19 Episode results for "Maurice Cherry"

Welcome to Revision Path!

Revision Path

01:20 min | 1 year ago

Welcome to Revision Path!

"My name is maurice cherry and i'm the host of revision path in award winning weekly interview podcasts that showcases the world's best black designers developers and digital creatives. If you're looking to get inspired then tune in each week for in-depth conversations that explored the creative journey including the processes thoughts and ed motivations behind these awesome creator shaping the future of art design and technology here are a few people that you'll hear from. I'm gail anderson in. I am a designer seiner. Barakzai mcgregor designer off on my name is kimberly bryant. I am the founder under an executive director of black girls code. Monday ms who picchu am a visual artist and scholar my name hannity player claire. I am a production designer in the film industry whether you're a product designer web designer software developer or just someone who works in the tech and design industries than this podcast is for you. If you want to hear more head on over to glitch dot com forward slash revision path and subscribe on apple podcasts ask or spotify or wherever you find your favorite shows new episodes come out every monday morning. We'll see you then.

maurice cherry web designer gail anderson kimberly bryant Barakzai mcgregor hannity executive director founder spotify apple claire software developer
Maurice Cherry

Design Matters with Debbie Millman

1:07:51 hr | 8 months ago

Maurice Cherry

"You know I couldn't go to Barnes and noble and pick up say computer arts magazine or net magazine. Look through the pages and see someone that looked like me doing this I couldn't see that. This is design matters with Debbie millman. This episode Debbie talks with Maurice, Cherry, about his education and career and about why the profession of graphic design has been so slow to acknowledge black designers. Barely free one hundred years ago. So certainly, they weren't thinking about graphic designers. Here's deputy I with a couple of messages then her interview with Maurice, shared? My friend Koi Vin is an internet pioneer and the senior director of design at Adobe. He's also the host of tastic podcast called wire frame, a chauffeur designers and the design curious about how you can help technology fit into our lives, and now with the pandemic of bending culture. The new season of wire frame is investigating how covid nineteen affects the work we all do. Just search wire frame in your favorite podcast APP like the one you're listening to right now and you'll find three seasons. Original episodes also include a link in my show. Thanks to adobe and wire frame for supporting design matters. Also. I WANNA share a brand new and very special podcast with you. Today it's called dear therapists and it is hosted by my friend. Lori Gottlieb and her friend Guy Winch their acclaimed therapists and advice calmness Laurie wrote The New York Times bestselling book me you should talk to someone. Sit in on your intimate raw and transformative sessions guide fellow travelers through the every day an extraordinary challenges of daily life offering behind the scenes insight into what makes us all human. Find. Dear, therapist on the iheartradio APP apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Where are all the black designers? That's what Maurice Cherry has been asking for a very long time. Maurice's on a mission to amplify as many black creative voices as possible on his award podcast revision path when he didn't see black bloggers and podcasters being celebrated, he founded the black weblog awards and as a creative director designer writer editor and. He's working to give voice to underrepresented communities. Maurice Cherry was recently named to the roots one hundred most influential African Americans and twenty eighteen. He received the Steven Heller, prize for Cultural Commentary Maurice Cherry Welcome to design matters W. thank you so much for having me this is such an honor. For me for me. Maurice. Wondering, if you can tell us about your love of the cartoon network television. Show Steven Universe. Oh, Steven Universe I. Well, I really liked that show I also like the. Sort of series that came afterwards Steven. Universe future is a very progressive show. It's also just a very fun show in terms of how they build character, how they managed to create entire world at a mythology behind these kind of simple rock bass, alien beings or what have you. It's just a really good show. I don't know how I I stumbled across it. But since I have discovered it, which has been probably a few years ago I've been a very ardent fan of it have seen all the episodes seen the movie know the songs. You're tempting me here I'm going to hold myself back from asking you to sing. Murray she grew up in Selma Alabama and are among the first generation of residence post the civil rights movement of the nineteen sixties did you understand the relevance of Selma as you were growing up? Yes, and no, certainly as a kid. And I would say really just a resident of Selma overall but particularly as a Kid You are very much taught about the history of the city and what it means in the history of civil of the Civil Rights Movement So I mean I had teachers in elementary school that will take us to field trips downtown and show us the blood spots on the pavement where they were beaten and bloody. Sunday. So it was one of those things where you always had a history of what went on there went on and sell my in Montgomery and the March I mean I've walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Countless Times. Of. something. That certainly as I was growing up, I had no idea about it. I just knew that I was in very small southern town and we knew about the history of it but there wasn't really that much outside of that. I knew it was very much a bubble. It was Selma it was Montgomery. It was kind of you know just South Central Alabama in general and that's about it. That's really all I knew for a long time. You moved quite a bit through elementary school and every time you relocated it resulted in your attending a different school. You also went to a school for gifted students, which meant you went to one school with mostly black students and another with mostly white students, and you've said that this defacto segregation was still very much the case in Alabama in the nineteen eighties what was that like for you? It's interesting because when I think about it in hindsight, I didn't know the difference like I didn't know that this was a different thing for for kids to do. The gifted program that was started in Selma started when I was in second grade, and that was actually the not the first person or the first child is actually the third There were two others there was a black girl named Jeremy Lin and a white girl named Tom and I was the the first male to be in the program, and it wasn't something that I really thought of as different at the time I just. Knew that I had been tested and with the test they said that was much smarter than other kids and so we did this thing where I would go to my regular home elementary school which was edgewood elementary, and then on some days, I would go to Cedar Park which is in a totally different part of town more than the white partner town and I would take classes there and so I was just introduced a two sets of kids growing up I had the kids that I knew from edgewood but then they're also the kids I knew from Cedar Park and even Though Cedar Park was in a more white part of Selma. It was a pretty integrated school. So I had kind of black and white friends really at at both schools and I didn't know that it was really different I think until sixth grade because at that point for sixth grade, I went to an entirely different school called bird elementary, which was in the like very affluent as as affluent Selma can be but like in a very affluent white part of Selma and that was a really big culture shock because it was pretty much completely whites and there was such a stark difference in. Just what the schools offered like we went to bird and they had computer labs and they had custom menus that you could get for for lunch and then I would go to edgewood and it's like the same rectangular pizza on Styrofoam trays like it was just totally completely different. It wasn't until seventh grade when the the various elementary schools kind of merged into two middle schools that these worlds kind of started to collide a bit from eighth grade onto graduation from high school. My gifted class was actually also in the same school so. In the later years of my education is certainly wasn't something that was that difference I just went to an extra class. Eve said that when the schools, all the schools merged that this time of your life was enlightening for several reasons one because of school another because your older brother went off to college and one because this was shortly after your parents split up and I read that you were actually relieved when your parents got divorced I was to actually I was really curious why? Why were you relieved? Wow, wow, you really did your research. Because I never never never really talk about that. Why was I relieved for several reasons? The first reason is that my mother's side of the family and my father's side of the family never got along. And my father's side of the family kind of always felt like I was taking my mom's side of the family in things which was really odd. But then my father's side of the family didn't really live in Selma? Like my mom's side did. So it was this weird sort of. Push pull kind of tension just between the two families themselves. Your my parents at that point probably just weren't getting along. I mean. I'll talk about it. Why not? At, the time my dad was pretty strung out on drugs and. The basically just the relationship between him and my mother just splintered and fracture to the point where there were no kind of there was no sort of way to reconcile that I mean. There was abuse. There are things getting stolen. There were drugs like it was a whole thing. I was very relieved because he was never really around and never set a good example s to like Oh. This is who you should be as like a man has a person which was interesting because he was that when I was younger, it was very much me seeing his sort of gradual decline as he as he got older as I got older. But over a pretty short period of time, I would say probably from the ages of. Six to thirteen because I remember being six years old and my dad was an engineer at Ge he worked in plastics very smart guy and then like by the time I was thirteen and I was heading into middle school. He was you know running the streets hooked on drugs ponding when he could and. It was a relief because like. Who wants to be around that? Yeah who I mean you go to sleep and you've got like a television in your room or something then you wake up and your father's unplug the TV and he's like going out the window with it like. You're you don't feel any sort of sense of permanence or safety. Not just in the fact that you know he's kind of connected to a more nefarious element but also just like you don't even know if we're going to have your stuff when you wake up in the morning because he might have piloted for a quick fix and so I was relieved when they broke up and divorced because like who wants to be around that nobody wants to be around there. That's not a I mean I can look back at it in hindsight and say. That's not a good environment for a child but like it just wasn't good in general I, share his name like I'm a junior so and we look alike and I would always get told by members on my mom's side of the family how much I looked like him, which then also had this weird level of tension because they treated me differently because I looked like him and I'm like look I can't control that that's his networks I can't do anything about that. You know. So when they broke up, I was very relieved because at least I met some level of safety and some level of hopefully normalcy like. Who wants that? As you're growing up? You know it's just not a very stable environment I think for for kids to be in. You've spoken about how artistic your brother is your older brother but also difficult his life has been I believe he was incarcerated and he also had. Problems with drugs. And how much he bullied you growing up between your dad and your brother Maurice Mauricio treated rather badly, oh. Yeah. How did you survive? How did you? How did you make it out because you are just so extraordinary. Wow how did I make it? It's it's. Something that I don't really I think look back on and sort of wonder like, wow I made it out because at the time you're just trying to make it through you know. At the at the time when all this is happening. So just to kind of put this in context. I think I was around thirteen years old when my parents divorced. My brother went off to college when he was eighteen. So we're four years apart. So I was about fourteen then so I was about to enter high school and I'm like, Oh, I've got my own room now and I have like some kind of freedom you know but then he unfortunately. Got Kicked out the first year and then came back home and then fell into a bad element then got put in jail, and so it was always dislike weird specter around honestly like the family name I mean Selma is not a big town. So it was just like now this is like attached to my name A- like my last names like he's one of those shares you heard about his father, you heard about his brother that kind of thing. So it just kind of. Stuck with me in that way and I, guess the way that I tried to or the way that I did get through it was Bhai focusing on. Other things I mean when I was in high school, I was in the math club and I was in marching band and I did all these other things that kind of took me out of being home whole lot. But then when there were instances where we're at home I had other things to focus on so. Even though my brother and I went back at one point two sharing a room together like focus on my music or I could focus on schoolwork racket, read a book or something like that. So also my grandmother, my mother's mother also lived in Sellman, so that also provided an outlet for me to stay with her if I needed to you know in case it got really bad for some reason or or something like that but I know that my mom. Was Doing the best job as she could with what she had. I mean, she was working at community college and I know she was going through her fair share stuff at work the a black woman working in a stem field like she went through her fair share things and then having to come home and deal with these two kids like my brother would be out running the streets and just doing all kinds of stuff and I ended up just kind of. That she didn't have to worry about like, oh, Maurice's good like Maurice's music. He's got his video games whenever he's good and I just kind of focused on being in staying in that creative bubble as all this happens and just didn't really try to focus on the negative stuff that was happening. Speaking of other things to focus on I understand that both your mother and grandmother were seamstresses and I believe that you can. So rather well, yourself can even do quite an impressive cross-stitch Maurice. Cry. Wow. I they taught me how to. So from a very young age and I learned cross-stitch I think in second probably second grade I think I learned it and. That was also part of the gifted class that I was taking. The taught us to do cross stitch and it was very math based. On the cross stitch cloth that you're uses a grid and it's some of them already have holes kind of in the cloth. So it's very easy to make your own patterns and follow patterns that you get But yeah, also eventually learned how to use. Home sewing machine, and I mean my mother when I had school plays and things with all my costumes, she sold like this one piece clown outfit Slough that I had for a play in second grade she sold this big Purple Cape. For when I played King Ferdinand and the play in fifth grade like she seems, she's Great. Grandmother is also like you mentioned the same source also. So I do know how to sell I use it in college for a little bit to make a little bit of money because the guys in my dorm didn't know how to sew and if something happened, they would just buy a new pair of socks or whatever, and I'm like, Oh, I can fix that heavily entrepreneur. Maurice, you grow up loving to write and draw. You did Origami. You started learning how to speak French in the second grade. You're also a budding musician but I read that the main reason you started studying music was not because you had a burning desire to be a brass player, but rather because you wanted to get out of sixth and seventh period. Yes. True I was in seventh grade and I forget what classes I had six and seven period but they obviously weren't very Enlightening. and. I liked the fact that the band students were able to. Get up early and do practice, and so I said, oh I want to join the band and I. Really didn't have an idea think at first I told my band director Mr Ruffin. I think I told him I wanted to learn the saxophone and. The saxophone for some reason I think I didn't take to it because of all of the keys and that I wanted to do the trumpet but the mouthpiece is so small and couldn't form a tight enough Ombu shore to actually make a note and so I was like, Oh, we'll just stepping down and you'll do a trombone and the trombone just happened to be. The instrument for me and the trombone is a deceptively challenging instrument because it's really just one long tube. All you're doing is controlling the length of the tube and the air that flows through it, and so there are seven positions that are not marked positions you have to know them as just by feel. and. You have to know the sound by pitch. Able to recognize it, and so I kind of took to the trombone very easily, and later in later years I ended up picking up the trumpet and I picked up the baritone and picked up the two but like all the brass instruments but I started out with the trombone in seventh grade. You learn an important lesson as you were first practicing putting time into becoming a better musician and have written about how that experience taught you that you have to suck I in order to get better. I was wondering how this thinking has helped you in your work. Well I think it's helped me to know that whenever I'm starting something new that I don't have to necessarily start at perfectly. The audience doesn't necessarily know how much time you put into it at the beginning they just know that you've started and so wherever you start for all intents and purposes, you kind of have nowhere to go. But up, you can build some kind of upgrade path and so for projects that I start I, try to get to a good base level and then. Know that I can always kind of improve and upgrade from there because I'll give suggestions from other people the you know content or or whatever. The product is may find a different audience and we can always want to branch off from there. So I never tried to start to rigidly with something i. just kind of plant the seed and then just see what grows. Maurice you've excelled academically all through elementary middle and high school so much. So you were on track to become the first black male Valedictorian in your high school history. What happens next in your life is is rather chilling I'm wondering if you can give an understanding of what happened in your community when it I was apparent that you were going to be that the first blackmail Valedictorian. Oh my goodness. Oh I'm laughing at this not because it's funny. It's not funny. I can laugh at it because it happened to me I can sort of look back and be like my God. Because in a way, it's almost cartoonish. Like it's almost a cartoonish level of racism that I experienced. During I'd say my last. My last semester of high school when it was becoming really apparent you know kind of what the grades weren't how it was going to shake out and also the high school that I went to Selma High School, which is still there was a predominantly black school I think it's still is predominantly black school and that last semester wants it really of came out like Omar Isa's going to be the the Valedictorian this is going to happen is that there were teachers at the school that were conspiring against me. There were school board members that were conspiring against me. And conspiring feels like such a sinister word to use. But in hindsight it's the it's the proper word like these were people that. They were intentionally like. Throwing wrenches in the system to make sure that I would not become Valedictorian. So I had a teacher who? Was My ap English teacher for eleventh and twelfth. Grade was my journalism teacher who completely failed me on purpose. The reasoning that she gave behind it as I came to find out was not even as much about my personal achievement it had to do something a bit deeper that went on. So I did not graduate Valedictorian I ended up graduating salutatorian but. It was one of those kinds of situations where you know leading up to be graduating I was already like ready to get out of Alabama like I could not get out fast enough. But Maurice I. also is not not to interrupt you but I do think it's important to to mention I I mean I don't know if this is true but in my research I found that you were also sent death threats. Then is true. I'm not meaning the gloss over all that. But yeah, some of this. I I haven't really mentioned a lot because like my mom doesn't even know about some of this stuff I mean I try to keep as much of it away from her as possible. But why didn't you? So what made you want to hide this from her in twelfth grade here you are number one in your class you are. Exceeding on every level and then teachers start changing your grades you start getting death threats your student guidance counselor wouldn't give you access to college applications or Offer. GotTa her. Insisted that you attend a local community college to semi auto mechanics and H FAC rather than go on to a state or. An out of State College. So yeah, WH, why did you want keep this from your mom? Honestly. It was for the same reasons that I mentioned before around like I didn't WanNa. Have to be the one that she had to worry about. Like she already had to deal with like this shitty ex husband and Mike, she's gotTa deal with this other son that's like running the streets and in trouble with the law like. I don't want to have to be another source of stress and you know she's already dealing with stuff at work to. My. Mom is a very strong woman very strong, very, very, very strong woman and her dreams were not to stay in Selma and raise a family. She, you know as I was very smart going to school and had opportunities well outside of Alabama and ended up getting trapped here. And I just didn't want to be another thing that she had to worry about at the end of the day like you've got all this other stuff. I'm not trying to be an additional source of for you like I got this or any of those teachers that tried to hold you back aware of how far you've come. There definitely are teachers that I had from back. Then that are still teaching there that know and. Unfortunately they still hold the same enmity. I can't really do anything about that. It's not my job to you know to fix that. Like I've never been asked to come back or speak at my high school and I've tried I've tried to say, Oh, I wanna come back and talk about how I got through and no. They don't want to hear so. Yes some of those same teachers are are still around and that's That is terrifying. It is what it is. You ended up getting a job at Kmart to earn your own money to apply to colleges in you did you got a full ride scholarship offer to? Major College Alabama but you didn't want to stay in Alabama on the last day of high school. You won the largest number of awards in one was from morehouse. College. Georgia who not only offered you a full scholarship you were invited to participate in their project space program which came with an internship at NASA. So you went to Morehouse. Yes. I left Selma two weeks after graduation. As soon as I could get all my supplies and stuff together I was out. I didn't have a party out into the body anybody I was out and so I started off during the summer program in the summer of ninety nine in Atlanta at morehouse and I think for anyone who lives in the deep South and and when I say deep South, I mean like Mississippi Alabama probably part South Carolina Tennessee or North Florida. Like Atlanta is the destination like that's our big city to go to. So even as kids we knew all about Atlanta. Every time you know we did well on the standardized test old. WE'RE GONNA go to six flags in Atlanta like there was always a allure of Atlanta being like the big city, and so the fact that morehouse house was such a well known school in the black community and that I got somebody scholarships, my mom was not crazy about it at first I want to fly there. Right you're not going to be here and like I don't want to have to drive. Far, to get there everything. She's she's come. came to terms with it but at the time, she was not actually really didn't want me to go somewhere Super Far Stanford or Harvard or something that's what you wanted to go. Yeah. That's why I wanted to go I wanted to go as far as I could possibly go but more house I was like you know what? I'm sure why not know about Atlanta it's a good school from what I've heard I knew about. Dr Martin Luther. King. Going there. So I know about Benjamin as going there and I knew where it could possibly set me up for life just in terms of the huge network. And Yeah I ended up going you initially started as a computer science and engineering major in an effort to I believe Mimic. dwayne Wayne from the television show a different world. But quickly discovered that it wasn't the major few and changed it to mathematics why math both is great. I was always good at math. It was one of my best subjects in school I was captain of my math team in high school, and even with the courses that I took the summer leading up to that fall semester I had more credits in math because I took. AP Calculus in high school, and then I took cal to over the summer before I started. So I was able to start freshman year taking cal three, which is the not the highest level of cal. She could take some of the highest level as a freshman that she could take s I had more credits and I did the math to see how many credits I could get graduated switching the math actually would have made me graduate sooner which I did instead of staying in this kind of. Five Year program with computer science and computer engineering, and graduating with a bachelors and a masters. Initially didn't want to go into computer science will yes. Because of kind of mimicking dwayne Wade from a different world but also I had been Exposed to the web at this point and says, you know we're talking high school. So this is ninety five to ninety nine like those early like browser ward days of the Web. Oh, I missed so much netscape navigator and all that I miss it. So it was just such a different time and it was just filled with so much discovery because I knew about how to do stuff with basic. But at this point in time, there's new language call html Esau I'm able to like actually look. Behind the scenes at how all these web pages are made, and that's myself html and I was I would go to Mike go to the computer lab, my mom's job and stay there until they closed on the web making web pages on Geo cities and Tripod, and just like getting I don't know this fire hose of knowledge about the web I mean. But then when I got some more house and started with computer science stuff, they were teaching C. Plus plus and I'm like, where's The web? Learn I WANNA I WANNA learn how to make web pages and do all kinds of cool stuff and I remember going to my my adviser at the time who was also my professor Dr Jones whose past our rest in peace. Him telling me that the Internet is a fad and then we want to focus on. Then you need about switching your major because that's not what we do here. So I switched it did the math literally to see kind of what my credits would look like a graduating and said, you know what I actually do math. So sure why not? This summer after your freshman year you started your internship. With NASA, you worked in robotics -CATION at the Ames research center at field field in Silicon Valley California. This is your first time outside of the south. What was that like for you? Oh well I I'm on a plane. I only had a burrito actually. Missing. Listen my adviser at the time or name was heather. Thompson she took us to a whole foods as my first whole foods. She took us the whole foods and like she's like, Oh, here's a Burrito bar and I was like what is that? She's like a bar you make your own Burrito and I'm like wait what does that? And so she showing us how to make it and everything and I. Remember like my I read it was like size of a small child like. This is amazing. y'All these. Like we like pickier back home like I've never had this before. So I was exposed to a lot of I in California those things My best friend in college from the bay area to from Richmond, which is a little bit north of Berkeley in the bay area. So I got to hang out with him and his friends and I was introduced to like West Coast hip hop, which was so much different from southern hip hop and just everything first time. I saw actual palm tree like all all of California that that whole first summer. was just amazing. First Time using mass transit like and it was fun. It was just a lot of exploration. The Bay then was such a really. Interesting and vibrant era. It was like pre Google like about a year or so before Google I think really kind of came into the Public Zeitgeist. So it was just as really interested in time of like a lot of. Like innovation and electricity and wonder about like what the future could be. There was just a lot of activity going on in the bay area and it was just really interesting to be part of that. Even just a small way. We you considering a career in robotics at that point. Oh. I don't know if I was. So That's interesting thing because. I was able to work on some robotics education stuff we were doing these. Kind of tutoring sessions with some local kids from. Chula Vista, but I might be getting that wrong. But we were teaching them how to use robotics and but I also did some html they're like I made the robotics education homepage and my mentor Terry Grant WHO's retired out. But at the time when he was there, he allowed me to kind of work and do both of these things to kind of see which what I was more into and I think by the time I left I still wasn't. I still one hundred percent sure what I wanted to do but I like the fact that I had the opportunity to find out the terminal part of the program was that at the end of it, you would be able to work for edessa facility. Accu intern for two facilities of your choice, and then you can decide after that which one. One of those you want to work at or if you want to work at a different so it was kind of like A. Deal. You mentioned the the Moffett Field Internship I was doing robotics work I was doing this. And then I did another. NASA internship at Marshall Space Flight Center Alabama in Normal Alabama, which is right outside of Huntsville and was able to work with like human factors engineering and three D. Printing, and so like being able to Kinda see these things in their. Industrial stages because like now, three printing something that makers Kinda just do on a Saturday no. I was seeing how they did it to create the nose cone for the space shuttle which was just like. To be exposed to that opportunity to know that this is something that I can do is great. But that doesn't necessarily have to be the thing that I did just being able to have the exposure to it to see that this is an option something i. think that was really really important especially at that time because. I felt like I know where I'm going to end up. It's going to be at a NASA facility somewhere and I don't have to make that decision until like junior senior year. So let me just have fun learn as much as I can and we'll see what happens. And then nine eleven hits and they're not eleven hits. I was studying for a test in abstract. Algebra two course and I was in a study hall at Kilgore, which is one of the halls warehouses campus and actually saw a TV and like one of the other study rooms that was showing there was showing like the first plane crashed into the first tower, and then like we're all just like transfixed watching everything as it happened and I went class and the teacher was saying classes were canceled for. The rest of the day, you can go home and I just remember trying to get home and it taking forever to do so because everyone was trying to get home at the same time. But yeah, a couple I think maybe a couple of weeks later that's when they kind of let us know that that the program was going to be coming to a bit of an end because funds were being diverted. And so the promise initially that I had of Oh, you're GONNA go into working for NASA after you graduate was now completely gone now it's like the end of junior year you have no plans are I had no plans I should say for what was going to do what I graduated and I had to find something quickly because I hadn't been working towards any other goal like the goal was already set for me when I on campus and accepted the scholarship. And so at the end of junior year, I was really Kinda stuck. I was working at the Wardrobe Arts Center at the time selling tickets for symphony and the theater and I was like is this one I'm going to be doing like selling tickets for like eight bucks an hour because that was all that I had lined up in terms of his job. I really hadn't been focusing towards anything else career wise at that point. You I think also had a job in customer service at auto trader, but you got fired from their Not surprised. And six several years but you've finally got what you consider to be your first legitimate design job at alternative weekly publication called Creative loafing Oh. No I. Learned about the the first job that I got from creative loafing so. Is. This like weekly newsletter and they had a position in the back for an electric media specialist at the Georgia World Congress Center. Okay and really I only apply to it because I have been doing so much design work just as a hobby that I had sort of built up somewhat of a portfolio I had images that I had created. I had websites that I'd done for people and I can show those to say like hey I, know what I'm doing and so that's kind of where I feel like I got my first legitimate start in the industry. How did you get your senior designer job at and T.? came. Next straight. That came next. So stay that the Georgia World Congress Center for about a year and a half and I was slowly being edged out from there. It was just not a good situation in the long run and. I saw the job at at and T., and this is this is now two thousand six and I think for anyone that was in Atlanta that was doing design in two thousand six. You only had a handful of big companies that you could go work for you could work Turner. You could work for CNN work for at and T. or you gonna work for Home Depot Coca Cola or Coke Yeah But that was kind of it, and so the fact that I was getting an opportunity to to start out at at and T. was really good and I remember they gave me the test about. Game Design test they're like, okay. Yeah. Two types of websites that you can make. A website for a motocross event or you can make a website for a bridal shop which WANNA choose. Bridal shop. And I don't think they were expecting me to take the bridal shop. I did the bridal shop website and I thought it was just a simple kind of three page website laid it out designed it sets it to them and they really liked it came in did an interview and I started at. At and T. which was a very. In hindsight's. I laugh at these experiences in hindsight in hindsight. Horrible toxic work environment. I think the allure of working for a big name company like that is what drew me in I mean we were working really long hours with like really grueling work loads and they really kinda pitted you against your coworkers and they had this board Oh I'll never forget the board they had this sort of like. Board with every designers name on it, and so all of the things that you designed that at and T. had a point value. So like websites like let's say a five to nine page websites, ten points and a three page website is worth five points. But then if you do these little banners, those are maybe worth point five points or something like that. So every designer has a quota that they have to meet for the numbers by the end of the end of the week and so. They would have all your names on a board like a floor to ceiling board and they had numbers and they would update the numbers daily. So you always knew exactly where you stood against all your co workers. So if you were having autoweek everybody knew about it. And if you're having a great week and you were like sitting on on top of the heap, everybody was running for you. It was a very competitive environment. Long sight. Horrific. And what happened was because they had just more work than needed to get done. They would. Decrease the point value of the items that you may, but then they would up the quota. So like now five to nine page website may be only six points instead of ten, and then the quarter you have to reach now is not forty but forty five. So now you gotTa keep doing more to get this higher number and There was never a time when we cleared the cue that we were always about six months behind and getting work done. It was just a really hellish environment sounds like it was probably organized to keep you feeling like you were those very much a production environment I I call it like a sweatshop. You've said that some of the day's there the stress was so bad you started living on knows in apple juice and ultimately found out that though you were a senior designer, you were being paid a salary less than a junior designer in fact, you're making less than the janitor. So I was pissed because I knew that I had really worked my way up there I had done a lot to try to stay on top of the of the heap in terms of you know my point and everything was taking work home and finishing it, and so the fact that I got promoted to senior designer and I, you know just kind of anticipated that be making more into see that I was making so much less. I mean I was I was pissed the first thing I did was I went to my manager and I told her about it and she was like, yeah, I, know. So it wasn't even something where she tried to cover it up for sale. This must be a mistake. Let me fix it. She was like, yeah, I know that's what's happening. and. So the next person I went to was my contracting manager because I was actually contracting at at and T. so not being a full employees and my manager being a full employee she was sort of like well, I don't I don't really care. There's nothing to do with me. So once I told my contractor manager about it, she was very mad and I think she was mostly mad because if the people that are contracting under her get a raise, she gets a raise. So, basically tried to put everything in order to try to rectify the situation eventually ended up getting about six months of back pay for The time that I worked as a senior designer and the day that the check hit my account I quit. Good for you and that money that helps you start your business. Yes. That's what I use to start rest studio. Travel show yeah. At the time Studio was called three eighteen media spelled with the number three and the word eighteen. So Three E. I G. H. T. E. N. it made sense at the time was your birthday is my birthday yeah. But also it was really difficult for people to get the spelling right I was surprised at how many forms would not let you put a business name in it started with a number. So it was there were all these like weird sort of. Issues with the name that I had. I eventually ended up changing the name of the studio later to lunch, which is a lot easier. But yeah, I use that initial money to start out and and create my studio which at the time was just. Buying Webb space having enough money. So I can at least you know have my bills paid while I. Tried to find steady clients and get a little bit of money to get cards printed. So I could go to networking events and let people know, hey, I'm a designer. I can design your website for you 'cause like in those early days I think anyone kind of starts there studio like you'll take anything just to get off the. Get Things Rolling Later, you can be more selective, but at the at the time I really was like. What do you need letterheads business cards I can do I can do all of that like it didn't matter what designed job was I would try to make happen. While you've done a lot of consulting for for a number of big again and growing companies. You've had your business now throughout all of the other experiences that you've had is that not correct. No those sure I've I have the studio kind of mostly doing outward client work from two, thousand, eight to two, thousand seventeen, and then during that time I had also started podcasting like I started doing revision past when I had my studio I did consulting did speaking teaching so I got a master's degree degree. So I did a bunch of things kind of during the time that I have my studio but then in late twenty seventeen I was already starting to wind things down the market was just changing in. Terms of what people needed from designers like people were using more kind of out of the box site builder tools like wicks or squarespace, and they didn't necessarily need custom wordpress designs. They didn't want that either they didn't want to deal with something as heavy as wordpress. They wanted something lighter that they could use, and so I kind of winding studio down for that arm of the business anyway and decided I would look for a fulltime job and eventually found one at a company at the time that was called Fall Creek. Software. And I joined the team there. Stayed there for two and a half years till I got laid off the. Well you you are still doing a lot of consulting work. You are doing number of self generated projects, which really catapulted you to the limelight you started to create back I think well, you were getting your master's degree the black weblog awards. You've referred to as your D did that in your spare time? I read that you originally started it in position to the weblog awards. You knew that they were black bloggers and podcasters that we're doing great work but they just weren't getting recognition and stated that the narrative the media was putting forth was that there was only one type of person able to create culture. Is it true that one of the issues you had with the black weblog awards? Is that because black was in the title some people didn't take it seriously. Oh, absolutely. So So. Sorry. The black weblog awards at a time when I had friends of mine that were blogging. been kind of blogging and writing online kind of pseudo professionally for a while at that point and so I knew that there were people that were doing a lotta great work around blogging. That just were not getting any kind of recognition as some of these people that were doing the blogging are now like entities that people know such as Jay, smooth or bear to nate Thurston or Afro Bella. People. Now that are kind of known entities but at the time I, think we were all just kinda like slogging it out try to see if we would get. Readers or whatever, and I started in two thousand five initially just trying to you know provide a platform so we could be recognized I. Mean I had saw the weblog awards that were happening from Nikolai Nolan. He was doing it. He was like a live presentation of the mess out my south west and they were called the blogging. That I saw was a category for best. I think it was best. African or Mediterranean blog and like all of the the finalists were white and I'm like you mean to tell me out of the entire continent of Africa. And the Mediterranean there no people of color that blogging especially tiny black people that seems to be pretty incredulous like I. Don't know if I believe that and that's not to say that you know that the narrative was being shifted any sort of way. But like what is being shown us that these are the people that are worthy of your, your praise and your adoration and I'm like, no I know some other people that are doing great stuff that should probably be recognized to, and so I started off that really it was in my spare time I was. was. About I was thinking of starting my master's degree because at the time, the the narrative that I was getting from a lot of people in my life was that Oh, you know the bachelor's degree is basically just a high school diploma. And then if you really get ahead, you have to get a masters degree and I'm like, do you think that's you now? Hell? No. Absolutely, not absolutely not. My master's degree is in network and communications management, which is sort of like telecom management. But I have zero work experience in that all my work experience has been in like design even as you mentioned about like my my self initiated projects and I want to mention this because folks have asked before like, why do I create a lot of like my own projects? and. The reality of it is that I couldn't get hired anywhere. That was that was the the reality. Now Why do you think that's the case Know, there's need to the Atlanta market, but it's certainly something where. Have the pedigree. To get hired at some of these like advertising places because I didn't have agency experience or I didn't go to this school or major in this subject and so when you apply for these positions, like that was the first thing I was hearing back it's like, Oh, you're a designer but you your degree as in math or what happened is that a lot of my entrepreneurial work just ended up getting looked over as a hobby. So I ended up creating these projects myself because it's the only way that I'm getting work is that I'm kind of. The, road by walking. I find that to be really unfair. Marie chief skated that as much as the tech and design industries would like to think of themselves as meritocracy. Pervasive Socialism still make up a lot of what happens and you go on to state that you've been in the board rooms and you've heard from people in the meritocracy. Aren't really about skill. It has to do with people having unconscious bias that stems from the racism about what they believe people of color can do and achieve and this very much sounds like what you have to have dealt with. Them it's you know it's interesting. Interestingly weird concept especially at this particular time in history that we're at. You know we're recording this right now in late July but. You know about a month or so ago in June right around mid June, you had this enormous outpouring from companies and individuals that were like black lives matter and we're going to elevate black voices and all this sort of stuff and I mean, that's great. You should have been doing that. But also for a lot of us that have been doing the work and they've had to be on the other side of that, the question was like how long is this going to be sustained? Is this just? A FLASH IN THE PAN type of instance of support or you actually putting systems in place to actually make sure that this. Will be a continued thing that you try to make sure that you can make rights. Do you already feel the energy waning? Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. I did a town hall thing. Last week with a company whose name I won't mention. We were doing the sound hall me in a colleague of mine, and we were sort of mentioning this sort of very same thing and one of the follow up questions from that was around. How can I frame this? The company uses prison labor. For some of the work that they do. And so they said, how do we reconcile the fact that we use prison labor with the fact that we also don't really practice those things? At headquarters in terms of diversity and inclusion. And my response was that I don't think you can. I don't see how company can reconcile using prison labor especially when so many African Americans are in our makeup that population and then turn around and say, Oh, we're for diversity inclusion. At, our headquarters come work for us like. I mean you can own up to it. I don't know if many people know that that's a public thing but. That really sucks like I. Wouldn't want to work here knowing that like that. That's really terrible. So I, do think it's waning though I mean when I look at how this sort of played out in the tech industry when some of the big big tech companies like Google and facebook and apple for example, we're being called offer their lack of diversity. This was something that people had to kind of study over years like they have to see if the numbers were increasing decreasing because these companies now we're starting to put out diversity reports. I don't know if designed for agencies will do that or if the advertising industry will do that but I'm just know from myself and certainly for several people. That I know who were kind of on the? The beneficiary side of some of the outpouring of support. A lot of that has dried up. It's been thirty five years, Marie Sins Cheryl homes, Miller I wrote her legendary article, black designers missing in action and events like the recent online conference where the black designers which took its name from actually work of yours show that there are literally thousands upon thousands of black designers working today. Why do you think that organizations like the American Institute, for Graphic Arts and the type directors club just to name to are are having so much difficulty with their audiences and and confronting this. So I think that's the case for a few reasons for starters these organizations were created during a time where they didn't even have to think about this. I mean I don't know how all the type directors club is I think it may be about what seventy eighty years old perhaps if that old. But I know AIG is well over one hundred years old. I mean. Black people were barely free one hundred years ago. So certainly, they weren't thinking about us, it'd be and graphic designers. I mean, you can probably attest to with your experience. As the organization has gotten older. There's been this this thing of wanting to hold onto a lot of tradition. And so as the organization changes. From year to year, it's not changing I think in the right ways to take into account that there now is you know more people of color a black people Asian. Latino, etc. that are a part of this industry for J I think in particular it's the G. part the graphic parts that is probably the biggest or one of the biggest issues because now design is so much more than just like visual design there's experiential design and sound design and you I you x there's a lot of different types of design and I don't know if these are all kind of considered s design principles under organization like that. But also, these are organizations that honestly don't really have people of color at the top either and so if you don't have that representation in the company at its highest levels, then it's kind of hard for you to take stock of those at the lowest. Yes. Yeah. When people ask me, what do you suggest we do look at your board if it doesn't have the the equal amount of people of color if it doesn't have the equal amount of women if it doesn't have the equal amount of lgbtq plus then you're doing something wrong. Then you have to change it's not it's not that hard. Inch, right. But the thing is also it's it's diversity and inclusion. So it's one thing even if you have them at the top, like are their voices being heard. From the time that I've had with being on the national deny task force. There are a lot of times that we were not hurt at all. We were really just there as figureheads or at the very worst as maintenance people to clean up a mess that headquarters might have done in some sort of odd racial gaffe that now we have to sort of get in front of and say Oh wait they actually meant well, they met this and they didn't like that's ridiculous. We're all volunteering here. You know you're right it's not just about diversity it is also about inclusion. Can actually leads me to wanting to talk a bit about your podcast. So you decided to start your podcast revision path in twenty thirteen. You interview black designers, developers, creators, makers on your podcast. The show has won. So many awards. It's the only podcast in the Smithsonian's permanent collection. Congratulations on these. You said that if you would have known that they were other black designers while you were growing up in Selma. That might have made a world of difference and like can't help but wonder how much of a difference your now making t young people all over the world who listened to your podcast. Wow I hope it is. It's interesting because I'll get letters every now and then from people that have just heard about the podcast or they heard about it from a friend the now they want to know more information just the other day I got a letter from A. From a educator in Brazil who's been teaching it in his classes and Sao Paulo it sort of goes to the point of being able to kind of change the history or at least add to the history that already exists with graphic design because a lot of what I'm doing when I'm talking to these people. I don't feel like it's super new in the fact that I'm like uncovering something I mean we've always been around doing the work in tandem with other designers. The only problem is no one has actually talked to them about it. No one's actually said Hey. What do you think about this or tell me your story about how you came to where you are now like no, one's ask that question I would say, well, over ninety five percent of the people I've had on the show like it's the first time anyone has ever had like a professional interview with them about their work outside of the context of getting a job. and. It makes me think certainly at those times when I mean I was sort of trying to find my way especially in college trying to find out like. What different thing I was going to do when I was going to go into I mean certainly I saw other role models and look like me in other places but certainly not in design. I couldn't go to Barnes and noble and pick up say computer arts, magazine or net magazine, and looked through the pages and see someone who looks like me doing this. I couldn't see that conversely even if I was on the web looking at maybe some of these design media platforms, it's the same thing like I don't see where I'm a part of this and I think now it's been great with technology is the fact that so many people stories get shared in the more democratic fashion. It's really just about how you find it and how it gets introduced to you. It's less about the fact that it doesn't exist. Now it does exist, and so now people can search it out and they can share it and they can learn more about it, and so I mean I feel like each episode that I have I mean one it's a bridge between me and the guest, but it's also a bridge between the guests and the listener to say like, Hey, here's a look into my world and this is What I do, and if you're interested, you can do these things or if you want to reach out to me, here's where you can find me. Yeah, absolutely. That's huge. Well, I think that you're doing a lot to help grow the recognition and the presence and importance of people of color within the design industry and beyond I mean, you rightly stated that the people who end up being profiled for the most part in the design media or speaking at design conferences tend to be the same seven or eight doesn't people and. That also applies to those who win in Judge Design Awards. So I think that this is something that is absolutely necessary for us to be able to have a future in the design community that is represented by the people that are actually doing the work. I think it's really important that people like Timothy Goodman Wendy macnaughton. They are to white people that when they are invited to conferences now demand to see who else's invited to ensure that there is an equal number of diverse voices included and I think that that is something that people in the design business that have reached a certain level have responsibility to do. Now do you think that those things can make a difference? Oh absolutely I mean one of the things that I kind of have always said and this is something that even Harkens back to the two thousand fifteen presentation did at South West call where the black designers is that it's GonNa take the people in those positions of power to cede some of that in order to make sure that you know it's more equitable. Kind of representation of what the industry actually is I mean I think we're very fortunate within the past five years or so that's the optics are starting to change I. Still Think there's more work that has to be done just in general because we're looking at the design industry, which in and of itself is very broad and varied, and there's intersections with technology and so. There's a lot of ways that quote unquote design can go in terms of its reach. It's GonNa take I think that seating power and opening up opportunities in order to really kind of make that change. Happen you know. You've also recently launched a publication and online publication called recognize, which is a design anthology featuring essays and commentary from Indigenous People and men and women of color. The next generation of emerging design voices what made you decide to create this project, and when when do you think is going to launch it second issue. It's a good question. I started at really at the time after I won the Steven Heller Prize. And I remember Julie Annex Ter- who is the executive director of AIG at the time when she told me that I was going to be up for winning the award I remember going to the website I Nassau one in years prior, and I'm like, why? Why am I getting this like I'm not a writer I'm not writing like I'm just doing these podcasts like it's not. It's not the same thing and you know she kind of explained about how this is like designing apology and you're kind of collecting all these people's stories. Like yeah that's true that is happening but it had been about a year or so after that I have been talking about the award and talking about the work that I've been doing and people would always ask me like what's the one piece of advice that you would give to designers as a skill that they need to have and I would always say writing one because I just think it's important because we have to do so much riding whether it's emails or web copy or micro copy your proposals or anything like that. It just helps you. To get better and faster and all of that stuff but also it helps you to be able to like right up case studies and talk about your work and hopefully get so point where you can write about it in a way that other people can discover it whether it's in medium articles or magazine articles or books or something like that. It's just a skill that you should have because one thing that I saw from both the black weblog awards and really from the time doing revision path is that if you're not the one telling your own story. There's probably not going to be that many platforms that will let you tell it that will give you that opportunity to kind of say this is what I do and I mean I operated in this space for a while myself this space of feeling like I had to be discovered. You know like on the corner of Hollywood and vine or something like that. You know like I would do the work and people would come like that's not necessarily the case sometimes you have A. Out there. I'm still on that corner hoping. Put the work out there or at least you know. Market and express yourself in a way. So folks know that this is what you do because especially I think if you're like an in house designer somewhere, your manager is probably not going to be the one singing. Your praises you have to be the one to do that. You have to be the one to be able to talk about the work that you've done and the work that. You're continuing to do and so in that same vein of knowing that writing was so important and also getting messages from people that are that they're trying to find books by black designers. I can't find any even looking at magazines and such I mean back when I was doing the research for where the black designers I was finding out about all these design magazines that don't exist anymore. and seeing how they would talk about diversity and inclusion if they talked about it at all. So doing recognize was a way to kind of say okay. We need to add to the can and that's out there we need to be able to add to the work that already exists and say These are our voices. This is what we're talking about. This is what we're interested in and so. The first version of the first volume I should say of the Anthology I did was with envision did as part of their initial funding and so we did the first year of it last year and twenty nineteen, and then we did do a second volume for twenty twenty. Say It's it's. It's in progress. Let me say that basically what I do is I give a word and then I want people to right around the word. So for the first volume, the word was space. So opinion right about space and how they come with that concept. Mesa them in terms of design and then the second word was fresh and so this came right at the time that the pandemic really started to hit the country. We don't have funding this year I. Do want to publish it this year. There's any companies that are listening you know let me know. But I I am hoping to scrape things together to publish By the end of this year, we certainly have enough interest to do maybe a shorter. Version of it fingers crossed knocking on wood that will happen. Maurice. My last question for you is about something I noticed on your website you have an enigmatic new project called more Sherry. Using I pronounced that correct. That's correct. Can you tell us a bit more about what that might be? Yeah. So it's essentially going to be just like a fast fashion clothing line. So I have been doing merch through revision path on an offer a few years to like middling results. And so this was an idea to do a series of design shirts that I would collaborate with other artists on and you know maybe we would branch out into other apparel besides shirts I think initially I was just thinking. T, shirts and so I would have a collection that's just for revision path and then maybe a collection for like witty sayings or something like that I don't know. But that is what Mon Cherie is. When I can't wait to see it. Maurice Cherry. Thank you so much for doing so much important work in the world and for bringing your voice and so many ways to lose so many wonderful people to the world as well, and thank you for joining me today on. Design Matters. Debbie thank you so much. This this interview is a career highlight for me. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You can find out more about what Maurice Chares of to on his website Maurice Cherry Dot Com, and you can listen to his podcast on revision dot com or wherever you listen to podcasts. This is the sixteenth year we've been podcasting design routers and I'd like to thank you for listening and remember we can talk about making a difference. We can make a difference we can do both. I'm Debbie Norman look forward to talking again see. design. Matters is produced by Curtis Fox productions. The show is reported in non pandemic, times, at the School of Visual Arts, Masters Branding Program and New York City the first and longest running branding program in the world the editor and chief of design matters. Media is Zachary Pettit and the art director is Emily Weiland.

Selma Alabama Maurice Atlanta Alabama NASA Selma Maurice Cherry Google apple Adobe director Debbie millman Mike Steven Heller Edmund Pettus Bridge morehouse Steven Universe
Getting on the Revision Path with podcaster and creative strategist Maurice Cherry

The Complete Creative

1:01:38 hr | 1 year ago

Getting on the Revision Path with podcaster and creative strategist Maurice Cherry

"The Matt Welcome back wannabees in creators to another episode of the complete creative. The podcast that helps you build and sustain a better creative business today on the show we have Maurice Cherry. I met Maurice. At podcast movement in February. I was literally just sitting at one of the tables. He was sitting at one of the tables doing work and we struck up a conversation and I was just fascinated by his story. He is a creative. Strategist at glitch. Dot Com. He's also the host of revision path and award winning weekly showcase of black designers developers and digital creators from all over the world. Revision Path was the first podcast ever chosen by the Smithsonian for inclusion in their collection. So I wanted to have Maurice on the show to talk about branding building a podcast maintaining podcast for seven years and a whole lot more before we get into the show. I want to remind you that we have a collection of resources over at the complete creative dot com to help you build and sustain a creative business. The most relevant to this show is our free business. Course it's a ten day email only course which shows you all of the most important steps to build a rock solid foundation for your creative career and you can get it by going to the complete creative dot com forward slash F. B. C. Or You could head on over to the complete creative dot com and check out any of our old podcasts. Archives are blog posts or any of our free courses and don't forget to rate and subscribe to make sure that you get the shows every single week all right that being said let's get on with the show ticket away. Maurice tell us what you're passionate about these days right now. I am passionate about getting out there and talking to the design community. I have a podcast called revision bath where I talk to black designers developers in creatives from all over the world We've been doing it now for seven years and this feels like the first year where we're really starting to actually get out there and talk to people in real time so we just wrapped up during a live show in Los Angeles We've got a few other cities that are interested in having the show come their New York Chicago. Kansas City Seattle Houston so the rest of the year is kind of looking up in terms of getting out there and being able to talk to people in a sort of spread the message about the show in about the work that we're doing. That's incredible that you say that like it's added that it feels like it's It's coming together after seven years because you were also one of the one of The first show that the Smithsonian ever picked up as a podcast to include in their collection so for someone to say that WHO has had such success previously. It's kind of gratifying. To hear that you still have new new heights to achieve. Even if you've had such success is you have well thank you. I mean I think that's the case because with what we talk about and really I think the that is what we talk about but who we talked to. Sometimes it ends up getting overlooked by other bigger podcast that may focus on say comedy or pop culture or the news etcetera. I mean we're talking about design. We're talking about it. You know from black people that are all over the world so it may not have the the same sort of podcast. Popularity is bigger shows in terms of getting out there in the community. But I think the fact that one like you said it's in the Smithsonian great but to the fact that it's been able to sustain itself for this long To be able to have such an Arctic community to pull from to do these sorts of shows is really something. What do you think attribute you? What do you attribute the the longevity of the show to do? Wow I would say. Probably just my rampant curiosity for the most part I am always excited to talk to people for the show. Even three hundred plus episodes in like it doesn't get old for me at all the fact. I'm able to talk to people about their craft about the work that they do to learn about their inspirations and really to give them a platform to let other people know that this is what they do that inspires me to keep it going. I mean for most of the folks who am I had on the show. This has been probably their first interview of their professional career where someone is actually talked to them about the work that they do not for a job but just to let people know like hey. I'm a creative. This is what I do or I'm a developer. This is what I do To be able to have that platform for them to do that is really what keeps me going? I really I really connect with that. Because that's sort of the basis of this show where we're talking with creative types about how they built and sustain their careers and about half of the time it's someone that has been on a bunch of interviews before and about half the time it's the it's someone who has literally never done an interview and the experience of interviewing those two different kinds of people is quite different with the person who you are interviewing with for the first time the first interview. You're kind of I find to make them more comfortable. It takes a little bit longer for you to get in the groove. But but you're they tend to be when you get into the interview whereas with the person who's been interviewed a whole bunch of times. It's sort of breaking them down so they don't give those same answers that they've given a hundred interviews before. Yeah that's true and I encountered that with my show as well but I've I think I found a pretty good way to make new people feel very comfortable and then for people who have done this. You know dozens to hundreds of times. Perhaps to make them feel at ease that this isn't just like another podcast or another interview. They might have done. And what do you what do you? What do you do to make that happen now? See that'd be telling trade secrets I well. I guess first for New People Honestly. I just talked to them a few minutes before about like how their day is going. I thank them for coming on the show. We just kind of just have a little Chitchat. Beforehand oftentimes I can tell when someone's voice if they're nervous and so if we recorded for a few minutes and I can sense the nervousness. I can hear the gears turning as they give responses. I'll stop the show and we'll just talk some more to get more comfortable Until we get to a point where we can start recording. Sometimes we'll record multiple times if that happens. It's rare that that does happen that we have to do with that many times and often times when that happens. It's more technical difficulties than guests difficulties but I don't have a problem with the re recording interviews. If it makes the guests more comfortable and I would say for those who have done this. Just dozens of times. I kind of try to bust their chops a little bit. Not Not you know to the point where I'm being insulting or anything but I you know will ask questions that sort of break them out of the same types of questions that everyone ask because I mean to be honest. I don't find that many people to be great interviewers just based on podcast that I've listened to and things of that nature so I tried to ask questions that I know are going to cause them to pause and think about something that maybe they haven't had to consider or that no one has ever asked them. I think I think if you can get someone after you ask a question to pause and you can hear them say oh shit. I don't have an answer for that in their brain That's always when that's like my favorite moment ever show. Yeah so what? You've been doing this for a long time. I took a two year break between between Me Me me going away. My first one hundred and fifty shows and my land and my last twenty shows so I'm interested as someone who's had kind of an unbroken chain for seven years out what has changed during that time. What's changed in terms of the guests are just doing the show? What Achour's the show evolved from episode one to episode three hundred? I think I saw like three hundred and thirty four right now. Yeah yeah the biggest thing that's changed is the technology like the tech is changed now where people have better more. Affordable microphones It's interesting because these are microphones which have already always existed. But I think now that people know about them. They're available in more places they can get them at an Amazon or a best buy and they may not have to go to like get tire center or some specialized store to get the gear that they might need so. The audios definitely gotten better in terms of me. I think I've gotten better at just getting to the truth in terms of when I'm talking to someone like I said if it's their first time making them comfortable if it's someone who's been on who's done several interviews. It's about sort of breaking them out of their comfort zone a little bit. I've gotten pretty good at getting to the truth of an interview or the truth of someone is talking about and often times. That just comes as the conversation happens. It's not something that I feel can be taught. It's like a reflex once you're in the dance of a conversation. You're then able to kind of know. I should sort of go this way or I should go that way. Our I should interject in this part. You know to know sort of what you can do to get more out of the guests that they may not be giving you. Initially I was listening to your last interview And I actually heard the when it happened when you guys were talking about NASA suddenly like the conversation changed and it became a lot more personal and conversational ones who were able to sort of break through that first ten minute block. Not that it wasn't good in the first ten minutes but once you were able to sort of make that NASA connection you you. You took the the interview to another level. Yeah and it's something that it just comes along as the interview is going like okay. I can say something here. I can really drive the conversation this week. So I'm almost like producing the interview as it happens when I do that. No I definitely feel that and it sounds like me and you have a pretty Pretty similar way that we go about interviews. I want to move back though for a second And I get you to tell us a story. I want you to tell me the story of you getting that email that Smithsonian and was wanted to include your podcast in their collection. I want us to know like how how it felt. And how and and what you were feeling around that time. Sure so the thing about the Smithsonian acquisition is that that actually was four years in the making. So it's something that I had been actively sort of working on since two thousand fifteen and two thousand fifteen. I attended a conference at Harvard University called blackened design. And at that time I met one of the curator's for the Smithsonian who was mostly working on the new National Museum of African American history and culture and I told her about the show and when I was working on and she seemed like she was very interested but also I I was sort of just in the first two years of the show. We were just coming up to. I think episode one hundred and so she's like okay. This is great Here's my car. You know we'll talk and it wasn't until two years later at the next installment of the conference in two thousand seventeen. I saw her again by this time. The museum had opened to great fanfare. You know hundreds of thousands of visitors etc so now the museum was a known entity within the Smithsonian you know sort of group of museums and so I met her again told her about the show she was like I remember. She gave me her card again and I told her you know at this time. We're like coming up on episode two hundred and here's some of the people that we've talked to we've talked to folks in the Obama White House etc and she's like okay so now I think at that point it's sort of clicked and people knew okay. This is something that maybe we should be paying attention to and so in twenty eighteen. They sent me an email saying that they wanted me to send basically a list of all the episodes I had to date. So they could look over them and sort of decide which ones they wanted to us from the collection of episodes to have in the Smithsonian so I sent them a spreadsheet full of all the names in. Url's they got back to me. Said we want these ten And so when that happened but they basically have to do is obtain something they call museum use rights so they would have to contact each of the guests that I've had talked about what they're trying to do get their approval etc And that took. I would imagine that probably took the rest of the year because they finally got back to me in twenty nineteen last year to let me know that you know these are the episodes that we wanna have they basically since I had been in conversation with them in email back and forth about what was going on telling them that I'm coming up on episode three hundred etc and they sent in the mail A deed of gift that basically says these are the episodes. If you sign this and get it back to us that means this will be in the Smithsonian as always coming up on our three hundredth episode tonight. Had the guest for the three hundred episode. Already booked. I was going to be talking to Hanna beaker. Who's the Academy Award? Winning Production Director Most notably for Black Panther. But she's in a lot of Ryan cougars Films as well so. I wanted to kind of sneak that went in so I asked them. Do they have room for one more so instead of ten episodes because they take eleven and they were all for it and I thought they would be all for it because the summer prior to that I had actually went to go visit the Museum of African American history and culture and saw how much black panther stuff was like in the gift shop. And everything as I'm thinking. Oh yeah they'll they'll take it. I just have to find a way to to massage it in. I guess and they did which was great. I I'm glad for that. They actually used to black panther episodes that we recorded so the one with Hannah and then we did a roundtable episode me and three other designers about the art and design a Black Panther and we managed to release it. I think the week after it aired I believe we we released episodes so while there was a lot of podcasts out there was reviewing the movie we were probably the only podcast that actually reviewed the art and the design of what all was going on in the movie and so they amended the deed of gift. Sent me a new one. I signed it. They countersigned it since a copy back to me and I was like this is great at the time we were using a PR firm called. I think they will call. Mcmartin Daniels was the PR firm. We're using a PR firm. Because we wanted to get the word out about the three hundredth episode but then the Smithsonian stuff happened right along that same time and so we had to work with the Department of Internal Affairs to ensure that we were making the correct claim that this was the first podcast in the Smithsonian now it is attributed to the National Museum of American history and culture but the Smithsonian is a group of like Nineteen Museum. So if it's in the Smithsonian it's technically in all of them it may not be a free standing exhibition. But it's in there. It's part of the archives and so we wanted to make sure that claim was true before we started just going and telling people about it because the one thing we didn't want to do is to say that and then someone's like oh well actually no but though they confirmed that it was the first podcast and once that happened. We you know the press release. Put it out on the wire couple of places picked it up fast company. Msn among others. And the word got out that this is the first podcast that was part of the Smithsonian. And that's that's pretty much how after it was all it was a long process. I'm not GonNa say that I was working continually over those four years. There were certainly some breaks but the fact that I was able to consistently keep the podcast going consistently letting them know that the podcast was still around and just keep their interest up. I think is what's really sort of made this all happen? That's the part that I pulled out from this part. Not That I've I'm happy that it took so long but I'm happy that it took so long regards to this interview because it shows that you met somebody five years ago You got in their ear. Then you met them again and then you talk to them for two years and the successes never Point Eight Point Bay and it took you going. It took a long path and it took you finding this person and being in a place with them at a convention and then seeing them again. And showing that you add. Stick to it if ness and that you were you. Were STILL PART OF A. You're still going strong. And then it took US still being a spy still being around two years later for this to all matt mature and so often you know. We're told that the the path to success is. There's just some silver bullet and it's nice to hear it's always nice every time I hear it even though I know that it's not a silver bullet or it's not going to happen overnight that these things take time and energy and there's a lot of failure points along the way yeah and I mean also it's just about really sticking to it because this wasn't something I mean. The main goal of the show was not to get into the Smithsonian. I mean the fact that did happen. Don't get me wrong. That's great and that's wonderful but the fact that I was still keeping the show going still maintaining my audience getting a new audience. Getting guests getting sponsors. You know all of this you know just sort of factors into being really a marathon and not a sprint like if the show would have gotten in the Smithsonian after its first episode. That would've been great. Although I don't I don't think he would. But you know keeping it going you keep. That consistency is really key And it shows people that this is something that's not just a I think honestly after I got past the five year mark. It was less of a show and more of like a platform. And so because it's been around that long because it sort of came out of that I I guess really second golden age of podcasting with cereal etc and is still around now it is still has a vibrant community and still pulling great numbers and is still doing well like that's a testament to the medium itself. Absolutely I mean when I was in one of we were both at podcast movement and we met and I went to one of the talks and they said that in one year from two thousand eighteen to two thousand in one thousand nine hundred there were there was a went from five hundred hundred fifty thousand eight hundred and fifty thousand podcast around which is a huge number so to be able to still maintain interest in a show when there's so much more competition in there says a whole a whole lot about the quality that you're bringing. Yeah absolutely. I want to move a little bit and talk about Use You mentioned something in your last In your last answer which talked about you said. The show moved from just being a a show to a platform. And I'd love for you to talk a little bit about what you mean by that sure. Well the design industry. I mean for what it's worth is pretty white pretty white. It's pretty male pretty old. Well I guess you're about digital design. Not so much but in the grand scheme of things diversity in this industry has always been sort of a hot button issue To that end even though there are several different design media out there there's design organizations etc despite all of that being out there what's showing and what's represented as the design community or even as a designer is still a certain type of person and that person is most usually a white person usually a white male and so- revisions path. When I say this would have grown from being a podcast to a platform. The thing is because it's been around as long as it has because we've talked to as many people as we've talked to. We've sort of built up. You know in a way this roster of of you know designers and developers that are doing this and people turn to revision path to see that or they turn to revision have to hear those stories like yes it's show but it's also a platform because these are people that are talking about the work that they're doing talking about the companies that they work at or the companies that they have themselves and it's the only design media platform. That's doing it on a consistent basis about black people and so it's ended up becoming that because over the years. These other design media have not really changed or diversified in any sort of way to make revision bath obsolete or outdated and so it's grown into being that platform simply because of the sort of you know huge absence in coverage that the community's still sort of perpetuates can you actually use that to you have job boards on your site now right for the or I don't know you may have are always had them but I was listening to your show your last episode. It talked about that. You've you you have job boards there as well on top of the other sponsors that you have right so we started doing the job board about. I think about two years ago because what happens is from doing this companies. Now Look to revision path to say. Oh well we're a black designers while here they are. Here's a whole podcast talking to them. Here's dozens of them that we can go through and and sort of find out more about and learn about their story in the work that they do. I mean people have been hired from the show. They've gotten opportunities from just being on the show which is great so companies are looking to revision back now that platform to say. Hey if we want to reach this audience we need to be talking to revision. Path and several companies will send you know. They'll send messages and emails. Like oh we're hiring. Can You let your audience know? Can You let your you know? Let people know that this is something? That's that's going on. What are they gonNA say people but you know what I mean? They WanNa let the audience know that they've got jobs and things like that. Eh for me. I saw that as a revenue source. Because I'm like that's advertising. That would be the same way if a sponsor came to you and said hey we have this great product. Can You let your audience know it? Well it's GonNa cost you do that So we opened up the job. Board as a way to one be able to fulfil all these requests that were coming in and to as a source of revenue because now we are able to expose more people to these positions. The jobs now have sort of a a funnel that they can go into if they say we want to find designers of color. We WanNA find black designers. We should be posting on revision path. So the job boards really helped out in that way all and I know that. A lot of a lot of podcasts. The thing that I heard was how to monetize the podcast. That's how you that's what you see in every sort of facebook group or an all of these stocks are people are always talking about it and it's a great Sort of interesting A way to monetize without just talking about advertising talking about doing courses. It's it's another revenue stream by that you've found by using The niche market. That you've been able to curate over all these years. Yeah and even for sponsors that we have on the show. I try to practice a concept that I call radio adjacency to make sure that the sponsors that we choose are ones that are going to be best for the audience and not just anyone that has a check so granted. You'll hear some podcasts. And it may. Sometimes I like the sponsors. Don't really mix with the show These are mostly you find podcast that are with larger networks. They'll have an ad agency or something that will sort of broker the ads between the the advertiser and the show. So of course you're going to hear about blue apron or hellofresh or Casper squarespace stamps dot com etcetera etcetera Sometimes I may not mesh with the show like it fits a true crime show and then it breaks and then all of a sudden you're hearing about hellofresh like what does the meal kit box have to do with a true crime. Podcast I mean yeah. People have to eat but does that make sense for the audience. Make sense to have that or you just care about the money. Most people just care about the money so it's not a big deal As I use this concept that I call radio adjacency to only reach out to companies and to only accept offers from companies who I think will work best for the audience. So for example designers are using online tools for design. They tend to have higher incomes. They're most likely living larger metropolitan areas. So I want to hear from web hosting companies Web Domain Company's stock photo companies. Because these are you know the assets that we use in order to create the artifacts of design or whatever if someone like you know Harry. Shave Club came along. I probably wouldn't take it because it doesn't really make sense to advertise razors to my audience like it to me. It doesn't make sense. I WanNa make sure that the audience is getting something from it and also to make sure that it's actually really even just a good fit like yeah. We could have ads for Harry Shave Club. But we're really be a good fit. Maybe maybe not but a web hosting company will be a great fit because designers knee Webb space. So and it just makes more sense for me to try to find those rights companies to work with or sponsors etc that I think are to work best with the audience and not just which ones are willing to pay to get in front of the audience Tim Ferriss talks about this a lot with his show. He's he's he's. He says that the reason that he's able to charge a premium for his for his show is because he curates his advertising so much that the people that actually That are on that are listening to the show if a very high click through rate or I don't know what it's called when you actually do that from a podcast and just go but He he he he curates it so well that it actually allows him to charge a much higher. Cpm than most other podcasts. Because he's making sure that the there's radio adjacency as you put it Yeah so it. It just makes more sense again like even if I'm reaching out to sponsors I feel like I'm GonNa have a greater time getting through the sponsors that have something my audience with us as opposed to just sponsor is cutting a check right exactly because at the end of the day the sponsors really trying to get. Roi Back from what they're paying you How long did it take you to get a before you? You started getting that word of mouth through that scale for the show do you remember. Oh goodness maybe Maybe about a year I think Mail chimp was our very first sponsor. Shout out to mail chimp they. They're in Atlanta Georgia. Just like I am and I had already worked with them for years back when I had my creative studio so I was already familiar with the people who worked there. I knew that they were getting a lot of attention for the advertising. They were doing through cereal and so I just figured I would try just to kind of put it out there. I also know that male chimp is a company that really supports to create a community. They're always sponsoring events they're sponsoring designed halts etc so it just sort of made sense for me to reach out to them to say. Hey we're doing this podcast and this is what it's about and it's right here in Atlanta would you be interested and they were and they've been a great sponsor you know pretty much ever since then so that was the first year that happens. I think the first time we got our biggest sponsor which is facebook. Facebook was in twenty sixteen and even then that was something that took like about a year year and a half to cultivate. Yeah that took a long time. That wasn't as simple as I mean because facebook is massive. You know The fact that facebook sponsoring podcast. Twenty sixteen you know kind of sounds a little bit weird. Almost because podcast wasn't that big back then at least not for brands. It wasn't that big effort sponsor. This you know small show like Oh this is kind of doesn't make sense but I- curated that that connection through working with them through talking with people who work there through finding out what it is that they really need and how revision paths can be the solution to that and so as sort of it really made sense in that respect that they would sponsor vision. Because we're helping them out with their goals just by existing you know And it's so funny because when that happened there were several other podcasters. Some of which are are well known whom? I will not name That were in my inbox saying introduced me to your ad rep over at facebook. It's it's not. It's not that simple one. I'm not going to do that because that's the relationship that I've made. That's taken a year and a half and two. There's no guarantee if I did do that that they would even sponsor your show like you may come with better numbers or something but that's not what facebook is interested in at least is that what they're interested in with my show. They're more so trying to reach this audience. It's less about how many downloads you've gotten there. How long you've been in new and noteworthy like they don't care about that was it. Was there a Download number that you hit or a episode number that you hit that you started to feel like it was okay to reach out to sponsors or feeling call for injuries to retire to sponsors or did you just say screw it. I'm doing it now. I just said screw it. I'm doing and then I'll tell you why because when I first started the show in two thousand thirteen There were other design. Podcast that were around. Mostly just all white men talking to each other talking to other white men about design so I was already you know kind of an outlier in this field. I did a lot of outreach to other design podcast to talk to them about you know the possibility of doing maybe guess swaps or if there's ways that I could help out what they're doing or something like that. Many of them either never responded or when they did respond it was negatively it was harshly. It was in a way that made me feel like. Oh well there's no real community here At least it didn't feel that way to me because a lot of it was very racial in terms of the terms they would use and what they would say back and stuff like that and so once. I really saw that. I'm not going to get the support that need from the design podcast community. I need to just run my own race. That's sort of when I just said. Well let me just start reaching out to people because the thing is. I still have student. I still had a studio to run. I'm still doing cold. Calls to clients and things like that so I might as well use those skills to try to reach out to companies and see if this you know this will work. I mean outside of the company. I knew the accomplishments I had. Then make me you know. Just some regular guy off the street so hopefully by having this podcast as an opener to at least start the conversation for sponsorship and let them know the audience that they would reach it. Would it can only really be a good thing now. Granted there were people that said no. We certainly had people that said no but a lot more people said yes and I thought it's a lot of a lot of companies that we worked with in terms of sponsors we work with creative market with hover facebook male champ. Google site ground. We've been very fortunate to be able to work with these companies You know for years in years honestly to be able to connect them with our audience and I don't think that would have happened if I was still trying to of say get along with my fellow design podcast but if I wasn't trying to to I guess link with them. If that makes any sense it just it just ended up feeling better for me to just go my own way just force my own path and worry about worry about the audience that I have so the audience. I'm trying to get so once. I focused on that like what's the most value I can offer to the audience. That's tuning in every week. That's downloading that's writing me. How can I give back more to them and so doing that? Also empowered me to be able to you know talk to them and get survey information. I can put a kit together so I can start reaching out to two companies because I feel like the worst they can say is no or they don't respond at all but many of them said yes. And so I'm very grateful for that and it must have also helped you curate the show in the future to by being able to reach out to them. I'm author and I deal with a lot of authors and I always tell them deal with the people that are reading your book not the people who aren't reading your book and try to find more of them and when people sort of can hone in on the person that that is listening hardcore listening or hardcore reading their books suddenly a they're able to put out better content. That's better put that. That's better suited for those people. Find Better guests and and just curate. An experience that those people will love and will allow more of them to show up and know that they're in the right place when they do And sometimes you know I'll be honest like it's worked. Well say it's work but it's a double edged sword now. There are some time people will not want to come on the show Because it's had this many guests or because I've had these sponsors 'cause they feel like they aren't at the level yet where they should be on a show like that which I find to be very interesting. Yeah that is interesting But I know a lot of times. People Psych themselves up You know I I was just talking about this on another interview that I recorded where People I will go to a show and I'll give my e mail out to people telling them to email me with they have questions and just because like I'm a pretty well known person in in a specific scene. They think. Oh I can't I I know he said to email him but he doesn't actually mean it because he's way too busy and I'm like I am not way too busy. I actually actually telling you to do the thing and I. I'm happy for when you actually get like reach out but yeah I think a lot of times people getting their own way. Yeah I know that feeling all too well. One thing like one thing that I try to do for like for conferences like I'll try to reach people within forty eight hours after I get their car just to let them know that I will for two reasons one. I don't keep business cards if I email you. Your email is now in my email that I basically live and die by email client so like if I emailed you then. There's a good chance that I'll be able to recall that if I need to But to let them know that I'm not just out here. Just some random person like let's find a way to connect because there's people that are connected with at conferences etc that we may not have found a way to work together directly like right away but a few years down the line and opportunity might come along and I'm like oh I know this person does this or if I'm looking for guests for a show maybe not for my show but for other shows that have produced then. I can refer the person that I knew from this conference for that opportunity or something like that. So yeah I know what you mean. Absolutely and Yeah there's someone I met a couple of years ago said you're it was talking about your monkey brain. He felt like one hundred fifty contacts. You can keep in one time and I find that if I interview someone within forty eight hours of them of me getting home from a show. I've still like locked. I'm still in their monkey brain and I can like and then they will remember as opposed even two weeks later. They're not gonNA remember that interaction. Yea I I keep all I try to keep all of that just so I you know I between my email clients and notion which is sort of new I don't know what the best way to call it is. It's sort of like evernote or something on steroids but Between those two. That's my digital brain. Anything that I need to recall is probably one of those two spaces so it doesn't have to sit in my head I just I just tend to have good recall especially with my show at the net. Pretty good recall so if meeting someone a conference or something like that. I'll email them. So then okay your your email is now in my email system so if I need to reach you again I can do so like. I'm not going through stacks of cards to try to find whoever I just. I just don't do that. 'cause 'cause if I do that then I know I won't remember but at least by email client remembers notion remembers that I've taken notes on this raft. Talked to this person or something like that absolutely and I think once you get back from something like that a convention your most amped to do something you know your most ready to change or to to look for opportunities when you've gone a couple of weeks before without your kind of settled back into your old life so when someone emails you and this happens to me so we'll email me like months later and I'm like a God I did tell them to email me but I meant like soon like because I'm excited now and a year later. I'm not going to be excited. Yeah someone did that to me. Recently it was a l. God. I think it was a lift driver so I don't know there's apathy you but I'll tell people like if I'm riding and enlists or something and they asked me what I do and I tell them either. Do a podcast or in the past. I told him I've had my studio. I'll usually give them my card if I have cards on me. But then they they'll contact me like six to eight months later like hey remember me. Do you know how many lifter taken in the past six months. I don't remember like you. GotTa you gotTa give me something here so I can remember you which is why I will usually try to go ahead and email people as soon as I can't especially after an event or something because the half life I'm remembering that stuff is extremely short extremely short especially with me juggling my podcast and a fulltime job and other projects that I'm working on like I'm not saying I don't have good recall. Do have pretty good recall but like it. Ain't that great where I'm going to remember. Oh yeah the random lift driver from six months ago who I gave my car to. I don't even remember what your first name was. Not to be dismissive. But like I I just. I wouldn't remember right exactly. Yeah I totally agree with you. I want to talk about because I just got back from this conference right and one thing that I learned from this conference was I. Don't actually know anything about podcasting that I thought I knew about podcasting And one of the things. I was going to I was going for was to try and figure out if scaling a book was a lot like scaling podcast. If there's a lot of similarities to that I've scaled a lot of books have had a lot of successful books as a lot of authors build their platforms but I was not sure if if a podcasting was somewhat alike very much alike or not alike at all so I would love for you to talk a little bit about your best lessons. That you've learned in like getting the scaling a podcast up so I can make some notes and see if it's actually sort of similar to the stuff that I've been doing in my career okay The best way of scaling. Podcast UP I mean as early as you can afford it. Get help as as early as you possibly can. Whether it's an editor whether it's someone who can write show notes for you someone that can handle more of the technical things as early as you can possibly afford. It's go ahead and hire someone because sorry yeah go ahead and hire someone because it's just much easier to scale once you've got that additional help because as one person you can only do so much. There's only so much you can do like. I think I got my when did when did we hire RJ RJ as was my editor RJ? Basilio who is great? I think I've been using an RJ since twenty fifteen perhaps and we took a year off in two thousand nineteen Because the show was part of a media network and then we got off that media network. And we've since hired RJ back. But I would not have been able to keep the same weekly momentum going without him at all the fact that I can record the episode. Send it to him and then he can send me back. The finished version is is great. That takes so much offer by played that I don't have to. I don't have to sit and listen back to the interview and edited and everything. That's what I'm paying him for. And it's great so as soon as you lay as soon as you can hire the staff that you need to take those sorts of tasks off of you. So that's the first. The second thing for scaling is build a system but build a system that works for you. Everybody doesn't doesn't work for everybody for me. For example I mentioned again. This too will call notion because I love them. My entire show is in notion. I actually showed this this whole workflow. Someone at I showed this workflow to someone at podcast. Move and they were blown away like everything that you need for the show for. My show is in notion on an APP on my phone right at my fingertips and I mean everything if I need to look at past guests if I need to look at question bank if I need to pull a logo if I need to get my sponsorship kit all of that stuff is just a few taps away in notion now. It took me a little while to set it all up but now that it's all set up. It's right there for me to have as soon as I need it. We also have a production schedule. My Social Media Person Robert M. I. Editor RJ. We have a weekly production schedule. Because one I don't want anybody to work weekends so we just do Monday through Friday but with the production schedule. I'll say okay bet. Monday published new episode. I wave of social media. Updates go out Tuesday. We begin production on next week's episode. I'll record the INTRO. Altro job hosting stuff. Send it to my editor I try to record at least a month in advance so RJ already got maybe four or five episodes just in the can just waiting for me all I have to send them. The updated enjoy outdoor. You can get started on it Wednesday. We do a second wave of published episodes. Alright show notes and get episode pages and stuff together in my audio host and everything Thursday. I prep social media updates for next and send them to my social media guy. He gets that going Friday. I get the episode back from Rj. I request a transcript. Get the transcript. Pull all everything together to schedule. And we're done and that's pretty much it so Monday through Friday. We've got that schedule. You know at this point. It's down PAT and so even if I'm like out for a week or something like that I can scale it up if I need to do it for two weeks or something like that but I know on this day. I have to do this on this day. I should be expecting this. And so the have that system in play to be able to do that as also what helps keep the show going and scale it as I need to because what happens is even if you have new people you can slot them right into the system where you need them to go and so that way it makes it a lot simpler to to scale as you need to. Because Dan just in the event you would need to have a new person or or something like that happens. You don't have to spend a whole lot of time getting them up to speed you. Let Them Know Okay. On This Day. You do this on this day you do this. And that's it so those two things have really really really helped me out with. Scaling is getting things together. Everything that I need for the show I can pull it up in notion I need to. I've got my production schedule together and I have a team that can help me out which is really great and granted. We have the team because it's usually because we have sponsors that allow us to have that so that's why I say as soon as you can afford it do it. I'm not saying that it's a necessity to have to scale a show but it really helps the sooner you can make that happen it will. It will change the cadence of how you get your show up. Yeah I did my first one hundred and fifty shows before. I burned out Editing everything myself and when I came back I said there ain't no way I can do that again. Like I will for sure. Burn out if I don't hire an editor so the first one of the first things I did was fighting editor for the show and at least All I have to do when this episode is done is I already have the intro altro pretty much recorded unless there was some crazy thing that happened in this in this episode and I just send it off to the editor then it comes back and it is such a huge relief to not have to do that. Part yeah it it just takes for me. It takes my mind off because now that I'm doing my episode recording after work. I have to shift gears. You know at three fifty three fifty nine to four zero one. I have to shift gears from work. Maurice to revision path Maris and so I have to get into this other mindset to start doing interviews. You know as soon as I can right after work because that's when I'm able to record so everyone in the system. Kinda plays their part like. I'm not just sitting in twiddling my thumbs. You know on the days where it doesn't seem like anything is going on. I'm still actively working on parts of the show right exactly so we are reaching the end of our our unbelievably but I want to talk about a little bit about branding. Because I know your job at glitch is in house creative and You talk in your Lincoln thing about branding. So I'd love for us to and talking about branding probably and how it relates to revision path and then we'll talk specifically about revision path. Because I do want to make sure that we We talk all about that show which I have enjoyed listening to for the past week. Okay sure absolutely so you you mention in your Lincoln Bio that you do a lot of sort of brand stories and linking brand identities across the entire brand and I. I would love for you to discuss. Why it's important to have a brand identity for any any project that you're launching and what that means to specifically revision path when you are when you're when you're thinking about your brand identity so I think having a brand identity is really important because it's for two reasons one. I think it makes it real in your mind that this is now an entity and not just this kind of swirling Eddie of ideas and to it makes it real for other people like people particularly here in the United States but I would wager. Probably in any developed. Country are inundated with brands. All the time from the time that we children's and now brands are something that humans instinctively flock to or away from for any given reason because of are over exposure to them. So I feel like it's important to have a brand for whatever your concept is your podcast or your video series. Whatever because that's what people relate to we relate to brands. Advertising has turned us into these people that are are very highly highly susceptible to these sorts of things and so what is a brand a brand is essentially a promise or a feeling that's made between the customer and the company. Now how you choose to do that varies a lot like there was one session that we sat in at epoch. But I don't know if you were in this one but this was near the end of the day on Friday from manscaping you remember. I don't know if you were in. That wasn't in that one so it took me a little bit surprised because I wasn't expecting that but like manscaping is a it is a tool for you. Know manscaping and so the presentation is is not. I don't say it's not professional but the presentation was talking about you know Bush and balls puberty and stuff like that and I'm like Oh. I was not expecting that now. Granted they did give information about how they do their branding and things like that but there are people that latched onto that like. They had a room full of people that were dialed into that specific thing because that's the promise that they made to those people like. Hey if you come for manscaping this is what you're going to get so having that together you know even if it's not some that I may a one hundred percent you know You know understand or get with other people do and that's who they're trying to read so that's what's important to them I just find. It's really important because especially for audio. I mean podcasting is such an intimate medium. Unless you're doing something where you're recording in person. You may often be doing it alone or doing it remotely with other people. You might not really know how it's doing until you honestly get external validation for it like you see numbers in your audio host or you get reviews from people or people email you. That's how you kind of have a benchmark to know that you're doing well as having a brand just makes that easier for people to latch onto to be able to say okay. This is something that I defy with. This is something that I liked him. Something that I want other people to know about. Yeah I I heard once that it was something that having a brand is like a magnet and ma- in a magnet attracts the right people and repels the wrong people really quickly and the end the stronger. Your your magnet is stronger. Your brand is the more easily. It'll magnetized the right people to you. Yeah absolutely absolutely so. Let's talk about your brand revision path. Now I know we talked a little bit at the beginning but I always liked to come back to it at the end. Because you've just given all of this great and it's a great time for everyone Sort of learn more about you. So could you talk about revision path and the show is and what it's what its mission is. Maybe sure so. Revision Path is an award winning weekly. Showcase of the world's black graphic designers web designers digital designers developers really just digital creatives And you know like I said before it's from people all over the world You're not gonNA necessarily find these people on any other podcasts. But I guarantee you that the stories that you hear will be relatable when it comes to you know Imposter Syndrome career success. You know breaking out of a small town convincing your parents. This is what you do for a living and it's not a hobby you know things of that nature We try to make sure that it is relatable to people. I'd say our our our average audiences probably like between like eighteen and thirty perhaps students to young professionals but we do have a lot of people outside of those ranges that do listen particularly in the upper range. It's really a show for creativity if you are interested in hearing stories from creative individuals if you're interested in learning more about a specific type of design if you're even interested in learning about who this person is because you saw their picture and thought. Oh this looks like an interesting person. I want to know more about them. Like this is really the show for you. We COME OUT EVERY MONDAY. Usually between seven and ten. Am I try to get it out in the morning so it can be people source of inspiration for the week? We've got over three hundred and thirty something episodes as you said earlier. We're coming up on episode three hundred and thirty five. We've talked to people on every continent except an art deco in South America. I hope to get some people in South America this year. So it's just a great show. I mean I'm biased. 'cause I host the show clearly but the conversations that you get on this show. You're not gonna hear anywhere anywhere else. Their their humorous they are full of passion is just like two friends. That are talking. I really try to make sure that the interviews are very conversational. That is just like two people talking over like a drink or something like that. I don't want them to be these kind of strict question. Answer Question Answer. Type of shows so Yeah if any of that interests you if you like podcast like that if you'd like you're in conversations and interviews Definitely come check us out. Revision PATH DOT com. I mean I certainly hope that the people that listening to this show where like show. Because it's like it's a one to one overlap of like the kind of stuff that I talk about. You said all the right things hopefully to this audience. The thing that I'm super jealous of is all of the pictures that you have are so beautiful all guests like I don't know is someone. Is someone go out and take pictures? These people are all of these people just happened to have these wonderful black and white photos. Most most people just happen to have good photos. That's something I am very well. One thing when so even like when we're booking people on the show I try to set up the booking process. So the last thing that they have to do is the interview so once they talk to me and they're finished like it's a wrap all they have to do is just sit back and wait until they hear from me to say that it's live so even our booking process. We require a high resolution photo. We want their bio their skype name. We WanNA know What stuff they want to talk about stuff they don't talk about. What do they want people to take away from the interview like that sort of thing to kind of help shape the environment of the conversation and then we just go from there but yeah most people tend to have great photos? I'm very fortunate for that. I mean I think we can honestly think mobile phones for that because we have some you know so many cameras now that have such great resolution or can take photos with you. Know Twenty Mega pixels. Or what have you like? We've got great photos now because I think of more mobile phones. Yeah I was looking through your site and I just kept being like budge. I got to step up my my photo game here because the comics people and book people that I talked to do not have nearly a level of high quality photos that you have. Maybe I'm going to take that and make them give me a high quality photo now. Maybe that's maybe that's the secret so as we end our time here last thing You know most people that are listening to this show or probably at their drafting table or writing their book or driving to work so I always like to give one last opportunity to get people to pay attention for the next two minutes while you impart the piece of advice that you could give to aspiring creators. Could be something you said already something that you haven't said yet at tell us where we can find you and then we'll say goodbye all right. The best piece of advice that I can give is that you need to define success on your own terms certainly in an industry like you know we'll say for podcasting so much of what is deemed. That success is coming from people that are already successful in some way. That could be monetarily. That could be the number of downloads or the you know the reach that they have through their social profile etc. That may work for them. That may not work for you. What you have to determine I think as creative as a podcast or what have you is. What does success look like for me at the end of the day if you really think in an ideal perfect world what can you be happy and content with at the end of the day when you drift off to sleep like finding out what that level of success is for? You is going to be. What makes you successful not external validation from other people? I mean all that shit is great. Like don't get me wrong for me. I'll I'll use myself as example being in the Smithsonian great three hundred plus episodes great being in the in the game now for seven plus years. Great is that my definition of success. Not really my definition of success through the show is being able to reach people being able to change the design culture to let people know that these are folks who are out here that are doing the work and that we are worthy of being celebrated and talked about just like everyone else to be. That's what my definition of success is so I think for creatives if they're looking at other people and they might have some form of imposter syndrome or something like that really. Sit and think about what success means to you at the end of the day. What are the benchmarks that you're going to be the most happiest with at the end of the day and so in terms of where people can find me personally? I'm at Mars. Cherry Dot com it's just MAU R. I C. E. C. H. E. R. Y. DOT COM. I'm also on twitter at Maurice Cherry. You can find revision path at revision path DOT com. And it's also at revision path on twitter as well as on instagram awesome. Thank you so much for stopping by. Thank you so much for having me. This is really fun. So that was Maurice Cherry host of revision path and a creative strategist at glitch. Dot Com if you enjoy this one to make sure it defined Maurice Online and let him know. Check out his show. I think you'll enjoy it. I know I do. And don't forget you can get our free business course. It's a ten day email course to show you exactly how to build a rock solid foundation for your creative business over at the complete creative dot com forward slash F. B. C. Please don't forget to subscribe rate and review the show wherever you download this podcast. That's it for me. I'll talk to you next time.

