Interview with Chris Armstrong

I'm starting a series of interviews with developers and designers from all over the world. Whether they work for a corporation, freelance, or they make stuff as a hobby, I want to interview them! Originally I was going to release a new interview every Monday, however due how hectic and random my weeks are, I'll release a new interview each week.

Hi there, thank you for taking the time to chat with me :) Could you start by introducing yourself a little?

I'm Chris Armstrong.

I founded Chasing Perfection in December 2011. I try to write smart and accurate articles about anything and everything, mainly focusing on technology. I always try to better myself.

I also write for The Industry, a website also founded in December 2011, focused on the intersection of design and technology. I'm one writer in a great team here, and it's great being part of a community of fellow designers.

At the time of writing, I'm still just 20 years old. I try to stay busy.

Chris Armstrong

How did you end up in your profession?

Before I started writing, I was at university studying product design. Not many people know what product design is when they hear it, but it certainly touches them daily. Whilst graphic design is the art of creating beautiful images, product design is the art of creating beautiful products. Knowing which materials, processes and tools to use to create the best products available is a combination of design, engineering, passion and art. It's not easy.

Whilst studying at university, I was spending all my free time keeping up to date with technology news at home. It felt more real to me; not the same as a contrived curriculum. After a few months inefficiently spending my time watching the technology landscape rather than doing my university coursework, I decide to go all in: I left my course.

This was a bold move: I didn't have a business plan for my writing, I just knew I wanted to do it. Luckily, after what only felt like a few weeks of writing for myself, I contacted the folks over at The Industry and we were a great fit for each other.

What does your desk look like?

I'm writing this description before taking the image you see here—that's probably just as well. It's a mess. Cables, biscuits, chocolate, iPad cases, empty(and full) glasses, pieces of cardboard, scissors, guitar picks and accessories... It's embarrassing.

I've never been able to keep a tidy workspace, which pains me. I enjoy tidying and improving my desk, though: removing clutter like paper and cables and rearranging my peripherals can really change the way I view sitting down at my computer.

If I have a desk which I enjoy sitting at, I feel more obligated to do work I enjoy, too.

I'm writing this half of the description after taking the photos. I have to admit, it cleaned up pretty well. I'm into music in a pretty big way, so I have my guitar and amp sitting pretty close to me, if I get sick of writing and want to play for a while. I also have posters, framed photographs and even a gold disk for some of my favourite bands: Tool, Rush and Iron Maiden.

Could you give us a bit of information on any tools/services that you use?

My computer is a 15" MacBook Pro(early 2011 model). It's upgraded as much as possible, although I haven't got SSD storage, yet. I'm sticking with capacity over performance for the time being. Although it's a laptop, it hardly ever moves away from the Rain Design mStand which it sits on next to me. I use a cheap Acer 24" external monitor with my Mac, along with the now old Logitech Z-5500 5.1 speakers. I also have a really nice Das Keyboard. It's really nice for what it is(a fancy keyboard), but for the price I'd certainly recommend buying other upgrades first. Like an SSD.

I'm looking to upgrade to a new 27" iMac when they're available. Because I use my laptop as a desktop(and have done for years), I think it's about time that I just got a desktop computer, rather than trying to get the best of both worlds and compromising in each.

When writing for Chasing Perfection, I use quite a few services and pieces of software. I read RSS feeds using Google Reader and the great Mac and iOS apps called Reeder. I save articles to read later using Instapaper and I save my bookmarks in Pinboard: this is where I keep my list of articles I want to link to. All my long articles are written in Byword or (http://www.iawriter.com/), formatted in John Gruber's Markdown and saved in either Dropbox or iCloud. Chasing Perfection itself is a Squarespace 6 website, running a custom template coded by my pal Jamie Brittain. You can read more about the site over at its colophon.

What websites do you visit daily?

I can't help but visit:

However most of the stuff I read comes from either Twitter or RSS: I tend to not want to rely on remembering to visit a website in order to read its content: I'd feel more confident knowing my RSS client will save every new post and I won't miss a thing.

Do you have anything awesome happening in the future?

Personally, I'm looking to start taking flying lessons in the next few years, as and when my budget allows. I have my first one in a few months — the combination of nerves and excitement is a great feeling.

As far as Chasing Perfection and The Industry are concerned, there are some very exciting changes being worked on right now, but I'm afraid I can't share the information just yet. If you're reading this interview a few months from now, visiting either website should hopefully bring you up to speed.

How and where can we find you?

I'm @cgarmstrong on Twitter. This is probably the best place to find me and see what I'm up to.

Chasing Perfection is over at http://chasingperfection.co.uk/. My writing for The Industry can be found at http://theindustry.cc/author/chris/.

Thanks Chris!

Hats off to you Chris for believing in your idea and making it work! I hope that you can take to the skies as soon as possible and that you enjoy your first lesson — let us know how you get on with it!


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