Steven Aquino is a contributing writer at TechCrunch.
I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Steven Aquino, freelance journalist, and co-host of the Accessible podcast, based in San Francisco, CA.
Steven started his writing career in January of 2013 penning his first article with The Magazine. Prior to writing professionally, Steven worked for 11 years as a teacher’s aide assisting students with moderate-to-severe special needs – 9 of those years were spent with preschool-aged children diagnosed with autism.
In 2013, Steven wrote a number of articles for Macworld, Techpinions, The Loop and TidBITS covering Apple and accessibility. In 2014, he wrote his first contributing article for TechCrunch about accessibility and 3rd party developers, and he continues to write for them today.
In May of 2018, Stephen and his co-host, Timothy Buck, started their podcast Accessible to share their love, and opinion, on accessibility in tech. They might be Apple-leaning fans, but they provide great insight and fun conversation with some of tech’s most interesting figures.
Read more about Steven, his love of Apple products and how organized (or not) his desk really is in this month’s What’s On My Desk.
For starters, there are 2 computers on our desk and a tablet. What is the purpose of having (and using) this many devices? Do you prefer one over the other?
The laptop is a 2016 Touch Bar MacBook Pro, which is the Mac computer I use. I’m mainly an iOS user (the tablet is a 10.5” iPad Pro) but I do like using the Mac for writing and especially for recording my podcast. The other device is a Kindle Paperwhite, which I bought on Prime Day over the summer. It’s my first e-ink Kindle, and I really like it. I’ve finished two books so far, Bad Blood and Hatching Twitter, and really enjoy the device. I see now why Kindles are so immensely popular.
It’s pretty clear, from your desk and your writing, you are a HUGE apple fan? What’s one of their products you wouldn’t be able to live without? Can you tell us about one on your desk currently?
It sounds cliche, but I honestly could not live without my iPhone. It’s the lifeline to literally everything in my life—personally, professionally and more. It’s my pocket computer. My Apple Watch is a close second given how handy it is for receiving notifications and especially for keeping me aware of my overall health.
Can you tell us about the large black object standing up on your desk?
That’s the Fully Lumen LED Desk Lamp, which was The Wirecutter’s previous top pick for the best desk lamp. It’s great, I love it. It’s got 7 or 8 different hues and about a dozen brightness levels that sure you have touch-controlled. The Wirecutter says its current pick is virtually identical, but the Fully Lumen is a great product. I’m very happy with it.
Since you’re a contributing writer, do you find you do your best work from your desk or another location?
It’s counterintuitive considering I’m writing about my desk setup, but I actually find working at coffee shops to be better for my productivity. I think it has to do with the ambiance of them… something about sitting at a table with other people around triggers my brain into “work mode.” I can work at home too, but it can be chaotic, so I tend to work late at night when people are asleep or when I’m home alone.
We notice a ton of journalists use notebooks and have quite a few on their desk. Do you prefer to take notes digitally vs handwritten?
I mostly prefer digital notes, but I do like jotting things down on Post-It notes (yellow FTW). I also have amassed quite the collection of Field Notes notebooks, which are very cool.
What are the bundled items laying on the left-hand side of your desk? Do they serve a specific purpose?
That “bundle” is actually my blind cane. I have low vision, so I carry a cane with me to identify myself as a visually impaired person. This is particularly handy when I ride public transit here in the Bay Area. The cane helps, but it’s woefully too short for me, so I need to get one that fits me properly.
Your physical desk looks like an antique. Is there a unique backstory about where it came from?
No backstory. I needed a desk and this was one we had in the house, so I claimed it. It’s not fancy but it works; I like it.
My drawers are far less tidy than the top of my desk!