Smithsonian facebook editor Maurice Cherry US RJ RJ NASA Kansas City developer Los Angeles Harvard University Atlanta Tim Ferriss Eight Point Bay Chicago Department of Internal Affairs Achour Google
286: Alanna Marshall

Revision Path

39:29 min | 2 years ago

286: Alanna Marshall

"You're listening to the revision path podcast a weekly showcase the world's blatant, graphic designers, web designers and web developers. Through in-depth interviews. You'll learn about their work their goals and what inspires the as creative individuals. Here's your host MAURICE cherry. Welcome to the revision path podcast. My name is MAURICE cherry, and before we get into this week's interview. It's talked about our sponsors Facebook design, Google, design and mail chimp. You know, there's three things that set designing Facebook apart from designing anywhere else scale variety and investment. Facebook designs work has impact at scale, including your friends and family or people from the other side of the globe. Facebook designed also works on a huge diverse range of problems, and they truly invest in design caring deeply about how their team might do their best work sounds interesting. The learn more at Facebook dot com forward slash design. Google design is a cooperative effort, led by designers writers and developers at Google. They work across teams to publish original content to do screen events and foster creative, and educational partnership that advance design and technology for more information on news, design resources and design podcasts. Check them out at design dot Google. Male chip is the world's leading marketing platform for small businesses. But really, it's a great marketing platform for all businesses male chip grows with us as you get bigger. They have more features for you when you're ready to use them. So whether you're just starting out or he want to take your business to the next level give male Chipper, try, check them out at mail, chimp dot com. Now for this week's interview, we're talking to a lot of Marshall and associate creative director in Chicago, Illinois. Let's start the show. All right. So tell us who you are. And what you do mean is Alanna Marshall. I'm associate creative director at ten thirty five an agency here in Chicago. My specialty is directions. Civically what's average day? Like for you at ten thirty cures kind of hear what it's like the agency side, I've never worked on on the agency side before so love to know about that. So agency side, I don't think there's an average day. There's a lot of different components to what we do. So it can be anything from concept. Tting you're at the beginning of a project, and we're all brainstorming together, our director working with copywriters or working with the larger group brainstorming. It can be designing sketches or cops to bring the is to Leif building presentation day, obviously, presenting and selling that work into clients, which is also a whole other part of it travel. For a shoot day actually going on production can be traveling where shoot be actually go out on production working with the offers or directors to bring that could be print out of home. It could be digital videos, TV even radio spots recording radio. We don't do that as much anymore. But that was a bigger part of it. When I first started reviewing edits retouching working with the retailer and giving feedback and making sure that the final product is exactly the vision that that you had for that work in the first place. So there's a lot of different kind of moving parts. So every day is something different. And that's part of what I really like about working advertising as well. You know, I was just saying as you were mentioning all of those I could see how someone might be doing each of those roles individually, but like it's all in one position where you're handling all these different things almost like, you're hurting. Cats in the you know, when these kind of things how did you first get interested in art direction? So I have always been really interested in visual art as a whole. So in secondary school embar betas wherein from you are able to can choose different route to the goals Rachel's digital art as when it may mean subjects, and so I knew when it was leaving school at wanted to do something in that field and initially wanted to do architecture. And so I had done are. Plus math physics technical drying. And it was kind of set on doing that. And one of my art teachers had great art teachers where it went to school. She found the catalog I think she was sent to catalog for scattered in Atlanta, savannah, college of our design, and so when I look through that there was all these different majors that they offered. And so I was interested in so. So many different things at found advertising. Design was kind of a balance between was graphic design by also loved creative writing and English literature and so at picked advertising design major, and you kind of have a period there where you can choose different classes when you first go to scat. And so when it did make first advertising class, you create a whole campaign, and you can't sell it in and and look at the insights and strategy behind and that really captured my imagination and think it utilize all the different skill sets that I had and so it was really sold on that in looking back. Now, I think I probably was not that interested in architecture. It just seem like a fancy job. Justify me going to art school. But yeah, that's how it got into advertising. Y'all would imagine, you know architecture advertising, that's like entirely different. I mean, they're both designed I guess in a way. But yeah. Yeah. One is certainly more visual and conceptual architecture. It's kind of like you're dealing with real world structures as it relates to that it. Yes. Two different kind of ends of it. There's the imaginative creative part of it. And then there's very much like real world sketching, oh, all those interior lake species and thinking about structure in electrical and all that stuff. But for me wanna make biggess issues, which wasn't really issue is that I was interested in so many different things. So I did technical drawing which is kind of the beginning of lake engineering a little bit at school as well. So I like that as well. So it was kinda just me trying to figure out what the best fit would be for major. So overall, though, what was your time? Like that's scared. Do you feel like you're prepared you once you've got out there in the working world? Most definitely I loved maintain that scat, I had really create advertising professors, and I think it did prepare you because at the time, I don't know if the program is different now at a time the advertising program was not the same as like, I think portfolio center man, I think you actually get paired up you're going in as a director, and you're working with the copywriter working with a strategist and different things to to put you the work together. It was almost like you had to work in all these roles to create your campaigns. So I did a lot of their very few people. I think who were there specifically for copywriting. And so I ended up doing a lot of copywriting for my campaign you end up doing it's a lot of work is very intense. And so you kind of you come away with the understa. This is why agency Leith is going to be late late. We're pulling all nighters, we're trying to get this work. Right. And to feel Ray. And to really communicate what you're trying to communicate sustainably is very it's very difficult cool through tons and tons of revisions and refinements I think there was a class where you did like a hundred thumbnail sketches to get to what you're trying to get to. And so when it went out into the real world and I couple inches. You know, people were very much like, oh my goodness. Thanks so much for being a trooper in lake sticking around. Oh, I thought this is what is to do. This kind of what I was trained to do this kind of be prepared to work really hard to find the rate solutions to sounds like it also kind of prepares you to be a a generalist in a way because you're doing so many different things in one role as opposed to just being. A specialist like just a copywriter just a designer something like that. I think so at least for me, that's what a took away from it. Like, I even had I feel like I had meetings after school where I think people didn't believe that it did all the work because usually you would rate credits rate like this personal the copywriter this person was the art director and so on and a it was me like I wrote it. And so I feel like I had at least one meeting where there were like so you did all of this lake. Yes. Written by Alana Marshall, designed by a lot of Marshall all of that. Absolutely. So once you left scan I'm interested to know kind of what their early moments of your career like what were those those early work experiences. Like because we said scat really kind of prepped you to know that the agency world is intense was that what those first experiences were like, so when I I left at first of all it was it's pretty hard to cry. It was hard for me to crack into the agency world, and so a focused more on the design site, and so I actually worked for while at captain planet foundation in Atlanta men is actually I don't know if you remember captain planet, the the team in our KOMO. And so did it allow work kind of giving grants to organizations who who work with kids, and we're promoting being kind to the environment and all of that. So that was a really great experience that got to do a lot of different things. They're working on web and digital. And they even did print presentation decks and stuff like that. And feel like every job that they had like, we're even though I was thinking they want to be an agency. It does come around to contribute to what you have to offer. In the end of the day. Also worked with the company that did more app design and web designing. And then it went to my first internship at Mullin in Boston. There are a really great agency to do a lot of great work. And that was a fantastic experience. It was of summer, internship, a whole class of interns work together. We did our. Own campaign, and we also worked with the general creative team for whatever they needed, and it was a lot again. It was intense. He worked long hours, but I think it solidified in my mind that that was I sure I wanted to do and pursue. I'm know if people realize how much of a I guess like a big design city Boston is I mean aside from a no. MIT? Is there Harvard graduate school of design and cetera? But even if you look at just the architecture and things like that every time I've been to Boston. I've been surprised by just how like robust the design culture is there. And it sounds like with advertising kind of plays into that. Probably as well. Yeah, there's great. There's some great teaser will. And now you've worked also at a number of other agencies before landing where you're at now at at ten thirty five for people out there that are listening that may want to go into the agency life, but don't know what it's like, and you kinda give I don't know like some pros and cons like what does it been like from from your experience, and we can't lay. Usually if you you have a job that has really amazing perks. There's probably a reason for that. You know, like if you go into the face Luker who campus, and they have lake, you know, amazing food and happy hours or whatever is probably because he gave it going to be working, really hard. It's the same thing for advertising lake. It's fun. It's really fun. You're around really creative people you're making work that you can see in the world is very cool to go and see like outta home at that, you dead or something pop up on your social media that you created and to be paid to to use. Your creative talents is very satisfying the cons, and it would depend on your personality. And what you want cons would be. You know, you have to work very hard to try to create some kind of work life balance because it can be kind of overtaking sometimes of your life. But you'll find a lot of people like a lot of different people that are in advertising already kind of obsessive workaholic people. So is not necessarily a cone. It's probably health ways. It might be a calm. But. How do you find that work life balance? I don't find there's a lot of it. But you have to kind of work at it. You have to stop yourself, and and have a life because that also adds to what you can you can deliver as creative if you're late in the world living experiencing another so while ago interview, the Omalie Lamont, I wanna say this was episode one forty seven or one forty eight or something and one of the things that she talked about that was important to throw them into what we're talking about. Now is about how designers and creatives kind of needs to find some type of like a balance like a wellness balanced, because it's often hard enough to be able to kind of conjure up your creativity to be able to deliver between I know say, the hours of nine to five or whatever because we know creativity strikes. When it does it's not clock that sort of thing. So it can be very strenuous physically mentally to kind of put all that out there. So she was talking about the importance of kind of having some balance to that after. So you can replenish yourself. So I totally get that. I feel like I'm starting to. I think I was better at it a year ago. And this is not to say before I started my job, which kind of did. But before I started where I'm at now, which is not to say, we don't have a work life balance. We do we have a pretty good work life balance. And they're very good about kind of pulling you to the side if they see like, hey, you're you might be doing a little bit too much right now. But. No, recently, I've been trying to sort of find that balance. So it can't be it can't be difficult. It's certainly something that I think we're all working at just trying. Yeah. Is definitely important. And I am better at it than it was like five years ago, something that you have to be aware of and know when he just needs to take that same fleet off replenish, so you have something to give you like I'll tell people before I get burned out that I'm I'm feeling a little crispy. And usually people know what that means my friends, what that means when I say that they're like, okay? Like, let's go out for a drink or something like that. Like, they get say that. So even I have to try to recognize that when it's when it's coming in. So I can try to do what I can in my off time to to stave it off. So one thing that I see designers do and honestly I see this from really entrepreneurs these are not necessarily folks that work in the advertising industry, but I'll see these terms of creative director and art director kind of used interchangeably. You being an art director, specializing in art direction. What do you see as the differences between those two roles? So. In my experience. So a creative director can either be a copywriter or director? So is just a creative that has basically moved up to rain moves up the ranks, and is no kind of managing the creative team. So at art director who's no moving into associate creative director mice. Specialty would be that. I would be more inclined to to give direction around the visual sight of it. But I should also have the chops to also look at the copywriting the head lanes in and the the messaging in heaven opinion on that as well. So in advertising, the creative director could be an art director copywriter, so they've got their hands multiple aspects yet like you're just kind of getting the overall vision and making sure that it's it's on the right path to what you. Think it should be to to sell that work in. So let's say you've got a new campaign. That's coming up. You don't have to mention any that you're actually working on at ten thirty five. But I'm curious, and I'm sure the audience wants to know as well, how do you approach a new campaign or a new project which your process like? So like if we're on a pitch for new business. It's a pretty intensive process. Researching working with the strategy teams to find the insight to understand exactly who we're talking to who our target is what they need what this product is is really offering what special about it. And so there's a lot of really wrapping your head around and understanding the need. And so then you're better able to to find what that solution is and to start creating that. So you really start from vary conceptual place, and some place of truth about what this can really offer in than than you go in and create the work, and that's the the longest part of it some long Nate's working on pitch decks. But yeah, so who are some of. Your influences like other people in the industry that you look up to that. You you've got to emulate in terms of your work ethic about looking up to people in advertising lake mind goes to kind of the advertising heavyweight Qena madman era Lee clo- apple Jorge Luis in terms of advertising. There is like a Ehrlich around the sixties like where they really developed this with he lake really interesting unique ways to to look at things versus just kind of hard sell so conic people and advertising campaigns are always kind of a benchmark like men would love to make something a conic that kind of makes this huge Mark on culture. But in general, I think also really inspired by not even necessarily people in advertising, but just people who are able to create their. Own lean build their own worlds. So that can be anybody from lake artists like a Hindi away Li like you created your own kind of very clear vision in space or somebody lake George r r Martin with game of thrones lake you really built out this world, there's maps and languages and and really intrigued and inspired by that. Do you have a dream project? Like that that you would like to do one day. You know, when I was a lot younger at wanted to be an author. I wanted to rate, and maybe maybe that would be dream project to kind of Bill some kind of staticy world bring that into the world do some kind of graphic novel or novel, but I haven't been making steps towards that. But I really appreciate it from the outside. You're doing the graphic novels on my like short bucket lists too. And I'm I'm starting to make small progress, but not enough I told myself this year, this is going to be the year that I've tried to make bigger larger strides towards it. Whether it's putting something out there publicly. So just other people can keep me accountable because I've been doing I've been doing so much of it sort of like just on my own off line like scribbling journals and stuff, but nothing that's actually out there that could get any sort of tangible feedback to improve. So I know what you mean. Sometimes you can get so caught up with your regular work that the thought of doing an additional project on top of that as a lot to to undertake. Yeah. But that that's important too late. I definitely think that being accountable and starting to share it with other people can keep you on track. What do you want to accomplish this year? Do you have any any big goals for the year? I think there's more general goals for me this year. I want to like actually what you just said to hold myself accountable. Create some kind of outlet weather is like a separate Instagram to create more of my own personal work personal projects. Like, I said, I was always very interested in art going up. So I would paint it was really into ceramics and sculpture jewelry making all these different things. And so I really want to make space and time to to create my own personal work was a big culture shock coming from Barbados to the states. I don't think it was a big culture shock because American cultures. Just so ubiquitous everywhere. So although, you know, you grow up with your very specific are Bidian, Caribbean culture nears soak music. Nick and all different types of food and all these different things. You also can't grow alongside American culture. So I think that all of the, you know, like sitcoms and movies and music, and you kind of grew up with that as well. So it wasn't a crazy culture shock. Interesting. I feel like maybe within the past maybe five to ten years. I feel like the concept at least here in the United States. The concept of of blackness throughout the diaspora has become a lot more multifaceted from people that are from outside like from people from the Caribbean. People from Europe people from countries in Africa, their influences, all that sort of stuff. Have you started to see that? I definitely think so I have a playlist called lake full island full island. Island afrobeat. Yeah. Like, I feel like there's a lot of different music. We'll see a lot of different even fabrics at African prints. Can't take claw being incorporated. More in just I think maybe social media has made it a lot more visible that there's all these other facets we black girl magic or black way. Joy when. Different. Yeah. I definitely see that from Twitter like, it's so interesting. I'll hear people talk about well, you know, South African Twitter saying this Nigerian Twitter saying that. And yeah, even like how they perceive means or, you know, just different things in pop culture. It's really interesting to see how much of that has changed. So so recently. He is the beauty of social media. Oh, yeah. I totally agree with that. Where do you see advertising going in the future? I mean with the work that you're doing an art direction. Where do you see it kind of going into the near future? I think it's an interesting space right now, I think in the past creativity was and these kind of larger than life figures were dictating to to the claims they were going to put a what was going to work, and because there's so many different aspects. Now that I think clients have to be aware of like you need to be aware of your social media presence you need to. Constantly create content. And so there's a lot more partnerships with a lot of different media, ends fees are creating content. So it's just it's a little bit different is kind of being redefined all the time like who were the creatives who's creating the advertising is not necessarily just agencies. So it'll be interested to see even within a couple years. How agencies are defined, and I think more and more agencies are trying to bring on more production capabilities and to be able to quickly Bill maybe building in studio able to quickly put oh, social media content. So yeah, I'll be interested to see where it's going. It's constantly changing agency models and how they what they offer. Have. You started to see more of the kind of reliance on popular social media trends, not necessarily reliance, but definitely taking into consideration. How you're getting this reach. You know, what I mean, it may not be TV anymore. It might be you partnering doing online series with social media influencers that are really relevant to your product. So definitely him more into account all these different facets that people are going to view your brand through. And they think definitely people are looking more at not necessarily advertising just talking to you. When hairs this TV Adams telling this in here's his print ad in selling this. But more of integrating themselves into what you're already viewing and watching and and not being obtrusive just kind of being trying to give you a reminder that this this the support this influence her and yeah. So if you seen either of the fire festival documentaries. I have not. But I heard a lot about about. Yeah. So the reason I wanted to touch him to that about social media is one of the things that I think we're starting to see recently about how there are these. I don't know I'm loath to call them agencies. But sort of like, these these social media companies are pop ups of some sort that are managing the work with much larger brands making thousands of dollars on social media campaigns, where they basically just lifted a medium or something from someone else, for example with the fire festival documented with both of them. Actually, there's a company called Jerry media. And then with that, they have I think the social media count is called fuck, Jerry. Yeah. And so basically what they're doing is. They're taking a repurposing memes are Joey they're they're like slightly shifting it soican fit in with Burger King or Wendy's or something like that like a big brand. And that we started to see backlash from it, particularly from comedians who realized that, oh, these people are stealing jokes. And that's not cool. So I was wondering if that sort of thing is that's something that has an art director or someone that works in advertising that you are kind of aware of is that something that clients like ask about like, oh, can we make this go viral that sort of thing? Yeah. Definitely aware that account, and yeah, people always want to make things go by role. But I think we definitely always start from place that we have to create our own content. Like that is just is messed up like we're not going to start with seeing this other video and either hopping onto that and trying to make the brand fit in there. I think specifically for me is all about kind of creating your own content asking to make something go viral is. It's a little bit of a like that's not how that works. Like you. You have no control over that. You try to make it added engaging as possible make as relevant as possible. Maybe you work in. We're with that influence to create contents and pay them to create that content. Yeah. Not cool. And I would say even what happens at the end of the day is that company may end up getting known for that viral success. But it's never the agency. Like, you'll always hear the company get lauded throw, they're they're saying this particular tone on social media something, but it's never hey, let's look at the ad agency. That did that unless you're reading at age or something I think the people would know who did it. But maybe the outside world would never know. What keeps you motivated and inspired to continue? I think that because in overall like I really love my job. I love when able to just. Sit and create because leg you talked about earlier like you're creating this from scratch from nothing. There's no formula for it. So every experience is different every assignment is kind of a new opportunity like this may be the next hugest thing. So yeah, that keeps me really motivated and excited abo- work. Just the the love of creating what advice would you give to anybody that kind of wants to take their work to the next level? Like, you have what would you tell them? I would tell them to to definitely there's portfolio reviews that happened. I think if you you look around your city, you could probably find them look at other people's books that are higher up the chain than you in advertising and see what about this makes this good. What a may may be lacking may be. It's presentation. Shen may be it's your kind of attention to detail lay. Really take a look at at how you're presenting yourself and also. Be confident present yourself confidently. Believe believe I think maybe fifty percent of it is believing that you are the hundred percent best ever and presenting yourself that we definitely the the presentation part is important. I think a lot of people have the belief down. And I'm just saying this from looking at resumes. A lot of people have the belief down presentation. Not so much rate. Neither work on the presentation. So yeah, I think those portfolio reviews are definitely a good idea. One thing that I tell designers is that it's important for me. Like if I'm hiring manager, for example, it's important for me to see what your design processes rather than just the finished product. So like sometimes, you know, you'll go designers website, and it's all like nice pretty pictures mockups. And it's like, okay, that's great. But you can see that anywhere. Like, what was the process behind getting to this point? Like, I wanna see. A case study, or at least a few paragraphs or in process work to get a sense of how you got from nothing to this not just here. It is. You know, seeing what that process is like, and how you thought about color choices or fawns or what considerations that you have to make because of the budget or because of time to get to this in result. Because you just see the end result. And it's like this nice. That's like it makes us knows that you're capable of doing the work. But it's really what I found is the thought process behind it. That's what will get you higher. That's what we'll have people talk about you in rooms where you're not, you know there. That's what makes people know your work when they can see kind of that process. And know that, hey, this is this is a lot of Marshall campaign like Kenji sorta. That sort of thing what advice is kinda stuck with you over the years. What's what's something that you've picked up? I think we we talked earlier about work life balance. But my dad always says everything in moderation that that kind of speaks to that as well where it's just they don't go overboard in anyone we Lague even with your job. You wanna do it? Did you want to do a good job? But you have to calm down. We're not doing brain surgery is not that the relaxed. I think sometimes it's easy to get really stressed though. And rarely overrun with a we have to do this. You have to do that. But everything in moderation lake have a little bit and do a little bit of work. Do a little bit creative exploration and just trae keep working and trying to find that balance for yourself in life. Do you feel like you're satisfied creatively? I think I definitely need. To make it a priority to work on my own creative pursuits, and I can't remember who said this. But it was a documentary about advertising any think maybe it was Lee clo-, but he definitely was late. Don't look to your job to satisfy you creatively. Because is not for you. You know what I'm saying? Like, you're doing this work to suit, the needs of this particular client, and that that's a whole other kind of process in his self. So if you wanna do work that suits your because we're not fighting artists, you know, like, you're not creating this work, and this is my vision. And this is exactly what I want your creating your vision using your skills and your talent to create work that speaks to this particular target and works on communicates. This message from this particular brand. But if you want to do work, that's all about you. And how you. You want to bring something to late. They you need to do that work for yourself used to create projects for yourself that you have complete creative control over. So. I think that was really good advice. Where do you see yourself in the next five years? So, hey, don't. Get her bat. I don't really have a kind of mapped out five year plan. The goal for me is always to keep growing keep evolving as a creative adding different skill sets and experience and to just be I want to be making work that I'm really excited about and so just to continue on a path where anything that you're doing or or work that you're taking on is something that you absolutely are excited about doing. And that's the only to get to a state where that's the only thing that you're doing is kind of the I think the overall goal and just to kind of wrap things up here where our audience find out more about you and about your work on line. So may portfolio site is Atlanta Marshall dot com. Also have linked in when a Marshall. So any updates will be would be on the website. Heard sounds good. We'll Alana Marshall I want to thank you so much for coming on the show. Thank you really kinda sharing. Just got him a peek at what it's like working at agency. And I hope that for folks that are thinking about agency life, or even that are like calling themselves aren't directors. But might not be kind of get a sense that there's more that goes into her than just a fancy sounding title. Like, there's a lot of work. There's a lot of preparation. There's a lot of moving parts that you have to handle. And certainly I think in the city of you've been able to kind of articulate that. Well and show people just, you know, not only how much goes into it. But your passion for being in our director at how much influence you creatively. So thank you so much for coming on the show. I appreciate it all stack. Neatly? Thank you so much for having me. And that's it for this week. Big thanks to Alana Marshall, and thanks to you for listening. You can find out more about Alana at her work through the links in the show, not glitch dot com forward slash provision. Also, thanks as always to our sponsors. Facebook design can design and meal. Chip. Designing a Facebook means more than just making pixel perfect prototypes. It's designing experiences like disaster relief, tools or get out the vote efforts. It's working on problems that transform a number of different industries. 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276: Abimbola Idowu

Revision Path

58:49 min | 2 years ago

276: Abimbola Idowu

"You're listening to the revision path podcast a weekly showcase of the world's blatant, graphic designers, web designers and web developers. Through in-depth interviews. You'll learn about their work their goals, and what inspires the mess creative individuals. Here's your host MAURICE cherry. Welcome to the revision path podcast. My name is MAURICE cherry, and before we get into this week's interview. I just want to wish you all a happy new year twenty nineteen I think it's going to be a great year for revision path, and I really hope that they'll be a great year for you as well. Now, let's talk about our sponsors Facebook design, Google, design and Milton. You know, there's three things that set designing a Facebook apart from designing anywhere else scale variety and investments baseball design work has impact that scale, including your friends and family or people from the other side of the globe. Facebook Zion also works on a huge and diverse range of problems, and they truly invest in design hearing gave me about how their team might do their best work sounds interesting. The learn more about them at Facebook dot com for its last night. Google design is a cooperative effort that by designers writers and developers at Google it work across teams to publish original content produced great events and foster creative and educational partnerships that advance both design and technology for more information on news design resources and a design podcasts. Check them out at design dot. Male chimp is the world's leading marketing platform for small businesses. Now, you may not know this before I started revision path I had my own studio munch Iran for a little over nine years. And during that time, I've been fortunate to not just be a male chip expert, but later on also a male chip partner. I don't inside and out that mail them. Not only puts out a killer product for managing Email Facebook ads Instagram ads do landing pages. Now, you can do postcards. But it's also a really great place to work full of dope. People settled with even had right here on the show. So whether you're just starting out or you wanna take your business at the next level gift male Champa. Try check them out at mail temp dot com. Now for this week's interview, we're kicking off twenty nine thousand nine with Abimbola Idowu and software engineer in Berlin. Let's start the show. All right. So tell us who you are what you do. Yeah. A little my name is Bola. And I'm a software developer. Yeah. In Belene correctly walk. We SAP I work with as a web developer work with your food services, which is about planning technicians and ensuring that's our customers actually able to easily plant technicians and respond quickly to customer demands aside. I'm also actually love at thinking. My my free time. I do a bit of open-source I kind of like to play games sometimes, and I will say Njekwa can actually. Yeah. I think that's that's me in a very big nutshell. Okay. I want to get back to that open source stuff. And we'll do that a little bit later on. But walk me through what it's like working at SAP. I mean, it's one of the countries like biggest like tech companies is that right? Yeah. Definitely. I mean, I think it's the biggest circumventing Europe the company has roughly of retailers on. I think employees. Yeah. It's it's really big across the world. So I. I would say Brealey really grits working for them. Especially for a big company. I would actually confessed that for someone for me comed- because I just have I joined him you show letting two months ago, but for someone for me, call me from is startup scene. You would feel that change. That's there will be a bit of shock in cultural change because in this startup scene. You'll always see that things up on a bit spontaneously. But in a big corporation. They're always processes for everything, you know, like to I don't know anything, you can think about this a process for reads, and one of the things I think that over time when I be with them, I've got into our Charlie value. The advantage of these things and get you allies dads, some of these things actually required that escaped video audio. Preach discrepancies are required to make sure that things are not very very cute. And I just say I I'm just thinking back, and I think one of the things I really I was so shocked about was the Ditto security awareness. It was something that I mean, you walk everywhere. And you know, that you have to keep the data safe on everything. But SAP after resuming I had to go for like three. I think I've competed three trainees on data security in fishing on spammy and social engineering on everything in our saying that now right now, it makes me so much going show about okay. What am I looking into where I'm company data and eight really because of these our is something I find very interesting, and I think only happens in becoming so it's it's really great in general. Yeah. I feel like certainly here in the states. People have started to become a lot more aware of data security, not for the reasons you specify, but more so just because big companies keep getting hacked and customer data keeps getting released out to the web or wherever it ends up getting released out too. So it's interesting that you said working there. It's kind of what put that notion in your head about how data security works. Yeah. Exactly. I mean, I think before like I said does it know mall? Busy understanding of ought to keep your data secure out to seek your hops. But for big corporations have rallied starts in a small company. If I mean getting hacked is is not good. But what I've noticed is that the cost of getting hug at, you know, it's really different accompanied company to get. So as Micheli in places like Iraq, where we're not have GDP our laws the customer data is actually released its agenda, what caused a company Bigler money. So it's always. Much more beneficiary for them if they actually act if they brought to be about it on the train, the developers and the developers and employees to really be conscious about what is what is what is not about your body data. Unlike you said when you have big the Acas out there. No, actually, the level of data you have and you would hold his targets them. You know, like if a one month company, they probably an how he would know find you. You will be very hot very to come across anarchist Rita. But for a big company, you would hold his coma coast acquisition later, and I mean from the trading on the experiences that I've heard from people is your Sally SAP like the real of a love, which people can get hooked isn't even hacking, social engineering ISM was come home on now so oncoming, and you know, the internet now everybody has everything about you. And someone calls you a this time because they never seen about it. You would think they would pretend to be who'd your notes, and they don't need to get someone something. From you. It's going to be something like you give them your colleagues may do name from the to call Dr bass in get depressing address from the small small data than debuted evidence together and the issue our target. And so this is why for it becomes actually. Offensive in hero, data securities is a very big thing. Yeah. I just know. I remember from earlier this year. GDP are was a really big thing. I mean here in the I mean like here in the US, everyone sort have made fun of it because they kept getting all these emails from places they had never forgot that they were signed up for or subscribe to that. We're like, oh, by the way, this is how we're using your data. And even now, I see on even more websites. These like notices that will be at the bottom of the page about how they use your information and stuff like that. Yeah. Definitely it's I- assorted. But I was in my company like we had to we had to divide team into. And there was a section of our team that was really working on making our obligation on GDP complaints. Like, we had to be honest. I think it's actually really crazy because there was this. I don't know maybe almost sister five pages of the summarize on we had a chief security of. Facade to go through each and may show w by security conscious, and the reason is because of the cost. And I mean, if you look at the big picture, you would see also because we have got talking about data transparency deter responsiblity, you know, you out you, ideally, we customer data on GPO expects you to be responsible. When will you Hon do customized are if you know, Diana responsive would do customer date? I don't call it from people on this. I think is kind of thing that you know, shells and Fosse's or nauseous companies to be much more conscious about the way they try to undercut somebody who as as Walt on everything. And it's like these are what they GDP things it would he'd use case of data leagues arts because for every piston that's assess the of my data into the truck out of the pissing image notified the customer. If you have a data bridge as the time frame where you have to fight the public. But I was hard on this up on. I think you know, things like this actually kind of like the advantage of Judy PR. So it's a big thing generally Niro inside Europe companies Detroit Too. And also if you want to actually solve your up in Europe. So even up companies to the US that went to Europe users. You also have to be hit bear complaints. So it's a big tonight. Everybody's I think now did you face over because as some few months ago, I think it came into effect in Juneau. So I'm not sure on I think just before that time everybody to be compliant. And yet I was wide. There was a lot of immigrant because you have to actually notify us about that. I have these data BTU and is about data transparency. I think is one of the main ten into the Tipu. Yeah. I mean, the thing is that overall it's supposed to help make sure that your data is going to be safer now that doesn't necessarily mean that it won't get hacked in the future. Like, it doesn't take that possibility away. But at least, you know, that the company. Is a greater steward of your data because of this particular policy. We have definitely a like you said it wouldn't get hurt. Do the things I think also it does is more from from digital aspects. In a at a very big picture. They tried to make sure that they minimize the effect of the opening if when it happens, this is what you should do, you know, like this what the speculators that? If in case, you're hot you're hot. This is what you should do. This is all you should respond. This is what it means. You know, and this is really about like, you said about data transparency about, you know, all you Honda customer data. Yeah. So how did you first get interested in software development? Let's take it back. We'll take it all the way back as as far back as you want to go. At least how did you first get interested in this? Charter let me try and cut I'm told farewell. I think sometimes you just you just figure hard for me at some point I entered in computers, not really programming. Computers day, infamy was aware at. I'm not sure we speculate. To me. But I think generally for every day you wanna play games on computer. Is you wanna press things? And so I notice at some point I was getting very used computers, but none of racially for programming. I naturally love to spend time on devices. And I would say I think I would define myself as a bit of an introvert not much. So in my lonely times, I spent most of those times in front of a computer after a while I've got used to eat. I got to know out. So you know, how to hug my roundings install always on computers 'em, route my phone, install Android stove. So generally, Wayne talk about finding we are on compass. I actually Neha too. I was convinced on without and but programming per I think my main introduction exponential programming. It was I remember I was in school, and I spoke with your colleague. Mine undeclared was into this business. We call it book as missing edgier. But I think deny him would be I can't remember the name. But is basically you're saying SMS from the from the internet to somos phone. So does it does the name of the protocol actually Beckham Basso? But then depressing was doing it's was a pretty popular in them because we were in school, and there was departments and societies that want to send SMS in bulk to the members. Right. So your consent as a missed one by one from your phone. So that was rare book as MS came to play. And because of that people who are actually starting this business of Ugo Unsan opiates on provider that would give you the API forty bucks. You start to you install some up. They start to share with us. Oh, I got his guy that did book is amiss. Then I told him. Hey, I'm also interested can link meal pretty guide actually started Bacchus miss that created your website for you to know out to you know, you are using to send SMS for the department and everything, and, you know, also to make money from each than ill linked meal beauty guy than I paid the guy. But the thing is I think in general currency. It was the cost of the whole setup was of the basic setup was around two hundred five thousand on twenty five thousand naira in in Iraq would be would be about one euros, actually. But it wasn't big money. Then even as it. But the interesting thing was it was not charging on extra fifteen thousand era for hostile migration so meeting if you want your logo year, you want your you want your log impeach to be dis. Then I told him. Okay. You know, what just identified thousand fuddy setup. I did not be African Salzone for customization. I said I was going to customize myself and before that I had w beat into what press. So I need to be of what was going on beyond what prison studying plug on everything. And before that all like after it finished Cetinje top than I found out that it was gymnast was up. Then I said, I was going to set you talk myself that was actually what's would see much my entry into redvelopment because in the process of setting setting things up sometimes to customize things, and you know, you have to look at the books or Google or something I remember it was going. To Jim lob forum day to find. Okay. Audi in studies. Plug I want to do this lugging page. Like these I want to move these from year to year Allen to move this dead's dead. And that was really how I got used to. Okay. This is what code ease. What could not? I would say I didn't have before grabs or what I was doing. I was really copying from the internet. But it was working for me and things like that. But that was really our T stand from really Remo about what programming is unethical. Our though are people going to totally making money out of it. And then it was a pretty popular thing for people that are beating obsess for people under beating website for as load in steady towels on air is like a video websites and everybody was beating Eckhart duties the net cock related things. Like, I think I was spending. Most of my my time doing this since its base enters money Nate. And I mean, I also don't like school anyways. I was not the most Bill incidents. I was like maybe this would actually pay for me than I started doing that. And getting you know, much more. Familiar, which complaisant Djimla on the websites on everything might think. What actually give a turning point for me? Was. There was a time. I remember when I was in my pre Maya fall, right, and I add calculate my CPA, which is like the grade you get into university on calculated everything. And and I figured okay. We discuss relation. I was gonna come out you to taught class, and it taught class as its claws is very like Indonesian context. It does class. Then I was studying agriculture, Charlie. Also on I figured that. We thought close I would never be able to do anything. It's it's almost not possible. And it was like a little that. Okay. I had my fortieth my fifth year on my forty on future. I decided I east everything. Like, I was getting is true. I still would not AVI to one no second-class OPA would probably be in. Clause Liuhua or something like that. And it was not even guaranteed because I mean, I spent three years of in any so then from there, I made it easy shown that. Okay. Does this one thing I'm good at which is programming. It makes money there's money until beat aunt icon, actually, do something from out of it. And I think I would focus manage units. Our just try to make sure that I did not have any. I don't have any Australia in school at Sada point. I've focused all my energy on programming, and I would say did Johnny after also was not to smoke because one thing I figured and is one of the things that right now, I try to tell people that approach me that he Allen to go into programming as like a first of all it's not going to be easy one is that if you sat internet for other limb programming there's going to be probably millions and millions of results on Google and every of them will good mature at different parts. But I figured one auditees. I f- to me was always I've been a guy Dion to mental you true. The way you want to go. You know, I remember when I was in under. I had a mental speech that out is pinch everybody. That's miss me. Not want to programming. The like program is like is fair writes like a circle does is big circle fun festival as small circle, right? Then you think, you know, everything in most and your if I save you've covered everything in cycle thing. Pop out of the secretary and figure out the biggest right? Yeah. And you try to lend everything NASA cooed any propagation, easy because. From day, you realize that? Okay. It's not possible. And from that you want to you know, it's kind of gets it gets overwhelmed for you. You're not actually leaning things. You're just you know, reading stuff, but you're no improving yourself, adding value to yourself, and what he told me was starts instead of trying to cover the circle which most people do. Instead a Charlie cover like a strict line like draw a line and just fall apart from the inner circle, then you start the then you start to get us a quick buck like follow your like if you say like from the middle of the circle just go with like, ten degrees arc right? And keep going keep Grinham. And it was like that is really the way said I should do. And from there, I figured that. You can know everything right? Nobody knew everything what if you know, if you know did lead to like this always lead to minimum unit at state, and once you get stage, you can jumped in this level. You get what I'm saying? And that for me was kind of like what I think really helped me to find my feet in programming. Duds? I would say was really worked under LA date. It was more that before I was doing it on my own. I was reading a lot of books and things like that. But returned a lot it was it was more like a guided in there was a corker loam of this is what's what's needed uneaten in you need to know, and this to be valuable and disease to be valuable, and if you follow that, you would literally is that you you would be valuable to actually complete onto stuff. But if you focus on one part on your reading a boo reading like before, you know, you've read like you really like four books, but then you stick on able to view that hub. And that's is. Kind of like from the it became kind of like very much easy to to go into programming. Okay. So you covered a lot there. There's a few things I want to sort of go back to. So the first thing I guess that jumped out at me was that you didn't study this in school. You said you studied agriculture cafe. Interesting. People when you find out your Sally when in billion, I tell people that I didn't study a compromise. I started at Coachella while auditor it's on. I'm like like, I said, I always believed that something would drive him on right until like for me was your function of I figured I got was no eat, and he had to be something. Remember, you know, I remember when I joined under long when I go to underlie, even do I had I've read distance of book actually have never worked on. I've never been paid to do with velopment works. Actually. I'd like zero experience. I'm ready. She on a book, but it was nuts. I would say manual it was two year. And I still good paint. This is what it is. But one tonight code myself was I remember when I was growing fall under house boots. Come was that. This was only short this right on. I two myself on this guys coming here. People Dottino into been tub you to get up trying to get into the end of an program. We did probably of a Haya hedge de probably have some of advantageous Demi because maybe they've studied to be tough comforta- sciences, cool or something. But for me, call me for my Greek. I think I only remembered I did it with us. It doesn't toner liberal which actually ist wasn't on my best results. But I didn't come to that science 'cause just maybe Titi credits 'cause in my Turner level and hours and since then I actually did not do anything related to. I was typical farmer when I go there. I figured I'm Charlie like, I always put myself at two steps behind. So I need to put in two steps extra efforts down. What's or does doing because I need to catch up? These guys know the principles, and what is not they can understand some of these things aren't. But for me. It was that. I was not where like I figured out Ellie that I do not have the advantage that others have. And because of that actually do know see that as a disadvantage, but Radha as a challenge to make me to put more effort on I tell people it's it's not gonna be as indie beginning to look like you are reading Gabri she would want to give up. But if what is driving you is greater than what is pushing the you would do. Definitely a big true fights kinda thing about, but I read several articles about our programming team works on his that in the beginning. It's all very difficult rights. You always looking what's distant doesn't make sense to me. And it's it's like in linen in new language. But after some time did they call it does this points in the article Dakota, the inflection point after point is stops becoming walk for you. You know, it it starts. It's not natural. It's like you not to drive a car in the beginning. You're looking at decide Miro's, and these that and that, and you know, the steering and you place in the clutch variable after while Yana, kosher Sabado stinks. You know, then we dodge to you know. To talk with much more difficult challenge. Gentlemen. I tell people that don't give up. I mean program is not any everybody. But for if you think it is for you. Right. It's about don't give Pelley you have to keep a date. You have to make a decision that conscious decision that. Okay. I'm going to always add value and lend this daily -til, I become a master at it and data thinking was auditing actually up to me and make me to buzzer inflection points. And now, it's one I can't do anything. I wanted to in program. Well, yeah, certainly sounds like you have that. It's not even so much. I guess that you have the draft Bill, which I think certainly you do, but that you have kinda methodically thought about this is the best way that it will work for me in order to learn it, and one thing that you sort of mentioned was that you had kind of a mentor buddy that helped you out the n Dell and now can you describe for audience? What n de LA is is it like a like a boot camp of sorts just to see I left. Couple of while ago. But when I was dead under the was really underlies company. That's employees talent trains them make damn you know, they have to go to Charlie Butte. What caused developers on after dots? Then they connect them to companies, you know, to to walk for on that stuff visits. I remember the Decio Jeremy used to say that's be something about opportunities. Naval opportunity is not even digital talented something like that. But the idea of jeez. That's stunning JP. We rights is just all about putting Damien enabling environments, and they would actually flourish. And Dutch is actually what under is is. It's about a we bring these people together that's up the passion underdrive, the really want to learn programming and social development and become workload developers. Don't wanna make some team from no served, and let's put him in room than less enable them. I'm in give them to anybody environment resources. They need the mentorship. They need guidance. They need and that was it. And I think that is really kind of like what's underlaw stands for added. Khalid. Okay. Yeah. It kinda sounds I guess a little bit like like here in the states. It sounds like it would be similar to say general assembly or something like that in a way. But it sounds. I know we'll we'll general told me they are teaching you. They have different courses and stuff. But once you graduate through those courses than they do sort of pair, you up with companies and things so it kind of sounds a little bit like that. Yeah. I think it's it's I mean, I I don't know much about what general assembly does I think, but I think it's pretty much similar to doubts. It's dots. You'll get into under like I said this was when I was in the company, but you get into under light, and you go through the two weeks both come then I'll tell you to his com- if you get to join the fellowship. Nobody fellowship. You'll go into the training. The training is ready to teach the basics of programming. You start from your itchy mail. And your see says JavaScript a very busy. And you do that for about three months on afterwards. Then you you're up placed on clients project clients in the US everywhere around the world, and you walk on these things to actually get you know, to get real life experiences and in in all these it's the up all parts of the of the program or the fellowship. So the training you mentoring, you perennial, and you know, it's like I said is really about giving you a new blend environment. I want to make sure you succeed at what you're doing. Underlies is a foyer fellowship program. So many when you come in date the goal is that your positive for years, and at the end of the Fahtia, you should be full stack developer and duchess kind of like what's day Detroit's watch if which which fellows, and I'm guessing that companies kind of I guess they use n della in terms of they keep it in pretty high regards. I like if you go through and della and a company knows that you went through LA, then they know this person knows their stuff, that's sort of what it sounds like. Yeah. Definitely. I mean, especially for companies I've worked U N Diller. It's kind of like a referral thing. More like when you booked beats underlaw fellow. I mean, it's good journey company. Also, you figure out that. Okay. The product of this company or the product of this fellowship is good that you're also always want to y'all is went to go back today. Mm-hmm. Yoda's want to pack. Not redeem a walk. We I think that's that is really kind of. I would say boldly that if you meet an undeveloped fellow in just to meet the guys good on the audit is good is just like the ever people that are listening and Ella is located. It's a it's a worldwide company. I know there's there's an office in Lagos. There's one in Nairobi does wanna come Pala. There's one in Kigali. But then they're also four offices here in the US. No three. I'm sorry. There's one in New York one in Austin and one in San Francisco, it's a global company in that way. So I think that's really dope that it. It puts you through that kind of rigor in order to make sure that you come out on the other end ready and prepared to really kind of be out there in the industry. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Sure. Sure. Definitely. I mean, they also had kind of like big companies that are routine for Dame fizz book is one of the one of the investors. You know that decide. Chan's Berg initiative. Johnson should. Yeah. Money too. Because I I think the really believing what's the trying to do on. What is that that people? They kind of like Demi show number you're trying to achieve especially in in Africa. Nice. Nice. So I know that you're originally from Legos rather from Nigeria, but you've only been in Berlin. Now for about two years. Is that right? Yes. I moved to billions Temba twin to sixteen. Okay. What are some of the changes that you have to get used to going from Lagos Berlin? I mean, I think for me. I I I don't know if he specula- to me because actually before I go to Berlin. I actually lifted idea before two billion was kind of like my fest international of fiscal entry. I went to offset Nigeria. So it was really very shocking for me. Like, there are some why would fall it was. It was a cultural differences the things that that that was happening that that happens in Nigeria does not funny. Mandating starts up here that has nothing to Nigeria. I would say, for example, the gem broke his right? So you you come in as a new immigrant or experts, and before you get into the system, you kind of like sit down and get a KOMO day shown and things like that that really thinks that you know, they diabetes. Debbie's combustible, you know, before I read online, and you're like moved to billing billing kind of like, the he's an international city CEO foreigners every way, and you notice speaking glee, then you call me, and you figure not quite everybody speaks English. Right. I have to like I remember for likely flexi fest. Three months if I'm going from walk to office. I turned it like I was winning a routine like I knew I knew exactly exactly like, okay. I leave my house than I walked through translation than I stop at these. I take destroying going to displays from displays. And I walked down onto good on walk to the office. And it was was pretty like it was pretty much like I was no show, for example, if I entered a train and provincial Detroit decides to change direction due to maybe the is normal parts is forty or the repairs going on. I would get lost and up until maybe four that I got lost. And that was because apropos Amanda, this was in Maui. I entered the train then I stopped by displeased and duty. So I don't I don't think we're going on in the middle. And also because it was given us meant it will be in German rights, and it becomes picnic. Did you want to know that yet any old is train is changing due to this this opinion or something they knew? Do I think the language is first initial shock for me. It was it was trying to feed the entrenched understand what is going on. It was really something that happened. I I remember when I first came to bedding. I'ts tried Lenny German. I signed up for two months of a months. I just dropped out of school was like you deal with this. Detail on landlord. Yeah. No. That's interesting. I mean, I guess sometimes when you move to a new place you do kinda get stuck in that routine. You know, how to get to Europe place into work, and like maybe three or four other places, but you have to announcements in a totally different language. That's a whole other. That's a whole other kind of thing that you actually got used to it still. I mean for me the company I joined was pretty international. So meaning the the actually they understood the problems that experts faced and they were also Il of experts into company. So they knew what was it like registration on the government's please messed India visa critic, Malcolm Bank account. So they will move very familiar with all these. So I didn't really have to go through stress, but I know some of my colleagues dots. If you join the company in that, maybe first international employer, your hobby or something the familiar, the issue of okay. This is. How you get back home. Additional or these struggle to get Madisha on his struggle to destruction at the government on these things actually can be very very overwhelming, especially when you go there, and for example in government offices. They don't speak English, which is understandable. I mean, it's a government of his. So you're up to eat out go with it translates, all or you just make sure that your practice beforehand. Things are going to say because so that I would find your way around what what is happening. I remember when I first go to Germany, the in lent was I should do. My question is so good and in dominion is my German is no good. And once you start to question, we dad's depressing kind of understands of all all you say and should have Canadian in English so many eight excuse me, can we speak English. And once you start with that for people that can't speak, but they don't want to speak to try to mix the English which demand for you. Just. Mission. I understand what's going on. And you have the competition very shorts. And you get your way and get it things are trying to do. So like, I said the company I joined when I came from Gerardo operating national. So I didn't really feel much. Well, that's good. That's good has it gotten easier. Now, the long you've been there now now now really now I would say it's been going Shah. Now, I put people through I have colleagues DoCoMo's. Okay. This is what you do is what you faced and things like that. So. Yeah. So I'm not sure I mean does he broke Assi around? But it's not as difficult as possible. Like now, I speak the language a beat. So I can engage myself. I can read what is going on. I can read the news redesigned buds and things like that. It's can't speak. If I go to offices. I can speak the language today. I'm so I would say it's really read. Now, I don't I don't think I would complain of the German brokers. I it was typically sometimes you feel so like are you guys doing this? But after two years, and I I don't feel I've I think I've pretty much know my way around a lot of things. Good. I mean, you've you've been immersed in the culture now. So you're kinda you're picking it up now at least that's good. Yeah. Definitely definitely on ridge is one of the things. Also, tell people he's at a win. You come don't, you know, sometimes you want to feel drawn because everything and, you know, even not like home, but also it's not going to enjoy it. Because after a while yet. I remember when FX gave me in. I think in the in the second months, I was planning to go back because there was it was really too much. I was the only one I was only going to work. It was only place work and restore, and it was really really very tough. It was very tough. And to be honest. I was saying in Nigeria. I was not doing so bad was what can we be company was ending? Very good. So it was a function of what America to do. I mean, even when I came Charlie I didn't plan to come. It was just happened by mistake that German company that's missing Chris sitting you and when I was coming actually confide venture. I didn't give away my apartment was coming. I plan to confer adventure movie spent one year and go back to Nigeria. So in the first two months when it was really really very tough. I wanted to go back because it was something. I should wish alley when your family your friends. I loved ones I'm not around you. Then. You you feel very tough spell estrellas on experts. But for me, I would say one of the things that really was, you know, interacting with people declared exerts walk Niger offerings. I go to mid I remember that time. I connected weeds, a second school meets that was also studying Germany, and it came to visit me one or twice took me to the grocery stores because frankly, ghost restarted different rights things like the tomato paste or something. I didn't know what they were called at Inoki do up packaged in this shape or something. So it's a computer goes restore thinking, okay? This is what we have in junior. And this is the development. Gemini, you knows. So then we I was able to get food and cool and able to eat bees, then go out, and then I go to donate language for some things just go and uplands and angles and our phone than figuring out places to two regrets on intellectual people. And I think that's really what made it what made it very very smooth for me at the end. But in the beginning if you don't have that support system. I mean, people are why differently. But for me was was really tough in the beginning. Is there a big like African slash ex pats community there. No, I mean now, I think it's beginning to grow because yellow of people are locating to Europe now and Jamnian billing to be specific. So is growing now. I mean, you just have to go unto tell you would find someone embedding to reach out to gets friends are coming but one. We don't have that. It's nuts. Unofficial recognize entity kind of butts for the take it really day. But in Nigeria thing, I don't know. Maybe also because maybe it's me I may be 'cause I don't go out and talk people, but I really can't see I know of any kind of like organized African or Nigeria like give me see Africans year. And then you guys Richard or something but intensity organized natural such it's not swim became for. We came from Nigeria's really take into last two years. We gonna save on supposedly chart on things like that. Okay. That's interesting. I know we've had I think two other people on the podcast were in Berlin. We had TIMMY at a native who I think at the time. She was working at blankets. And then we have Lauren doorman who she's American. She's from Ohio, but she works for. It's called a color bright in Berlin. And I remember hearing both of them talk about Berlin and say that it's like a very kind of metropolitan city. Maybe one of is it I still do. Visit one day. I wanted to see what it's like. But no thought there would be a bigger African contingent there for some reason. I mean me too. I think that there would be because they're real people. But sometimes they do I think what was this festival. The did academy. Monday name. I went with colleague, and like there was some African contract presented, and it was it was kind of like a really big scene. And you know, you'll get to see a love for gun. I guess you love Africans and things like that. But really specific to the people end the day. I mean, if you don't know people, you know, people, right? So sometimes it's about also catalyzed seeking out and became fall. What's his each on? What not, but in terms of officia of all kind of recognizing that you can just go to somewhere. I don't think we have. Maybe the reason I don't know. Like, I said, I not really Gwen opposite. Maybe there is. I just know that I know my Caco's no people that we came from Judah to get and we are all living on severity. Okay. Well, who knows by the time? This comes out. I'm pretty sure some folks will be like I'm in Berlin hit me up. So you never know. Yeah. Definitely I definitely like to really ungodly people who and people like I said we I people regularly. Sometimes I know that we tried to angled result people became to get a like, I knew illegals or we worked end allow to get us on company, Nigeria, and I would say that these are the kind of people I knew, but definitely it's it's it's never too late to anger in people miss the people see new faces the yes Bank response ticket. All right. Well, I have some questions here. These are some from our audience you ask questions are from coho Tang. Who was our I guess on one hundred twenty fifth episode back a long time ago. He's curious to know, do you have any plans to go back to the continent? No concrete plans for now. I could go back. I mean, I would never rude. I could go back. But currently there is no there's no concrete. There's no concrete plans to. Couple of things go back. I afford if I decide it's the right time to to stop something. And that's one of the things that will make me go back all it's it's actually possible that may be a walk that we make me go back. You know, maybe my company decides to deploy of say tonight Judah, I I wouldn't say no to that. You know? So does that he thinks but cover my head in terms of timeframe of airplanes, go back in two or three years or something? I don't have any concrete plan for for that. And the second question actually is related to that. What -tunities do you see four technology in Nigeria? I think the opportunities in jersey, hold massive their loved things that we can capitalize on you know. Say from deputy must have general from like fintech dust is something that we have some companies that are pushing the boundaries. But this is something that I think we know yet we receive need to do more rights is really bonds and everything we really need to drive down debunks. The man I think this would help until fintech we are able to get much money to go into to use mall cashless biz metal of payments and things like that. And I think this is really going to be much more society one of the things. Also, I think it's a big area is e comas it comas. It's it's no yes there. There's just challenge is trying to strive in the in the system, but I think it's actually very big big massive opportunity this massive opportunity in Jura in ecommerce does need to find the rights people, we the rescuers. And the understanding markets are not much on. I think he's one of the things that's. E commercials vows to go back on things that I would really love to dive into underwriting transportation really have. Rampage on issues. But I think we take the ways I mean, we have things like Uber on the on the what's view Ovando companies like that. But temperatures on something that it's really big. And I think it's one of the things that I see as bicker paternity in in Nigeria about for any Nigeria tech space. Okay. Fintech e commerce and transportation, yet decided things things I will bid on it sounded like earlier, you were mentioning the that's what of internet SMS kind of app. I forget what what you said. It was called. But I remember. Yeah. Is that something that's still use their? No, it's I think upwind was it's rained than everybody. Started three needs are not. So now everybody doesn't do much. Also. It was good for me when I was a student. But right now is not something that will probably go back into like the people that are doing it on the drainage will in fact, at least the last time I read about like big companies also anti dispaced like emptying anti into space. Also. So like. If you if you want to go into the you want you want to go into space now, you won't make any money out of it, actually. Okay. Okay. Yeah. Now this interview is airing at the beginning of twenty nineteen right near the beginning of it. So I'm here to know. What is it that you want to accomplish this year? What do you want accomplish twenty nineteen for trenching nineteen? I think one of the things I want to be able to do is have some help. I am planning to Butte, and I really rove. That's I'm able to finally start off. So it was kind of like a small startup my own year in Germany. I hope that's able to gut my toes to get very well, and and start off then also I actually plan to one of the things I merely want to I want to be able to take Mark on with us ci-. He's onto really Guinness have grounded. If possible starts is either. I do kinda causes of confidence in maybe Caserne, cool and get more grounded in that in that line actually go and do kind of like online stars in something event starts died in nineteen. I think it would really be good for me. So there's things I think I would I will focus on personnel aside, the family, maybe goes. Okay. When you look back at your career. You know, starting out the way that you started out of Nigerian and now moving here to Berlin. What do you wish you would have known when you first started? You mean when I started when I go to belly stuttered like, I guess when you started just working in general like working in this industry. What can Indus industry? I think one of the things I would though buck. My my youngest surveys. Never doubt yourself. You know, you are always going to be good for somebody. You know, there's always gonna be somebody has to be some company for you. So I think good enough. You know, you'll good in your own your own place. And this is one thing. Like right now, I tell people I I have roughly about Forty-five experience in programming. One of the teams that's really gives me so much joy was for every company. I have walked full do remarks, even when I am living as always been great as early as been pleasant in the midst of this UC apply. Like, remember when I was trying to before I go to this house plan to companies on send my CB's outs on the people that without tally replied that those replied near was like, hey you. We didn't look so genial become only of Gino develop. I was like no way. I it like income was coming from our team lead. I was leading new Jessop suspect. So you know for a recruiter to get back to me. I thought it was I was a city 'cause I was the city of the company. I go back to me and said, you really like you seem to be a developer. And I mean, I don't know what would have the person is entities opinion. But one of the things I figured now is that you don't let things like that gets you right now, I'm working in a place where I'm valued. And in my work is being valued. I am seeing my work bringing millions for the company I'm working for. And I think you know, it's more like ten God. Yet, you told me I was rejected me because he had probably worked for you. You probably would seem in digital aunt. You wouldn't appreciate my air force on things. Like that does something I would have taught my youngest is at a go for it. You'll it's you don't doubt yourself companies are looking. For and as far as able to prove to them that this is what I can do. This is what I have done. Right. Didn't let them decide whether you have good enough for them or not. I mean, you you can be fit for everybody. You know, this is going to be some size some shoe size for you. You're all you can't fit into our shoes. So that's kind of like, what's our? I would tell myself is at don't let the things you'll year of things up in round you, really. But if you think you wanna go for something gopher it's and you never gone to do you see yourself staying in Berlin for a while and like putting down roots? Yeah. Definitely definitely. I mean, I think I have gotten to love year of guessing to love the code on everything. The only variable for me, it's really kinda like my family if they get Belene and decide that they yet. Maybe it's not working or something that we have to figure out what to do. But for me personally. I think I kind of love the balancing on one of the things I kind of like, I'm seeing popularity tech detect space like his booming, very very, very big. And like I said I mentioned that one of the things to do was to this up. I want to start on I want to it's because is booming under government here actually is kind of promoting on aiding these things actually like if you if you tell the government yet, you want to going to start up the suddenly like the very supportive on everything for my guys that I know that's ino- into mental Pinochet sheep here. So it's generally something is on tonight. Love dec- part of the OJ kosher on something I don't figure out yet. But then I don't into figure out that we did not. So a semi savior for the next year for five years, then we decide whether we want to remain on the only thing I make me leave is probably my familiar decide. Maybe it's too cold. Or there's no saw something different kind of things that come. Make me think. Okay. Maybe we need to relocate again or go back to Nigeria or something like that. But aside. Yeah. But in is lovely. Yes. Ounds like I mean, just from how you're describing it as well. As from what I've heard from other people really sound like Berlin is kind of a good spot in Europe right now where a lot of things are going on in tech and design to so that's good to hear. Yeah. Definitely. I really lots of for the text of. I think maybe I would do my research more find out why? But like does talk this deck stop complaining in your NIST, though. Like, it's everywhere. Everybody is doing things aren't companies down, you know, like companies are striving. They're doing good just like, I haven't really studied. What is going on? So, but I think that needs to be something. Good opting for for really stops to be to be striving so much so much like we have companies that are beginning to d- deciding like currently we have Google. That split into calm to bidding open a big become those companies opening Amazon came recently opened his in Belene, and we have companies that are coming to Billy now. And I think for the starts this tech, boom is it's really daily state think enlist five to ten years is going to be well such rated it's actually going to be the Nestle converted us or type believe, okay? Thank you. What I believe it too. Yeah. Just to kind of wrap things up here where can our audience find out more about you and about your work on line? Among tweeter east, I've been blah. So my name is been blah and issues in front using Twitter. Disclaimer into politics on correctly election period in Nigeria so. You would see more election things. Yeah. But sometimes I try to do about coding or you can recharge amid they're than also obviously being dot com. We just might websites. Disclaimer is pretty old, but I'm a developer. So is a satirical in detection. Then also, there's I'm on medium, medium dot com slash is. You can find me on ghetto. And yeah, I do each of. Open-source things also gets up dot gov slash is below. So basically, citing any social media as you mentioned are open source. I remember we didn't really talk about that. But I guess we can get into it. Now, what kind of open source work? Are you doing at the moment? I tell you activity into themselves, but I think few days ago, I contributed to the NOC software did not library for me. I was once active into open source. I've been active of being of of done a beats into experts some years back, then frequent com also was on one of the things I've contributed to. But right now, I do more on kind of like neat busies than also I see how people use it by half, these Madurai roads, which is slack stress butter which allows you to exports you'll history from slack. If you have a slack up. Yes. But it's via Jesse in to sell it to focus on people really actually used that against. Get your shoes on people tell you contemplated out. So that is really kind of like parts of the main things I do in the in the open source. Okay. All right. Sounds good. Well, Abimbola, although I wanna thank you so much for coming on the show. Thank you for really kind of sharing your perspective. I think it's really really interesting. How you know when we have other people on the show, they often will start from a nontraditional kind of background like maybe they just had it as a hobby, and then they got into you know, technology or design or what have you, and it sounds like it's very similar with you. You kind of were used to kinda hacking things together, you know, rooting phones, you study something different. But now you've worked your way up now to being a developer one of the biggest software companies in Europe, which I think is a really kind of inspiring thing for anyone to know that there's not just one way to get into this industry. And certainly you're a success story that shows that so thank you so much for coming on the show. Appreciate. It. Thank you so much place to be here to shimmer talk about Belene talk about Nigeria. It's really mine is really my pleasure talk surely talk more about things, I'm happy to be on the show. And that's it for this week big, thanks to Bimbola Idowu. And thanks for listening. More about Abimbola and his work the links in the show notes at vision path dot com. Also, always to our sponsors Facebook designed to design and mail champ. Designing Facebook means more than just making pixel perfect prototypes. It's designed experiences like disaster. Relief tools are get out the vote efforts. It's working on problems that transformed a number of different industries. But it also means caring about the design community and giving back to as well. So if influencing product strategy and working alongside the product managers and engineers on a product from start to finish sounds gets you then you might want to check out Facebook design. Learn more about them at Facebook dot com slash. Zayn as a cooperative effort, led by designers, writers and developers. They work across teams to publish original content, producer events and foster creative and educational partnerships that advance both design and technology. For more information on news, design resources and our design podcasts. Check them out at design dot Google. Male trip is the world's largest marketing automation platform support millions of customers from small ecommerce shops too big online retailers and support the creative community as well. Including us. You know, Milton really gives you the marketing tools to be yourself on a bigger stage. Visit mail chimp dot com. Counts today. Vision brought to you by glitch the friendly community where you'll find that. Apple your dreams. Make sure you check us out at glitch dot com. Also, powered by simple cast, the easiest way for podcasters to publish and distribute audio on the internet check out the show notes for a link to sign up for fourteen day free trial. Episode was edited by RJ Basilio and produced by me MAURICE cherry voice, over his by music man Dray with Troy outdoor music by yellow speaker. If you then please, let more people know about it by leaving us a rating and a review on apple podcast takes about a minute. Or so to do and it really helps spread the word about revision path everywhere. You can also find us on Spotify Google podcasts. Soundcloud, wherever you find your favorite shows and make sure you're following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to search for revision. Thanks for listening.

