The Setup - Simon Zimmerman

As part of an ongoing series where we ask industry professionals what they use to get the job done, we speak to Simon, Director at media and technology company Hebe Works.

Who are you, and what do you do?

I’m a Director at Hebe Works, a media and technology company based in Leeds. In 2016, Hebe was named Creative England as one of the country's 50 most creative companies. My business partner, Lee Hicken, heads-up The City Talking with a team of brilliant people making newspapers, books and films around city stories. Meanwhile, my equally talented team and I are working in partnership with LeedsBID to develop Solomon, an intelligence software platform for Business Improvement Districts.

Within my team I play the role of Zoologist, understanding and translating the web-technology animal kingdom for our customers and partners. Like anyone running a start-up business, my days are extremely varied. In addition to my role in the technical team, I'm responsible for the day-to-day operation of the business, doing all the jobs most people hate – legal and financial paperwork, bid writing etc. - but I find strangely therapeutic.

What hardware do you use?

Day-to-day I am working on a 15" MacBook Pro – pretty much every aspect of my life revolves around this machine. I’ve been with Apple since I started university and, despite the odd disaster, like not being able to swipe to open my phone any longer, they’ve looked after me well.

At Hebe, we’ve been doing quite a bit with embedded electronics recently – thanks for a grant from Innovate UK that’s helping us to push real-time sensor data into Solomon – so my desk is surrounded by development boards. Of these, my choice would be Particle’s Photon and Electron boards – tiny but powerful boards supported by an incredible cloud platform that lets you manage interactions with your devices and other services on the web. If you are starting out with the ‘Internet of Things’, start here!

And what software?

I’m known for my obsession with all things shiny and new and this has led to an absolute over use of software in the past, much to our lead developer Nathan’s dismay. I’m delighted to say it’s now well under control!

In an average week, the following applications will be up and running at some point or another: Solomon (obviously!), InDesign, Illustrator, Word, Excel, Google Drive, Google Docs, Xero, Freeagent, Receipt Bank, Capsule CRM, Keynote, LivePlan, Teamwork, Trello, Spotify, Sublime Text, Terminal, iCal, Mail, Slack, Evernote, Rekordbox, Spotify… okay, so maybe I really don’t have this under control, at all?!

What would be your dream setup?

An industrial kitchen where I could spend my days playing with and learning about food. A Hasselblad X1D camera and a decent selection of lenses, for documenting life. A decent sound system, a music streaming service and my book shelf, which is 95% unread at the time of writing. A dining table large enough to accommodate all my family and friends, and Mac the cat.

One item you can't live without?

My passport. I’m not going to bang on about Brexit. I’m proud to be British but I’m also someone who has benefitted in unquantifiable ways from the freedom to travel, meet new people and experience new things, especially food.

Thanks Simon!

Simon Zimmerman on 17th February, 2017.

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