Today, I’ll go through all of the business and electronic equipment I use to run my businesses. Since I follow the decentralized, low-cost Alpha 2.0 business model, I don’t use very much equipment in my businesses and my overhead is tiny. However, the stuff I do use needs to be very reliable, as well as conducive to my physical health and productivity.
My laptop is a Lenovo Yoga 720, pictured above. This is one of the best laptops I’ve ever owned in my life, and I’ve owned laptops since the mid 1990’s, well before they were popular. I was very nervous buying this computer, since because of my I.T. background, I was indoctrinated with the false belief that “the bigger the screen, the better!” Thus, I have used 17 inch laptop screens most of the last few years. The problem is that since I travel so often, these laptops were heavy and unruly, particularly in cramped airline or train seats.
So I bit the bullet, focused on something as small and light as possible, and got the Yoga with an only 13 inch screen. It really scared me, seriously. But oh man, I’m so happy I made that choice. This thing weighs as light as a feather and the screen is plenty large enough to do all of my usual work. The screen flips around to become a tablet, which is helpful when I watch movies or read ebooks. It’s very fast too (i7 processor with eight gigs of ram). Very happy with this purchase, and from now on, I will go for smaller, very light laptops instead of big badass ones.
The operating system I use is Windows 10, which I utterly hate in its native form. To make it actually usable, I downloaded and configured DoNotSpy10 which turns off all of Microsoft’s creepy spyware, then installed Classic Shell to make the Windows 10 interface look just like Windows 7, which I think was the best version of Windows Microsoft has ever invented. Now, my operating system actually works the way it should. (Screw you, Microsoft.)
I only have one other computer, a desktop computer that I had my brother custom build for me, to my specifications. It has a quad core processor, 16 gigs of ram, a top of the line video card, and is hooked to a 24 inch LCD TV that I use as a monitor. I use this computer only for fun stuff; playing computer games (I’m playing Civilization V again; so awesome) and watching movies. (I don’t really watch TV.) I do not allow any games or other fun crap on my laptop; that’s for business only, and that computer must run like a top at all times.
I used to have seven or eight computers years ago before I went minimalist. Today, two is all I need. The rest of my house simply has monitors with either a Roku or Google Chromecast attached. That’s all you really need. I don’t even have a TV signal coming into my house.
Next is my office chair, a Mirra 2. This is a $500 chair and is worth every penny if you work as much as I do. As I’ve talked about before, I hate spending money and you shouldn’t spend money either… but, the exception to this rule is with things you use every day, like your laptop, office chair, razor, mattress, etc. Those things should be as top of the line as you can possibly afford. I love my Mirra 2 and it’s made a noticeable difference in my back posture and productivity.
Next is my scanner, the Fujitsu ScanSnap S300. It’s tiny, takes up hardly any desktop real estate, ultra fast, and problem-free. This is an old model you can’t get anymore, but any of the new ScanSnap models will work fine. I’ve had this thing for years and it still works perfectly. I wrote an article here about how integral this was for me to create my paperless office.
Next are my headphones. For a long time, I used a “normal” pair of noise cancelling headphones that was about $50. They worked okay, but then one day at the electronics store I tried on a pair of Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones, and I was blown away with how much better it blocked out the sound around me. At $350, it was expensive, but again, I travel constantly and use my headphones all the time, so it was worth it. I bought them a few months ago and I’m in love. I’m wearing them right now at a busy Panera Bread restaurant, listening to some relaxing music as I type this, and I can’t hear anything going on around me. Even better, there are no wires (it’s Bluetooth) which is fantastic for when I’m on the plane. They’re awesome.
My cell phone is a Galaxy S8+. My old Galaxy Note 3 was getting pretty worn out (had it for many, many years) so I finally upgraded this year. This new phone is okay; nothing fantastic. I like big phones because I watch a lot of video on them and do a decent amount of reading on them as well (though less now that my laptop doubles as a tablet). In the iPhone vs. Android debate, I think they’re both good phones, but I dislike Apple’s corporate-fascist attitude it has toward its products. Apple seems to think they own your iPhone, whereas Android and Samsung don’t give a crap and let you do whatever you want with it.
When I record any audio, like for my podcasts, I use my MXL Mics MXL-TEMPO-KR Condenser Microphone. It’s a little big, but it’s portable enough, sounds great, and I’ve never had a problem with it. It came highly recommended from my audio guy.
As a side note, my laptop has no driver installed for its internal microphone, so no hacker or spyware can spy on my audio. I also have a piece of electrical tape over the webcam at all times (unless I’m on a Skype video call), as well as tape over both my cameras in the front and back of my phone. Electrical tape is great because it stays on forever and can be easily removed and re-applied when needed. (I suppose spyware could hack the microphone on my phone, but there’s not much I can do about that without spending a lot of time and effort, and I’m not that paranoid.)
That’s really about it. Just a few items and that’s all I need to run several companies with a healthy six-figure income. It’s best to be a minimalist when it comes to business expenses; the lower your expenses, the more money in your pocket.