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278: Annyce Davis

Revision Path

51:01 min | 2 years ago

278: Annyce Davis

"You're listening to the revision path podcast a weekly showcase of the world's blatant, graphic designers, web designers and web developers. Through in-depth interviews. You'll learn about their work their goals, and what inspires the mess creative individuals. Here's your host MAURICE cherry. Welcome to the revision path podcast. My name is MAURICE cherry before we get into this week's interview. Let's talk about our sponsors Facebook design, Google designed and Milton. You know, there's three things that set designing at Facebook apart from designing anywhere else scale variety and investments Facebook designs work has impacted scale, including your friends and family or people from the other side of the world. Facebook design also works on a huge and diverse range of problems, and they truly invest in design caring deeply about how their team might do their best work sounds interesting. The learn more at Facebook dot com forward slash design. Dougal design is a cooperative effort led by designers writers and developers at Google. They work across teams to publish original content produced great events and foster creative and educational partnerships that advance both design and technology. For more information on news, design resources and design podcasts. Check them out at design dot Google. Male chimp is the world's leading marketing platform for small businesses. Now before I started revision path, I had my own design studio called lunch, and I ran that for a little over nine years. And during that time, I've been fortunate to be a male chimp expert and later on become a male partner. So I know inside and out that maelstrom not only puts out a great product. For managing Email Facebook ads Instagram ads landing pages, postcards, all that stuff. But it's also a really great place to work full adult people some of which we've even had here on the show. So whether you're just starting out or you want to take your business to the next level give mail chimp? Try check them out at mail chimp dot com. Now for this week's interview we're talking to a niece Davis and Android developer and software team lead in Amsterdam Netherlands, but start the show. All right. So tell us who you are. And what you do well on the knees. And I'm the software team lead. I work at a startup that does solar energy in Africa. Am I primary responsibility is focused on Amer will products? So it's like our in house Android application as well as our upcoming consumer products. What are these like two separate companies that this is all under the same company? It's all under the same company. So the way that my company is structured electric is we have a fairly decent size Niba around south and people who are quite arrest als service force who go to the homes in Africa and help people understand what solar energy is all about. Collect that information for. Systems in off the we do service for people who have like solar, panel, issues, etc. And we use an Android application in order to handle that responsibility Dom responsible for that entered application, and then we're also starting to expand into more consumer facing products, and I'll also be responsible for that's going to be Android in Iowa. Where in Africa are these? I guess where you're bringing the solar energy where it Africa. Are you going right now where in Ghana Ivory Coast, Rwanda and Tanzania and we're expanding into Nigeria? That is really dove. It's really interesting to hear that like an Android app is kind of what's helping with the I guess the distribution in the the, maintenance and installation and everything of all this pretty dope. Very fun. And if the pricing because in the state, I think Iowa is so dominant that we don't realize that in the rest of the world, actually, Android is king pretty much. Everyone else has Android phones, though, just makes sense to support Android where we're doing work in Africa. I hope more people listening to this recognize that because I get clowned a lot for still edge, ROY. 'cause most of my friends. You don't hear the US, you know, iphone X, Y, z whatever. I guess you know from being an Android developer. And of course, being another country. Why is Android so popular everywhere else, except I'm not saying it's not popular in in the US, but why is Android so prevalent everywhere else? It's about the price point being the Android phones for the most part except for like we say like the Google pixel and things are so much cheaper to get in all though in Africa. There are customs Android devices. So people have devices that you've never heard of just all kinds of off brand names, they're running Android. So that's why so prevalent because you can get a really cheap foam. I could take no phone, for example. I had never heard of it until I started working for this company. But it's extremely popular in various parts of Africa. This is in the past on the blog as well. As in some other places where I've written I've seen and talked about some of those phones that you're mentioning it's like a different a different breath. Brand name. But like, the hardware is pretty much similar to what we have with smartphones, and it's running Android, and that's what's that's what's out in the market there. How did you first get started with Android development? So it's been awhile. Actually, I've been doing Android now about eight years, and it started with me getting my very first Android phone. And I was so interested in the fact that I could potentially make an app for something that I carry around in my pocket every day that I just started playing around learning it on my own, and then I made an app for work, and I showed my boss like look this is actually connecting to our API's in its running, Android. And that's basically how it became devout Burr. It was just such. It was the right time though, so early in the Android ecosystem, and it was just like right place. Right time amazing seeing how much Android as really grown and changed over. The remember the first was the first Android phone. I think it was the G one. The it came up through t mobile. It was like the Google. It was Google phone. But it was a g one on the screen kinda like slid over like a side kick. And there was a keyboard at all. Yeah. Funny story I recorded the very first episode of revision path on that phone. Let's go to Joe along this podcast. It's been around. But yeah, I've always been an Android faithful person 'cause it's very extensible, it's customizable, and I guess the price point also is sort of a good thing. I've always been able to get Android phones at a pretty reasonable price as opposed to. Although now, I guess with the way the market is in the US. That's not really so much the case if you wanna get a decent, Android phone. It's about the same as an iphone law. We're gonna have to pay now. But I still I have had Android fouls. Yeah. For like the past eight or nine years in I just could never see myself, not using enhanced joined you and people have another common misconception. Not the turn through like an Android fan cast or whatever. But. I know there are misconceptions that people have about Android as it relates to. I guess I feel like it's more about hardware than software. If that makes any sense whenever I see people talking about the differences between Android denial s it tends to boil down to the camera for some reason. I don't really understand that. But I think it's the whole, you know, Amec ama- PC thing is just April identify with their products in the brain in a certain way. So it doesn't matter. It could be exactly the same thing. But they just identify with apple in I less with that brand names for so they'll they'll stick with it. You know, so weird I know use use a combination of PC an MAC Android denial S like I'm on the PC right now. But there's an ipad mini mounted to my desk. And then I have my Android phone next to me. I've got an ipad pro. But you know, to me, it's not I dunno. I guess people. Kind of get locked into one thing. And then that's just what that's just what they do as oppose quackery was tech like a big part of your childhood. Say it was a big part of my childhood. But I do remember pretty early on maybe like around fifth graders. So that's when I decided, okay, I'm going to be a programmer and ever since. Then I just always stayed in science math technology. I went to like a special science and technology high school by sort of always stayed in that focused from prettier Leon you major in college as well. Yeah. Did computer engineering which is interesting because it's a mix of computer science and electrical engineering and about halfway through. I realize that pretty much hated electrical engineering, but. I wanted to people like well. I said I'm going to do computer generics. I'm just gonna see it through. And I ended up getting a degree in computer engineering, but I started putting more and more computer science classes in so at at the end of it. I knew okay, yes, I'm going to be a programmer, this, electrical engineering piece. It was nice to know. But you know, not gonna use it in life. I think there's also something to be said to about how much curriculum is kinda changed over the years. I know and I got in college. I started out with computer science, computer, engineering because I wanted to learn how to make websites. This was that. What was your was this ninety nine when this happened? And I remember my adviser telling me point blank that the the web is a fad in a net is just a fad. And that if this is something that you really wanna study, then you should change your major, which I ended up doing because the only thing that we were learning in not the only thing, but what we will learning in the computer. Science computer engineering program was C, plus plus, and I was understanding it. But it wasn't like clicking. I guess for me. And I wanted to know like when are we going to start learning HTML, and the professor was just laugh like, oh, that's you know, we don't do that here. And now, I feel like with curriculum the way it is. Now, you can go to a lot of different schools and get I feel like a pretty good solid education in I mean, web stuff, but also engineering and things like that. So I know curriculum sometimes can be slow to change with colleges because they're just these big archaic institutions, but also got places like general assembly. You've got courses like, Linda, you have you have to Lynda courses, you know, courses like that where people can kind of supplement that knowledge with more recent things that are happening out in the field. I definitely there's always this debate in technicality about like boot camp graduates versus people who follow the more traditional. Approach getting their degree in computer, science, etc. And ultimately, it's about the experience it's about your experience. So as someone who hires people, I'm always looking for the experience, I'm looking for someone who's eager to learn new things as a self starter can be independent Knaw that. So I don't know I feel by colleges will have to adjust to the fact that employers are no longer thing. This is a hard requirement for someone to work for me in do technical thing. I think earlier this year, both Google and the apple were saying that they were kind of getting rid of the college requirement for people that applied there. So it's becoming I guess less and less of a a mandatory requirement. But it's more about like, you say your experience in the other skills that you bring to the table yet. So it was what you're doing right now, you're in mas- with his actually a question from our audience, and he wanted to know this person's name is Cornelius. He wanted to know so. Now that you're a management. Do you think that you'd ever go back to being primarily a solo contributor? Now. That I would now because when you're just taking like the individual contributor track the amount of influence that you can have on the final product is somewhat limited and also in many companies the impact that you can have on other developers is somewhat limited. So now that I've started moving towards more management tract. I can influence people in a different way. So I'm having one on one with people in unnatural talking about coding standards. I'm talking about professionalism. How you can communicate working in a distributed team. How does that differ? When you're co located all these things as fail actually helped people lead to move in whatever direction they want with their career, and you're more likely to do those things when you're going towards more management track versus individual contributor. A lot of sense too. Because like you say when you're just sort of one person on the team, it's hard to make that big of an impact throughout the company, and I guess it may depend on the company structure. But yeah, once you get to that management level, you're influencing a team you really kind of overseeing the work as opposed to getting in there with ya. And like getting your hands dirty too much. I guess. Yeah. Made that I work at a startup, obviously, I've still coating a lot. It's a small team when rooting fast things are always changing. So it's not like, oh, no. I'm just gonna stop coding. Now. I can't see myself not coding. Yeah. I I just can't see myself NAT coding, even if I was like fee te'o of a company, I would probably have some side projects that I was packing on all the time because I really enjoy. I just enjoy doing it. Helps keep your skills sharp too. Yeah. That's definitely over friend. Who's a he's a senior. Yeah. He's actually it's been on the show assigning locally. But his senior vice president at Deutsche, and he has a team, you know, that he overseas, but he will stay late at the office, and like pull in long hours coding getting stuff in and I think for him it's important to show his team that like I'm not just talking head at the top. Like, I'm here with you like I'm working in doing the same kinda work that you're doing so don't I dunno? It's something that I'm I I also work at sort of a startup which is kind of a startup, although we've been around for eighteen years, so not really start up, but we've changed and grown so much just within the past few years. And I know what you mean about it's you kinda can't really divorce yourself that much from doing the work of getting in there and really kind of tackling being hands on. I get that. I'm the same way. I feel like a half to still have. My hand on something working on it in order for me to feel like I'm making an impact. Yeah. It's definitely different. Also because when you start doing more management things, I think it's really easy to feel. Well, I haven't done anything productive. Because Wayne, you're coding, you know, I checked in the lies of code I closed this Jared ticket. I reviewed this poor request their things very discreet somewhat quantitative items that you can point to say, yes, I did this this met non productive. But when you're doing management, you have to try to think of it from will, how am I helping other people to be productive? How did I- unblock this person? Okay. I helped this other person understand the importance of having disability to the work that they're doing in that has this like long-term back. It definitely takes a different way of thinking to fill a similar level of contentment are absolutely totally. Retirement from there. Let's go back to off grid, which is is the startup that she worked for what's a typical daylight for you there. I mean, we've kind of mentioned already you're doing one on ones and stuff, but on an average day what kind of work are you doing? Our an avid stay what outdo is a going to office three days a week. So FA enough pick one of the office days ahead in the office. And the first thing I've already started doing is responding to emails since the company is distributed. We have people who are in the state people in Russia who've already been working for two hours. And then we have the team in Amsterdam when people in Africa. So one thing I've tried to do is make sure that I've unblocked anyone who's in Russia 'cause they've already started working in. If they've sent me messages are just try to deal with it in handle it. So it like kind of unblocking people staff line, then the next thing I do is look at my schedule and see where I have chunked of meetings are trying to Chuck my. Eatings because I like to work uninterrupted, and I'll say okay, great hasn't meeting into ours. So it gives me two hours of uninterrupted work. Then I'll take the next like high priority issue that needs to be addressed gonna put my headphones on and I listened to sorta like brainwave music, and I just focused for that whole two hours on what needs to be done. Nestle to pop back out do meetings unblock more people in endure it again vowed typically have maybe one to two like really strong focus hours to work on architecture or coding low phase. I'm going to do that with my meetings because my meetings often are like spread out. I'll either have like a chunk in the morning, and then there's like a huge gap a time. And then I've got maybe one or two at the end of the day that makes a lot of sense to kind of try to if I could I'd get them all on maybe one or two days. But I don't have that luxury yet. I'm telling you that is a game changer so much as possible. I try to have any meetings on Wednesdays. Most like no meeting Wednesdays. This gives you a whole day to do focus work catch up on things just though block and tackle Wednesdays. And then if someone tries to like drop, a meeting on my schedule, that's may be you know, inbetween some other meetings. Then I asked them, please, can you chunk it with this other meeting that I have or can we rescheduled for another day where I have this block of meeting times because otherwise I feel very distracted like, okay, thirty minutes. I can try to get into the heads base of something that I need to work on in a leading. It's so it's so ineffective in unproductive for developers to constantly have their day broken up by meeting here. The hopeful folks that are listening to that advice to mind is is this the first time that you've worked on a distributed team now actually before coming to off grid. I was working for the Washington Post or a long time. I was there for about seven years and part of our backing team was based in Russia as well. So I did have some interaction with thin. And I think I had maybe one person in Boston, and I was in the Washington DC area. But nothing to be extent where it is. Now, where it's like people all over the place all kinds of times. Definitely with a big adjustment. Speaking of big adjustments. You're in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. We've had a few folks on the show recently who are kind of I guess ex-pats to new countries in Europe. So we've had at the top of the year, we had a Bemba Idowu who's in Berlin. He's originally from Lagos we've had Courtney Pinter who is in Zurich, and she's originally from Chicago, how long have you been in the Amsterdam area? First thing of the year, so January, and then yeah, it's a whole year. I can't believe it. But yeah. Almost a whole year here. Has been the biggest change for you. So far, I think the biggest change in Hal, the Dutch communicate, and it is very different from how we communicate in the state at least in my area, I tend to think of myself as a direct person. So when I was moving to Amsterdam people are like, oh, yes. The Dutch are so direct almost rude. Mike Wallich, I'm direct. I can handle it. I'm bready drop me, and this other 'nother level of directness that you're not necessarily prepared for because we're we're as Americans we do tend to be like morning. Hi, excuse me. Pardon me. You know, we tend to do all those things, but they don't necessarily feel the need to engage in a nice appease. So you won't have that. It's on what might the bump into you in keep walking. Oh, wow. Yeah. From the DNB like, whoa. Oh, okay. Yeah. Absolutely. I get you. Yeah. It's like way. Okay. You bump into someone. They don't do anything you just keep walking. So it's just a different mindset where you're like. Okay. They didn't they use me Ed where all okay with this. All right. Let's just you know, wrap your head around it, you know, it's just different things like that where you're not necessarily used to or meeting like left, they were at work, and we're meeting they tend to be very Frank very honest about things they don't sugarcoat anything we say, no that's not a good idea that won't work where maybe in America Hussein. That's an interesting idea. Kim, you try to break down how we think that might work. I mean, ultimately, we don't think it will work either. But. Just say, you know, interesting because they wouldn't be tolerated. But certainly people would think you're being rude or being very very sharp with people what? Instead, you're just like I just I'm just trying to get to the point a widening is we need or what we don't need without all the kind of like flowery other stuff around it. That's great book on it called the kosher, Matt. And it just breaks down all of these different dimensions of how people communicate in business based on their country of origin. And it was so fascinating to read it and to compare myself American to Dutch person in how we communicate in business into see those gaps in alignment, it helped me to bring things into perspective because you can't go into someone country their world and expect them to change you go in and say, okay. What can I change especially with your viewpoint? So that I can make the most of this experience. It's called the culture map is what it's called the culture map you. I'm gonna have to check that out because like a glitch. We are distributed team. So the company is based in New York. I'm in Atlanta, we have people throughout the US. I think we have one or two people in Canada. We've got someone in the UK in Italy. We just brought on someone in Ireland someone in Denmark. So I know that we're expanding out. Certainly I think we've always kind of been distributed in that way. But certainly as we bring on new people in there from different countries. It's like getting those different communication styles together, and how does the meetings and things like that? And even as I not thinking about as I build out my team, I think my team is mostly going to be in New York. But if we happen to branch out past there, that's something that I would need to be considerate of. I mean, not even think about it. When I talk to people here on the show. You know, I've talked to people from all over, and I definitely can tell a difference from. Someone who is in another country or from another country than from someone here in the state just a difference. I don't know a different level of directness. That's not necessarily rude. It's just more to the point of what it is trying to say. And then then you'll have the flip side in some countries. They just do not get to the point. The film waiting like. Okay. And the point is. Yeah. I definitely recommend that book. It helps you to have a proper perspective and to realize that people are just different. It's not better. It's not worse. It's just different. So we're talking about speaking you do a lot of public speaking. I know we have some folks in our audience who definitely want to speak at conferences. They wanna speak at Vance talk about how you got started as a public speaker. Okay. My first talk was about three years ago at a conference and initially I wasn't going to apply and then one of my Twitter friends reached out to me and say like, hey, a bunch of effort and applied we could this conference. I read your blog. I know you have something that you can talk about you should apply to speak. And I thought about it and thought about it, and I'm like, okay, let's give it a shot. So I tried to speak, and then the first round of acceptance had went out to everyone so people like speaking day, and I didn't get accepted, and I was so down. And then I thought about it. No, I belong at that conference. I have something important to share in. I wanna speak there. So I started creating a draft of my slides with what I wanted to share. And I e bailed one of the conference organizers ingested, hey, I noticed. I didn't make it in the first round. But I just want to let you know. I'm so excited to speak at your conference. This is what I have to offer a here the draft of my flies. And then like the next day, I got accepted. So that my first conference talk story. Use. Let's say you you want him over with your with your talk be participant. My first Beetham advice is be persistent. Sometimes you just need to say like, hey, look, this is what I can offer your conference, and that may sway the vote in your favor. So that's what happened at my first conference talk and honesty when mealy well, I was so excited a couple of people from the Android community were in the audience, and they tweet it out support for it. And I think it was just all uphill downhill from there, then once you sort of build up, your reputation conferences beach out to you directly into say, hey, we're having this event coming up we will love if he would be able to be the interested. That's how you can get going. And you're basically in this likes circuit of speakers, and you can pick pick your poison. Nice and speaking on the very specialized subject about Android developments. I would imagine that makes you even more in demand, dad, Rodham, Android, conferences, and more and more popping up all over the world says really up to you to say, okay. What do you want to be known for? So that you're not known for everything. I guess, you know, like pick something that's like special for you in NB known for that day. And I think that's also another key to doing well in the conference circuit. How has speaking helped your career? Oh, wow. I think so some concrete things that I talk that I gave you three years ago. Someone from O'Reilly media saw the talk and said, oh, we'd love be to do. A course for a rally based on this talks content in dot com. Okay. And never really thought about doing all night courses. All right. Let's give it a shot. And that's when I did my first course for them. And then after that with more people saying like, hey, I'm also doing some online content. Would you be interested in creating something for us? Sure. And it all started from speaking at a conference, even the fact that I work here at offered electric. It's from someone that I met in the conference circuit Badri stats meet that, hey, look, we're hiring for this position. We love you to come. Join our team. Let me know if you're interested to all of these different things started out from just taking a chance being persistent in speaking at a conference. Wow. All of just from from speaking at conferences. I mean, that's good to hear because I feel like I mean, I don't know if it's difference in the tech sphere. But I know in the designs fear, I feel like there's a same six or seven dozen people that end up getting recycled between conferences and vents and need ups and keynotes and stuff. And it's rare that you get to hear from newer voices for more diverse, voices, etc. I feel like in the tech community. It's a bit more open to that respects. And maybe that's because the conversations around diversity have been more prevalent than they have been in designed or at least more public. I would say than they've been in design. Do you find now that even with the speaking that you're doing that you're starting to see like a newer crop of folks coming up and giving talks back net rating from when I first started. It's so much more diverse. And I know one thing. Cropper to that doing? Now, they're doing blind voting where the first round all we see is like the talk title in abstract. And then there's a committee of people who gave it a rating. And then afterwards, we just take the top few. And then we go through. And then finally, we say okay now who are these people, and I think that makes a difference. Because then you're judging talk based on the mayor is this title enticing enough is the abstract media that people would say, oh, yes, I want to learn more about this that type of thing needs to happen more. So that you can have more diverse speakers out there showing the the world what they have to offer. And then the other thing that I've seen is. I think is it this year yet this year, I offer to review abstracts for people for joy Conrad land, which is huge enjoy conference and only. The one woman asked me to review her abstract. Everyone else worth men, and then some of the people the title was kinda boring or sorta all but the extract was good. But we just say, okay. You know, what let me be a few ideas when you think about these three different titles. Ooh, I like this one. And then all of a sudden they're talking expected. So I think I think part of it is just people who are beakers being open to say, okay. Look people. I'm willing to help you show me your title show me your abstract, and I'll give you some feedback in. Yeah. Now, like, you're more likely to be affected. But as far as women goes, I I just think sometimes it has to be a personal invitation by high person, I could choose to speak at this offer most the you mentioned that I remember I've seen studies in read articles about how that is the case, I it more. So I think broke down around the hiring. Like, I was seeing things saying that if you wanna have more women apply for certain positions, you'll need to invite them personally. Because chances are if there's even one woman by guessing like the the group of men may be just probability speaking here. But that the women won't get chosen for the job or won't get a callback or something to that effect. And I think it's something, you know, granted that is just rampant ugly, pervasive sexism that's in the industry. But it also shows that organizers in such, you know, need to do just more outreach in general. So like what you're saying with the blind voting? I think that's really great because then you're able. Just look at the ideas for their merits. But if the person never submits their idea that it's like there's there's kind of only so much. You can do it's a it's odd sort of a it's a conundrum I guess that happens like getting more people involved in wanting to to talk and share their experience. But then also knowing that it's not. I don't know. This is making any sense like like a four more women. You want? I have more women submit their ideas. But then of course, it goes blind voting, and it's like, oh, well, we don't really know who are picking. But we wanna make sure that we have diversity. I I can see how it could be confusing. Now, I've organized a few different events, and I struggle with the same things as other conference organizers where a may reach out to a handful when women even in my personal network. And it's like oh sorry. I'm busy. I'm this. And that and people are entitled to that. But it's just a lot harder to get as much diversity as you want. Even just in the pool of people who submitted talks. So I'm yeah. I definitely a really tricky problem. But I do think blind voting helps and I think faith in speakers saying, hey, I'm offering my time. I'm willing to review things will also help. I think that's a really good thing that you've got those season speakers that are kind of reaching back to help out the next generation. That's coming up. What do you want to accomplish most in twenty nineteen? You have a dream project or anything that you love to do or something along those lines. Thank question. I think for me twenty nineteen will be about finding the proper balance. That's something that I try to eight or every year pretty much, but I feel like now that I'm here in the Netherlands. I have a chance to be healthier like physically as well. Mythili just a healthier more balanced person. And I tend to like be go go, go, go go, and and for twenty nineteen I honestly just want to slow down and give myself time to just be like, a healthier more centered person is Amsterdam a good city for that it ideal for it. First of all absolutely loved walking. I just love to walk with no purpose. I just walk in Clermont head and all those good things, and it's such a beautiful city and it has sidewalks everywhere. So I just walk for like an hour and their sidewalks. And I'm just walking walking. So if you're familiar with Maryland at all there's very few sidewalks cannot just walk aimlessly all around late. Chorus city. So I know. Respect you like it doesn't want to to walk much by. But the Netherlands is perfect for it. So I think for me that's just something that I wanted to try to be more more mindful of my own like health and things like that. Do you have a dream project or anything that you'd love to do this year? But I Bailey went to accomplish next year is to release a cross platform application, I been spending my time learning a lot about clutter which grew will announce and goes like the twenty seventeen Goliath, and now it's stable and made a one Daito version a couple of weeks ago. And so I really would like to push letter to its limits and get something real out the door next year. So when you say is cross platform. So basically you make the app and it works on I o s an Android that doesn't have to be two separate versions. Exactly. They are writing food in the dart programming language is what it is you using like the flutter framework and flutter widgets to create your you. I in programmatic UI, and then that would be compiled down until like native code that. Can then be. He created into the separate binary one for Android and one for Iowa's. Nice. I would love to see more stuff. Like that. It always bugs me when I see apps come out for us. And then it's like Android coming soon, which means Android coming when we get more funding because they just prioritize Iowa's version. I. Exactly. And then it's funny because then you'll see the reverse in Africa. They available Isla. Maybe maybe not. Interesting. Isn't it also Mike more expensive? I guess in terms of like joining the the IOS apps store and everything like it's much. It's much more expensive to do that than join the Google play store, or is it about the same cost. I don't remember. Now, apple more benches and a last time I checked I think there's just maybe a hundred bucks. Elaine a year something like that. And then think Google is like twenty five dollars forever. Yeah. If in price point, but also in past I when I've done some work. It was such a hassle to work with all the provisioning profile faith that apple had going on. And I'm just hoping I've read a few articles that make it seem as if they streamlined the process some some hoping that's actually true. When you look back at your career. I mean, you worked at the Washington Post like you said, even as I did my research, and this something you, and I have in common. We both worked at NASA hourly. Yeah, you worked at Goddard. I two internships. One at Marshall in Alabama Marshall space Flight Center and one at Ames research center out in California. When you look back though at your career. What are you wish you would have known when you first started? I think for me the major thing I wish I would've known is that work is not school when you cannot just work really hard finish. All your projects will in time meat off a debt rise and go to your boss and say come and expect you're just gonna get a because work is so much more than what you do. It's about what people think you do. It's about what you're bringing to the company it's Abacha visibility. It's about how you advocate for yourself. It's office politics with you like it or not work is just not school any took me. So long to understand that into just accept it. Whether I liked it or not, that's the fact. Not a word. That's why you just you. Just spoke word must be with them. Look. Oh my God. My my first few jobs after I graduated college. I definitely was in that same vein of like while I'm doing all the things why is it that, you know, why not progressing or whatever. And part of. It was just I was stuck in like these dead end jobs that I mean, I I graduate degree in math. And like the only thing you could really be at that time was a math teacher or go to grad school and or become an actuary. And none of that really was was a attractive to me. So I like soul tickets at the symphony in I was a telemarketer, and I was treating work like school like, oh, if I just show up and just do the work, then it's it's fine. But yeah, like, you said, it's so much more than that work is a it is a multidimensional experience that why think none of us really understand until we're in it now at a chair. Yeah. Who keeps you motivated and inspired throughout everything that you're doing. Is there any? One in particular, any peers or mentors family members anyone like that. Of course, I'll have to say by husband rarely he keeps me he keeps me grounded. So one thing is I tend to over analyze everything. And I'll say, oh, I put this course out there. It was my my best work so far. Why doesn't everyone love it? You know? And he's kind of like, okay, why didn't you create? The course you enjoy the process of creating the course did it achieve the goal that you wanted. And I'm Rick. Yes. Okay. Yes. I did. Yeah. Yes. Then it doesn't matter. And it just sorta helps bring me back to be Isla de. So I need that person in my life who listens to every talk. Even though he's not in the tech space at all. He doesn't even know about what I'm talking about in every talk in the I just find that so supportive it he'll say, oh, wait right there. I didn't unfair to saying I think you need to add another sweater something in explain that a bit more, and I just really need that in other thing is. I have people in the Android community who I looked to as like, unofficial mentors. One of them. He told me I'm really down about something. Someone had comment on a blog post or something anything look everything you do in life. You have to think about the rule of third. So a third of the people with support you a third of the people don't care and the third of the people will be negative as soon as you get some sort of feedback into your funnel you quickly. Just put it in the bucket where it belongs. And you keep it moving is like when you dwell on negative feedback is stopped you from being productive. So if I already know, okay? This thing came in which bucket to go in I put it there. And then I can move on. And it honesty has helped me so much to just stay focused on executing and that get caught up in negative people. That's a good philosophy though to have I like that rule of thirds. That's really good. Where do you see yourself in the next five years what kind of work? Do you wanna be doing at that point three myself in the next five years as may be like, a director of technology somewhere or chief technology officer somewhere, I really want to have a larger impact in companies, and I wanna be more strategic in what it is that I'm bringing to the table versus just like coding or doing things that are on more on an individual contributor level. Do you have any advice that you've got the side from the rule of thirds, I guess count. But is there any advice that you would give to somebody that wants to follow in your footsteps? They see the work that you're doing. You're overseas, you're working with you know, nonprofits and stuff in Africa. Like, what advice would you give to someone? That wants to do what you're doing now fame here money at this. I know that may sound a little silly. But I know no, none this economy. Okay. Yeah. So I think that is the best of bites. So that you don't have to feel like you own your job something because I feel that some people they get stuck financially. And then they feel obligated like, well, no one else is going to hire me and pay me this same amount of money or it's going to be too hard for me to try to move and handle my financial obligations. But if you can find a way to save up some money, you're more likely to take a risk. You're more likely to say, you know, what? Yes, I do work at a very stable company. But there's the super exciting startup that I would love to to participate it, and I'm all in on their mission. Let me take a chain. And I and I just feel like a lot of things over the past five years or so have been me just taking a chance, and I think. That's really important because you don't know where the next opportunity will come from save your money that is some real pertinent. I like that. I love that actually save your money. I like, I think he might be the first person who said that some. Nothing. Other people don't give great advice. But like nobody no one ever says like save you money because you never know. I yeah. But yeah, I I get that sense of like it is harder to take that risk when that's looming over you. Because you know, that I like how that saying goes where like you shouldn't leave a job. Once you got another one kind of lined up, it stems from that like not having that financial cushion or base, or what have you to allow you to take those kind of leaps in risks without any sort of a downfall. Yeah. I mean think about it. You'll read these stories of people were founders of companies and all this stuff. And then they'll tell you. I just quit my job. And then my dad paid my mortgage for the next year, and I ran all in focusing on the mission. And now, I'm a billionaire or something like very extreme thing. They did in one hand. They did they took a chance in worked out for them. But on the other hand, I naturally they were okay they were making. And I think if you can't do that. Then you're not willing to take a chance you're not willing to say, you know, what I'm going nowhere at this job. Let me try this other job. Maybe I'll make a little extra money initially. But I learned that new thing that will help me to take Mak career to the next level in. It's all connected to whether or not you feel financially they enough to do it. So have you might want to nineteen let be your your New Year's resolution so just to kind of wrap things up here where can audiences find out more about you and about your work on line and pretty active on Twitter? They can find me on Twitter at Brown, girl dead. And then also at Lincoln so free to Jack meteors. Well, all right. Sounds good. Well on these Davis. I wanna thank you just so much for coming on the show. Thank you really for just sharing your story. Like, you said, and this is before he recorded you talked about how important it is to be visible and to advocate for yourself. And I think certainly with the advice that you've given in this interview as well as just talking about your own personal experience. I hope that the listeners get that. And they understand how important that is in order for them to really advance in their career and just advance in life in period. So thank you so much. Much for coming on the show. I appreciate it. Thank you so much for having me. This is awesome. And that's it for this week. Big thanks to a niece Davis. And thanks to you for listening. You can find out more about the Nissan her work through the links and the show notes at flips dot com forward slash revision path. Also, thanks as always to our sponsors Facebook design, design and mail ching. Designing a Facebook means more than just making pixel perfect prototypes. It's designing experiences like disaster relief, tools or get out the vote efforts. 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Randall Parrish

Revision Path

1:01:11 hr | 11 months ago

Randall Parrish

"You're listening to the revision. Pat podcast a weekly showcase of the world's black graphic designers web designers and web put through in-depth interviews. You'll learn about their work. Their goals and what inspires them as creative individuals? Here's your host Maurice Cherry low. Everybody welcome to revision path. My name is Maurice Cherry before we jump into this week's interview I just want to remind you once again about our annual audience survey as you know. Revision path has been around since two thousand thirteen. That's seven years which is a really long time when it comes to podcasting and you know in the seven years. We've really ended up becoming a platform to showcase black designers and developers digital creatives from all over the world. And we WANNA know. How can we make this better for you? How can we make revision path better and in order to do that? We need your input so we can grow and sustain ourselves and this really odd landscape that is designed media and of course you WanNa keep giving you more of these really great conversations that you just won't find anywhere else so to help us out. We've put together a survey you can head over to revision path. Dot Com slash survey to fill that out takes five minutes or so to do and we will choose one lucky person that fills out the survey to win a two hundred and fifty dollar Amazon Dot Com gift card again. That survey is at revision path dot com forward slash survey. The survey is going to be up until the end of the month may thirty first. I want to thank you again so much for listening. Thank you for your time. Thank you for your feedback. Now let's talk about our sponsors for revision path. Facebook design and abstract design is a proud sponsor of revision to learn more about how the facebook design community designing human needs and unprecedented scale. Please visit facebook dot design. This episode is also brought to you by abstract design. Workflow MANAGEMENT FOR MODERN DESIGN TEAMS. Spend less time searching for design files and tracking down feedback. That's been more time focusing on innovation and collaboration like glitch but for designers abstract your teams version control source of truth for design work with abstract conversion sketch designed files present. Work request collect feedback and give developers direct access to all specs from one place. Sign your team up for free. Fourteen Day trial today by heading over to www dot abstract dot com. Now for this week's interview I'm talking with Randall. Perish an art director at Sonos in Santa Barbara California. Let's start the show all right so tell us who you are. And what you do through their Randall Perish. I'm art director at Sonos. I work on the interactive experienced team which basically controls the mobile design application for all SONOS speaker systems. Okay now for starters I know you're you're new there you've been there. What like a month two months now. I've been here about five weeks so I'll five weeks. I took a one-way ticket on March nine Moving three thousand miles away from everything I've ever known and I was in the Office for about four days before the whole city shut down. Wow well first of all congratulations on the new gig though. This is probably a a very unprecedented time to start job. So like how are you holding up? You know what's really interesting? It's like when thought about moving to California visiting in January and Santa Barbara is just this like this amazing simulation of just perfection. It's like this beautiful beach town. There's flowers everywhere there's wineries and restaurants and of course the second I get there all I can do is unpack really slowly and just take calls from my couch. It's like it's amazing because you still know there's all this amazing potential out there on the other end you're dislike why me why now but Still very optimistic. If it's like you know like I'm still connect with the CO workers. Everyone's been very friendly and everyone says understand that this is not what anyone imagined for themselves this month or this year and all that kind of throw myself into the unpacking and work and just being acquainted and then I get to kind of make a bit of an itinerary for later so now I feel a little less guilt about holding still on the weekends. And you were only in the office for four days like that even a full workweek. Full Week technically. I was like breaking into another week but I wasn't supposed to college and have wi fi at the time. 'cause all services are a little slower than they used to be so there was a brief week where. I had the like just gigantic industrial thunderdome to myself or I was the only person they're just playing with all the hardware really loudly but the following week. Everything was shut down. It was starting to become like a bit of a risk between like security in delivery people and regular employees for or for real days before I was just completely shut out and just housebound. So you mentioned that you work on the on the APP experience of Sono so I know most people know Sono says the actual physical speakers. You have the little play one. You have to play three which is kind of a larger in the play. Five is the huge one. You've got and I say this because I have been in my apartment but like you have the the play Bass that you have the sub you got the sound bar like there's a bunch of different hardware components that go onto win in. They're all tied together with this mobile APP. So talk to me about like what your day. Consistent sounds like you would possibly have to interface with a lot of hardware. But unfortunately you can't get your data the office so let me kind of explain like kind of further. Numerous what my title academies in relation to kind of the rest of the team so as of right now I believe we are about sixty one designers are so we're quite a few I've never worked in a place. That was internal first of all ED. This is like I've never seen quite so many different people with different ownerships have different aspects of the product so as art director. I'm kind of in this this role. Where my role is supposed to be about owning the Design System Symphony? So if you cannot design systems old happened it's still like thing that's Kind of a bit new and up and coming in still trying to be just kind of regulated within the context of Santos so kind of the idea for my role is to be very connective tissue between a lot of other teams so we have a different team to handle setup different team to handle different aspects or kind of like sub branches of the APP but people who are also handling some of this branches also work on purely hardware or other maybe non software angles of the as well so my job is to sort of be this person. Who's like understanding? What are the needs that one that the APP needs to do to our other teams using the court design system so consistency across three? I'm going to also ask where you all missing like. What are you all need me to ingest the system and also maintained and spit back out. And how can we kind of work together to also have a thing where we can kind of cross between all these sixty designers as well as we're doing that I'm also trying to be Tissue to marketing. So we're asking a broad questions like how can we make you know the outfield bit? More DOT COM. How can we make the DOT COM mark? Yeah I've how can you basically find consistency inside a brand voice tonality across these different sorts of channels because this is of new undertaking right? Now we're in this like really kind of amazing renaissance where we've just been on a great kind of like upward hiring tilt and that's because I think we like a lot of organizations the last like four to five years I would save like really started to just really amp up. Just how seriously? They're taking design. I think Zion starting to really get this kind of see the table. People are starting to understand the value in the ROI on design so seeing all these kind of different companies. Who would've thought very design centric right like you know hung? Its Hat on being this. Almost like the apple of speakers right but in terms of software. They were you know it's I think I can tell it easily. Say That maybe. They weren't as competitive as they should have been. At the time I know the the scientists have used to be trashed. It was really bad. It was it was super bad but the hardware. It was amazing. So you kind of forget right speaker says that you were like I don't care how bad this APP it sounds so good like that's true. That's true in a interviewed. I outright said I said I didn't think the play one was a good until airplay was added and they gave me a fun stat turns out significantly less people use airplay than you might think. I was very blown away by the metric. See that I can see like right now like I have in the Living Room. I got to play ones at play Bass and so I have them just connected as a like a surround sound thing which is mostly how I use it like for gaming so I can get the really good sound when I'm playing playstation or whatever which is great I love it for that and maybe this is just me. I rarely actually play music speakers but I think it's because I have them hooked up to the television now before I did that and I connected with the play place had I think I had one in the living. No one living room and one in the bedroom and I would use the APP to like play music to it like I wish this was before. Well chrome cast was out around this time but like the ability to cast to a speaker or something like that which. Google kind of let you do that. Google play kind of lets. You Cast Chew Sonos speakers. I don't know how that all works out. Sometimes it does sometimes. It doesn't but it didn't used to be such a great harmonious experience so that's interesting to to kind of hear that thinking. I'd all these all these things. I just like kind of relations between all these different things like soda. Sort of like right in our existing this kind of Switzerland tennis like Google Oil Ho boy. Have we got? Yeah Yeah because a lot of what we do a lot of what you pride ourselves on is kind of being this like this amazing connective tissue between hundreds of services. Now some of those are like you know the large partners like Amazon and Google and apple but we also have all those small time partners. So it's always interesting. When Jacob moments where like a big time partner has like maybe an integration or something. That isn't always working quite the way you would expect. And there's there are all sorts of wild kind of hijinks and reasons for why something is or isn't a certain way but it's not always up to us so I mean how did you first get started at south so like first week or had. I GET DISCOVERED GUITAR. I got discovered so. Let me kind of like really wanted it back a bit so. I'll say it was like maybe August of last year. I got like a ping from a recruiter. I'd never actually had applied to them. So initially I got a call about a kind of creative director of mobile APPs. Kind of job from them and like when I got the email they were just like. Oh how do you feel about relocation and I grew up in northern Virginia. I've lived in like you know like Arlington DC metro area might entire life. And like you caught me at this like kind of very interesting kind of apex moment. In my life I was still very fresh off a break up like it was a wild just tumultuous time my life because I had this sort of plan in my life or what. I thought that my following years we're going to be and I get this call and I'm just like Ha- catching it every time in my life. I this is suddenly something. That's that seems on the table. If I gotten this call six months a year ago I would have been like. Oh sorry can't do. I would let go straight voicemail but but the timing was just impeccable for just you know making me really take it seriously. The other part was like when I got the call. I already had four play ones in the house. So it wasn't that I didn't necessarily need coaxing. That be hardware was any good or like you know it was like actually worth selling or being engaged in the other part was just ask myself. Okay like what do I really want to work on? You know like I come from an agency back. I've done that for about the last eight years straight You know like half the fun was he gets reset your mind pretty often you get to try a lot of different things you get to reset pretty frequently but I asked myself i. You don't always get to choose the topic and you're not guaranteed to love whatever project you're on next and what if. I could actually choose the thing that could actually fall in love with you. Know what if I could do this? And this new shiny plays just kind of do not quite recent but like a natural continuation in this kind of very just like amazing brave intricate way. You know so yes I got that call Knox and just kind of like a little up there I can tell you interview highlights and things like that but that's kind of like how the The initial seed. I mean the fact that they sought you out is amazing. That's great I mean clearly. Clearly you were doing something worth you know that was worthy of them seeking you out in that way. I do pride myself because like backward I left you see like the top like twenty one designers there on the trending metrics was. I think I had more followers than like the capital design. Team capital I have your cars so I think it was dribbles. Such like a funny you just interesting way to like generate traffic and just be seen in a city. That's as no I say small but like the size that DC is like out in La. I feel like I would have never gotten a half the opportunities because I think the density is so much higher but in DC. I think it's like just the right market for just like a mid size kind of targeting person like me to like get picked up so you mentioned symphony the design system at sonos outside of that other other projects that you're working on or is that the main thing right now that's the main thing mostly because are still some other things that I might kind of like target. There's a few things have been kinda shift around. Priorities are still being readjusted. All the time but owning symphony is kind of like expected to be kind of a very large kind of major undertaking. It touches so many aspects of what other teams are doing so for example. It's like we have like a team that operates on Saturday. We have other teams that own other areas of the APP anytime that they have like a new feature that they WANNA do. It has to still be ingested somewhere sauce to work within the system and we saw to make sure that we aren't creating Sandwich bloat within the system that you know we just have a million different unique one off pieces everywhere so a lot of assets about a little bit about managing. But it's also about trying to kind of meet in the middle a little bit so I kind of see. Does this kind of great opportunity to kind of be a little bit from negotiator between people and the reason why I think I was kind of chosen for the job. Y kind of stuck out. Was they really like have I? I don't come looking at design systems from a pure product designed background. My background is usually like when I was at sapient. What I did was I worked on. We'll cut like the the digital innovation pod so basically what we do is we often doing their pitch work or kind of like much more kind of pie in the sky type like idea generation for these big billion dollar brands and that kind of gave me the ability of like an additional with my time at D. Was getting really good at just trying to figure out like we're kind of like let go of the break. We're kind of really kind of push something in a kind of visual design type way while also still being held to the same rules as that was still had gone through rigorous eulex still be working on teams to make sure that financial analysts agree. That this is all sensible this makes sense and also like my associate director on. You also agreed. Okay this makes sense. This is like a good use case or gets near that we would present if we were trying to ship but also while doing this instead of sort of tight bubble about just making it as unique and different as possible as well to be unlike the rest of these other big billion dollar players in the market so a lot of what I'm trying to do is trying to figure out how to basically take marketing design type sensibilities and add them to a very focused company and kind of meet in the middle to figure out where we find that kind of that happy center ground between the two and you know before. Sonos you were an art director at Publicis Sapient. So you already kind of had this experience of working with. He's got a big million dollar multimillion dollar brands. But talk to be about kind of what your your agency. Experience was like initially got started at a very small shop in old Alexandria now Arlington. Wd G. Five years. It was my first like real adult job out of college while I in turn. It became design. It was like they just couldn't shake me off and I feel like kind of like this. Like very fortuitous. Time when I got there it was just like they were very young star. Be like there was like less than twenty people. You know like. Wear your pajamas to work type place and I think I got in there like a time where they were still very young and still finding themselves and year-over-year we found ourselves and it's kind of more mature way year over year so like we were just doing very very small-scale marketing sites and every single year like we had a great way of just having new challenges approach so bigger kind of fish would call so people like Red Cross recalling and people like Polar Shakespeare Library recalling or people like the American Enterprise Institute like just bigger just like like names that you might actually see or catch on TV or just like very notable in the DC area where creeping up like triple AAA for the region type projects came in and as I started to kind of like you know go from being an assist role to being someone who can take ownership and really run something from conception to deployment. That's the best part about my time. It wgn was. I don't think that I would have been as far. I could've done anything that I'm doing today if I hadn't done my time there. I think it's because I think like if you go somewhere small. I was one of three designers by the way the time when I say small in terms of the sense is a very very small tight design team it was just me my career director. Dario Tach and my counterpart Christina Lakeway and it makes him that just about anything that came through. What eventually filter through me so I had to have a feeling around answer to so many more just problems in my day to day. Then I think I would have had if I'd gone to a very large establish Company or a much bigger agency where I would have done a bit more. You know just like production type work after five years or so. I think that was like I would. Maybe decided to open up sapient. They they had called me first and that was the first time that I feel like I had gotten a call from a place that was so much more bigger sandwich more established the guy gotten calls from like other small agencies or people that were about our size but it was my first time seeing a place for like they had people like Audi like Mary And like tiles like very large incredibly established brands. Were just you know the front face of their portfolio and I also knew that if I stayed at. Wj would never be able to kind of make. Climb these other types of tactile deliverables. I wanted to do early to be able to ship an APP early. Wanted to make much larger more complex systems I wanted to be able to. I also just wanted to try. You're just seeing what it was like to be a bigger different kinds of team. I LOVE MY TV. Wti always credit a lot of worldly success to my old boss. Dario Billy just to like help me just one development taste but also helped me just figure out like what questions to ask when I'm trying to solve for a solution. Well most about him just you know. Just his his mentorship was he really taught me how to think for myself. He was never prescriptive whenever he was trying to help you along the way to solve a solution. You just enough of a riddle that you're like okay. I'll figure this out on my own and you could feel proud and feel like it wasn't given to you. Still something earned Nice Nice the call for sapient and you know the biggest salvage brand and I'm just like okay I can I'll make. I'll make a plan. I'll take this risk and luckily for me you like one metro. Stop away so it was a didn't have to change my commute. Much as far as the transition over we'd say like a lot of it was kind of exactly what I hoped I would be able to do. I did some work for Barclays. Did some work for just like all these very kind of incredibly different types of engagements. I just never would have been able to do it. Dvd most part the scale. But also. Because it's just a big large mega consultancy right and I also got to with all these other people who are just very different times of experts so can meet people who were like masters of just like how the finance but also like mobile APP and just like all. These different types of strategy would specialize in certain areas and topics. One of my favorite parts about Satan was just how it was able to be such a large commitment also just so many smart people that could just jam into a room. I really love just like any kind of moment where we you're pinching something. Are we on this kind of like more Morrison Discovery Type Angle for practically basically just the essentials like this amazing story like design? Swat team of all the different skills such as really kind of come together in a real tight. Timeframe wasn't a big shift in going from the agency world at Publicis to working for Sonos which is like this private company. Yeah it's It's still thinking. I'm like very much adjusting to. I haven't worked in house in House since. Aarp like two thousand twelve those full eight years ago. It's funny because I remember thinking there was a big dramatic shift between ages AIDS based on scale because Wgn was about twenty five or so people. When I left and this was about thirty thousand or so. They're thirty. Nine country ballots thirty states everywhere coming to Jose was very very different. Because as you might imagine like since we're we're all in house see now we we all work together because the the hardware the services that is the product. That is how we make money. So it's interesting is. There's a lot more just dependencies kind of between departments between people and a lot of what? I've been doing for a lot of my initial kind of on Boarding. Just meeting. People just putting names to faces and understanding what their team does and also what their teams impact is on other projects. So I'm kind of like ramping. Up is just kind of understand this kind of this. Game of thrones type character chart between. Who's in charge? What do they own and house what they own affect other parts of liking different kinds of hardware and software experiences? And that's that's been most fascinating because there is so much different kind of push. Pull when you're at not just a sophomore but also companies also shifts hardware. There's so many more kind of moving pieces that can affect one another and I guess another fun part is just like just like the total. Just a total volume of designers. Because I'm so used to being cut this. Almost sole practitioner type design person on any project. I'm on of almost always been the only visual design hand on most products. I've ever done. There's even like tea or three total where I've ever had any kind of additional assistance. So that's another thing it's just it's kind of interesting to see just like how other people can kind of keep a thing going? I think I got used to this almost lone wolf aspect of my career trying to kind of let go of that and I think this is a place where I find. It can actually commit to that Nice. So let's switch gears here a little bit because we've went through a lot your over your so far can interesting simply what I wanna do is Kinda take it back because I wanna see where this is. Dr In this enthusiasm comes from so you earlier mentioned growing up in northern Virginia. Tell me what that was like like. Were you exposed to a lot of art and design growing up? I've always thought about just like the reason why I got. I've had all sorts of different answers myself. I'd say I was like an upper average. You know wouldn't call myself an amazing smart bad ass or whatever like I got like you know decent honor roll when I was trying but I remember I was always a music theme kid like I like doing band and orchestra. I liked Kylie's trailer type things and I remember. I was terrible math. I cannot stay doing math or anything that we're be an answer. Very Black and white would I did. Love was English advanced English. Basie from like I don't know third grade until twelve as long as I could always do. Whatever was the absolute most sane version of English? What I love most about English was I think it was. I love the idea of just like doing anything. We're just like answers weren't ever by an area. It was always. You're you're like when you write a paper or an essay. You're as good as your argument and I think that was kind of one of the oldest. Doesn't Kinda got me? Likes it really interesting? I later like I saw myself like as a kid as eight. You know a artists light like I couldn't draw but I knew that I loved creativity on your. I like music. I knew I liked to engage with art but I didn't have the means to like expressing the way that was good enough to be like. Oh Yeah like I would share this or I think this is actually worth doing so. I was very lucky because like in high school. We had graph design courses. And I can I got my first taste for a cat designed blood because after two years. I got to design the course catalog for the school I think every designer has a moment where like they. They built them they see. It made a real mess kind of liked this turning point right to like see something that just came from. Nothing is just some firing from your brain and suddenly it's here it's everywhere it's in everyone's homes and you're just. I made that happen and that was just such a just amazing just indescribable moment. Just to see something. Just just to know that it was everywhere. Like even though other people wouldn't think of it as like whatever's GonNa collect does go into been but to me it was my big Gig at the time for the great right so that was a big turning points I just like went to school for the rest is history as I like other things about growing up to mention my aunt. She was a fashion designer. She was always okay. Very big advocate for creativity. I would say anyone in my family. Ever like was not supportive of creativity or creative pursuit or anything. I think it was probably was like maybe some moments of hesitation. But my mother is a always been migrated supporter. I told her I had plans to go to the moon. She'd be the first to give me a helmet so I can always count her support for everything. Okay now mentioned going to school for Graphic Design George Mason University. What was the experience like? You feel like it really prepared you. Once you went out there in the working world as a designer stated goal is fascinating. I figured it was. I think I also went to school. That kind of dislike the sort of turning point in like the whole planet when I was in school like a lot of like programs focus a lot on print and leg very kind of physical media type things but so I went to school from between nine and thirteen and I ever tail now. There's all this talk about like. Oh well if you WANNA make any money you have to make a web design and you have to learn dream. We cove it and I was like I will do make any decision in my life to not have to close it give and I stood by that for the last night. If you're like this this path of balls could next look. I will take door number two every single time. But let's around the tail end of my time like when the Internet was really changing like I didn't have to learn flash because around twenty twelve twenty thirteen response was really starting to really kind of kick into full gear like the iphone had been like a starting to mature to the point. Where like we weren't getting mobile dot whatever's reducers website. We were starting to kind of get this point where people are taking smartphones as a very serious kind of platform for growth in money and like all sorts of different kind of business structures. My first internship was at AARP in this kind of coincide with a little bit. Because I remember like I had this kind of print background but I knew I still want to do more digital because I remember I print with colonial. But like you know. Going to the printshop. Going things why k having everything break or not being able to kind of fix things very frustrating when I was at Aarp it was kind of around when they were really getting into digital magazines. So doing using things like digital publishing than basically an ipad edition of a magazine issue. So when I was an intern I was kind of the initial explorer so basically they would have like a draft of the magazine. I would try to convert or try to figure out. Okay if we want to add someone interactive pieces or do a little some custom treatments for the IPAD or like make this a bit more specialized. How might we do that? That look like how might that manifest and also like how can we can also bring that knobs the rest of the team so around that like around when he eleven twelve or so and so. This is like kind of turning point because at this point like in my college career. We've been very kind of told that like okay. You have to make make print stuff you have to like make all sorts candlelit are headed to make shirts book covers and posters just like all sorts of stuff like this really unfocused but just stop that like you know it was five but I I remember I was in junior spell like I was just making something new all the time and not necessarily like making like a straight line that was going to kind of build my skill set like I felt like I was every classes. Felt like you're gonNa make something different but it's not going to build off of the prior skill. You've learned interesting. Aarp was kind of like just like this. I kind of just this taste for dislike billing for strains and making a result that was only for a screen. So what you saw was what you got in this really amazing way. There was no more print shops. There's no more lines. There's no more make sure it's done by like nine. Am lineup at USPS. Kinko's like this such a different. Just I love the immediacy. I love the kind of feeling in my hands. I'm just scrolling through very basic interactions. It's felt amazing because it was something that I had done. The IPAD warranty or so amazing when they renew into something on that you know in around that age felt so different. I just love the feeling of Justino just. I really wanted to do more of that. I think part of that would also inspire me for go to my next internship. Isl they were very cool kind of like Full Service Digital Marketing Agency company in DC. They were known for doing all sorts of just really kind of very off-the-wall intricate work. They would make machines that responded to foursquare check ends all sorts of other things that were just cool integration with like machinery and hardware and software and APPS. I loved the by there. But let's funny as everyone always assumes that. Aarp would've been like a like a slower more whatever job and I loved AARP. I thought it was. I think it was like the the the best kind of could have had for kind of framing my successor later I say mostly because I felt like I don't. I don't mean this as a distal I sell who no longer exists about. I think I think they had a better plan there for just like what to do with an intern how to kind of nurture an intern and build their skill set and kind of like give them kind of the tools to kind of move to the next thing whereas I felt like I was maybe not quite understood. Not Having my time kind of being like you know prioritized or there was no growth path for me. My second internship. Yeah I think that's a tricky thing that's the thing I always try to remind students just sometimes like all the super cool sexy companies that look great from the outside looking in always like you know it's different once you're in there right like it's still sounds call. Augusta cool stuff is going on but always guarantee that's going to help you spread your wings or help you get any smarter or stronger. So don't discount the things that you think you might not like. That might be where you have a great opportunity to grow and now also while you were at Aarp you got to work with the one and only Diane Holton. Who's French the show here? She's also been a guest on the show. Did you work really closely with her as an intern. I did there is basically. Aarp has two magazines. I have the courtroom days. I don't get a subscription. I'm under fifty but at the time I appreciate. They still have this. They had the magazine the bulletin they are kind of like subcategories magazine. The magazine the Big One the Boltons time this more kind of almost like Reader's digest kind of situation and so the Diana was Kinda great because you know she would check in regularly. She was asking the what are we. What are you to here? We should do this week. And she provide feedback week to week and she'd also side products and just checking often and that's kind of what I mean is kind of going back to just like kind of quality of internship is because I felt like I was actually being one care for but also like that. Was you know that she was trying to actually set me up to succeed for when I was not at AARP? That's why? I always look back at my air. He really finally she. I think she cared to see that growth in me over time. Now here we are eight years later and you know it's just so funny just how things turn out. Yeah so it seemed like you know you were pretty pretty comfortable well-supported in the DMV area. I mean you were at. Aarp that after that wd g after that publicis sapienze. I know you also did a little bit of work with. Aig The DC chapter there as well. This experience was really been something. That kind of made you kinda stopping reexamine things. It sounds like that's a big jump at the stage or adding your career to be comfortable established in a place that you know with people that you know and then this other opportunity comes. It's across the country and it's almost like a like a a pie in the sky. Kind of thing. Yeah I will say like. There's definitely a bit of idealism. That kind of like feel the whole thing there is this perfect brew of just of Weirdness. I think it was called me like right when I was kind of at the sort of low point mentally like I felt I was still trying to kind of remind myself trying to figure out. What do I care about what matters to me now? Like what do I WANNA do? Is this person who has suddenly kind of the slower this solo creature here and you know agency. Life was still cool but I was asking I was like what do I really want to work on like I? I was on a particular product for about eight months around when I was leaving Sapien N. I'll save that. Was like it was like exactly like maybe like WANNA up and go to work every day or feel like a great drive a great light kind of my voice you know just like I mean she'll like like every client deserves designed but it's also hard like surely give you know that one hundred twenty percent for thing that you like are only doing because you're in it for the money and so soon was like I felt almost. I suddenly had this chance on the table to do something that was just as much for me as it was for them. And I think that's so incredibly hard to pull off and designed to have a topic or a product or anything. You're working on where you feel just as much drive as whoever the founders might be music very very near and dear topic to me. It's like I grew up on music. I feel like there's so many turning points in my life where just access to music or just like discovery of different types of artists has just changed my world. You just maybe a better and more worldly more rounded interesting person and I really just wanted to support that kind of mission to have this feeling that no matter what kind of like amazing design ever make L. Never be able to make as as like a great song like I'll never be able to make a design system that makes you cry but I can do is help people bridge that gap so they can access things that can give them feeling of emotion in their heart so I feel like my way of being the bass in the band being support and just driving. That mission is just about what I really want to do what I want people to feel. What do I want for me like? How do I wanNA feel about the work that I'm doing? I came into this background. Where I I WANNA do is just makes them that look cool and just make another thing to look cool and just kind of keep it moving but you get to a point now like if you look at my like over sixty different clients. I've worked on a lot of different things and it gets so point now where it's cool. It's fine but it starts to start to wonder like would I really care about like what's actually emotionally resonant with me? I really what I talk about. Where if no one sees the visual they still know I care and that kind of felt like this big opportunity for me because I love the idea of just being in a place where just where sound experience coming but what I want is just for everyone just to be a happier person and this job where basically. I feel like a lot of what I'm supposed to do is just almost create happiest. Which sounds a little dorky. But what do you think about just the ability to just access yourself access you music. Access your podcast. What I'm trying to give people an object like a better day whenever it is that they want to engage with the idea of it just being this the mission just feel so pure but also just so close to the It's hard to that love. Yeah I mean. Designers and music tend to have a very special kind of relationship. Anyway whether it's US listening to music for inspiration for productivity or even just I think the opportunities that allows us to have whether that's designing a flyer or CD cover or an album cover poster or something like that. There's a lot to be inspired by with music. I've always been interested in that connection between music and designed because I feel like it's a really really powerful one like I cut my teeth. Learning Design and Photoshop by designing see covers. This is back in the day this. I'll even know if if kids still do this anymore. They probably don't but back in the day there used to be two types of of I guess call them contests. One of them was called layer. Tennis tennis yeah so like you start with one thing and then one designer does. They passed the other one and they add onto. It's it's sort of like goes back and forth until it gets to a certain point so then test your ability to think quickly to work with something that's unknown to in a way but then also somewhat familiar because you did do some work on it. So how do you sort of work around? And add to a design without stripping things away and then the second thing were they were called blends essentially just like fan art. Essentially like you would make blends of say an actress and you wanted to make like a computer wallpaper so you would get three pictures of this actress from like I dunno getty images or something like that and then you cut actress out and you would arrange them in a very artful way to make a wallpaper or something in so the net teaches you about like proportion and scale it opacity and color and a number of different things and you enter these contests and you'd see like who would get the best contest they'd see like okay. These are the stories pictures. And this is what you ended up turning it into. So it's almost like this almost like a a recipe in a way like you have these chopped design. You have these raw basic ingredients that you have to like come up with something that's like greater than the sum of the parts right. You shop is actually how old boss you described designed because he went. Say like you know like we were getting like all right. Our job here is to take squid and marshmallow and make us into a nice dish. Yeah yeah absolutely. Feels like you're just taking these amazing disparate parts trying to take thing. That sounds so glamorous here just like I'm going to find the jazz. That was so far about his working at like Marketing Co type place. So now you're in Santa Barbara. No you haven't been out much because no-one has been our right now. Have you in any kind of way? Been able to link up with like a design community there or or other designers outside of work. Not just yet what I want to do as I know that Ucsb is nearby. And I feel like they probably have art program or like I know we do. Sometimes send our people to talk there. I've always been a really huge proponent of like student causes and talking to students and just like you let them visit visit either my office or me coming to them so that's something that I really want to be able to like feel like once I have enough I feel like I can really kind of really go all it on. I would love to be able to start doing that. I care a lot about student caused because I just remember just what I and all the misinformation about like when I was younger and just like how how how to filter through that and kind of find it on my own but I think inches helps to have someone kind of come by and just kind of cut through all the noise and tell you like straight up as a person who was doing the thing right now. Here's actually what got me here. Every time I tell students that like I don't know how to Code. I made websites for years and we do like Xyz or I did this instead and that helped me get to Xyz. They're always just like what like they they're buying says routinely blown so I I love just like just let them know the way that you might think that he does look. Your teachers might have told you like there is another way and I. I like to just disparage the miserable. Pull back the curtain anytime that I can now. I have a question here. This is from Chanel James. Who has also been on the show? She was episode three twenty five back in December. She asked this question. You've adjusted to big changes a couple of times over the last few years which it definitely sounds like when taking on new roles and challenges. How do you prepare for the next step? What advice do you have to someone who was looking for the next new thing? Ethel interesting Larry to one of my first thought is I. I'm going to be a little Dorky with you. So you're seen spider verse despite Aversa Yup. So there's a those who don't know there's a great quote and they were. They just like he asked. How will I know I'm ready? And he says you never really know. It's a leap of faith. That's all it is and there's so much truth to that statement because anytime you get an offer for an amazing new job far away or even anything that's like even in your own city you never feel like you're going to be adequately prepared for it like I remember thinking. Oh you mean me. You're talking to me emails for me. Like there's always like try to turn off the impostor syndrome or assume that like am. I even good enough for this kind of thing. The that's all. I got acknowledged you got the call. You got response. They're interested you have to I. You kind of you have to believe in your heart that you're actually worth the trouble worth pursuing and worth investing in and that's a hard thing to kind of sometimes believe because every time you do anything wrong all you assume everyone else sees it so one to see yourself in the thing As far as preparing just Kinda like mentally getting through it. It's interesting 'cause I'm trying to remember because it's like every time I've transitioned to any of these major new jobs. It's never want. I don't like what I did two weeks before just somewhere else. There's always going to be this amazing learning curve. I think it's just about just like we willing to ask questions. Be Willing to kind of be wrong. Like be willing to kind of leave your ego somewhere else for a while or a very long time preferably just kind of work with people and just ask questions spe- kind of vulnerable to needing to ask for help or being we'll say like. Oh you know. I'm not super sure but I want to be better. I want to be useful. I want to be in service or something but I don't always know the best way to do it. I think the one of my migraines philosophy on my whole career honestly is that I think I had a kind of a paralyzing fear of asking for help sometimes probably when I need it most. I think that I had this sort of worry that if I asked for help that I'd be seen as a person who wasn't expert didn't understand what was going on. Didn't you know maybe shouldn't have been the person task for the thing but what I found especially it sounds. We had this amazing culture of just being willing to ask for being willing to admit that you're wrong. Presuming good intent from people who are asking questions or doing anything that causes agencies often felt that. I asked for help or asked a question that it was going to poke a hole in kind of whatever kind of sense of rancor stature that I was trying to kind of prop up for myself and I feel like I'm I'm trying to chip away at that. Just like every single year every single interacts. I'm trying to be more willing to be wrong. Be More willing to let people know that if I am wrong. I want you to let me know and I want to be able to work on it together so that you don't think I'm trying to be wrong and loud. I would rather be wrong than right together so a lot of it's about just all communication because you get the call you are already a good enough designer but you also have to be a good enough person. That's usually the part the thing that we don't always kind of focus in on. What is it that keeps you? Motivated inspired these days. Oh boy side thanks like I love just all sorts of kinds of me like I'm a big movie nerd of a big music nerd. I love my music sneakers. I Love Games. I love so many different types of just kind of entertainment art and media and just like loving kind of cialis kind of wild different weird sex one of the hardest parts about moving here is. There's no. Amc Out here. So it's really hard to be a movie nerd out here so hard of what I love about. All these different kind of mediums. Like if you like if you go to museums and go to malls you just look at a lot of stuff. You see different kinds of dislike styles taste and his ways things get done and all these like really strange ways that tends to kind of like leak. It's way back into your design sensibilities. I think one of the things mainly sort of versatile as a designer is just not minding looking at stuff or going places that I feel like I wouldn't orderly choose to look so someone's like Oh let's go to the mall just window shop you'll see some different typographic treatments at the mall. If you play games there's so many ways to kind of league deconstructed and think of it for different application if you like like shoes Sunni wild color schemes. That should not be possible. That totally work looking at you. Easy wave runners So I think about it. It's just like how can I just infused just what I'm seeing daily or like what I just like to do for myself. But how can have repurpose it in the frame of way? Okay if I were trying to work this back into a design like how might this change my approach for something no matter how small or big this thing is. What do you like to do in your non work time? I actually minored in computer game design so originally so it's a little thing that just like Texas I never did much with it so mired in game design so every time you ask. Her recommendation has to be a ninety minute conversation. What are those so love gaming? I Tried to do to start streaming. I would like to start a podcast most because I love. You can probably tell. I'm a big TALKER. I can go forever so I tried to forget how that Cata merged that love of just like just chitter chatter. Something I got. I got a friend. Who's like that? Maybe we'll start some podcast you'll round table kind of thing and try to be much more of an outdoorsy person out here Out East in DC. It's not that fun to own. A bike is only place. You're going to go to target or is it get hit by a car but it's very different because out here. It's so amazingly picturesque and beautiful out here like you get to the ocean and like five minutes. There's flowers and lavender everywhere. It's everything smells beautiful. So it's just amazing to hike and bike and just be present and outside and I'm really looking forward to just like just being this kind of different more kind of Suntan version of myself. Once things settle down. I WanNa talk about this gaming because right now I feel like as a recording this. It's April sixth. We're kind of in the middle of like a big dry spell. Well no actually. I was GONNA say recovering the middle of a good bit of games right now. I mean I guess it depends on what systems you're playing. What what's this you have everything. Okay so you have a switch switch it. Yes for xbox one. Xbox got a PC. Okay Yeah Real Talk Windows ten you know I feel amazing weird ebbs and flows with games. I can get like real dorky about this but I'm kind of in a good time for games. I hate to say because of the pandemic but like at home and they want entertainment. Movies are now movie theaters close in production shutdown. There's no new television shows unless you use qube which I don't think I don't know if by the time this episode comes out people will still be using maybe but like there's not a lot of new stuff and so a lot of people I think right around the time animal. Crossing New Horizons game outs. Everyone was like Yes distraction. From the world's I am one of my favorite types of games are rhythm games wants get interest in fusing that love music. I love oftentimes type at ten generally plays games to be challenged into like always like have a hard time. I think I I love that feeling of achievement from like how coming I like relaxing things also. I think like the Lens that I look back with like my most vivid memories of usually things that were that were hard law that also cut up towards a temperature brain to being like you know if something doesn't go right your way you're used getting your ass kicks like eight times and earlier like whatever way it is. GonNa make a hot topic here. Just say that. I think dark souls has made me like you know a nicer software designer from the PODCASTS. Give it a whirl assault from looking at your instagram. That you beat persona five got it so long one hundred six hours awfully real talk. I think of the most amazing graphic design ever put into a video game its galaxy brain like. It's like blew my mind. I cannot believe the the the things that they were able to pull off the transitions. They were able to do just like the things that they would typography scale and shape and color absolutely us. It's it's it's so hard to describe but like I don't get all about this. They really. They really stepped up from persona four personas three and four kind of kept a very similar sort of style. I would say I think four was very very much more colorful because it was just themed yellow and stuff but like they really stepped it up for five. Five is just like so connecticut like there's so much energy in design that's also part of the reason why. I feel like video. Games are like a very underrated place to get you. I and like design inspiration. I think I'm getting a lot of people. Think of games just like college duty or like very mainstream ones. That are commercial right but games oftentimes to solve very really like interesting like you eye problems and they also do it without the without a mouse. So they have to do all these different things to kind of teach player. Sometimes it really extreme or advanced multi-layered concepts but also sometimes all these different items like house like the Ui for a team. Look how you communicating things to the player. How're you like showing data and information on something that's like also very busy on the rest of the screen? There's so many like answer so many different kinds of us challenges that are happening in games that they'll just get totally thrown into the radar because people see it as like you know like this this hobby. Whatever all I don't understand how little intricacies that goes into some of these things allow times if you're like we need a team my first question my first thing to like. Be to look for inspiration. It would just be look at other team pages on dribble. It just be okay have gained solve this how they handled like different types of counts for like a certain units that they need to show on screen. If you have a dashboard like art or like strategy are they showing just like a large chunks of information that needs to be like readily viewable like how are very different just very like real challenges that actually impact experience are being handled in games and have been handled for a long time and as well some of them are also done any really really visually amazing way? I'll percent of Yeah I think it's another part of just like trying to find like finding inspiration in the things that you love and just figuring out how to how to pick and choose where to pull them back into the things that you're doing as well do you plan on playing personify royal absolutely absolutely. It's like one hundred six hours. Whatever I mean. We're we're in the time of Verona of course but I I gotta be gotTa do maternal first. That'd be a nice short one. Like what else my back luck? Typically I love like narrative like very story during Games a lot of things I like learn from like storing sound like a funny kind of like agency Tangent but one of the most important things I learned from an agency world was how to tell a compelling story and if you like playoff games with compelling stories that can actually get you to like tear up or feel certain weight really quickly. That's what a good pitch deck is all about. It sounds like a tangible rove. If here for a second so it's like when you're doing a big pinch like someone has had. Let's say forty million dollars. Spent highly going to them. How you GonNa make them feel in their hearts that they should feel certain way that you were the right choice and usually going to tell a very well crafted but also convincing story right just lying about a bunch of facts even can't shovel out a bunch of stats. You got to present them in a way in an order line where they believe it but they also feel emotionally resonant with it and if you look and you think of a the story beats of like certain games that are like you know big deals for story so last your shadow of the Colossus. You've got four twenty seven twenty eight teams like you really big like narrative. Strong when right. What order they doing that? And like how you kind of think about the way those beats are handled both like major lazer softly until like also like to change how you tell a compelling story half why I think I got the job at SAS was I feel like when I interviewed I told a very compelling story when I interviewed like a little bit about that. Get back to this. But everyone I was interviewing like I. I didn't even show work for like the first like twenty five minutes. Yeah right so that sounds weird right lake. I like third whatever of the interview like I I wanted to introduce. I felt it was weird to be like. Hello thanks for meeting me. Here's the work that you've probably already saw online now. Like seemed weird So I try to deal as I was like. How ARE WE GONNA? Kinda built this narrative upwards. So it's a little bit about me. Like what motivates me? What do I like? What am I to the company? What does the company's mission to me? And how can I improve this in a way that makes you also know that? I'm not just like just making it up so I had a really great slide. Where and twenty seventeen. I bought my mother to play ones and I showed the video of her pulling them open. Man That was that was muddy moment. That was the narrative moment with like that was then taking. This guy isn't just like some dude who bought the speaker just like you know. Whatever he's actually a fan he he believes in the mission like things that unite you to whatever is going on in that moment right and like I could have just jumped like well. My work looks pretty good I think. Don't you think so like I know I could have just been impersonal base pace in what I would have done for the next agency but you know if you tailor it right storytelling action of your most powerful argument. When you're doing an interview okay. So play video games to my best storytelling one question that. I'm asking everyone this year. Kind of the theme of the year is about the future. Were in twenty twenty decision by all intents and purposes when you think about pop culture when people talk about the future tends to be twenty twenty and above. I don't know if that's because of ABC's new show or whatever but people tend to think of twenty twenty like the future. How are you helping to use your design skills to build a more equitable future? Oh that's a great question If it gets a Yukata really timely time. Because he would ask me that a year ago have been like probably not at all but but now I think like part of the center's mission is our mission is to empower listeners everywhere and that sounds like it's very broad and that's on purpose because a lot of what we're trying to do here is we're trying to basically give people an amazing listening experience no matter where they might be whether you're in your bedroom your living room whether you're on your patio or on the go we. We are trying to find a way to basically kind of be with you so that you can enjoy the content that you like. How do you like whenever you like like with whomever services that you like so a lot of what we're trying to do is we're trying to empower users? We're trying to give them choice. We're trying to give them more freedom. We're also trying to provide access to things for them so what I see us like. What like the best parts about? The job is us. So let's isn't this rare position where we can actually really help kind of surface all the things to users that they might not have known that they want. I mean isn't a very non-advertising kind of way when I say it's because a lot of what what does is we are. Cut this lightness amazing hub for a lot of services right. So even use like Amazon Apple Music in spotify discern Pandora and Us So many different services on our platform. What's great about that is that let's also surfacing that maybe you're like Jason. Things that you didn't know you had for example if you love fleetwood Mac. There's a potential future where he search podcasts mate. You'll see the song explorer episode about Fleetwood. Mac Song maybe you'll see an a book about the artist. Maybe you'll be able to catch more content related. What I love. Is this idea of just being able to kind of enrich people's experiences with the artists that they love and with the content? They like just like. How can we give people greater access to art and entertainment and just media in these ways? There's going to make them just know what to do what it did for me to make them just more enrich more well rounded more engaged people with all sorts of different types of media. Where do you see yourself in the next five years? It's twenty twenty five kind of work. Do you WANNA BE DOING. What sort of projects you want to be working on that sort of stuff you know year planning for like right now is well compared like what? I would have said like a year ago. I've just like amazed at just how much these can change right now. I played I really WanNa to be like in California for a good while. Moving cross country. Very much sucks. Do not do it. I got actually. It's worth it did it. I think I I'm trying to like stay in California for as long as I can for as long as it's reasonable retention is amazing in the company like I've met people who have been here for like eleven eight like teen years. Those are numbers are unfathomable at an agency like cannot be we. It was a constant going away party there and I'm very excited about just like the path ahead at San hose you know doesn't trip just like the roadmap features products everything we want to do and the kind of that core mission but five years now careerwise like. I would love to like figure out just like you know what kind of that path towards. You know I'm cramped director or trying to be towards like a bit more of this person who essentially empowers team because like right now. I'm I come from this background. Where when I'm trying to do is I'm trying to be this kind of individual power user. I'm trying to be this amazing individual contributor but what I love about my new boss he is just so what's the word he says so empathetic and caring and I love that about him. He just has this amazing concern and care for people. I really want to be able to get some of that into myself as well and just be able to just like take that kind of energy and concern and care for people and use it to expand the team and also while taking what I've learned from design over all the years to make them better desires but also make them just better more more impassioned people as well so led to figure out how to just get worked my way up to that stage now if south or somewhere else who knows. I my role as if I was going to make any large ships. It had to be for something that I really really really gave a damn about and I'm really glad that I landed at this one. Nice well just to kind of wrap things up here. Where can our audience find out more about you and about your work on line? Sure you can catch me on dribble at a Gerbil dot com slash our parish. You can see just about everything reasonable. I've ever done half of why keep so much stuff up there so you can just track developed and just see that gotta. It's an uphill battle if you don't like what you did. You can see the stuff that I wasn't great at two. It's a process so you go from bottom to top and so it's a little journey. I don't do any writing but I do tweet about design. Sometimes that Randall all day. But it's mostly goofy goofy gobble garbage. So you've been warned. Euro could evolving apple music. I listen to you. A lot of pitchfork likes but except I we all the nonsense though. You can check what I'm listening to. So that's the Corbett I should get into some writing but maybe we'll have a podcast that that's offered now. All right sounds good. We'll randall perish. I WanNa thank you so much for coming on the show. I mentioned this before we started recording that I had spoken with Diana. She gave me this really long description about the work that you've done. I think it actually was a poster. Something that you wrote a I wanna say it was a post that she wrote about how you were just getting things together to go to sonos. You're about to start out there and one thing that I saw I was doing all my research was that you refer to yourself as a human glitter bomb correct and I would say that you know just based off of this conversation is very clear like you have this enthusiasm inside and out like not just for the work that you do but also being able to make a difference in people's lives so I can see how that would would stick but once this whole covert Nineteen Corona Virus Quarantine self-isolation lifts really excited to see you get back to work and see what you can do with Sonos because I think like this is just the beginning for you and I'm really GonNa be excited to see what you do from here. So thank you so much for coming on the show. I appreciate it. Thank you so much for having Total blast with you and believe me. Stay in touch and you know centers discounts for. Everyone's that are me an email big big thanks to Randall. Perish and of course. Thanks to you for listening you can find out more about Randall. And has worked the links and the show notes at revision path DOT com. And of course thanks as always to our sponsors for this episode. Facebook design and abstract facebook designers a proud sponsor of revision path to learn more about how the facebook designed communities designing for human needs. An unprecedented. Please visit facebook dot design. This episode is also brought to you by abstract design workflow management for modern design teams. Spend this time searching for design files and tracking down feedback. It's been more time focusing on innovation and collaboration like glitch but for designers abstracts teams version control source of truth for design work with abstract your conversion sketch design files present work request reviews collect feedback and give developers direct access to all specs. All from one place. Sign your team up for free. Fourteen Day trial today by heading over to www dot abstract dot com. Revision Path is brought to you by lunch a multidisciplinary creative studio in Atlanta Georgia. Are you looking for some creative consulting for your next project? Then let's do lunch. Visit US Today. At lunch DOT com. I'll put a link to it in the show notes. This podcast is created hosted and produced by me. Maurice Cherry with engineering and editing by RJ. Basilio our intro voiceovers by music man dray with Insurance Notre Music by yellow speaker. Our transcripts are provided by glitch. So what did you think of this episode? Hit US up on twitter or instagram or even better by leaving us a rating and review on Apple. Podcasts I'll even read your review right here on the show as always thank you so much for listening and we'll see you next side.

