Carogram for iPad

The goal was simple: a personal goal of getting a product we created on our own to the app store.

 

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Links:

"It's about time somebody made a worthwhile Instagram app! Love the carousel view, and the swiping between comments and likes feels really natural. You can't take or share photos from the app directly (why would you want to on an iPad, anyway?), but all the other standard searching/browsing/liking functionality is there. The design even compliments the standard Instagram filters perfectly. Definitely going to be using this one on my iPad exclusively from now on." —yaypwnies, App Store Review (Five Stars)


Tending your ideas is an obligation

I currently feel sad, hurt, and disappointed. It has nothing to do with anything at work. Something felt off.

I did what I usually do to figure out problems. I went for a walk, found a nice place to sit, and began writing, sketching, and reflecting to figure out where the source of this feeling is. After going through more than a dozen dotted grid Leuchtturm notebooks, the source of the feeling became abundantly clear. Upon each page turn, it became more challenging. My notebooks became a graveyard for ideas. Each drawing or note invoked a memory of the moment when that idea was generated. The ideas vary, from product ideas that might bring joy to people in a time of despair for the world, artwork, and design tools that could really infuse the process to build quicker.

In contrast that bad ideas should be jettisoned, when a good idea dies, it really hurts. These feelings reminded me of a moment in Bret Victor’s talk, “Inventing on Principle”:

“Ideas are very precious to me, and when I see ideas dying, it hurts. I see a tragedy. To me it feels like a moral wrong. It feels like a moral injustice, and if i think there is anything I can do about it, I feel it’s my responsibility to do so. Not opportunity, but responsibility.”

Victor follows up mentioning that the words “moral wrong” and “injustice” are not ones you often hear in tech. However, it is pretty powerful when you look at being a someone who works in tech having an obligation and responsibility. I resonate strongly with these remarks and don’t expect people to agree and believe this perspective.

When I see an idea dying, it hurts me so much emotionally. What travesties could we have prevented by seeing an idea all the way through? How many people did not experience something you didn’t make become a reality? What could I have doe to not let this injustice happen?

Like a garden, ideas need room and time to grow. They also need to be nurtured and maintained. Ideas also have a life expectancy and need to be cared for and nurtured. If they are neglected or not attended to, they fade from existence.

  • Revisit ideas daily. Gardens need to be watered, and so do your ideas
  • Ideas are stronger tethered with other ones. This is why I like to mind map and think about lateral thinking

I formulated my own list of things I can do to commit to tending to ideas:

  • Be able to build the real thing. Design prototypes can only take you so far. Learn the entire product process and be able to ship without being dependent on anyone
  • Make time in the mornings to review notebooks or wherever ideas reside and do something to push it to become real

Generate ideas, share them, and be held accountable to make sure the good ones become something real instead of a concept.

Tangibility is the oxygen for ideas. Keep ideas alive. It is your responsibility.


Take California

It’s been almost two years since I moved back to Seattle for the second time. The city of New York is a really special place in my heart and it was difficult to move away from there, but the motivation was the be close to family. I moved to Capitol Hill and re-united with my my mentor at HTC. A year later I then joined Black Pixel, the one company I sought after for several years. It was the dream job. After leaving Black Pixel I spent months exploring to figure out what I would do next.

From that I exploration I met a mentor who really changed the way I worked and thought about ideas. I worked in the heart of the Mission District in San Francisco California. As I worked, I also started contracting at One Medical, where my friend David (another designer named David H. with a slightly smaller cat) works. He told me that I would love it and there is this great new CTO who has been taking charge for a while and thinks I’d get along. That person is Kimber Lockhart. I remember when I first talked to her on the phone after a panel interview she did, I felt an instant connection and resonated with this person. As I contracted, she and I began doing 1:1s and the rest is history. I decided to join One Medical’s product team as the last decision I made in 2015.

