358 - Channing Allen
Channing Allen is the co-founder of Indie Hackers
Originally started in 2016, Indie Hackers would go on to be acquired by Stripe in 2017.
In 2023, Channing and Courtland spun Indie Hackers out of Stripe to return to their roots as a truly indie business.
Inside Channing's Workspace
- laptop 1 (top left): 15" MacBook Pro (Intel i9)
- laptop 2: 16" MacBook Pro (M1)
- display: 34" LG UltraWide
- tablet computer: 12.9" iPad (4th generation)
- e-ink tablet: reMarkable 2
- portable display on 16" Mac: Teamgee Portable Monitor
- headphones: Apple AirPods Max
- tripod stands: find these for cheap on Amazon; underrated way to have a "mobile" standing desk
Software (from left to right)
- Notion (depicting embedded flowcharts created with the Mermaid diagramming language)
- Indie Hackers
- Visual Studio Code
- Google Books
What is the most useful item in your workspace?
M1 MacBook if I have to name a single item.
What does your typical daily routine look like?
For a somewhat in-depth look at how I plan and structure my work, check out this article. But to give you a taste: I don't want to have a good day. I want to have a good-day builder. And over the years I've developed just that.
I call it the USHER system. It's a series of 5 named work sessions — Unite, Snap, Huddle, Execute, and Reunite — with guided workflows. Each of these sessions involves periods of sprinting for ~3 hours (yes, I time myself) and are broken up by 60-minute periods of relaxation where I'm free to go do whatever I want. They're also similar to school classes in that each session focuses on different kinds of work.
For example, I always start my day with the "Unite" session: a more-or-less predetermined morning routine involving a brief walk outside, 10–20 minutes of exercise in the home gym, and a review of the previous day's progress, etc.
I have a uniquely complex system because I have uniquely complex goals: I'm running a media company while writing a novel while staying in great shape while reading a book a week while managing a healthy social life, and more. And I'm challenging myself to do all of this in a low-stress way. There's a popular phrase that some things are "simple, but not easy." But the life I'm building for myself is the inverse: "easy, but not simple." In any case, I plan on writing a book next year on how others can use some of my system's building blocks in their own lives.
What has been the most challenging aspect of spinning Indie Hackers out of Stripe to be indie again?
It's a struggle for me to name a single thing here. Back office stuff, probably? All the admin work around business registration, health insurance, cap table management, tax and accounting work, and so on. But we quickly outsourced most of this stuff, so it hasn't been too much trouble.
Your setup (at times) has three laptops in play. Why?
Just two! The device on the bottom right is an iPad, which I mostly use for e-book reading.
As for the two Macs: I bought the newest one — the M1 on the right — after dropping and breaking the older Mac up on the stand to the left. The built-in keyboard and trackpad are unusable on it, but bluetooth devices work, so... now I have two Macs.
Overall, my workstation is a bricolage of spare parts I've accumulated over the years. Think Legos. I've experimented with different configurations and this is the best so far.