C-Suite Talk Fav Tech: Todd McKinnon, Okta

Todd McKinnon talks about how he keeps track of his workouts.

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Todd McKinnon

 Job title: CEO and Co-founder

 Company: Okta

 Industry: Identity management

 Location: Based in San Francisco, CA with offices all over the world

 Years of experience: Over 20 years


What is your favourite personal gadget? Why?
My iPhone 6. It’s the ultimate phone, computer, camera, gaming system, you name it. Honestly, I can’t imagine a more amazing personal gadget… until the iPhone 7 comes out, of course.

What’s your favourite piece of personal software? Why?
My favourite piece of personal software is actually a CrossFit mobile app — it’s called “Beyond the Whiteboard.” It lets me enter all my workouts and track my progress. It shows me how many days I work out, how many exercises I do in a given day and tracks my personal bests. There’s also a gamification component as it ranks my performance against other users, making it rather addictive.  

What was the first piece of technology you got really excited about?
When I was 11 or 12 years old my parents bought me a high-end remote controlled race car called “The Frog.” It came as a bunch of parts — it had a working suspension — and I had a ton of fun putting them all together and bringing the product to life. The end result was incredibly fast, which made me realise I could build something powerful with a little bit of focus and a few tools.

What device improves your life most at work?
Since I’ve already mentioned my phone (we take for granted how awesome it is to have our email and calendar always up to date and always with us), I’ll say my 13-inch MacBook Air. It’s lightweight and the battery lasts forever, both of which are important when you’re on the move as much as I am; and it’s powerful enough for anything I do on a day-to-day basis. It’s the perfect work and personal laptop.

What software keeps you most productive at work?
At the risk of sounding self-promotional, Okta is what keeps me most productive at work. I start every day by logging into Okta and from there I can easily access my email, Microsoft Office, HipChat and whatever other applications I need to get my work done. My app usage at work is actually pretty basic — we have access to lots of awesome tools for reporting, analysis, etc., but our employees use them more than I do!

Is there any technology that has become extinct that you would like to resurrect?
Well, this technology thankfully hasn’t reached extinction, but I think more people should use TiVo. The user interface is still far superior to the copycat systems and you can now seamlessly access YouTube, Netflix and other applications. It’s a great device and I think its popularity should resurrect.

Is there any technology you would personally recommend that you don’t think enough people know about? (Hardware or software, work or personal)
We recently published a report highlighting a handful of applications on the rise in the Okta network and I was particularly excited Lucidchart made the list. Lucidchart helps users sketch and share professional flowchart diagrams, providing designs for anything from brainstorming to project management. I don’t think enough people know how helpful this technology can be, but I do — I drew some of the original architecture and product sketches for Okta using Lucidchart.

Do you think anything about your personal use of tech would surprise your colleagues?
I’m old-fashioned when it comes to note-taking. I still keep a physical notebook on me at all times and take handwritten notes during meetings. I use Evernote as well (partly because my co-founder and Okta COO Frederic Kerrest swears by it), but I can’t abandon the paper version.