Colorado finance pro likes his (indoor) open spaces [Setups]

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Ryan Brookes likes open spaces in and around his setup.
Ryan Brookes likes open spaces in and around his setup.
Photo: Ryan Brookes

Ryan Brookes, who works in sales for a financial services firm in Denver, Colorado, likes his open spaces. That includes indoor ones, like a spare, clean setup on his desk. Physical space helps him think, he told Cult of Mac.

His Mac mini with an M1 chip tethered to a 49-inch Samsung curved monitor probably help him think, too. Those and his iPad, which he will soon pair with a Keychron K1 Mechanical Keyboard.

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Open spaces: WFH on the range

Brookes uses his desk — a FlexiSpot electric stand-up model — mostly for work. But he also uses the workstation to watch movies and edit photos in his free time.

For work, he often models data and works in Microsoft Excel.

“This setup is awesome for Excel. So many columns are visible. You can also really make the monitor work for any workflow with all the space and window-organization options,” he said.

Brookes added the single monitor really helps him keep his desk free of wires and clutter.

Likes and dislikes

Brookes said he loves the clean look of his workspace, the adventure of setting it up as well as the seamless functionality of everything in it.

“Everything I need is already hooked up or has a cord routed for plugins,” he said.

As for his dislikes, there are few. But one is a software issue complicating the connection between his Mac mini and his monitor at a certain resolution. But it won’t bother him for long, as it has a pending fix.

Under-desk cable management keeps the setup tidy.
Under-desk cable management keeps the setup tidy.
Photo: Ryan Brookes

Special touches

Brookes attached  three USB extenders to the power strip and the back of his Mac. They route to the front of the desk so he can quickly plug in SD Card readers and external hard drives.

“I can also charge devices via those ports without having to go under my desk,” he said.

Brookes also added a drawer that slides out of the desk to stow odds and ends like pens and extra cords.

The cords in use are mapped out under the desk in such a way that makes it easy to connect everything to one power source hooked to the desk, he said. That allows for just the power strip cord to connect the desk to the electrical outlet in the wall.

Challenges overcome

The desk Brookes originally tried with his setup wasn’t sturdy enough to carry the weight of the big monitor and its mount. The desktop began to bend and even crack. His new FlexiSpot desktop is an inch thick and super-sturdy.

“This resolved the bending issue and also keeps my monitor from wobbling when typing aggressively,” he said.

It also took him a while to figure out how to minimize the number of cords connecting the desk to the wall, he said. The standing desk, with its 3-foot difference between sitting and standing, caused cord entanglements in previous setups.

Still to come

Brookes said he’s done with his setup for the foreseeable future — for the most part.

“I am getting a nice new Keychron K1 [keyboard] to complete the aesthetic look,” he said. “Eventually I’ll move the whole desk near a window to get some plants in my open space and add some life to my workday.”

Shop these items now:

Computer equipment:

Mac mini with Apple M1 Chip

Apple iPad

Apple Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2

Keychron K1 Mechanical Keyboard

49-inch Samsung CRG9 Curved Monitor

Audio equipment:

Bose Soundlink Mini II

Furniture:

55-inch FlexiSpot Electric Stand-Up Desk

Wali Heavy Duty Desk Mount

Herman Miller Aeron Chair

If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to info+setups@cultofmac.com. Please provide a detailed list of your equipment. Tell us what you like or dislike about your setup, and fill us in on any special touches or challenges.