Growing up, I was an endlessly artistic kid, always sketching and illustrating, typically alongside my brother, David. By the time I entered into my teenage years, however, I was experimenting less in the traditional artistic disciplines, and more with my own appearance … as well as the appearance of Krylon brand spray paint on train cars in the freight yards of Chicago.
In my further pursuit of the illegal arts, I was first introduced to contemporary graphic design tools when my brother, Pete (above) and I self-hosted a crash course in making fake IDs using Photoshop. I found I rather enjoyed pushing pixels with various Adobe software products, and I began to imagine the possibility of a career in graphic design.
With all the promise the Internet held, static graphics quickly paled in comparison, for me, to their interactive counterparts on the web. And when a pair of friends showed me their web-based, immersive, motion graphic creations, I was immediately hooked.
Universities had yet to acknowledge the intersection of software, design and Internet technologies, so I learned how to design and code on my own time and terms. I bought my own textbooks and hustled hard through the startup, client side and agency worlds before finding my way to IDEO, where I long worked as a Principal Interaction and Software Designer in the company's Chicago and San Francisco studios.
After 7 years with IDEO, I recently accepted a position at Google, where I now work as a UX Design Lead for Ambient Computing and Assistant-enabled devices in Mountain View, CA.
I've had the honor to speak, both home and abroad, about how the ideologies borne of the 🤘 music and activism ✊ that raised me now inform the work that I do as a designer, and about the future I believe we've all a responsibility to create through our work.
Formerly, I served on the Board of Directors at AIGA Chicago. And I cook a mean omelet; so mean, in fact, that I once made them for the entire IDEO Chicago studio.