About me

I enjoy working in the messy creation and evolution phases of a product and, more importantly, the organization behind the product. Helping out with anything loosely related to design. Tools and tactics, people and processes. All of it is interesting and exciting.

Me, wearing my obnoxiously bright orange hat with the word 'design' in all-caps and outlined in neon blue across the front.
Do you like my hat?

Writing about design is one of my favorite things to do. It helps me think and learn. These days, not much of it makes it through editing and gets published. I don't even want to think about how many rough drafts are scattered across various writing tools.

Here's a few older articles published around the web:

In a professional environment, much more of my writing makes its way into wikis and (gasp) emails. I know, cringe.

In a public speaking environment I'm standing in front of a presentation screen. Visible slide of presentation saying "horrified" in giant blurry red letting in a spooky font.
Joking, but not really joking about myself and the design industry.

Occasionally I speak at design events. I doubt I will do it again. I sometimes wonder if I've become too critical of the design industry. I feel we rely too much on clumsy tools, linear processes, and rigid policies instead of working on things together. Progress feels closer to people and teams and organizational design. And there are way more qualified people to speak here.

If you're looking for someone like this, I can help!

A camground with an old orange bus next to an orange tent and orange roofed wood shelves.
Orange bus. Orange tent. OMG the campground has orange roofed shelves!

When I'm not writing about design, I'm going on adventures with my family in my '73 Volkswagen bus. Every summer there's an exciting DIY restoration project, a frustrating (and expensive) professional restoration project, and a few trips around northeastern United States. Someday it will be restored enough to confidently go further into the US and Canada.

Wellington, New Zealand. A small bay surrounded by medium office and apartment buildings. Trees in the forground and mountains in the background.
Beautiful Wellington, New Zealand.

If you end up spending time with me, you'll become painfully aware I lived in Wellington, New Zealand for almost a year. I was sooo close to applying for citizenship — not joking. Bringing it up is an excellent way to shake me out of my occasional introversion. You'll be begging me to shut up!

Me with wifey on piggyback standing in front of a magnificant mountain scene.
Just a normal, average, typical roadside view while exploring New Zealand.

Look at that. Just look at it! I mean, seriously. I think it's time to go back. My then girlfriend — now wifey! — agrees.

Meet us there?

Is everyone a professional designer? No (including many with ‘designer’ in their titles).

The goal shouldn’t be to have all design decisions be made by people with the word “designer” in their title. The goal is to make sure every design choice is made with rigor. With skin in the game.

Hey, designers! Stop fighting for users.

Stop fighting for users. Stop fighting for the business. Start fighting for every single choice to be made as though the business and its users are inextricably linked.

The problem with problems

Don’t talk about problems (or solutions). Instead, talk about progress. Only then can we be precise without dictating implementation details.

Writing a good objective

Working with abstract concepts doesn’t make us more strategic. It doesn’t mean we understand the big picture. It doesn’t mean we’re doing something more valuable.