My first design work was creating flyers for punk shows on a pirated copy of Paint Shop Pro 4. The first website I was paid to create was for a band that named every song after Transformers. For about 15 years after that, I knew that I had a creative spark, but that I really just wanted to solve problems.
Then in 2014, 12 years after I graduated with my BA in public communication, I went back to school to learn design. It was in an information architecture class that I fell in love with designing to solve problems. I fell in love with UX.
In the years since I have worked on products that have been used in every country on the planet, and designed experiences for niche use cases on 7-year-old Androids in developing countries while holding on to the needs of users in highly connected users on the latest devices. I've conducted ethnographic field studies in Europe, Africa, South Asia, and East Asia; each time returning with insights that could not have been gathered any other way (and with stitches in my head one time).
I started as a UX team of one. I also had the privilege of leading a team of contracted designers who had far more experience than me. I'm not afraid to "punch above my weight " when it comes to finding solutions to problems or capitalizing on opportunities to help my users and my team/client/employer to reach their goals.
I want to serve users. I want to make sure they have access to information, resources, and experiences that will make their lives better. I want people's days to be easier, simpler, and less frustrating because the team that I'm working with has crafted the experience they're having with care for them.
Nothing in the world is simple. There's always more to learn about any subject, and always a new way to look at things.
Everything is connected, and nothing is independent of influence or influencing. Complex systems require comprehensive designs.
There's always room for optimization, and "What if…?" is the most powerful question a human can ask.
Plans are great, but you can't predict everything. Sometimes you can follow the plan, and sometimes you have to think on your feet.
Anyone could be the contributor that "cracks the code" on a problem. Experts have wisdom, and amateurs have boldness – both are needed for success.
Spending time with my wife and 5 kids. Playing disc golf (I've played since 2003, but you wouldn't be able to tell by my game), brewing beer (or maple wine), building something in our yard (chicken coops, rabbit hutches, tree forts), cooking new treats (my favorite is Szechuan Laziji chicken), collecting experiences, tasting new tastes (have you ever had silkworm stir fry, or acorn jelly?), listening to an audio-book (30 so far in 2021).
Move along. Move along.