Work inspiration with Mat Marquis

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Mat Marquis

Web developer from Cambrige | Open Web technology company Bocoup

My name is Mat Marquis; I make websites. I’m a developer at Filament Group in Boston, where I was born and raised. In Boston, I mean. Not, like… at Filament Group.

I do a little writing from time to time, if you can believe that. I’m a technical editor at A List Apart, an ex-jQuery Mobile team member,  and Chair of the Responsive Images Community Group at the W3C. I complain about the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority at @wilto.


In terms of the indispensable stuff: I’ve got a fairly new MacBook named Retinar?k that I’ve already managed to beat all to hell—dents in the cover and a handful of chips and scratches in the screen. I found pretty decent-souding pair of Bluetooth headphones (Sennheiser MM400s) that I’ve had to super-glue back together in a couple of places. As I write this, I realize I may not be terribly responsible with my belongings.

I’ve got a nice Apple monitor on my desk at FG, but that’s about all—I mean, apart from a constant pile of test devices that I’m neglecting to charge. I got so used to using my built-in trackpad during my roving freelancer days that I can’t really operate with a mouse. I have an iPad Mini for when I realize I’m about to blow a writing deadline mid-commute or, y’know, for reading comics while I let said deadline go sailing by unawares.

I also have more mechanic and woodworking tools than any one person should reasonably own, and it gets a little worse every few days. Half my apartment is a workshop at this point. No exaggeration, either.


I’m a relatively recent Sublime Text 2 convert (from TextMate) but I’m still kinda clunky with it. I must spend a solid 1/3rd of my time in iTerm2 these days—you can actually snag my terminal setup and a bunch of my system preferences from, if you might have any use for them. Of course, I live and die by Git and GitHub by association.

I’m big into using iA Writer and Dropbox for scratching out drafts and Editorially for editing, which I will sorely miss. I’ve been trying to get in the habit of using nvALT to jot down links and notes for future talks, but I seem to spend an awful lot of time combing through old tweets anyway.

Dream setup

Ah, I get by okay. If I were to hit the lottery I wouldn’t mind a bigger display, but this machine is holding up alright. Unless non-website setups are included, here—if so, my bandsaw is getting a little iffy in its old age.


If I’m being honest? It’s that I was angry. I started out this career after years working as everything from carpenter to line-cook to bar bouncer to sketchy mobile phone salesman. I hated feeling like that was “it” for me; that I’d be jumping around between retail jobs for the rest of my life, scraping by. For the first few years, I was inspired by having something to prove—by feeling like I wasn’t “meant” to make anything of myself, and that I’d prove circumstances, I guess, wrong. Realistically, what landed me a job with a desk was luck and a lot of help from a lot of people. But what got me out of bed in the morning was that feeling.

It still flares from time to time, but mostly I manage to walk around with un-clentched teeth these days.