Running on Air: Mike Vardy

A few weeks ago I was listening to Mikes on Mic’s podcast, a great show on the70decibels network. The episode was with Cal Newport on his new book “So Good They Can’t Ignore You”. I had seen Mike Vardy’s blog post about regarding the book so I reached out to him to see if I could interview him. Mike Vardy is one of the “Mikes” of the name sake show. He is also just about to release a new book called “The Front Nine, How to start the year you want…anytime you want” which I am really looking forward to ! 

The Front Nine

The Front Nine

1. Who are you? What type of business are you in, what do you do?

I’m a writer, speaker, podcaster, and “productivityist” (which is a nice little portmanteua of productivity and enthusiast that I came up with). Other than having worked as an editor for Lifehack, The Next Web, and Work Awesome, you can find my writings around the web and everything else via my website, MikeVardy.com.

2. Which model MacBook Air are you using?

I am using an 11-inch model with an 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 4 GB of RAM, and a 128 GB SSD that came out in July 2011.

3. Why did you select the MacBook Air over other Mac models?

I downsized (at least in terms of girth) from my old MacBook Pro for a number of reasons, but the primary one was that my use cases had radically changed. I wasn’t doing much video editing anymore and was doing a lot more writing. And I knew I was going be traveling more. I wanted a notebook that had enough power for me to deal with the audio work I do (which basically boils down to editing the Mikes on Mics podcast using GarageBand and a variety of third-party apps) and also allowed me to be incredibly mobile. Essentially, I wanted a computer that was as efficient and effective, and I got it with this one.

4. How are you using your MacBook Air to run your business?

My MacBook Air is my main machine. I use it to write for my blog (with Byword) and I use it for longer form writing as well (I used Scrivener and Pages to assemble my latest book, due out this Autumn). I use Postbox for email, Evernote as a virtual filing cabinet (my wife and I keep a lot of shared notebooks in there now, for example), and I flip between OmniFocus and Asana for task and project management. The former is what I use for individual stuff and the latter is used for any collaborative projects.

Other apps I use to get my work done (other than the aforementioned GarageBand includes:

  • LaunchBar as my quick-launching app
  • Rdio for a variety of musical options for ambiance while I write
  • TextExpander to help my efficiency with email responses and commonly used phrases
  • Day One for journaling (very important for a writer)
  • HootSuite to manage my social media platforms
  • Buffer to share links
  • Instapaper to save links for later reading
  • Reeder to keep up with RSS (essential for the work I do in the land of productivity)
  • Fantastical to keep on top of my calendar (I use Google Calendar and Doodle as services to “build” my various calendars)
  • Hazel to keep things neat and tidy
  • Acorn for image manipulation
  • DollyDrive for backups
  • Dropbox and iCloud for syncing across platforms

There are others I use that indirectly help me with my work, but the ones I’ve mentioned are critical to keeping my workflow…flowing.

5. Which has been the best thing about using your Air to run your business?

The combination of power and portability in one package. I know that I can do anything I need to on my Air (as opposed to my iPad…although it is getting there). The versatility, portability and power that the MacBook Air possesses has made it my most valuable business tool – and the best computer I’ve ever owned.