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264: Courtney Wilburn

Revision Path

1:00:20 hr | 2 years ago

264: Courtney Wilburn

"Everyone is MAURICE if you've been listening to the show and you like what you hear, you can become a patron of revision path today. Just go to patriot dot com forward slash revision path. You can join it the five dollar level to get behind the scenes, exclusive access, all that coming interviews, new articles and episodes of our special patrons only podcast join up the new twenty dollar level, and you'll get everything at the five dollar level plus a three revision path logo. Enamel pins, plus a swag tackle a good. He's so check it out today. Patriot dot com forward slash revision path. This provision path is brought to you by Facebook design. Diversity at Facebook is a huge issue. 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What's even better about male chip is that they make innovative and beautiful products that serve millions of customers around the world and even better. They give you the tools and the resources that you need to find your people grow your business and make smarter choices. Sign up for free account today and give it a try mail. Chimp send better Email. Now, for this week's interview, we're talking to Courtney Wilburn lead DevOps engineer at the wire cutter. Let's start the show. All right. So tell us who you are and what you do. My name is Courtney Wilburn and I am the lead DevOps engineer at the wire cutter. Now for listeners, the might not know what the wire cutter is. Can you give a brief explanation? Sure. The wire cutter is a site. It was. It had been independent for a few years now. It's owned by the New York Times, and it mainly does product reviews for variety in a variety of different types, everything from from travel products to baking and all that kind of stuff, personal home goods, and it makes recommendations for for folks who maybe you're uninitiated to they wanna know maybe what the best thing would be if they if they couldn't afford a very expensive version of that type of product or even if they wanted to for to the top of the line. And he gives a very, very, very, very detailed reviews it products from a journalistic angle. So the folks that are riding the reviews committed a very, very studied, very journalistic angle as opposed to, you know, an attempt to force someone to buy a specific product from a specific manufacturer in research based in fact, factfinding based recommendations for a variety of products. I'm a big fan of the wire cut. I'm a big fan of just like products. I'd say data driven research driven product sites like that. Like I think of the wire cutter consumer reports. I don't know 'cause right around, but America's test kitchen. A love America's best gifted. Yeah. Terms of of like the product of us. I've been a big fan of the wire cutter for a long time. So I kind a question this one of these questions are from our audience. You know, the wire cutters like a family of sight. So I know there's the wire cutter, which is just the basic, I guess, the home website. There's also one called, I think, sweet home that's more towards like, I guess, home and home in lifestyle type products and stuff with those kinds of sites. What does it take to keep those up? Because I would imagine a site like that is very popular, probably gets hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of hits a day, and especially now that you are part of the New York Times, I probably just amplifies the amount of visitors that you get. How do you keep a really popular site like that up? I mean, so so the so the sweet home was recently sort of merged. Like content wise was merged into the wire cutters. So it's now sitting under one one main umbrella, but the. The question is still the same. So like how do we keep a site like that running? You know, we have. They're certainly a lot of it's a, it's an incredibly popular sites becoming more so and especially since the acquisition by the New York Times, there have been articles that have happened in like joint articles that have happened between the New York Times in the wire cutters that driven more traffic to the wire cutter and to keep it up. You know, you do anything that you would do to keep any popular site up in a you have to to make sure that you have things in place to make sure that procedures in place to make sure that if it's a busy shopping period of time, say like black Friday that you're able to handle all of the site. Views that you you do. Think there things that you can do on the data side, things that you can do, you know the data present and the presentation side to make sure that the the viewing experience is consistent for viewers and that you're not getting any delays or any problems. And that. It just is you know, careful monitoring and then you know, being an understanding what those potential thresholds could be if you think, okay, the the traffic's getting busy there ways that we can mitigate the increase viewership increased page views by using tools to to scale or to scale up to accommodate any increase year. So that to the things don't crash others. You know, just some of the other other things like just general things cashing. Like there's just a lot of different things you can do to to balance out to keep the the experience consistent. A lot of that just as is making sure that you know what those thresholds are. You know the capabilities of the site in low-traffic days in the capabilities of the site in high traffic days. Just keep an eye on on how that changes, make sure things are consistent. Obviously, there's like there's some of those things I, you know monitoring if something something starts to look a mess. You notice something starts to look a mess you on the performance side for. Users. You do what you can't to fix that as soon as possible. So yeah, no, I'm glad that you kind of mentioned kind of some of the the secret sauce, I guess, in a way not super-secret, but it's one of the behind the scenes information. Like I, I work for a software company and I can kind of see in our shared slack channel. Whenever something happens with the website or something it's slow or something goes down, like CNN able to hop to it and really get in there and fix the problem pretty easily. It kind of seems a little magical in a way like being able to know all the ins and outs of the system and then be able to react whenever things like that happen. Yeah. No, I think part of the what makes it magical. Some of that stuff, it's metrics really. You have to know what the site looks like on a normal day. What the site looks like on certain busy days and then just make keep an eye on that. Make sure that you are getting alerted of something looks weird so you can hop on it maybe before before there's visual problem or. Experiential problem to users. You have to get a sense of hell. Things performed. Normally I in there, there's just a lot of data collection for lack of a better term in those stages. Make sure that you know what it, you can get a sense of what it looks like before things change for India's herbs before the experience changes are degrades. So it's data collection a lot of watching than you know, knowing ahead of time how you would mitigate any of those issues. If it happened in what particular problems end up looking like either from, you know, a a log like logs in your server log in or experiential end, what those would look like. If a probe specific type of problem presented itself? Yes, it was just like a lot of watching and waiting. You have to be patient in addition to to be patient proactive at the same time as kind of is certain mixes skills there that can keep you on your toes. I guess with that information, what is a typical day like for you? If. I mean, there are some there mix of project base work depending on things that we may want to to do or expand or things that we may want to create or things that other engineers are creating and supporting them. And also I like in DevOps in sort of site, reliability, engineering, in the all the affiliated fields to your contractor, you're building a house. I would like in DevOps to being like the plumber or the electricity. You don't know most of the time. Most folks don't know exactly what you do until something goes wrong, but you're keeping the lights on your keeping the water running. You're keeping things running smoothly so that if the internet was a house, you know you're adding new pipes, someone wants to a sink or someone wants their their sink fixed, or you're making sure that the water flows downward into the into the drain, not backup at you. That's kind of you know, it's a combination of those things in when when something goes wrong, you know. You know, if you're not doing what you need to do your issue because they're very public facing. So if the electric city doesn't work, it's obvious if the plumbing doesn't work, it's it's obvious. So that's kind of how I I think of my job know when I tried to explain exactly what it is due to the other folks as kind of the closest approximation, but part of it is tool building as well. So you wanna make sure that engineers have what they other engineers have, what they need can be either to roll out new features continue to make the site or the application better without things kind of getting in their way. There are a lot of concerns about getting things from like your local computer to the internet that you you want to make that process for engineers smoothest possible. So sometimes tool building, sometimes that clearing any sort of the tool building tool bolstering and someti-. That's building additional things yourself or or just making the process a little bit more plain abstracting things. There's a lot there. Now you spoke about engineers, other other teams that you have to work with on a regular basis, right? Yeah. So there are other engineering teams, engineering teams that are responsible for different aspects of what you see when you go to the wire cutter. And so you know, those teams are working on projects, and sometimes my intervention is is needed, or my expertise is needed to help them get things set up or find a way to most easily deploy code, that kind of thing. So a typical day for me varies, there are some days that are. I'm documenting a lot, and there are some days that I'm working on building tools, and there are some days where I'm just actually facilitating getting people what they need to to get something up and running or continue. Some keep something continue running or it's just. Just like brainstorming in issue that someone saying, maybe it hasn't is not for facing, but they're seeing something locally that could potentially cause a problem in production. Had we head this off had we fixed make this not a problem for when a new feature, something else has launched to the site. Now, I know that there are probably you know, tools that you end up using on a on a day-to-day basis and our audiences mostly designers, I think we have some developers kind of in general without giving, you know too much in terms of like proprietary stuff. What are some type of tools that you would use as a DevOps engineer? I mean a lot of the, you know, there are a lot of command line tools that I weigh heavily on just, I mean, if I'm committing actual code or like writing infrastructure, like web infrastructure is code, you know, there's version control software, there's, but I tend to attend to stay in the terminal for most of my sort of, like if I'm writing code, most of my stuff happens happy. There. And then just a lot of a lot of command line tools, and I like to to write aliases for stuff that I ended up doing repeatedly like my a signal for me to build a tool for something myself or building alias or make a shortcut to something is repetitive motion. If I'm writing the same commands in the same order set of commands in the same order over and over if I'm so I try to, I try to make Ryan alias. So that process can happen little bit more quickly. So I ended up sometimes writing tools and like in bash scripts, or you know, shell scripts to make things go a little bit more quickly. I try to automate my own sort of local process as much as I can. Then if I ever used text editors, I think for a while I was using atom and a switch, maybe three months ago to to using the code. And this took a little bit that was a bit of a learning curve. But I like keeping myself. On my toes. I'm so I'll use that if I feel like using a text editor for the most part, I stay in the in the command line at us z shell command wise just because there's so much more there. It has syntax highlighting inside of the terminal, which is also like pretty cool other tools I use. I can't quite say because I don't want to sort of reveal anything about the specific to architecture. But generally I can say to, you know, the site's architecture, but I generally, I like if there are gooey tools, I try to look for the companion on the command line because I feel more comfortable using command line tools for just generally. So. So you mentioned that switch from atom over to VS code. How do you evaluate new tools that you wanna use. I try them at home for a little bit. I, you know, try to be let me see if I the same little Hello world bid of saying, if I if I like using it in a can make that in, I understand, you know, shortcuts or whatever out tested out for a little bit at home and then say, okay, I think that that works well enough in a can get the hang of it quickly enough to sort of incorporate it into my actual professional endeavors, and then I'll switch over to it. And sometimes it's just at of in sometimes it just happens out of frustration if a tool just isn't working for me the either the way it used to or the way I would like it to if something in my own sort of workflow has changed, I'll make switch pretty quickly. It doesn't really take much for me too. I try not to have any sort of loyalty to any sort of specific framework or tool just do what works best for me in my evaluation period varies depending on hell urgent. The need to change something is now you're. Based out of Philadelphia. I'm curious to know what's the tech community like there. I was just in Philly back in July for like a podcast and conference. This is my first time in Philly. I really like Philly. Great. Yeah, that's great. I'm curious, what's the tech community like there for you? Are you kind of involved in it in any sort of way? So to varying degrees of involvement, but the OC generally, the tech scene in Philly is very, very robust. I'd have to say one of the things that Philly has going for it is that Philly is one of the largest cities that has a high number of people of color graduates from local colleges and universities that stay in that has sort of helped both in the tech community and in other industries as well. So it's just a really robust just generally professional community here. And the tech community specifically is very welcome to people from all walks of life and traditional. Non-traditional paths to get to tech, and there are lots of meet ups for just about any group of folks that want to sort of get together and talk about issues around techy there from from civic tech to, you know, to issues specific to underrepresented groups who work in the industry and those it's welcoming. I think to number of folks, it's welcoming to everybody, I think. But you know, I think there's some of those agencies. There's companies, there's it's all over the map in terms of what is able to get people can come and get their toes into the industry in a variety of different ways, either in consultancies or or agencies or company. So. But yeah, and there's just there's something there's something for everybody, and there are people who, and there are companies based year that that are growing, which is cool too. And the headquarters for technically are in Philadelphia. So. So we're uniquely positioned to have a lot of journalistic reporting on the ins and outs of the industry that usually only exists in larger tech cities like San Francisco, New York. So I think that's that's been pretty cool too. Nice. Now, speaking of kind of nontraditional paths, how did you first get into technology? Like how did you get into this whole kind of DevOps seen in general? My journey tech in general was is, is not quite traditional, et degree in anthropology in physical anthropology, specifically, which has to deal with human evolution and specifically was sort of was focused on the Evelyn of dentition the evolution of teeth. Okay, which is just like not has nothing to do with or at least on the surface. It has nothing to do with technology, but I was a tech hobbyist and I got into coding well before college, and it was something that was fun for me. It was like it was an outlet something that like I'm a terrible I can't draw and I've kind of more scientifically inclined. My dad was in amateur artists than my mom is a momma's a chemist. And so you know, I feel like for me, at least coating is sort of a nice little intersection between like art and science in that you get to create something with your hands. Sort of that is that is new that can be used in this novel that can actually be seen or be utilized or experienced. But it was just a hobby for me. And after I graduated from college, I thought about, you know. You know, usually if you're doing something anthropology, the next step is academia. It didn't seem like a viable route for me contemplated dental school, and but tech and doing stuff had just called me. I had spent summers in highschool working in labs, doing stuff related to to coating doing the technological side of that doing imaging prototyping of amino acids and DNA using code and that to me, it kept calling me back. You know, I was doing stuff for fun while I was in college. I took some computer science courses, but nothing. Nothing that could have been ever been considered a like continuous formal education technology. And then I just, I largely was like, let me just, I taught myself database stuff I in and web stuff. In addition to that, the early HTML stuff in by the time I got into college or after college when I graduated, I was. Still coating on the side. It was more application coding, not web. At some point. It seemed like an seem like in the early ought. Some point when I was in college, seemed like all programming was destined to be something related to the internet. And so you know, I started digging into into that a little bit more and you know, have largely been self taught teaching myself different programming languages and just staying on top of trends reading a lot. And then just trying stuff out at home and then seeing, oh, let me just try this. And then I was able to get my first job doing something actually technical about twelve years ago doing like application building about twelve years ago. But in terms of DevOps, the DevOps thing sorta started happening, maybe four or five years ago. And I, I started learning about continuous integration and continuous delivery, and. There's something about it. There's something about the the, like the building aspect of it. That resonated with me. I'm not really sure why. I don't know if there's, there's some probably I could dig their little bit and try to figure out why. But I don't know. I don't know why of that resonated with me. And so before I fully sort of shifted into DevOps always was making sure I took some of those responsibilities on. I wanna see how something gets from Hugh making a site on your computer to actually being somewhere on the internet, like what's involved, you know, understanding DNS and understanding all these other sorts of the things. The things that go into making a site actually like presented to you to your face nuts from hell sites get. You know now a lot of things are getting compiled in Bill more so than they used to be for the web, but understanding all of that, that stuff was just so fun to me an EMMY, how it got there. So. In helping people get it there, and that's what made that DevOps specifically exciting. I mean, it sounds like just a curiosity of finding out those like integral parts and how they kind of make react. Yet. I was always gonna make like a chemical reactions kind of fun to, but. Was a chemist, but Noah sounds like like you have, you know, there's DNS and there's the whole stack and how all those things kind of come together to present a website into a browsers of the world. Like knowing that behind the scenes information is I'm interested in that stuff to my master's degree is actually in telecommunications management. So we have to study a lot of that sort of back in kind of stuff to figure out how things are presented to the web in general because like you. I came into this industry very much as a hobbyist, like I was just designing websites and doing stuff on Photoshop on the side. And my degree is in math and I didn't wanna go into academia because once you get a degree in something like that, the choices are teach or go back to school and they say, and neither one of those appeal to me at the time and eventually I was able to kind of turn it into a career. So I with us with that a lot. I mean, and I think that kind of is what and maybe you can speak to this as well. What keeps DevOps interesting to you? Like what is what about the field. Makes you want to kinda still be a part of it. I think the thing that makes me want to still be a part of it is that there's always a way to do something to get more efficient and make it better. Like just sort of a personal professional development. There's a sort of industrial development there. There are things that can change things that you can ways that you can make things more efficient or make things better or make things run more smoothly, or you know, win. The process becomes is complicated to get something from your local computer to a website, but it feels easy to other engineers to do that when the concerns of how it gets there, go away in the main concern of a of another engineer developer or even a designer is exactly what they're gonna do not hell it's gonna get there that makes me happy. I feel I feel like I'm doing something right when you know someone can just say, oh, I'll I had to do. Push-button or just go to my terminal real quick and sit know type in this little quick thing. And then this is on the site exactly how I in visioned it. This looks disappeareance. It's exactly how I designed it to be, and that satisfies me the fact and the, you know, the fact that there's an opportunity to learn more. There's always an opportunity to learn more and then there's always something new, a new tool that makes things better that's out there and just having the ability personally toe to satisfy and intellectual curiosity about all those tools and how they work. How do you keep up to date with all of that stuff? I read a lot. Yeah, I read a lot if I can't attend a conference on something. I'll watch talks on some of the the new and exciting things that are that are out there. You know, I, I subscribe to newsletters that kinda stay on top of industry trends and some of the and also just like being participating in communities either via slack or what have you that were people are discussing tools they use in in how they use them, why they use them or alternatives to what they're using. That's how I stay on top of things. I mean, it's just you just have to constantly read in. That's that's fine because I enjoy that quite a bit. I enjoy just anything that sort of satisfies my hunger for more knowledge is I know I'm kind of moving in the right direction. Are there any like particular sources that you go through? There's a newsletter this week in DevOps, some of it. A lot of the times I will just read changes in documentation. Some of the tools that I use. I actually like reading reference books. You know, some people don't. I actually like reading reference books intend to read reference books, like a majority of my sort of against you wouldn't call it pleasure reading, but like sort of professional type reading is a reference books. And then you know, give myself an opportunity to actually try some of that stuff out, like practically, like if a fussing around on like a home computer, I will test something out to that actually does work or for one to play with like a new technology. I'll do that. I'll read a read a reference book about it, a read, some of the like, you know, not necessarily textbook, but just one of the provided by an e book on it and read it. Yeah. Are there any like skills or knowledge? Because like I've said before, we have a lot of designers and developers that are are listening and they may not necessarily be in DevOps, but they may work with DevOps teams at work like I do. Is there any kind of specific skills or knowledge that you wish they knew to be better collaborators with DevOps people? I would say, I mean, this is gonna hope. It's not cliche, but some of those things aren't there. They're not technical skills there. What people would call, quote, unquote, soft skills. The things just being effective communicator being clear in your communication always being aware that there's something that may be clear to you that isn't clear to designer a developer process wise in being able to explain, okay, perhaps you've designed it this way, but based on maybe limitations you have around your stack, why some of these things may or may not be possible what you can do to make them possible or how you can can work together. So I think communiqu effective communication is probably the top thing. I worked at an agency for years before I was working for. I worked at the wire cutter in Ida work a lot more closely with designers there. I think the one thing that that I took out of that was that everyone learns in interprets information very, very differently and just Taylor what you need to get across to as much as you can to help people understand information. And just as there isn't a single best way to get something can website up. There's no single best way to communicate with other people. You have to sort of meet someone where they are in understand their perspective a little bit in that some of the things that may be concerns that may be important to you as a DevOps person may not be as important to a designer or a different type of any. Near end, it's your responsibility to either bring someone to that understanding or to compromise a bit and try to find a way to to work together better. I think communications, the number one thing there and just patients. I mean, I think that sometimes it can be hard to to describe something you're seeing. Like if you're doing you, I tests or you have a, you have a prototype up in, it's not behaving the way that you are expecting it to behave, but it it did may be when you in when if you as a designer developer, we're, we're working on it prior to being presented on the web. If you're a DevOps person, listen to what they're saying and try to get to the heart of what they're saying, what the functionality is in. Don't try to force a designer developer to to speak on your terms. It's a, I think it's a responsibility of a folks who are working further behind the scenes to be able to understand the breadth of their stack, either all the way from the from the the user experience. And the interface to the things that people may not see for you to have a more holistic view of of the stack and to be able to converse well about all those things. Communication is key communications. That's all the designers all the time, particularly writing. It's ki- you know, certainly, I think when you're talking to people, it can be a little bit easier sometimes, but definitely if you're sending emails back and forth or you're doing stuff with slack like we unable to really accurately describe and get your point across the super important. Yeah, I think a lot of times it can be hard to with a mean folks who are very engineering focused, how much more effective you can get your point across. If you're a good writer, being able to put your thoughts down in a concise and clear way is priceless. It really is. Now, I do have a tools based question again. Like I said, we, we let audience know about it. And so one of them was kind of, I guess, poking around your hub. Hub account as your head so that you forked a repo with a text mate language pack for Chuck, and so two questions, I guess about check the first one I guess is what do you think about it? And do you still do any kind of creative or live coating with it? So I haven't done any life coating with it for some time. And I, I think I let that repo go a little bit stale. Unfortunately, I do like the idea of sort of of using of combining code with with artistic endeavors. I think that's what sort of drew me to the idea of Chuck is like intersection of music and coding. I thought that was like super cool. And so when I fought that repo, I was building the atom editor plug in for that based on the text mate one. And I was I was rebuilding the atom one so that people could if they, regardless of what I d either using in some of the other issues at the time didn't exist. So you know someone. One could right. Someone could do what they wanted to do with the language and support. You know, I wanted to be able to support other folks who were doing creative is more of my desire to to support folks in creative endeavors. They wanted to code and do music. So that was sort of my motivation behind doing that and then be able to to to play around with it a little bit myself, which was a lot of fun. I haven't done something with it in a while. I should probably revisit that repo though for people that are that might be confused like what is Chuck, it's I'm actually looking at up right now. It's a programming language for real time. Sound synthesis and music creation. So I guess you can kind of type out music. I suppose. That's what I mean. You can sort of live. You can sort of live compose like if you, I think it's more used for like eight bit music, electric music to sort of live live since like right sent patches in real time. Live coding generally can make me a little bit nerve. Purpose, but it's one of those things. It's it's much like if you're performing music, it's kind of on that same level of the nerves are because you care. Tell you what you wanna do. He'll wanna do something good. So that's, you know, I haven't done anything with it. Sort of, you know an avenue performed using it. You know, the the mostly given talks and I think the most I've done with live coding kind of recently was with machine learning was writing, right? I wrote a used a neural network to write new prince lyrics based on a library of old prince lyrics, which really? Yeah, really? Oh yeah. Yeah, it was pretty fun. So yeah, I did use the torch framework to write a recurrent neural network and I fed it. We'll see. I think seven hundred fifty songs, but I started off in chunks of chunks of two hundred fifty print songs and fed all the lyrics in and then tried to teach it sort of poetic structure. And that's kind of harder to do because princes, like sort of writing poetic style. L. was not consistent enough. I mean, because he was so innovative, huge prince fan but wasn't consistent from song. The song says a lot harder like songs that he wrote for other people tended to have more of like a rhyming, couplet, traditional poetry type structure in than songs he did for. But songs he did for himself a performed himself were tended to be less structured as as his career went on. There were some of the more, you know, things were like, rhyme structure was consistent or like, you know, beat in cadence. Structure was consistent, but that sort of was changed allies his his career went on. So it was interesting to see what the dream that works bat out. A lot of it was gibberish in pretty funny, but as you can, you can kind of tune how interesting or how close to her away from her. How creative the neural network would get when generating new lyrics in the effects were were mostly just for my entertainment, but pretty. Good. Tell me this is online somewhere. It is. My get repo. I have a public repo with it. Some of the I consider you a link to it. It was just a lot of fun. You know, I wanted to to mess with neural networks a little bit. And so that was my way of of digging in. I was already familiar with python so it wasn't much of a stretch, but I got to learn Lua a little bit in the process, which was fun. Yeah. I mean, I would love to see it. I would also I work with with a Neil dash who was like. Huge prince fan. I'm sure he would live to see that too. So. Yeah. So kind of switching gears here for a little bit. I know we focused a lot on the work that you're doing at the wire credit. We focus a lot on your technical background, and we're doing this interview during our kind of LGBTQ month as we were talking to, you know, designers, developers that are in that community, and I'm curious to know, does your identity kind of inform the work that you do or you don't do? I mean, it seems like a lot of it is is behind the scenes. Right. So I'm kind of curious to know about that. Right. I mean, I think in general, my lens is, you know, I said the intersection of number of communities. I'm a woman. I'm a clear woman and black. I think in general, I try to not do work that would be harmful to any of those communities. But specifically I don't, but my exact job isn't isn't necessarily. Focused on being queer, though I do in my spare time, you know, try to support communities that are organizing around that keeps them safe online as much as I can. But when it comes to just bringing myself to to work out at work, I don't think I've ever been in the closet professionally ochre. So I think I have a very sort of, I would say not traditionally feminine appearance and so I didn't really if I wanted to be comfortable in the able to do my job to the best of my ability, I couldn't hide any that any of that part of myself and still be effective because I would be a didn't want any of my professional time to be worried about what would happen if I got you know if there were any sort of employment implications on my being out. So I, you know, have been out for the. Entirety of my professional career, you know? So I think because of that, I don't really have. I'm not really aware of the extent to which that has held me back because perhaps, you know if someone saw something in a extracurriculars on my resume in the past may up a naive to that, but I would say that like not doing active harm to those communities to any of the communities in which I sit at the intersection. I always keep that my mind. I don't want to. I don't wanna put anything out there that could harm black people or harm queer people are harm or harm women. So you know, I always sort of bring myself to that. You know, I don't. I don't pretend like I'm not married to a woman. I don't pretend like I'm not that I am not a member of those communities that I don't. I don't. I'm not shy about that at all. You. Do you find that this? I guess the tech community, the DevOps community, I guess, in general, do you. Find that it's welcoming to someone like you saw a black. He I would say, you know, in general. I mean, I think I think just in professional life as a black person working professionally as a queer person working professionally feel like there is there's a level of that need of having to work harder to to to be considered on equal footing for as your peers? I think there's, I certainly have felt that in the past, but I don't think that you know a, I don't think that it's like I certainly do my best to uplift folks who are more marginalized than me in the work that I'm doing. So I don't know. So. What advice would you give to somebody that wants to follow in your footsteps? Like you said, you've had this nontraditional path studying anthropology and then kind of taking a hobby and turning it now into a career. What advice would you give to someone that wants to? I don't know maybe where you are right now. I mean, just keep keep working at it. I mean, he's me, I think a lot of there's there's a lot that's out there about women in tech end imposter syndrome that I feel like doesn't always quite fit well when it comes to someone who is sort of who comes who's not only a woman who is also queer who is also who was also black people talk about not feeling like you stack up to other folks may be, you know, you'd be uncovered some sort of fraud. I think the thing that has always helped me get past that is having a very clear understanding of what I'm capable of. And I would say to other people who are trying to get started to have a clear understanding of what you're capable of and what you can do and how you can can get there. And just as corny of a adage, it is to to work hard. In focus on your dreams, find your community of like minded folks. If you're if there's something that you want to do when you're interested in, you know, find a mentor that can sort of guide you through and tell you what some of the pitfalls might be where it's gonna get difficult so that you can end -ticipant that might think that's that has always been important for me is finding finding someone who was willing to shepherd you either either professionally or motions or otherwise. However, you need to be supported through your journey and you know, so that you can stay grounded and still. I mean, I think there's always there's a level of self reflection that I think can help just saying like, where am I like? Am I on my on my way to achieving what I want to do and how do I get there? I feel like mentors can help you put some of that stuff in perspective and also like help you look back at what you've actually done like. That's good. I think sometimes you know, when you're trying to get someone you're working really hard toward a goal. Goal. It can be hard to see how much progress you've made in mentor skin, help you look back and say, no, you've actually come pretty far. This is what you've done to get to this point, and here's perhaps what you might need to do to keep going to stay on that path and being open once you get to a certain point to mentoring other people, but always still staying open to being mentored yourself. There's always a way that you can improve yourself in find someone who's willing to share knowledge and be a good listener. So Horb in some of your mentors. So professionally, there's been a variety of folks. I was fortunate enough to when I started doing technical roles have had mainly women as supervisors who in other other women who are working in technology in some outside of who have been able to, you know, just sort of give me guidance on on life and just be supportive when I was in undergrad was studying. Apology, Janet Monge who she is an anthropology professor at Penn, and you know she was Geena just sort of instrumental in just being supportive of any career choice. Even if I didn't wanna do apology and Rebecca mercury who was a who at the time was a computer science professor at Bryn marr where I went and she has just modeling that you can actually make a career out of, you know, at technology and be a woman in kind of carbon unique path for yourself like she is an expert on voting like voting technologies. I think it was just really important for me to see women out there doing that like personal mentors before I kinda dove deep in tech, I was working at worked at a nonprofit, and I was fortunate enough to cross paths with a mini John Bell who changed my life. Yeah. So supportive. And teaching me about how the world worked outside of the academic black middle-class bubble that I had grown up in. Have there been any compromises that you had to make either in your career or like even in your personal life to being where you are now? I try not to think of those so much like compromises so much as you know steps. Really. I can't really think of compromises. I've made around myself being queer woman. I haven't had to be in the closet. Fortunately in a haven't had to participate in anything that is destructive toward any of the communities that I belong to, which has been good or like actively destructive enters a compromises. I think in general, like I haven't been in Philly the entirety of my life. And I think sometimes like, you know, I've moved 'Sometimes the adjustment for moving. And finding a new job at a new city can be hard, but I wouldn't necessarily call that a compromise. I think there are times when I've been ready to pivot and I didn't realize that I was ready to put it in taking on different aspects of technology or even just moving away from try like thinking that, perhaps I wanted to do dental school or social services to going into turning a hobby into a professional endeavor. But I've been fortunate in that regard that I haven't had to make any major compromises or or do anything that I feel like was where I was sort of taken in l. in order to get here, but I don't think that's like, you know, I don't think that's a a normal thing. I think a lot of people have had to compromise to get to where they are. So I'm not saying that that's like a thing and I haven't. I've also acknowledging that hasn't been like that doesn't mean that like it's all been walking on a bed of roses to get to this point. You know? I think I, I think I've had to fight for. Myself and advocate for myself more than I thought I would. But you know, I don't think that's unusual for a black woman. So is having to advocate for yourself more like you have to be your own cheerleader. Sometimes professionally mortar than people are gonna. I think when you look back through history, black women are sort of were more behind the scenes than than we are in than our stories get told and keeping in mind that had to advocate for myself and having to compromise. Well, I probably as much as I've contributed to the success of something I probably won't get mentioned in the thank yous and knowing that have you ever dealt with burnt out? I feel like I've been really close, but I feel like true burn out would happen when I lost the love for what I'm doing in just felt like I couldn't do it anymore. A haven't been burnt out. I feel like I've gotten close done because what have you done it though times when it's happened, I felt like you're like approaching the red zone. Right? I think what has helped me has sort of been in involved with, excuse me with communities associated with tech, but also like representing underrepresented groups like LGBTQ folks and and black folks in tech and sort of working with with them and also helping doing civic tech work like civic like activism through tech. His always been helpful to me to see that like there are people that need your skills and and like what you do can actually change the world. You know, that has been helpful. I think just being able to know when to take a break and like saying, like, you know what, you know, even if it's just on the project level and not unlike a big macro level, just knowing when to take a break, either knowing when to take a five minute break in or ten minute break and take a walk or go for a run or whatever or knowing winter to like be like I need a vacation and like disconnect in. Like, you know, like read, read trashy romance, novels or whatever, just in just not worry about any of the other things that like any of the other concerns. If it's if it's at all possible to just like completely disconnected, just be really in the moment with something and just have have time to just enjoy yourself and quiet. And yeah, I'm not gonna lie for me that has. It has been tough. I'd say probably will before I started where I'm at now, I had my own studio for nine years and it was usually so hard to just disconnect from it because it's like if you're not the one running the show, then nothing gets done. And I would be in a position where I could, you know, take a break or take a vacation, but would never do it because I would feel this this like guilt for doing so and like me I had to make. I had to make a mental shift in how I perceive. Leave self care. So when we go to the doctor or something that you think of it, like, you know, you have to like take a physical or if you're not feeling well or something happens, you go to a doctor and you'd think about that on on a physical level, but then on like mental and emotional level, taking a vacation or taking a break. I try to look at it in that same sort of a transactional sort of way. Absolutely. So it's like, oh, if I'm feeling burned out and I think, oh, I need to plan a vacation. I won't him in how about, oh, when I got, I got this. Got to spend this money and it's like, no, if you weren't feeling well and you had to go to the doctor, you would spend money. So what's the difference if you're feeling burned out and you need to take a vacation, it's the same. Absolutely the same thing, but I think of it in that way. Absolutely. Taking care of yourself, even just a small acts of self care help. You know, I've within maybe the past year sort of really gotten into skin care stuff. And that's been like a really fun diversion, like just. You know, taking time to actually take care of yourself and then seeing what the effects of that do to you. You know, I struggled with with with like pretty intense facial acting for like a long period of time. Well, into my like kind of current advanced adulthood and seeing the results of like actually taking time to like get into skin care routine and seeing what that has done for like my appearance and then my confidence as well because like you think, oh, I feel like I looked like an adult and not a teenager, or I feel like people are actually taking me seriously, maybe not looking at all the scars on my face and what that has like what that has done for me personally, in, you know, it, it actually really does help to fight this sort of, you know your inclination to just sort of like, oh, I mean, I could. I find a better way to use my time than like doing this like Woosh arising mask or whatever. No, just take some time. Relax. Do it, take care of yourself. You'll feel better the effects last much longer than than you know the time that you've you get out more than you put in the right. The effects of it lasts way much longer than than you know the time that you spent, you know, taking care of yourself and you'll certainly I think remember and look forward to those experiences more than like slaving through work trying to, you know, trying to be the stuff I was trying to be the star, but like trying to be the workhorse to just power through it. It's like, no, you know what I'm feeling. I'm feeling a little burnt out or even just a little crispy. Like let me let me think of as a step away for a minute and you know, and then just approach it later. So yeah, no, absolutely. I think that, yeah, I mean, there's nothing like a set of fresh eyes coming back on. I mean, even if it's just like Anita stop for the day, and then you just come back with a fresh eyes and you're like, oh, that code looked like garbage, you know, and you think, okay, I, I'm glad I didn't continue to dig in this mess is it's. It was the equivalent of trying to find, you know, a toothbrush in a trash. Can you kit like it's gonna take forever and you probably won't like it when you see it. So like you just need to just take a break and get some fresh eyes on even, you know, just all the way from the micro to the macro was just, you know, taking care of yourself and checking in with yourself and making sure that like you're waiting some of those things that can lead to burnout, like really helps. I think. Where do you see yourself in the next five years? Like what kind of work do you wanna be doing? Or do you have like a dream project you'd like to accomplish? Anything like that? I think it's okay for me to not know the answer to that question right now. I don't know. I think at this point I'm met the point McCreary where I'm deciding should I try to get on a like a heavier management track, or if I'm the kind of person that wants to be like a principal architect of something, and I haven't really figured that out yet. I think I need more time under my. Belt to just kind of figure out what exactly it is about everything that I'm enjoying and try to see like what the best use of my talents are in that. But I've just been, I wouldn't say in the weeds. But I would say that I've been digging in on so many things that like I haven't had the time to like sit back and say, okay, what is what is five years from now look like? Because even five years ago, I don't think I would have like if you told me that I was going to be where I am or that even like, you know, in the early days of revision path that I won't be interviewed here, I wouldn't have thought about that. I wouldn't have thought that the the any of those possibilities. Maybe that's just the limits of my imagination, but I'm okay with not knowing for right now, trying to figure some of that out as I go along. I don't mind calling audibles about my that aspect of my life. Well, just to kind of wrap things up here, coordinate, where can our audience find out more about you about your work on line if you're fan of the. The wire cutter, keep visiting the site would love it. You take a look at some of the the amazing work that some of the journalists do, and if you want to hit up me professionally or non professionally, you can take a look at on Twitter. I'm on Instagram at CJ, Wilburn on kind of all the things I believe in a unified field theory of internet handles. So I'm etre to stake out my Namespace pretty quickly on on anything that's coming out so s. c. j. Wilburn on all of the things at if you wanna hear me talk about prince or see pictures of my dog. I mean, you can look at my Twitter feed or even some some peppered sort of many ransom about social Justice or the intersections of that and technology or all those things. All right. Sounds good. Well, Courtney will burn. I wanna thank you so much for coming on the show. I want to thank you for sharing your your experience. I mean, I know we focused a lot on kind of the technical aspect of what you do, which I think is important for people know about, but then also, you know, balancing that out with the personal and knowing how you deal with burnout and even just hearing about your kind of intense passion for for this field, I think, is really important for people to know like one of our our audience members that said, DevOps may not feel that a lot of people really even think about, you know, as as folks start thinking about tech, they think more designed development or software development or building apps, but like DevOps is important field and I'm glad that you're able to kind of shed some light on that. So thank you so much for coming on the show. Oh, no, no problem. I think you so much for having me. I'm just I'm a huge fan of everything that's going on with vision path until I really, really appreciate it. It's been an honor. I really appreciate the time. And that's it for this week. 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DevOps engineer Philly editor Google Facebook New York Times developer MAURICE cherry New York City Courtney Wilburn America India
296: Shar Biggers

Revision Path

1:15:25 hr | 2 years ago

296: Shar Biggers

"You're listening to the revision path podcast, a weekly showcase of the world's black graphic designers web designers and web developers through in-depth interviews, you'll learn about their work their goals and what inspires the mess creative individuals. Here's your host, MAURICE cherry. Welcome to the revision path podcast. My name is MAURICE cherry, and before we get into this week's interview I want to remind you that tickets are now on sale for our three hundred episodes celebration here in New York City. It's really going to be a fun night. It takes place on June fourteenth at the space and I'll be hosting a panel with three of the most esteemed designers in the industry. Gail Anderson, Eddie apar- and cat small. I'm telling you. You don't wanna miss this. Tickets are on sale now. So head on over to event, right dot com. Search for revision or you can check out the show notes for the ticket. This event is bound to sell out for don't wait. Get your tickets today. Now for this week's interview, we're talking with New York based founders senior designer brand consulted an art director share biggers. Let's start the show. All right. So tell us who you are, and what you do. So my name is share biggers, and I am a founder of a startup called Atara. It's a fashioned phone case brand. It is my second fashion phone creek case brand, and I'm in the midst of seeking investment on that. I am also a senior designer in art director in my fulltime job at this moment, or I'd say part time job, along with Tara is a brand consultant in do that for start a brands in. Medium brains in solo preneurs looks Toko. Bill Atara, I'm really curious about the phone cases because so I have kind of a I don't wanna say it's an off brand phone starting to become more popular. It's a it's a Android one, plus six and everytime. I see. All these great fancy phone cases. It's always only for iphone that the just recently started to branch into, like Samsung galaxy. See whatever, whatever. Why did you decide to go into phone cases? Nestle really interesting question. I actually in college actually while I was at the portfolio center in Atlanta for design school. I like ran out of money to pay for my last year. College there in, you know it's a private institution. So I only had like a certain amount of funds for it. And I had lift advertising in order to go to design school in had like a pretty, you know, nice salary, if I had like a sports car in had a loft and Ben hero was going back to school in. It was like I was starting from scratch, so I ran out of money after my first year in second year, it was time to pay tuition in was like over Christmas break, and it was due in, like less than a week. If I just like needed, like a quick idea to, like make some money. He really quickly in a woman of faith, so I to be honest with you. I can't really take the credit for this because I just said guide like I need an idea immediately, like give me a dream gimme something in to sleep at dreamed of assessories flying in the air in I had opened the SE shop like a few months before that. But I didn't do anything with it like it was just year is, though, I dreamed of like all these assessories finding era was like coasters, it was, like all kinds of random assessories, and I woke up in. I just knew that I needed to pursue the SE shop in Silla says, reason put my designs on them. So I quickly got in touch with like a manufacturer in China to see if they would be willing to work with me in, they were in. I just started putting designs together at like mocked up some photos of the designs in on Photoshop made it look like a photo shoot but it wasn't in. Actually beyond say came out with her album, I think it was called beyond say, in two thousand thirteen going onto fourteen because I was December, and I ended up putting a bunch of her quotes and stuff on the back of some phone cases because I was extent of hers in put it on tumbler I had like no following at all on tumbler. I was just like on their for inspiration to look into sign isration. I put the photos up in a went viral in, in my shop like blew up overnight. So it was like it was like celebrities in all sorts of people. Buy for me in posted the pictures of it. So that was like, really cool in to be honest with you like a head all my bills paid in like a week in, then I think I had I can't remember exactly the exact amount of money that I made by week too, but it was some thousands of dollars in. I was like, okay, I'm sitting on. Something here. So I started putting out a bunch of other types of phone case assessories in just took it from bear in. I saw how much like I found out how much of a need there was in the in the area, especially at that time there were not a ton of really nicely designed phone cases. So I was able to put like mine new a steady, which is a little bit more high brow. I was able to apply that to phone cases, which is very rare. Because if you've seen phone cases is there usually cheesy, teeny Bopper, or, you know, or might plastic Conaway junk. So, so, yeah, that's actually how I got into the area in came up with another solid idea for som- taking it up a notch the second time. Well, that's the really sounds like overnight success story, I had no idea people were the phonetic about phone cases. But then I guess what you put beyond saying. With. That's I mean, that's amazing though. That's that's really something. How is the business going so far? So now if going pretty well, I haven't launched yet I am now in the investment bays, I'm trying to get somebody to back me because the this, this time around, I'm not doing like graphics case. I am actually doing like materials embroidery like I'm really, really taking it up. A notch are at wore like a few notches. I'm taking it up for these phone cases. And I'm trying to do something nobody has ever seen before. On phone cases. So this is like is so new that I'm having a hard time finding a major factor that you produce it. So I might have to go to China soon to just sort of see if there's somebody they have like a trade show coming up where you can basically all the phone case on may factor is in one place in that's really important, because they all are located of near Hong Kong. Cong. And so it's really important to be able to have access in get over to them and be able to have a conversation asked, whether they can produce this or not otherwise than have to find. I'm pretty sure somebody will be able to do it. But that's what's holding me back right now is the prototyping in also that I need the investment because in order to get I knew it might not seem like it, but in order to get any type of fashion line, even if it's a cesary off the ground takes it. It takes a lot of money. So that's, that's sort of Rahmat right now with getting that done in the goal is to launch by January if I'm lucky December. So most will be hopefully from people are listening, if they wanna find out more about it. We'll talk to, you know, at the end of the interview about no links so people can check it out, or if they want to get in touch with you, the support or anything like that. Yeah. That'd be great. So before all of this, and I also wanna talk about kind of what we've mentioned the little bit before we started recording, which is your. Your agency provoke before this. You worked at Amazon, as a senior designer can you tell me a little bit about the work that you did there? Yeah. That was awesome. And I actually encourage any designer listening to check them out. I know I, I don't know about other people, but I was hesitant to go to Amazon. And they were crude me for, like, I don't know, three years, maybe to come on board in just kept saying, no, no, I don't like your design on an avid member when I finally gave it a shy after I left the Hillary campaign because I really low fashion in on out was in touch with one of my connections. That's there that kinda ruins their internal creative agency at Amazon, and I was saying, you know, I kinda wanna get into fashions. Oh, I'm not sure of Amazon is going to be a great place for me right now. And he said, you know, I think I could get you in at either shot by rocky. Get you in Amazon fashion in said. All right. Well, you know, let's see what you're talking about. And then think about it. And so he got in touch with on Amazon fashion, in, they set up like a little coffee shop. You know, interview with me in it, went really well, so I decided to give it a shot, and I think it was one of the best cities that I could ever make. Because even though I wouldn't necessarily say that Amazon is known for amazing branding won't in the visual, aesthetic sense, I would say they are not necessarily known for that. But the business the, the business skill set that you learn there is absolutely absolutely like no other company, the amount of innovative nece that they have in the amounts of, of, of ownership, you have as a designer to lead the projects in come up with the car. Concepts are off Inc unmatched from what I have seen from other companies on. So I think it was a great opportunity in got a chance to work on the Amazon fashion branding on visual identity. I got a chance to work on prime wardrobe subscription service, which is a I don't know exactly how much because I think the numbers haven't come out on the revenue for its first year it dropped in two thousand seventeen or two thousand it could dropped officially in two thousand eighteen like last summer, like almost a year ago drop so the official numbers having come out yet, but it's a subscription service where you get to try before you buy and get close to your doorstep for free for Amazon prime members in you. Try on the clothes, and then you the ones that you don't wanna keep you put them in the box, so sort of like a risk on risk free subscription service in on you. You either leave it on your doorstep or take to, you know, your local shipping. In have his ships back for free. All of it is for free in except for the stuff that you keep so doing the branding behind that with I didn't with another designer we were the ones, I primarily got a chance to work on it. That was a really awesome opera -tunities because that is a huge program for Amazon in. So seeing how the logistics behind that works was awesome. In innocence. It sorta teaches you how to run something on your own because you're not strictly doing production. You're in all the meetings in everybody has the right to give an opinion about behind, how something is produced. I think as a designer that's a game changer in many ways. Because many times at the on the client side, we can be looked at his production, only it, don't get me wrong. Amazon, sometimes has a can struggle with that a little bit as well. But I think overall the type. Of the type of leadership, you get to take in a role. It expands be on your day to day. You know, a job responsibility. So to say sounds really surprised I did know that there was such a rich kind of design culture at Amazon like that. I mean from my end as user that's really all I think about this as fulfillment, and how they ship or other, you know, have him in Tori and things like that. What's something else about working at Amazon that you think people would be surprised? No shoes. I think they would be surprised to know that. Our teams were they have small team. So we're really, I don't wanna say isolated, but there is a not a ton of transparency into what everybody's doing. So I don't have any idea what Amazon prime team is doing. I have no idea what Alexa team is doing, like I was on fashioned into be honest with in Amazon fashion. I did not know what exactly what teams were doing Amazon fashion. You really really work with just what you have in front of you, in the people that work with you on that project in so they call those, I'm pretty sure they still call him call it. This lead is called two pizza teams need in that every team should be able to feed their team with two boxes of PISA pizzas. So in a keep it that way, so that you can become a an extreme expert in specialists in just kill it with the. With what you have in front of you on your plate in your team. And it actually I know that my sound weird, but it works really well, a keeps them ahead of the curve in just about every segment. So think about it, you know, taking over whole foods in just about sometimes feel like every other industry, bets are going after it's because of these two pizza teams that they create on in. I think that, that was a really strong decision in the reason behind that is so that you can always our teams can always feel like they're in startup mode. What the drawback is, is that there aren't a lot of people on the team. So that means that you're wearing many hats, that means that, you know, you can't say that's not my job. You know what I mean? Like you get a chance to touch so many different things in having opinion of across so many different things to make sure something gets produced. Really, really well. And in we don't pay attention is hard to, like, what our competitors are doing. We basically get together or brainstorm, the heck out of something in until we can make it, until is something that we haven't seen before or villa, something that we can really dominate in and it's not even necessarily trying to dominate, but his Trump constantly be customer obsessed. So we create something we test it. We create something test it. Okay. We see that they're not responding to this tested, again, in on designers work on that with the visual aspect in until we have something, where the customers absolutely love it to death. We're not putting it out. So that's sort of the I think that's pretty surprised. I thought that was surprising because I really did not know that, that's how it worked. But in the end that ended up being. Really awesome. Take away for me to see and be able to be a part of the unlearn about you from either Wolde Michael who we had on the show last year. And you both worked on the Hillary for America campaign. So I'm I know how did you first get involved with working with the campaign? Oh, that's funny. I I wasn't looking for it. So I was working for myself in a head my own studio. It was still provoked back the end in. It was just me at the time and I was working with different clients. I think my last time before that was like Sephora in a had just finished up with that in, I was getting ready to move onto, like a beauty client in right around that time, I got a call from the dire, the designed rector from the Hillary campaign in, she just acts me light. Hey, you know. This is the Hillary campaign. We love your portfolio, and we heard about you from they said somebody they heard about me from in. They were just like we wanna see if you're interested in coming on board in, I was just like I'm not sure because the honest truth is I wasn't sold on Hillary at that time in, I can remember caught my mom in. I was like, mom. Like what do you think about this? Like, I don't know. It wasn't that she had done anything wrong. It was at January. We did not know much about her in adjust out. And I want to be sure that I supported everything that, you know, she was about. And so I called my mom and mom, you know, just basically told me. Hey, you know, she flaying how Bill Clinton Bill Clinton was president, it helped her tremendously a how it was when he was a president when he was the president that she was able to afford to buy a house, in how sh- her pain. Crease on her job. And she knew issue was able to lane how how it was directly a tied to summon, his policies and things. And so, I was just like okay, you know what about Hillary? She was like, well, she's all about making sure women get paid equally in. That's what I went in. I think that you should really consider it because, you know, she's really broken down mini doors for women, and she doesn't get the credit she deserves. So I was just like all right. I'm going to I'm going to think I'm gonna think about this in N if my mother's opinion is really big to me. So if she sang for, because she wants equal pay, I'm gonna probably say, yes. So I remember I remember I went in for interview, and then when I met the team, I was just like, oh my God. Like I love all of you guys in, you know, I've never been able to design for such a great cause, in a very conceptual person that doesn't believe in just designing, you know, without a reason behind it. Though. I finally had something that was extremely important. Midst of lot and been was I started to pay a bit more attention to the things that were going on around me politically, it was sort of a no brainer. So I showed it, I shut down shop in. I, I went ahead and just join them full-time, which meant that, you know, you don't get any days off. You know you work Monday through Sunday. In an you just sort of go hard all day long. But I don't regret any any bit of it. It was like one of the best times of my life. Nice. A, a really lug home talking to different people who've worked on the campaign with me, the Markham spoke with either, of course speaking with you now. And there's always this, this, like warm if use of praise about how will design a really I guess how well the campaign when, in general, so it's really good to hear the now that you've kind of had some time away from it. What? What did you learn from the campaign like, what did it teach you being in that experience? I believe that I learned that I wanted to one that Bette life is too short. For me to just were jobs said, I'm not extremely passionate about. And now I won't I won't just go on work anywhere, because they pay me will or I won't just take on a project just because, you know, it's a project, you know, I want to be able to add something in one to work with companies and brands in people projects concepts that means something to the world in they're adding something what just pay a lot more attention to what I do. And what I contribute my time, too. I think also Hillary taught me a lot about myself. I began to study her in, you know, the, the walls, she's broken down the barrier. She's burned down for women. In tell people. All the time. You know the media has done a good job of making her look like the bad guy. But if you just take the time to research her history in look at things that she was the first to do, where she was the first to do something just that alone will change your mind because I need, like a legal pad to write down all of her first, she's done so many. I as a woman that people do not have any idea about their minds would be blown. You know, on our in, I think that inspired me to want to strike out on my own. I always wanted to strike out on all, but it really put a fire under my but to go after what I really wanted, you know, I act like ACA really do it, once I saw her, you know, in humanly saw her not from afar. Like she came in. We got to meet her, you know, like she she interviewed, you know, many of the possess. Missions herself like she stuff done. I have never seen that before in a person at like walk the walk. It made me say I wanna be that transparent. It made me say, I wanna be honest, even though I knew a lot of people might not feel the same way, I saw on honest individual in, it is fire meets a woman to do great things in that way. So now the campaigns over and, of course, as you said, it's empowered, you to want to be able to give back in and work with other businesses and things, which is why I'm assuming you started provoked, but Tulsa me more about what provoke is about the work that you do just like tiller audience about that. Okay. So provoke is a brand consultancy but it's also a design firm soda soda say. But I think the difference between this in what many other designers do is that. I believe in providing brand strategy, first before jumping into design because I don't believe there's a reason to have design if there isn't a strategy in athlete, sometimes as designers, we think that strategy is, on is just solving, a problem, visually, but the problem is to have purpose. And if it doesn't matter how great the design is if it isn't conceptual. It doesn't need anything. So I offer branding brand strategy. I to basically dissect the brand on the company, the startup or even if it's somebody's personal brand to dissect that literally down to the teas position to give their in this of meeting on getting their brand positioning together, you know, figuring out who their target audience and making sure that they have the correct target audience you'd be surprised how many startups in even medium sized. Companies don't have that, right? And so we break all of that stuff down before moving into design in design, even though we all want to get to it that might not be what they need. You know, might find another problem that needs to be soft before they keep in touch, design, or we can even think about design or their product might not be right. You know, so so we have to get all that, that stuff down first because otherwise we'll be creating a design that of, you know, maybe is it isn't honest? Is it transparent isn't offensive? You know, doesn't separate them at, like, let's say they sell a commodity some sort of commodity products. Well, if I just give them a pretty design, in my really separating them from the competition, you know, so, I believe that if specially for boring companies beat the bees. No, they're not the most exciting finding a way to separate them. Finding a story. That's really true. You know, because I think coming off of a if you think about a before prior to social media in the internet, age brands, could tell us what ever they wanted. Any did not have to be true. You know it could be like this is a nutritious meal with the boxes. This is nutritious. You know, it ended come to find out once social media comes you get exposed, by the customers who say no, what they're telling us is not true in a now we have to hold them accountable in Jin's Z, who's coming after millennials. Now they do not purchase. They're not loyal to brands. I should say, not, not that they don't purchase what they're not loyal to brands that will not on. They do that do not share values with him common values that our offense with them. They won't become loyal to. Them. So it's even more important now to make sure that as designers, we walk hand in hand. With companies I understand what their offerings are on track to find hill confined, their story because to be honest with you, most companies really don't know how to do it, unless they are in a financially in a position financially where they can get some help in that area in to be honest, a lot of companies don't even they're not aware privy to the knee in how serious this is gonna be for them down the line in. I think if specially for minority businesses, we cut ourselves out of market share, when we don't take our branding in our storytelling seriously. Low, so, yeah, that that's, that's sort of I guess, the long-form formation of what I'm doing with a provoke in. I'm really excited about the offerings. I wanna dig in a little bit more with which is they're just at the end about minority businesses because it's something that I mean I'm passionate about before I started with the work that I'm doing now. I have my own studio for nine years, call months. So I know exactly what you mean about making sure that strategy is part of the sign, and I'll tell you for me my business didn't like level up until I took that seriously until I made sure that, that was something that I was offering to clients, I would say, by the faults because what I think I was doing before is I certainly was. Doing the design aspect. I was a good pair of hands, all mechanic, essentially, like I could come in. I could do your logo. I can design your WordPress team, etc. Etc. But not really seeing like how that solved what your goal is. And sometimes I would find clients didn't even want that. And so maybe part of that is just how you qualify, one of the right types of clients for you to work with because not every client is gonna wanna do a strategy session or branding session before they get into whatever the final deliverable is they just want what they want, and they may not have put the thought into it, or, you know, for whatever reason, some people just need that. And I think that's fine. But that doesn't mean that you as a designer necessarily have to serve that, if that's not what it is that you want to offer. Agreed you, you don't in, in to be honest with you. I'm not. I'm not as pro designing a brand without strategy. I or I will tell them ahead of time. Listen, if I know that maybe, you know, some people might think that this is about money, but it's really not are really impassioned it about anybody that any, any brand that I work with I'm taking it only. Because I believe in it if I don't believe in it. I won't I can't work on it because then everything that on preaching cannot be true. You know, from transparency, too often typically, you know, it can't be true. But if I believe in the product than, I'm gonna tell you, you're going to sell yourself short here if you come out and just put out something pretty, you know, in, in, in, when I click on your website, I don't know what separates you from every other competitor, competitor immediately, you know, like you need to immediately be able to speak to me. And you have a very short span of time to do it. And so if you, you know, want this then sure, you know, maybe I'll go ahead and do it. But I have to be honest upfront with the risks that are going that you're gonna take with, with skipping out on his process in to be honest with you. If you have the right conversation in it's not even more. So about telling them so much as it's about guiding them in just saying, hey, you know, asking them questions is really like therapy, you know, it's like asking them. Hey, you know what? What why aren't you what, what are your business go, you know, in their business goals in the you say, so what do you think is stopping you from getting there that has nothing to do? Nothing to do with his arm. Right. I'm asking you. What is stopping you? They're just talking you know, they're telling you, you know, essentially all the issues that they're having with their business and you're able to observe and say, all right. He have all of this information based on this information. I can tell you that you need to work on ABC. D N E, you know, if you don't you're gonna you're gonna have a glass ceiling there. You're not going to go up from there. So it's not NFO said that branding might not even be the issue. You know, it's not always the answer to everything even though a strong brand on, does get you somewhere. But if you're products crap, you know, or you're offering has an issue or you're not honest, tear, you know, or you know, whatever issue there might be. We've got to figure that out. I write in. Once we figure those things out that are the problems. And how to solve it. Then we envision you in a strong way of that separates you from your competitors, especially if you're a commodity brand, you know, which is the greater majority, most people that put something out are not putting out something new innovative. They're putting out something that already exists in if you're putting out something that already exists in you want to be the next Coca Cola. You know what are you doing this different? What are you providing me this different? Why should I be loyal to you? If in the company needs to think about that in most of the time, they don't they think just because they're selling it in. They think that they're special that that's enough. No, it's not. It's not enough you. So once we have that conversation, a lot of times, they have understanding because really to be honest. I'm not doing the majority of the talking in the situation. I'm asking questions in their coming to the conclusion on their own. I know what you mean about it being like a therapy session. You'll sit down. Talk with the client. And then, as more things are uncovered, then you can get to the root of the issue. Yes. Yes, while I'm curious to know this. You didn't start out studying design what did you start out studying when you went to college man. I started out studying psychology of trusting. Yeah, I have a bachelor's in psychology in bunny story that I thought I wanted to be a psychologist actually a love mom. But why she sorta steered me in like this route on because, you know, I feel like in minority household. We have a lot of pressure to, you know, especially if you have more conservative parents, to, like, pick a Paik a, a feel that's gonna, you know, make everybody proud. So I went with collagen because I was always helping people when giving people advice like at I mean, in a very young age in. So it seemed like it made it made sense. So I went to school for psychology. I think, in the end, it really helps me because I have a deeper understanding of people in how they work even. Organizational psychology which I did get a chance to dig into quite a bit, which also teaches me, how businesses work in, in their banking in how people relate to that right in. So I think that that was around that time was sort of around the organizational psychology space off. Started to think about business in. I, I started to have a hunch that eventually wanted to be an entrepreneur in, so I actually try to take business in college in on like, pick it up as a major in, for like, I don't know. Maybe like two semesters in ended up half any. Is a county in accounting, scared me so badly in our struggling so badly because I'm like, not a math person like I'm totally white right, brain. So our struggling so bad, that I was, like dude drop drought business like right now. Our unlike ram Bax psychology in. So I ended up getting into studying like a Nuro psychology. It was like mom theory, one of my very last classes in a liked it so much that I, I like pivoted in decided to go to school for neural science. So I ended up happening was I picked up like a summer program at Morehouse school of medicine, which, by the way for people out there is for both men and women is not what the same is not the house undergrad. They're probably going to be like excuse me, like, we'll graduated from morale. So they know that. Okay. Okay. Like every time I say. I would some Morehouse school of medicine, people were like. But that's being are you. Trying to tell me Saana saying, no. Is forbidden women? Right. It's a coed school. So I went to Morehouse school medicine in, I a studied neuroscience in got accepted to the PHD program in also got a whole ride in a stipend in a chance to go to Ivy league in the summer to intervene, NASA program. So my family was like, so proud, but I ended up like hating my life solid like dude, why I don't like this. It was just like me like a bunch of light mice all day studying like having like this longitudinal study in, like it was okay? But like I don't wanna work with mice. I'm like social butterfly. So please, like, don't do this to me own instantly ways. I found that I started studying business at night time. Like just all my I don't know. I just started doing it in started to have the each to like get into advertising, you know, be creative. In. So I ended up, I ended up getting out of that in a went to school to get my ABA instead in the middle of that, somehow, I really cannot tell you talk about way into advertising agency, which is like unheard of you'd not have advertising experience or a -education in advertising. I ended up going getting into like a medium size agency in search engine marketing because social media in a digital marketing was so new, you could teach yourself at schools. You know, had not started teaching that yet. So that's how was able to get in in. That was like the beginning of my career in that in I ended up seeing the graphic design department, in I kept trying to go over there in a win. Let me they were like share like you don't have a portfolio, like what are you doing? It was just like, like levian Lee. If they were like you gotta go back to school. I was like, but I just finished my ABA like, please don't do this to me. They were like you don't have a choice. So essentially in order for me to like move onto another agency get in as a designer even though I started like started at taught myself web design, I was building websites when it was, like, so new of I was taught myself, how did you a ton of things designed infographics? It didn't matter because I didn't have a portfolio in. So nobody wanted to give me that shy. So I that's why I went to portfolio center in Atlanta for, I guess you'd call visual designer communications designed in that sort of Haag out my start in design, so, yeah, that was like the longest craziest like road. Have so many pivots Jesus. I don't even know how I made it through. But I finally, like figure feel like figured out apart of my life's calling, you know, I'm acting like I'm a designer slash of entrepreneur so innocence. I think that my background actually suits knee, pretty will you. In a fake that now I have a really to be honest with you in many ways. I see myself as a businesswoman more than a designer as I have an understanding of business in a different way. Now that I don't think most business people have understanding for, you know, have understanding for design in bringing that to business is something I almost never see. I very rarely ever seated. So they'll sell your background doesn't really, you know, it suits, which are doing right now with provoke because you have these psychology experience, you can dig into the client and the user and find out the motivation behind why they make certain changes. You've got the MBA, so you have the business acumen in terms of, like, you know, reading a balance sheets and profit and loss, and all that sort of stuff. But then you all. Also have the desired experience from going to design school. And yet the confluence of all three of those things is very rare. Whether you're self taught on, you know, one or two of these things or not. So I can see where you're coming from with that. I mean, being able to bring all that to the table is a huge asset injury for a political campaign. So just in terms of networking, like I'm pretty sure after the campaign, there was no shortage of, like, oh, I could work here if I wanted to work here if I wanted to, or even if not that just people, you could get in touch with for more work, or for other opportunities after the campaign because campaigns tend to be this, this little, they're like a little startup in a way you know what I mean. Like there's so many moving parts to it and it's all running like its own business for a very short period of time. And so everything is like a microcosm. Everything is, is very condensed in that. And then once the campaign ends up going. Of course, you're all acquainted with each other. You know you all alumni, 'cause you've been through the same type of experience, but then just the, the reach that you have after the campaign. I mean, and I say it was a someone that worked on, like a mayoral campaign like ten plus years ago, I still am able to reach out to people and have connections from that. So the fact that you've been able to do. I mean, the fact that you're doing this now outside of a presidential campaign. I'm telling you, I'm telling you down the road is going to suit you. Well absolutely in it. You know, you're right. You're right about that. It really does like it opens up the doors like nothing else. I don't any of to be honest. I don't know many people that came off of the campaign that actually I remember towards the end of the campaign. Mumbling accompanies came. They were like waiting to hire us. I wanna say Facebook cane, Google Cain. Mike office of amazing companies came. I think. I was not there that day because I have deployed to a rally North Carolina at the end of the campaign to door. Knock in help turn this state blue so on. I don't think I was there when that happened. I definitely wasn't there in the happened, but I remember I remember hearing about all the opportunities that everybody was getting before the campaign was even over. So. So, yeah, it actually really did open doors, many doors in. I'm really thankful for it actually wanna know who's, who's campaign. Did you work on two years ago? Okay. So it was Lisa borders campaign. Okay. Was he was running for mayor? I was the director of new media for her campaign. Wow. Yeah, that's awesome. How? It was a surreal experience, because it was the first set of municipal races that happened right after Obama got elected the first time. And so you had all of these politicians that were trying to figure out how do I use social media? So I can give votes like Obama and it's. That'd be back, then you're like that's not. I mean it's just it's just a part of the tool, kits social media, and the engagement, it's not the way to get votes like politicians with thinking, and to be clear we tried to work with several politicians that were running for mayor at the time, we were trying to work with. I mean I can say this now because it's a decade or so out. But we're trying to work with Jesse spikes who was his lawyer that was running. We were trying to work with Cassim reads campaign who ended up winning and like it was hard to get them to not see that Twitter, followers do not equal votes. Twitter followers means you just have a larger audience to pull from. Yeah. It does not mean votes. But back then didn't matter did matter. And so we were doing at the least campaign, we were doing everything from my goodness. We had a my space. See we, we had a my space page. We had flicker. We have Twitter Facebook because it's degrom wasn't out yet. I think that those two thousand nine two thousand eighteen thousand nine so, so Instagram was not a thing we had flicker, and we like literally took pictures and uploaded them to flicker whatever we had about seven or eight different social media things were running on a WordPress sites. I think a lot of people at the time so that we kind of had the best like social and web presence, which to me was, was flattering because I'm like, we don't know what we're doing a home because no other. The only people we can look to the do similar things like this was like, oh, what did the Obama campaign do? But then the Obama campaign has millions and millions of dollars and hundreds of hundreds of people, and we're like three people in a in a warehouse. Building downtown sensitive Olympic park trying to like figure this out. You know, it was it was really something. See, I was at the time I was twenty eight I think twenty seven twenty eight something like that. And I didn't know I didn't know what I was doing. I had just quit my job the year before, like Obama got elected. I hated the job that I was at and like that empowered me to like strike out on my own. So I quit my job started. My studio had a little bit of money saved up for like three months. So I could like try to figure out how to get clients and all that sort of stuff and then fell into this thing Ryan ended up working with Lisa Boorda's campaign. And so part of it was just I look, I just need to keep working. So I can keep eating. Although I need to keep working, so I could keep getting paid. So I can keep paying my rent. So let's just make this happen. And then when the campaign because we have some turn over in the campaign as I think, happens with campaigns. It got to about, like June or July, and they like cut half of the staff, and like me and some other people were still the ones remaining. We got a new campaign manager, who was Stacey Abrams, so, yeah, Stacey was Lisa's campaign managers, I worked with her for a while on, on this stuff too. So see in her rise is like, like galaxy brain, you know, like see she's how she's doing like me. And we were like sharing pizza like going over leases campaign ten plus years ago. We're really just trying to really just figure it out because we didn't say we didn't know what we were doing. But I felt like we kind of knew enough about social media to know what not to do. So we knew that there were certain crowds that we would be able to reach in that we wouldn't. So if we were on Twitter, we know we could reach like younger tech savvy millennials that knew about the platform because Twitter was still pretty new back. Then I think Twitter I've been out, maybe for about two or three years, then we could reach a lot of old heads on Facebook because that's where they that's just where they were at. So we had to kind of figure out where people were how we use the tools to drive engagement. So we wouldn't necessarily put the same message on Twitter than we would on Facebook, one just because of like the limits of what you could say, in terms of character county stuff, a lot of it was really just like trial and error trying to figure it out. And you know, it's politics. I'm not gonna lie and say that it was all. Above the board that it was all above the Bill, you know, like there was some there was definitely some opposition research, and some things planted. And oh. So this is what was probably much bigger. Oh, no. It's probably it was probably it will it was big during the, the two thousand sixteen campaign stuff comments on other blogs, monitoring comments, and like seating, comments. Yeah kinda shady. I probably shouldn't be meeting of this out here. But, you know, like, like, seething comments on popular political blogs to drive, you know, the conversation one way that we wanted to go. And you know that sort of stuff it really. I mean, I'm not gonna lie looking back on it, it was a lot of fun. I learned a lot during that time, I made some great connections. Some great people like still keep in touch with Lisa to this day. I see Stacy that, you know, now and then, but like Stacy is is huge. Now, of course so. But yeah, I still keep in touch with people from the campaign. Now it was just talking with someone yesterday. We're trying to work together on a project. So, like, yeah. It was really just trying to figure it out. There was no gain plan. There was no strategy. We were just trying to pick apart what like blue state digital did. And like, well, how can we take that and scale it down to like the city of Atlanta to try to do a similar type of thing? So I would I was, you know, designers, so I would design mockups for projects that she wanted to have, I would make logos and all this sort of stuff. It was fun. It was grueling because I was the only one there that had some like design and social media skill. We have, you know, volunteers and things but they were knocking on doors and you know, putting out yard signs and stuff so lots of late night strategy meetings. Lots of just I don't know, just trying to figure it out. We use YouTube a lot, you know, with video, this is back when we had. I mean, the phones have cameras back then I'm saying it's like it's like fifty years ago. But we had these little flip cams. You remember the flip Cam, we had flip cams that we would use get video. And yeah, those are fun time though, when I look, I look back on fondly now that it's so long ago. I know at the time I was just like I'm just trying to get through to the next day. You're just trying to give her goo. Yeah. As it is so intense you know on you, you can't really see the end you know, because you're just trying to get through like each day in no days, the same, you know. And I'll tell you and what's different. I think from a presidential race that a mayoral races that with the mayoral race. We would be so fierce and in the game. And a lot of it was so much just inside baseball that I would go, like, I don't know if I had a day off or something, and I'll go on in the world people don't care people dot care about who voted for whom and what their policies were they just voted for who they liked. And so it kind of would put stuff in perspective like me. We are really spending all this time. That's not to say the average Atlantans didn't care, but they probably didn't care. So you would do all this work and you'd wonder like well what is it? What does it mean in the long run? Like what is what is the standing for? Whereas, I think with the presidential campaign is probably different because everybody's talking about it. It's on the news. It's on the media. But there were certainly be times, right step outside of I could step outside of the election bubble. And it was radio. Silence. Yeah. No, I think that we have, I think we actually have some more, similarities. They think because I mean similarity that I'm, I'm primarily hearing is that on, on the on the presidential campaign, people did also vote for who they like to, like a lot of times it didn't even come it did not come down to policy. You know, even for example, the Hillary had a lot of policy for women. But yet, you know any which still did not vote for her, even though it would have been, it would have been fitted him in the end, you know, a lot of the voted for who they liked mom, you know, over what was going to help them, you know. And so that was that was interesting to see, you know, and I think that I can't speak for everybody. But I kinda wonder if, if we knew that, that was going to happen, you know, would we have gone a different route in? You know how he positioned Hillary because, you know inside the campaign. We got to see in a maze. Ing Hillary so the honest, I don't believe the world. Got to see a you feel the same way about Lisa ado. A certainly think that there is a perception and she's aware. This is up. Sure. Hillary is aware of this power other people see her in SO. She's very aware of that. It's, it's a it's a carefully crafted image. Like lisa's. Got her Saint, John suits, her hair's. Always this way. Her make-up's always this way. And that's who other people see when they saw her. But, like, the, the Lisa that we saw in the campaign was funny and down to earth. Our crack jokes with us and would sit up in the piece of with us late at night, and everything, and it was like mail. You could see, like she definitely wants this, you know, and then she go out and do the debates and things in the media would just like repair apart and everything and. And I think what was also kinda weird. I, I don't know if this still happens with being disciplined, raises is how they would try to ascribe partisanship to the position like being a mayor is not a partisan position. You're not a democrat or Republican. You're just a mayor. You know what I mean? But there was this whole thing going around, and this was mostly fueled blows off you'll by race, as most in it, because the other person who was doing well in the campaign was a white woman. Her name was Mary Norwood, and so because Mary will you in Atlanta, Mary lived in Buckhead, she's very much a, a Buckhead Betty, as they would say, and so, because of that, there was the perception, that she was a Republican, despite the fact that Marietta, you know, long history with city council in meeting with people all across the city, it's like mayors Republican leases, a democrat, and I remember we did we did a commercial. And this was like the commercial that pretty much was the nail in the coffin for the campaign. I think we did a commercial. Ed at what boy, the commercial someone like these people, these women from all different walks of life, which would never hang out in real life. But all these women from all different walks of life, we're talking about Lisa how she's great. And then one of them says, and she's a democrat, and I'm like, what? That is a doesn't mean anything and was like, well packed up at work. So, but I mean, the experience of working in the campaign, and being close with her, and her her family was all throughout the campaign, or both are brothers, her sister, her son, like it was something where you got to see her as being with her family. But then also we were kind of part of that family too because of the common cause of making sure that we got her elected. So it was a it was a wild time man. Oh, it was I, I can only look back on a finely now. Because at the time it was rough. He had was so rough of man. In review, Yale were go also I was up the so what do you think helps fuel the Embiid that you have? I mean, I, I have really big goals that I haven't told many people about in order to reach them. I have to achieve certain other things. I know. You know, I don't know about specifically what all fuels it. But I put I put on my goals. I write all my goes down in put them on my walls. You know. In a look at them every day unit. I mean, I think about, I think about how I can achieve it every day, you know, in every day after like on one step closer. You know, even though many times it feels like when you're on the road towards purpose that you are stagnant, it feels like you know, you're not getting anywhere meeting times, especially when you have really big goals, but in the very beginning of getting those things done. If I it's if you're, you're at the very base, you know, of building blocks in making the foundation for success. It's Hake so much work in the beginning. It seems like you know many times it feels like it's never gonna pay off. But I know it will pay off. You know in the end. No, that's really, what feeling me is just the over all over arching goals that I have in how I want to. I want to leave a legacy. I wanna be able to say that in the in I was. Able to help the helpless in the voice, and, you know, open up doors for them that have not been opened yet are really, really wanna do that, especially in the creative industry Inara some areas that we dominate creatively in those are not that you're is speaking of I'm talking about, you know, areas that I feel like are more untouched. Have went to open up doors in those areas in, in so doing the work a just. It's hard. It's hard on in, but I believe that I'll be able to do that. You know, also one of one of Margot's is to be able to eventually get to a position where I can invest in, in funders in people that wanna launch businesses, especially, you know, for people that aren't able to typically, get the funding that they need like me being a woman of color. Trying to seek funding is not easy. It's not easy in in I, I can't remember the percentage, the percentage behind it, but very, very few women get they may get funding put minority women one bad. Oh my Lord. You know in yet, we are one of the groups that are launching businesses at the fastest rate. But what I'm finding is that we're launching with very little capital. The result we don't have a strong positioning in the end, you know, very few of us will really rise to the top because we are not able to provide the funding. We meet necessary, upstream as so you know, I really wanna be able to be of some help in this area in in change. That be one of the people that changed that, you know, in, in care about this space a bit more so that we can start to be in a we are able to be in a position to open more doors for one another looking. Cystic no two point two percents, which is a decrease from twenty seventeen where it was two point five three percent while if that for women or this for us for women in general. That's crazy. Wow. Yet that isn't that crazy, it's insane. And we have great ideas. We have so many great ideas, I see so many businesses in one, a help them so badly. You know being a financial position to fund them or in right now being a position where I can advise them. I give a lot of free advice. I give a lot of free advice. There have been many times, you know, we're companies have come to me that are minorities in can't find funding in just one advice on how to make it in, in, in a lot of times. I give him be vice freely. Because, you know, I, I can't let it be manipulated or you know. Into far, but I try to give freely because I want to see them win. I wanna see them you know, be able to to get a slice of the pie in. They have excellent ideas. I've seen some have really innovative ideas, but they just they don't have the back in, in the be honest. They don't have the resources to connections. They running low on everything. So they essentially launch in it never goes anywhere. They're never able to build the brand awareness. They have very little following, if any in a lot of times, I go out of business in a couple of years is really bad. You know, these glassy legs in NS a part of the best part of the goal I have that's one of the goals that I have a to break that ceiling. So, yeah. Will you know, which we look on that? Oh, Romeo think you've got what it takes to make it happen. Definitely. When when you look back at your career. What do you wish you would have known when you first started? Get questioned. What do I wish I would have known, you know, sometimes I wonder if I were if I wish that I would have followed my dreams for going down the creative road from the beginning because a lot of times, I feel like I'm really behind a lot of people that I know that are in the same space that I am. You know, it would be hard to go work for companies consulting firms, you know, design ages, either in house, client side in people that, you know, essentially should be around the same age is me on. They might be creative directors. You know, in was a design leader. You don't mean or at times, you know, just a designer on that was tough for me enough, though, really, really behind because I took the long road, you know on, but if I'm thinking about it now that used to be a regret of mine that I didn't find the creative road early in. Wish I knew about it because to be honest with you. Nobody told me about design when I was younger like when I was in school. I didn't even know it was an option. What's the most creative space that I saw, you know, on other people that looks like me go into was like, I hate to say this, it is nothing wrong with it, but I would only see them going into like cosmetology year like in that was like consider creative, you know, back the end, and it is creative. But like only area in was just like an my mother, by the way, I used to be I used to, you know, be in that area when I was growing up. I would I would do a lot of cosmetology of just pay to light have money in my pocket in my mother, Toby very early. That's a no. Like, don't even act. So in our respect or four it because, you know, she was just trying to do her her bist on raising. Me. She wanted to make sure I had the best in so I don't I don't fault, her anyway, perform, she's amazing Omar guy. But I think that the fact that I did not know about the creative field it like took me a really long time to find it. You know what I mean? Like it took years. You know, I went around the blocks of few times. So now, I think that, but now when I think about it, I think, in the end, it was probably better that I went this route because had I gone the typical design route, which is go to school for design, you know, you know, maybe go to a finishing school in Vegas your career started early. I think that's amazing awesome in thinking, so great advantage that to find out early. But I think that the advantage that I now have is the app touch a few different areas now that are. That have great advantages in misfield missile. I think in the end I don't regret it. But I wish I do it least wish I knew about it. No, that's, that's fair. And I think, you know, certainly that feeling of, of thinking that you've sort of started late is something that I can appetizers with, because I didn't I didn't go to design school at all excuse me. I didn't go to design school at all. I my undergrad is a math, migratory degree is in telecommunications management. I was doing design stuff on the side. Like as a hobby, like I started learning in. I think it was maybe my, my junior senior year. If not earlier of high school was, when the internet kind of started becoming a thing, and I was reverse engineering, websites to try to figure out. Oh, how did they do that? Like marquee. Or how did they change this background color and stuff? And this is like the late nineties. So there was no general assembly, or, or tree house or anything that could show you how to like, do all of this stuff. So I was doing a lot of stuff just on my own on the. Side doing little things for for people here and there, not really knowing what I was doing was enough. And I got my first design job in, in two thousand five so I graduated I graduated college in two thousand to two thousand three and I worked a bunch of customer service jobs, because I had a math degree, and there were like two options, you could go to graduate school, or you could teach math and I didn't want to do either one of those. So I couldn't find really decent work. I was selling tickets, I was a telemarketer. I finally got my first design job in two thousand five and then worked for a couple of places around the city work that web MD worked at AT and T as somehow even just those three years, I felt like that. And the combination of me doing, you know, just stuff on the side. I was like, I'm just going to strike out on my only. It was clearly a leap of faith to even do this. And I honestly think that if I wouldn't have landed in the campaign that wouldn't have given me the push to continue to build my studio and have done that for nine years to get to the point where I am now. So like it, I understand that feeling of like, oh, I didn't go the traditional route. But I think the good thing about design, is that there is no traditional routes. There's a lot of ways people can come into this industry and still not only, you know, make a name for themselves. But also, you know, make a living as many ways to do it, but I can understand that feeling of, of, of like I didn't I didn't go to two mica or well you know what I mean. Go the traditional route, or you didn't start early enough. So you feel like you're kind of catching up, but I think you've got the unique mix of skills, and experience that you're, you're doing it. You're doing it right now for sure. Maris also. That's really awesome that you were able to take that leap of faith like in just like launch out on your own. It's, it's so many people that like they never do it, or they limit themselves by being like, you know, keeping themselves at, like a really basic freelance level in, in a have they really have what it takes his problem solvers on to really. We really can do many different things in our, I can't wait to the world gets to a point where they realized the potential of designers to work in many different roles we really can I don't think people realize how, how design can solve just about. I mean, even if it's not about design just the problem solving skills. It you have to be a designer can be applied so many different places in I, I wanna say. That one of the main places I learned mad at and got a chance to see that was the Hillary campaign in also on Amazon. But, you know, actually, the first place that I saw was s why partners, which is on, which is similar to Ideo. It's like idealization company in, in a they work with mostly fortune five hundred companies in come to s Y partners to, to get their problem solved, many different types of problems. It's not just only design. It's like, hey, you know, we, we need to go after a new market, you know. And we don't have an idea how to do it in all it is, is designers who come into a room sit down at brainstorm all day in problem solve for these companies in a pay millions of dollars for that to happen. And it works it works, you know, but the designer doesn't leave with, like a new portfolio piece, but they leave no. Knowing that they helped, you know, so and so brand expand or diversify their products or, you know, a create a new movement. You know, a lot of times we did things that had nothing to do with design at all. And so that was when I learned that won't go, like designers like we, we can solve the problems for the world in seeing the companies like Ideo and s Y partners, frog. You know, seeing those companies like literally on position design in that way to solve those types of problems is really revolutionary in out. I, I hope that designers are able to see that they sees me they carry that type of potential inside of them that they can solve anything worthy. You see yourself in the next few years, what kind of work, one of the doing, I'm hoping that it's horror is a massive success. I really am hoping that it's a massive a massive success in. I'm hoping that now this is a long shot. But I'm throw it out there. I'm hoping that I'm in a position to Lind to be, you know, to be a personalities invest that is able to invest in other companies in on in, in help open doors for other companies. I'm hoping that even in five years, I can do that. And I'm working I'm really am. I'm working busting my butt to do this. So, you know, we'll say, we'll just wrap things up here where our audience find out more about you about your worth your projects, everything working, they find that online. Okay. So you can find my company provoke online at we are provoke dot com. Again, that's we are provoked dot com in also I'm on Instagram. Now be forgive. Giving towards me because I just launched the Instagram for provoke as I have just come back into being having a fulltime studio not too long ago. So I recently launched the Instagram flory in it is at we are provoke in Atara is I'm still working on that on the back end. I have not made the website yet, so, but it will be the URL is Atara dot com. I see a are a age dot com, but it is not designed yet. So don't go there. That's going to be the name of the Beth the name of the phone cases in, in the middle of giving that website done. But I wanna I'm trying you know if I'm going to sell brand positioning or a branch strategy. I have to step forward and create the most bomb bread ever. Okay. So he just put anything out, you know, like I just I can't do it. So I, I am like that's why I said, I'm looking for I'm trying to get the funding that I need behind it, and I'm being extremely, I don't want to say peaky, but I'm trying to be, you know, I'm trying to, to, to work at the details in the, the in how intricate is going to be every little piece of it. I'm I'm really trying to design every touch point. So the tea so that it really creates an amazing experience that, that essentially like set the tone for how. I think branding should be, which is a different thing. You know, like scum like Worby Parker but I don't but not necessarily the same thing. But, you know, doing something that is like that, that, that takes braiding to a new level. And also brings excitement back to branding. So hopefully, I, I was Atara is done. You'll see something special there. And that's really the only places that they can find me at the moment on in. I have a do usually share, like Lincoln's in Facebook's, and things like that this okay for Lincoln. It's a at share. Biggers. S. H. A. R. B. I. G. G. E. R. S. Smells good will share bigger. I wanna thank you so much for coming on the show for sharing. I mean, not just I think the passion that you have clearly for entrepreneurship and for design and everything. But also sharing your story about how you got here. I think you know, for a lot of our audience. It's really refreshing to hear that you can go and do other things or you can, you know, have come into this industry at any given point in time, it's still be able to make an impact. And certainly, you know, like I've said before throughout this interview, you really come with I think the skills and the network equipped to really go far. So I'm I'm putting it out there too. That in five years, you're going to get to where you wanna be with, with what you want accomplish. So thank you so much for coming on the show. I appreciate it. Oh my God. Thank you, Murray's. Think you for having me, I'm it's been like a pleasure in, thank you so much for the four, you know, believing it'd be really appreciated. Can't wait to see where you go with this. I think this is awesome platform to have in so very needed. Please don't stop doing what you're doing. And that's it for this week. Big thanks to share biggers. And thanks to you for listening. You can find them more about share her work with the links in the show notes at glitch dot com. Forward slash revision. Better, provision path is a glitch media network podcast and has produced by Hanna Testa and edited by Brittany Brown. Our intro voiceovers by music, man, Dray with intro, an ultra music by yellow speaker. We're also powered by simple cats. The easiest way for podcasts was to publish and distribute audio on the internet. Make sure you check the show notes for a link to sign up for fourteen day, free trial. If you like this episode, then please let more people know about it by leaving us a rating and review on podcast, it takes about a minute, or so, to do, and it really helps spread the word about revision paps everywhere. You can also find us on Spotify, who podcasts soundcloud, or wherever you find your favorite shows immature. You're following us on Facebook Instagram Twitter as well. Just search for revision path. Thanks so much for listening. And we'll see you next time.

