IXDC 2016

In June I spoke at IXDC 2016 in Beijing. IXDC is the largest conference focused on digital and interaction design in China. As with all my experiences in China over the last year, it was wonderful, full of new experiences. Fortunately for me, Beijing was lovely the entire week I was there. Blue skies for days, a rarity for the heavily polluted city. Now that Uber is no longer in China, I hope that Didi helps to reduce congestion across China's megacities. See video of the talk here

Stepping Up

Great article by @kevinmccull about the design thinking trend, its promise and failures, and requirements for design leadership success in business environments. 

For all its failings, Design Thinking uncovered real opportunities for design managers aiming to play a more strategic role in business. The problem stemmed from a naive combination of overreach and a lack of ambition to learn.

Things I Have Learned

Original post on Medium.

So I have two kids ages 2.5 & 4, lead a team of designers at Google, and have practiced design for many years now. What do I know? The following is a short collection of things learned during the course of my life. The contents of this list will change and grow, I hope, as life progresses.

  • Be concise. Say more with less.
  • Learn from your mistakes. The only failure is to make the same mistake twice.
  • Be authentic. If you feel fake, it’s because you don’t trust yourself.
  • Find a mentor. Find someone better than you, who you admire. Observe them in context, ask questions, do what they say, then question them.
  • Be a mentor. Through the process of advising others you will codify your practice.
  • Be humble and appreciative. Let your actions speak louder than words. Otherwise, you’ll be defined as a braggart. Not an effective leadership technique.
  • Be open to learning. The minute you stop learning, you grow crufty, old and outdated. Not good in tech.
  • Challenge yourself. Related to learning. Put yourself in new situations that require you to swim.
  • Make decisions. Seems obvious. Too many people let others decide for them.
  • Empathize. Think about the world from the perspective of those around you. Read Jung. Understand archetypes. You will develop a sixth sense.
  • Network. It’s easy, and it pays off. If you too are shy, get over it.
  • Collaborate. Power in numbers. But be sure to pick your team wisely.
  • Set goals. Three months, one year, five years, and retirement. Even when the horizon is too far to realistically visualize, you will at least define a path.


The last post I wrote was in 2009. At that time, I lived in San Francisco with Jojo in her lovely condo, worked at Adobe, and had no idea what the next four years might bring. 

Two kids and a wonderful life later, I'm back to researching, analyzing, writing, and doing design in a public and shareable way. We'll see how this experiment proceeds. 

I expect this site to cover a diverse range of topics, and house content of multiple types. Aside from writings about design, I hope to capture and document a range of designed experiences - be they digital or analog. My portfolio will likely make its way into this site. Hopefully my daughter and son will participate in fun design projects, and I'll share them here too. 


So, here we go. Looking forward to this.