Page last updated July 2, 2004













My background is a completely mixed bag. When I graduated from school there was no major for what I do—and 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 tastes—carefully building something like a machine for living—not a capital-D, don’t-move-the-dining-room-chair “Design 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.

Formal Education
I obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley—a 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 is—what 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.