265 - Fatih Arslan

Fatih Arslan is a Software Engineer at PlanetScale

Fatih Arslan is a Software Engineer working for PlanetScale. Before that, he worked at GitHub and DigitalOcean.

He's a design addict and loves well-designed goods. He also loves photography and has been shooting for decades.

He also shares his thoughts about gear, design, and photography on his blog.

Twitter → twitter.com/fatih

Inside Fatih's Workspace


  • I love using a clean desk, so I always minimize my gear.
  • I have an Apple XDR Pro display. I love using a single display and having a big 32" inch display helps. When I purchased the display, Apple didn't have the Studio display.
  • My keyboard is the Kinesis Advantage 360 Pro. It's an ergonomic split keyboard, and I love it. I wrote an extensive review if anyone is interested.
  • My desk speakers are the AudioEngine HD4. I had the HD6 versions but later switched to the HD4 because of the headphone input. That allowed me to simplify my desk. I wish the Pro Display had integrated speakers, though.
  • My mouse is a Logitech Master MX 3
  • I use Sennheiser HD 6xx headphones paired with Shure MV7 microphones for my meetings. I completely switched to a wired setup after constantly thinking about whether my headphones were charged.
  • My desk chair is a Herman Miller Aeron Remastered. I've used the same chair for many years and love the customizability. The mesh seat is also very comfortable during the summer.
  • I have a standing desk with integrated control. I have used it for almost six years and love it. The desk is from a local company called Nurus in Ankara, but they used de actuators and motors from LINAK.
  • Next to my desk is a Kawai KDP120 Digital Piano. Even though it's in my room, my son and I are learning and playing the Piano.

Espresso bar:

  • I've custom-built my espresso bar. When I built my house, I ensured I had a dedicated place to brew coffee in my office. I use it on a daily basis. My office is also where I invite my friends, so it's handy as I can prepare coffee with no fuzz.
  • The bar has a faucet with two outputs, one from the pipes directly and another from the RO system. My espresso machine is also plugged into the RO system.
  • I use a La Marzocco Linea Mini with customized wooden handles. I bought it 1.5 years ago and used it almost daily. I paired it with a Eureka Atom 75 Grinder.
  • The two shelves above the bar counter display my Teenage Engineering Choir and various coffee-related books and magazines. It's constantly changing, though. Sometimes I display a set of pour-overs that I use occasionally.

Lounge area:

  • As you have seen, I love mid-century design. I try to collect various designer furniture. I usually like warm and clean colors. I have an Eames Lounge chair that I wanted forever. It faces both my room and the garden. I love sitting there, sipping coffee, and reading a good book. I also do my photo editing via my iPad or sometimes with my Macbook Air.
  • I have three more pieces of furniture from the Eames couple: the famous LCW (Lounge Chair Wood), the Wire Base Low Table, and the Eames Stool that I use as a side table with my Eames Chair. But if I have a lot of guests at my place, we also use it as a stool.
  • I love Isamu Noguchi's Light sculptures. I have a large Akari 75A lamp pendant in my room and the Akari 1A desk lamp (which sits on the shelves).
  • I have a Nelson Bench for my coffee table. Even though it's a bench, it can be perfectly used as a table.
  • My shelves are from Ikea, and the model is called Elvarli. I initially wanted to get some Vitsoe 606 shelves, but when we moved two years ago, I wasn't sure what I wanted. So I waited and settled down. But now that things have settled down, I'm planning to replace the shelves soon.
  • Above my Ikea leather couch, I have a large wall art from a contemporary Turkish painter, Halil Akdeniz. The painting was done in 1989, and I bought it from auctions. It perfectly blends with my room's environment.
  • On my shelves are various synthesizers and gears from Teenage Engineering. I love what they are trying to do as a company; they create delightful, well-designed instruments that spark joy.  I have various of their Pocket Operators, such as PO-20 (arcade), PO-12 (rhythm), PO-128 (Megaman), and PO-133 (street fighter).  Next to them, I have an OB-4, a little portable device, but it's beautiful and reminds me of Dieter Rams's legendary T 52 Radio.
  • For Photography, I'm using a Leica M11, with a Summilux 35mm F1.4 FLE. I recently switched to Leica from using Fujifilm cameras for a decade. I wrote a lengthy review if anyone is interested.

What is your favorite item in your workspace?

This is a tricky question to answer, and I have so many things that I love to use daily. If I have to pick one, it's probably my Eames Lounge Chair, which I wanted forever and could finally obtain last year.

How do you spark creativity?

I love to read new things. It's primarily various subreddits customized to my interests, people I follow outside my work environment (such as designers or photographers), and books. Being exposed to all this information is a trigger for creating new things. But creativity also isn't something you can find somewhere. Just like happiness, it's not a mood you cannot pursue forever. Creativity only happens if you can cope with boringness. Embrace boring things, and occasionally you'll find certain things you enjoy working on.

How do you manage work-life balance?

I don't use any alarms, and I've been working remotely for the past 11 years. I only worked on-site for a few years but worked from home before. It was fantastic. Working from home has a lot of benefits, but you also need to draw your boundaries. Luckily, living in various places throughout the planet, I built my own home and settled in my home country Turkey. I also built my own office/lounge area with a private/dedicated garden. This means that I only work when I'm in this room.

My room is always available for my kids, so it's never closed. With time they also have learned how to approach and not bother me when I'm working intensely. I'm a little bit lucky to have kids that somehow listen to me :)

What do you think is the main benefit of remote work?

As a Parent, seeing my kids grow and being able to grow with them is the best thing about working from home.
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