Thank you, Swift Conf!

Thank you so much SwiftConf and 7Principles for having me! Slides can be found here.

I also have a GitHub project that I'm going to update. Please feel free to submit content via PR or Issues.

If you have feedback on how the talk could be improved, I would love it if you would submit a GitHub Issue.

Unknown Mentors

Like most Saturday nights, I was sitting at home and contemplating if I should watch The Abyss. I decided not to (again) and opted to watch a documentary about the making of it while re-factoring and cleaning some files up on my iMac. One of the rituals is going through my Photos app to organize it. This time I decided to start from the beginning. One of the photos that came up was a photo of an old local newspaper where I grew up. It was an article about a mural I painted during my senior year in high school. The theme of it was "Pathways to the Future". It triggered not just the memory of painting the mural, but what I call an unknown mentor.

I created a lot in high school. I admired the work of such people like Boris Vallejo and Brom. My goal in high school was to become an illustrator and make great work like them. I ended up studying visual arts in college, but my career definitely went a different direction in product design. I still draw a lot. However, it was one interaction that I will never forget in my life, and that is an artist by the name of Maria William. You may not be familiar with her as you might with Vallejo and Brom, but I admired her work so much. However, I must confess I cannot remember how I found her. This was a very long time ago...when you still had to call the internet. Whatever happened, I stumbled upon her website and was so inspired by her. When it was time for me to paint the mural, I remember a painting that I loved so much called "Who We Are". I sent her an email (I tried to find the original message but it's probably an old Hotmail (or Excite!) email. I asked her for permission to use the piece as an inspiration for mine (I hope she remembers).

Now, I must confess to you that I was not the most motivated person in high school. This was the first time I felt a drive and motivation to try to do something great. A lot of it was because I was doing something that I hoped to honor someone I really respected. I didn't want to let William down, but for the first time, didn't want to let myself down.

The mural is long gone now, but that one interaction was such an important part of my life. The internet felt so much smaller then than it does now. In the world of social media, cyberbullying, and trolling, I will always remember an act of kindness from a person who didn't even know me. I don't know if she knew at the time, responding to some random kid on the internet, but her response really sparked a drive in my life.

My passion and focus in digital product design is now still often focused on product vision and following the north star...finding the pathway to the future. I never stayed in touch with Maria, but if I met her, I would say "Thank you for your kindness and sparking something in my life so many years ago."

"Between the worlds of men and make believe I can be found." —Dan Fogelberg





Supporting Manton Reece's

I recently backed Manton Reece's project This time of platform needs to be supported more than ever. In the era of fake news and content being infused in centralized social networks, self-hosted content seems lost these days. I would often spend hours reminiscing with friends about what it was like about having micro-communities where people would visit your website to read what you've been up to. Life-long relationships formed from these interactions I had almost two decades ago.

It would be foolish to expect we would all go back to the days where social media and social networking is not a part of the web, but we certainly can take some of the great elements of it and put focus back on it. I still use Twitter, and like from my website years ago, met some great friends and life-long relationships through it. However, Twitter has been a bit polarizing and overwhelming for me recently. I want to focus in and visit sites, take the time to read and go deep on the it the attention it deserves.

Certainly, is not the first of its kind. You might remember having a similar mission, which ultimately didn't make it. It's not just micro-blogging, but micro-communities. We yearn for those close relationships again. You see it with Slack communities forming and iMessage groups. As they say, when a new iMessage group forms, a squad gets its wings.


Thank you, Manton, and I am wishing you the best of luck. You can follow my or my self-hosted site at

Manton's words on why he created

I'll be speaking at SwiftConf

I'm excited to share that I'll be speaking at SwiftConf this September! This will be my first time in Germany and I'm so thrilled to visit. I will be speaking about infusing the collaboration between engineering and design. My hope is to work on a side demo project that will hopefully share some cool concepts.

The vastness of curiosity

I have been thinking deeply about this quote from the author of one of my favorite books, The Little Prince.

"If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."

— Antoine de Saint Exupéry

Though this also applies to my personal life, I often reflect on this in the work setting and with design teams. This quote always finds me looking back at Kimber Lockhart's post about fostering a sense of purpose. Everyone has a different drive and motivation, and when you can find people who are purpose-driven, there is an infinite amount of energy because it is their human need to explore and be curious.

If you can find people who are in love with the process and are curious, they will lead you all over the ends of the earth.


OK to disconnect: The death of my iPod classic after 14 years

It was Saturday night and I was at my San Francisco apartment listening to BT's new album "_" on my iPod classic. I was trying to get the mood right to explore some prototypes I have been wanting to finish up. Suddenly I heard the sound all-too-familiar with other devices. The hard drive was trying to spin up…quickly, and then fading away.

I knew what it this meant but was in denial. Suddenly, it locked up. I frantically plugged my iPod into the nearly-obselete 32-pin adapter and into my iMac. I tried restoring. iTunes couldn’t read it. I checked disk utility to give it another try…even tried to format it. Didn’t work. My iPod gave it’s last spin attempt…and failed.

I was devastated. It felt crazy to feel so hurt by the loss of an inanimate object. However, it hit me. My iPod represented more than what it physically was, but more than 14 years of my life. To put it in a bit of perspective, my iPod is the same age as my cat Wilson, both I received while in college.

I still had my papers and art projects from college on the hard drive. These iPods were ones that you could use as an external drive as well. So many memories of art history papers about Caravaggio sketches of explorations.

And of course, there was the music and podcasts. All the playlist I had on it was curated carefully by me. Looking at the playlists, I can remember the reason it was created, whether it was in honor of the death of a friend, parties, or especially created for

In an age of streaming, shuffle, remixing, reboots, adapters, and annual upgrades, the iPod classic represented intention, focus, and longetivy. It was just your hand on the wheel, turning, and exploring.

Now that they are discontinued, I'm not sure if I ever will own an iPod classic again, but I am so thankful for more than a decade of experience with something that was quite literally the soundtrack to my life.

Ask Me Anything: Why is the time set to 2:14 AM on all of your designs?

We couldn't afford to rent movies when I was a kid, so my mom would take my brother and I to the public library. Though there was a huge list of options for films, we would always pick the same one—Terminator 2: Judgment Day. In the film, the computer AI Skynet is the antagonist that becomes self-aware and begins targeting humans as a threat causing the nuclear nightmare, known as "Judgment Day". In the 1991 film prior to the new re-boots, Skynet became self-aware a 2:14 am Eastern Time.

In any static design I do, the time is set to that.

Have other questions? Ask Me Anything.

The best team white elephant party ever

As I was organizing my Vimeo page I stumbled upon this gem...our White Elephant Christmas party from 7 years ago when I worked at ExactTarget. It's amazing that these group of people have grown up to now have their own families, elevate in their career to be directors and beyond.