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265: Leah Gilliam

Revision Path

51:09 min | 2 years ago

265: Leah Gilliam

"Everyone is MAURICE if you've been listening to the show and you like what you hear, you can become a patron of revision path today. Just go to patriot dot com forward slash revision path. You can join at the five dollar level to get behind the scenes, exclusive access, all that coming interviews, new articles and episodes of our special patrons only podcast join up the new twenty dollar level, and you'll get everything at the five dollar level plus a three revision path logo. Enamel pins, plus a swag tactful of goodies. So check it out today, patriarch dot com. Forward slash revision path. This episode of revision path is brought to you by Facebook design. One thing that I love asking guests on the show is what advice would give to an up and coming designer. When I talked with product designer, Stephen song, I asked him what's the best advice he's been given about design. 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I'm talking cutting edge, VR experiences, smart Botts, others useful tools to solve problems at work. There's even apps that help advance important causes. I mean, you name it. You can probably find it on glitch. People have built over a million projects on there for you to discover with new ones popping up every single day. So what are you waiting for? Good started on making something awesome today at glitch dot com. Google design is a cooperative effort led by designers, writers and developers at Google. They work across teams to publish original content produced great events and foster creative and educational partnerships that advanced both design and technology for more information on news design resources, and their design podcasts check them out at design dot Google. Male chimp is the world's leading marketing platform for small businesses by the way to check out their new rebranding with the bowl, yellow with the new graphic illustrations and the new type of, I think it's pretty dope, but I think it was even better about male chip is that they make innovative and beautiful products that serve millions of customers around the world, and they give you the tools and the resources that you need to find your people grow your business and make smarter choices. I mean, whether you're a freelancer or you're working in house somewhere, even if you just want to send out a little personal newsletter to people, male chimp is really the tool that you can use for that sign up for free accounts today and give it a try mail. Chimp send better Email. Now, for this week's interview, we're talking to artists and design strategist, Leah, Gilliam. Let's start the show. All right. So tell us who you are, what you do. Sure. My name is Leah Gilliam. I'm a artist who works with technology and I'm also designed strategist. I do a lot of work with nonprofits and help them think about what to do next, how to grow and particularly how to do those things through technology products. Nah, I think one of the, the nonprofits that we probably know of you the most from is girls who code, right? Yeah. I've just recently wrapped up some big projects with girls who code and had a really great time there and love that organization deeply. And I ran their education strategy. And innovation teams launched a few products there and really help them with their strategic plan and thinking about what they do the next five years, which is all. That's my wheelhouse. That's the kind of stuff I love to do. And then I was really honored to be a spokesperson for the organization and out on the road when you couldn't get the CEO Reshma Zanjani two of here, I was usually second up and helping people to really specifically get a sense of what it means to be. You know, a female identified person who codes like what is it really mean to learn and to code and to tackle CS and truly help people understand what some of the challenges are, but also what some of the opportunity are as well. Let's really great. I feel like certainly within the past, maybe ten years or so. We've started to see this uptick in a lobby, similar types of programs. You know, we have girls who code girl develop it, black girls code at cetera, where it's empowering more young women to get into computer science in coding, and I guess design extensively giving into the those kinds of fields to let them know that it's a viable career option for them. Yeah, yeah. Don't. Don't forget all star code. Oh yeah, young men of color. I love their work as well. No, it's true. No, it's true. I mean, it's been interesting. You know, certainly over my career. I've been involved with a few different tech fields. So I've worked in game design and I've worked in more sort of digital media and kind of internet open source technology. And now really thinking in some ways, it's about how you learn to be a computational thinker. Like, what does it mean to you? Not necessarily to study computer science because that's very specific discipline. But what does it mean to code into sort of grapple with some of those ideas? And you know, I think one of the big innovations in the space has been understanding the importance of really having targeted comfortable pro spaces where we're girls, where people of color were groups, feel really income. We're fill in comfortable and embraced and understood that those empowering spaces are really important. Totally agree with that. I have to kind of give a shameless plug here for my employers. I work for glitch. I'm know if you're familiar with glitch. Yes, I'm familiar with. I didn't know that. So I let. Yeah, we're trying to kind of build that same type of friendly community, but it's online and it's around this tool where you can make websites and apps and collaborate with others and try out different apps and things like that. So yeah, and that was a lot of the work that I did when I was at the Missoula foundation specifically like really helping to think about how to broaden understanding and access to the internet. So those kinds of online, like how do you just get people hacking and thinking about code becomes really important. So what is a typical day like for you these days? I would imagine kind of doing this design strategy work. There's probably no two days that are the same. Yeah, right now I am a really unique ensue. For lucky position because I'm on a little sabbatical from advising other people and focusing on my studio work, and this never happened. So I'm really, I'm really enjoying it. And I've been on the road of the talking and doing a few speaking, but really not working, not working that much with nonprofit. So you know, one of the things that's really important for me in in addition to working with others is also really making time for my own practice. And what I've learned in the past ten years working with really am bishops nonprofits with great uplifting missions is that that can be depleting for creative person. You have to really make sure you take time to take care of yourself and to manage yourself as well. So a typical day, I would say when I'm kind of at work really a wide range of activities, often, I'll be working on one or two major projects. Girls who code, I oversaw the innovation and sort of product team. So we were, we had a main product that we built and we had that MVP and just kept we're kind of watching it and seeing how are users responding to it. And so that was just kind of high level product development as as most people know it, but also a girls could. I was part of the senior leadership team, so I was really helping to oversee the day to day of the organization. And so you know that as a creative person is another really interesting role to be in because you're thinking much more sort of, you know, systematically, you're thinking about what are the processes and structures that were creating not only so that we're making sure that we're creating this great educational program in experience for young women, but then what's that interior experience inside the company is well, how are people doing and and what do you Bill to help them to thrive and survive as well. So as a designer, I was. Really excited to be apart of a senior leadership team in that way. And that was a new kind of a new role for me to be thinking about those internal systems and processes a want to go back to the studio work in just a bit. But yeah. Yeah. Before that though, I'm curious to know how did you I kind of get into this kind of field of design strategy because it sounds like something where it's not so much hands on, I guess, in terms of like you're actually coding or doing technical work, but it's more of an advisory type of position, but it's also management in a way I'm probably poorly. Yeah. I mean, no. No, it's interesting. And you know, every few years, particularly the way you know the field changes, you may call the kinds of work that you do and what you specialize in something different. So right now we're talking about a design strategy, but certainly when I was at girls who code it was about invasion, and when I was at Missoula it was also a bit about an invasion. And so that's also been a kind of a moniker. That's that's been helpful as well. Took me a while to realize that I really like to help people with growth oriented projects like once people have sort of settled in and know exactly what it is they want to do. It's much less interesting to me than when everything has to be. Then that experimental moment when you've gotta try a bunch of things get out that MVP and wait to see which of your ideas are working. And that really came, I think just from the the type of roles that I kind of had early on in my. Rear and a lot of people I was I was trained as a creative artists. My background is in still and film theory, and so the first kind of job I had coming out of school was teaching, but because there was really a glut of people as they're still are, who are interested in in film production. I immediately just went to what the market needed, which where people who are dealing with newer technologies, so video computer based media, the internet tech thing. And since then I've just been in this realm of helping people think through how to make decisions about what they work with, what they build with how they do the next step. So it's almost like translating for people who often are trying to figure out the best way to use to use new technology. I don't know. You kind of just the opened up a few more avenue that I'm interested in. Because certainly as I did my research, first of all has a Wikipedia page which blew me away because you know, sometimes I'm doing research on people and it's like, oh, I can't really find anything Bom. Wikipedia page. Here's Leah's filmography. Here's all the great stuff, which is wonderful. I mean, I can see that you have this like really extensive teaching career across the arts, university of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Utah, SAIC you taught at Bard college when you sort of look back at that time in your life. What are you remember the most through all of that, what I loved about teaching is those kinds of really creative and intellectual conversations that you have with people, and I loved that moment of designing a class and sort of designing a conceptual pathway that you might take with a group of people who you hadn't even met yet. I loved those components of teaching what started to happen for me with teaching, and I think you know, it really depends on your discipline. It works so well for so many people. But what happened with me because I was in the sort of wheelhouse of thinking about. How you work with newer technologies at Bard? I was in a traditional film department and then adding an electronic media and digital component to what was an existing film program that was essentially why took the sort of first full time teaching job that I had was that there are all these things outside of teaching that were really that were interesting challenges to me. And so I learned that it's actually a lot of the stuff outside of the classroom, the sort of that design work advocating for the importance of art and design within the larger educational institution helping to design how people learn and what they learn, that those parts were really interesting for me as well and balancing that with inside of the classroom eventually is what led me outside of academia. So it was kind of an interesting, an interesting trajectory. I fully expected to be, you know, an artist who has a studio practice and then supplements that with work. In the classroom, you know faculty somewhere because it's certainly what I've seen. So many people do my dad's an artist. He certainly supported his practice for a while that way too. But I I ran up into this problem which is that it stopped being super interesting to me. And as someone who particularly was thinking about, like, hey, what are people doing with technology now, not a billion years ago when they were shooting sixty millimeter film, but like what's happening right now, then you're sort of challenge to be out in the world a bit more and for my particular role that was hard to do. I was at a small liberal arts college where things were very socalist on physical presence on the campus and providing mentorship and support in that capacity. So I kind of did a parallel move where I, I done some administrative work and thought, oh, this is so interesting that I actually like working on behalf of creative people as much as I like teaching and. In some ways. I started to find that that kind of leadership administrative kind of work enabled me to have more creative energy for my own studio work. And that was really the sort of clincher though I love that I left academia to get an a second degree in design and technology just so I could really kind of focus and think about like, is this what I think it is? And that sort of gave you the opportunity to dive in and sort of think more and have some more hands on experience with what kind of stuff I actually liked to do. You know, sounds like an all come and feeds into each other. You know the educational experience of teaching experience feeds into the strategy work as into the studio art, which I guess is a good thing. You're always pulling from like this constant well of inspiration when you talk about it always sounds like it I planted and it just falls into place. It always sounds so neat. When when I'm talking to people who are just starting out their careers, I'm like, does not what it feels like is just what it looks like. You. So I think the, you know, the fact is that like everyone right now, it may be studying something as like studying something that won't even exist. By the time you hit the professional, the professional sphere, most likely now does your current studio work still have that same technology focus? You know, it's interesting. The last thing that I did was a game design project and it was it was a commission for NYU game center, and I was the only artist in that group who had something that was completely analog. Like I did a like role playing game that was face to face real time. No technology. It was about technology. It was all about imagining how technology might work, but there was actually no tech in the experience. So I don't know the more I helped pe- other people think about what they should be doing. Sometimes when I have time on my own, I and obviously still engaging with technology, but I've. Not creating digital solutions are create projects right now. This real time RPG. Can you tell me a little bit about that? Like what was that? Sure, sure. Yeah, it was a lot of fun. It was called lesbian and it was all about because I was running. I was commissioned to run a game that would basically run in one evening. It's an interesting exhibition that NYU game center does every year called no quarter, and it's sort of a game expo there about four of us who were commissioned to do games, and I was really interested in thinking about queer spaces and specifically thinking about the kinds of spaces that we create intentionally and what you tohp, how utopia can often become dystopia. So I basically I set my game on a lesbian separatists commune and made the every game table. Basically the minute you sat down to participate in the game, you become. A member of this lesbian separatists commun-. Then there's a game runner who is a call to game dyke and the game dyke runs the game, explains it to you helps you understand it, and then you're basically faced with historical, some fantastical, mostly historical issues that have faced these kinds of separatists communities over time. So you take your, you know, your given tools and strategies are sort of cards you're given, and you have to use your tools in strategies to come up with solutions to whatever problem has been placed on the board and is plaguing your beer commun- when it's running in space. It's like five different tables with five different people running five different completely different games and generating these these different solutions. So yeah, yeah, this was the first time that you have exhibited the game there. That was the first time I'd done that version. I didn't high. Created another version of the game because he's the kind of issues that I'm just interested in. I knew it was a really unique opportunity to have know the space just full of people coming in and out solely to play new games. And so I thought like this is the way I wanna hit just like having running these kinds of labs essentially like live, you know, fine tuned play testing with people for, you know, I think we ran it for four hours. Okay. Came back from from Portland from Mexico exa. When they had like a like a table top game arena, that was, I would say it was someone to what you're talking about, but it had this space where you could play all of these kind of experimental games and the game developers were right there. So it's got this direct feedback on how you can improve or tweak certain things. I love that. I love that component of indie game design that you're almost always sort of looking at the game developer and giving them feedback in four places like that. That kind of component of game Expos. I really, really like. So a little bit earlier, you talked about your father, your father's artists, Sam Gilliam. Is that kind of where your initial inspiration for getting into art came from? I mean, I think in some ways, yes, because he was very intent on having us express ourselves as kids. You know, if you picked up one pencil, he like shove, you. Like fifteen colored pencils and be like, yeah, keep going. Keep doing that. But I think also a lot of my interest in in design, and then my interest, particularly in working with other people also really comes from my mom because my mom is a journalist and her I kind of gigs were covering the civil rights movement. So I always had these two really strong role models. One who was really thinking about art for art's sake for just to be really kind of quick and efficient about it, and then another voice that was always really thinking about, well, how does this impact people in what does this mean and looking at things from a social political kind of social Justice angle. So I always think that that's why I'm not just happy being on my own in the studio all week, like why like to kind of get out there and see what's happening with with other people, not as sort of not always part of my art practice, but almost sort of part of my a different kind of professional professional practice. When did you sort of have the. Aha moment that we're, you knew that this was what she wanted to do. I don't think I've ever gotten that question came with that kind of advent of design thinking as people of began in it was almost like that democratization of design and people sort of started. Everyone started thinking like, oh yeah, designers, we've gotta have a designer on our team. I think that's harder to happen. But you know, when I first started teaching and doing work outside of the classroom, you know, sort of thinking about how people learn and develop around technology. I think that was sort of that I kind of moment. And when I was at Bard, I had you know, great sponsorship there. They basically were like, yeah, come here and develop our electronic media program like help us get up to speed. It was a very traditional art film art program, and they really trusted me and gave me a lot of power and agency. And so that kind of moment where I was in the. Classroom, but also thinking about how to teach people how to teach young people, the importance of of how artists work with technology. You know, that was sort of one of those moments where I think I realized it's not just me making. It's also there's a part of me that really likes to think about what the different systems are and how things were and to design those larger systems and and points of entry. So it was almost like I was doing it for a while and then head to find words to to describe it. Now with your current work, you mentioned the less Berezin in game. What's kind of your creative process when you approach a new project or you have a new idea for something that you want to make, where do you start? I usually start with reading and with research, looking at pictures, listening to music, seeing what's out in the world. I usually respond. I kind of think of myself as a reactive, responsive person. I see something and then I'm like, oh, no, that's not right. And I want to sort of redo it or I see something and I think, oh my goodness, that makes me think about six million different things. And then I kinda head towards it and it's taken me a while to kind of embrace that is part of my process, maybe because I grew up in a household in which you know my dad would like just go to the studio and things were happening there for him. He read a lot of books. He'd look at a lot of images, but I found that I really like. I need to read and do a lot of research and kind of like there's kind of osmosis period where I'll sort of just look and kind of and be focused on intake so that I can amass the kinds of things that I might want to kind of respond to. So sometimes it takes awhile and other times I have, you know, kind of like stacks of things that I'm looking at or working on at one time. I found that when I was working in really linear formats when I, when I was making making film in video, everything had to sort of fit together into a perfect peace. And since I moved out of like that kind of a linear type of format, there's more room to sort of try smaller experiments into to like, oh, to make a collage or to make a story board or to insensate something like a role playing game. And then as something. Else looks goes on a little bit freer, which is interesting. Now, something that we've kind of discussed on revision bath, I think for years now, sort of the concept of a black design aesthetic. I'm still not sure. I'm one hundred percent sure of what it means. 'cause partially, I think because of so many people I've talked to not just here in the states, but internationally as well. It's sort of this ever changing concept. And of course we're recording and airing this during our LGBTQ month. So I kind of want to, I guess, extend that conversation may be a little bit further even into identity based design like for you. How do you see the concept of and we sort of talked about this a little bit actually over Email about like the concept of a black design aesthetic or or queer design aesthetic Ori black queer design aesthetic. How did you see these concepts like come forth? I mean, it's interesting. I think in some ways, one of the reasons why I was so interested in designing a game in which I created a space that was a lesbian separatists space. You know wasn't part that because you he operate. In so many different spaces in which you are identity may not be welcomed or explicitly called out to, or you have to really push in verbalize and explain your point of view in order to have represented or to have it seen. So the idea of flipping it, you know for for people and saying, oh, did you just sit down on that sit in that chair? We'll let me explain to you the kind of space at your enemy. Tell you what the rules are and have that very specifically. A queer space was really important to me and a lot of fun and just working with other people that I knew to get them to help me represent. The space was really interesting. And the thing that was really funny is that most of the people, it wasn't all people who identify as lesbians are a lot of queer non binary. Lot. A lot of people that ran different game stations for me, but they knew the rules of the space and they knew how to enforce the rules of the space. And I think for some of us, it has taken a really long time for the kinds of concerns that we have as LGBTQ people to actually reach a certain level of visibility. I don't think we're nearly we're, we could be even a certain level of recognition so that people actually understand what some of these larger issues are. I'm I feel like. I'm kind of speaking from an outsider perspective, but I feel like the visibility is there, but not the recognition. Perhaps. I remember a friend of mine told me this was this was a while ago. He was telling me about how queer people have always driven technological innovation and the way that he put it was that it allowed them to connect with each other outside of a society that might have been trying to marginalize them or eliminate them altogether, things like chat rooms, water online, dating, or streaming video, or or even something as simple as Polaroid's being away to drive technological innovation outside of what's societal norms are, I guess. So to speak. Yeah. It's really interesting because I think that certainly when I think about kind of African diaspora approach to thinking about design, you know, there's that element of kind of the laws and kind of of hacking of like putting disparate things together to make. To make something work. I mean, we obviously, you know, my mom's schooled me on all the black inventors when I was a kid. So I would I knew when I was stopping at a stop light that was like something that a person had invented. But I think in some ways, you know, particularly if you look at the way black communities Ueno work and within larger constructs like Twitter or Snapchat or Instagram, where often forced to take something that's being given to us and restructure how it's used. We're introducing sort of new new approaches when it comes to kind of queering space. I think it's a little bit I think, is quite different. And I would agree with your friends reading there, which is in some ways like that. There is a component to the LGBTQ community which is about early access, right? And having people who were trying out new technologies or developing new technologies and finding ways to connect with one another out of ingenuity. And necessity for lack of a better word. I see those kind of distinct in for me. I've always theorized those sort of like interesting distinct kind of approaches. I can see that certainly, I mean, just to, like you said, the whole concept of it being about early access. I am on thinking of it and this might be a stretch and hopefully I don't get any hostile emails about this, but I'm thinking about the aids crisis in the eighties and the nineties eighties particular. I had ankle, who died as I think he was was in the mid nineties or so. But I've certainly read and seen history about how rough the disease was for the population and not only that just how people had kind of government is in the medical community kind of turn their back on gay people when it happened. And so there was a lot of experimentation with different drugs and things of that nature to try to cure it or at least stave it off. And I wonder if that's sort of like a. Cultural kind of parallel to, I don't know. I feel like I just completely missed that up. I don't know you these. Yeah, you're talking about the importance of his ability and the importance of of rage and access. And I think, yeah, those are always those have always been huge, huge parts BT q. community is not being seen, not being recognized or certainly there's a huge history of whitewashing particularly around stonewall and other movements are that were really led by people of color and by the trans community, there's a huge kind of component. I think to me, that was one of the issues that was always interesting around gay marriage, which was just, wow, this is this like it's interesting. It was really interesting to see. Not obviously legal rights are really are really important. Civil rights are really important, but just what are the kinds of issues that the whole community can really rally around where power is shown and Felton. Where we get laws and sort of where we where we don't. I think there's a great kind of creativity that can be attributed to any community any specific community. It has its own different quality and aesthetic, and I never want to be to to essentially about it. But I think that's what has been really interesting. But one of the organizations that I work with right now is on the board of directors of out in tech. One of the things that we really focus on is kind of bringing together the LGBTQ tech community, and part of that is again, what we were talking about earlier is creating those spaces for people to network and to make friends and to get to know one another. But also, you know, we're one of the few organizations that isn't focusing on his specialized group and really trying to sort of think about, like as of full community, what do we wanna push for in tech and is, is this just about representation? You know, other larger issues to be thinking about. About, and particularly as the organization scales begins to have small groups networks in different cities where restarting in you're starting to see the each city has sort of a different approach. Some of them are more focused on on social gatherings. Other may be more focused on some of our more sort of socially oriented work. Some are also thinking more about mentorship and and working with youth for our through our out in tech, you kind of initiative. So it's been, it's been interesting for me. One of the reasons why I felt so you know, it felt really important for me to give time to this organization in was specifically because it was after working at a great place like girls who code, I really thought like, yeah, I'm seeing the importance of having socalist support in conversations about what the needs are of a particular community. So it's been really interesting to work with this group without in tech for the past. You know, it's been a little bit over. Over a year now I reached out to them. I think a while back when I first started doing actually the sort of LGBTQ month. They were one of the first organizations I reached out to because I was like, I need to try to find LGBTQ people in tech and design would be added in kind of helping to come on the show. And I've seen how it's grown over the years now. I think they're in like two or three cities now because they were just in New York, I think, is what they started? Yeah, it's it's probably more like ten. Oh, wow. The. I mean, we have, we have over twenty thousand members across multiple cities. So yeah, it's growing. And I think what's been really interesting is, you know, because I'm so fascinated with how organizations grow is to see that it's an organization that has, you know, it has a social component. It has a give back to the community component. It has a networking component and we're seeing that all of those arms, you know, mentoring a younger group using our tech skills to help other people, and then just networking and getting to know one another sort of feeling known and accepted that those are three really important and different functions that the organization has. And I think we'll continue to have. Do you feel like the tech, I guess, community or environment do you feel like it has gotten better for LGBTQ people as as more talk happens about diversity and inclusion with workplaces and with companies that you feel like the whole environment's gotten better? The biggest issue is. Really about counting representation and the inclusion piece. So you know, the diverse, you may have the numbers right now. We've only been able to kind of call people on the numbers, right? Having people be public about who they've hired and who are on their teams, particularly who were on their tech teams who are under design teams and not in who's not in administration or marketing. You know, for me as a person with tech background, that's really important to that were looking across the company and saying, oh, okay, I see your numbers. You gotta start somewhere. Who are those people in, where do they work and what kind of opportunities are there for them and as today to get into that inclusion piece, how long do they stay. And how are they doing and are they okay there? And you know, have they been mentor sponsored or have they moved out of their positions? And that's increasingly what I'm really interested in beginning to focus on professionally because it is such a key kind of moment and we can. You can get people into a space and we can push those doors open. But if it is toxic and terrible when someone gets there, no one will stay. We all know it. We all know it that there's more language in some accountability right now is important, but I think we also want to make sure that particularly as the larger political landscape changes, and in many ways becomes that a dialogue about being inclusive becomes less widespread. We make sure that we really continue to hold people accountable and get a sense of what people are doing inside their companies. So that's been interesting for me in terms of the work without tech is at. A lot of the work that we might do might be within employee resource group or their with queers within particular company who have dollars who have a desire to do something and want to bring in interns or want to host and event or something like that. And I think that's kind of a unique type of agency. That tech companies particularly have that to me is not something that I've seen in other in other spheres is sort of that desire to keep to keep people happy and to and to feed them and heat them there and give them, you know, funds to socialize with like there's a way that I think tech in some ways focuses on individual happiness that with some savvy take advantage of and used to our Hornets. Now the Toronto sabbatical, I'm sure you've had time to really kind of think about, you know what the next steps are or or any other sort of projects with things that you wanna do. Do you have. A dream project that you'd love to accomplish one day? I don't interesting right now. I don't have a big dream project. I usually have to empty my head and I'm still emptying before the new stuff comes in, but that's a great question. I feel like I should have a big dream project one go time. How long has your. I have a few more months. Oh, yeah. Tell is there like really excited about at the moment? I'm excited about a lot of the art and design that I've been seeing. It's been just great to after being super busy and not having any time to look at anything. It's been terrific just to get out into the world and out into York City and just see what's out there and see what people are doing. It feels like it's been a while and the New York. You can fall into sort of lethargy where you're not going out and seeing what people are up to. And so this actually has been has been one of the best things is just getting to MoMA the Whitney and getting to shows and small galleries and seeing artists that I'm not aware of and getting caught up with with friends and doing studio visits and just sort of getting a sense of what. People are doing out in the world has been really great. Is there anything that scares you creatively? I always find this moment of not knowing what to do next to be a scary moment when I know something will click and something will happen, but trying to figure out what that will be and trying to just be open and kind of zen about it instead of anxious about it is always kind of scariest part for me. But then when something kind of clicks, then that also feels really good because you have been so kind of anxious and scared. Yeah, the not knowing is the scary part for me. Whereas for my dad, he loves it. Oh, that's a good part. Real fun, and I'm like, we're very different, very different. What is it that keeps you motivated and inspired to continue with this work? I get a lot of inspiration and motivation from working with other people and seeing what else. You know what kinds of things people have designed and brought into the world. So certainly my work with nonprofits, I think, has had a lot to do with wanting to have, you know, knowing the art world in the way that I do and wanting to kind of feel a part of something larger, which is what I love about education is just, you know, by working with organizations that are giving people more tech skills, it, you have this really kind of optimistic cool feeling which is dislike that that there are a lot of really interesting terrific people out there and kids that are that you can give these opportunities to in. It will really, you know, even if they don't study CS or do anything having to do with computers or. Tact, like just those kind of moments of creativity of acceptance of exploration, like those to me are the most inspiring in most inspiring things. So you know whether it was, you know, just sitting in on the out in tech mentorship talks and like hearing beyond people just talk about how important it was for them to like meet with another queer professional every week, and the kind of inspiration and self confidence that it it gave them like those are the kind of moments that I really kind of cling to because it really it provides that kind of human connection that you you don't always have when you're like looking at the command designing all day. So those I find that it's those human kind of moments that are that are really cool. What advice would you give to someone that wants to follow in your footsteps and do the kind of work that you're doing. I mean to me, the portfolio was always really important, being able to really clearly talk about what you've done on a project, what you've learned and kind of to have something to show for it is really important and the diversity of the portfolio I think is also really key and just to know what you're interested in to know what excites you. What type of work is going to feel more like play and less like work cause at major, do it longer and to think less about innovation as a profession because I don't. I think it's only it's a buzzword and it certainly not like it won't be allowed. I feel like it's it's pretty tired right now won't be around for much longer, but to really just have a clear sense of what interests you and to stay curious. And to stay really, really kind of deeply informed, you know, unfortunately, unconscious and conscious bias and. The systemic biases that are out there are really phenomenal in people will look at people, I guess, in think MB like, oh, you're into this or you're into that, or you know about XYZ they don't expect it you've into this day. And so I think to really know your stuff and to be interested in what you're interested in to be able to have a wide range of things to pull from so that you can shove that door open and keep your foot in the door. Once you get bin is really is really important. Where do you kind of see yourself in the next five years now that might be a question to answer because we just talked about kind of not knowing about the future, but if they kind of look into the future just from where you're at right now, what sort of work would you wanna be doing? I've had this exercise before trying to come up with a five year plan. It's very hard for me. A few executive coaches have tried before you just say, you know. Yourself in five years a need to me. It's about finding balance, right between working on these really cool ambitious projects with other people and then working on my own creative projects that often involve other people as well that finding that balance so that you're doing a little bit of both is always my goal. We know whether to work on good teams with other smart people is always like, that's my happy place. I really, really love solving problems with other people. And I've worked. I've been really lucky to work on some great projects, and I see more great projects out there. So my my dream is always just to find more projects and to continue to have the time and energy and space to work on some of those tour on some on personal projects as well or two, maybe begin to see them coming together more. There's less separation between those faces that might be interesting. That might be something I could look for in the future. Well, this things up here, Leah, where can our audience find out more about you and about your work on line yen? It's a tricky question right now. The obvious thing would be a website which I don't have, but we are using up the Kapiti a- entry and doing some projects to beef up the Wikipedia and create the Wikipedia entries of queer designer. So I hope for just to make a plug for creative Commons and the kinds of things on our wicked media, the things that are easily accessible to people. That's one thing that I'm particularly looking at and you can always follow and keep track about in tech because that's my nonprofit of of choice right now where I'm putting a lot of time and energy. So that's another great way to kind of see where some of my strategic thinking is going at the moment. That sounds good. Well, Leah, Gilliam I wanna thank you so much for coming on the show. Thank you. You know, for of course, sharing your story and sharing, you know the work that you're doing, like you've said, you know, I think that visibility is really important, really for designers in general, but because we're doing this, you know, during LGBT Cuban, certainly it's much more important. I think for that community. Because as you said, there's been ways in the past with a history has been whitewashed or not mentioned at all or anything like that. So the fact that we really have the tools and the space is now to kind of put that stuff out there. There's more opportunities for visibility and for recognition and hopefully for for equity, you know? Yeah, definitely. I'm really happy to talk about this and just a quick with a pedia search brought up many, many, many white men, male fashion designers, I probably says, white male, fashion designers if I were to make really quick judgment. So. That was really interesting too, is that just the blanket area of design kind of points to a queer design points to fashion, I as opposed to visual design or architecture or innovation or something like that. So there's still quite a lot of work to be done. So I really appreciate the opportunity to talk a bit about it with you. And that's it for this week. Big, thanks to Leah, Gilliam and thanks to you for listening. You can find out more about Lia and a work through the links and the show notes at revision path dot com. Also, thanks as always to our sponsors. Facebook, design, glitch, Google design, and mail channel. Did you know that people spend over three billion minutes daily on Facebook with an audience of over two billion users. That's really impressive. People use Facebook to share and connect with the people they care about. And their experience is the core of the Facebook design team. Sound interesting. 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Reggie Black

Revision Path

1:15:45 hr | Last month

Reggie Black

"Are you looking for a new job. Are you hiring but struggling to find diverse talented candidates. The we have something that can help our job board head on over to revision path dot com forward slash jobs to browse listings or to. Place your own this week on. The job board blink. You x is looking for a head of research in san francisco or san diego. Heart is looking for two roles a digital copywriter and the digital designer. These roles can be based in columbus ohio or toledo ohio more advertising looking for a senior graphic designer. It's a remote position but it is based in waterton massachusetts designed as a program manager strategists in chicago illinois thirteen twenty three a seeking designer for their austin texas office. Remote applicants are welcome to apply and finally front is looking for a lead product designer in san francisco california. Did you know that for just ninety nine dollars you can post your job listing with us. It'll be on our job board for thirty days and we'll spread the word for you about your job to our diverse audience of listeners. We also offer annual job boards subscriptions. Step up your diversity and inclusion efforts companies were here make sure to head over to revision path dot com forward slash jobs for more info on these listings. Apply today and tell them you heard about the job. The revision path get started with us and expand your job search today. Revision path dot com forward slash jobs. You're listening to the revision path. Podcast about showcase of the world's black graphic designers web designers and web developers through in-depth interviews. You'll learn about their work their goals and what inspires the mess creative individuals. Here's your host maurice cherry. Hello everybody and welcome to revision path. Thank you so much tuning in. I'm your host mariz cherry interview. This episode is coming out on march. First twenty twenty one. That means that revision path is now eight years old. Well we turn eight back on february twenty eighth but yeah eight years in the game. That is phenomenal. When you think about podcasting really when you think about how black design has started to become recognized in design community black desire practitioners etc. So much has changed over the past. Eight years Since i started religion path. And i'm just thankful to still be here to do the show thankful for you listening. Of course thankful to all the guests that we've had on here Special thanks of course goes out to my editor my main man. Rj who has been really helping me keep these episodes together week by week. Thanks to the rest of the crew appalled regime jordan robert like everybody is keeping everything going which is great. So here's to eight years in the game. Hopefully there's another eight years after that. Yeah that's all. I got to say but let's take some time out in think. Our accessibility sponsor for this episode. Brevity brevity is a strategy and design firm committed to designing a more inclusive and equitable world. They accomplish this. Too graphic design presentations and workshops around inclusion diversity equity and accessibility if you're curious to learn how to combine a passion for it e a check them out at brevity and wit dot com brevity and wits creative excellence without the grind. All right. let's get to the interview. This week's guest is reggie black. A multimedia artists designers speaker mental health advocate and principal at all things progressive in washington dc. Let's start the show all right so tell us who you are and what you do. My name is reggie black mama media artist and designer principle of all things aggressive. I work primarily enhance type. Which is you know this. Very distinctive style and a hand type fonts that i've created and worked on through repetition for years to distinctive language. And i use that to share and articulate thought provoking messaging gerow mediums. Whether it's you know print installation all sorts of media is to just really raise questions and bring about thought to the public and our questions and just really highlighting the vulnerability and transparency of everyday life. Harvey been doing so far this year this year. Good man. i think we had an interesting rat in january. It felt like every wednesday was like a different year. You know with ban here based in d. and seeing the you know the what transpired on the capital and then like the following week getting a new president in the following league like so this year not bad but in general maurice like all things considered you not feel like what everything going on in the world. Health is a luxury in. If you have that and family and employment you can get up every day and just be grateful for that. I think that I've been trying to focus more on that than the larger questions for for now if that makes any sense no that makes a lot of sense As you sort of approach this year. Did you have any sort of resolutions or goals that you wanted to accomplish. I've been dancing around this question. And i think it's clearly a result of what we've experienced in the pandemic just living life without really. I won't say that really questioning things. But i've been thinking about what is enough and that's not the resolution but i think it is a gateway to patients in intention for me and i don't really know what resolution stay. They have become but i know i definitely as twenty twenty has taught us all how very transparent how. I'm sorry how how very temporary everything can be and then also quite out very transparent the world can be a really thinking about. What's the intention behind my life. And what i wanna do and being very specific about the work one show of the world and then also who am i as a person you know because to be perfectly frank i feel like doing pandemic a lot was lost a lot of business. Slow down and so was a lotta at and realize that a lot of my life was connected with work. So i had to kind of go in his path of relearning myself in being with myself and spending more time with myself because it was normally against pre normal times it was traveled traveled traveled. So you did really get that much time to have a lot of introspection. Been dancing around with those few things. What are your days. Look like now still rising. You know. I'm an early riser. Get that from my grandma and for me. I'm up meditation as journal writing which which is very Essential to my day. Gratitude writing of what a water rower last year during the pandemic when i realized that was probably going to stay out the gym. So i'm doing that still in work every day. you know still working on design projects. What i am learning is that it doesn't to be as aggressive as i used to think it was. So you know there's breakfast conversations with my wife conversations. What my son. You know breakfast coffee starting to buy more coffee table. Books in design books just to have time in reference material around the house kinda browse And so i'm doing more of that. It's like more research more deconstruction to reconstruct a lot of things just tons of notebooks all around the house when discount jotting ran thoughts. And really you know trying to document this process to be able to look back on it and think about where my mind was going times. An in between you know watching comedy on netflix. And stuff like that so yeah just trying to stay human at all. You know still working but realizing that we don't have to be the machines that we want start gay in order to get things done yet. I feel like you know this past year has been a very interesting sort of i. Don't want to call it an experiment a tree it is. I guess on how our relationship to work is. Because i mean i think one thing. It's amazing how quickly we've sort of seeing the disappearance of the american office space because of the pandemic you know there was so many things about being in one spot and collaborating in person and now all of that has largely been replaced or at least supplanted by zoom calls in google meeting calls and you know just conference calls and things like that and you know sort of reexamining what it means to work collaboratively. What it means to work a synchronous lee. What it means to work across great distances is something that i think. A lot of people have had to contend with sort of you know to your point now with us sort of you know depending on where you live in the country being in one place. That now is not just your home. It's short your gym and your kid's school and it's date night and it's like all these things rolled into one. I can see how that sort of that will. Cause i hope it causes people to sort of think and reevaluate about like what is important but yeah this past year has been something. That's very true that you spend a lot of time i mean. Do you have a studio that you travel throughout the day or you kinda doing everything in home. Or that's a very interesting point. Meth thank it. It takes a lot of. I think screened fatigue is becoming more real than anything and this idea of what home is is be is being redefined. Just here's alike you in and out of a few different spaces kind of separating work from home usually before the pandemic sure i mean so. I've been working kind of. I've been doing this remote work. Bake since like two thousand nine the so okay by the time i hate to say when the pandemic i happened. That was like all. I can do this standing on my head got this. Ain't nothing like what's different is. How other people. Now have to kind of sort of acclimate and adapt to this time. Which is what. I didn't necessarily consider when it all sort of i started. I don't have a space. Like i got sort of have a corner in my bedroom where i work and i'm able to mentally well sort of now able to mentally separate work from home largely through. I think i mentioned this on the show before. Like i have smart lights in my apartment. So i have different lighting modes. That will sort of signal to me. Okay this is the work lighting mode. Where all the lights are on. And i'm working but then this is realization. Hmo where the lights are dimmer and like. I know this is for like watching. Tv or something like that as all the lights will come on and off at certain times and stuff and that just lets you know like i need to switch gears into doing something else. I need to switch to another mode. I love home. Yeah that's perfect. I love that figure out what you got those smart lights from a beautiful way to transform the home right because it it has become all one thing and i love what the pandemic has done for creativity to get people to think about collaboration. And that was really spot on what you talked about. Like the american worker. The american office and what that will look like in the future. Because i don't although. I do think that offices were a beautiful place for meeting in in collaboration. I wonder if the office was also canada's caged at suffocated people's imagination. Right like because you can contribute. You can contribute to your company from home in a way that you that activated certain creative senses that you probably couldn't do in the corporate headquarters because of the culture that was embedded in there so it'll be interesting hear like or see or study or something like what type of new results are being generated from people being at home versus going into an office every day. Like is there a difference in the modality in the thinking behind problem solving at work. I would love july. Just see how that could transform the workplace in office and company culture. In general yeah. I think we'll start seeing profiles like that certainly like within a few months because i feel like that's when companies at least last year started saying. Okay well now. You're going to be working from home for like the foreseeable future and some companies is they were just sort of kicking the can down the road. They're like oh well we'll be back in the office by the fall. We'll be back by the winter and you'll be at home the last company that i worked for. And it's funny. We're talking about the american workplace day really prided themselves on having a great office space. I know about this. Because i wrote about how great their office space was like about how it had these different sort of modes inside the office for working. And we've got this terrorist and we've got this at the time that i was working there. We were about to expand up to the higher floor. That was going to give us more space more desks. Like a a sunlit reading room and all that stuff and then the pandemic happened and shut all of this shit down like none of like they just halted construction and then i was about two months after that. They laid off my entire departments. I was like oh well you know fast forward to now and this is only when i know just from people that still work there like they've actually sublet the office now. There's no plans to go back anytime soon. And like it was something that the company really prided itself on like almost as much as the product itself. They prided themselves on having this really great workspace and now they don't have that so drew. Wow that's interesting yeah it. We'll see you know. A lot of things are coming back. You know the reality the reality of this all and i wonder where the home office. I'm not the home office. Sorry i wonder whether office. Yeah i wonder where the home office lands and then also wonder where the corporate head orders whether they begin. Or what's the new. The new future for them will see we have at any longer. We're in this situation the harder it's gonna be to get people to return back to work i will. I do feel that way and we'll be. I know that from experience. It will definitely be hard to go back into an office because so back when i had my studio like in in full swing. I mean i would spend day sometimes inside of a like a company's workspace at work out of a starbucks or something. I had sort of the freedom to kind of move between different spaces to work. But i did largely work like at home and it wasn't until i sort of like wound my studio down near the end of two thousand seventeen and got a job and even that was a remote first job because the the company was headquartered in new york and i'm in atlanta so it was still a kind of remote first job but there would be. We would have to go to the office like whether it was on boarding a new employee or we had our onsite for the year or something like that and it was so stifling like for all of us that were remote workers it was just so stifling being in that building for like like going to meetings and stuff is just like the chairs are like chairs and home and like the snacks are the right snags. It's wiser so cold in like it's all these different sorts of things. It was certainly difficult. But which all play. I feel like that so interesting that you mentioned that because i feel like all those small things that we overlooked are what contribute to out productivity on what we can trend will tell what out sales to produce work right like if you don't have the right chair all the right environment. A large percentage of the day is all about getting comfortable to be able to perform. And so it's interesting at this thing that it's I think that it's all interesting. We'll really see new definitions of what commercial spaces and home offices. You know how they overlap and one supersedes the other and to answer your earlier question side. I don't have like a separate like studio space. But i want one now. Yeah like hands down. I want one now. So i've started already looking even just like places in my neighborhood like i don't need a lot of space. I just want a separate discrete space for work. That's not my home app transported in teleported into the gas bag rooms. So my wife like listen. I think we're gonna have any guests so let me just go ahead and take this over so say it's become the note that i'm able to to get a lot of things done that to your point to have something completely separate just combination. Make this the work studio and office in its cozy for me. It feels feels really good to be here. Got accustomed to getting up every day. Megan breakfast and then coming to work. You know it's weird. Let's all these things that i have to mentally due to get prepared like get up and get fully like i can't sit around the house in like lounge. Wear sweatpants like up fully dressed every day. As if i were like going outside in even if nothing really really happens that they just get on the keyboard and peck away at a few emails. I feel like. I've done enough to kind of keep myself motivated for the next day because of what i have noticed. Is that for me. It's all or nothing like either super inspire or like watch too much news. And i'm just depressed like league. Not there is no m there is no in between so am behead like the thoughts are will. How can i keep myself. Inspired to focus on the things that are in the pipeline. Things that i am working on instead of creating this kinda like home retreat wacko bounce back and forth between the news and calling a friend. I still have like the time where like do not disturb hours just to try to have some sort of structure in regimen in place at allow support mentally constantly exercise mentally. Make sure that. I'm in a space to produce something and if i show up that day i end up with nothing. Then that's what it is. But at least i liked the car out that that landscape to be. Yeah and that's super important. Now because you have to impose those structures when you're working from home because your home is the place where you are really don't have that structure is where you're supposed to like after work. You let your guard down. You have a glass of wine. You relax chill. It's hard to really shift between work mode and like relaxation mode in the same place. Like you have to put like. I like i time shift a lot of my emails. I have a booking link if somebody needs to reach me. It's not like oh. Can i pick your brain now. You can pick an appointment and we can get something maybe later on in the week or something. I have to like really segments at regiment. My time pretty strictly now during this pandemic that i really didn't have to do before but it is important to do that. It is and i think because you know we will find ourselves doing things the busy stuff. It's like oh well you know. I can watch a movie and cookbook a nice lunch. Do laundry or clean up or straighten up but like you said home is comfortable in some of the things that we do at home aren't typically figured out a way to stay productive at work so the moment janice escape and slide off the you know even just go to the kitchen to get a glass of water or something right. It's like you think of something else that could be done. Why home when really. It's supposed to be the working hours. And so i think you're spot on with having those regimens in place to keep supporting and listen the reality. Like because i don't wanna sound like i'm super like buttoned up your alley sundays. I just don't have an it's like all right. I'm i'm sitting right here. And i'm going to bench. Watch a few things all day for the next couple. You know what i mean. And that's just a avid flow of where we are right now like it's okay to not be. Productive did not create all twenty twenty a large percentage of it. I couldn't muster up to produce work. You know i. I just couldn't because the social attention black brothers that look like our being killed pretty much every day. It felt like in this country and so the things our the things that my creativity was fighting for. It wasn't important. It's not important because it's like if we're not doing anything to kinda contribute to shifting the climate of racial tension in his country or whatever your causes is climate change or food deserts in the country economic disparity. Whatever it is if none of that is really happen in. You're not contributing at all right. Well what i'm doing is invalid at the moment. And so. I don't want it to appear to be like this. Time is a hardy productivity training camp where you have to be as productive as you can know if you gain a couple of pounds out this thing. Everything is okay because we're all dealing with this differently and it is something that none of us have experienced before. I spent a lot of time talking to my mom on facebook at facebook facetime. And i you know. I'm starting to enjoy those conversations more because she's like. Listen i'm i'm seventy two and i have no idea how people are dealing with this like we've never seen anything like this before so it's interesting. It's outside an older person to try to kind of hear what they think about. Where we are at the moment is like this is a the most mental exhausting time period. Because like was open. You know everybody could be doing so however people are dealing with this thing is is perfectly fine. I just feel like for me. I'm trying my best. Because i spent a lot of years in depression. You know i'm a recovering alcoholic i. I'm almost what somewhere between six and seven years sober. So you know. I struggle with diety so strong a with mood disorders also to my ability to kinda stay strong in. This moment is really predicated on a lot of light. I like to call tricks that. Have to impose myself imposed on myself. It keeps me moving. Keep me motivated. Yeah i'm sort of the same way with having those tricks. Like i have basically have to kind of give myself a routine like i wake up every morning. Like seven. seventy m from seven to eight thirty. It's me like getting ready for work. I'll like water. The plants make some tea all this sort of stuff and then like for me. I'm like completely in work mode from eight thirty to four thirty. I don't answer any other emails or anything. Like everything is focused just on work because for me like i know that i've got stuff to do. Usually right after work. Like i work at four thirty. And then i'll start doing interviews at five o'clock or have other calls or something else that i have to do. You know like after work so like there's my eight to four thirty time which is work and then there's my like five to maybe like eleven thirty or midnight where i'm working on other stuff. Try to put that split in there. So i know like this is what i need to shut this off and then turn this on. You know even like i was telling you about the lights like the lights helped me like those are tricks to like eleven thirty. All the lights in my apartment are off. Like i'm working on as i okay. I should probably go to bed now. Because i mean that's the thing to like. I love a youth underscored the whole right like we don't want to become like because it's so comfortable. We can go throughout the day and not really by things that need to happen. So you find yourself being you know midnight and you're still working like wait like but i'm supposed to be in bed too so tricky. The home can transform become whatever you wanted to be doing this time period. Like if you if you golf yourself in work you're gonna feel so comfortable that you don't realize that you're working that much or if it's become an oasis of relaxation you're gonna find yourself struggle mcconnell find spark to get things done. And that's why i say just having some sort of system or or few things to keep you in line a break that like you said to have that break in the day because we're not active as we used to be when not commuting. We're not moving out bodies. Which i try to do a lot but i have several friends who just do walking meetings only like they refused zooms and refuse to sit on like skype so they take all their their meetings on the phone. Like it's straight out. Get your your zoom call in number or you can call me on my cell phone. Walk the neighborhood while they're having a meeting take notes on their phone or you know what i mean. Fine balanced stay active. Because if we're just sitting in front of screens every day you gotta think about what that's doing to out physical health as well so something. I'm gonna try to incorporate this year's oil to you know just moving more and get back to it. Because yes i row at home but i still think that there's there's something about getting up and getting out and physically moving your body walking. I don't know if like you know hit or you know you to work out. So i peleton subscription. I don't have the bike. I have liked the classes that you can take online. But you're still in front of a screen you know. Following the trainer saw it's much different than what into the local grocery store to get groceries and physically moving your body. something happens day at just. We're missing with being dormant for for this period of time. The walking meetings. That's actually a really good idea of onto something on the news. Recently that i think scientists were saying that the biggest kind of byproducts of the pandemic is going to be. Just how much. People's mental health is being affected. Whether it's you know like you said depression anxiety etc like i was out of work for half a twenty twenty and during that whole job search and everything like it was a lot. There's a lot to deal with. You know slap especially when you're also seeing you know with other things happening in the world at the time like you said social unrest the former administration and how they're handling all this is just like there will be days i would just like get high and just play video games all day and like that's the day and that's all i'm doing and and and the i think what i'm trying to say. Is that all of those days are just as important as having super productive work. Like i don't think we're in a space to judge. What day is superior to another because i feel like what never we're seeing the value of life and just how important it is. It's so whatever you do with that day. It's a success. You know because you could not be here. You know the main like that. You just couldn't be aired so to have that. We gotta somehow undo this badge of honor that america has imposed on us. This busy badge of honor. And i'm one at same quest to like. There has to be a balance of being a human fucking being and also being able to produce in do work like you shouldn't be consumed by work all the time and the walking means actually from a good friend of mine back the ion elizabeth johnson. She's a good friend of mine. We met go and ted years and we've just become like really cool in some of the best clothes homeys ever and that's her whole when i heard her. Tell me that outside wait what. She's like mad all. I gotta move my body. So i'm a constantly grabbing things from people that inspire me make sure that i can keep finding new ways to to stay in this fight. You right like. It's it's a mental fight that we were more concerned with anything. Let's talk about work. Tell me about the studio. When did you decide to to start all things man. I'm all thanks regressive. It's a love child by that. I've had in my head for a few years. Starting out tell you why a few things contributed to the thought working as a solo artist. I feel like when there's not a studio or some formal structure business structures. What i'm talking about now. When is not some ford. Some a business structure formed. What happens often times. I feel like when you're pitching for larger work with larger clients. It's weird in. This is a trick that i've kinda not even a trick. It's it's like a professional hat. That i believe is really stupid but also very important Legitimacy thing most large companies won't choose to work with you if you're just kind of solo arts and so it's like oh either they don't take you serious. I don't think you'll have your terms and conditions in place or a lot of times. They want you to be the artist when you're saying no. I have a multitude of services that i could provide. so yes is reggie black. That's the hand type artists. That's the multimedia designer that can do a lot of the beautiful things in with mahan with type in with abstracts all the things within there's also a part of me that can do the very like the graphic design products or package design or identity systems. Right like i have two sides my brain at allows me to do both. And so what i realized was that in order for me to be able to count empty the toolbag and access all of the things that i've been able to accumulate throughout the years through beautiful mentor And just countless hours of china figure this thing out. I said well what if i put a business structure in place that allows me to separate if someone wants to hire reggie black with a bold and visceral hands identity produces. That's one thing but if there's a graphic design job will book cover job or anything that separates it kind of takes away from reggie black. It's almost like a personality and econo- evolved into just having a few collaborators at aker work with a note we can hire them for various projects and almost became like a think tank in so twenty. Eighteen is when i like officially formed it ahead the name for a while. I didn't really know what to do with the name but really it's about trying to create value and spark things that move forward and spark things that and work with clients that want to have a bowl perspective. One where they're going and what they would like to do. And so all things progressive. It's really just an experimental playground for companies and businesses and clients that wants to figure out how to redefine their perspectives in where they go in and what they wanna do when we assess each project at such and i like to look at everything that's gone on in the market place within that particular genre of industry. I'm being higher for and girl the complete opposite. Because i think that there's a a clutter that's happening in every industry where people are just kinda copying in. Regurgitating is successful in the industry. And then when that trent ends up by you see all the businesses that have had lead themselves down that path. Die with it. So i'm always about. How can we go the opposite direction. And that's what all things progressive every project we can assess you know it's like our it will if there's a book cover design with authors speaking on self help. Let's look at every self-help book cover and go the complete opposite direction as it's very easy to follow the herd end up in the clutter but i think it's brave to say. Well sure yes. I am a smoothie company. That i'm thinking about you know rebranding was like well. Do we have to use green. Might do we have to use the colors of vegetables. I'm always about. How can we push something in the opposite direction of where people think it should be like would have we do. The impossible with we like the unimaginable in every case and see where that experimental play side of our human instincts take us. Have you been finding. The clients have been more experimental during these times. Yes because you know what. I think maurice happening that. Everybody is sort of realizing that everything. I think we and i talked about this. Previously like everything needs to be redesigned and right now while the world is figuring out what trying to figure out where to go i think beautiful time for everybody to kind of shake. Things up like it's we were living in like Like no one's under scrutiny. Right now right you can do something. That's completely left feel and it's clearly okay because we're all trying to figure out a way to move out businesses forward because what. We thought. Burt we saw something as large as covax comeback hit us and realized that. Oh i might need to figure out how to not be so comfortable in so experiment. Play becoming a part of the almost like the culture of companies now because they're realizing that one you have to fight for attention now because everybody's home. Everybody has four to five screens at home whether tv the ad mag the ipad full. So attention is at an all time high and everybody's willing to consume information. And so what are you going to do to kinda separate yourself to just to garnish a little bit of that. That attention take a little bit of that in the marketing department or product that you're building or campaign that you're about the launch like woods gonna make your messaging stand out a bit more just to kind of hold. Its engine of somebody. That scrolling on instagram. For ten more seconds that it would if you were doing things differently. And so i was just talking to one of my designed friends which often behind you see a lot of the large. I guess old guard companies doing identity system rebrand you know. Gm just did it. He just did. It is another one. That i thought was important as well even see i just like rebranded writing so you're watching so many old guards realizing that if we don't do something differently. There's a possibility that will become blockbuster like when they was completely avoiding. What netflix trying to say all blackberry when they had the largest market share in mobile devices and they thought that we were gonna love corey keyboards forever. Then we got the iphone and so no one is at liberty to count arrested. Relax in this moment of uncertainty. I think if things aren't certain pushed on certain ideas if things are on orthodox let's push on what the docks ideas and that's what. I'm really excited about like what's going to land when the smoke clears from where we are and if it does land. Will you be able to tell a story. That was innovative in different in the midst of all of the smoke. That's happening and it's good that companies. I think now are starting to be open to this. Almost they almost have to. I think at this point. Yeah they have to at. They've realized that either two things happened brand story expires or they realized that they aren't the only players in the industry that they thought they were and so they have two and a half to innovate in a way that respects the customer respects their consumer base but also figuring out a way to tap into new consumer basis to right like. That's what we're seeing happening in everybody scrambling trying to figure it out and to add another lay on everybody also now realizes that which something they should've realized been able to skews me. Identify years ago is that they had to have a social responsibility. And now we're seeing a scramble where everybody's trying to figure that out like on the fly. It's like note like if that was built into the culture beforehand. You wouldn't have to hit the panic button. When you see something like george floyd happens when you see something like isis brianna taylor happens when you see something like the former administration wants to put the wall and immigration and family division on the borders and if there was one company that sincerely love patagonia. Because they've been that way full while the ceo in the those of that company has clearly stated that like this is. We're going to speak on and we're going to speak on. Regardless of what social times are. And i think that the commercial structure has existed in a space of reactionary approaches. And i think now we have to figure out a way how to be more proactive. Like been injuries is doing a good job. But patagonia has clearly put their foot down in so many instances osama This is where we are and we're not gonna waiver about it and then what automatically happens that you see something transpired. Socially in there the first one to respond nike has always done a good job like widener kennedy in their marketing teams over there like that whole everything about their campaigns are beautiful because they're always thinking about can we make sure that we're on top of what's happening socially because that's what our product typically lives in urban cities where black people and people of color affected so. We have to make sure that if we are speaking to colin kaepernick situation. If we're speaking to you know social racial injustice in this country we have to make sure that we're ready to be able to articulate that at any moment now just thinking like. I think it was right around the time this year started. I'm like. I wonder how companies are going to react to not just black history month this year but also june teams because i think a lot of folks will say non black folks. I think a lot of folks just discovered what juneteenth was last year. Eh for many people this is a free is going to be a free paid holiday for them of like. How are people going to jump out the window trying to show how woke they are this year i wanted. I mean we're we're recording this. I got to start a black history month so that remains to be seen. I i agree with you. Think i think echoes back to. The pointed hours is trying to make in addition to support which you just said like. I feel like they weren't considering it to begin with insult the end panic mobile. Because what today's you know. We're recording us on february. First as you just said in so they got five four or five months to kind of rally up to figuring out how to structure things anger saying companies in black history month on roll out these large campaigns that they probably thought about two weeks ago or yesterday. I don't know. I think what it really boils down to is equality and diversity in the workplace and in the company when you look at a lot of the companies. Vc funded companies tech companies everywhere across the board people. That look like you. And i aren't represented at large numbers. And so you have a specific voice that speaking for the entire company that's offering a product to the world at as diverse as america is which we know that that doesn't land whale and as a result of that you end up seeing messaging. That's all and messaging nets tone deaf and that's why always have to hit the panic button because they've overlooked that women need to speak mpm positions of power black men need to speak in being positions of our so that there's a diverse language. It's not just coming from a white millennial who started the company with x. amount of dollars in funding. Energis don't want it to be cool like we have to figure out a way to ensure that people have a social impact model built in before they even get started like show. We want beautiful products. Listen you know. i'm a student. Japanese culture beautifully designed products through through. And you know. Herman miller and scandinavian design. I love all the things. I love all of that but what i love. Most importantly is being able to allow nina. Simone's quote art must reflect the times and i think that now companies have to identify that in philly got away to catch up to speed but then also realized that it's not black people's no responsibility to solve the overlooking of what white people have kind of a drag along in this country. It's not our job to fix that like that's after. Do you know that's very true. Very true so i know we've we've kind of just spoken at length about a number of things. I kind of want to jump into some of the projects that you've done. I mean you just sort of recent. I mean in this conversation. You kind of mentioned being in southeast asia for a while. Let's start there. What brought you to southeast asia. The entire family and a trio of us says the wife chantal who loved dearly. We've we've been together for ever and as my son take while we were looking for a life change and twenty fourteen. There was an opportunity for my wife to take a job internati nasty with their company and we wanted outside to go to international school and then to be quite frankly thing i was hitting a wall here in america at that time we off the record a little bit at that time. That's when sticky wisconsin d playing. There wasn't a lot of momentum happening there anymore and we'll talk about sticky situation later to joy backing. Connect the dots. But i was just kind of out of a lot of opportunities and things weren't really looking as promising as thought they would. I felt like in. Let's just go away and start over or at least me. My wife's career was accessible. My son was entering high school. So everybody was kinda engulfed in this new chapter and we laugh. You know two thousand fourteen. We moved and moved to bangkok. And what i did know is that it was an opportunity for me to set myself apart but it was also an opportunity for me to go into discover something at that time what it was. I had no idea. I had no idea that asia and southeast asian general would burr largely designed sensibility in style and the projects. That would give me the platform to be able to come back to americans when we got there. It's like hey. This is the new the new terrain that you have to count summit if you will we. I didn't have any relationships they. I didn't know anybody there. But i knew i wanted to start to get my work out. You know internationally and so it's just a matter of kind of doing the groundwork in meeting people in and clearly you know for the record. I didn't speak thai. I didn't speak japanese and a lot of the places that we went. A lot of the pigeon stat out submitting for you know there was a lot of rejection at recently as like last year. I just got an artist manager. Which is margaret friend alison shot. Who's now my artist manageable for mind tire career. I think the last fifteen years is just been my wife discount. Imagine this thing figured it out so everything that we were submitting for trying to make happen. We weren't getting any responses. And so you. And i had a conversation about starting where you are and so i was. The only thing that i knew was that one i love coffee and so there was a community there. That was creative and also. There was the coffee culture there in bangkok that i loved it. I started going to the same coffee shops like every day every day. That was my routine. I will go there. We do a couple hours in illustrator outright. A little bit. I'll read a little bit. Because this was this new path that i was trying to figure out and funny enough what happened. Is that every last. That wanted to coffee shops. Also had this kind of multi media function where serve as an art gallery and so i had literally after so many months to go into the coffee shop every day at all i will love to avonex bishop here one day and you know the owner k at in line i you know a shoutout to them because they were really gracious here you all. You have a black man coming to bangkok and tie owned coffee. Shop and multi media space. They took a chance and was like let's do it. You know and this is twenty fifteen so we got there in two thousand fourteen. It took me about a year to really go outside. I didn't even as vibrant as the world sees bangkok. To be quite honest. I was somewhat afraid of it. 'cause it's twenty million people. They're at capacity when the city swells up on a midday tuesday afternoon from the commuters in. It's a huge city. You know which in new york city may be times to this twenty million people that that swell up in that city every day so i just think the the hustle and bustle of it and the foreigner mentality that we had experience being black which is another whole another podcast. We could record for you know like that. All of those elements kind of frightened me a bit. And so i kind of took this route a familiarity and done i guess did the things that i knew and when that one opportunity for an exhibition started there was some local press. Step it up. The numbers a few big k magazine. Who did a really good job. We're doing a story on me there and we're all talking like thai publications. There is no like english should documenting english culture or foreigners that come there. I started to land placement notoriety in the thai creative community in so one thing led to another one exhibition happened at a coffee shop in another exhibition happened. During bangkok design week in another exhibition happened at another space in august. Kind of snowball. So end up. Being three exhibitions in bangkok one in one in tokyo which was a combination of our when we were there. We were traveling a lot so we would just go to different places will family vacations and all i wanna show here. I wanted to show the tons of groundwork tons of rejection the the gallery that showed that japan. Big a gallery. They took a chance on me as well so i think there was a lot of people along that way an along that journey that was gracious enough to see the potential amount work that because it wasn't always like what it is now was a lot of discovery of me trying to find a voice so the work that i showed in twenty fifteen looks completely different than the work that i produce now and so gone on that journey and having that rejection and being this kind of ambassador for myself it was basically like our year here by yourself. You have to figure out a way to believe in your heart in the things that you're making because no one else will in so. Three exhibitions in bangkok wanted hong one in tokyo. Then it landed two meetings really cool guys up mobile print clay in hong kong and so with the net four years. We you know it was a matter of what five exhibitions internationally which started to garner a lot of attention back in the us. Because i was sharing everything on social and people were seeing the momentum happen but it wasn't the case before i left so of well. Maybe it's time to go back. And then the family now. We decided to come back for years later at his will. We ought to the modern day. Yeah it was a journey. It was a real journey. And i'm grateful for all of it because i think that it was something that i personally needed to go through to really just kinda trust myself at thankful a long time. I didn't wanna call myself an artist. Not did i ever really want to own the role as an artist. Because i always thought it was like you had to have all paintings in a coup studio enlarge camp just to work but i've always worked in language and i've always use messaging asked the art form and i didn't know anybody that ever did that before you know i. I didn't learn about dibaba kruger's jenny. Holzer's and hank willis thomas in the beautiful art that they produce on a public scale. I just knew that there was like street are and then. There was like art that you experience in the galleries like i didn't know that there was a hybrid of the two polish share who works aladdin. Graphic design so it was his also discover that i knew i had to like go on to carve out space. If it didn't exist it was a testament of being able to trust myself enough to create it for we were recording. I sort of asked you like. Was there a point that you feel like your work pushed you to that next level of awareness and it sounds like this is. This is what happened this time. You're in southeast asia. Yeah i think you're right. Marie psych three hundred percent at the moment. I didn't realize because there was so much groundwork and we never caught as creators. We'd never come up for air to assess. The things will what did start happen. they're like route. Travels we will go to japan. I would pick up sumi brushes and sumi ink and i was. It was almost like the art. Started to be influenced by like the cultural tomes that we started to experience lovie in korea. And you see like this beautiful art being produced in a certain way like all the tools that i use are like pretty much like asian inspired and. I'm pretty sure that i use all wrong. I'm sure i don't use like sumi brush properly. I know i don't use a lot of the sumi ings the way that they are supposed to be properly used in traditional japanese and chinese calligraphy. I don't use them properly. And i just leaned into day lane into was that i knew that my family and i we were very fortunate to be a black family and have the opportunity to experience and traveled throughout asia in pretty much all of that side of the world. We we went to australia. we went to new zealand. We traveled a lot and into my wife's credit. She was like if we here. We might as well make it happen because you know. This is a long trip in like we needed. You know experience and see this and so the work. The travel started to really count to inform the work that was making. And all of what you see now is a testament to kinda have like to call it like an artist residency to go away and figure out because most people don't get that todd and so i'm very fortunate you get it in college in as an adult. It's like all right. I go out into the world and and pay adduced to society like being adult and pay bills and go to work. And so what. I realize is that you know Really have that. For years to incubate in producing create at that point. I had to figure out a way to make sure that that time spent there will be able to produce a lifetime of projects and opportunities that i make it feel like it was all worth it. Yeah so i'm curious. There's a lot of things. I want to ask you about another we've been. We've you really been going deep into a lot of this stuff. I i was looking at your latest installation called no records. Can you talk a little bit about like where the idea came from for that. No records man. I think so. Many things happened last year. But i think that that's a alison. Tonight that satellite how light of the pride and joy that we're really excited about and houses been a great friend of mine for over ten years and it transpired from a good friend of mine. Amanda always liked to do names. Lynn port opportunities happen. So it's like you're giving people the credit shouting people out along the way because this is weird thing where people feel like artists making it alone and it's bullshit like nobody's making it alone like somebody always reaches out to use. Giving you a nudge or an opportunity comes from the grapevine which is essentially person vetoed being. Oh just you're doing it by myself and so good friend of mine. Amanda that i also had met from the tear residency during that time. She reached out and said all the deichmann farmhouse in new york. So you're working. They're looking to kind of highlight. The story of you know a slave living in new york because a lot of times won't be think about slavery. We only equate it to the south. And we don't think about the amount of of slavery that transpired in new york city and so when they presented that opportunity housing not. We looked at the project. Said you know if we can't say anything bowl we don't wanna be a part of it and when the deichmann house they sent us over you don't allow their archival documentation a lot of the things that they kept on record but to be perfectly honest. Arista wasn't records like you know. They tried that. There wasn't anything all foul. They tried to have a lot of information that they thought was valuable to document the lives of his six. Slaves that lived in upper manhattan. They didn't have it in so hints the title. No records said listen. We can't pretend to tell a story that is false. If the instant if the institution has pretty much given us the goal in letting us know that they didn't even have any records and sold slaves lived here. What we would learning is that were living in in in would community which is where. The deichmann house is two seven and forgot the cross street broadway. Actually and people live there in that community every day and didn't realize that they thought the dighton house was like a farmhouse as like an artifact or something like this is where slaves lived and we wanted to highlight that really put that on display. So that's why. I said you know the language and messaging has to be clear to people to really get what has happened here. We don't have to sugarcoat. We don't need to dress it up. We don't need to make it appear to be anything or what it is is that slaves lived here and now we talked about it at leiden we really thinking about the messaging. When we learned that there's also a very spanish. Speaking population in the end will community. She said well. Let's do it in spanish too. Because i feel like we have to start making art accessible in to translate the communication so everybody can be a part of the conversation and at which was my first time doing and i thought that it was actually was probably my favorite part of the deliverable of the project because it invited everybody into the conversation so at the open at the installation the night of the installation. They were beautiful. Compensation what people from all walks of life because the art was accessible and people walk by whether they saw it in english or spanish bay was able to get it immediately and have a conversation about it. Not being able to really know that this was something that happened in. They lived in a community. Didn't even know that existed so is for me. It was all about accessibility and being able to make a clean statement that this is what happens in. Let's not overlook this throughout out. learning that learned. A lot of the names in places in new york city are named after slaves owners. Because that's what it was. So i lived in bed. Stop but i didn't know baffled. Assen was a notorious slave owner. I just loved it. Because i lived there in the cultures air in my home. A biggie smalls in homa jay z. And i lived in brooklyn for three years and it's another huge part of the story that gave me the scan that i needed to keep pushing forward but i didn't know that you know established in the history was written slate rate in so we overlook a lotta the things by the fall. I think because we tend to focus on what we deem as cruel. But we don't really utilize the resources that we have to kind of outlined a whole story and so for that project for meals like listen. I wanna make sure that. I don't leave anything uncovered here. So let's let's talk about it but most importantly let's make sure that it's extremely plane so everybody can understand it and you would sort of did that like right near the tail. End of twenty twenty. Is that right yet yet. That was the end of december december. Seven i think was the installation. We were gonna postpone it. We're gonna wait. Twenty twenty one. There was a lot of back and forth with the logistics. I think that this is an important conversation that needs to happen now. Minute where right off the tails of such a devastating year for black men. Women black trans like everything was transparent in this country police retaliate. Just the unjustice in this country. I said you know if we're not gonna do this now like what better time you know because i think for some reason. Let's just say you know non black folks feel like that. This is a temperamental temporary issue when the reality is like this isn't going away there is no special time to talk about these things and it's something that you and i have to experience everyday like there is no vacation for being black. You know you don't get to wake and turn it on and off when you want to. You have to really. This is the life that we live in so if this is the life that we live let me make sure that i'm doing what i can to highlight the things that we go through. Was it always this way. Maurice possibly possibly not I don't feel like. I did might be diligence to make sure that i was highlighting the things of importance so when i was looking at a lot of the projects that we had on the table last year in assessing things i noticed a change in me too i was like you know you turn on the news and you see this thing happening nine minutes and seventeen seconds or whatever that the exact time was when the gentleman is still enjoy nag. All you know. Brianna taylor was shot in her sleep. You look and you see these things. And then i'll have to show up to the amac the next morning. I tried to design something that was beautiful to sell a product. You know i started to feel like disconnected like yama black man and yeah like but Voice to highlight the things that define the black plight in this country and the answer was i was doing best and so now. I'm trying to make sure that. I need to make a conscious effort. My messaging sends a symbolism and it's inspiring install provoking and. I do a lot of work in mental health than in outland articulate Messaging at in that conversation right. But that's a very colorless like we can all experience that because human emotion is colorless but when it comes to like specific black issues like am. I doing enough and you know my wife as which is why she's my wife she's like listen. We all have more work to do. And when she said that to me that was like the another pivotal moment in my life. Like all right like you gotta do more to make sure that your voice your platform is being used in executed in a right way. So so something i definitely get from you know really from this conversation and really just from how how you talk about your work at your very deep thinker like. It's not just about doing the work which are really set on. Sorta finding the intent and the drive behind it. How do you see the role of the black designer in this current climate. And i'm asking this for for two reasons one. I think certainly now with this. This increased awareness that people have about lack creatives. And i would say just the struggles of black in general. I hate that show. We have to get to this point this far along in human history but But yeah one. There's an increased awareness. But like to you know just here on the show. One question i ask. Every guest last year was how are you using your skills to kind of create a more equitable future like so. I'm posing this question that you and i'd love to get your answers to it. Like how do you see the role of the black designer in this current time right now. It's kinda to false to that. I think that forever. I feel like we've been overlooked like you say right. And i think the role for we've been overlooked but then also we've been undervalued and i think we're only called upon when it's time to clean up something it's time to make something but cool like when you look at the makeup of the black community in the black culture like we run the world. We run shit. We validate what school. We'd make a cool and then the worl- grabs it right like hip hop is the fastest growing genre in the world in. It's very it's only like thirty five almost forty years old. it's very young jara. But it's traded the world right and so we look at our ability to have cool but then we look at like we don't own things and we're not in positions of power and so for the black designer right now. I think what's important is forced to say. Okay is my place in the world. He is my position is cooperation at wants me to work all collaborate with them in quilts right. And if that's the case. I have to make sure we have to make sure that we're saying the things that are important to amplify the topics in issues that are affecting our communities and i think that's the role it's okay because we you know we're in that's another thing that i dislike a lot is that we feel i are. This aren't supposed to be compensated properly. We need to be properly compensated for the things that we contribute in value that we contribute to messaging and then also we need to be able to say the things that feel good and speak to our people. And i think that we can't be used as like you know palms in the system to tell a story that isn't accurate to how we believe. We have to reflect the time since which i was just talking about like my work like. I was realizing that. I was speaking to one thing. When in fact the world was on fire. And i'm a black man at any given moment. That could have been shot as well. So it's like and i'm not saying that you have to abandon your bread and butter with your yet known for like both things can exist but somehow they want us to exclude a specific messaging for specific messaging. Announced said no that they both need to exist right now so it's our obligation as the black designer to make sure that when we speak on these things. We're making sure that we amplify appoint that needs to be said that can't be said by non black person. What do you make space for these days. I'm trying to get better at self care. I mean i know it's a hot button topic in everybody's trying to explore it in the find it for themselves but for me have always been very inquisitive child at always been a like you said. Thank you for that compliment. Malvo always been a deep thinker. I get from my mom who isn't as a guess won't say talk about but she's a she's a woman of few words but the few words that she says are super back full and so i picked that up as a child for my mom. Who's very intentional. Which she says she says it so as a result of that. I'm trying to be intentional. About how i treat myself at. How care for myself. And i'm spending a lotta time in injection as i get quote unquote older would allow one dislike to really look like for myself. And how can i give myself enough love. That's detached from the results. And just really thinking about where. I wanna go and how to impact the world but before i get there how do i impact can change myself because i think we go out with the superman cape on every day to stand up in design and raise questions and fight for causes which are all beautiful. But i think sometimes we go out. You know half empty were not completely together out sales and as i'm going on his journey i don't believe that you could be of complete service to a cause. Accompany a client. If you're not really like at yourself or have like a huge a beautiful sensibility to be able to compartmentalize that to show up and do that work and then go home and figure out a way. How sort your own personal stuff out. Some really trying to figure like one. Who am i outside of work and it. How can bring that guy to the work to be able to impact it more. What do you think you would have been if you'd never like became an artist and a designer funny enough man. I a always wanted to be a business banker banker yes like like a business banger. Venture capitalists by one of those guys goldman sachs with the suit on and don't not almost don't actually i asked me why but this two points to it at wanted to be it because growing up i felt like that was the only like economic which i do feel like. It's still important but economics is the way to freedom and so growing up. I was like well. Let me pursue a career money one. Because that's what a lot of my teachers told me in. That's all you need to go in growing up without is light will. That's what i want to. I feel like there's not a lot of space for creative venture capitalists. I know that the full premise of it is to fund companies to have a return to build more companies. But i think we have. We're doing a huge disservice shoe excluding the currency of creative intellect. And somehow it's the one thing that drives everything but it's the last thing to be compensated for so we can bill. You know big companies to connect as as fast as we need to be share-out most valuable moments but we overlooked the importance of the everyday creative. That's trying to get a an idea off the ground. And so i would love to you know in a perfect world like star like a creative venture capitalist fund where is kind kinda like these micro grants that small entrepreneurs and innovators of thinkers can apply for receive. And i know it exists in the world is so many beautiful people doing at work backstage capital. Who i love. She's doing an amazing job. Arlan hamilton. so many companies. That are doing our man but i think that's what i would have been. That's what it's the impossible for ladders. And i'm always looking to explore the edges and go on extremes or dj or yet or dj. Or d. jack. I love music and i'm still got to execute like fun in your life so on a business side i like a super serious side of venture capitalists but outside of that i think a abe some. I think it's interesting that certainly other countries do a lot to sort of sponsor artists or like to fund the arts. And i feel like we used to have that here prior to the last administration. Hopefully that that will come back. Let me start to see. Some more investment from. I think the government towards artists. But yeah i would think you know even celebrities or other businesses or things like that you know i see you probably see this to like. There's so many big names that just sort of expect free creative work show. And that's the part that has to be dismantled because you know our creativity is the one thing that communicate every element of our lives but still one thing. That's always negotiated right everything we interact with designed by somewhere somebody the homes we live in the cars. We drive the clothing. We where there's a designer this creative intellect. That's going on behind that. Because whatever reason like you say like we're always the ones that are like. Oh we'll just do this. For exposure one person do have to highlight. And give the credit for that for somebody that i would like. If in mica a big sky dream for roy williams. I think that he does a beautiful job. And he just launched a new black ambition incubator to do this very thing in that. Give the black. And latino x. co-founders an opportunity to launch businesses and stuff. So maybe you know. He's clearly doing something that i would love to do. But in a in a large like wish upon the sky like he's the one person that would love to meet work with to some capacity just because his ability to see like listen Give from virginia beach. Virginia and economic with that story like among you know a kid from northwest. Dc growing up in eighties pre gentrified dc when it was very rough to like live in. See yourself to transcend is place outside of what society dean for you to be in seoul. There's a connection is well. Where do you see yourself in the next five years. I kind of like work. would you like to be doing. That's a loaded. I mean. I don't know no one knows right but i think 'cause i don't wanna perceive to have all the answers. I don't know what i will be doing. But what i would hope is that my work will land in places that could inspire people to use their voice like if all things progressive could work with clients that could inspire a new generation of business. Like what i'll we don't so maybe it's in my aspiring business in s. Not a business. But maybe i just need to be in a position to art to to ignite news in birth new generations of ideas. You know. maybe it's this venture capital thing. I know reggie black. The artists will always be able to produce beautiful innovative things that i love and believe him but i think in the next five years somehow focusing on impact in that could be with the black artists fund that Allison and i were working on to carve out. You know creating a platform like at be personally will probably say. Take a back seat. But i'll be thinking about more how i could use my platform to amplify the voices of others to summer. God i don't know what it looks like just to kind of wrap things up here. Where can our audience find out more about you and like all the work that you're doing. Where can they find that online. I am reggie black on instagram. I am. I am reggie black on twitter and my website is i m reggie black dot com so most of the out of those few places you can find me Beaming in the before we get off. I just want to thank you for the work that you continue to do with your platform. Or reese because it's super important and i wanna thanks ashley. Four for recommend me to be here. Because i think that i n shopping's iron and i think that the work that you do connect so many people to give them the hope to see. And that's the point that i wanted to make as well before we go off like the ability to see what you're doing is a huge void that i missed in my life because i didn't meet my first black designer until i was twenty five. I got no at a note that this is a real thing. Like i didn't meet anybody. Could work. photoshop illustrator allow was like twenty five. So you're sessions in your interviews that you consistently put out to the world is hope for somebody that's listened to this like the little reggie. I was listening to this. That could have been listening to this. You know twenty ten fifteen years ago to see that this is possible. I think that the the translation in in the gaps. That happened here all exposure people. Don't think that design of some black kids don't or people of color. They don't think that this is possible because we don't see anybody that could do this. So thank you brother really appreciate. Oh thank you and thank you for coming on the show for not just sharing your story but also really like going deep into the thought that you put into the work and also the messages that you want you know to kind of put out there in the world you know. I really feel like we're going to be seeing a lot. More of reggie black in the future just based on what she's been doing so far. I mean i can't wait to see what you come up with next. Thank you coming on. The are has long. Thank you as long as i've been doing this. I feel like i'm just getting started. So thank you so much for acknowledge. That and i'm i'm looking forward to disdain a student stay open as anyway. I can support further ban reaching big. Thanks to reggie black and of course thanks to you for listening you can find out more about reggie and his work through the links in the show notes at revision path dot com and of course. Thanks to our wonderful sponsor brevity brevity and wig is a strategy and design firm committed to designing a more inclusive and equitable world. They accomplish this through graphic design presentations and workshops around a inclusion diversity equity and accessibility. If you're curious to learn how to combine a passion for i d e a with design check them out at brevity and wit dot com brevity and wit creative excellence without the grind provision. Path is brought to you by lunch. A multidisciplinary creative studio in atlanta georgia. This podcast created hosted and produced by me. Maurice cherry with engineering and editing by j basilio our intro voiceovers by music man with intro music by yellow speaker. What did you think the interview. Actually what do you think about. Revision path overall. Please do not be a stranger. Hit us up on twitter. Instagram just search for revision path. Or better yet. Leave us a rating and review on apple podcasts. We haven't had a good five star rating on revision path. A long time. If you're looking to really help support the show you want to put a smile on my face. If you wanna get your review read right here on the show. Leave us a five star review on apple. Podcast let the world know about the show because it really helps us grow of course but also it just reaches more people around the world as always thank you so much for listening. Thank you for eight years of doing this eight years. I'm still blown by that again. Thank you so much for listening and we will see you next time

