053 - Mikael Cho

Mikael Cho is the co-founder and CEO of Unsplash (recently acquired by Getty Images)

Mikael Cho is the co-founder and CEO of Unsplash (recently acquired by Getty Images). Unsplash is the internet’s source of freely-usable images. To date, over 200,000 photographers have provided over 2,000,000 photographs that have been downloaded over 2 billion times.

Have you ever downloaded a photo from Unsplash for use on a personal project?


  • MacBook Pro
  • iPhone (for writing)
  • Airpods
  • Pillow or book to prop up my MacBook. I had one of those floating desk things once but it never stuck. I found it more flexible to switch books if I wanted different heights.
  • Decaf coffee: the taste of hot coffee helps signal to me it's time to focus.


  • Roam Research (switched a month ago)
  • mymind for storing visual inspiration
  • iPhone Notes (for documenting on-the-go thoughts)
  • Superhuman
  • Slack: we use it an Unsplash though I'm not a huge fan of the real-time nature of chat-based communication tools. It's a net positive but I see downsides.
  • Spotify
  • Foam roller + lacrosse ball for mobility and stretching when I break
  • Audible (i prefer to read by text but I find more time to read while walking)
  • Kindle (my preferred reading method)

Overall Philosophy

The work I do these days is much more about thought and communication than anything else. so I don't focus too much on the tools.

The fewer tools the better so I can focus on doing the work instead of the overhead of learning a new tool or the switching cost of figuring out a new tool.

Work Setup

Our home is an open concept so no blocked off room. I work from the couch most of the time.

I prefer to put my feet up while working. One, it feels more comfortable. Two, the angle is better for you, ergonomically speaking, than sitting at a 90 degree angle or hunched over. I tested a standing desk (link) but killed it. instead I try not to sit too long.
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