2016 turned out to be a _really_ odd year. A lot of us can feel that once David Bowie died we knew this year was going to be a bad one (I’ll let you fill in the rest). In 2016 some personal events made it really important for me to remain in Seattle. I found myself on the Monday 7am Virgin America flight every week…so much that the staff and flight attendants all knew me. I’d fly to my first meeting and work there until Thursday evenings to fly home to Seattle.

Here’s the kicker…I didn’t officially have a place to live. I crashed with my aunt down in Redwood City and spent a lot of quality time with her. She is the one who taught me to be curious, live a simple life, and always travel. In addition, my friend Rob and his wife Emily took me in for several months with me crashing on their couch and occasionally feeding the cat. Their sacrifice made it possible for me to continue flying back and forth. By the middle of Summer I realized I needed a more steady arrangement and reached out to my friend who serendipitously was looking for someone to rent her place while she was traveling. It really reminded me of when my friend Damon was staying at my place while in Europe. His presence did such a favor for me to have someone trusted in my apartment.

This year has reminded me a lot of the power of community—a word that is often thrown around as a buzzword but yet so obviously necessary. Community for me is the tribe I’ve found in Seattle Xcoders and the Cocoa Community, my Destiny clan, and the Brunch Crew in San Francisco. As friends have sacrificed to accommodate me while I achieved a goal, I found that I wanted to pay it forward and have friends stay at my temporary place instead of paying hundreds of dollars for a hotel room. It also gave me the chance to catch up with them and spend some quality time.

2016 also brought constant change in my life and willingness to embrace change. The time feels right for a change, yet again. At the end of the year I will be moving down to the San Francisco Bay Area. The difference this time is I will only be living in one place—something I have not done in several years.

I would be lying if I said there wasn't any initial reluctance to moving down there. In fact, I still do. Of course, there is the myth that rent is $800 billion a month for a studio…okay, that is slightly exaggerated. Just slightly. That actually wasn’t my concern.

My concern about San Francisco is that it is losing its sense of purpose and reality. There seems to be a focus on making the world easier, not better. You could not tell the difference between an episode of Mike Judge’s Silicon Valley and real life. The tech scene in San Francisco is very much often “the scene” and superficial. It seemed like more of a lifestyle instead of a privileage to make such an impact, and with such great power comes a great responsibility to do something meaningful.

However, my concerns were addressed with a sense of hope, meeting people who were truly authentic about their mission and was looking for the signal through all the noise. I met people who were part of a continuos narrative of some of the great pioneers of the bay area. I feel I have ties with people I look up to here. Similar to the connection I felt in Brooklyn with Adam Yauch, I have ruthless innovators who taught me to “just win baby” and be a crazy one.

My goal is to chase the big dream and finally do something really meaningful…be a living proveocation. I’m looking to put that dent in the universe. My commitment is to stay true to a mission in using technology to empower and enable humans, not exploit them.

I want to be a better community member, and really be present in one city. This starts with simply being a great host. I’ve traveled the world for so many years visiting friends, and as they have hosted me with wide arms open, I want to return the favor.

I will miss Seattle a lot. It is the city that where I have spent most of my adult life and I will always have ties here. Ever since moving back from New York I have appreciated it so much more than I ever did. I will miss most the Seattle Xcoders community—a place where I really found my tribe and sense of purpose. However, I know it is just a hop and a skip away to come home and visit friends.

When I was young our family friend, Mrs. Pulliam, once told my dad “David’s life is like an unwritten book. You’ll never know what the next chapter will contain.”

Here is to the next chapter.

Notes:

- Yes, Wilson is moving
- The title is inspired by the Propellerheads song “Take California”, which was the song used in the original iPod commercial


Abstract For My New Talk: Making Together

Talk Title: Making Together: The Need for Organizations to Have Internal Studios

Abstract:

The practice of design, engineering, and product management has been see as the foundational aspect for building products. However, as product roles continue to evolve with ever-changing problem spaces, the lines of responsibilities have blurred. This talk challenges the notion of ownership and function with the intention to break the barriers and friction by building together synchronously. A world where a PM cares as much about design as much as a designer cares about working with engineering directly to get it shipped.