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Sloan Leo

Revision Path

50:10 min | 3 weeks ago

Sloan Leo

"Are you looking for a new job. Are you hiring but struggling to find diverse talented candidates. Then we have something that can help our job board head on over to revision path dot com forward slash jobs to browse listings or to play sharon. This week on the job board. More advertising is looking for a senior graphic designer. it's a remote position but it is based in watertown massachusetts designed to be is seeking a program manager strategist in chicago illinois. Thirteen twenty three is seeking a designer for their austin texas office. Remote applicants are welcome to apply. Front is looking for a lead product designer in san francisco. California frog design is looking for a senior interaction designer for their new york. Austin or san francisco offices matchstick is looking for a messaging director in atlanta georgia. Nwea is looking for an experienced designed lead in the portland oregon area and lastly one design company is looking for a creative director. 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I'm your host mariz cherry before we get into this week's interview i wanna remind you that. Submissions are still open for recognize are designing thalji featuring voices from designers of color and indigenous designers. This year's theme is reboots and we're accepting essays of three thousand words or less than fit this. Submissions will end on may second at five o'clock. Pm eastern visit recognized dot designed for more information answers. Submit your essay today now. Let's take some time. I didn't think our accessibility sponsor. For this episode. Brevity and wind brevity and with a strategy and design firm committed to designing a more inclusive and equitable world. They accomplish this. Graphic design presentations and workshops around a inclusion diversity equity and accessibility. If you're curious to learn how to combine a passion for a with design check them out at brevity and wits dot com brevity and wits. Creative excellence without the grind. All right. let's get to this week's interview this week. I'm talking with community designer. Sloan leo. let's start the show all right so tell us who you are and what you do. My name is slow. Leo and i'm the ceo and founder of flack. Studio also a multidisciplinary installation artist. How is twenty twenty one going for you so far. You really start off with the hard question that so tell you tell you. Though like twenty minutes ago i decided to take a little walk on the rooftop. My apartment building. 'cause i just was like a guy out. These walls are four walls. And i was thinking about how different this january is from last year because last year i just lost my job left a big relationship. I was feeling really like and then there was. You know about to be a pandemic. But i didn't know that yet. I was really adrift last year and this year. It's like full steam ahead so much clarity and i feel like this year like last year was about building up and this year is about letting go a bit. In terms of fox has enough flakes stickiness. You've got a great people around. And i have great art. You know that. I want to be making so i feel. It's about like unclench ing and releasing and like allowing things to be in their flow state. So i feel more optimistic than i did last year. And that's not even related to the pandemic nice. I think a lot of people right now in the states are feeling more optimistic for a lot of reasons. One just the change in leadership but also the fact that with the vaccines coming out. Seems like we might start to get a handle on this pandemic on this disease. That has kind of stop the world over the past year. So i think there's a lot of that going around. That's good he had. It was interesting. I was sitting outside. I was just thinking to myself. I was like i guess it's time like let go a little bit more. Like let more people like be a part of the work that i'm doing in a different way and just as i was thinking as swear to you. A hawk out of nowhere just flew up in the air. Did i'll be circles. I laughed and i started laughing. Historically it's like. I'm not one for too much woo but it felt like some sort of sign. I mean. That's a pretty powerful omen really. I was like well. I'll listen to that sure. Sure thing i mean not to get to church or anything. I mean but like us in the bible when there's a hawk siding that's like that's a message from god so that's a great thing that you saw shell dishes cool i w- okay like oh nice can ask for much clearer sign. I guess i saw at the beginning of the pandemic last year that you bought a vr headsets. They did. I was thinking about as i was making my pandemic purchases fortunate position till the get. You know groceries all the things and they also was like. If i'm going to be trapped inside. I gotta find a way to get outside from inside and i experienced the are at sundance and thought it was amazing and figured maybe be a way to be more active but also like connect with people. It's become a big part of my relationship with my parents. Some friends really unexpectedly. Which one did you get. I got the oculus vr. And i have the quest and it's interesting. Because i feel like i grew up playing like snood and always like it makes me feel a little data to think about like all the video games played on five inch floppy disk and now i'm like inside a portal and there was a time where was sitting on my couch watching netflix in the vr. On a couch in be are in front of my television. And i was like this is actually to meta for me. So they have a net flicks vr. Yeah it's like a living room. I guess if you live like if you were like person you just had a room. He didn't have a couch. It'd be cool but on your couch. It's it's strange. I was thinking about getting one one of the other guests that we had on the show regime gilbert. Who's a friend of mine. And she also kind of does some work with with provisioned path here and there to she also bought a vr headset in. This talked about how just wonderful it is one. I think just because it allows you to kind of get up and just have a little motion but it does sort of like you said take you from the like inside outside in a way. Yeah my parents. I into my parents. In two years we've gotten really close in the pandemic and part of that is because we started doing like family bowling night or this game called sports scramble. So you're like. I'm my apartment. Imams in her house and were you can hear each other. You can't see each other but you're in the scene. Vr game and so. There's one game where you're playing baseball but you have like a hockey stick in instead of a baseball. It's like a pineapple and my mom is like sixty in considers herself very tech forward and she just laughs and laughs and it feels like that kind of just hanging time with your family when you're a kid where it's not really about anything but you just kinda around each other. And that's been really comforting. That's nice what are your days kind of looking like now. Like what does the sloan leo. David like well. It starts the night before by trying to go to bed on time. Real hard and for me. That's like ten o'clock. He's games at night and talk on talk on the phone. I don't know eighty percent of the day. Probably friends and stuff like that. So i go to bed early so i can get up early. May day starts usually around five thirty five. Thirty six is kind of like fake meditation. Time where i putter around the house thinking eventually Sit down and then from five thirty to a work. I do like videos. But like you know i do recordings of video based internal communications so that our team can just like watching get updated on things. We can have cool meetings. I'll work on client stuff. I'll draw a schedule out in the mornings and then it's pretty regimented from like thirty to and the best friend call everyday eight o'clock for the last year or so every single day all year investment and i talk at eight. Am on time. We make coffee together. We have breakfast together. He's kind of like my husband but platonic and it's been great and then the afternoon is usually a mid morning afternoon. A couple of facilitations time thinking about. I don't know like we'll be really cool to make leg in terms of a big concept piece and then evening times or things like this like podcast panels community jams which is like our flocks version of just hanging out and talking about funding ideas and design. I make a playlist during the day listening to those and do my best to not order more takeout so kind of a rhythm is like super structured by thirty to noon a little chill lower between twelve and four and after four. I'm just not. I'm not like i'm not productive unless i'm just chatting like this but it's good that you sort of found a way to kind of introduce some structure into the day sort of have these blocks where you can move from one mode to another yeah. I grew up a neuro typical also. I grew up meeting a lot of self-induced structure kind of like swatting. So my mom was really big on like just chunk it out and like you can when he can have again so i feel like between that and learning this framework dialectical. Behavior therapy way of thinking about your own personal capacities in all of that has led to me being a person who has a pretty fair amount of discipline. I would say not as much as i would want some times but for structuring the day it is. It's gentler for me. Kind of like letting it all randomly unfold. That makes sense. One thing that i sort of adopted a bit during the the pandemic is i mean. I'm saying that we're still in it. But like i kind of talked to myself in these different states. Like there's is present maurice and then there's future maurice and so present. Mary's may be thinking about. What do i need to do for future. Maurice on friday night because it's going to be the end of is going to be the end of the work week. What do you wanna do or you know. So i'll i sort of think of my days in that way. Or if i get to the end of the day and i'm like oh i really need to finish this but future. Maurice will handle it like prison. Maurice will go to bed and then future maurice will wake up and handle it later and that's allowed me to kind of let things go and just let things happen as they happen without trying to sort of. Hold myself to too rigid of schedule. I also time shift a lot of communication like time shift probably ninety percent of my email so they go out when i'm sleeping when i'm working or something like that so then when i come back to them. I've got like actionable list of things to do. All at once as opposed to it sort of pigmeat throughout the day with like. Oh you got to do this or you have to do this. You have to work on this. I can sort of chunk it in a way and get to it later. Yeah i think. I like that that when the pandemic i started i wasn't a working so i had like three months of what i would actually describe some of the most precious time in my entire life. Because i didn't have a schedule. I got a chance to see what my natural rhythms are which it was nice to have that face to listen. Despite how lake it was to be in new york. I mean i guess anywhere but like the shutdown of new york in march was just like one of the most scary things i've ever experienced as a human so i let myself just be like a bit shook you know without the figure out or be productive and now that the pandemic has been a year in terms of shutdowns in new york. I'm like pretty committed to reassessing things you know. It's like it's been a year all we're gonna live. So what was that. Look lake so speaking of kind of moving forward through all this. Let's talk about your studio flock studio. What did you get the idea to create your own studio. I should say the idea was not first secretive studio. It was to ask a question if that gives you any insight about how. The studio was formed. One of my best friends wesley hall. He's a graphic illustrator designer like creative director fabric maker. Like he's a maker of many varieties and we've been friends for ten years so it's like december twenty eighteen and we spend most of our nights listening to like ambient house music from japan talking about good design and like what is good me what is designing and has a connect to social justice. We met because he was making posters for the local black lesbian cabaret night in new york city. And so we started saying you know. I wonder if anyone else wants to hang out and talk about design for community building like and what that means both in terms of aesthetic and in terms of like built environment and social technologies. How people spend time together and so we started flocks labs in january of twenty nineteen and spent that whole year hosting twenty person design. Sprint dinners in my studio apartment. On madison and twenty eight in manhattan. And that's where flocks came from. And so we would have these sprints and sketched with like twenty strangers in a room trying to figure out some idea like how do you create ways for seniors to take care of themselves during a heat wave. How do you create a equitable cannabis. Industry just like having idea festivals for two hours with a meal that a friend would make and that's where we can so since then we incorporated as a studio in august of last year after testing products. All early twenty twenty and it really comes from a desire to make it easier better more enjoyable more effective to do important work to change to make justice real from where people so while that means a lot of working with nonprofits doesn't mean necessarily that means working with people who are like we can make like we create pathways for change bring people in but it doesn't feel good to work here because of structures are designed for centralize power which doesn't feel good for most people besides the person who has the power and even them. I don't think it feels like good. How has business sort of been going through all this. I mean honestly if you would have come to me if like future maurice would have come to pass me and said like listen is the years twenty twenty and you're going to build a facilitation in strategy business on zoom. I would have been like water. You're talking about it. Sounds like you've been doing some real hardcore things with your praying so businesses good. I've been thinking about scale means. 'cause i don't wanna be like you know we're not trying to be like the scale of audio but in terms of our ideology community designed to be understanding it's everywhere but we don't like have eight hundred people to do that so i think a lot of it just comes from wanting to have a dedicated crew of people to make magical things like unexpected. Things happen now. As i was going through the fox studio the website. And we'll have a link to that in the show notes one of the projects from your studio. I guess you can call it. A project exhibition almost is called a watermelon for leo. Talk to me about other. I grew dot. Who's an artist. I flirted with art. Most of my life. I believe that our is the stuff that really touches you in the soul and so when the pandemic for started in a had some months just to be at my house i started thinking about a month for leo that came to life through the studio like six or seven months later and it was an exhibition of objects that we called artifacts of blackness. Kind of Exploring the idea. Like how did i construct myo own sense of race identity outside of just like the hard things about being black. I didn't want to just be like oh being black. Is like being afraid of the cops and being afraid of judgment at work and not getting paid enough for me. It was about all the lessons around south discipline. All of the lessons about community building in food from grandma and trying to reclaim joy because the story of how what among became black like that. Object is abused with so much meeting. It's such a heavy fruit literally figuratively and so the idea was like how to explore that heaviness of objects and race with this like dasa of again kind of delay so it actually started with a video on instagram of me eating watermelon in the sign on my balcony and then than the research happened metro thinking about the objects in the home. And that's how the installation that's how most things come together as like. There's a flash of idea. I get a sketch out. Talk to some people about it. We start making some pieces and then next thing you know. It's like thirty. People have come together to produce dislike six-month-long x. or format exhibition ever people that go to the website and they can sort of see some of the the images from here. There's this quotes. I think it's probably quote that frames. The the exhibit beautifully. Says i wanna go someplace where. I can have a piece of watermelon in the sun without any shame without any worry just presence enjoying it savoring it relishing it and letting it be just for me. That is such a powerful powerful quote in. Kim appreciate that. What is this time of the reception. Been from the exhibit. I have cried. Touring with people. It's an received with a lot of like speechlessness in a good way. You know like. I've had some interesting conversations with white women who didn't see the live exhibition but saw the thirteen minute of documentary. That we shot of it knowing people couldn't come in person and lots of like that just really resonate with me because i grew up with my grandma's recipe and every thought about how that was like a tool for her to make community to hovering hard time in the world and from my mother. Who is the daughter of leo. My grandfather for her felt like if we could finally see each other. A bit is it was like we shared. My grandparents had very different experiences with them and then for folks who discuss who heard about. The story of watermelon is a lot of like oh. I didn't know that story of watermelon. Being used as like a smear campaign against black joy so the opportunity to kind of reclaim a simple act of eating a piece of fruit without shame for the people in my life. That really was like if out kind of a ghastly story but also such a simple beautiful opportunity and you also have sort of opened it up where it looks like people can kind of have sort of virtual tours. I suppose like a virtual exhibition tour virtual submission tour artists talk where we screen the thirty minute documentary with a small group and then we talk about objects and community and if race comes up race comes up but there's a lot of ways people can hold the concepts in the show awesome awesome. We've been talking a lot about and origins and such. Let's talk about where you grew up. Are you originally from new york state. I am in new york stater in may forever. I lived other places. But i've always considered new york state home in the most part always been where the irs believes. I have lived. And but i grew up in the suburbs of upstate. New york around. Albany was ninety. Eight percent white. it was very small. It was the nineties. We used to call albany small buzney by system. There was extraordinary. And my mom after like four or five when we moved there from near cut new york and she chose it because she knew i. There's a lot of into chose. She had a good job. Educating department she mostly though knew. I could get a good education at a k. through college that wasn't going to be expensive. Both me really high quality. She her doing that. Were you very artistic. Child did your family kind of helped cultivate that that sense of artistic nece within you completely can barely draw cloudy. She's not she's more creative in lake policy design that i would say anything in the traditional sense of design. But my my step dad. Who's my dad's scott. He's an artist and was a welder worked in sculpture and both of them my whole life like it's okay if you're different nine hundred it's okay but like my mom's thing was able to take care of yourself and be self sufficient but be yourself in my dad's like even if it's difficult. Your creativity is something that you'll figure out over time so he always saw me as an artist and still does even though. I spent a long time as like a nonprofit administrator. So i always felt i went to muppet. Puppet making camp as a kid and architecture camp and was in modern dance and gymnastics and took up watercolor and played clarinet. And i would make bought a dictaphone. When i was like eleven and i would write the songs and take notes. Alvin like right little. Plays like i've always i feel like i've been fortunate that when it might in the decent space in my brain i can make a lot more generation energy. I think than is typical and now you went to the state university of new york at albany. What was your time like there. I was a child. I went to college. I was sixteen and i went to graduate school at his nineteen. Wow then dropped out of graduate school. And i was twenty one because that was real tired so i didn't finish it ever so i've come this far at three of the bachelors from st school in sociology in african studies which is a field. I'm not even sure totally exists or as politically correct. Call that anymore. I loved you albany. Because the very first week of college my best friend ashley who i know. Twenty plus years later and i met barbara smith in the library. I don't know if you know who that is. But she's like the founding Like black lesbian feminists figure in like social justice circles. Oakland she was a member of the combat remember collective which is named after the combat river raid and was all about like intersectional. Feminism and. I met her in the library as reading her book. The first week of college she changed my entire life really stopped me as political being. Not just as like a smart person which was a real difference for me so albany. The school became a place of activism and energy. You know i like did not just like we did the vagina monologues. Front him to do the senate. A black panther came to speak at my school. Like you was like a hotbed of politically activated people. In that relate to thousands. I loved it. I loved going to school there but you said later on the you ended up dropping out the just become too much at the time. Yeah i burned out a burned-out basically basically i just. I burned out as much as it was really difficult to go from being like sixteen year. Old college fina like youngest person yadda yadda really understanding. Burn out at that. Age was a gift. Because now i know that burnout isn't just about like the volume of work it's about what is it that actually like sustains you see that's always been my relationships with other people and if i can only work but i can't be in community if i can't struggle to figure out how to take care of myself with other people and just be connected like that kind of deep loneliness Out so now that. I know that i don't with away anymore. I want to go back to something. You mentioned there about kind of going to college at such a young age and kind of being this fee. Nom i'm curious just curious like were you in any sort of like gifted courses or anything in school like leading up to that. Yeah i did. Ap classes i did learn in gifted programs but the the big thing for me was that i graduated from high school early. We ve very briefly to east northport on the island and It was really difficult experience for me. And i was really aggressively bullied. Call the n. Word spit on people through things at me. It's hard. I was out in gay at like fifteen which is not easy. Not expand my guidance. Counselor though who's goldberg was amazing. And she was like you're really smart and let's keep you in classes let's Double up on. Jim double upon history. I took a feminist studies course at suny stony brook when i was fifteen as an advanced college Graduate from college early and basically miss goldberg showed me the past to graduate high school year early so that was a big part high school early and i felt a lot of pressure to be like living up to my potential so when i got to college i was like i'm gonna get my. Phd was thirty again. Like building your entire identity in like one bucket of smart young brown person. You know at some point. You're gonna get older so yes good to understand yourself outside of being the youngest. I wanted to go back to that briefly because it it actually kind of reminded me of of how it was kind of when i grew up. I mean i'm from selma alabama so from that likes deep south and was sort of considered growing up. You know kind of the same way. Like oh he's like super smart and knows all these things in like there. Is this this burden of expectation that can be put upon you. When you're that age that is largely community driven. Which i find to be interesting and for my family for example. They knew that. I was smart but they didn't make a big deal out of it. You know i still have to do things like a regular kid at the do but like for example if me and my mom would go to. Oh god i hate this story we are. We're gonna go to walmart. Maybe bump into people that she knew or something like that. This is when i was a younger age and they were always sort of like quizzing me like spill woodpecker or or sing a song that you know or something like that and it was like smart kid after a while. It's like you're this. You're treated like this performance. Object and not like a person and i mean in a way like i think when i was around i think when i got to high school i was just rebelling and like not really rebelling but just doing things stupid ways because i could like i knew that i could pass my courses so why not cause a little mischief in school because what are people going to do about it. I'm the smartest kid in school. What are you going to do that kind of thing. Yeah and i wish more more parents knew this. And i really kind of wished that communities new this like putting that much pressure on like a young smart black child. It's such a fragile time to you. Know when all of that stuff happens and how it can really form in shape who you are in the future and what you do how you look at really liked just like life and people and humanity. It's such a. it's such an interesting time. I look back at that time. And think about how. I was talked to similar to kind of what you were saying. Like you'd go to these different sorts of things and people are calling you names and bullying you and stuff like that. It's it's just so. I don't know because by the time i got out into the world. None of that mattered. Like i graduated college. The gods of the world no one was like oh you you could read at a young age so like like none of that mattered. Yeah w. saying like. Oh i'm i was in a gifted program when i was twelve. Yeah but then but then when you're a child or like when you're in that age up to eighteen there's so much undue pressure put on you to just. I dunno perform perform. I don't know like it's such a. Oh god i dunno. He said that it triggered something. I remember that time. So so vividly. And you gotta have like. I feel like it. Also it can mess with your what they call like. Delusions of grandeur. Like identity was always like yell see. I still kind of feel that. Like i definitely have a little bit like a all. The praise came from people who are older than i was appears. Just like they sucked and be like. Oh you're gonna have nervous breakdowns road. And so i definitely am that person who's like really wants to go to my high school you i can be like. Sex does is great because my mom and my dad were always like again like they didn't actually push me to like they want me to be financially independent but my mom is really smart to and so is my dad and so we're just like three smart where people living in a house together with a pretty big age gap you know and a lot of love and a lot of curiosity about having worked together. Yeah it makes a difference especially when you start to grow out of that and you go out into the world and you're able to still come back home in a way that you know that you're a changed person from being on the world and experiencing things but yeah it's such a. I don't know that's such an interesting interesting canada time. An entire didn't talk a lot. So you mentioned like you work the nonprofits you have this super extensive background in facilitation and community strategy. Where does that come from. Where passion come from the women's building in albany new york and holding our own women's foundation holding our own. So when i met barbara smith my first week of college. She helped me get involved with the albany social justice center and then she got me involved with holding our own in the women's building and the women's building when you walk down central avenue Major street in albany new york this living room storefront and they had a back with offices and a conference face like multi multipurpose spaces but it was it was like just a big living room with like every feminist social justice book that you could ever imagine like all like donated by women and social justice luminaries neria and on campus. I hadn't really found my groove yet in my peer group. I never found my groove. But they're i head a political voice. I felt i felt. I discovered my own political agency in my end. Like the understanding of. What's possible when you have collective political power. That was incredibly addictive. So i'm really always aching four making things possible by working together even though it's not always more pleasant but the outcome is better but it can be pleasant. But it's like. I don't know i feel like it was the women's building that got me hooked then the kind of identity based groups on campus activism. And you know. I want black trans fat. Like if i'm not activists oriented i've swallowed a pill of assimilation. Which i know happens but the reality is i would like to make the world. I'd like to make my little pocket of community as strong as it can be. Was there a moment that kind of marked a shift. More into kind of art and visualization around communities strategy and facilitation. Like what happened to make that sort of change happen. I would love to say it was like. Oh i went to the moment. I saw this thing or i went to this idea. Class which i did was also really changed my life like i really found all the courses online from like the ideas partner is always going to make big social design firms. Put a lot of stuff out online and that was all really cool. But i didn't really understand the power of design in my life as a nonprofit person. Until like i started to really understand how much time was wasted with text based documents so i worked specifically with board management and these really big nonprofits. She have aboard by forty five people and they meet every four months. They had to get ready for those meetings right. You would send them a two hundred page. I would spend months pulling together from every department getting everything making work with the agenda blah blah. A two hundred page tech space. Pdf letting all tax and send it two weeks in advance and then the expectation in the whole sector. This is still true. This is true right now for all one points. Point seven million nonprofits in this country that have like four board meetings a year. They're all sending out these like fifteen two hundred page. Pdf's and then they're expecting the boards to read them digest them make meaning of them. Then come to the meeting in. Make some decisions and like like. The boards aren't engaged. They don't really understand what's happening and i was like. This feels like a real obvious issue and so we started playing with like presentation dots and rookie. That i've always had an eye for i. Just i like making things slip. Cool and interesting so i realized basically in the nonprofit landscape what you have is time like you don't have money so you look so time is super special in this hyper precious resource and the private sector. People spend so much energy figuring out how to save more time in lake building way finding systems on boarding systems designed systems and assets and then the social sector none of that like innovation come. It doesn't shop there overseeing a nonprofit doing the most important work in the world and they're only ten percent of the economy but we're not equipping them with any designed fluency in any sense of design from communities i to illustrate systems i cases on it said tragedy edison necessary. Is this kind of where you came upon the concept of community design. Yeah because communities i to me it will it comes from the orlando ribbon planning and it was about like building engagement over system like building community ownership and voice in a process to design a community neighborhood. So it's like this. Is your thing people so it should be your thing and you should be part of like part of it but you should be leading the design of what you need. And i started thinking a lot about growing up reading management books. 'cause before my dad was the artist he worked for kodak when kodak was google and so i grew up like with a mom working in education justice. Dad who's learning development specialists and a knack for creativity. So i started to say like how can you actually take design and community design and apply it to organizations 'cause nonprofits our communities of people trying to make the world better so i want that to be easier and more likely honestly and faster. How would you say. Community design is different from other types of human center design. Well i don't look at me. Design as human centered design. Because i find that. He entered design like if traditional design is one to one. Right like is sloan design a pen form. Arrays went went. One human center design is like maurice designing a pan. Do right mostly in black anchor and blooming and you'll tell me inaba back and finished the pan and community designers like sitting down to say like do we wanna write a story together and that is more many many making a decision about. What are we doing here. What tools do we need to do what we're doing here who's gonna do what win like it's actually shared. It's like relocating power. In decision making many instead of the few and i think nothing could be more urgent right now because clearly. We don't know how to handle like working in collective in common zero have so many collective crises. Yeah it was just about to ask like why do you feel it's important to do this type of work right now but as you mentioned you know being able to work together in that way something that especially now that i think about The coordinator responses that have to happen around you know not even just like with vaccines but like like fundraising for health. Care and like the storms. That just happened in texas. You know and everything like that and people trying to rally together for resources and stuff. It's super important right now. And there's a breakdown somewhere you know like there's been a limited coordinated response from our institutions. And what's happened. Is that people show up for each other. It's like if your neighbor needs food and your is all your neighbors need food in the food. How do you get the neighbors to move the food. I'm constantly at all of what emerges in community like in new york people are like on your exit is dead but newark seems more alive to me than the hoteliers vannier you know. It's more dynamic and people rooted community rooted and everyone's trying to figure out how to make it work better for all of us overall. You know if there's obviously nuance to that in terms resource hoarding. And all that kind of stuff. But the energy of the city feels much more. Like how do i help a neighbor as opposed to just how to help myself i would say that's one of the good things that has come out of all of this is really realizing the power of community and that really. We have to help each other. I mean that's that's you know. And i mean in a way it did kind of come because of the kind of lack of support from federal leaders and such like that that we were kind of were sending for ourselves out here. Yeah and like when you feel like a system like democracy doesn't care about you. You find that care and i think that we are finding out now like we understanding what democracy means and civic participation and just like community nets might not every community thing is gonna happen because there was a nonprofit or government to your business. A lot of things have to happen because they have to happen. Like if i've learned anything from some of our clients. It's like when i asked them. How did you survive. Twenty twenty as an organization. You know these are groups that are working on anything from comic justice ama- justice but justice and they were like it's not an option. It's not like this year was like oh do we need each other. I don't know it's like a lecture to help each other now. It's like because we can't have each other in the same way and care for each other and work together in the same way. We like realized how much we need that in a different way Acuity out. And i think now people are like okay. I'm ready for the contact sport. That is being community with all these other. Humans that live near work with share an interest group or whatever shared need. How are you making space for yourself. These shows time way. I got more notepads. Like more big sketchbooks. 'cause they realize so much of my life is on my phone or the computer. So i've been trying to de digitize a bit and spend more time with a piece of paper on pencil which has been kind of kind and gentle with myself. That's how good and i hope space for myself with a pretty from boundary around like. I don't work saturdays at birth. I don't have meetings on wednesdays ever and those things like literally holds space for me. I also like made my apartment a little more comfortable. Because i was definitely living at bachelor entrepreneur life and i was like you should go to bed. I feel like a lot of people have now that they've they've been at home so much and their home has been so many different spaces or has had to accommodate so many different functions. Everyone's like trying to find ways to make things more comfortable more. Cosy you know. I totally feel like fifteen. It's funny to say that race. I read a paper this morning. I read a lot of papers by like read a lot of like articles but also like reports papers among this morning came out and said that while employers are trying to figure out if like everyone should go back to the office there are also like oh we had all this money and like day saved it but the employees did not employees spent like fifteen billion dollars on home improvements year. Whoa xm bananas number is like this increase. In how much money. People than putting into like home sound systems furniture lighting systems. Ring life like all of a staff to be working from home which continues to push cost of being employed of blair's and onto employees. That's a conversation for a whole different day. What does home mean to you then. Now it feels like my answer is like it's like a command centre. Yeah i think about it. As if like i'm sitting in front of like one of those star trek like dashboards where everything kinda like lights things around like. It does feel like kind of like central hosts of everything in a way that it hasn't before i traveled almost a million miles in the last ten years and like percent of that was domestic so this has been the first year of my life in eight years where i wasn't traveling twice a week so if feels really like a grounded place a power source for me if you can sort of like if you look back at her life and look back at your career if you could go back in time and and talk to teenage. Sloan like talked to sixteen year old. Sloan that's about to enter college. What would you tell them. What advice would you give them. You don't wanna be a doctor. Just don't waste the first six years or the first six months of college figuring out there. And i would say that. Be careful of the desire for fame. Because it's should never be the goal. Where do you see yourself in the next five years of you kind of taken time to think about like future sort of work that you'd like to be doing. When i moved to new york twelve years ago i really wanted to be et. Music video director. I thought it'd be the best job for me. Ever i was like it's multidimensional it's creative and it's big. It's a whole room that people experience like you create this whole shared experience. So i don't exactly know what i'll be doing in five years but i know i want myself in the studio. I want us to be creating incredible immersive experiences and installations that make people see how again like just how intentional Wonderful and complicated but effective and community can be like. That's that's all. I watch mike south by southwest for community building. You know end cooler. Not just kind of wrap things up here. Where can our audience find out more information about you and about your work and everything online. The best thing to do to follow me on. Instagram is where i do a lot of fun things at the real slow leo and my website is slowly o. Dot com if you have questions about like the studio in consulting projects and stuff. It's just flock studio dot com but the best source to get to all of the things. Sloan leo s. l. o. a. n. l. You come all right. sounds good. Well sloan leo. I wanna thank you so much for coming on the show. I have to admit i was doing my research and i was like. I am so excited to talk to sloane. And i have to say this has been such a great conversation. I feel like you have this. This like nuclear engine inside you when it comes to like the passion that you have for your work and i mean even for just a brief things that i saw on your website around the exhibition you've done and the the work that you're doing i'm excited to see what comes next flock studio and what you do in the future and i'm just so glad to have time to talk with you today. So thank you for coming on the show. I appreciate it. I appreciate that too. I forgot to say that the best place to follow like a lot of stuff in terms of our projects and like when you can hang out what events are happening is really on my lengthen but regardless is bad this is the first interview i've ever had where it was like. If you could reflect on your career and i was like that feels good. I feel like good aging. So thanks for giving me a chance to have some perspective on the last fifteen years. I went really fast. Big big thanks to sloan leo. And of course thanks to you for listening you can find out more about sloan in their work to the links in the show. Notes at revision path dot com. And of course. Thanks to our wonderful sponsor. For this episode brevity and wit brevity in wit is a strategy and design firm committed to designing more inclusive and equitable world. They accomplish this through graphic design presentations and workshops around i d e a inclusion diversity equity and accessibility if you're curious to learn how to combine passion for it with design. Check them out. at brevity. And wit dot com brevity and wits creative excellence without the grinds. Revision path is brought to you by lunch a multidisciplinary creative studio in atlanta georgia. This podcast is created hosted and produced by me. Maurice cherry with engineering and editing by rj. Basilio our intro voiceovers music man dray with alto music yellow speaker. What did you think of the interview. What do you think about the podcast overall. Don't be a stranger talk to us on social media. Hit me up on twitter or instagram. Just search for at revision bath or leave a rating and review on apple. Podcasts let the world know about the show because it really helps us grow and reach more people all around the world as always thank you so much for listening and we'll see you next time.

new york maurice albany Maurice Sloan leo Nwea maurice cherry mariz cherry Look lake wesley hall san francisco chicago baseball barbara smith fox state university of new york
Donald Burlock, Jr.

Revision Path

1:23:12 hr | 3 months ago

Donald Burlock, Jr.

"Are you looking for a new job. Are you hiring but struggling to find diverse talented candidates. We have something that can help our job. Board head on over to revision pat dot com forward slash jobs to browse listings or to place your own this week on the job ward band camp is looking for a user experience designer and this is a remote position companies. Start making excuses on your dna efforts. Post your job listings with us. Twenty twenty one is just around the corner effort. Just ninety nine dollars. You're listening can be on our job board for thirty days and we'll help spread the word for you about your job to our diverse audience of listeners. Make sure you head on over to revision path dot com forward slash jobs or more info on the listening that i just mentioned apply today and tell them you heard about the job. Do revision path get started with us. Expand your job search today. Revision path dot com forward slash jobs. You're listening to the revision pants. Podcast a weekly showcase of the world's black graphic designers web designers and web developers through in-depth interviews. You'll learn about their work. Their goals and what inspires them as creative individuals. Here's your host maurice cherry. Hello everybody welcome to revision path. Thank you so much for tuning in. I'm your host mariz cherry and before we get into this week's interview i just wanna shout out and thank everyone who copped some of our new merch during limited edition. Drop that we get earlier this month with mon cheri if you know. we had. T shirts hoodies stickers hats all for very affordable price. If you saw the gift guides you get fifty percents off any order fifty dollars or more so a lot of people manage to cop some really great stuff. If i get some pictures that come in. i'll make sure to post them up on instagram. But if by chance you weren't able to copy anything don't worry just make sure that you're following us on twitter and instagram and find out when we do the next job which will happen. I wanna say probably sometime early next year but make sure following us on social media. So you'll get worried about that all right now for this week's interview i'm talking with donald burlap creative technology lead for the physical experience design team at capital one. Let's start the show all right so tell us who you are and what you do yes i am. Donald berle lock and i work as a experienced designer and creative technologists right now at capital one. And i'm in the san francisco bay area so let's talk about your work at capital one. You're according to linked in your the creative technology lead on the physical experience design team. Which obviously when i think of capital one bank. None of that comes to mind. And i've had capital one people on the show. So talk about that for me. Like what is it creative technologist starters and how do you work on the physical experience design team for a bank to really start. I really think that people sometimes will think about banking in the sense of what is happening in the physical space when go in and they see a teller at the reality is banking is something that happens all the time around us and we're constantly banking because we're constantly spending were constantly thinking about our budget. We're constantly thinking about how to manage our finances. And so i come from a perspective that we're in the real world right and i know it. Sounds a bit facetious. But when you're with a company where so much focus can be on what's happening on your device or what's happening in that mobile app. Sometimes you can forget that we're working with people not only people as in customers but also the associates the people on the other line other side of the line. I should say when you call in. You're trying to figure out something on your account and so more often than not. It's very easy. I think for the business minded folks that say for instance you know a team within capital one. That's bringing a new feature. To live for focused on the the credit cards or or the rewards from those cards to get into a very digital only mindset and part of what i do as a creative technologists and as someone who has a lot of experience in physical design is to help everyone think holistically and to zoom out and think about how we're still very much operating in real life and there are certain things that people will want to do whether it's supporting organizations whether it's how they go about buying a car yes there's an online experience but most of what we're doing is still in the real world and so i i bring that perspective i think to to capital one and so with that thinking of the kind of physical experience. I'm trying to remember. I think there was a. I don't know this may have been earlier this year. This year has been three years long. But i know that there was this This concept with capital one kind of merging banking with a coffee shop in a way and so when you said earlier about how like we're constantly banking that did have me think about like. Yeah we are know during this year particularly. But i would say in general. We are always sort of budgeting in a way in our heads like doing back of the envelope. Math that kind of thing when it comes to a lot of transactions and such a hundred percent. And you know what's interesting is how much even places like the capitol one. Cafes have become prominent in the discussion of some of the projects on the part of right now capital one in fact we're working on a black history month installation for five of the cafes for february and it's huge. It's huge because it's not just thinking about people coming off the street. Potentially coming into an atm vegetable and taking out cash. It's thinking about. How does that connect to what they're able to do with. Their account is a form of activism that we can encourage. Is there some history that we can tell and all of that is still happening within the context of a space. The atm festival is space. That you're still doing business and capital one still has a physical footprint so it's very much connected in my mind. That sounds so interesting. A baking campaign around black history month in that way because it reminds me of the many varied and creative ways that black people have come up with when it comes to making money and saving money whether it's like rent parties or i mean i grew up in the deep south and i. I remember vividly my parents being part of a social savings club like all these different sorts of concepts around. I don't know if it's necessarily out of mistrust of the financial system but you know we're very creative when it comes to money also true and my goodness trust is a huge part of a huge part of it and very very much i would say an aspect of what i feel like is foundational to building the connections between huge financial organizations like a capital one and the african american community. I mean i mean. I grew up in the midwest and i remember periods of time growing up in indianapolis where i would spend my entire saturday within basically a shopping mall that had nothing but black owned businesses. We would go from the barber shop to we would go to a store that was owned by by someone who was black panther at hair salons it. Was you know. I remember spending time at this area. This the shopping area in indianapolis and And just how amazing that would be for me later on to to to reflect back on that even now being part of an organization like capital one and thinking a lot about how do we establish trust because there is a long really difficult history as many of us know between you know financial order and the black community. Yeah so significant work. I think capital one interesting in many ways because a lot of times the question starts out like what are you doing at capital wine. What is sort of a typical day for you right now. Wow in twenty twenty. Oh wow you know so so wild because every time i think about a typical day in twenty twenty it opens up a conversation about a lot of other things beyond anything work related. I think the work is very much part of my year. Been fortunate in this Twenty twenty like you said it's like been like three years one to stay employed to be employed but the typical day. There hasn't been a typical day. And sometimes they're there hasn't even been a typical. I would say half of a day. I mean literally. I've had days where our is different. I'm thinking of a a moment. where. And i don't know why this moment murray's came the mind but i'm thinking about when john lewis pass and i was watching the funeral but i had two meetings set up and there was really consequential i couldn't get out of it. I was elite on one of the projects and that day. I remember having four screens open. I had like my ipad. I have my personal laptop open. I had the the funeral streaming. I had a chat room open on my ipad. And then i had my work laptop and display my second display. Set up so i could present. I could still be a part of that meeting. It was crazy. It was like and i felt physically exhausted not just mentally and emotionally exhausted but literally. I got to lunch. And i was just physically exhausted. It wasn't even launch. I was just. It was like two in the afternoon. And i'm like just trying to scarf down something to eat and i would say. The typical day is been trying to figure out how to manage the day so that i have some consistent elements in the day. I don't know if that makes sense or not. It's like trying to find some consistent rhythm in the day so that i can go through what i know could potentially be a super different day. Now that makes sense. I mean we're we're we're creatures of habit you know and you know certainly there has been many disruptions this year that have interrupted those habits and so it makes sense logically. We want to try to get back to a routine to a place of semi normalcy. So we can try to persist through this time. So i totally understand that. Oh man i you said it perfectly. And that's really a maybe. I'm searching for some some degree of normalcy and maybe that's why of tried to establish certain cues in the day whether it's starting today with a walk listening to like. Npr news to start the day. Like it's become habitual just because y'all so many of those other for better for worse they were gone after marsh. Yeah yeah it's a good anchor you know in a in a turbulent times i i totally get that so like prior to your work at capital one from when i can tell from my research. You've been working in silicon valley for quite a while. I mean you've worked. At companies including facebook dolby labs scully. You've also been an entrepreneur with your own studio called fortressed forecast studios. That's right how it been. Different being an entrepreneur in silicon valley versus being an employee in silicon valley. Especially because there's so much of both when i came out to the bay which was in two thousand thirteen. It was probably too many one of the most. I would say most inspirational moments for for transients people who aren't from the bay who were coming out here because the city was changing really quickly but it had incredible energy and a lot of that energy was because not only did you have the startups you also had. Companies like uber linked. You did have the facebooks in google and the amazons of the world who were hitting another gear so to speak and they were pulling people in from all over the place and so while there was a big difference between being a startup and being at a really large start up so to speak like joining an airbnb. That's growing really fast. The nature of being even with a company that was already. You know public like being joining a google or or joining even at that stage and ebay or samsung logitech or or anyone really intact. There were certain characteristics that i think were shared at and you saw this sort of permeate in all these different respects but in the environment right like a lot of these companies pos startup and in house really cater to. This was my perspective. At the time maurice was keeping the employees. they're like retention was a big thing because people had a lot of skills. They had a lot of knowledge and initially in my perspective. What they would do on the environment was encouraged people to have a great time. It was meant to give you all the snacks all the The beanbags and games and everything else. You can imagine so that you would spend your day on campus. I mean you know the bikes at facebook and google. If you were to start up people would you know encourage visits from food trucks. And i mean any and everything to to make the environment such that you would hang out and so one of the things that was almost i would say similar between the two was how much time you could spend at one of these companies because they had so many functions in so many things to keep you there i would say the difference though was in probably the growth and in terms of the the the fail success rate because if you landed at a larger company even if they were still arguably a startup so they were still in the in the process of raising series c or trying to go public. Generally speaking the people i knew from those companies were able to last a year and a half two years sometimes even longer before either transitioning or they got the goal pot at the end of the rainbow. They were able to to stay through through a public offering. And it wasn't necessarily the same for a lot of my friends who were in startups because that journey could end really abruptly bright end quickly and it could be. It could be kinda ugly so i knew people who once you join the startup. The growth in terms of the experience was hyper but if the growth of the company hit a saline even for a couple of weeks. You are in trouble because the company wasn't gonna make the product was failing bad reviews. You ran out of money. And there were plenty of people who would dance between freelance and startups and they would do that off and on for a couple years. So security was use. That word loosely. But that was a big a big difference between those two. That's funny you. You kind of mentioned that sort of aspect around startups insecurity. Because i think there are certainly a lot of allure. And certainly i think around the time that you got to the bay. There's a lot of lure about like. Oh we're going to get out to the bay and like be the next yard zuckerberg or to get out there. And i'm gonna have my multimillion dollar idea but like there are so many people that are coming they're not only with that same mindset but also like you said it's a it's a gamble it's really stressful one to kind of be jumping between those two modes but yeah you could align at a startup. That may sound great doing great work and things like that but then when the money runs out it's like oh well you have to kind of move onto the next thing. I mean. i personally experienced that this year. When i lost my laugh about it now because by the time this comes out i'll be working somewhere else but earlier this year came about somewhat abruptly and rather clumsily but it happened like you said it can get ugly for some people. It was really bad for me. And i think one because i knew it was a startup going into it so i knew what to expect but to also and this may be something that is more and i might be speaking as a older person here but some of that tends to be more correlated with youth as the amount of the personal value that you put in where you work in what you do and i never have really ascribed to i guess wrapping myself up much with all of that. You know like yes. I work at this company and do this job. But that's not who. I am so if i lose this job. It's not i mean. Is it a blow to me personally and professionally. Yes but like it's not the end all be all if i'm not at company x. Or whatever does that make sense. Oh it did not only doesn't make sense. I think maurice. it's probably one of the most. Let me put it this way. I'll take that word back most. I'll say it's the least disgusting in terms of the journey of any designer creative or just anyone who is really in the midst of tac during that period of time because identity. And i'm speaking personally. This was my experience for sure. Identity was so wrapped up into a startup. I mean it was almost at an obsession level like to have a hoodie with the name of my company on it. I tell you truthfully for period of time. That was a big deal. Because i look around the room in. Everybody had the hoodie on with the name of the company on it and the water bottle and the book bag and someone brought their dog to work so the dog has like a leash. What the name of the company on it i mean. It was an obsession the apart of a company especially if it was a company that had an evaluation that was climbing. There's constantly on tech crunch constantly being talked about as a silicon valley darlene. I mean that or unicorn like these were the words and it didn't matter who you are didn't matter if you were if were black did matter your free were from some other country if you had the book bag and the t shirt and a hoodie and everything else identity was so wrapped up in the company and it was for me so hard sometimes to separate my life from what i was doing at the company not only what what i believe what they were doing what they were trying to to do in their meteoric rise to the top but also just personally the work i was doing because i i really felt like i don't show up we're not going to build the fibers of of the company. We're not gonna the creative is going to be what it needs to be. We're not going to connect the dots with the design. So you know to your. I learned the hard way how incredibly important it is to separate to create that bat. Recreate those boundaries. I didn't know that that was something that and feel naive about it. Sometimes but a lot of people would be like. Oh my gosh yeah dude. You're working all the time but sometimes you know it didn't feel like work because you know you hear that statement all the time if you if you're doing what you love does even feel like you're working at until you know you look up and i'm like man. I'm gaining weight. A modest shave. I can barely walk up a hill in san francisco or i'm losing weight not eating well. There's nothing but candy and and and snacks around here and you know it's really it would sneak up on me and it snuck up on a lot of people so i think that's a huge point that you're identifying right there the the fibers. We together quite tightly. Sometimes between someone who's working in the professional zion creative dev space and the company and the brand. Let's kind of switch gears here a little bit. You mentioned growing up in the mid west. You grew up in indianapolis grew up in indianap- nap l. around town. Do you remember kind of being around a lot of like design and art and everything growing up. No not really. I had a really great upbringing in terms of exposure to to being curious about the world mostly because my mom. My mom was a teacher for a number of years secondary education. My dad my dad worked for while at a church. He was a minister worked at one of the african american churches in indianapolis and so they were always deeply curious. My dad was always reading doing research on hebrew and greek and my mom. My mom always instilled a level curiosity from the time. I was probably you know six or seven. I remember going to museums with her. She would take us to museums on the weekend. I fell in love with museums because of my mom and would always go to museums. I still go to museums now but that started as a kid. That was my exposure. I think to art or anything creative was an expression that i would see museums in indianapolis or chicago where i had extended family but design not in the sense that i mean i would talk about design. Now would you say your family kind of cultivated within you in terms of what you would end up doing with your life. Whether certain aspects they tried to push you towards or anything like that. Oh yeah i think so. Academia was a big part of it. I come from a culture where you know we were really the first my parents that was the first generation of folks going to college in my family and so because of that. They had an expectation that we would go to college. We didn't really come from a military family. Although we had some military in our family but the expectation was clear. Like you had eighteen. And you're either going to college going into the military or you're you're going to bag groceries at the local store and it was like. Wow okay so you know. It wasn't like so much pressure as much as it was just like an expectation because we've sacrificed. We did these things for you to to encourage you to go to school to try to get you in the best neighborhood we could and you you need to go to school you to go get your education. You need to get a job. A need to keep a job for as long as you can and earn earn earn. That was the push i would say. Sometimes you know that was the attitude. Nothing wrong with that. But that was sort of the the expectation for for many of us in including myself. Where i grew up. Yeah i know that feeling all too. Well i mean this was i think for me. It was and that's to completely make this all about comparisons or anything. But i know what you mean about that sort of push to make sure that what you're going into college for something that's going to be lucrative right less about. Yeah it's less about. Oh this is what i really liked to do or this passionate is. It's like what are you going to do to get you a job. It's gonna make you some money so you can take care of me one hundred percent. I totally get that. Is that what. Because i know you end up going to kettering and you. You majored in mechanical engineering. Is that sort of the impetus behind that i think. So here's what's interesting about. Being in high school is from me. I was all over the place i mean. I kept up with school. But i was trying to do sports. I was trying to do extracurricular activities. I was out with. Buddies was cool all place. I loved drawing. I remember for two years. I took drawing as an elective. And i loved it and this is consequential for lots of reasons in. This is why. I'm sharing this but i remember loving drawing but i remember the kids who they really focused on where kids who were going art school and to your point of what you just said about. It's gotta be lucrative. I would sometimes bring up that thought of like man. Maybe i'll go to art school and it was like brother. You better get a job. I don't know if art school is going to pay. The bills and at seventeen was like all right. Well you know. Maybe i should do something you know. That's gonna pay the bills. And when i heard about kettering it actually came through was kind of a a two degrees of separation moment because my senior year i was in a program called the minority engineering program of indianapolis found out about it through a counselor who who was invested in me. You know we always have people along the way who get invested in us and she knew i was good in in In math i had done pretty well in math. She said you know you kinda like building stuff and you should check it out and long story short. That was a game changer. Because i met. I still have a couple of friends from me pie today to called me pie for short and it was all it was all african-americans about fifteen or sixteen students from different high schools and we would meet once a month on saturdays and at that particular time they were they were doing mostly mecca projects so there was no codeine or anything like this but they focused on engineering based projects and and the people who would teach you were black professionals that worked at eli lilly or comments and they volunteer their time on a saturday and they come in and most of them have went to produce you're roles home in carnegie mellon and and so they were the ones who were tell us about studying engineering in college in so my senior year. One of the the folks who came on saturdays she had attended kettering as she was working for comments. And she knew someone who was looking for folks to come over to in automotive supplier in kokomo indiana call delphi and so i ended up getting sort of wrapped into a conversation about well. What if you co opt over here adelphi. You know you can use that money to pay your bills for college. You could get experience and so when my mom found out about this. She was all fours she was like. Hey this is gonna let you work. You know you get your degree. So i really think that. To some degree. I would credit the encouragement at that stage to her for saying. Hey maybe check out. This kettering thing by head was like i'm trying to go to atlanta or house. You know. I got friends who are trying to get out in state and at that particular moment like atlanta was like mecca. Yeah i mean. It still isn't always but at that. Point in two thousand. Three atlanta was mecca. And i was like i gotta get to atlanta. Where is this kettering thing in flint michigan. I'm trying to leave the mid west. Yeah that's how it happened. So what was your time at at kettering like all my goodness. It was Very different than what. I expected it in many ways. It was probably one of the best experiences of of my life so far because some of the closest friends that i have came from being at that school and i got a lot of experience because we were co op. Right we would do three months of school three months off and we go to accompany the nineteen year old or twenty year old and work in some capacity day to day at a company. I've put on a collared shirt slacks from macy's and i would. I would go in every day. I had a badge twenty and do different projects and then come back to school. And i be on campus in flint and it was a lot of it was a lot of work. They encourage a degree of professional focus. Early i mean. I still had a good time. It's still play some intramural basketball. I mean we would hang out we would go over to east lansing for football games but it was taught kettering was i remember kettering being really hard and thinking to myself ban. Is this worth it. From academic perspective a lot of could say about kettering a lot of good things because they were certainly some some people there that helped me get through that school financially. Outpoint me to some scholarships and helped me be resilient. Because i'll be honest with you. I did not want to stay at koetter especially the first year it was cold like it was a different level of cold differ from indianapolis was cold. It was different. man. I don't know if it's that lake there maurice or what. Oh yeah yet. And i had to go to campus and studied calculus. I'm like dude. What am i doing. Ibrar and i. I knew how to study again. Academia my mom from the time we were kids had taught us. Here's how you approach school. So i knew how to study and i'll be honest with you. I was i was not you know and i mean this sincerely i was not like the smart like okay i can. I can sleep through this class and in and get a be on the test. It was like no no no no no. I didn't have that type of brain. I had the type of brain. Where like if i didn't make some flash cards and sit with a with a tutor or go to some of the Nesbitt to'real sessions. I was in trouble. That was me. I you know i roughed it through engineering school. It was rough man. Yeah now i know what you mean. I mean it's it's it's interesting 'cause like sort of to what you were saying before about. How your you know your parents and folks trying to push you into these sort of of these industries are going to be lucrative but unfortunately it's not something that they know about in terms of the rigor of these programs and what you have to go through. I hear about it from folks. They go to art school about how it's very similar. But i mean. I remember when i was in school like i dropped out of my computer programming courses and the curriculum. Because i was like. It's not what i wanna do. And it was hard. It was very difficult learns. It's funny you mentioned calculus. Because i ended up getting a degree in math so i switched over to something else. I'm oh okay this is this is kinda more my speed but there's a lot of like contorted have to do to sort of fit within this and you're doing it or at least you. You may feel like you're doing it for the right reason but eventually i don't know when you graduated from kettering in you had your had your degree and you had this experience from delphi. Like how did you feel. Oh that's so good. I felt like i needed to get out. And i needed to see more of the world and i felt that way because when i was at kettering i did a exchange program for or sorry study abroad program for six months and i was in europe and as the black man that changed my entire viewpoint of many things more first real like far away international trip and when i left carrying i remember the first thing i wanted to do was go to africa like that was my attitude at that point. I was like man. i wanna go. I wanna to travel. And i wanted at that particular point to spend time creating. I remember two thousand seven when i finished travelling to africa went to south. Africa went his in bob way out in the photography really into having. I was painting a lot more. I mean it was funny. Because i was doing the engineering thing during the day and as soon as i would get home. I was like editing photos. I discovered photoshop like old school photoshop. I had a started painting. I had a oil class or to set up a canvas basically turned part of where i was living into studio so i really feel like when i finish kettering i just i wanted to see the world i've felt by the engineering thing was for me checking the box. I felt like okay. I gotta stop. If i got a paycheck and i like the people i worked with. I mean they were smart. I was still even at at the engineering role. I was still super curious. I was always working on something that would turn into something yelled patent or i was always doing stuff like that. It was it was never enough for me to to just sort of like i don't know fill out the excel sheets and call it a day. I was just curious person. That's really interesting. You you refer to it as checking the box like okay. Got the degree. Did this check. Now you can go and move onto the thing that you really want to do that. You really sort of passionate about because it sounds like after that travel and then now branching under art. You're like okay. I i sort of have the freedom now to do this because i have established a stability by going through the four years and building. This foundation is what it sounds like. At least i was really that i mean because anything related to my creative journey emerged and it is what it is. I mean obviously you know going back. But i'm sure you know we all do this right but there are plenty of moments from like man. I wish i was somehow coulda got started on a professional creative journey earlier or or designed journey earlier and it. I just didn't really know how. I didn't really know that was a thing it was like it was like it was a row me. I just didn't know how to convert on it. I don't know if that makes sense i. Do you know what i mean accents. I get what you're saying like you. You know that it's something that now you have the capacity and the bandwith to sort of take on and really go into but you're kind of losses to how to do it. Yes that's exactly how it was is that what led you to answer. That's what led me to aladdin. That's the perfect segue all right now. That man that was smooth. That was man. Landed that plane smooth. That was it. That's what led me to Georgia tech i was i spent so much time working on all types of stuff building stuff like working on furniture on side a painting. And eventually i remember. I went to troy michigan for business trip. This is. I was still working with delphi when i graduated. And i'll never forget this. You know how we have these moments where the curtain gets pulled back. And you're like oh all right. That's the wizard of oz. That's what happened for me. When i went to troy to a general motors a general motors. I don't remember exactly what the location was four. I don't know if it was one of their design centers. I can't remember clearly. But what. I do remember what matters is. I was walking through the building and i walk pass like a room where the lights were really low and everyone head. I didn't know what they were called. At the time they had their way comes and their pens out. And they're sketching. And i'm looking and i'm like manner sketching cars and it was beautiful. Obviously you know. Someone's got design these cars. Someone's doing that somewhere. But i had never seen it. And when i saw those renderings. And i look through this all this glass. I saw these folks in there. I look straight through and there was a studio in the middle of the room and they were carving clay there were carving out clay cars and as soon as i saw that i was like i don't even know what this is cau- i just. This is what i wanna do. And it wasn't so much like oh i want to design cars. It was like. Where are these people doing this. Who who is designing these things and like. How do i get here. How it was like march. It was like i was working backwards for a couple years trying to figure out. How do i get to the beginning of the thing. Thing like who who's conceptualize who's bringing this stuff until the world like i know someone's doing it but i just haven't seen it at that point everything started to change that's when i was like It went from like maybe. I'll go back and get my masters in engineering or i'll get an mba because the mba was so popular for engineers. Especially i would say black. Engineers young black engineers coming out at that time was oh go. Get your mba. And i was like. I want to go to art school. Custer's story i was like mad. What is this. How do i do this. How do i get into this. That was the pivot. I wanted to figure it out. I wanted to say will maybe art school maybe design. You know and. I didn't even know what design really meant. I was just like oh. They're designing cars like and the internet. You know at that point. Google let me start to search. You know i was like all right. Well what pops up. I type in design. That's how it started and then with this. You eventually kind of made the move to a design company. You worked for audio for a bit worked for audio yup coming out of school. What was that like. It's a bit of a leading question. I i realized that we've had idea folks Before and i've gotten very you know responses to that. And what was it like for you. I'll give you the real because this is i get so many questions you would imagine how many questions i get about ideo. Just be linked facebook or wherever over the years. I've gone to places and work and people's house. Idaho is is probably the number one question after will. How do i be creative. That i get. I mean people. That question a lot. And i will tell you at the time when i was finishing up industrial design. Which is what i studied. I traditional ide-. I say traditional because at that time was just starting to make the switch over to talking about user experience. You ex you. I we get more you know. Hci you know human computer interaction. How do we partner with the schools. That are doing more cop work. It was just happening when i was in school and i was still like shaving models in the shop right like there wasn't like that symbiotic connection between like you know research and and you ax an idea. It was coming. But you know. I was sort of like that. Transitional we were sort of that transitional class but i had a good portfolio and when i was finishing up and i knew i was going to go back in the industry at first i was like i gotta go to tesla. I'm like you know. I got automotive experience. These guys are doing something really cool. These cars like amazing that was my attitude was like either. I'll go back to tesla or are sorry. I'll start at tesla or go. Back to automotive in the midwest i'll go back to delphi or gm and they were eager to get me back because they had they they never really. I o still sort of working for delphi. I went to grad school. I was able to sort of keep that connection. But i wanted the studio experience. Which is what. I had in grad school where you would come in open space. Everybody's got junk everywhere that they're making sketches on the wall rendering zone the wall and i want it that you know it was always a part of a class of twelve and it was like it that that feeling pinup and i was like grab like a work in that environment. Great and everything. I had read about ideo. Was that you know. The pin ups the renderings you work in all these different projects. I had read some of their books. Write some of their books at creeped into our our literature. So i i thought maybe idaho but i had no clue how to get into a consultancy and so i don't share this story often but i'll mention it quickly here. I was actually interning. I was fortunate enough to not i was. I was freelancing as That was my last year. Grad school at coca cola. Am my thesis professor. The professor was really guided me with that new a vp system. Ep of brand content and marketing coca cola in atlanta. And so i got a an incredible opportunity to go to coca cola for six months by last year and work at coca cola and i was in the thick of it. I was reading their their three hundred page book. I was learning visual design as an industrial designer. I was getting beat up. I was around some people who were working with fifty cent in vitamin water. At that time with brian and sprite and like there were it was so inspiring. Like it was like. Oh my gosh. This is incredible. And so i was at the time thinking. Maybe i can get a job at coca cola and then true story. I remember one of the directors from the boston studio the idaho. Boston studio came to coca cola. Talk about human centered design. And i listened to him. I thought it was amazing. And afterwards you know a bunch of people stuck around and your waiting to talk to him you you know how that can go. And i went up to him. I said. hey man. I'm donald finishing up school. I've read a lot about audio. Would absolutely love to figure out. How do you even apply to be there. And i remember he looked at me and said hey you know what man i'd like your initiative hit me up on twitter. That's what he said. Hit me up on twitter so okay. This is like two thousand eleven and i did. I hit em up on twitter. And like i don't know maybe a couple months later. Recruiter reached out as i was finishing up school. And said hey. Can you come to boston and interview. And i had never been to boston in my life and i went to boston because like i says right before school and then i went to boston in january and and for those folks who don't know about boston in january that's different world man in january. I felt like when we landed. I was already cold. I'm still on the plane. I'm like manno freezing. And i got to idaho. And i was so cool right when i walked in. I mean i had never been in a studio i saw and was it was all these rooms. You know. Glass renderings penned up everywhere models of products images. That people were using for web. Dev stuff for brand everything was just. It was visual stimuli. All over the place. And i kid you not. I came into a room. And i'll keep it really real man because i was nervous. Not just because there was an interview. It was my first real portfolio presentation as a professional. And i'm in a room. I'm trying to figure out how the best describe this. I'm in a room. That's it's small like it could can really only hold. Let's say comfortably may be six to eight people. And all of a sudden i have maybe i would say close to fifteen people in their. Everybody is white and it was my first experience where i'm staring at this room. Everybody's why everybody's staring at me. And and i'm just like all right. Be confident. this is a moment right. I present the portfolio. Go through my work. i'm sweating. I'm nervous trying to figure out. You know how. What are they evaluating. And my showing the right work. I'm showing everything to dump throwing the kitchen sink i. Id thesis work and we get to the end. And i'll never forget. This is a certain things you just. Don't forget somebody in the room. One of the other directors he was looking at me. And i can tell you is looking at me the whole time like. Nah i don't know man. I don't know like he was giving me that. Look and i don't remember verbatim what he asked me but you know he was like kind of asked me one of those questions like. Did you really do this. Work is this you like. Is this all your work kinda question and at the time. I didn't really have the tools to manage confidence arrogance ego. Like i couldn't separate all that it was just one. It was one planet. I hope that makes sense. You know what. I mean like i i. It was like i couldn't gauge like am. I being egotistical being overly confident. Am i just do. I need to be confident. And everything hit at once the being black in a room with all white faces and i remember i was sweating. My fingertips were sweating. And i remember. I picked up my sketchbook. Because i was at the time was really good. Scatter and just pushed the sketchbook over to him and he starts flipping through it and the sketches. Were killer at the time. That was at the point where i was sketching every day and i hit learned from good professor at georgia tech so my sketching was my thinking like if i could think it i could put it down. I could turn it and space. And he starts passing the sketchbook around everybody else and he didn't say anything but everybody else was like. Oh wow oh. I says impressive. Wow man you're sketches are beautiful. Oh dude oh wow you know and it was like the whole room started talking and it was like a moment. I'll never forget. Because i'm just kinda like i contact with them. Like you know like a martial like we're getting ready to do a draw like and i remember in my heart and my mind thinking like you. You doubt me bro. I just finished georgia tech. I just knocked out a six months thing. Coca-cola like i'm a pencil fresh sharp freshly sharpened unlike your doubt skill and i had never experienced that because coming from the engineering world and the professional world. Yeah sure. I would experience you know some dow maybe to some degree some prejudice or something but there was never anything that really hit me where it was like. Ooh that feels really weird. Man you know because everything was so technical. I was generally surrounded by engineers who were just telling me. Hey get this done. Don finish this up and then am i more casual time on the engineering side at work. I would hang out with other african american directors. We go to lunch with them. So i felt kinda shielded. I knew all of that i. It wasn't like. I was blind the like racism or discrimination or anything like that just that. That wasn't my day to day experience as an engineer. And it wasn't my experience in grad school because again i'm sort of in a bubble and when i stepped into the design world especially at audio a lot of times. 'cause i got the job long story short. They came back after that and gave me the job. I ended up leaving atlanta and moved to cambridge and living in actually lived in watertown of all places and worked at idaho that became. Marie is probably one of the most difficult things to discern when i was at ideo unlike. Are you doubting me. Because my age experience because i'm black because you know i speak with an authoritative tone at times when i know him right like there were so many moments where i fell as if i was just a fish out of water and there were some incredible things that i i learned right like the audio ticket on my resume or portfolio four longtime. It still does to. Some degree holds a lot of weight. Because it said hey you were able to work at one of the most recognized. Reknown design consultancies out there with an incredible history. But you know the boston experience was such that it. It was a galvanized aspects of me. That i i didn't know i would. I would need to strengthen the resiliency the relationship the soft aspects of being black and designed. I think really started to. They had to grow. When i was at idaho. There was no other way around it because there were going to be days. I didn't know they were going to be days. Where initially nobody would talk to me. It was like do. I go up and have a conversation. Do i just sit here and wait till i'm on a project that was by experience for a first couple of months i would go up. I was inquisitive. And i would try to ease my way into the studio and then i what ask certain people who are supposed to be mentors what i should do and i remember just feeling so lost in that culture and thinking every day like am i doing good like the was this the right decision. Salt eventually yeah. I got some projects where i did some great work. I made a few connections with folks who really saw my talent saw my drive a worked incredibly hard on a lot of that work that i did when i was there and a game me some incredible experiences that i would have never had audio audio gives you a ticket right to a lot. I mean i spent twelve days in japan. I walked the floor of wall street. Right the trading floor. Right which you know. Incredible i i mean. I had some incredible experiences that perhaps would not have been able to have without the ticket. But it was certainly inexperienced. Where a lot of times. I wondered about how i was doing how i was being. Perceived performance was always a question. I always had concerns about. Whether i was actually connecting with people relating to people i think the the nature of a lot of the people in the studio being white and being from that region in the country had a big impact on how that culture was. I think audio has its own culture. And i do remember. I won't say her name. She's incredible but one of the other black designers who was there. She ended up going over to slack and she's a huge design name Now i know you're talking about he's talking about go ahead i want. I was like saturday. But she was there and i sat with her multiple times. She's a lifesaver. You know. I won't say if you do marie that's perfect can. Maybe i'll say your first name she was christie was alive sabre 'cause she was there and i remember sitting with her and she was. I never forget certain things. You just don't forget like donald. Just just get your time. You know congress get your time in here. I know it's rough. No it's rough for all these reasons. You're talking about your good. No one wants to acknowledge which put out there in terms of the solution. You doubt yourself. Sometimes you're not sure if it's coming from you or from them she's like get your time in make your connections because this is going to open up a lot of doors and christie was like a live. There were certain people there who were lifesavers for me. I was there in all totality. I think it was sixteen mops finish. It was not a long period of time an ideal for me. But i was there i got in. I was there in the sixteen months. I did and i left voluntarily only after i was recruited to come out to To dobie wow it's all about connections. I mean i. I know i know christie. That's the homey she's been on the show before and for people that are listening. Actually next week's interview is my update with christy. Tillman so y'all will get to kind of see what she's working on stuff now but let's talk about. That's amazing the hall. Me when i was there i would say you know kristie. There was another woman. Angie cam i mean there were. There were probably three or four people that christie was one of that you know heart to heart in one of the studio rooms and they're giving me the game on how to play this game and i'm a young green like i'm head idaho. It was like what do i do like. Why does the sock. Why is this hard. And it's not just the project and the project work was rough amazing but it was really tough work but the cultural dynamic. That was even harder. Wow it almost feels like you have to be super human by design in order to go through this kind of experience which also is the title of your newest book. Ooh thank you that is like absolutely the most amazing segue ever tell me about the book you know. This is probably one of the. If not the biggest project brought to life for all types of reasons one because it's the book to start and i truly underestimated how much work goes into bringing a book to life especially when it's brought to life by someone who loves design and i knew i wanted it to be fantastic. I wanted it to be something so inspirational for people that it was worth their time in their money so it started out as just wanting to tell my story and thanks to a couple of really talented editors not only am i finishing it in twenty twenty. Which is that's a story in and of itself right because we we haven't talked about twenty twenty in terms of how that has impacted just design. But it's it's incredible. Because i really think it's something even more than a book. I really think i'm onto something that is is about living our fullest potential despite whatever life throws at us. I call it superhuman by design. It's actually coming out. In december december eleventh and the subtitle is keys to unlocking your creativity for life changing results. And there's a couple of key components to it because there's a lot in that one phrase superhuman by design. You know people like what what do you mean. There's so part of the journey. Bringing the book together was unpacking. What i meant by superhuman by design and i was trying to do two things at once i was trying to create a concept and i was also trying to tell my story him what i've learned from my story and put it in a way so that it becomes like principles because i i feel like if i'm able to give something that people beyond just my story beyond just like hey. Here's what happened. Maybe they can take the lessons. I've learned and they can actually consider those as they're going down their own creative journey. So that's really. What the superhuman by design is about. It's it's unlocking the nate creativity that we all have that. We've all been given our innate talents. Those abilities those strengths. That people just identify you know sometimes force. They'll point him out even sometimes before we do and i wanted to write a book around that so to put it in short. Superhuman by design at the top level is a concept which. We can unpack if there's a moment to do so the or of it is about my creative journey. It's what you and i have been talking about. It's telling a story which to me is so critical here. I am as a as an african american in the bay. During one of the most meteoric moments of the bay right the rise of the silicon valley darlings big billion dollar valuations and precipitous falls. And what that really looks like when you're on the ground in one of these companies or in several of these companies. I wanted to talk about ownership. What does it really look like to go from. Being at a company that's at the top of the world to crashing to being bankrupt to being unemployed the same day and then a month later starting an llc keeping portions of your team that you hired on at the start of and starting your own company and being in the wild and literally having to win. Contracts to pay rent skyrocketing rent in san francisco. And i was like you know what i want to tell that story because there's a lot of silicon valley stories out here but not enough of them from people who look and sound like me. You know you could go right now and you can pay thirty bucks you can read about elizabeth holmes and there are no sin. You'd get bad blood right like here's a silicon valley story and and i'm not belittling any of these silicon valley stories. I want more stories from the likes of tristen walker. I want more stories from people who clearly had a lot of things stacked against them coming into the sometimes overly white overly frat overly we wanna shut you out world of tech when it's a lot of money flying around so the heart of the story talks about my creative journey from idaho to the bay being in the bay and how i had to constantly come back to understanding my value as a creative not allow myself to lose my entity through what happened with the rise and fall of a company by ups and downs at a job right my ups and downs in project that i was deeply invested in. I had to come back and look at my identity and say you know what i've been given a ton of creativity and you know what i may not be the smartest person in the room. I may not be the richest person in the room. But how can i be the most creative person in the room in this moment. And why do i think that is so important for everyone else to latch onto. That's how i started to write this book. And as i started to write about creativity i started thinking about that question. That people would ask me when. I go on interviews in silicon valley. You know they would be like well. Don what's your superpower like. Okay all right. That's what we're starting today. sure at. Let's talk about superpowers. You know like you know what i mean. I'm sure you've heard that before and and we love. It doesn't matter if you love 'cause play if you love marvel superheroes. We loved super human abilities. We love supernatural. We love superpowers. We throw super around all the time we really do. We love that. That's hashtag super all day. Long right and i looked at that and i said you know what that's a source of inspiration right because a lot of times the folks that we see as our icons as our superheroes not only are they doing amazing things. They just are amazing right when i think about the loss of life. Kobe bryant early at the beginning of this year. Which i mean seems like again three years ago. A lot of the pain of that loss was because not just because his person was an icon and what they did. It was what this person had to come back from mistakes. It was what this person had to achieve in the face of adversity injuries and ultimately you saw the human aspect of kobe just as much as he saw the super aspect of someone. like that. and you know. I'm just throwing that name out. But at the end of the day by attitude is that we can all be super superhuman. You don't have to be koby you don't have to be you know someone with a design industry at eve's bihar with a big name. You could be superhuman jess by learning how to leverage your creativity if you learn how to tap into those superpowers if you learn how to use those things across multiple aspects of your life and then more importantly go through the process and in this case. We're gonna talk about the design process. I've seen amazing results. I see other people go through amazing results deliver amazing results in so. That's what i started to. I started to just write a book around that. And i touched everything. You design design process by creative journey. Why it matters to other people start at world silicon valley superheroes to keep it light and fun and really just getting people to think about. What is your your potential like. How is living your fullest potential of doing more and being more greater than just success as we know it because of success. That is focused. Purely on what i'm producing and what i'm gaining. I've hit that you know. I've had high highs appeared low lows and at the same time trying to be heroic in what i'm doing. I'm trying to be even super heroic. Because i'm trying to carry on the values of those who have invested emmy right like i'm trying to still have character when i'm high when i'm low right like i'm trying to not be a person who's living far from a life of integrity right that core that code those values those are held up by folks who are superhuman. They're challenged to do that. Because other people are looking at them and saying will man we've invested a lot in you've got an school. You're the one who who ended up getting out going to grad school. You did more so we expect more. We expect you to keep it together. If you become a millionaire we expect you to give back even more. We expect you to not lose it later in this moment and you you feel like you've had a huge loss and you're sitting and and you just don't know where to go next right like they're still a level of integrity and a level of resilience that are was expected to have because of the people who instilled those values. They're holding me to my community. So i had to write about that and i had to put it in a form that allows for growth and development of my own during right. 'cause i'm i'm still in this journey right so a fire wrote towards something that is exciting for me is my north star. I had the best of both worlds. Have a reference of my pass and what i learned in my career journey. I got it all. Got it out of my system there. it is. Enjoy it if you get to it. That's the drama. But i also have something. I can continue to build towards. Can i be superhuman. Can i be human. I empathize and be compassionate. Yes but beyond that. What is my response going to be. While i'm going to say we need to be super. We can't afford to be average. I can't afford to be average. You can't afford to be average. We have to do more and we have to be more and by way of doing that. Man we are lifting up entire communities. So that's my book superhuman by design. And i m hoping that come december. It's a key it's akita a lot of doors for great conversations like what you and i are having and i hope it people some vitamins. I hope it really gives people some really great nutrients soak it in and and take from what i've done. You know i can relate to you on so many levels you know you. Others can relate. Because i i've been in the trenches so i wanna give you something from that. I don't wanna just like okay. Great now you. You have this title at capital one or google or amazon. Ray what can i give you from being in the trenches from from all of the dust and dirt and the shine you know. What can i get. I can give you this. That's how i feel about it. I get so passionate maurice. So thank you for allowing me to share anything about the book. I really appreciate it. Yeah no problem. I mean it really sounds like you've been able to still a lot of your personal and professional experiences down into this book and you know. Luckily by the time this interview comes out the book will be out and so we'll make sure to put a link to that in the show notes so people can can check it out all that. be amazing. yeah it'll be available december eleventh and through december eleventh. I discovered just this week. You can actually preorder it so nice. We're going to do as much promotion as possible through christmas so the time is absolutely perfect. Nice so aside from the book what has been probably the most unexpected thing that you've learned about yourself this year. Wow what a question at to breathe deep on that one. I think i learned how valuable it is to have periods of time of managing being absolute we by yourself. I don't know if i really value that before. I looked at it as i need to. Survive it when. I'm absolutely by myself without connections community. But i don't know if i really saw value in that and to really explain that clearly i'll just quickly say i had a moment in twenty seventeen where i blew out my mc l. Acl playing basketball. Just a pick up game. And i had to get surgery to repair my knee and i was by myself more or less for two months just kind in my apartment. The occasionally getting food dropped off from a friend or uber eats and and sort of crushing around. My place had a lot of time in the summer wasn't out wasn't in the city and it was a lot of long time and i sometimes was in pain could sleep. It was frustrating. Because i had always been a person who liked to move i learned how to survive how to keep my mind together and not be so negative during that period of time and that was extremely hard. I was very frustrated. But those were the training wills. I think for twenty twenty because i travel a lot and i had no clue that i was going to go from being in san francisco every day with my my colleagues or my friends to just spending seven hours eight hours nine hours on zoom occasionally talking to a friend if i had energy left sitting there on tuesday wondering when we were going to get out of quarantine or bagging myself to figure out how i get normalcy again. I think those training wheels from that injury allowed me to start to see the value of of being alone during this time. And i said you know what i got more time to create some sort of me start creating something. Let me let me figure out how. I want to respond to everything happening right like you know when i would watch the video. George floyd dying. I immediately knew. I wanted to respond. I didn't know how i was going to respond. And i saw friends putting out amazing post. There were brave. There were the first put out posed on link facebook any platform really. They were speaking out. And then i was looking at my phone and i had six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve thirteen fourteen fifteen messages from people. Some these folks hadn't talk to a years and everybody was like are you okay everything. Okay you alright and i was overwhelmed in that moment. I didn't know how to really process my emotions. Because i was thinking like man in twenty twenty one. Is everything ever been okay. And i was thinking like will. Nobody was texting me when Colbert really popped off in san francisco and we were all by ourselves but you know it was almost like collectively. There was this energy that just said to everyone texture. And i could be totally wrong. But we're gonna keep it real texture one black friend right now and see if everything's good and i remember responded to some people like are you good are you okay. Are you all right because this is a crazy year before you watch the video if you've watched the video if you've been paying attention to anything happening this year or before and i started putting so much energy into my responses you know taking people all the way back to like. Do you know when black lives matter started. Do you know the origin of that. Do you know what. I mean. I got i took. I had the energy to to to respond eventually. Start to really get in there with people. And and a lot of that. I think was because i had had periods of time where it was i was just by myself and i had learned how to strengthen my mind and my spirit in those moments so this year from okay surviving these alone moments to finding tremendous value in these alone moments by myself. And i'm talking about alone in the sense of not lonely just by myself. No family friends aren't in the in the room. No roommate just me no pets just me and my place and making that valuable so yeah long or long answer to a short question but i mean that's a powerful question you know for twenty and that's my answer for twenty twenty. Yeah i'll i'll flip it. I'll give you kind of a reverse to that. What no longer gets you excited Do even better question. You know what. Honestly i don't know if i get nearly as excited about the events that i i was so very much. A part of prior to to all of this happening. I would go to a lot of these. You know sometimes tech events or or you know events in the city that were like sort of like pseudo attack but it was it was it was touching on all these different like lifestyle factors. Sometimes it would be hosted by folks who were who were in the company's folks who were recruiting Around the fall. I was at afro tack. I mean i love these events but for some reason i think i. I wasn't as excited coming into this quarantine year with a of that stuff going away. Because sometimes i feel like you know in my experience of going to those events. They weren't necessarily as cathartic they weren't necessarily pouring in to the folks who were there. There was a lot of pori now. There's a lot of excitement. There was a lot of like you know It was fun. But i don't. I don't really miss that as much because you know the experience i've had with some of the online sessions not to say that you know. I don't crave for some of these like you know. Community like event like moments to come back in the physical but man i really feel like the vents that i've attended like i attended. Capital one's Blacks and tech event online a little while ago. We had draymond john. We had We had common stop through there. Were a couple of other like tech heavyweights. That came through and it was a lot of like pouring into people was a lot of like pouring into people's careers people's journeys people's minds. It was a different level of appreciation and value. Like we hear you. We see you. We understand what you're battling which are battling any way beyond you know a year like twenty twenty. And i love that and i hope that stage i i hope that there's you know this renewed sort of like deep compassion on on people. I like. are you really doing right. It's not just like hey. I'm super busy and you know like hey y'all let's go to this event or let's go to this event. It's like all that business you know but like now we're like really getting into the like how you really doing mike. Are you good. You know like that part. I'm appreciating so much. I don't i don't miss some of the like flash and the surface level Connections that i sometimes feel you know with the business of events so that's a great question and really think on that one but yeah that one came to me pretty quickly to after giving it some thought you know. That's what i that's what i don't miss as much now. One question that. I'm asking everyone this year and i ask you the same question. How are you using your skills to help build a more equitable future. You know honestly. I think that even beyond the book talking about how you my creative journey is going to be accessible in other formats. That's part of how i'm thinking about contributing to this equitable future because you know information information. There's so much information out there. Good information i'm talking about not fluff. I'm talking about facts. There's really good information stories. That are are really key for others to understand to pursue their own creative journey. And i want people to know how to access that i want people to know like how do you get started on exploring like what really makes you passionate like a lot sooner and not just like we were discussing earlier. Maurice check in the box like if you absolutely have a deep interest in in codeine or some aspect of anything engineering design. I want you. And i'm talking till i the audience i'm talking to the world. What should get started on that as soon as possible. Because time is short in time is precious. And we've seen that in twenty twenty. So i think part of contributing to the equitable future is not just talking about the book. I think it's really talking about how i'm going to leverage the content of the book to create other platforms like you know to me superhuman could be a platform you know like. Am i able to to do some youtube videos. Where i talk about my creative journey and talk about aspects of design and being creative in the context of a startup. You know does that. Give me an opportunity to to like today. Be a part of a incredible podcast until my story. And i think all of that stuff lives on books live on podcast level on youtube videos. Live on it's kind of interesting. It's like in some ways. I feel sometimes a bit hesitant to put myself out there so much. Because i'm like i'm not an influence sir. I don't feel like i'm that instagram kind of like look at me person but i'm also thinking to myself like if i wanted to share my journey with anyone. I have to do it in real time. I can't. I can't send you anything. I can't give you access to anything like if you look up videos of me. Talk in its from a decade ago. If you like you know. Try to learn more about me. I just got my linked page or portfolio. I'm like i need more. I need to do some more articles. I need to do some more podcast and i need to tell this creative journey not from from me so much as to give something others so i think the superhuman platform going out on a limb here with this big vision. I think the superhuman platform is going to be away talking about the superhuman platform. And i also think that by setting up this press company. 'cause i set up a publishing company called gold coast press to publish the book. I think that press company is going to be an opportunity to contribute to equitable future. Because i've learned a lot from bringing a book to life so now. I want to publish other people's stories that don't necessarily get highlight it. You know i had a. I had a woman who reach out to me. She's of indian descent and she's worked in different capacities here in the bay area. She's a a lead design. Strategist and you x. researcher at twitch and a lot of stories it was incredible i marched with her and her husband who i work with on the golden gate bridge. This year we protested back in june and after the protests we had a whole debrief. And i was telling her about house working on the book and next thing you know we're talking about like how she might have a book and i'm like you know what that's the story that maybe you know people hearing from someone who looks like you. Who is you. So i'm like all right. Let me set up a breast company because this is bigger than me. I didn't put my picture on the front of the book because his bigger than me my pictures at the back of the book. Because if you stick with the book long enough you get to my story. And i think that when i envision this gold coast press company is going to make an equitable future because i wanted to to tell stories that perhaps we're we're not telling enough so that's my goal. That's my plant so with all of this. I mean this might be. I mean you might have already given the answer this question in a way. But where do you see yourself in the next five years. I mean you started this this publishing company which sounds like might be a lucrative kind of thing or springboard for other things in five years. I'll be forty. Hopefully and when i imagined myself at forty i imagine someone who is is doing something that it scares me out of my mind but i feel like a normal end up doing. Which is i see someone who's who's getting on on stages and go into classrooms and right now i see myself as doing a ted talk a few ted talks. I see myself as being in the classrooms and speaking to these students people who are pursuing especially people who are pursuing careers in design. I see myself getting to that. Sixteen year old that eighteen year old that twenty year old and i see myself speaking directly to them five years from now on my own time and my own dime seriously like independently. Like 'cause i really wanna be here and let me share everything that i've pulled from. You know fifteen years at the start of my career. I could see myself in five years doing that. I could see myself in five years. Perhaps spending more time in academia. I think that we need more chairs. Who are black in design or leaders of some of these organizations. I'm very passionate now about the industrial design society of america. I think we need more black leaders in these organizations because he's organizations are well funded. They have a lot of reach. So i in five years. I see myself as not shying away from the responsibilities that i have to give even if that means i'm a bit more public with my life and it's it's not as private as it's been previously. We'll just a wrap things up here. Where can our audience find out more about you about your work everything. Where can they find that online. Yeah so i would say if you're on instagram. Really simple mr burlesque. That's my last name. So mr borlaug on instagram. And from there you can click in joined the superhuman by design feed. I'm very active on lincoln. Donald burlap really easy to find. And i also have a pretty active donnelly lincoln but also facebook so you can add me on facebook just my personal account and then from there were hoping to have superhuman by design dot com launched. Next week i think is the goal before thanksgiving so superhuman by design. And from there you'll be able to to get in touch with me and connect on all my other channels. Sounds good well. Donald byrd lock. I wanna thank you so much for coming on the show. I mean i think certainly the main thing that people will hopefully get from. This is that you've had quite the journey to get to where you are right now. And i'm so thankful that you've been able to take really take all of that into perspective and learn from it and not only distill it down into this book but also look at ways that you can give back to the community so people can know you know this is how you can tap into your own kind of well of inspiration which is something you know going into next year i think is going to be very very important as we continue through this kind of turbulent time but thank you so much for coming on the show man i appreciate it. Maurice thank you so much for hosting me on this platform. I am honored hobble. Absolutely love what you're doing. And i'm so happy we're closing out. Twenty twenty beating each other and having this conversation so fill in extremely fortunate to be here with you today. Thank you big big. Thanks donald burr. Lock and of course. Thanks to you for listening you can find out more about donald work links in the show notes at revision path. Dot com revision path is brought to you by lunch a multidisciplinary creative studio in atlanta georgia. This podcast is created hosted and produced by me. Maris cherry with engineering editing by rj. Basilio our intro voiceovers by music man dray with natura music by yellow speaker. So what did you think of this episode. Hit us up on twitter instagram or even better by leaving us a rating and review on apple podcasts. I'll even read your review right here on the show as always thank you so much for listening happy holidays and we will see you next time.

