The Intro: Than Tibbetts

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Who are you, and what do you do?

I’m Than Tibbetts, a UX designer at Fusion. Don’t let my title fool you, I’m a proficient developer as well. I’ll be floating somewhere between the two disciplines as we build out the experience. I’ve been working on the web since capitalized <p> HTML tags were cool. My degree in journalism has lead me to a delightful career working on the web in multiple media organizations like MPR News, the Public Insight Network, and Lakana, working with Hearst Television.

My wonderful wife and I — along with our two cats and Gary the dog — live in Saint Paul, Minnesota, anchoring the Fusion tech team’s first north coast outpost. When I’m not working on the web, I enjoy getting out on a lake or playing in my three-piece rock’n’roll cover band.

What’s your preferred hardware and software setup?

My first computing memories are of playing the keyboard and tutorials on my father’s Macintosh Plus. I’ve been an Apple fan ever since. (Let’s see… there was the Mac II, a Performa 6200CD, a rescued Mac S/E 30, Bondi blue and graphite iMacs, an aluminum PowerBook G4, a black MacBook, and a Mac mini server.)

Right now, I’m packing a 2015 Retina MacBook Pro, sometimes with a bonus display if I need to stretch out my workspace.

The absolute first piece of software that needs to be on a new machine is 1Password. It’s the key to my entire online life — work and play — and I can’t imagine going back to a time where I was manually typing in passwords like an animal.

I’ve flip-flopped among task management apps for years, often re-entering all of my accumulated tasks into a new app when I get stuck as an exercise in mental spring cleaning. I’ve tried OmniFocus and Todoist extensively, but I keep coming back to Things.

I’ve long used Coda to keep small web projects organized, but for my day-to-day projects I like Sublime Text. Tune it up with GitGutter, Flatland, Source Code Pro and go! I’m trying to keep a better tally of my personal preferences on GitHub.

Backblaze has saved me a couple of times, and otherwise, I never think about it. It’s exactly what backup software should do. You’re backing up your computer, aren’t you?

Other must-have software: Slack (obviously), Tweetbot, Tower (a seriously great git GUI), Fantastical.

And the little utilities that remove friction from my computing life: Alfred, ColorSnapper, Droplr, Flux.

How do you consume media? Any favorite formats or publications?

Most of my media consumption happens on my phone. A typical day involves checking in on NYT Now in the morning, consuming or saving (in Instapaper) a slew of links over midday, and catching up on any longreads in the evening.

I’ve hitched my podcast wagon to Overcast. I love the app’s Smart Speed feature. I’m a big fan of: 99% Invisible, just about anything Merlin Mann puts out, Radiolab, Revolutions, and Song Exploder.

On the music side, it’s Rdio over Spotify or Apple Music, primarily for aesthetic reasons.

What excites you most about what’s coming next at Fusion?

To be honest, I was fairly unfamiliar with Fusion when I started talking to the tech team. But now that I’m aboard, I’m finding more and more to be excited about every day I move through our GitHub repos and Trello boards.

On a broad level, I’m excited to see the voices of my generation mobilized into social and political expression. Fusion is a great home for those voices and stories. We’ve got an ambitious team and ambitious ideas for our tech stack. I’m excited to help build out this platform on the web. The team is committed to open source. We’re sharing our knowledge with the wider tech community. And we’re highly motivated to create best-in-class tools for our team and our editorial colleagues.


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