change?
I’d love longer battery life.
Whenever I’m traveling, I don’t have all-day access to charging cables at my desk. So, I often find myself with battery anxiety.
And I refuse to use a battery case. Or a case in general. Because I’m not an animal.
I’d also love to be able to set default apps for particular tasks. I always get a little sad when I inadvertently wind up in Mail or Calendar.
I realize that’d open a can of worms for many people — and I understand that extensions help — but I’d genuinely appreciate the flexibility.
Do you have an Apple Watch?
I do, indeed. I have a 42mm Stainless Steel Apple Watch with Black Sport Band.
I use the Utility face — sans numbers — with a red seconds hand.
It’s extremely minimalistic — perhaps to the point of pointlessness — but I love it.
I’ve always worn minimal watches — which I miss everyday when wearing the Apple Watch — and the pared down Utility face is the closest consolation I can find.
What’s your wallpaper and why?
Hoyoung Lee took a photo of three Need tie bars sitting on top of a stack of Need pocket squares during our launch party in November 2013.
It’s the background on every device I own.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Thanks for having me! I promise to try to improve on the productivity front.