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Azarra Amoy

Revision Path

43:46 min | Last month

Azarra Amoy

"Are you looking for a new job. Are you hiring but struggling to find diverse talented candidates. Then we have something that can help our job board head over to revision path dot com forward slash jobs to browse listings or to place your own this week on the job. Board heart is looking for two roles digital copywriter and a digital designer. These roles can be based in columbus. Ohio or toledo. Ohio more advertising is looking for a senior graphic designer. It's a remote position but it is based in water massachusetts designed being be is seeking a program manager strategist in chicago illinois. Thirteen twenty three is seeking a designer for their austin texas office. Remote applicants are welcome to apply. Front is looking for a lead product designer in san francisco. California frog design is looking for a senior interaction designer for their new york. Austin or san francisco offices matchstick is looking for a messaging director atlanta georgia and finally. Nwea is looking for an experienced design lead in the portland oregon area for just ninety nine dollars. You can post your job listing with us where we'll be on our job board for thirty days and will spread the word for you about your job to our diverse audience of listeners. We also offer annual job boards. Subscriptions make sure to head over to revision path dot com forward slash jobs for more info on these listings. Apply today and tell them you heard about the job. Revision path get started with us and expand your job search today. Revision path dot com forward slash jobs. You're listening to the revision. Pat pied cast a weekly showcase of the world's black graphic designers web designers and web developers through in depth interviews. You'll learn about their work. Their goals and what inspires the creative individuals. Here's your host maurice cherry. Hello everybody and welcome to revision path. Thank you so much for tuning in. I'm your host mariz cherry and before we get into this week's interview let's take some time. I didn't think our accessibility sponsor. For this episode. Brevity wits brevity and wit is a strategy and design firm committed to designing more inclusive and equitable world. They accomplish this through. Graphic design presentations and workshops around i d e a conclusion diversity equity and accessibility. If you're curious to learn how to combine a passion for a with design check them out at brevity and width dot com brevity and wits. Creative excellence without the grind. All right. let's get to this interview. I'm talking with a fine artists in london. England let's start the show all right so tell us who you are what you do. My name is zora. And i am. A multifaceted are s and design creative thinker and student of this crazy world record life. Should i say yeah. I work his autism Time design knots. I wet with presentations for a creative agency empire. I do that three to four times. A week and Today's offer up. What is the feeling in london. Like right now quiet because we're backing down Down just before. Christmas which was a bit mental because it was last minute thing. They were like yeah. You can spend christmas with your family. And then she three days before that night runs on down by basically the president she will send them back a family said. I don't have any people at. She stopped to that but right now photo. People are fed up because Down and it's a slide in and out in and out. But i've just been trying to keep myself busy. Hasni am check upon friends family in china. Find some mandatory in this. How have you've been doing just kind of overall this year so far so far this year it was quiet time out for myself i was like for everything gets a bit crazy old. If it does get bit crazy. I just want time for myself. 'cause not the end of two thousand and twenty was Nonstop crazy me wet wise. It's just been nice to just chill like we think right down some goals that i want to achieve penny professionally and just take time. Eat rye detox for more. The drink and feed. I christmas period. Just yeah disrepute did you. I guess you know. Can you talk about like just some of those goals you might have for this year. So one of the goals was to so at my studio eyesight Might allstate just before. Christmas and i needed to find it was bit last minute dot com. And i've been trying to find places but it's very hard because we will not downsize psych through. Vj kohl's in china workout k. But luckily yesterday. I got the keys to any studio. Samri excited to get in there and just picks it up and make it to. It's a bit hard sometimes. Came from him separation. Yeah what can pestle time. Say congratulations on the new studio. In key re excite. That's one thing that i've been thinking about over this. This whole pandemic corentin thing is like i gotta get my own space like. I'd like my apartment. Where i'm at and i mean i've worked out of my apartment for a long time. I mean i've been doing the working remote things since two thousand nine so i'm not unfamiliar with but the difference is that i had the option to leave the house. I could go at work from a coffee shop or work at a client location or travel or something like that and granted right now. Restrictions aren't like super strict at all. I mean i'm in georgia which honestly has been opened since last may like there's been. We had three weeks of lockdown in april. And then we've been open to that affects. Our rates are super high. Because people have been traveling. And just come in and go on as you please. But as i've been working you know. I was out of work and then got a new job and i just been thinking like i really want like my own space. Granted apartments nice. But i really wanna have that separates workspace. That's just for creativity. You know yeah definitely. It does make a difference that i miss having my studio space I just meet get something but can't find a place that's really nice. It has like a balcony in oso Happy oh nice. So what do your days look like now with lockdown and the new studio space and everything. So i usually Any do meditation wack out some light To spin at the moment. And i look into whack at nine thirty so three to four days a week depending on how they are and again i usually have likes schedule successful With the wet and my team is really small. Dirty lovely have like game nights and stuff interest. Try make as newman was possible. And yes did that. So sixty. And then i usually eat and then spend time not pestle projects. But if that's just me just. China do sketch all a digital collage. There's might not things that i do and i think the that you've been using the undo. The do them. If that makes it some people like chill when nightwatch net flicks and stuff but for me doing sketchily doodo some on. Something is like my chill time and everything that i create. I share say. Basically i always say that is like my diary is like why filling the day will. Something's on my mind. Cause i'm not athletic. I'm not a great communication. We leads but i communicate. Well when i like joe so that's like my output. What are some of the projects that you're working on right now. Outweighs what quite as a designer art wise art wise so wise. I'm working with a publishing company. I'm not sure not to mention the yet. But the to do some illustrations for a children's book. So i just recently done a mock-up Weight in on feedback if they like in the direction nights derain. I'm trying to do some personal paintings. 'cause fingers crossed with exhibition which has been on my list for forever and nausea was meant to be the year. But oxy what happened. It was like a nice guy somehow. Pain com Taybeh that will happen someday In this stuff intimation. And i'm going to be on the panel full Space that seem brixton london. And i'll be on the panel residency started. I'll be helping select. He gets a years Presidency with them. So i've been working with that team just discussing. A few things said that will happen. Been doing our wise You got your hands full with a lot. Yeah i tried to keep his busiest possible limit of the number of like projects. That you try to take on. I listened to what my body tells me. That made sense. I if i feel that comedian down than i have no pope just saying night. To what about project comes is that night is are. You need some time just to just relax. Go on how i feel. And that's how i take the whack. Yeah so these are just the project you mentioned between a book cover personal paintings you know during this panel. Talk to me about how you approach a new project like it can be any type of project like what sort of your thought process when it comes to that i guess women purchase that do come my way. They are they come. They usually come to me because they know my style. My stylist But pie who might will the way featuring my outlet called black women myself. I'm a black woman. Say yet i think it just comes from have been lucky enough to be able to navigate where the direction of the guys 'cause nine my style. So they know that the direction. And i'm trying to portray an uplift that artwork. Id so that so you should eat the base an informed that i just then as on what the client wants if that makes sense and uninformed attitude like a mockup and then they give feedback said. That's how i've really done it. Say an you shy. Recession to set in stops Right now i'm really interested in the black madonna which is nice religious like the black virgin mary indicating into the history of that which is really interesting. Because these countries that are really it with the bat. Madonna odd cranny places. It's interesting how they worship this idol. veg mary but in day to day Than not like that with people have cut out. I like she's allowed to be shit but she In front of them. They'll do anything to put them down. That makes sense. Yeah i just go for what surrounds me. What comes to mind at stuff that Sassy in movies magazines blogs that triggered something can. I'll i'll just stop me. Such got a church here in my neighborhood. Here in atlanta called the black madonna. It's a church. it's a cultural center. They do events and stuff fair. So i'm familiar with the with the concept that you're talking about. Do you usually try to have some like religious iconography in your work or is this just a particular a particular figure. I guess you're kind of obsessed with right now. It's just a particular figure that i'm obsessed right now. So yeah no what features vintages have any religious features. Nine in my wife said this is just something new that come close that i find that really interesting receiver tamie. Yeah is there anyone out there that you would love to collaborate with. I guess right now it will be interesting to have no any mind but the law of people. I have collaborated with have been nandan. Based so it would be nice to collaborate with people from different countries to gain the experience to understand their experience in how seminar in how can clap. That makes sense. I can't think of from my head right now. i mean from looking at your style. Your style actually reminds me a lot of another mixed media artists that i had on the show. Colin was that that might have been about two or three years ago. This guy in. He's in new. York is named kendrick day. Diy he does kinda similar like collage mixed media kind of work. So you're are reminds me a lot of what he's doing. You all have very sort of similar styles in terms of the color and the elements. I think your work at least from the work that i've seen there's a lot of play on symmetry like yes portraiture and things you try to have a lot of symmetry which i think is really nice yet. I like the whole collided skype kind of fit in mile walk. Say there's always some sort of symmetry as much as possible. What would you say is the hardest part about what you do not meant to stop as a as she always like. Sometimes tried to april pathetic in speaking to my cousin Painting the appalachian waking for about two and a half years. And i just don't know when to stop it psych. I'm like no it's not right. Not right and he's just like it's never gonna re-write Share the well. The is amazing Night is not ready. I'm just. I just know when to say kate that's gonna be right so you can always Beautiful thing about a united you can always add to it just because you starting to shed while doesn't mean that that's the end of it we can add onto it. You could take away. You can make into something completely different. That's true that's true. Yeah so kind of you know switching gears here a little bit. Were you born and raised in london. Yes i was. Oh tell me about that like did you kind of get exposed to a lot of art and design growing up my definitely like my parents saw pave creatives in that way. My dad paints and enjoys painting Painter decorator by trade and my mom was Doubled in everything i guess. I guess that's where. I got says she was a headdress. Saw she was like that crazy mom who had liked the bright head in green head and then orange light your touch you tend to pick me up from school was always like different kinds of issues crazy. Cool off mom and she dunk fashion. Yeah just around the house. The o.'day projects whenever she was showing she always used to set me little tasks to do. I'll make like pencil case from scratch. Nikiel bags will myself just stuff like that. Said i think she got that for my musk's my grandma's like you must know how to say if like a key thing because if you don't have money have nothing any. She can make the clothes on your back. He can make cut ends. You could make j. You can do whatever as she can say. That's one of the skills that which drummed into me from a very young age so it sounds like being exposed to all this so young. Did you have a feeling that this was what you wanted to do. Or was this just a part of your world. It was just a part of my world to be honest. i can't even think of it as as a career choice or anything like that. It was just a way of life and a any hit me that at she. This is what i really wanna do like as my career choice was until i moved to bangkok to work in doing completely random house. governor s switches site a nanny who mice full family out there analyst Down at night. This is not being home sick. This is something else and it just wasn't clicking to me and then one day i was just sitting on. The safer allows like i. I know why i'm so down. No i'm feeling a little depressed. Haven't picked up a pen nothing haven't made. Nothing is so soon as that into my head. I jumped in like that bike taxis. I went to the nearest shopping An hold of supplies and it just that feeling of just being creative again as the site yet. I'm coming back time. And this is what i'm doing. Yeah were you studying abroad. Like how did you end up in bangkok being governess. Such a seems like such a random kind of departure from what you were doing. My friend was actually Out there and she's all business family. That's the governor s. i. I'm gonna put you full. You mind i. I have never experienced. She said it doesn't matter like into stay light he then Well this is a bit Did say neither by felt like it was one of those things that in a few years time. I'll like kick myself like. Why didn't you just take the opportunity sein with it and i had about three interviews with his family. Not yet just will pay for your ticket. Apartments painful Okay and stayed there for ya and yeah it got to the point rows of site. This is not where amid to be by absolutely not bangkok this a place in my heart for penn coke. You are the second person that i've interviewed recently. That has had some tie or connection to bangkok. That is yeah. I just interviewed an artist in in washington. Dc here reggie black and he spent four years in bangkok as a designer. Mike doing talks and stuff like that. I mean you let me know because you were there. I mean was bangkok like a really creative city. Yeah that's stuff. Today's like the that kind of it doesn't sleep. Which is not like london night. London people wasting that london's like busy and stuff but like that in time. Things are shut down but night market. that's just lights. Colt shaw there's just Music sevigny nice atmosphere syria. Definitely i would love to go back to. Ben coke undenied creative creative reasons anyway. Yeah now you went to the university of the arts in london. Can you tell me what your time was like there. I was there for a while. Because they have different campuses. Okay well colleges under the university of the say the first one i went to was the collision campbell campbell. Audits code and identify foundation kolstad. So that causes just to help you build your And understand which direction. When a guy. I mean creatively Fashion a graphic design sculpture painting et cetera and then from deg branch off into which fill in will comfortable with. That was my question. I actually went into graphic design and now back. Why did i do that. Because i was reading interest in sculpture. But i feel how. Can i make money as a sculpture. I'm just thinking. Like i think people in your ear like how can you make money from being sculpted. Graphic design makes more sense. So i went down that rate and then i ended up in london college of communication which they may stay so graphics digital closes there Done foundation degree which turns into a full degree if he do the final year signing done two years of that so have profound dacian degree in graphic communication and outside Absolutely hate this outside by want a full degree so i managed to slow lag. My weight onto another degree cools which was summit complete different magazine publishing. Okay say i spoke to the head of the cool. Yeah i'm really interested in nigeria. Cool i have like experience. Which was nutri yes. She's a k. She grade she's a k. You can join the cools. But over the summer. You have to do some cool sweat to make up yet. That's fine and she's okay. And i made it happen. Thank god end on their graduate Magazine publishing which has Of design at bit of light. Pr marketing oldest end today. Basically how to run a magazine. Say by the time i graduated. It was like that which shift between print into digital south. Excuse was city about print. And now i'm graduate in. Everyone's transitioning to digital was like what is going on will the pace. Why don wet placements at that. I print the prince of the magazines being shut down the department. The print department of their team sauce site. If he wants to shutting down i i don't know nothing about digital so i think that kind of scares me and i just saw was stopped for a while thinking. What am i gonna d- next. I don't know nothing about digital dinesh. Should i take a cool. So something and i think was stuck in a rut for a long time and i just continued at my job that i was doing during uni which was Beato and that's when after that. That's when i went to bangkok and that just opened my eyes over the cells like the trip to bangkok was what you needed. You know if you are at this point where you have went through all the school and you were feeling stuck up change of scenery. We'll do it. Because i feel like they can sell you a dream year when she leaning you back to get a job. But that's what i thought that. Yes in as a graduate being scheduled. Easy night astle apron. I speak to that yet. We sold the same dream and Fishing yeah i know that feeling all too well i graduated well. I didn't go to design school. But i graduated with a degree in math. And i really had no career prospects lined up after school. Like i was still working like you. I was working a job that i was working while i was at school. Which was just selling tickets at the symphony just selling like old white patriots that to hear chopin or whatever you know telling them where to sit and stuff and it wasn't until a few years after that that i sort of ended up falling into design but yeah i mean sometimes that's how it is. You know schools. And that's not really. I guess the faults of i wanna say it's the fault of the schools is really the fault of of the market. I mean just because you come out with a degree doesn't necessarily mean that you're ready to go right into working somewhere because maybe you need a portfolio or maybe the school that you have has a different reputation that this company doesn't like go for so i don't know it can be tricky. I mean it's i know it's tricky here in the states. I can imagine it's the same way overseas as well. Yeah definitely it's not easy. And she said Blaine the institutions for that call opportunities. Want she dave. But i think with the quotas same. The foundation degree coasts. That was meant to be heavily. Wack experience based and when we when we joined abrahams at west this experience. Because we're meant to have the district teachers coming every week. Oh teach us from different companies and stuff. I mean that she had won the whole year. this is not what we signed up full and we will omit to be allocated so at mental from the industry which they will get a provide settlement being mentorship scheme stuff but yeah. It didn't let out that way here. I am found feet. Yeah so you went to bangkok you. Work there as a governor issue didn't like it that sort of sparked you wanting to become a designer and you came you come right back to london after that yet to ended. So what was your plan once. You got back at say some money whilst job. Because i didn't have to pay rent or anything like that. Had saved as a candidate. Give myself a yeah to really try and get this running. And if there's light night progress than i'm going to have to really think this. So when i came back i've just applying full so any is cool out and stuff like that and just began painting and lucky. I had a friend who used to evening cooled off smeets music yet like why. Don't you display some your outlook at one of these events announced that a mason jump tonet and then from dead. That's how i met people. And i someone told me about all white light Remind them of muros are because i wet such my paints such not scale paintings not eating murals on. Never full of that edge for Murals bray pain. I've never touched a spray cutting my life. How can i do this side spot. Just flexible quote out the ice tool which was local to me and i had a dream that people think grades. I had a dream about it. I wake up from the street as a yes let me do the application now and actually one and also. This was a sign. So i've done it. I was like okay. I'm going to win this. Because i've never spray penny to my life and the mirage. She came out really nice and still that in brixton to this day and from that Contacting me all yet jimmy. D mural hairdo. Mirrow diana's like while. I was reading expecting this and i found a new passion for something else as well. That's how i going to the murals and speaking of which that's the mural that's see that in the cover art for this episode the one that you're standing next to yeah that's quite a mural so you worked on all of that by yourself or did you. Have you work with another artist or anything. Yes this the meal you're talking about. I read with another artist Camman off and what's with her onto a purchase as well say the president. He created the Non banana tadjidine. She knew That we went together and she went into office. He had a good relationship. You can work well to get that. And she's more of a calligraphy august. And i'm more of a so paint now. Visual graphics by football styles just seem to wet together. Says she commissioned by for us to do the project and yeah ended. Wet tom mason. I'm not really without come. Yes it's a beautiful mural mural. And i'll make sure that i will link so people can see the full thing. You know the cover. Art is just sort of cut off in that square. As i was looking through your website and looking at your projects one one product i saw i really liked. Was the work that you did with. Mtv how'd you end up working with them. Said they contacted me last year about the wards. And they're like. It's a really short turnaround. But we really not your style and it was might not sell the woodward said although woodmen for the it was the name of the generation change or the winners black female women or women of color announced. Well i paint women of color. And i paint women so outside. Yes like these. Women who have Willis kiki moody louisa brazil. Kathy a- She's gonna kill me for peninsula name. Purchase dora and Lay a pronunciation of names of terrible and yet these women are amazing like they didn't say much full generation for the future generations fighting. That will amazing at this field excited just to be just to create something personal for them. So that will. Each of that was hand painted and customize to them so it was very special project. I was very happy to slanted and honored so these days when it comes to i mean like big high profile projects like that are the products coming to you or you seeking them. Oh luckily they seem to be coming to me. That i'd have no idea where. Ntsb sold my stuff from 'cause when they conducting they showed me some of the outlets daylight and this is a random is ritchie. Just random off. The i just posted on instagram. Nothing can anything off it just add. This is what i've been doing during lockdown. He's a pain in so thing Didn't think about it and those are the ones that they selected so it was interesting. 'cause i would afford it'd be something that could another big project that i've done before or something like that. They contacted me. Answer lucky. who are some of your influences. You know like. I mentioned you know that the work that you're doing this sort of collage work is very very vibrant. Certainly very unique who influences. You are or what influences you should say. As i said before like the collage paintings i saw stuffed. Id daily said they represent my mood. It could be influenced by Song that just repeat or day. That makes me feel good. I'm not a college on. That sounds typical but like the today the women that i have around me. Amazing form like my sister. My mom a lot of the of est. I'm wet with all may see females. Say yeah they push me and like inspire me constantly at this stage in your career. I mean you are doing these large-scale projects and things of that nature. What does black art mean to you. Thought for me is pace to be free way for me to shed Experiences and also hopefully uplift of the black women. I think that's important because representation especially in weld identity about in the states but i thought well it is very white male based that these institutions of very like wightman paint a sculptural thing aniseed projected in the education within the Education when i was at union school so for me it's about representation authencity and just uplifting swat on news to me being free. What is sort of the the london design seeing like for you right now. I mean being on lockdown other ways the trade connect with creatives. Yes i have an part of. What's that groups. I sign up to online courses. So one of the courses that i use 'em black blossoms. It's up online school. And you sign up in those Every week there's a different schools. And i've been nici canonize Right now the question is the revolution in china. Mitchell interest in is two different genres about the. I was an expert to and having these other women in these was about great onerous sharing opportunities. All someone's contacted me to do this by just had time any of you. So have any idea of someone will want to do it and we just sharing contest sharon opportunities 'cause Trying to eat. Some people have been made redundant for night jobs and stuff say i think there's a real sense of like a coming together and just trying to help each other out as a good thing that you're able to kind of use technology as a way to reach out to people to sort of have that fellowship in that also the ability to kind of work together you collaborated with anyone solely on a virtual level with any work. I worked with a team. Who i done meal was with in the past and i was actually scheduled to jam you'll with them summertime nausea but it didn't work out say in the end to end up being digital projects from that just. It was all online based having to wet from that of platform. I wasn't able to be such how by usually be set sometime. Say especially from Location over france Location i usually go out with my camera take fighters i just spend the day. They're really just taken atmosphere but being I've just had to find other ways like youtube. documentaries on the area just trying to gain as much information. China put out contact people via instagram. Mitch a bit wild but just people you see off from the area you can shine like hey. This is a bit weird. But i just want to like get understanding what this occasion means. You will get as much interviews and stuff like that. Which i've never really wet that way side definitely even oughta become down I think i'll be using nice stephanie. To my practice. Yes sounds like You picked up a new skill pandemic which is cool. Because i'm literally i'm passing. He keeps themselves to themselves they. It's definitely pushed me out my comfort saying having tonight to people in even doing interviews I donate my best instagram. Live at the end of last year. And also never done this before service and just dean brady Say it's been practiced. I'm not great at interviews. I'm getting their practice makes perfect. Let me tell you just the more that you're able to do with the the more comfortable you'll become. That's really the the best way to do it. You get more comfortable. You end up kind of being able to pull on particularly if it's like if you're talking about different projects that you've done are able to kind of pull those narratives out really easily. So i mean i would. If i could give any advice i would say the the opportunities that come to you because each of them is just a just the way for you to get better at it. You know definitely. And it's just by the in the inner demons as well Sight easy to sell sabotage. How fair but all donated they sit slide out my comfort zone but just like i just push myself all the time and just Are coming night's speech. Time might abate myself and mike you back and thank god. What was panicking about you. Say simple. Because i mean the flipside with especially i think with doing podcast interviews. Is that the audiences vast and varied and diverse. Like there may be someone. that's out there. Listening. that is like you and it's like oh well if she's doing it that i can do it and there is someone out there you can do it. How do you define success right now. Successful me doing. Why'd up. Doing what i love and getting paid for it. Which is the dream. Say i was selective is while On if it doesn't feel right if it doesn't sit right with my cool if it doesn't Offensive to mean I tried to avoid it in a sense but not restrict myself at the same time. So for me is what brings me joy at the moment. 'cause especially times like this she has to be subject to your energy. You're being around. People is draining so she's trying to find happiness everything. Where do you think your life would have gone if you weren't allowed artists. Like what else do you think you would have been doing. I can't even imagine that lie. Something creative definitely may be difficult for ages. I want you to be architects. Say which is completely random. And i was at t say place i apply for at union. Everything Change my mind done the foundation course because i was. I haven't explode. that's out. There creativeness rushing to be an architect is doesn't feel right at the moment but yeah An architect tal. Maybe something children. i love. Kids say a teacher that's lent afford arena teacher. Where do you see yourself in the next five years. What sort of work do you want to be doing. So i would love to be back in full time as autism hopefully have own creative agency and be doing. Why do full-time. Even the as much as i love being a presentation design. A- would like to have more time to do put the i really love. presentation designer. You'll restricted by what the client wants graham brand guidelines stuff like Design whereas as if Might agency be able to be selective and being pushed the boundaries Collaborate with other people stephanie. On my list of things to do just get myself out there in just wet with land on what could other people. That's a big thing for me. Ninety new skills as well just bringing together. Well just to kind of wrap things up here. Where can our audience find out more about you and about your work and everything online so you can check out my website which is a zara amoy dot com and on instagram at zara annoying and also on twitter which Tweet that much but just in case it is zara that's my to at camp sounds good A more. I wanna thank you so much for coming on the show. Thank you for sharing your creative journey and showing how you can really sort of find creativity in sort of the most seemingly unlikely of places i mean you were a governor is like you said in bangkok and you decided. Oh this is what i wanna do. But no i mean the art that you're creating is so vibrant and beautiful. And i'm just really excited to kind of see where you go from here. I mean hopefully one day we will be hearing about that exhibition that you're planning so yes. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I appreciate it. Thank you for having me. It's been a pleasure. Big thanks to a moy and of course thanks to you for listening you can find out more about zara and her work to the links in the show notes at revision path dot com and of course thanks to our wonderful sponsor brevity and wits brevity and wit is a strategy and design firm committed to designing a more inclusive and equitable world. They accomplished this through graphic design presentations and workshops around i d e a inclusion diversity equity and accessibility if you're curious to learn how to combine the passion for id with design. Check them out. at brevity. And wit dot com brevity wits creative excellence without the grind provision. Path is brought to you by lunch. A multidisciplinary creative studio in atlanta georgia. This podcast is created hosted and produced by me. Maurice cherry with engineering and editing by rj. Basilio our intro. Voiceover is by music. Mandrake with intro music by yellow speaker. What did you think of the interview. What do you think about the podcast overall. Don't be a stranger. Please hit us up on twitter. Instagram search for revision path or leave us a rating andrew review on apple. Podcasts let the world know about the show because it really helps us grow and it helps us reach more people all over the world as always thank you so much for listening and we'll see you next time.

bangkok london Nwea Pat pied maurice cherry mariz cherry Hasni Vj kohl Samri derain veg mary tamie nandan Ohio san francisco georgia atlanta china penn coke
306: Jeremi Dudu

Revision Path

55:38 min | 1 year ago

306: Jeremi Dudu

"You're listening to the revision path podcast a weekly showcase of the world's black graphic designers web designers and web development through in depth interviews. You'll learn about their work their goals and what inspires them as creative individuals. Here's your host maurice cherry very welcome to the provision path podcast. My name is maurice cherry and before we get into this week's interview. I just want to remind you again that we're looking for a design director here at glitch. You know we're growing every day and we're really looking for a design director. Not only help us build a team of talented designers but also also the help deliver a unified experience our audience of consumers curator's and creatives so that sounds like you have to sounds like something that's right up your alley then check out the show notes were linked to the job listing or head over to glitch dot com forward slash careers and apply today now for this week's interview. We're kicking kicking off august with jeremy doodoo a u._s. designer at salesforce. Let's start the show all right so tell us who you are and what you do. My name is jeremy do on a u. X. designer at sales words dot org. I work at building up right now. It's called philanthropy cloud. It's gonna gonna be an application for large companies where they can donate in volunteer can have their their employees donate in volunteer to the causes that they love and just look for the nonprofits that they're interested in giving back to nice what first attracted you to working for salesforce that thing that attracted meat so they reached out to me he must have been like ten months ago and they had a recruiter asked me if i was interested in working with like a sub company of salesforce and they're trying to build this application where you can give back to your community and at the time i'd say for the majority the past ten years. I worked in philanthropy in giving back to my community in south l._a. And teaching kids in my community so i was like well this kind of like matches my whole life purpose <hes> giving back to your community helping people people overcome. The odds like this whole thing is about my my life vision so i think that's what attracted me. The most is that not only match the kind of job that i want within design but it latched it matched my overall purpose life and i don't know if people really kinda know this about salesforce but like philanthropy has been a big part of their whole business since the very beginning which kind of seems like a rarity among silicon valley companies like seems like like a lot of companies out there are more focused towards of the of course growth but not really about giving back to the community <hes> now. I agree <hes> i think mark is the ceo he's such a personality like i dunno it personally but i've heard that he's such a cool guy and he he just goes against the grain of what silicon valley ceo's should i think his personality kind of goes along into the company a lot so i feel like we're just a branch of who he is as a person <hes> i like that model of kind of setting up with <hes> with philanthropy crowd sorry philanthropy cloud that you mentioned i like that kind of model of lake not only just giving back but it sort of turns employees in a way into onto philanthropists because it sets it up where employees and kinda give back to the causes they want to hear at at glitch. We do a similar thing every year like right around the holidays. We'll ask we'll ask employees. Like where should we donate you know x. Amount of money to end so people give a lot of suggestions and i think the last time we donated the last causes we donate to were black girls code and i think hispanics needles. I think it was right around the time of of a of hurricane maria i believe but like and that was this is honestly. This is my first time for tech company in a long time and so for that's that's a even be something that they were interested in. That kind of like took took me aback because of like i associated massive amounts of greed read with tech companies not giving back to the community in any sort of way i agree it. That was what kind of drew me to salesforce yes because like when i was well. This is like i'd say like six years ago. I really didn't know where i was going in my life so united started doing the things that i was really passionate about before i even got into design i went to this school called general assembly. I don't know if you've heard of it. Oh yeah regional assembly so it's basically like this tech boot camp. You can take a u._s. Glad you can take a web dev class and i was just interested in learning how to code owed at the time i went there and i was also mentoring for a non providence out the lay. It was called brotherhood crusade and i <unk>. I was doing all these different. Things i also was a teacher for the u._s._c. neighborhood academic initiative which is a nonprofit where i got my scholarship to u._s._c. and this you know working with them. It helped me realize might bigger overall vision so when i got reached out to from sales words may told me about their vision and i'm like man like this is like a dream like i i could probably at some point like help. Help kid from the hood. Try to get a scholarship like i did you know like the possibilities are limitless and to do that with technology like is the ultimate dream ice so going back into your work at salesforce. What's been the biggest challenge so far in the role. The biggest challenge has been now where it's only finalist now. We just hired a new guy. Ah but it's been trying to figure out where we're trying to go long term in it's kind of been like working with the startup where you gotta wear different hats so i'm doing you ex design. I'm doing you add design doing prototyping testing trying to figure out things from the pm trying to sir <unk> like twenty people on the same vision so i feel like it's been wearing many hats and not really knowing where we're trying go long-term. We're just trying to figure it out as we go. You know that feeling all too something that you know it's interesting because salesforce is a large company that has processes sometimes with different departments and things like that it can be difficult starting up because you don't really have a kind of benchmark or role model or process as to what works so you kinda building. I say you make the road by walking essentially have to forge that path because it hasn't been done in the company before and it is kind of like a startup in that respect. There can be a lot of growing pains. I think that come with that process assist yeah exactly but i felt like you know personally that that's something that i like. I like going into the unknown and making something happen in that's been it's been like the funniest part so far because when you get to the destination you just like oh look at what i built. This is amazing but i think it's the journey that makes it fun. The the the parts where you're you're really like blossoming the identity of who the company can become now aside from philanthropy anthropic loud. I mean as much as you can talk about it. I would imagine what are some of the other projects that you're working on right now. I'm building the iowa up for philanthropy <unk> okay which has been <hes>. It's been really fun. I'm working with some developers paraguay uruguay like they're. They're all over the place so it's been it's been been allowed to fund just learning about their culture and we got a team in colorado as well so yeah. We're we all pretty much work remotely yeah so that's like my main thing right. Now is building the philanthropy i._o._s. Out help with a web application but yes as far as salesforce <unk> the things that i've worked on. Is it difficult working with a distributor team like that because you're not only just across time. Zones across different countries eight can be but i feel like we've made it work for the most part like it when it's nine a._m. Here i think it's like two p._m. In paraguay's sometimes they might be at lunch and dan and we're all like you know they're telling us say we we gotta go get leads right now so we're hungry but for the most part now we've made it work. So how do you approach a new project. I mean of course you say you're working on philanthropy cloud now but say there's something new that comes up as salesforce it. You might have to work on. You're working on with the team. How do you approach that. I try to learn about the people the nominee work with as much as possible because everybody has different working styles. Everybody everybody learns differently so i tried to tap into who they are as people in how they learn best like some people like to talk about the project conceptual exceptionally some people like to visually see things on the whiteboard so first of all i just try to understand who the person is working working with as much as i can't and then you know we talk back and forth learning about their goals for the project then we get into the specifics civic of what the goal is for the project and all that but i i feel like i'd take kind of a more human approach design rather than us us going in and and you know getting down to business because i felt like designed for the most part from what i've learned over the years is about understanding career designing four but also understanding who you're working with. I'm the same way especially when it comes to working with and building building teams like i try to make sure that in my team complement each other of course everyone on the team are very strong talented individual contributors but like as a team together. I make sure like oh well. This person's weakness isn't necessarily a weakness. It could be a strength for someone else. Sorta compliments <hes> with things like that so i like that kind of people people i approach when it comes to working with process. I understand who you're working with. I because oftentimes i will give you a signal as to how they're going to work on on the projects like if you get a sense that you know a person might be cranky in the afternoon or like you know little things like that but it affects the work so getting getting to know the person a vi- invariably means you get to learn how they work in that helps out just with the project altogether yeah exactly like like on my team. It's it's a four of us. I feel like we're on tight at this point. You know we all have different personalities but there's one guy named james. He used to work at disney and he's a great great animator in he. He likes to think very conceptually. My manager sees a great hurson to manage projects simultaneously sleaze us working on like five or six different things at the same time and there's another guy named daniel. He's a great speaker and <hes> in enaam. Somebody who can kind of you know see something before. It even happens like like i'm already looking at the app how it should work in my head before i even even have it down on paper or i'm working sketch so i felt like all our different strengths. Kinda work off of each nice nice so before salesforce chris. You know just doing my research. I see that you have done a lot of u._s. Work in the like online media industry. You did work with fandango for awhile rotten tomatoes made what were those experiences like aw man though that was getting my m._b._a. And design it was like you know because i never thought that become a designer so working with those companies it taught me like the ins and outs because <unk> coming in as a designer. I thought that i had to be somebody who knew everything but working at those companies that it just allowed allowed me to see that it's okay to learn as you go because everybody's doing that. You know like my mentors who who working there. They're all like family. Now you know like the way they treated me and all that like like not even in terms of design fine but just as people they have the greatest culture of people that i've ever worked with still to this day like you know i feel like at salesforce. We're really trying to understand who we are as a team so like <unk> even over the course of nine months but <hes> i felt like fandango ransom ato's just working there i get i can't say it enough. They were like family in that culture is just amazing. Let's let's tap into them more. What about the culture made some good was his first of all they have a very diverse company company and they have people not not all different not just all different races but the way people think there they all have different personalities you know every department department was every department had had its own identity so like we had there was a guy name young. He was a user researcher and he was just a great person. I used to go play basketball with them all wednesdays. You know we got lunch. Tuesdays and thursdays at now is like family meals in we also had summer parties that were crazy so i feel like the combination of the people in activities that we did together made it a really great culture. <hes> <hes> 'cause 'cause you're not only spending time with people at work but we were spending time outside of work yeah that that allowed us to get to know each other's you know as a team as human beings. <hes> always great yeah. That's something that you know. I've mostly worked with remote teams. I mean before. I started a glitch. I had my own studio radio for nine years and my team was all remote there and granted mitee now at glitches not that far from me. I mean they're in new york. I'm here in atlanta so there are the opportunities when i get to go up there but usually when i'm up there. It's all work all meanings. I regret like not having enough of those like downtimes with the team. We can just get to know each other as people because the team they're kinda. Tell myself here the team. There knows each other well 'cause they. They work together in the same place and i feel like i know them. Well 'cause we talk. You know all the time on slack et cetera but it's a difference. It's a different dimension. When you're there like in person especially when you're in person and not focus on the work i get a different dimension and so i miss not really being able to have that ah for my team is something that i hope that glitch we can start to like move towards like for example. We do this annual on site where everyone comes to new york and we have like a big big. You know we have meetings and we have get togethers and stuff like that and it's great but i would love it if we would start doing one's like just for our teams because i feel like <hes> like like one of our teams for example is spread across ten time zones so it's rare they get a chance to do anything. I guess you know like together in one place unless it's at at the annual onsite in there you're with all the other employees so it's different. It's a different kind of vibe like even when i was at fandango there was this woman woman. Her name was sandra. <hes> she was a consultant that came the workforce but she was really into meditation and then she started teaching us how to meditate like our the whole team and that i feel like this having our team learn about meditation and meditate with each other do all these breathing exercises it not only me light help me individually in my own life but i felt like it all br brought us closer together this doing something that is so it's it feels like it's not only for for yourself but you're just trying to become a better human being that just made us grow tighter together as a unit. What is it about you ex design that appeals appeals to you the most that you're constantly trying to become a better person day by day. I feel like it's a it's an emotionally impactful impactful job because you're dealing with people's expectations. You're dealing with people not really understanding where they're trying to get to n._f._l. Like you gotta become a better person every day to become a great you x. Designer you have to have empathy you kind of have to understand the way people i think and you have to have a great vision so all a combination of all. These different facets of design is what i love the most so i wanna go back to something that you you know you kind of touched on a little bit earlier which is of course los angeles. You're from los angeles. You do a lot of volunteering of course in the los angeles area. What was it like growing up there while actually grew up in a area. I'm not sure if you've heard of it. It's called alhambra ended handed saw it's kind of like on the east side near pasadena okay and i always live bear and that that was cool because i got a lot of good asian foods. We know like like i can tell you about about different time foods in chinese foods and all that so that was really cool but i always went to school near south l._a. And i think my mom she always wanted me to see both sides. You know this is where you could live if you you know put in the time in the work but this is these are the struggles that your people that look like you're going through being exposed to those two sides. It was really cool because i feel like growing up. I was able to speak to people who look like me but also people who didn't look like me whereas you know when i went to school i feel like the kids around me. It wasn't that they they weren't interested in talking to people who didn't look like them but you know i i see on both sides that people can and become a low ignorant just because they're not exposed to different cultures so i feel like that was something that my mom instilled from me from a very early age was you you know everybody like all of us have things that we have in common and that's actually something that has helped me in you. Ex design is just understanding that we we all have families. Are cultures have allowed similarities that whole thing you know with with life just trying to get to know other people other cultures is is what makes special and i mean. That's something that you can speak to personally not just from growing up in a hamburg but just like your family as well right right. Yeah yeah for sure was designed. Kind of a big part of your child did not say skateboarding was a big part of my childhood. Okay yeah <hes> i skateboarded voted for twelve years nice and <hes> you know as i used the skate. I was like skate rent so my presidents. They live in a area where it was is west l._a. And we go hollywood in santa monica and venice beach like we just we were like twelve thirteen years old but we skate eight with twenty other people and just go to all these different places and that was the i was a great experience because it exposed me talking to different kids from different backgrounds that i probably wouldn't have never met yet out. I feel like that's helped me when you exercise too because skateboard <unk> yeah yeah definitely definitely with the skateboard trick just trying and trying and trying it. I used to get frustrated because i didn't know how to kick for like a year but i just stuck with it and i actually actually became one of the best skaters on the black you know so i feel like it taught me a level of resilience that i feel like other sports you know is this cooler basketball and soccer and all that but skateboarding when you land trick if people are cheering you on there's this camaraderie brotherhood that goes along with it and i try to you know work with that in my day to day you know since i've started design. When did you get that first spark for design. Because what i'm hearing is certainly you're you're able to and this is i think a skill that is not unique to a lot of designers to be honest it's to be able to take non on design experiences per se and be able to extrapolate those into something that you can use design so when did you. I kind of know that like oh. This is something i can do for a living and it's called design. <hes> i think it was working backwards to my youth and not really paying attention attentive to the moment but paying attention to my parents and my history through life so when i was in high school i used to paint sues for kids. You know i use the pain vance when <hes> i'll know if you remember the pack but they had the van song and everybody was wearing the van dance okay but you know band got really popular at my school <unk> i would paint my vents and kids would ask me yo where where'd you get. Those man's from argonne painted up so they're like oh. Would you paint mines in. They actually pay me to paint their events. So that was something that i thought was cool and and then there was also the bus passes that we used to get so we used to get stickers for our bus passes and i notice probably it was probably illegal back then but i would actually get the sticker and then get it copied in southern to kids at <unk> pace it on their bus pass like ten bucks so and then also cutting hair for kids in my school it i went to manual arts high school so shout manual but a <hes> of my teacher over there mr campbell he would allow me to cut his hair. You know during lunchtime in his class and i get paid like five or ten bucks. They're <music> so alike looking at at my childhood in my youth in what i was good at it sparked a curiosity for me to learn illustrator and dan you know i just use the look at youtube videos on day. One point this trying to learn how to use the pencil and using the pencil was similar to add state. Doing somebody's lineup you know trying to get a line or curve is perfect as possible. It put me in in that same state of mind so that i think you know looking back at doing the things that i did. It helped me see yo like all these different creative avenues. They're kind of similar. Yeah you know i. I can be really good at this if i put my mind to it see. This is why i love this show. 'cause i never heard anyone compare. You're using the pen tool an illustrator to give somebody a lineup now that i think about it makes a lot. The end in college now is jane parties. Okay and i would say that's kind of similar to doing web internet nate animations because if you play the wrong along climb he worked on angry with web <unk> animations if you're doing animations all over the place and it doesn't click at the right time you know as a user you'll be like what was that like it didn't make sense so i just saw the patterns in in how things crossover with one another so going back to college. You've mentioned earlier about you. Got the scholarship to u._s._c. and i mean i would imagine so you had good time that you were d._j. And everything but what was your what was your academic time like there. Oh that was a struggle that i was a communication major so i felt like a lifetime time you know because i i'd say you know growing up as an only child communication and speaking in public. That's always been my biggest struggle so i actually actually majored in that because i wanted to get over that anxiety okay though i felt like you know going there it. It helped me see you. Oh my potential as a person as a human being you know being in that major and being around kids that always had big visions for themselves was was really cool and you have a study abroad experience too while you were there right yeah studied in australia. Yeah tell me about that. Australia was was dope. It's like jamaica maker new york in l._a. All in the same place like that was amazing meeting kids from from all over the world. You know we went to country. It was like a spring break that we had went one time. We won't country call vanuatu. Oh what is known as land of the last cannibals interesting yeah but that that was really cool because you know the people that we talked to they didn't know who kim kardashian was or oh kanye west weather any of these big celebrities that we know but we got to learn that just their focus on family and even though they didn't have the financial they cared about us as people in about their families like that was the number one priority and they seem like some of the happiest people that we knew that i've ever met in my life so it just gave me a different perspective on everything and he said you just do the spring break there in vanuatu yeah. We went there for like seven or eight days nice. Yes and i think i i caught some kind of you. Know little disease one of those <hes> allah. Would you call it but i had a coughing a fever. The whole tom i was there this thing called kaba okay and it really mess me up. It really messed me up but overall like they experiences really cool it went to the waterfall spent time with the people and now as though so i want to hear more kind of about your your early career that's like i said to you before we started recording. There's a sentence on your website where you're like. I may not have had formal training as designer but even as you've mentioned. Just you know on this conversation. You worked as a barber. You're a d._j. Your social media manager and it's clear that you were able to kind of take these experiences like take the good it out of them and find ways to kind of push back into your work as a designer. But what was your early career like once you graduated from u._s._c. and got out there in the working world world. What was it like. I was lost out. I didn't know where i wanted to go. Emma uncle who worked for hewlett packard he was like you should probably take a sales the job why and he was like it'll expose you to different people. Oh and it'll open you up to the possibilities of who you could be allowed. Okay that doesn't make any sense it out so yeah that was my first job out of college on our for a media company and we so remark we did remarketing pay per click advertising all that and i worked there for three months and it was it was actually cool because i got to understand how people think when i was on our would you know colo colo and some people would be nervous on people would be totally open to listening to you and that district spos- need to the to the laws of human nature. I i feel like it did it. It was the best job that i probably could have gotten right out of college. Just just for the reason that probably your uncle might have thought yeah exactly and then also i also had a job as a mentor working with the brotherhood crusade ahead. Another gig where i worked worked at a p._r. Agency in santa monica and i was doing all those. I did three jobs at the same time. Oh and i was working for producer from from austin the c._v. and we were building. The site called fast food born which i know it sounds bad but it's basically a site where you you know we have models taking. You know we have a photographer. We'd have some models and they or mcdonald's french fries all over themselves and be what papa john a- and it really it when it gets my values but i'm like yo. I'm i'm trying to learn more about myself so let me put myself in uncomfortable. Will you know <hes> predicament that that was jobs. Inside did all of those jobs at the same time and i was trying to tat happens <unk> true passions in i really do feel like you know allowing myself to explore it was a good time but it also helped me realize what what strengths aware what my weaknesses were early on and what were those strengths and weaknesses. I feel like my strengths. You know going back. You know you see patterns in your life yeah though me doing those jobs allow me to see oh. I'm really good at bringing people together. I'm really good at seeing things before. Were they even happen. I might not be the strongest speaker might not be the the most analytical but i know what my strengths you're. <hes> you know so so doing all those things allow me to really hone in on what i like from the jobs that i did now. I wanna talk about your experience at 'em go. You work there in in two thousand fifteen twenty sixteen. Was that a big departure from some of your earlier career work yeah it was because at the at the time i was looking for a mentor in you ex design so i had a it was a transition for me to go from what i was doing which is a lot of stuff going to general assembly and then going from dinner assembly into an industry that i really didn't know much about so what i was doing. After general assembly was i was i was hit. People have lengthened and asking them if i could meet up with them for coffee and then i also go to a couple of meet ups in the city and dan i felt like i built myself community from doing that in the in the design community and i had all the support from people who had recently met and and i was like oh this is really cool that there is a design community in l. a. once i never knew about an and they're all kind of like learning learning about xs on because this seems like a recent industry. That's becoming popular like it. I don't think when i was in college i had never heard about you ex design so so is kind of like we're all learning together which i really enjoyed because it reminded me of my days of skateboarding so i feel like transitioning into this view was kind of fun 'cause i was going to into unknown territory but there was one day where i went to this job fair and i had built a prototype zero type of a barbershop application and i showed the dude it was like an invasion prototype dude at the job fair light yo look at this the bill i used to be a barber and basically it's at where you can find barbara's in your neighborhood. Check it out and he played with it for like two minutes yeah. I'm gonna send you an email tomorrow for an interview this come through in show your work. Wow the guy who interviewed me was mark kostas in his friend peter but i just told them straight up <unk>. I learned about this stuff in the development. I feel like i'm pretty good at it but what i really want to focus on you designed zayn. I told them that interview interview and i just made it clear that i was looking for a mentor that this is stuff that i've recently been learning and he just seemed seemed like a cool person. They hired me nice so <unk>. I liked that he was somebody who had he was actually coach before he started started. You xs i used to coach cross country at high school so i feel like this says people. We had a lot of similarities in our backgrounds mhm willing to train me from from the start of my career so he saw something in you and you were direct about it. Was i think <hes> i mean i could just say this from somebody who gets hit up all the time with coffee requests. I it's so much better if you're directing that like hey i would love to get together and like pick your brain house like i. I have too much other stuff going on not to be mean about it but it's like if you haven't erect ask <hes> that helps me out a lot because then i can give you a direct dancer exactly yes someone i was on the job. You know when i first started. I thought that i had to producing in do all all this work but he allowed me to really explore where i wanted to go with the design so i didn't have a lot of work for the first three or four months. What's he was just allowing me to go online at learn actually and <hes> so i was learning about parallel rolling in i learned how to code a parallel site site because we might have <unk> at the time we wanted to do a parallel x webpage though he allowed me to learn that i built my own parallel scrolling page he allowed allowed me to learn about you know colored theory in anything i wanted to basically and you would just give me his feedback while i was learning so i like that was like training for me up upfront that i don't think any school can give me you know just says like mentor ship something that he was passionate about ami becoming coming my best self you know pushing myself every day. I felt like it was a match made in heaven this to have that at that point in my life almost sounds like it was like an apprenticeship in a way because he was helping you along with building projects but it wasn't something where it was. I guess tied to your success as an employee <hes> but more so talk to your success is like a practitioner of the work yup exactly yeah at some point. Hopefully i can do the same for somebody. You know that that's my overall dream is to to bring a person of color into the industry and you know give them that same opportunity that i had upfront because i felt like with a lot of people people in our community that i get hit up lincoln all the time and they don't see the potential in themselves where you know where you kind of do different different things in your life that allow you to see where you can go and if somebody else sees that in you and you have the the work ethic to to do it then then why not give somebody the opportunity because i feel like if you have a different way of thinking you have a potential to contribute to an industry that otherwise probably wouldn't have gain you know. Let's sure as we richard now. One thing that i thought was really interesting as i was doing my research is that along along with working at salesforce. You're also a math teacher. Please talk to me about that. Yeah not not anymore. I haven't done it because my wife's been pregnant. It okay yeah but <hes> last year. I did it for over a year and i need to update my link. Yeah it used to be this program. Graham i was involved with that actually gave me my salary suit <hes> so you <unk> something that i'm really grateful for you know 'cause i. I didn't graduate with a hundred thousand dollars two two hundred thousand dollars debt but that program really helped me in my life because my mom she died when i was nineteen years old and my dad he's got schizophrenia. He lives out in el paso texas but at a time in my life where i really didn't know i was born nineteen years old on santa monica college taking the bus at five a._m. Gonna work at the e._s._p._n. Zone so one a._m. Wow you know that whole hardship it was a real struggle for me so when i transferred to u._s._c. the program pay from scholarship they paid for me to to travel to new york arken intern at a._m._c. networks so all those different experiences in my life for them being with me at times that i needed somebody the most. I just felt naturally like i. I have to give back to this program like whatever they need from me in whatever these kids need me. I'm i just want to give it back. Though oh <hes> yeah they offer me a teaching position where i felt like i didn't just wanna teach because a lot of these kids through problems at home that they they probably don't feel comfortable talking a lot about to other people <hes> so just being there as a mentor and guide for them at life was my whole wrong exact objective like yeah math matt was cool and it's a part of the program but just being alive teacher and guidance counselor is what was <hes> one of the reasons. They brought immune especially for kids at that age. It's just important for them to just see you. Being there like that is not even as much about what you teach teach them or just the fact that you're a presence that they know is going to be there on a consistent basis is super important exactly and <hes> like like i didn't have a lot of male role models in my life. Growing up in growing up in south delay also saw a lot of my peers. Didn't <music> have male role models so i'm like yo like if if i can become that the people in my community why wouldn't i try to do that. You know i i saw the the effects of not having a rural railroad model but hopefully they can gain some of the benefits because i feel like you know growing up a lot of my friends <unk> even including myself we wanted to ballers. We thought that that we were gonna make it to the lease is like what are you gonna do yeah yeah. You don't see that there's other avenues that you can take in life so i tried to expose my kids to the art. In different creative outlives blitz <unk> hopefully spark that thing with within themselves that helps them see where they can go in their life. After education who we're some of the people that have influenced you man <hes> people influence. I say one person i think michelangelo like i was learning about michelangelo michaelangelo at one point before i started his design learn that he was a sculptor he was a painter. He painted the sistine chapel. He was a scientist and he's the draw so just learning about his life and seeing that there was low no limitation to what he can do unlike joe i. I don't know about design but if he could do the sistine chapel that maybe there's been great that i can do to so i feel like it. Allow me me to see as a human being that you can only put limitations where you see them. You know you can see the possibilities of the beauty that you can create in the world then go after it you know like i don't know the specifics of what drove him to do that but i feel like just seeing that you know that you can just tap. I've been to whatever you really put your mind to. That's something that a lot of people don't have like. I felt like early autumn my career some people who gave me guidance. They're like yo. You should just focus. Don't one thing and get really good at that one thing but i feel like exposing myself to a bunch of different things. Allow me to see that they're they're all these he's different paths that i can take within design and i'm kinda good at a few so why should i focus on one thing. You know like michaelangelo. He gave me the motivation that that i could be totally who i wanted to be. Do you have a dream project or anything that you'd really love to do a dream project yeah. I'd like hi to work on something in music but i feel like right. Now is my dream project. This is my current dream project. You know if i could help south l._a. Or are in in a city community raise money. You know for kids to go to college. That's my dream. That's not <unk>. I feel like right now. The stuff that i'm working samantha b cloudiness is the main thing but if there was another thing that i wanted to work on it probably be something in music. I'm not sure this is something that helps creative creative people get their message out and also maybe like a small clothing brand where i can just experiment with different styles in you know catering during the different audiences. Maybe escape boy brand okay. That'd be interesting thing about a u <hes> skateboarding so one of the people who i interviewed. I think probably the first person for the show that i interviewed that was like in and around the l._a. Area i think he's still there. <hes> was emory douglas who was the former mer minister culture for the black panther party and i found out his information because i was looking around. I was doing research for him. And i found around there was this company that was doing gate board decks of his work man they were mentioning that this was licensed work or whatever and i remember reaching out to them and just on a whim just reached out and asked if they knew him they can put me in contact with him and i think the guy that was doing the skateboard decks was his grandson on and like put me in touch with him and like we ended up having the conversation on the show. It's episode fifteen people wanna go listen to it but yeah no. That's an interesting coincidence there now one thing i have to ask about because you only because you mentioned in the bio is about the house plants <hes> i. I gotta ask about the house plants. Yes you have thirty houseplants yeah now now. Now talk to be like trying to get tips. I have like four plants. I i don't know if i necessarily want to get to like a jungle stage but i certainly want to get better at the plants that i have so talk to me about. The plants talk to me about that yeah so i actually slate. There was a book from guy hilton carter that recently came out <hes> announced sale was life changing but because this guy has a complete jungle jungle in his home and my family's from belise where you know they they got jungle all over it so i'm like what's the easiest way i can recapture that in my own hopes abso- read his book got a bunch of tips and i started doing the same thing to my home. I wanna start off with pathos. Grandma plan. Okay all right. It's it's the easiest way you can put it. In a low light. Situation highlight situation is still going to thrive in. You can let it dry out. You know <hes> before you water it. It puts a finger dirt dislike inch above if it's dry you water it if it's not you know water to it to the water comes out the bottom adam i know like before i started with house. Lands like i would just kind of give it a trickle. Now you gotta walk yeah well. The the water actually drains out this feel like since i work at home just having a bunch of houseplants around they helped me become. I'm like i feel like i'm working and playing around more you know like it doesn't feel like i'm working feels like i'm gonna treehouse nice. You know so so it feels like it's had an effect on the work without produce day to day so it kinda creates this environment where you're like nature you know you i feel like you're not in an office yeah so it helps a lot. I'm going to have to get another potholes. I had one and because i ah in the traveling a fair bit for work. I know that i was going like weeks or so without watering it and i certainly haven't watering in and and you know doing stuff to it. I realized that one of the what i thought was like one of the healthy leaves was just i guess like somebody had just cuts a leaf off offers from a larger plant and just put it in the soil and like i i was thinking this thing had roots and was growing. I was like no. It's just a leaf like it has a specific acidic sitting in the dirty sound like the place that i have now are pretty low maintenance but i do want something. That's i don't wanna say show ear but something bigger. I guess i have a <hes> z. Plants oh yeah snake plants. Oh yes which i bought it i- kia like two years ago. I'm surprised it's still still thriving and i have to orchids but they're not flowering like they were when i bought them now. They're not. They're just leaves now. I guess uh-huh thinking of getting some more stuff. I had succulents for a while because that was like the in thing and they all died. I i have a friend who actually he sells plants and stuff on oetzi and he was he tells me all the time like you know. People get seconds because it's like trendy but they're just not good house plants and he was saying the same the thing about the big <hes>. What do you call the big. The fiddle leaf fig all those big plants now like that big for the past four five appears in its struggling yeah he's like because they're trees like they need a lot of water than eat a lot of soil like they have to like branch out in that way and like it doesn't really do super well as a house plant like you have to get in touch with like certain plants that just do well in the house and others don't actually have something thing in. I got this from work. It's not a plants. It's <hes> i forget what she called. It has a name. I think it's called like amari mo or or something. It's a japanese ball of algae and it's it's synagogue this holy get up right now. It's in a jar of water water and it basically just subsists there. It's like these these balls of algae that are supposed to like sit on the on the lake floor in japanese flakes or something <hes> and i'm glad that she she likes sent them to us. 'cause she's like they're impossible to kill. I'm like great because sometimes i'll just forget about about watering and i know different plants have different watering schedules and i gotta get better on my plant game which sucks because i was in four h. In highschool i should be better at this but whatever i think i need to get some tips on the house plans so thanks for thanks for the tip saw that no that's good to know yeah there. There's another one i have majesty palm and that one is beautiful you. You don't need a ton of light but if you put it near you know you know what indirect window light what is right yeah when you're when you're win. It's not it's not like beating down on your plant beating down but if you put it in the indirect <unk> facing window light yeah that roquette thrive and beautiful yeah. I need to get some more plants that are like that because the way the my apartment situated. It's it's a <hes>. <hes> somebody apartment is too large those in the bedroom when the living room and it's very much east facing apartments it gets a ton of sun in the morning. Oh oh god say maybe about like four o'clock or so you know as a son starting to set in the west. It'll it'll die down but it gets a lot in the morning and so i try to make sure so i can my living room. It's hard to not put a plant in the window because the entire like mayans higher. Living room is flooded with light in the morning same way with my bedrooms. I need to try to find. I gotta figure it out man. I gotta find the the rights the right mix so <hes> when you look back doc <hes> your career. What do you wish you know when you first started but i wish i know i wish that i didn't have no everything upfront <hes> everybody's he's learning as they go even even the top c._e._o.'s even the best product managers the press the best designers the best product manages ages. Everybody's trying to learn something as they go. There isn't somebody who knows everything and i feel like for a lot of young designers who hit me up. They feel like behalf the snow everything up front you know before they start their careers. They have to know how to use sketch in how to design. You know a whole advocation or you know they gotta learn about front end development and be the best friend and developers before they even start but what people don't understand. Astana <unk> is trying to get better. Everybody's learning something <unk> if you show that you're passionate about something interested. I think people are going to support you in that so but but a lot of people don't know what they're passionate about so. I just feel like if i knew upfront. You know it's okay not to know something. It's it's okay not to understand them business and just kind of <hes> voice what you want for yourself and people will help you then. You'll be all right enough l. like that's what i communicated to the intern than i work with fandango. She's recently graduated from u._n._c. n._c. Struggle with that same thing because because i feel like we all have some form of imposter syndrome we all have that a lot of designer suffer from that and i feel like even before you get started. You can feel intimidated because you're looking at other designer portfolios in your light yellow bear the greatest designers i've ever seen has kinda like you're going to the gym and if you want to get on the on the bench press machine benchpress to thirty five and you haven't even got two hundred yet. You know it's kind of like that same zan mentality you. You think that you could just go out there and show out but you can't until you. You know you start building by date. It's kinda like when when i was starting now one of my mentors he said that you lay a foundation brick by brick and it's and you can look at life like you're building house so each day you're laying down the foundation where you wanna see the yourself in the vision for your life. I approached design the same way. I don't know everything about you. I design. I will know everything about you ex design but i'm learning every day and so are my team members yeah so just for young designer to know of it. You know if you're interested in becoming the u._s. Designer reach out to somebody in show them that you're interested. You know maybe by knowing a project. Maybe by getting some coffee but you you do not need to. I feel like you need to have all the education upfront or have five years of experience like these job description. Say what does success look like for you now. <unk> success now at think success is is less about financial success at more about inner happiness because i feel like if you're internally happy with the direction that your life is going everything else. It will appear as <unk> as a success to you so <hes> because i i struggled a lot when my mom passed away f l like for a long time i was in survival mode always needing a job always needing needing to be stable financially but i've learned through going therapy for the past two years of my wife. I've learned that if you're internally happy lead you. You'll be happy in your relationships. You'll be happy the opportunities that come to you and you just thrive because people kinda see something within you you that you see in yourself. You know like success now it. It just means being at peace with where you're at in life because now i'm gonna be a father and i'm. I'm thinking to myself <unk> built. The life have built a life that can support a child. Are they going to see things within me that help them become a better person and hopefully they do but i felt like for me at least having faith in myself being <hes> close to my spirituality and helping my friend that my friends around me see greater than themselves. That's what real success to me. Is i used to think growing up that you had to be famous to change lives but i feel like if you can change the lives of people in your community nitty and give them faith that they can make something better of themselves than been. I feel like that's the ultimate success jeremy just a wrap things up. We're working our audience. Find out more about you about your work on line. They always it up on lincoln. Look jammie doodoo. There are not many less you can look up my website jeremy doodoo dot com and i'm on instagram at jamie doodoo right sounds good. We'll jeremy. Do i wanna thank you you. I really want to thank you so much coming on the show. I mean you know we talked a little bit before recording and you were asking like well. What does the audience like wanna hear and i was like they wanna hear about like the journey and there was something you said earlier in the interview. You said it's the journey that makes it fun and i feel like what you certainly illustrated in terms of like like the experiences in your personal life in your work life. <hes> the strong drive that you have for community activism and mentorship giving back. I feel like that's what you've done like. You've helped make your journey fun and i'm really excited to just see kind of what is going to come up next for you in life man. I really mean that so thank you so much for coming on the show appreciate it. Thank you for having me maurice. You know i do feel like i don't have all the answers but i'm always trying to learn and contribute. She beat the community and that's it for this week. Big thanks to jeremy doodoo and thanks to you for listening you can find out more about jeremy and his work with the links in the show notes at glitch dot com slash provision path provision path is a glitch media network podcast is produced by deanna testa and edited by britney brown our intro voiceovers by music man dray with enjoy outdoor music by yellow speaker aw we're also powered by simple cast easiest way for podcasters to publish and distribute audio on the internet. Make sure you check the show notes for a link to sign up for fourteen day free trial oh and if you'd like episode and please let more people know about it by leaving us a rating and review on apple podcasts it takes about a minute or so to do but it really we really helps spread the word about religion path everywhere you can also find us on spotify google podcast soundcloud over ever you find your favorite shows and make picturing following us on facebook instagram twitter just search for revision path. Thanks for listening and we'll see you next time.