One approach to this problem is building a work culture and space that fosters a studio model within organizations, whether you are a small startup or large corporation.

This talk covers:

  • Why current processes are broken
  • The importance of having a space focused on collaboration
  • Work approaches and tools needed
  • Seeing the problem together

Note: The focus of this talk will vary based on the conference/audience. I plan to dive very specific in process and proposed work structures for more technical conferences for engineers and designers.


Planning my 2017 speaking engagements

I cannot believe that 2016 is already coming to an end! As the year comes to a draw, I am planning on scheduling my speaking engagements for 2017.

"What topics do you speak about?", you might ask? Historically, I have talked about design and prototyping. Most recently, I gave my talk There and Back Again. I am more than happy to give this talk at conferences in 2017 but am also expanding the scope of talks to: generating creative ideas, design leadership, and product thinking.

I'm available for lectures, case studies, workshops, and panel interviews.

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If you're interested in booking me or know a conference I should look into, please contact me!


Case Study: Inspirato

Project: iPad app for Inspirato with Black Pixel
Role: Lead Designer
Worked With: Matilda Dackevall
Functions Involved: Design, Engineering, Project Management, Software Testing

Inspirato is a private club that provides its members exclusive bookings to signature residences and stays. Black Pixel was hired by Inspirato to work on the iPad and iPhone apps. This project was an end-to-end client services project from Discovery to submitting to the app store. This project was implemented entirely in Swift.

Goals:

  • Increase mobile adoption by launching Inspirato's first ever iPad and iPhone app
  • Give customers a new way to search for a trip different from the web and phone experience

Information Architecture and User Experience

Once the business goals and overall creative direction was established the focus was on Information Architecture and system flow of the product. The diagram below (Which is intentionally rasterized) was created as a system flow that the engineering team would use as a reference to validate what they were implementing. Within the IA flow the future phases were also included as a consideration in the currently flow to ensure as much technical debt could be removed and future features could be considered during implementation.

Inspirato_IA

As the IA was being solidified, wireframes were created to build structure and establish a feel for what controllers and user interface elements would be used.

wireframes

0600_Destination

Prototyping

A variety of prototyping methods was used in order to better communicate with the internal team and client. The best method of validation is to show someone the idea. Tools such as Adobe After Effects, Framer, Quartz Composer, and Xcode were used to prototype certain areas of the apps.

Visual Design

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There and back again

This year I have been giving a talk called "There and back again: the journey of product discovery and exploration" at conferences and meet ups. The essence of this talk is about exploring creative ways to generate ideas as you continue to develop your product. This is a work approach that I was heavily influenced by my friend and mentor Alan Cannistraro.

I put the talk in GitHub so you can have the source material and all the content. If you have any ideas or feedback, please submit an issue.

T&B GitHub Repo

If you're interest in me giving this talk at your conference, please email me!

I'd like to share a few moments and tweets that I have really enjoyed seeing from attendees. Thank you to everyone who took the time to hear me speak—it was a great pleasure.


Photo: Evgenia Grinblo

https://twitter.com/Grinblo/status/776044438556639233

https://twitter.com/sarahklassen/status/776042892091613184

https://twitter.com/jimpick/status/781690144998862848

https://twitter.com/AndrewDoesSEO/status/776038733892161536

https://twitter.com/boonych/status/776057209071558656

 


Thank you UX Cambridge

Thank you so much UX Cambridge for having me as a speaker. I really enjoyed being here so much and it was one of the best conference experiences I've had. Also, I can't say enough about how beautiful the city is.

If you attended my talk I thank you for taking the time to hear my story. I put my slides on GitHub and am going to create an interactive wiki for the content of the site.

There and Back Again GitHub Wiki