210 - SJ Zhang

SJ Zhang is the Design Lead at Compound and also advises startups on design and hiring

SJ Zhang the Design Lead at Compound.

He has a very high bar for any object that he owns. Before tech, he was in the business of building physical stuff, so he cares a lot about build quality and material honesty. He also cares about integrity of the makers and the culture surrounding the brands.

Since he gets asked often, he has decided to share some of the stuff that he owns or researched on his personal website here.

Twitter → twitter.com/sjzhang_

Tools (that I don't already have linked on my site):

  • LG 5K
  • Apple magic keyboard
  • Apple magic trackpad
  • Sonos one
  • iPhone 14 Pro
  • iPad Pro
  • MBP 14
  • Dyson air purifier fan and humidifier


  • Arc
  • Superhuman
  • Texts.com
  • Cron
  • Things
  • Figma
  • Notion
  • VS Code
  • Pixelmator Pro

What is your favorite item in your workspace?

My 3 in 1 charger by Native Union. It keeps my phone up, facing me while being charged. I only bought it recently, and I wished I had bought it earlier.

I also love my chair and I think Haworth and Steelcase chairs should spend more energy marketing to consumers. My Haworth chair (Zody) was more comfortable than every Herman Miller chair I tried when I did my WFH shopping in 2020. But tech people seems to only look at Herman Millers. I later saw my chair in the 2010 film "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps". They had a full conference room of it! I'm guessing everyone besides Herman Miller slept on marketing to consumers and got caught off guard by Covid.

How do you spark creativity?

By learning and doing research. For me, fresh ideas only come from having more knowledge and references to draw from.

How do you manage work-life balance?

I like to go hard when I'm in a flow state and rest when my flow state stops. When I have to control my rhythm, I rely on music to encourage getting into focus mode or relaxing.
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