Mac Setup: The Adjustable Desk of a CEO

Nov 15, 2015 - 20 Comments

Mac setup of a CEO of web development and software development firm

This featured Mac setup is the workstation of Peter L., the Chief Executive of a web design and software development firm. Read on to learn a bit more about the awesome adjustable desk, and the hardware and software that is put to use!

What hardware comprises your Mac setup?

Adjustable desk Mac setup of CEO

Tell us a bit about what you do?

I’m the CEO of a web design and software development firm, so I’m involved with every aspect of the company. We provide digital solutions for our business clients and develop a few web apps as well. 

What do you use your Apple gear for? Why did you go with this particular setup?

My gear is used for web development and testing, tons of emails & project management, some PHP programming – of course, server management, CRM management and more. I love my dual display setup – each app has its own desktop, and I have hotkeys set up, making it super easy to multi-task. 

The simple clean desk layout makes it easy to concentrate, and I love being able to either sit or stand at the desk whenever I want – makes for a more comfortable work day. The battery life on both my MacBook Pro & iPhone 6S Plus are amazing – never have to worry about charging the entire day.

Mac setup of a software development firm CEO

What are some of your essential Mac and iOS apps?

Transmit (both Mac and iOS) is the best FTP client we’ve seen and the whole staff uses it daily along with TextMate for easy coding & file management. The usual core apps like Mail, iTunes, iCal & Safari are always open. With Handoff, it’s nice and easy to seamlessly switch between devices, and I use that a ton. 

Skype is used by the whole team for easy communicating – as well as with clients. We use Direct Mail for Mac for our client email list management, and couldn’t do without it! Adobe Photoshop CS6 is our go-to app for graphic work, as well. QuickBooks Online and it’s corresponding Mac app makes it easy to manage our books.

Some cool apps I use on my Macs are Bartender & Hazel – love them. iStat Menus, Boom 2, Snippets, ColorSnapper & 1Password are always open, and Dropbox keeps our whole company sharing files easily with each other and clients. Mac ID is a cool app for Mac & iPhone that keeps security tight – locking my Macs when I walk away, and unlocking when I come back. 

AirConnect and Air Login (Mac & iOS) from Avatron Software is what I use to make it super easy to log into any one of my Macs remotely from another Mac or iPhone. We also use Teamviewer for client support.

My favorite app on the iPad is StatusBoard – we use it to track server stats, in-depth website stats w/ GoSquared, and much more. 

Do you have any tips or productivity tricks you’d like to share?

If you haven’t already, get to know Mail & Safari – especially in El Capitan. If you have multiple (newer) devices, you can really take advantage of Apple’s infrastructure in ways you couldn’t before and can’t with third party apps. Bartender is a no-brainer app to organize my cluttered menu bars.

The latest hack I just implemented is to use Dropbox to sync my multiple Mac desktops – I love it. Not only can I access those desktop items on my Dropbox app in iOS, it real-time syncs files when I add or remove them to any of my desktops – it’s crazy easy and so time-saving.

Now it’s your turn! Send us your Mac setups, go here to get started! Or, you can browse through previously featured workstations here.

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  1. Patrick M. says:

    Is it frustrating using two monitors who completely separate resolutions? I use two TB displays on a 2012 Mac Mini.


    • Peter says:

      Nice setup, Patrick – love the desk. Not too frustrating once you’re used to it. Photoshop and other res-dependent apps all have desktops on the main iMac, and other non-res apps like Excel, Word, Messages, Skype, QBO, etc live on the Cinema Display on the right, if that makes sense. It’s pretty difficult to tell the difference now.

  2. RM says:

    Nice setup – but I could not work with that little keyboard lol.

    • Peter says:

      I swap it out with a wired apple keyboard with the numpad on the side. Agreed – it’s easier with the numpad but I like to keep it all apple, as it makes it easier to switch between keyboard.

    • no way says:

      That is the standard apple BT keyboard, it’s fullsized keys no smaller than the wired version. I am sitting here typing on a Wired version with a BT version to my left and the keys are EXACTLY the same size.

  3. John Stires says:

    Love the setup but I don’t use Safari because of a Firefox Add-On (that’s soon to be phased out by Yahoo [literally] idiots from beyond Pluto). It’s called Cool Previews. It allows the user to hover on a link, a tiny icon shows up and hovering on that little blue dot opens a window about one-third the size of my display allowing complete access to the entire link without ever having to leave the original page. Imagine a list of Google responses or Amazon products and being able to peruse each one, one at a time going down the list until an appropriate answer shows up. You can then open a new tab or not, your choice. It’s ABSOLUTELY the greatest add-on EVER and has kept me from using Safari for about a decade, despite all things Apple otherwise. I’ve been dying for a Safari version so I can make the switch because it’s so darned useful. If anyone knows of one I’d love to hear about it… Google responses to my queries speak only of the same frustration from other geeks. (Full disclosure: I have nothing to do with Cool Previews other than being a maniacally satisfied user who would actually PAY for it!)

  4. TJ says:

    I see you have several Apple computers, do you sync them together? I tried Transporter but it gave me more problems than solutions. I need to keep a laptop and a desktop synced on my own network without a third party cloud. Any ideas? Thx.

    • Peter says:


      Great question. We used to use Transporter with the exact same outcome. Wasn’t providing consistent service for us. We can’t even sell the old units.

      If you check out the above article, you’ll see that we mention Dropbox we use for file sharing. It was really a last resort, as we wanted a local solution, but Dropbox really had all the features we wanted, and for $9.99 it was hard to say no.

      If you really don’t want the third party cloud, I’d just keep my eye on the local file storage industry. While there’s always the possibility of an NAS drive, it’s not as feature-loaded as Dropbox. We tied backing Wedg (google it) and that turned out to be a disaster. We don’t really foresee a viable solution coming to market in the near future, even though we’re very passionate about it.

      At the end of the day, usability comes before third-party-cloud for us – we were struggling without a file solution (transporter) before, and it’s really changed our workflow now that we have a functioning solution.

    • no way says:

      Just turn on file sharing, syncing and connecting multiple macs is about the easiest thing to do on a network. I have two Macs at my home office and several in other locations that all share locally on their network this way, they show as shared devices.

    • Neil says:

      TJ – have you looked at owncloud? I have used it for two, perhaps three, years now, and I am very pleased with it. No third party “cloud” system, and the desktop client means that changes are replicated within a few seconds. I don’t use the mobile app much, although I did buy it just in case – instead, I tend to sync iAnnotate on my iPad with owncloud via WebDAV.

      The downside is that you need to run your own owncloud server. Not tricky, in my view, if you have a Linux box available, or are happy to run a Linux VM on a Mac, but something to bear in mind.

  5. Wharf Xanadu says:

    Desk looks great never heard of that brand but for the price looks like a great standing desk that switches to sitting. That’s the best idea. What kind of Chair works with it?

    • Peter says:

      Thanks, I love it – best desk ever, hands down. I just use a comfy ergonomic chair when it’s in the sitting position. Any chair you’d use with a sitting desk – and then obviously you’re not using it when you’re standing!

  6. Alex says:

    Which brand/model is the hub shown at the lower right corner of the Cinema Display?

    Thank you.

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