What’s on your desk, Brandon Widder?


As we slowly emerge from the pandemic, many companies are figuratively shaking themselves off, taking stock and hiring new types of positions. The edge is no different; it recently hired Brandon Widder as senior commerce editor, a brand new title for our next chapter. We asked Brandon if we could take a look at his home workspace, and here’s what he showed (and told us).

Tell me something about yourself. What is your background and what do you do for? The edge?

Great question! I recently started at The edge as the first senior commerce editor. As of now, I’m fixated on improving our deals, buying guides, gift guides, and any other type of content with trading potential. If it’s a product recommendation article — laptop, headset, what have you — chances are I’ll be looking at it someday.

Before you start at starting The edge, I’ve spent several years working on similar types of evergreen content for Digital trends, another consumer tech site. I also routinely freelanced for an alt week in Portland, Oregon, where I currently live with my partner and our two cats. I mainly wrote about local and touring bands, with some outdoor stuff here and there.

The Louise Desk Chair came with the territory.

How did you decide where and how to set up your workplace?

Well, “deciding” is a big word. Due to the pandemic, my partner and I have been forced to work from home. We feel extremely fortunate to have been able to do this, but we didn’t have a dedicated space for both of us to work in the beginning. Fortunately, as the unexpected desk shortage of 2020 subsided, I was able to set one up in the corner of our guest bedroom, right next to the window where I could watch the rain. It’s small and probably doesn’t have much in the way of feng shui, but honestly I enjoy how cozy it is. Space is overrated.

Tell me about the agency itself.

The desk is the Munguia Desk from Wayfair. I actually didn’t figure it out…let’s say I inherited it when my partner and I swapped workspaces at home. As much as it hurts me to admit it, I like it because it’s relatively sturdy and gives me just the right amount of cubby space. It’s not particularly wide, but it also has a single drawer where I put my . can store AirPods Pro and all the cables I probably should have thrown away ten years ago.

Munguia Desk

Prices taken at time of publication.

A mid-century home desk or a small Corrigan Studio desk.

And how about your office chair?

Just like my desk, the Louise office chair came up with the area when I took over the office. We were looking for something to match the brass guest bed pushed into the corner of the room, and despite being a bit too glamorous for my taste, it is extremely comfortable and blends in well with the rest of the decor. Apparently it’s “hand curated by Kelly Clarkson”, something I just found out when looking at the product listing. I only wish it could tilt.

You have a pretty simple setup compared to some of your Verge compatriots. Can you tell us about your technique?

Clutter can really hit me, so I try to keep things tidy. For work I use the M1 MacBook Air, but you wouldn’t know, since it’s in the cupboard under my desk. It’s a great machine, one that Dieter and the team have already jumped on.

Dell UltraSharp U2720Q

Prices taken at time of publication.

27-inch 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) LED-backlit LCD display IPS USB-C

On the peripheral front, I recently jumped for the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q, a fantastic 4K display that gives me a little more screen real estate than the Air while also charging my laptop via USB-C. I also have Apples Magic keyboard and Magic trackpad 2. I’ve never been a big fan of desktop mice, so when I picked up an external monitor, the trackpad just made sense.

Elsewhere on my desk I have one of these Anker’s Wireless Qi Charging Pads for my iPhone X and a Sonos One. I listen to everything from political post-punk to the beautiful instrumental work of Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds, but everything in the Sonos lineup really shines, no matter the genre. I’m a sucker for the whole ecosystem, especially considering its simplicity.

Sonos One

Prices taken at time of publication.

Tell us about the interesting piece of wood you have on your desk. And the – jawbone?

When I’m not working, I’m usually outside a lot. I like hiking and backpacking, and I’m really involved with Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue, one of our local SAR outfits. The driftwood comes from the shores of the San Juan Islands; the rock of a small peak in Sun Valley, Idaho. My fascination with the natural world extends to bones — morbidly, I know — which is why I have a bobcat skull on my desk. It’s a bit of a mess at the moment though, as I’ve succumbed to my cats.

A bobcat skull, a little worse for wear

A bobcat skull, a little worse for wear.

Driftwood from the shores of the San Juan Islands

Driftwood from the shores of the San Juan Islands.

Mood lighting for the home office

Mood lighting for the home office.

I am fascinated by the old-fashioned light bulb you have next to the plant.

That would be my so-called mood lighting. There is a small Portland company called Grovemade that makes a range of desk accessories from wood and leather. Most are on the pricey side, but the quality is fine. I picked up the now-discontinued walnut lamp a few years ago and, more recently, the leather cushion on which my keyboard and trackpad rest. It’s actually me trying to bring more natural elements into the fold.

And you have a notebook and a pen by your keyboard.

Yes! Like most people at The edgeI probably have more spreadsheets and Google Docs than I care to admit. The notebook allows me to take quick notes and keep them close at hand. It also just feels really good to write physically once in a while, which I think many of us can appreciate. Notes are great because they come in all shapes and sizes, some of which are waterproof.

Is there anything else about your workspace that we haven’t covered?

Not really! The only other thing worth mentioning is my backlighting, which, if you live in an area that gets as much rain as I do, is crucial during the wetter months. For me I have the Philips Hue color light bulbs to work best, partly because I’m connected to the Hue network. If I want bright lights for a Zoom call or something more moody for after-hours work, all I have to do is say the word to Alexa. It’s super convenient.

Go read too The Autobiography of Carrie Brownstein and Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James, both of whom are currently sitting on my desk. You will not be disappointed.