The people who use our boards.

308 interviews since 2018

Jesse Bailey

Senior Developer

Who are you, and what do you do? What do you like to do outside of work?

Hi! I’m a senior developer who has been building software systems and applications, mainly in the web space with Rails, for just over ten years. I hail from the open plains of Kansas originally but moved to the East Coast several years ago to build a positive energetic shift into my life. After working for thoughtbot, a development consultancy, I joined a small startup building software to increase the productivity and happiness of clinical research teams.

Working from home full-time has been rough for me the past few years, but recently I’ve started to find a more sustainable work practice by incorporating a time-blocking planner approach. This has helped tremendously with the litany of distractions that come from fielding your work and your life from the same space.

Perhaps even more influential in my holistic personal growth has been the discovery of sculpture. I attend a weekly stone sculpture studio and have found the patient hands-on work has affected a contextual shift in my perspective on life and happiness. I’ve struggled with finding the meaningfulness in the constant churn of much of the software development industry, and slow-building beautiful physical objects for the sake of the practice itself has been a welcome tonic. Above all, I find deep satisfaction in the practice of craft and creative restoration. In sculpture, I’ve found a way to do that which I deeply know will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Here is pictured a year of progress:

Jesse Bailey's clay mockup and block of stone
The planning stage
Jesse Bailey's sculpture in progress
The creation stage
Jesse Bailey's sculpture
Sculpture complete!

Also, I love coffee. Adore the stuff. I’ve been home brewing better and better cups for myself over the years, and the next thing I’m looking to is to start home-roasting. My partner keeps telling me I would do very well starting a small coffee pop-up, and maybe that’s something I will get to this year.

Jesse Bailey's coffee setup
Mmmm, coffee

I also know I would like to write more, but never can find it in me to generate momentum in this department.

Okay, and also I like biking and exploring national parks…

Jesse Bailey at a national park
That's a beautiful view!

Jesse Bailey's bike
We're going to guess he didn't bike there, even if he rides this bike everywhere else

What hardware do you use?

Computer: M1 14-inch MacBook Pro. I feel that Apple built something right here. The size and form factor is perfect, the battery life is better than ever, and typing on it is a decent experience.

Jesse Bailey's setup
Jesse likes sculpted-looking desktop accessories, too

Monitor: I use a single 27-inch 4K monitor. I mostly focus on a single window at a time and rely on key bindings to change my viewing context. If I find myself needing more than a single split side-by-side, it raises a question for me about whether I am following the right process and using the right tools.

Keyboard: Currently I’ve been running with the ZSA Voyager. I love this thing!

Jesse Bailey's keyboard
Jesse's keyboard customizations are on the inside

Mouse: I use the MX Vertical. It tracks well enough for a Bluetooth mouse and has an ergonomic upright position. I have found corded mice track much smoother, but the tension on the cord running to the back of my desk was far too noticeable when moving the mouse.

Dock: CalDigit TS4 dock. This thing is incredible, and I can’t believe I had to figure out how to manage connecting peripherals before it.

Desk: Fully Jarvis. Sturdy build, thoughtful design. No complaints. I stand far less than I thought I would.

Microphone: Blue Yeti with boom arm. I found that having a quality microphone feed made a big difference while listening to someone over Zoom calls during the pandemic, so I try to give those I meet the same thoughtfulness.

Webcam: Razer KIYO. I purchased this during the pandemic when it was impossible to find a good webcam in stock. This was the best option I was able to find at the time, and it has been good enough for me the past few years.

And what software?

  • Vim (Neovim): IYKYK. I tried Vim out when I first started my career and have never looked back. Many people hype the Vim modal editing experience, and while that is certainly great, having a fast, scriptable editor core has kept me using it through the years.
  • WezTerm: A sensible GPU-rendered terminal emulator written in Rust. Has multiplexing built in, so I’ve not needed to use tmux.
  • Unix: Learn the Unix toolset; it unlocks your ability to make your tools work for you rather than depending on an external company.
  • Dash: Offline documentation search. I try to hone my usage of documentation.
  • Arc: A new startup doing some interesting experiments in the browser space. Curious to see where this goes.
  • Obsidian: This is a recent discovery for me. I’m not very good at using it, but I have started to record notes here. Ideally, I would write atomic notes and build up a knowledge graph, but I haven’t found the energy or discipline to do so yet.

What’s your keyboard setup like? Do you use a custom layout or custom keycaps?

I started using the ErgoDox last year, and my main issue was the number of keys and their height. The Voyager solves so many of those pain points for me: a Goldilocks amount of low-profile keys, a travel-ready frame size, and very simple tenting. I lubed and taped the Choc Brown switches, which improved the hollow sound they made while typing. I haven’t needed to change much in terms of layout so far, though I needed to modify the per-key tapping term to adjust to how quickly I would chord certain key combinations.

What would be your dream setup?

If I could get proficient, figuring out a way to mount the Voyager pieces on my chair armrests. The extra desk space would unlock new heights of minimalism and ergonomic benefits. Other than that, having the time, money, and energy to design an asthetically pleasing and uniform desk setup with mood lighting would be fun, but ultimately hasn’t been a priority for me. I want to get a small form-factor Linux PC at some point.

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