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Jonathan Cook’s Desert Island 5

We asked Mailchimp partner and founder of digital studio Neon Hive Jonathan Cook what he can’t live without.

Neon Hive is a New Zealand-based digital studio that partners with passionate brands and ambitious startups from around the world. Founded in 2015—when owner Jonathan Cook was still a university student—the company has since grown into a team of 10+ creative designers, developers, and big-picture thinkers. Although Neon Hive’s core specialization lies in website design and development, they also have strong capabilities across mobile applications, digital-first branding, and digital marketing. As his business grows and expands, Jonathan often looks to Mailchimp’s dynamic partner network for support and inspiration: “Everyone is passionate and outstanding at what they do,” he explains. “Seeing all of the great stories partners share is super valuable.”

Here are 5 things Jonathan can’t live without:

The Tim Ferriss Show

I am big on self-development. Thus, books and podcasts have become a significant source of my information (and inspiration). Around 4 years ago, I was on a mission to improve productivity, which led to watching one of Tim Ferriss’ videos on Youtube. After a short binge of his stuff, I found myself listening to one of his podcasts. While deemed a business podcast, it often goes much deeper across areas such as exercise habits, time-manage tricks, must-read books, and more. Content like this is great for keeping an open mind and learning new things—a must in the marketing industry! One worth listening to: Matthew McConaughey — The Power of “No, Thank You,”

My Mountain Bike

After a big week on the tools, there’s nothing better to clear the mind than flying down a steep hill through tight trees and over jumps. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to think about anything else when I’m biking. I’ve always loved the sport but only got right into it over the past few years. There’s just something about getting out into the forest (typically Rotorua, here in New Zealand), taking in nature, and keeping fit that keeps me going back week after week.

Neon Hive Jams

Music is a big must for me while working—it keeps me creative and inspired. At the Neon Hive studio, we have a playlist curated to everyone’s tastes. It’s our own set of jams which is, of course, over on Spotify, an essential app that should be on your phone, if it isn’t already.


Figma has completely taken the place of many tools I once loved so dearly (Illustrator, InDesign, XD, InVision, and Google Slides). Why? It’s fast, it’s collaborative, and it’s competent. Client feedback is simple, prototyping is a breeze, you have complete flexibility, and there’s a vast community producing great plugins. As a UX/UI designer, it was a no brainer to look deeper into Figma when a friend recommended it. Today, I use it for client projects across web and mobile, proposals, slide decks, strategy documents, process planning, and whatever else I dream up.

Chapter One by Daniel Flynn

I was gifted a copy of Chapter One by a friend who had purchased ten just to share with his friends. It was a grand gesture, but at the time, I didn’t realise how impactful it would be. I won’t give too much away (I’ll let you read it yourself), but as a summary, it will make you challenge what you know and remind you that crazy ideas can become a reality. Also, how cool is this—you get to pay what you want for the book with 100% of profits going towards fighting global poverty by funding the future of Thankyou.

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