It’s easy to see why Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen brought on Spencer Reeder to run Vulcan’s climate change-focused philanthropic initiatives. Reeder holds two engineering degrees, he’s done geophysical field research in Central Asia, South America, and Antarctica, and he’s held environment-focused roles in academia, government, and tech.
But it probably didn’t hurt Reeder’s chances when Allen found out they share another passion besides environmental protection: music.
Reeder’s band, Emergency Volcano Evacuation Route recently performed at Paul Allen’s Upstream Music Fest + Summit earlier this month. Music is one of his many passions, including climbing, skiing, trail running, and competitive ultimate frisbee.
His day job involves leading Vulcan’s climate science, climate policy, and energy technology programs.
We caught up with Reeder for this Working Geek, a regular GeekWire feature. Continue reading for his answers to our questionnaire.
Current Location: Seattle, WA.
Computer types: MacBook Pro (no touch bar).
Mobile devices: iPhone 7.
Favorite apps, cloud services, and software tools: Dropbox, Outlook, Excel, Sleep Mode, Voice Memos (for recording scratch tracks).
Describe your workspace. Why does it work for you? Standing desk with a view of Mount Rainier (when not obscured by clouds).
Your best advice for managing everyday work and life? Ha. I’m still seeking that. Do the best you can and simply be okay with that. Don’t stress over what’s not doable.
Your preferred social network? How do you use it for business/work? Meeting for a walk or breakfast or a beer – if that’s not possible, a phone call or Facetime. I prefer actual proximity and interaction, but use LinkedIn and Twitter a bit professionally. My band used Facebook and Bandcamp.
Current number of unanswered emails in your inbox? Oh my god, I can’t answer that … 5,430. See answer to “managing everyday work and life.”
Number of appointments/meetings on your calendar this week? More than 30.
How do you run meetings? Loose agenda but try hard to end on time – invite broad participation and shared ownership of actions and outcomes. Espirit d’ Corps is important to me.
Everyday work uniform? Patagonia — great corporate ethic they have!
How do you make time for family? When I’m not traveling for work, dinner to bedtime is sacred. Weekends involve an outdoor activity and usually breakfast at a local greasy spoon.
Best stress reliever? How do you unplug? Number one, going for a trail run. Number two, plugging in my guitar.
What are you listening to? Sylvan Esso and at this very moment Sera Cahoone.
Daily reads? Favorite sites and newsletters? New York Times, Vox, and my tailored AppleNews feed
Book on your nightstand (or e-reader)? Physics for Future Presidents by Richard Muller, All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy, Harper’s Magazine, Nature Climate Change.
Night owl or early riser? What are your sleep patterns? If it was only under my control! Both, actually. Musicians tend to be night owls, which when I’m circulating in that world is the milieu I enjoy; my outdoor pursuits favor early morning starts. Favorite time is probably an early morning run when the sun is still over the horizon and most folks are still in bed.
Where do you get your best ideas? While long-distance backpacking. No question. Sitting in noisy coffee shops is a close second.
Whose work style would you want to learn more about or emulate? President Obama and Ernest Shackleton.