Scott Smith, Founder of Changeist


Cool Tools Show 114: Scott Smith

Our guest this week is Scott Smith. Scott is a critical futurist and founder of Changeist, where he leads strategy and research. His work taps over 20 years’ experience tracking social, tech and economic trends. He works with brands and organizations to find new futures. He’s also a writer and frequent speaker, and on Twitter @changeist.

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Show notes:

iA Writer
“It’s a very, very basic multi-platform text processing editor. I’ve thrown Microsoft Office overboard, even getting out of Google Docs and just use this incredibly simple, very low feature text editor to spend a lot of my time with and make a lot of notes … it’s a proxy for a blank piece of paper. I was listening to a recent episode, somebody talking about Notational Velocity and it seems to work quite similar to that. It’s on my phone, it’s on my iPad, it’s on my laptop. I travel a lot for work, I have to do a lot of talks and I’m also constantly making lists of notes and ideas and workshops. Everything’s come down to these really simple ten bullets, five bullets, three lines of text and then move on. I can see all of it from one screen so it makes it really simple.”

“TweetDeck is basically a Twitter client, sits on the desktop and allows you to run multiple columns so you can have your regular feed, your notifications, your DMs. I’m usually running three or four accounts for different projects, so to be able to run them left to right and see different feeds I guess, simultaneously is important. And then another element of it is the work that I do is very heavily tilted towards horizon scanning, towards constant collection of new information and intelligence to feed our research. Some days for me it’s this big, almost a war room screen in front of me. With a lot of different messages coming in, a lot of different people in different places of the world talking about what they’re seeing. Papers they’ve read, conferences they’re live tweeting and it just becomes a big board for me to pay attention to during the day.”

“I use [Skitch] because there’s such a high velocity of stuff going through my desktop I guess. I use it to catch articles, images, ads, to grab visuals for talks if I’m putting together a presentation or a talk really quickly. And you can grab screenshots of various products or headlines from newspapers, that kind of thing. … It’s integrated to Evernote so when I snap something on Skitch it shows up in my Evernote library. That’s really helpful. …Part of it’s habit but part of the attraction is that you can either time a screen, if there were images rotating through for example. And you wanted to catch a certain ad showing up, as an example of something or it’s just got an elastic drag and click so instead of getting your entire desktop, I can just catch the thing I want. … I can collect them and basically if I’m going to do a talk in a month and I want to go ahead and start building visuals, I’ll just grab quick snapshots of them and have them all in one folder somewhere so that’s helpful.”

Also mentioned

Mintel, France’s pre-Internet online platform that survived from 1978 to 2012. It’s now coming up on its 40th anniversary of initial development. I’ve started collecting working models as part of research for a personal project mentioned below, and also to reconsider the idea of creating a centralized, free network utility in the public interest.

Best resources are:

Minitel: The Online World France Built Before the Web


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