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Q&A with Walter Stevenson

Chief Operating Officer | Digital agency Sentient

I am a polymath. I am curious about things.

I co-own a digital agency called Sentient. In the past 15 years, I’ve done stints as a designer, developer, information architect, SEO specialist and copyeditor. It wasn’t until we cofounded Sentient that I began appreciating the idea of synthesizing all of those passions into a single, coherent thing—a thing that could make the world a little less complex, through the application of technology and design.


I use a variety of tools, but the following are my go-tos for daily productivity:

  • 13” Macbook Pro Retina w/ Apple Thunderbolt Display
  • Graphing paper & 6B pencil
  • Multifunction knife (for boxes, not bad guys)


Design: Illustrator. It is clean, powerful, and allows for infinite iteration.

Code: Dreamweaver, only because it is basically Sublime Text and Cyberduck squished into one piece of software.

Writing: Ommwriter. The embodiment of simplicity. A parched valley for your stream of consciousness—huge fan.

Task & Issue Management: Basecamp and/or Sifter used to get the job done, but as our organization grew and matured, we found we were running into too many limitations and feature requests. So we built a custom Redmine application called Priorio to handle this and are nearing the release of a beta version that we are excited to share with the world.

File management & synchronization: Dropbox for Business (formerly Dropbox “Teams”). I use this religiously to maintain portability with all of my personal and professional digital assets.

Dream setup

My dream setup would be Scrooge McDuck’s pacing room from the old cartoon DuckTales. If memory serves, it consisted of a circular track that he would walk around to freely explore his thoughts. No desk, no chairs, and no technology; just a humanoid duck left with the depths of his imagination. I’ve been fascinated by the idea of a room like this since I first saw it, and even moreso in the past decade now that life, work, decision making, and thinking in general have become so cluttered by technology. Occasionally I have to remind myself that I don’t have to obsessively keep my inbox at zero unread messages, that it’s ok to step out of my office for no reason at all, that simply sparking up a casual conversation can lead to unanticipated new insights, ways of doing things, and outcomes.


Summer skies. Foggy shower glass. A brand new notebook. An interesting logo on the side of a truck. The original soundtrack of The Legend of Zelda. Distant laughter at the beach. Shared hopes and dreams.