how i get it done

How I Get It Done: Today Show Tech Expert Katie Linendoll

Katie Linendoll. Illustration: Lauren Tamaki

Katie Linendoll is a technology expert, journalist, and professional speaker. She landed her first job at ESPN, receiving an Emmy for her work on SportsCenter. Today, you’ll often catch her on The Today Show and Rachel Ray reporting on the latest gadgets or chatting on her tech podcast Katie dot Show. When she’s not testing products, filming segments, or writing articles, Linendoll is busy raising money for pediatric cancer. While her home base is a Jetsons-decorated duplex in New York City, she spends roughly 285 days each year on the road, seeking out new stories and devices to share with her audience. Here’s how she gets it all done.

On a typical morning (or lack thereof):
When I wake up, the first thing I do is think about where I am. I’m like, What hotel am I in? What city am I in? You have that panic moment. And it never gets old, it just wakes you up right away. This week, for example, I’m on six flights and I’ve been to five different cities. Every day for me is so totally different and there is no typical routine. But no matter what, I always start my day with caffeine. That is my crutch. I get an iced double espresso with one pump of white mocha.

On what it means to be a “consumer technology expert”:
I test so many products and I have such high standards for what I put on TV or the radio. I have a duplex in New York and my top floor is a full-on lab where I test products and do shoots. I’m super hands-on and it takes a lot of time.

On my team, I work with about 22 individuals, from SEO to graphic design. I have a digital strategist who helps me with my projects and my planning. I’m running a large business with so many facets.

I do a lot of writing— contributing pieces to The Wall Street Journal, Popular Science, Sports Illustrated, Runner’s World. I also do a lot of keynotes and speaking engagements and hosting of events for big tech companies. So that is a really cool part of my business and that takes me all over the globe.

For TV, what’s neat is for the Weather Channel, for example, where I’ve been contributing for about six years, I shoot, edit, and produce my segments in the field. In the last six months we’ve shot pieces in Alaska on the Northern Lights. Previous to that we were in Iceland shooting a three-part miniseries. I have to find the stories that I’m really passionate about and those are the ones that I chase.

On her favorite gadgets:
I have a set of luggage that I have to travel with called Eagle Creek. I swear by them. One suitcase is always full of tech that I’m using on set or that I’m shooting or filming with. I have three phones. I have an iPad. I have a laptop and I always have my audio recording kit, because there are always situations where you run into amazing people, and I’m like, Hey can you be on my podcast? I’m ready to hook up instantly on my audio kit. And then depending on the scenario, I have a whole fleet of drones and my underwater diving gear.

If I don’t have a good sleeping week, there is a sleep gadget that I use called the Sleep Shepherd. This device has been an integral part of my sleeping no matter where I am. I take it on the road. It helps you fall asleep with no pharmaceuticals using soft binaural tones. It’s also tied to an app so I can track my sleep through the night.

On travel:
I’m on the road about 285 days a year. I book all the travel. A lot of it happens last minute — they’ve held the plane for me a few times.

The packing gets challenging when you’re going from city to city. That’s where my hairstylist and makeup artist Alicia comes in. I purchase all of my own clothing and all of my own outfits, but she’ll help me piece things together and pack everything day by day. We have a system down.

It’s hard to travel with people, but when you find people that get you—where you’re all friends, but you’re also working together — it’s really awesome. It’s so intimate. Even when we’re done working a 12 to 14-hour day, we’re going to dinner together. Nobody is peace-ing out on one other. But if you’re not a hard worker, you’re not going to make it on my team.

On being a woman in the tech space:
Even when I was in school getting my degree in IT, I was the only girl. There is this feeling of walking into a room and knowing you’re getting the up-down. People are looking at you like, What does this girl know? It’s something I’ve dealt with throughout my career. But I’m going to have a huge bow in my hair and I’m not going to think twice about it. It’s really just building the confidence to be in those scenarios.

On philanthropy:
I’ve worked in pediatric cancer for the Batcole Foundation for eight years. I integrate technology to the bedside and raise money for pediatric cancer trials. We’ve been one of the first organizations in the world to integrate virtual reality into hospitals, as well as do floor-to-ceiling makeovers of rooms. We have this specialized print technology with HP, one of my sponsors, that allows us to go inside a room, and whether it’s an MRI machine or it’s just the walls, we can decorate it any way we want.

We also provide patients this virtual reality distraction technology where they can put on a headset and they can be underwater swimming with sting rays or they can be on a roller coaster. It’s been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in technology.

On her signature look:
My mom was a costume designer and an amazing seamstress; she creates a lot of my on-air outfits. I have an appreciation for the artistry that goes into makeup and I am obsessed with every little detail about my appearance. I have an insane wardrobe. I have over 70 pairs of glasses — that’s my signature look. I have a lot of fun with it.

On disconnecting from technology:
As I’ve gotten older I’ve tried to set aside time [away from technology]. My biggest decompress time is with my nieces and nephews. I also play some musical instruments and I teach sign language lessons. Fitness is a huge part of my daily regimen as well. I am extremely competitive and train with Kari Pearce, one of the top CrossFit athletes in the world. I will always find a way to exercise no matter where I am or how jet-lagged I am. I do a mix of strength training, gymnastics, and a lot of running. I think life is very short and I want to make the most of it and I want to learn everything I possibly can.

On being a night owl, but waking up energetic:
I get so much productive work done in the late, late hours. I think that’s a nerd prerequisite. If I don’t have too early of a start in the morning, I’m up until two or three in the morning. Last night I pulled a 4 a.m.-er. I love to sit there with my laptop and multitask. By the time I hit the bed these days I’m out. I swear I wake up and I’m like a firecracker though. I’m ready to go. I’m like shot out of a cannon.

How I Get It Done: Today Show Tech Expert Katie Linendoll