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Ways We Work

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Jack McDade

Founder and developer of Statamic

Jack McDade is a designer and developer residing comfortably in Upstate New York. Uncomfortable with tooting his own horn, he writes cautiously about himself and his so-called accomplishments in the third person. He has numerous hobbies and is involved in many things, some of which are interesting.

What do you do?

I’m the founder and developer of a fun and quirky content management system called Statamic. It started as a side project and quickly grew into a platform that powers thousands of popular websites, including this one!

What do you find most rewarding about your role? Most challenging?

When I’m reading an article or poking around a site (ahem) and discover it was built with Statamic, it makes my day. Getting emails from people who can’t stop raving about how fun it is to build websites with Statamic is wildly rewarding.

On the flip side, supporting a software product can be exhausting. I’m blessed to have an incredible team and community to help carry the load. I don’t know what I would do without them.

How do you stay up to date with trends in your industry/field?

I don’t. The web industry moves so fast and in so many directions that it’s easy to be overwhelmed and feel like everyone and everything is passing you by at Mach 3. In reality, we’re all just trying to make a living and offer something we feel is unique.

If your product or specialty is relevant today, odds are it still will be relevant tomorrow and next year. I just try to focus on my audience and users more than my competition or the so-called industry leaders. If a trend is here to stay, it can’t be avoided. Your mom will post about it on Facebook. If something gets through my barriers, it must be worth checking out.

All in all, I’d rather just spend time with my family than listen to podcasts, read the latest posts on Hacker News, or dig through RSS feeds. Call me crazy.

What are your top five applications or programs?

SublimeText 3 - For the coding.

Adobe Photoshop - For the designing.

Slack - For communicating with my teams (aka…sharing animated gifs).

Rdio - Music to break the silence, or drown out the noise. I work from home and have kids in the house. It’s inevitable.

Statamic - My product. I love using it to build and manage sites almost as much as I enjoy working on the platform itself.

Best way to stay on top of email?

If I can reply to an email in less than 60 seconds, I try to do so right as they come in. Otherwise I leave the email marked as unread and punch through them in batches a few times a day so I don’t break my focus.

In other words, if you don’t hear right back from me, it might be a few hours. Real emergencies usually involve phone calls.

What is your best time-saving trick?

Delegation. Is this a trick question?

One non-tech thing you can’t live without?

Coffee and single malt whiskey. I know that’s not one thing, but it is when you make an Irish Coffee so I’m going to count it.

What does your workspace look like?

A room with 4 walls, a big window, and an iMac on a desk. I don’t usually use laptops because I like being able to leave my work in the other room.

Structure of your typical day, how do you divide your time?

4 or 5 days a week I start with CrossFit and/or (weather permitting) mountain biking early in the morning. By the time I’m home at my desk with a hot cup of coffee I already feel like I’ve conquered the day. The rest of my time is spent shifting between Slack, code, Photoshop, and email as the need arises. Lunch fits in there somewhere. Evenings are for family.

I try not to work much more than 40 hours a week. Life is short.

What is the greatest piece of career advice/wisdom you've ever received?

“A mediocre idea with determined follow-through will always beat a brilliant idea without it.”

This not only motivates me to keep pushing and keep improving my own products, but prevents me from being too distracted with little side projects that, deep down, you know will ultimately do nothing but scratch a creative itch.

Who would you like to see featured on Ways We Work?

Caleb Nelson, the co-owner of Purebred Athletics (my CrossFit gym) has a pretty inspiring story and unique business.