My background is a completely mixed bag. When I graduated from school there
was no major for what I doand I’m not sure I’d have recognized it if
there were. So instead of listing my (few) credentials, I’ll tell you what
I think has shaped me the most. And what’s given me the background to do
whatever it is I do.
Born in Detroit, Michigan. Raised in a succession of upper-middle class
white suburban neighborhoods chosen for their quality of public schools:
Southfield, MI; Setauket NY;
Chesterfield MO; Bloomfield Hills MI;
Tustin CA. I made my escape to The City (Berkeley/San Francisco)
halfway through college, and moved to New York upon graduation. I doubt
I’ll leave these big coastal city environments again.
Mom’s 1/4 Irish, 1/4 Welsh, 1/4 German, and 1/4 English (she thinks); Dad’s
parents came from the Ukraine, via eastern Canada. Mom is an interior designer who
lays out space and furniture with a well-developed sense of materials, rhythm,
and scale. She designs around the client’s needs and tastescarefully
building something like a machine for livingnot a capital-D,
Statement.” She’s where I get my need to design beautiful but comfortable
functional objects. Dad is a fluid hydraulics engineer, inventor, and
entrepenuer. He’s where I get my facility with machines and the confidence
that I can just go build something myself if the rest of the world doesn’t
get it right.
I obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of
California at Berkeleya misguided pre-law foundation. I had a 4.0 GPA
in my computer science classes (an unofficial minor) and 3.86 overall,
which put me in the Phi Beta Kappa honors society. I worked in a law
firm long enough to disabuse myself of my hope that law was “applied
metaphysics;” building things with logic and ideas. (Turns out that’s
exactly what interaction design iswhat luck!) I’m in the 23rd
year of the two years I was going to take off before graduate school.
Research & Heroes
I’ve informally studied modern art, psychophysics, visual perception, cognitive psychology,
literature, modern dance, experimental film, and a bunch of other seemingly unrelated stuff.
In equally diverse fields, there’s a handful of people who have done such important
work that I refer to them when thinking and talking, and
measure my own steps against their leaps.
Here’s an incomplete but representative list of them.
I am an interaction designer, working in both hardware and software.
That field didn’t exist when I went to school, but looking back over
my past projects I seem to have been doing
it all along.
I get a parking space right in front of wherever I’m going;
though sometimes I figure that nobody else bothers to look there.
I seem to carry that luck into in most other things, too.