salesforce skateboarding jeremy doodoo basketball mark kostas design director dan i los angeles maurice cherry santa monica intern new york sistine chapel l._a australia
Arielle Wiltz

Revision Path

57:52 min | 1 year ago

Arielle Wiltz

"You're listening to the revision path. Podcast a weekly showcase of the world's black graphic designers designers and web developer through in-depth interviews. You'll learn about their work. Their goals and what inspires them as creative individuals? Here's your host Maurice Cherry. Hello everybody welcome to revision path. My name is Maurice Cherry and before we jump into this week's interview just WanNa let you know it. Is that time of year again? Time for our annual audience survey provision path has been around now for seven years which is an eternity in the podcasting space. And we've really ended up becoming a platform to showcase black designers and developers and digital creative from all over the world. So we want to know how we can make this better. We need your input so we can grow and sustain ourselves in this design media landscape and of course gives you more of these great conversations that you tune in for that you really will not find anywhere else. So to take the survey head over to revision path DOT COM forward slash survey and fill it out should take about five minutes or so. We'll even choose. One lucky survey responded to win a two hundred and fifty dollar Amazon Dot Com gift card. Something on local definitely come in handy during these times again. That survey is at revision path dot com forward slash survey. The survey will be up until the end of the month. May thirty-first thank you so much for your time and of course for your feedback as well. Let's talk about our sponsors facebook design. Abstract facebook design is a proud sponsor a provision to learn more about how the facebook designed community is designing for human needs and unprecedented scale. Please visit facebook dot design. This episode is also brought to you by abstract design. Workflow management for modern design teams split Lewis time searching for design files and tracking down feedback and spend more time focusing on innovation and collaboration like glitch but for designers abstract is your team's version control source of truth for design work with abstract you. Conversions catch design files present. Words request reviews collect feedback and give developers direct access to all specs. All from one place signed your team up for free fourteen trial today by heading over to. Www DOT abstract dot com. Now for this week's interview I've talking with Area Wiltz New York City based U. X. designer currently in New Orleans. Now we recorded this of course. They're in the widespread lockdown efforts during the pandemic so the audio quality might be a little crunchiness spot. So I apologize about that. Let's start the show all right so tell us who you are and what you do name. Reo Worlds and I am at interaction designer. Currently working at frog design is a design consultancy firm monitor the largest ones in globally. Actually Nice. Now what's a regular day like for you there and I know that this is probably a odd question to ask given what we're going through right now at this pandemic but talk to kind of like what your regular day to day is like yes my regular day to day before pandemic usually typically wouldn't frog were teens so the teens are filled with like strategists depending on a project does show designers designers interaction designers like myself. We usually really coming together to brainstorm on whatever the project that we're currently working on so sometimes is is a lot of white boarding the day as sometimes it's about a hits downs like executing the project other times. You may be for myself especially being interaction designer. We're doing like user testing giant to understand how to use fill about the experienced our creating so it really varies like everyday how we work in function but usually when you own a project at rock and your with your team you Richard for months so you are with that team the whole entire time so usually like you in your little corner which you're cheating working brainstorming ideology. Sounds like there's a lot of heads down work that you get to do to focus on a project. Yeah it is a lot of hits down sometimes so when I think of it down. It's like knee working by myself. A lot of times frog really big with collaboration. They believe in like a lot of bringing together you know especially from different disciplines is rare that. I'm just working with people who are interaction designers. I'm usually working with people who are all different types of disciplines. I haven't had the luxury tour Industrial designers have worked with strategist before war and designers of course and design technologist. So a Lotta Times. We're like really working together. And then once we come with an idea concept we're going to execution history but I think so beautiful one thing. I learned from frogs that absolutely love creative process late when I was in school Studying I used to feel like it just came from thin air. Like how do you go from eight to be? You know like what is happening but like with frog and working collaboratively in frock really big like design research in like pulling from all the research to really like conceptualize coming out with these amazing. Did because you know one thing about frog as we push for the next big thing so I think that really phenomenal. That had opportunity to learn this there. How did you get started at fog actually is very interesting? I just really applied more so so my journey to experience interaction design is really one thing about the career that I'm in Or the discipline. People go to like the top schools. Right people go to school. Visual Arts Schools in Europe grew in Asia. They really work vigorously on a per folio. Ten internships me just studied graphic design at Loyola. And I didn't even WanNa do it anymore so I was really big into like art. Nonprofits helping out. My community decided to move to New York. Because that's what I always wanted to do. Some without a job or police live in with my first job just doing digital project management. I just fell into it so I fell into it and I just build my way into becoming a design a lot of ups a Lotta down because I didn't have a lot of the resources like people at those types of schools but when it's two thousand sixteen when I found to bill my foundation regularly at a fulltime job. I work really hard at it so when it came time for when I applied a frog and I learned how to present how to articulate Mar Story. I think that's what really won them over. What kind of projects are you working on right now at frog as much of that as as you can mention so? I can't mention much but frog a lot of practice. I can tell you about the type of project so a lot of projects would frog which is different from like unaccompanied. I work with 'cause like I said Frog is not one of the largest but one of the top design consulting firms in the world. But what they do is is people come to us. Really want us to reinvent in reimagined so think of like any type of like healthcare like how can we re imagine healthcare for Twenty First Century? frog is known for building like one of the first Macintosh and working with Steve Jobs. You know so. That's the history of frog on really from industrial designs mounted digital age and so allied projects Companies COME TO US and letters finance or entertainment or like healthcare is really just reimagining. The experienced reimagining. How can be done coming up with completely new concepts had never been done before? So that's why I say the creative process is so unique to means Amazing on how do you actually get there? And now you're also the lead frogs diversity inclusion group there in New York as much of that as you can talk about. I'm really curious because I don't hear about this. A lot at design agencies like how did that Group Begin? And as you're sort of leading it up what sorts of things does the group do so frog initially did start having a deny this amazing creative director in Austin who had a luxury pleasure to work with Alexis. She used to own it but I feel like in New York. We didn't really have anything. So one day Muana again Mentors Frog John Washerman. He was like who wants to lead the annex. We had like a slack channel so at the time I didn't I was on Benjamin Shore. I'll lead it so. We started to have just like workshops with people. They're like FROG. They're diverse in a sense but when it comes to the numbers as far as like blacks. Latinos is very low. So we were just like everyone in it no matter of your designer not we all came in together and we just like discussing like what does diversity means us. Inex- IRA and so from those conversations are started to program one was breaking barriers. Was just like just talk series open to the public where we had. He revived people. But we for sure had people speaking people of color because when like in design I didn't believe twenty percent of it is people of Color in Afars blacks only five percent and you know so my goal was to for us to actually see. 'cause I think that's the big thing that a lot of times I don't see it so I don't think I can do it. I really pushed for that. To just have people know. All different types of people collartoo knows chairs and actually speak about their story so that was very successful in my baby. My favorite thing is for mentors where it was selective program where we reached out to again. Like I said you know when it comes to these these companies a Lotta Times. They from like the top schools in I was like you know what? Let's look at the state schools as look at the local schools because of the local community. College those because the children matter is there's talent in innovators everywhere. So we fall. I believe like Twenty Eight. People apply we narrow down to two amazing mentor shadow to Saron Lisa and they work vigorously To creative directors in came up with amazing portfolios. Were now working at amazing companies so on buzzfeed believe grey advertising. Yeah Yeah and that was like the first time doing it was like it was really prototype like I just hit the ground running as we were going accurate and made it. I did have helped for like I said the mentors the mentorship program was like a lot of work and we all have like designed jobs as well. You know like people have like departments to subdue bed but we worked really hard at I'm just so proud of mementos ended difference that they're making just you know being there at themselves in space in these spaces and I think that's brings me joy honestly like seeing other people coming through the doors who like you know. Look like me are represented another culture. That's what design needs because it could be very eurocentric. Oh it's totally is eurocentric here in the United States totally eurocentric now these kinds of of DNA groups. I mean I feel like I hear about them a lot. From tech companies like tech companies will have some type of a actually. We had back in December Kendall House who works for Red Hat and he heads up their deny group. But there's something that I kinda hear from tech companies. I don't really hear it from like agencies are designed consultancies frog is. Why do you think it's important to have this kind of group at a company like frog? Oh it's so important because designers especially especially in today's age like everything that you do everything that you experience has been designed out for you you know where like urban design industrial design like the product that you're using the experience that you have like you know like for example telehealth that everyone's using Right now especially with the pandemic everything's being designed for you. And if the majority of people who are designing our white mill consciously or unconsciously. You know you don't know it become is correct so I think is so important to have a diverse representation not only just of race like as ability of like anything just to diversify it so other people can feel included and inexperienced. Don't feel like left out it. Especially since technology's taken such a whole wheat exercise people are being left out which is so unfortunate so I feel like one of my missions especially as a designer is to make sure I do my part in bridging the gap and so to me. That was what the mentor. Ship was as a part to bridge the gap. Far As you know what product design in like brand design like even like drew with brand design making sure that images of different types of people from different cultures are included. So at definitely feel like it's important especially when you work at a company that whole goal is to innovate like one thing. I love to say. Diversity isn't innovation just imagine having a group of designers engineers wwl designers strategies all in a room from all different types of backgrounds including economical backgrounds. So that's issue to really thinking in brainstorming. Strategizing problem imagine the solutions. That can come out of it. So that's why I feel like it's just extremely important especially now to diversified industry. What's the best thing about what you do fog? You know what I have to say. I work with Excel Extremely amazing creative people. I have been blessed that have worked with people who really had to for sure. Managers are created directors that have really pushed me to think that at levels that happening even imagined also just working very closely like I said you know we. We're collaboratively working very closely with the visual designers. Because that's what often work with. I learned so much from them so I think that the thing that I really enjoy working with. I feel like I'm blessed to have worked with like I said Alexis from Austin occur. Director does no longer dare jared manager Henry Bike to work with people like that who really pushed me and just really I'm dean taken to another level from net and then working with my coworkers to like mount. Vdi Co workers. That's the ones who usually work with. Yeah it's really adding that's what's really cool about it. Because he worked with the top people there so yeah so given that. Collaboration is such a big part of not just the work that you do at frog but also sounds like just the culture of working at Frog. How have things been different now with this pandemic because now? I'm assuming you're you're working from home. Probably everyone is working from home. Zooming right right. Everyone's working from home right now. Yes yes oh man. It's been so different working for both. I feel like I'm working more working from home than I'm not really having a lot of down time like I'm on a screened haunts time. We have a lot of means like this project. I'm working on now. We have a lot of meetings just to make sure every once in a loop and like I said what agencies is usually a lot of fast pace work as well so I will say difficult I would say new you know like different is different than I feel like. If after if this pandemic laughs until June July people will get used to it. But it's definitely new. I know the company did set up parameters of how to work from home and they leased out different softwares in order to do it which is all cool but just like really adjusting yourself to do like. I usually wake up early breakfast. Duda Duda on now. I'm so tired because I feel like I go. Go go go go home entire time and it's not like I'm leaving work than coming home. I work is that that's really new for me but yeah we still like still have meetings like every basically running the same way as it was running before is just adjustment of work from home definite like everybody at my company everybody everywhere it they don't really work from home is like kind of struggling with you. Does it feel like frogs extending some kind of. I don't know grace during this time because this is a big shift for everyone. I'm assuming you know it's not just the change in working in an office to work at home but like having the right setup in terms of your desk or chair or laptop or monitor or even now you know you live in New York. But you're currently New Orleans like now you're that even at your place at a different place trying to kind of adjusted so hopefully froze. Public Frog is extending some grace with how you all are working from home and not expecting right away the same level of creative output. You know what when you work at like. I said company like frog. They're always gonNA expect top-notch creative output know how it is but I think was beautiful. It like my creative director right now. Every single time we check in in really does a check in like where how are you. It's not just like a regular. How're you doing today is like seriously how are you? You know you're feeling stressed. Whatever okay maybe you need to take a walk. Maybe you need to step away you know so I think is really the creative directors. Really take taking Account different things. Like how are you doing right now? What's going on with you? Feel well you know really check it taken away more than before. Because that's what I love about the created. Eric do not like you know every day. She's really just checking innocent. Like how are you in really having a conversation about it so I feel like that's really important right now? Because not only a frog. I feel like any company or like most companies is still working. People are still going. People still trying to make deadlines in his is really hard right now because I you know. I'm fortunate right now that I don't know anyone who's sick or anything like that but for people who do you know people who do are going through. It are sick themselves. Are you know or man? I can't imagine even health system like we were saying earlier. You know being so overwhelmed right now I think everybody has some level is feeling it but yet at yeah like I said To create director stare aware of it and I think that's what's good about it like you know. We're human centered designed like we make sure that human center within the team. Too Bad really needed right now. It is happening. Yeah that's what I was saying like. I hope the companies are extending. Just that grace. Because it's I don't know we know who people are at work in an office but people's home lives in their work lives are completely different like some people use work as I want to see as an escape or that kind of feels like the best way to put it like. They may not have the best home life and going to work. Is the thing that that sort of their brief respite from whatever they might have to deal with. Whether that's I'll know kid or a spouse or deal with aging parents or anything like that. There's a lot of things that can go into play. Like working from home is It's the option that we have to take right now rain. But it's just it's a Lotta that up on top of all of that. Just the overall impending news of the of the pandemic. What's happening like it wears on you? Oh Oh definitely it definitely wears on you remember one day before I came to New Orleans thousand New York and I was. It was right before I started on projects that was like you know reading through foul and getting prepped for it and I was watching. Msnbc A whole entire day it created so much anxiety for me. I was just like try. It was like you know when people are still trying to figure everything out and that's something that has been concerning like I said I'm fortunate but one hundred percent there. There are mothers who working from home now decks and you know people who have like a ton of different businesses that they are running right now and now to work from home and do everything plus managed your kids managing like say your aging parents or possibly even if someone is sick right now so that definitely goes into play with everything but like I said being the design nerd. I think it's the time where people should you know like? I said like start mobilizing more so like utilize your skills to help others right now. They're like right now on hacked on going on what you extra change. And they're working partnering with data sent out the lead. There's really heavy on have hands on what's going on right now in actually like you know. All these designers day scientists engineers coming together to actually help solve a problem like this is the time now where people should start doing a no a ton of like fashion design right now in the health system there things going on like just making face masks right now. Though I feel like this is the time for you know for us to really hone in come together and solve these issues like you said 'cause I can't even and like I said I'm not dealing with that but I can't even imagine for someone who is dealing with something like that right now. The last time I went out was the fourteenth of March and I remember this because I was already a bit skeptical about going out Just come back from L. A. A few weeks before that and I was sick when I came back now when I came back the sickness that I had. I sorta chalked it up to allergies. 'cause allergy we have terrible pollen in Atlanta but like talking about the allergies. Just the fact that I was like in and out of planes I had switched hotels during the trip. I was at a conference like I figured all of these things just Kinda came into play with like. Oh I'm feeling kind of kind of sick now. Flu like at all but just more annoying than anything else right. So I've been getting better leading up to the fourteenth and I remember this because I was going to go vote. We were there. They had early voting than because our primary on or was I should say on the twenty four if they've now pushed it back so I went to vote early in the morning. It took me like I don't know maybe like five or ten minutes in. I remember walking into voting area in the library and the women there were like in has met suits like these are. The poll workers like gloves. Huge jugs of of hand. Sanitizer masks has message unlike. Is this ground zero like this. I felt like I walk into an emergency room or something but I remember going to vote came home and I. If I would've known that would have been the last time that I really could have left the house. I I don't know made a liquor store. Ron Or something but I would have done something else. It's just that all the news about all this is happening so quickly with shelter in place. And what's GonNa Happen? In terms of financial stimulus this is affected so many other businesses out. There I mean I feel very fortunate in tech that the company I work for hasn't been affected by it in terms of like furloughing employees or anything like that depending on how long this goes on. There's no telling what this looks like. There's no end in sight. Hopefully knock on wood by the time. This podcast comes out. We'll be outside chilling hope but like but like right now. It's like a Monday seventeen and I'm just like one day at a time. I'll just kinda see high. It goes yeah for sure. I like you know I spoke to Bali. How with design? You know we could provide to help our But like even just simple pleasures like you know not be able to have human can actually didn't even realize how much how good it feels to go. Buy Your friend's house and just like chill out. Give them a hug like these little things. You Really Miss Doing but one day. Not Love is like how technology right now. Instagram live and the denies in the Corinthian Club. Like having anything love at your house you know feeling like eat human connection again with other than the same people you see all the time and you're how that feels warm to me. You know like really needed right now. You know still feel like you're not just really stuck in the house and I can't go anywhere except just get groceries early if that if they did so. I haven't been going out to the grocery store only because I've been trying to heed the advice of like stay in order because that's the best way they can drop it off so but even like doing ordering through like instant card or something. They're like there's nothing here half the stuff that you wanted to get is not here you know so like. I don't know there's just a lot going on right now. Can make it tough to focus on work because there's so much other stuff attack happening and you're just at home and it's all like that's the epicenter of everything because you can't really go out and do anything. Yeah I think another thing. That hasn't all what I speak with. My friends right now is really helping us. Focus on like self care to unlike what to do right now. You know to really just not increase your body. You know what everything Matthier like I told you I was fine until yesterday I really started thinking. Like how long is this last? Started freaking out because I'll wait. How long is this going to last? I'M GONNA have to be here. You know dude. What about my normal life? What a what I was doing all goes that I had the summer when I'm trying to do so. It's adjustment but I feel like I am learning more like self care tools. That are probably need a while. It was in New York. New York itself can be So like really readjusting it in when we come out this will definitely continue doing no stains. You know 'cause like even the so basically even like eating like I noticed that when a New York waking up and then going on subway at work sometimes. I'm working past number hours dependent on a project. I just forget to eat in so crazy and insane but it really does happen. You know so since I've been working from home I make sure like hammer mills in things. Arakelian really just take care of myself. You know and I think that's no matter what we do a what you're doing. Make sure you take care of yourself especially in this because your immune system is. What's going to help you if you do get sick. And you don't want to buy any way shape or form have down. You know I mean you're in New Orleans which as of the time that we're recording this is one of the like big hot spots for the virus now e- add New Orleans because of people are assuming I don't know for sure but people are saying because a Mardi Gras With so many people here if it was able to spray rapidly. Yeah so it is. One of the hotspots New Orleans. I think the difference is New Orleans. It's more spaced out. So for example like my mom she might like. She's she works out every more so she might do a run. But no one's outside you know Lake 'cause like we live in a subdivision in spaced out. Unfortunately people are not staying at home like they should Yes pretty bad in New Orleans. Actually really bad actually. I know a couple of Friends of mine. Who knows someone who has it right now or even died from a mom mentioned one or two people so it was really bad here now especially when you're in a city like what I love about. New Orleans is so warm here so hospitable and for you not to do something. That's so natural down here. It's been very difficult in hard or even like for example a no which is so hard but people can't even like seat at grandparents right now in New Orleans. It's very family knit community and so people can't even feed grandparents even take care de grandparents because I know when my grandparents alive Mom used to go take care of my grandmother in so I couldn't even imagine being something like this and we can't even take care of my grandmother WHO's like differently. Abel's using a wheelchair you know so I can't even imagine people who are dealing with that right now in how difficult it can be. Have you been able to like at least like keep in touch with caller or anything? Oh no she's not here any more. Oh yeah no no no. She lived a long beautiful life though. But I'm just saying I'm just thinking about the times when my mom did do that like I know so. Many people are probably doing now. And that's difficult because you don't WanNa go there because you don't get her. You don't want to get sick and anyway but at the same time she'd be to be able to do certain things because she's she's differently abled she's she's unable to you. Know move because of the wheelchair so I think that's really difficult right now because you know not. Everybody can afford to put their loved ones in nursing homes or can do certain or provide like assistant. A lot of people are doing it themselves so to even be in a situation like this right now. It has to be very difficult to common switch. Gears are a little bit. I know we really ended up talking about this for a good bit of time. But you mentioned New Orleans from New Orleans. You grew up there. What was it like growing up there? Like as a kid interested in design. Oh Wow so. It wasn't so much that was interesting to I was just a very creative kid. One thing I do is right All right medium article so I used to like write a lot of stories. I definitely absent. Dance. I thought I wanted to become a professional dancer even study in college so I was a dancer. Also hours lake part of different activities would in church so I feel like that. All kind of brought in my skills to become a designer. You know that's one thing that I'm really big on is like stem to steam including the arts because they feel like they all contribute to innovation so even if the person decides to become scientists are technologists engineer like having the arts really helped push creativity because that definitely helped me because I used to. Oh Man I used to dance. There's this program in New Orleans New Orleans a lot of dance programs and his nor an oboe in man. I used to Dan every single day. Go to school danced and very disciplined. That ballet study modern study jazz in just a discipline. Creativity I really felt like brought into my skills as interaction design or more so like innovating. Different ideas with in technology was just GONNA ask. How did you go from from dancing to design? Oh Wow so. When I was in college in our study I became injured in one of the programs in so when I was injured. They were saying. Oh you're GONNA have to like I'm how does program went was like fall. You take discourse spring you take discourse back and forth things like Oh you're gonNA have to sit out for unum like a year on what was so focused on graduating with time which still did not happen but it was like a year wait a year and you know. I was so upset and I was like okay. I'm just GonNa Change my major. I didn't really know what I want to do. Still want to be some creative and I liked so little that I knew because I didn't know really much about all the different types of designs and I was like. Oh I heard of graphic design before I guess I'll get into that again like the story of Became Got Anything. All A fluke. Really okay. I'm just GONNA get into this. I'm going be calling a graphic designer. I get a transfer schools. Now is that you'll studying graphic design and I wind up not being so went to because I I guess I didn't get the full grabs of it at the time being young but once again fell into interaction design. I was like Oh wow using my analytical skills because I am quite a nerd when it comes to research in analyzing and then being creative and combining both gotta act that it was just like the perfect job for me like Oh my God. This is like everything that I've been wanting to do because it's like I'm very analytical now like a process you know and it was like this is the process you know to get point. Eight to beat doesn't come from thin air you know is very rigorous but if some type of silver lining to it. So yeah. That was my experience more. Sopa yet. New Orleans definitely helped me out especially mine. We were speaking earlier about my involvement with divers inclusion because attended nor Noga and again you know design is again very elite designed. Dan stands is very elite and for nobody to like have programs in like the inner city wit top Dance Teachers who taught in New York Europe etc teaching us. That was everything you know. It felt like things. Were possible that you probably thought you couldn't even do so as to one thing that I really admire. Really grateful for having background as being a dancer. What did your parents say? When you kinda switched it up like that from dancing set design. Did they have anything to say No My dad wanted me to be a doctor. He had his heart set on it so mark they went into it. They weren't into it at all. They went into me studying dance. They weren't into me. They really didn't get into it until they weren't into moving to New York at all. I think they really didn't realize Mar Journey Pat chosen until I started becoming successful into it. You know and now they go brag area. What do you? What does that again? I have to explain it overlay. What did that do are you? Oh it's computers. I'm like well. We'll just say computers any very proud but might lake my parents supportive. But you know I feel like most parents of people of color especially like like like they want you to be Dr Injured near you know like names that they know you should do when I was like. Oh because someone design it was like what is that we know that you know also a part of it probably is just. I think it might be less about wanting to be a doctor engineer and more about being a successful role where you can take care of yourself and hopefully them to like. Yeah you know. Like I think it's more about the possibility or the probability of that and because we know that there are working artists and designers out there but when we think about jobs that like have some level of respect or prestige or make money it does end up being those kind of like Doctor Lawyer Engineer. Kind of things you know. It's less about being a designer or artist or illustrator or physician or anything like that. You know yeah one hundred percent. But that's the thing that I love about what I do because yes I am a designer interaction designer but the reason why I truly decided to go go this pat in what my career is because I always loved helping people that was one of my passions because in the beginning I was working in nonprofit and making sure I was branch the arts into the cities where people weren't exposed to our kids aren't exposed to more so and so I was like dinking about going. I was working at campus. Set the time right. A digital project manager already started assisting you exercise saw already kind of doing it and so. I just wanted to learn more about it and like said I'm a researcher so on computer CH- I found this company in created. This really really amazing technology that allow patients with I believe Ayla be able to communicate their needs in control things like for example turning the lights on off or leg on turn on TV or not using technology. When I saw that I was like. Oh my God. I'm still contributing in some way. You know I may not be the doctor in the hospital but you know I'm creating technology for doctor and hospital and that's when I was like this is what I need to do. This is what I want to do in my life. And so that's when rigorously pursued it feel like you know really letting people know the different -tunities any in choosing to become a designer is one of the big things are even being to create a feel because I feel like sometimes people just thank you know. We just call her. Draw Day like no no. I definitely do not do that. Also so when did you decide to make the move to New York because it sounds like you kind of had your roots there in New Orleans with your family and going to school there? Why the move to New York again like I said this. Been My journey. This probably the theme of My Journey Fluke. I was just like you know what I was. Working at. A Main Zine nonprofit call young Audience Young Audience Louisiana mazing nonprofit and I was working there and I was making decent amount of money to the New Orleans moved from office manager to like marketing associate. Because one thing you realize is when you have a faint type of green design the first team they make you do no matter what you WanNa do like you definitely step out decided like oh you studied graphic We need help with this. Pull you back in and it was just like I was working on day and I always want to move to New York since I was a child and I just went somewhere. Mom still at home. I believe I was twenty. Four twenty five in head to York and my mom was like would want money. I'm just I'm just GONNA START. Saving and I'm GonNa move and then I like a win. I picked a day in September six. That's when I was like why is it separate six? I was like this is. This is just a planet. I did it just so crazy. I told my friends I can imagine. Now my best friend Tracy is like where are you going to live? And it was just. I didn't have a place to live uninhabited job at the time. Everything Kinda got into place. Of course. I wasn't homeless. You know but yeah I was working in restaurants. Were a good time when I moved to New York shadow to the restaurant industry and yet I just kind of what I did know is. I did know that I wanted to be in digital did. Have some type of plan I was like. I want to work in digital but I didn't know about all the different types of disciplines so all I knew was studied. Graphic design graphic design. Sort of took. Things I knew I knew I wanted to work in digital and knew. I didn't want to be a graphic design anymore so for my research I was like oh I wanted to become a project manager but I thought that was being a product manager. I didn't know the difference so just applying for those jobs. So that's really how it all happened. Basically just flicked. It was just like something must bear it. I'm very intuitive. So a China listen to my spirit in just go forward epochal forward a plan you know. I do have plans in place when I do things when I decided to do something. Aiko Fort would a plan and make a schedule really like sketch it out. You know move in Fort but yeah that's really how it happened and I saw you know from looking at your Lincoln. You worked at a company called Tiger Spike for over two years as a U. X. Designer what did you take away from that experience? Oh Wow tiger. Spike really gave me my foundation. You know when I was a candidate at the other companies to really me just trying to find myself like how do I fit in this world so I was like studying at Gerald sudenly part-time? 'cause I couldn't afford the full time program working fulltime trying to become a US designer at the time then finally like doing just so free. Lance gives contradicts but once I got Tiger Spike. That really set my whole foundation of being a designer. A one thing I had to say about tax type spike. It's now smaller. Us But it was the first time I met another black designer and I know that may sound crazy but that was not enough for this today also enough for this show. That is definitely not I remember. I was sorta recruiter at Tiger Spike. She helped me get a contract jobs and so my contract issues. Oh Tiger spikes did not work attack. Choose own now. We're we're like hiring for this project is gonNA be contract to full-time. I'll let you know if you qualify. You know so. We were talking back and forth. They need someone more senior in my new. I did not have anything for portfolio. I had one general assembly project and made projects told me say it was Monday. She told me Monday. I had an interview and then so I on Tuesday. I stayed up all day and night creating a project because I know I didn't have a portfolio and I know I didn't have anything Salt Lake. I stayed up all day night working on it. Right no sleep. I go in the next day delirious but determined to do well and I was shaking nervous. 'cause you know when you go into space you know is predominantly. Keno is not me. I don't see myself and so I walked in and I see this black on her name Rachel Robbins automatically just like relief. Came through me. It was like my first time seeing a black desire and she was high up to as well it. I presented her my work. Her throughout the designers might work in it was just such a comic relief's In that space that I think that's one of the reasons why did so well because I was no longer nervous and scared. I felt like okay. She's there I don't know her experience in your background but this woman looks like me so you know I can. If I don't get in here I could make when in this industry and I think that really helped me get my foot in the door and like I said it was like the foundation of designed for me very rigorous but amazing team amazing company. I was even able to Travel to London ask like my first time in Europe and I worked there for three months old just. The opportunities were endless. Work INNER SOLVING DREAM RATHER THAN WITH. A LOT A lot. Yeah I was like I said again just very blessed on his during like you know. The journey has up and downs. But you know highs be really high because you know you like wow. I can't believe I just moved here without a place to live now in London. Just really mean the place where I work at now glitch. The first week was split between me being in New York and being in London like the first day at work was they flew me up. There did paperwork at everything in New York. Monday flu overnight to London was in London. Hthe first time in London Tuesday Wednesday Thursday. That Wednesday actually was a conference that my CEO that and like my boss was attending. So it's like this is my first time meeting these people and it's at a conference where I'm expects to represent the company on like day three working at the at the place and flew back on the Thursday like Thursday afternoon slash evening then was in New York on Friday and then back in Atlanta on Saturday. I was like this is while while I know and for you you know you hear about I know. Be An from the salad and being from New Orleans like you hear about people who live like that. You know like traveling all the time for word in going mix cities but actually for you experienced. It's like wow especially how I was like. Probably Twenty seven twenty experienced. Something like that for the first time in. No one in my family ever did anything like that so for me to do it. Wishes experience. So I also saw that. You do some work with add color. You're on their advisory board. Can you talk a little bit about that sure? Yeah so on. Academic Advisory Board. Would we focus on is the future? Futures are junior level people who are in their careers and we focus more so on building skills for them to develop so they could carry on throughout their professional career especially another big thing is diversifying industry. Not just what people call it but also different genders as well as different abilities in can go on and on and so what we do is our goal is to create these programs for them so when the conference come in we have like the futures come a little early in create these programs to help them develop these skills as well as we help out really voicing speaking out for like a color and what is about isn't a mazy only been one year so far dismissed second year in. It's been really amazing experience because working with people and it all different industry because you're is primarily ad but now especially technology people in tech companies like Google and facebook on board as well as people in different like marketing industries as well people with different backgrounds. We all have the same mission in diversified industry in portent of diversifying industry. So I think it's a major experience because it's again hold onto what I really believe in will be say in color is rise up in reach back and that's one thing that I feel like I just been doing before color now in probably after Been doing with my life just really trying to rise up to like the best that I can Always trying to reach back to others to make sure they. Can you know come on as well and tried really narrow the gap so About this it's been adult. Go experience when you come and look back over your career no you. You've been mentioning getting into design and opportunities that you've had as a fluke but when you look back over your career like what are some of the biggest lessons that you've learned about yourself taking lessons. I learned about myself our resiliency for shore. Because as I'm telling a story there were a lot of lows. There is a lot of times especially when I moved to New York. I was really struggling financially in trying to make it in there. Were Times or are just really thought you know. Maybe I need to go back home. Maybe I can do it but I'm telling you hard times really help you like you know how hard time so build character like. Yeah whatever 'cause you go through the hard time when you look back you like? Yeah no it did. Help me bill my resilient see. I feel like everything that I went through no matter. It was like the harsh shifts making it into New York. Or it was very heartbreaking for me because I did want to go to one of the top designs goals in speaking with my mom at the time it was like well. You can't. We can't afford it right now. you can really afford it yourself. You know with how you're trying to pay for things to hell is gonNA happen. So really niche trying to strategize and figure out ways on okay I wanNA become disused experiences our become his interaction design are WanNa work at these companies. How do I get there? You know so really build skill of being coming strategic and I I feel like also you know the scale of becoming Mike being a fireman like really bean fighter in a sense of Standing on what I believe in you know like as far as like I say like diversifying the industry making sure more of us are in space and not just talking about it actually being about it you know actually trying to create these programs like I said it was very own. The mentorship program for mentors is very prototype. It was not a refined program by any means but I just created it and now we have to one leg Tina Middle Eastern amazing women working in industry. Now you know so you gotta start somewhere so one thing I was as you learn to. Just go for it by. This is what I want. Okay this is Kinda like about to get into like design thinking this blue-sky Now how do you give pointing to be? How are we going to get? They're kind of like the creative process have been speaking about like. How are we GONNA get there? What are you to do in those? Are the things that I really learned from experience? What keeps you motivated and inspired these days especially these days. Oh able to a lot now so like now. I feel like I'm really honing A. What's my northern star? Emma that is diversity inclusion. And how do I do that? I'm Kinda like go to parks desma choice of weapon. You know much. Lemons like design innovation and technology. So what harm utilizing it is trying to focus on product inclusion? Now that's like one of my main goals. I'm actually now that have so much free time. I'm starting to take courses in algorithm design. Ai and machine learning because that's the latest revolution happening right now for us again a we as a people are being left out in a lot of things. There's a lot of bias. Nece have any when things are being billed so I'm trying not try learning these skills in learning how to apply them as a designer at how human centered thinking into it. So that's what keeps me. Motivated right now is like you know. I now know what I love to do. I now know who I am. And how can I play a part of it? So now is just honing in all these different skills to make things happen. Where do you see yourself in the next five years? Like it's twenty twenty five. Hopefully we are well past this pandemic by then. Where do you see yourself like? What do you WanNa be doing in two thousand twenty five? Oh I would love to become a director and some level. That would be a big goal of mine. I also would definitely want to start. Probably creating a more formal program with the mentorship program. Where is kind of like you could say a school but more on the free in forests in really provide all the professional resources that like the top schools? Have that will be something that I wanna do it. Also like I said I have all these amazing skills that I have learned from Tiger Spike in from frog of like how to innovate income up with ideas and concepts. There are so many amazing people who come up with these dope dope dope ideas intact are just services but he know they need help with the creative process of how to go about really executing it or how to really solve this problem like what products needed end so I wanNA start offering a service to more so focusing on us and focusing us as black before as Brown people as well and really professional service because we need all of us in in those entrepreneur spaces as well so providing those type services. Actually I'm actually Kinda starting on that with a friend of mine. She's Investment banking so. She's more so knowing how investor relations in how that work in. I'm more on the creative side. So hopefully by twenty twenty five. We are fully established in functioning. Really wanted the top companies. Doing it oh look at that. Yeah well just to kind of wrap things up here. Where can our audience find out more about you and about your work on line share so Only Day my name is Aria. Will also medium have been writing articles at right now? They're in pandemic bummed. Definitely GonNa Start back up writing. More articles. Diversity inclusion wooden design in the workspace in now product inclusion so a medium. My name is Aria. Wiltz in as well as finalizing my website it'll be. Www dot area will dot com. All right sounds good. Well I wanNA thank you so much for coming on the show. I know that we're recording this. During a very tumultuous time right now just in terms of our society and everything but I mean I have to say like talking to you has been so refreshing today like your enthusiasm and your your drive for really just kind of carving your own path to becoming a designer something that I think I needed to hear today. I hopefully for people that are listening. They can hear that too they can. They can pick up on. Just how excited you are about the work that you're doing and I really think that you're GonNa go far. If you keep that that attitude that positive attitude take you far so thank you so much for coming on the show. I appreciate it. Thank you so much. This was a pleasure Big Big thanks to Wilson. Of course thanks to you for listening you can find out more about Ariel and her work through the links in the show notes provision path dot com and of course thanks to our sponsors for this episode. Facebook DESIGN AND ABSTRACT. Facebook design is a proud sponsor vision path to learn more about how the facebook design community is designing for human needs unprecedented scale. Please visit facebook dot design. This episode is also brought to you by abstract designed workflow management for modern design teams. Spend less time searching for design files in tracking down feedback and spend more time focusing on innovation and collaboration like glitch but for designers abstract is your team's version control source of truth for design work but abstract you. Conversion sketch design files present. Work request reviews collect feedback and give developers direct access to all specs all from one place. So your team up for free. Fourteen Day trial today by heading over to www dot abstract dot com. Revision Path is brought to you by lunch a multidisciplinary creative studio in Atlanta Georgia. Are you looking for some creative consulting for your next project? Then let's do lunch. Visit US AT LUNCH DOT com. I'll put a link to it in the show notes. This podcast is created hosted and produced by me. Maurice Cherry with engineering and editing by RJ. Silio our intro voiceovers by music man Drei with music by yellow speaker. Our transcripts are provided by glitched. This episode hit us up on twitter or instagram. Even better by leaving us a rating and review on Apple podcasts. I'll even regional review right here on the show as always thank you so much for listening and we'll see you next time.

New York New Orleans director Director facebook New Orleans United States Tiger Spike Europe Loyola U. X. Designer Alexis Maurice Cherry WanNa engineer Austin project manager Dan
291: Dexter Ferguson

Revision Path

1:00:45 hr | 2 years ago

291: Dexter Ferguson

"You're listening to the revision path podcast a weekly showcase of the world's black graphic designers, web designers and web developers through in-depth interviews. You'll learn about their work their goals, and what inspires the mess creative individuals. Here's your host MAURICE cherry. Welcome to the revision path podcast. My name is MAURICE cherry and before we get into this week. Tune of you. I just want to remind you one more time about our annual audience survey. So every year, we conduct an audience survey to learn more about you to get your feedback. It's a really helped shape revision path for the future to take the survey. Go to revision path dot com for its last survey it only takes about five minutes or so to finish. And it would really help us out a lot again, that's revision path dot com forward slash survey will close at midnight eastern time on may the first and we'll put a link in the show notes as well. Also, I talked about this a few episodes ago, but offer those who don't know I Mari Sherry host of revision bath, I'm putting together a design theology with envision that's called recognize now recognize is a group of essays and commentary on design from indigenous people and people of color now, we had a big submission period. From March the first April fifteenth, but many of you wrote me and said, you need a little bit more time to get your submissions. And so I got you. So if you need more time, we just extended the deadline to April thirtieth so go to recognize dot design, again, they'll be a link for that in the show notes recognize design. Check out the about page. Check out our no harm guidelines, and send us your work. The theme is space your submission should be three thousand words or less. There's all that information on the about page, but again, that's recognized dot design. The new deadline for submissions is able to thirty. Now for this week's interview talking to Dexter Ferguson a product designer for Airbus aerial here in Atlanta, Georgia. Let's start the show. All right. So tell us who you are what you do. My name is Dexter Ferguson. And I'm a product designer I currently am at Airbus area in Atlanta. I'm also lead designer for tribe in in Baltimore. And and more recently, I would say founder of debt benny's dot com. Wow. Well, we'll get into all of that. But let's start out with what you're doing. Shouldn't Atlanta tell us about Airbus aerial in? Like, what's a what's a typical day like for you work in their aerial is is you know, part of Airbus and Airbus is one of the largest if not de LA company in Europe. And so you know, they've been around for a while. But we have the benefit of, you know, having a lot of autonomy were were considered we consider ourselves startup. We've only been around area has only been around for about a year and a half almost two years now, and and so here. What we do is. We're basically building a platform that allows our customers to acquire man is analyzed manipulate aerial data, and that could be aerial imagery from our own constellation of satellites our own drawn vendors, or from our customers, you know, drunk programs that they might have and they can ingest all of this into our platform. And we basically help them reach decisions on the properties that they that they have to, you know, watch over manage whatever it is to do a lot of our customers Senate the insurance companies. So we basically help them easily make a decision on whether or not, you know. A property that they might have is damaged or needs to be paid out because of a claim. So that's that's what I'm working on here day to day that tends to be, you know, meetings with the data team key stakeholders collapsed since with the other designer here, and, you know, time to work independently I think, you know, fairly typical for for most product designers, and how long have you been there now? So I'm only been here since November of last year. Okay. So relatively new and now you're doing that. But then you're also working at Tri which you said is in Baltimore. So I guess that's kind of a remote Canada's I- physician. How does that work is? So I started working with try when I was when I was back home before moving to Atlanta in basically been working with them for quite some time on this platform that we're developing is a worker owns Hallen black on. And in it was opportunity that came about because I was basically while I was in in a in Baltimore, I was basically looking for ways to to meet people once he with the scene is like there, and what I ended up tapping into was more detecting. There's a group in Baltimore called the bottom of black taxis. And it's a good group of people over there. And basically just ended up going to the meet ups every Thursday. I think it was in a while. I was there ended up connecting with few few guys one person in particular headed vision for this this worker on platform and really building like a community in team around that. So I ended up working starting to work with them before coming down here to Atlanta and decided to continue continue that we're while I'm at Airbus. So again, that's more on the product side, which is nice. I get to sorta. Express myself, you know, with within their bus world in you know, within the tribe world as well. So it's nice. It can be challenging though. So, you know, a lot of work designed do it all, but it's a it's a good opportunity. Yeah. And for listeners that don't know when Dexter stocked by Airbus they they deal with aerospace planes and drones things that you mentioned before. Yeah. Absolutely. Yet were basically one of Boeing's biggest competitors. You know, any any time you take a fly it usually they're flying in a Boeing or Airbus plane. That's true. I I'm a flight geeks ally tend to pay attention to that. I really like I like the Airbus A three twenty three twenty one's there you go. Is. A lot of people like him. Now, you know with everything going on with Boeing, so yeah, that's true. People are paying attention now. I mean, I heard about the the seven thirty seven max is being grounded. And and I think and correct me if I'm wrong here because I heard recently that Boeing is putting out this the software update. And I feel like this is the first time that I've ever heard of an aerospace manufacturer making such a big public announcement about a software update. I I'm not really sure, you know, like the history of things things like that. And how you know airplane manufacturers deal with these types of issues. But I know this one is is such a a large issue. The fact that these airlines are grounding these planes. They're trying they're trying to make a big deal out of making. It seem like a simple a simple fix, you know. So I think they want to get that across so people don't fear riding on the place because then if you start having these airlines are having people who are, you know, have to take a flight may find out there on seven thirty max. And they said, no, I'm canceling my flight. I don't wanna go and more. You know that that's not good for anybody. So, you know, I don't know if it's really as simple as offer update. But I know that's that's I think reminders in the goal is just to try and make it seem that way. At least I can see them trying to do this. Make sure that they, you know, not just drum up more public trust. But also trust from like, the airlines and. I just wanna make sure that you know, that everything is going. We're not gonna go into trying to get too much into that part. But I know that that's something that certainly is is very prevalent at the moment. Now when you started out, you weren't doing product design when you start at at Northeastern University you majored in graphic design. Tell me what your time was like when you were there. I really so I got into design or my passion for design really started. When I was in high school. I took a digital Amazon course where I was basically taking photos for the yearbook in a in. That course, we ended up learning how to use Photoshop so from the, you know, once I started learning how to use that tool. Are you know, began experimenting, you know, like a lot of people ended up becoming the flyer Dieter school anytime, there's a party or or some type of event I always ended up Magna flyer. So I thought not wanna do this in college. And I didn't know what this was I didn't know what it was called in. So I had a lot of research, and I was looking for schools that had anything from, you know, computer graphics to yet digital imaging was another thing, but eventually came across graphic design ended up going to northeastern. And at the time are graduated in two thousand twelve and at the time, you know, when I started was two thousand seven it was there was no such thing. Or it wasn't really as comments here. The term product design. I think that's a relatively new if I'm not mistaken. So graphic design was, you know, the the main that was like the buzzword at the time. I would tell people I'm a graphic designer. They're like a whole lot of people evade they need graphic designers. You know, that's a hot industry to be in. No. So for me. That's what that's how I got started. It was primarily print and things I know lining type Argosy in. Gestalt principles and stuff. Like that. Is it was great. I really enjoy my time there. I really thought I wasn't going to be working for, you know, those large studios and no possibly working for agency are really like a branding. That's that was one of my favorite things to do as a designer in after that was that was gonna be me, you know, forever that I was going to be doing branding projects. And, you know, be the guy that's on brand new in, you know, releasing things on dribble every other day stuff like that. But, but as obviously figured out that, you know, they're more disciplines within design in imprint front was, you know, I still enjoy it. But there are a lot of things that about it that that you know, I I wasn't really a fan of I. I think the it's a bit inflexible. You know, I really do appreciate the ability to it a rate, you know, when it comes to the digital design. So saw out I was able to make the transition. It wasn't necessarily the easiest transition. But. But yeah, I wasn't able to make it from print, and I still do some friend design award in. I'm still interested in branding. But for the most part are more focused on, you know, product design at this point. So let's talk about kind of the early moments of your career as you mentioned. Right when you graduated college you wanted to kind of do this major design agency work, and you ended up working for a company called BT. Is that right? Guess what was that experience? Like. So the reason behind it is 'cause I actually this whole that I want to northeastern they have was called the co op program, and you can digest behind is. As you end up is a five year program by the time you graduate. You ended up with a year of actual work experience on the about so supposed to give you this competitive edge and one during one of my co ops. I ended up working for under armor in their rookie program. And that was really. My first taste of what it was like to be designing on the corporate world and be part of a company that has a fairly large design team. And while I was there as a rookie, they exposure to a lot of different aspects of the company, and you get to work on these fun. Interesting projects. When you're when you're doing the the tasks associated with just the the rookie program. But then there was another piece of it where you had to also work on projects for the actual department as you were part of. So I was part of the brand marketing department, and whenever I switched from doing the rookie work to doing Bryan marketing word, it wasn't that fun. For me. A lot of the things that we had to do you not you always envisioned? Oh, under are gonna be building is amazing campaigns in working with these athletes in capturing these photos, and that's not you know, how actually works in real life. You know, most of the stuff that I was working on was designing sign for like dick sporting, those in talking sinus, as you know, a black background some the name of the product of descriptors in the logo and just basically, assembling stuff. Instead. Of actually creating things. So so for me, I sort of realize that I did not want to go back to a normal at that time because I wanted to wanted to add more creative input in soda stretch myself. You know, wherever I was at. So I decided to work with smaller company and ended up finding busy. Stay there for quite a while. I'll stay there for about six years with. Yeah. I would say it was it was a bit too long. But, but it was you know, while I was still a good experience. I mean six years when a company that's a that's a long that's a long time in this industry. Six years is how did you feel like you changed as a designer throughout those six years? But you know, you say that in for some reason, I didn't get the memo like I was I was. I was listening to my parents. And you know, they always said, you know, stick with accompany show that you're loyal is knows as August that that people wanna see on your resume in. So I was okay with sticking around. But what I didn't realize until later wrong that things have changed and a lot of my peers, they're, you know, they're moving to companies know every two to three years, and I'm and I'm still at BT. And so for me the the experience though, it was it was definitely good early on. I did you know as far as the reasons why decided to go there, you know, to have that creative input that I was seeking. Basically had all of that the only other designer on the team was the the guy I was working under. So so it was very easy for him to say, hey, ducks. Are we had to do XYZ come up with some ideas, you know, build it out the way you want to build it out execute in all that stuff? So I really had a chance to to try bunch of different things in in. Also did things that I went into it. We do as a product designer working on marketing campaigns. You know, varies Email campaigns going to trade shows around the country. I'm doing audio video setups. And just things that you you just when you're at a larger company, you're not necessarily exposed to. So for me that was that was a huge reason why I stuck around, but eventually had this epiphany moment where I realized I'm I'm growing in the sense that I'm. Learning all these different things. I wouldn't typically learn, but as far as my career path does I'm I'm not moving in that direction. I'm sorta just like stretching, but I'm not I'm not moving. So I needed to I needed a change. And and so, yeah, it took me six years realize that that's other really important that you hit on their this this parental advice about staying in one place and kind of making, you know, making a name for yourself there. I think that especially in this industry with his fastest things move with design and technology that advice doesn't stick anymore. It does it really doesn't doesn't. I will see in something online recently about job hopping. And how it was it was no problem old person said, but they were saying something about like, you know, millennials to stop job hopping and stay at one place. And it's like you do realize that regardless of what industry you're in. Whether it's media, whether it's design and technology, I mean, one technology affects all of this. But also things are changing so rapidly that like you have to keep up with the times, and that may not be. At the place that you're at, you know, a place like you say for six years, and you're able to kind of grow and stretch yourself. That's good. But if you don't feel like you're pushing yourself in your career like you gotta go to the next thing. And I mean, I think it's good that you're able to realize that and see that I wouldn't look at those six, you know, I'm not saying that you look at it as a negative. But like, I wouldn't look at that as a bad thing. I mean, six years that is a good bit of time really to just learn a lot of stuff, and I'm sure you bring that to what you're doing right now at Airbus in with tribe. That is one thing, you know, it really was on me to learn what I needed to learn to be able to make that transition because you know, early on. I mean, if you think about it, that's my first job out of college. Then my portfolio the way the way took complete works for me. I feel like this is the case for some design. Owners. But for me, especially I kind of built my portfolio in an says a patient for getting that next role, or at least that's what I did at the time. So so my portfolio, you know, six years after graduation, look exactly the same as when applied for the job. And so the tight will projects that I had in there were, you know, branding projects in just a lot of print in. I'm over here chasing, a US. You I roll. So none of this going to translate. That's not gonna it's not gonna show well to a tiny body who's trying to hire me for rolling that. So there was a lot of things I had to learn, you know, even how to present myself to them. I you know, I had to take on some self initiated projects, and I had to do like the actual case studies and learn like, it's it's not about showing the final product. No. That was another. Another thing early on. It was like, oh, yeah. Polio can just be a site full of the end product in the you know, the pretty pictures and all that stuff. But it's not like the like if you just show a portfolio like that. You will not get the looks as you're looking for, you know, I think it will it make sure well for people that don't know what they really want. But for people that know what they really want. They can see past that easily. So I had to learn to you know, how to present myself in I had to you know, right up the process and really show that I put in the work. Also have the understanding of of the actual process to really get to a good final product. That's informed by something. You know, that is I tell that to designers all the time about how they need to make sure that their websites are not just it's not just the photo gallery. Like, you can't just show off. Oh, I can do, you know, these pretty, you know, works in things partially because one like professional mockups like, you know, the kind of mockups you can drag into photo showers. Smart objects like you can dander get those for free now. So anybody can have a really nice professional polish to looking into results. But if you can't talk about how you got to that result. Like, what was your methodology? What was the design kind of, you know, process like what was it like going back and forth with stakeholders if you can't articulate any of that the you're just like, I tell people like it's like hiring a mechanic like, yeah, you can go in like fix the parts on the car. But you're just kinda showing your capable set of hands. Like, you're not showing that you really can understand what the problem is. And how you can use design to fix it. You know? That's why it's funny to me. When people submit like dribbling says their portfolios and stuff like that. I appreciate the amount of work that goes into creating a new, you know, post in gerbil every day or other day, however, often people tend to do it. But but yet there's never any explanation around. It. You never know what what is it that this person's trying to solve it just looks great. So when you said, you kind of had to some earn this process where you just learning this on your own with someone else telling you kind of, hey, this is what you need to do. Like, how did how did you come to that realization? Luckily, you know, nowadays, everybody loves sharing things. So there are plenty of resources online, medium is one of my favorite sites. I think it was a great tool for saying. How people would know present these problems that they were song poor in the process that they will. Due to to tackle them in. So I was doing a lot of reading. I I was picking up books on things like the field guide to human center design and things like that. In basically, trying to understand like what what is this world of product design. You know, like I head in idea what it was. But I didn't fully understand everything that was involved with it. And so so I did have to I have to do a lot of reading what made me realize that a Pitney moment that I had while I was at BT was at as I was reading this stuff in found myself getting more interested in, you know, discovering all these different frameworks that people were using solve these problems. You know, how they approach design, and how design was more like informed by something versus just like the the people in the room who have. Have the feelings about you know, about things it was, you know, instead informed by actually user, conducting interviews and things like that. All of that intrigued me, and so I tried to bring some of that into BT in it. It wasn't really working. And so is is you know, at that point. I said, you know, I gotta gotta go somewhere where this is. This people understand that there is more of a process associated with this end people have invested the time or have already bought into that in. I can I can really be like immersed in it. So so, yeah, a lotta a lotta reading online, I, you know, knowing some people were the other companies are ask a lot of questions about how they will do it. But, but yeah, just reading in the next just trying things like, you know, I said I try to bring it into be to e I try to apply. A when I first learned about atomic. Base design. That's you know, that's something that's intended for websites in building design systems in I try to use some of those tools for a print based project that I was working on Z now all of it translated perfectly. But, but I was able to relieve, you know, try something new try different approach to a a design problem that we were trying to solve and in the end product turned out great in that actually was one that ended up on my portfolio. I was able to write up a whole case study about it. So so, yeah, just, you know, actually, not just reading, but actually trying to apply the stuff that you're reading. We do we do like a I think we have like a modified version of atomic design with what we do at glitch in. Its it differs between the work that we do with our product, which is the editor and also through some of the like graphic design and print products. Unlike for example, we've got this large almost wanna call it like a periodic table, if we're extending his metaphor periodic table of design elements that we use them we kinda pick and choose from that to create banners and tiles, but we also use it in slide decks, and we use it on, you know, one pagers and things of that nature. So it's like all pulling from the same general family of stuff or to make sure that we've got our general kind of look and feel across all our different properties. And then, you know, we sort of take those atoms, and we form molecules form organisms very similar to kind of atomic design methodologies. So you're a product designer in Atlanta, which I have to say, I think is pretty rare wrote. I yeah. Because I think that the schools here largely, and I I mean, I'm pretty sure some from Atlanta will tell me I'm wrong here. But I feel like the schools of Atlanta really teach a lot more of the kind of practical say practical law, the graphic design web design sort of like what you said you were learning in northeastern like that's what they teach then people who graduated from those programs into go into more, discreet designed positions like say, they're a graphic designer at AT and T. Are there a web designer at Home Depot or something like that? And I feel like the product design moniker is something that has been mostly used by more design focus companies that are like in New York or San Francisco or something like that the people I know out here that our product designers there usually were. Working for a company that's headquartered in one of those places. So like, I guess the title carries over, but yeah, I've been it's been rare for me to find product designers here. And certainly people ask me about like where are the product design job in Atlanta. I'm like, I don't know. I could not tell you. It's a different story if you asked me about just regular web design graphic design. I mean, those are almost like a dime a dozen here. Feels like. I mean, I feel like Atlanta has like burgeoning taxiing and in. I, you know, I've come across a few companies that seem to be, you know, looking for product designers. I know I'm amid positive market in, you know, even within PCM, we have a they always looking for a product designers. I know Home Depot, I don't know if you've heard, but Home Depot is their whole design team has grown immensely at. I don't know the exact number. But when I heard how LARs design team was over there it out how much it has grown. I should say they've got hundreds hundreds of designers yet is crazy in in. You know, of course, it's all very, you know, it's it's different disciplines. So you can have a product designer was you? Had like ten you X writers in the US researchers and all that stuff. So, but I know that they seem to be more designed century now one than ever any, you know companies. I I noticed what cabbage. Car lyrics is in PISA also. So that, you know, some companies out here, I think more people are seen to be moving to seem to be moving to Atlanta. I know bevelled they recently moved to or not bevelled isn't about to. What was it called? It was his name Trish trista walk ordering companied. So I think they're looking for designers as well. It's starting to change I will say that I just know even just as as far back as maybe two or three years ago. It was really difficult to find that unless you were kind of coming in through a larger company that maybe already had product designers in their general workforce like Facebook or something like that. So maybe I I want to say that the job market tide is changing, but certainly not the the pipeline into that market through an Atlanta design institute. I'm being I'm being very, yeah. Like like, if you go to say portfolio center or the Art Institute of Atlanta, or even if you take it does that well man that might be a little different. If you take a design course at like tech or Georgia state or something, but certainly some of these more traditional art institutions, they're not equipping those students to go out and work in a product design capacity. They're mostly working as a copywriter or graphic designer and like these more kind of discreet almost specialized type of design. Roles is interesting. I mean, I feel like schools tend to be a little bit behind the ball, especially with how quickly the the industries is changing and also growing. So I feel a hit it it's kinda hard. So then the keep up and build a curriculum around, you know, power design 'cause you know, they're just not as nimble as you know, some of these like general assembly. Boot camp type situation. So so yeah. Even even when I was at northeastern I remember they were teaching me a flash. Oh hit. We're learning. This professor even this was probably two thousand in eight or nine. Yikes. Yes. In the teacher even said flashes dying. But this is just another thing. I was upset. Why why why am I believe that? I believe that I taught design in like twenty like twenty ten twenty eleven and they were still teaching table based designed for websites, and I had to go to the dean and say, look, I will rewrite the curriculum myself to show them how to use CSS because you are setting all these students up to fail, right? You're going to graduate, and they're going to have this table basis on and people are gonna laugh them right out of right out of their offices. They're not going to get hired. I will say. You know, even though the the curriculum isn't necessarily like Prada, focus. Needle learn, you know, about those different frameworks all the terms, and you know, things that pertain more. So that you are US design understanding fundamental design principles. I think is still is still very important to be a, you know, a good designer in general, laughing those skills transfer over to at least, you know, you is face. So that's that's one thing that I'm glad I had because because I can I feel like it's easier for me to learn the methodologies of a U X designer than it is for you X designer to learn to be a a strong visual designs because that takes like Honegger I and I feel I did a bit of a challenge. So for me, you know, I I feel. I feel confident as a visual designer, and you know, you designer as well talk to me about debt benny's. What is that? I saw it on product time. But I want you to kind of explain it's our audience. So Denny's a website, I recently launched on product time is a directory of companies that offer student loan repayment benefits. I ended up a got the idea from my sister, actually who actually shot out the my sister. I've just found out yesterday. She made it into the Harvard might younger sister. She's ways martyr than me she made into Harvard MBA program. So hasn't regulation San say that, but she actually gave me the ideas semi article about a company that was offering to exchange psych PTO or vacation time for a student loan repayment and in. So I never heard of that in. I always wondered why why aren't more companies offering something like a 4._0._1._K for student loan repayment because as a person who. Has a lot of student loans myself, it always it always seemed counterproductive to contribute to my 4._0._1._K, which from me, I see retirement as way down the line, but what I'm dealing with on a day-to-day basis as my student loans, and I like to put, you know, all the money that that I've contributed so my role on K, and that the company that I worked for is contributed to my form K, it'd be nice if I could put it into where must have lost. So I actually did some research after she sent me that just to see if there are other companies doing this in you know, we ended up getting into a little conversation about it in. She said something along the lines of this is pretty cool. But I wouldn't know where to find these companies and just from that statement alone. I said this is interesting. Let's see how many companies are out there, actually. Doing this providing this type of benefit, and as I started digging I found out that there were, you know, a fairly decent amount is it's small is still. I think about four percent of companies is what does the tickets right now. But of course, with the, you know, growing debt in all the issues around that is becoming more of a, you know, a topic of discussion in something to consider for a lot of companies and at right now because it is more of a. Luxury benefit that you won't find everywhere. The names that the companies that are providing tend to be bigger names. So on the website, you'll see you'll see a few companies as to recognize, but I decided to basically put that on a on a site. 'cause I found a lot of online articles where they listed, you know, the companies in in in article of, but I thought is they're easy way. Or is there a place where somebody can always come back to to see, you know, these companies in any new companies that decide off this benefit in. I personally, you know, I see it as a win win. I'm you know, advocating at Airbus get a or consider a benefit like this. Because with a says that for of course, for the employees, it helps them tackle their student loans. So is that the by? Anez. It allows the employee to focus less on. You know was the next job is going to bring me more money, or like, what can I do outside of my job to make more money to help pay these loans in focused on with they're doing now and be more effective in their current role in for the employer, of course, of benefit because you have employees that are tend to be more passionate about what they're doing because they can invest the those emotional of resources that they were putting into China tackle, this is burden of debt and into their companies in in supposed to help with retention in productivity and things like that. So I really see it as a win win. And I wanted to, you know, just build something. I just I just decided like let me just go for this. You know, it was idea had not usually have a lot of. I is a put them on paper. And I don't I don't. Do anything with them is sorta sit in this one. I said no I have to I have to do this. So I just I just put it out there in in making it on product was a huge accomplishment for me, even though it didn't get a whole lot attraction. I think it's only at like seventeen votes right now. But but that's cool. You know, it was it was more. So being in action in taking those steps to get done. I think that's a really good thing. If companies was started to offer more things like that. 'cause you keep hearing so much about the student loan crisis. Student loan bubble all of this. But you know, I think a lot of that has come from the fact that the primary focus for a lot of us. I'd say, maybe, you know, thirty and younger or something like that was at you know, you go to school you have to like that's the path. I go to school. You end up racking up all this debt. And then you get out in the workforce. And you're like, oh, I have this job that I'm basically, I basically have the job to pay off for school. You know, it makes it hard for you to really just contribute and be like a functioning adults in the world like to take off work or to spend on leisure things. You have to think, oh, I gotta balance this with, you know, with student loan payments and stuff. But I think it's a great idea that companies are starting to adopt that as a as a perk. I mean, that's that's really something. And fortunately, so right now, again, only certain companies are offering this in a part of the reason one of the challenges behind it is that the taxes I think you still get taxed on that contribution as income. Oh, right now, but the government is trying to pass a Bill that basically makes it tax. I guess you won't be a tax on it. The same way you won't be taxed as income, and that will allow more companies to take advantage of this type of benefit. So hopefully things will change soon. We'll see up to in the companies that adopt something like this. But but so far the the response to the ones that have created as benefit or implemented into the companies has been really posited. So I'm really hoping more companies considering I think right now, it just makes a lot of sense and. The student debt thing is that's a whole like we have a whole nother podcast about this Emmanuel by going for hours 'cause. That that really is an issue that really, you know, the really bothers me and. Yeah. I just did. Denny's is basically my way of contributing to to a solution. Nice. So you've been here. Now in Atlanta for a few months, of course, working at working on Airbus taken in the city and everything have you gotten a chance to experience like the Atlanta design seem in any way as been anything about the city, that's kind of appeal to you as a designer. I'm just curious to know that. So I haven't haven't had a whole lot of time to take in. I guess the designed seeing I'm slowly, you know, figuring out. I I guess I landed in the makeup of the city, but I will say it is noticeably different from Baltimore. There's just a lot more activity. So there's a lot more going on. There's no shortage of offense. You know, the envisions has the host a lot of things the meet ups here. The tend to be more designed meet ups on Obama home. Said that I joined the the Baltimore black tech, which is more of a tight meet up when I was one initially the only designer there in there might have been like one or two other designers that join them meet up. But but that was that was because that's all I could find I didn't find so many desire meters there. But here, you know, they're a few design meters I've been salon thank designed systems. Meet up is one and just the different events seemed to be catered around design in it. But like with this like entrepreneurial, spins, which is nice is a lot of entrepreneurs in Atlanta. It seems like so I kind of like I kind liked it seems to be this whole thing. We're just take advantage of the skill or like hone your skills as a designer to basically Bilger build something for yourself. Which was seems to be the general theme of a lot of them. So so, yeah, I'm starting to figure it out. I definitely went to where where I go. I went to rivalry in like, you can tell like the like the people that is a different. It's a different crowd like in their creative in a different way, not necessarily, you know, 'cause I tend to feel like product design is very is more for like. Business incorporations. And then there's this other side of it where you have a lot of like, creative people who express themselves through music in actual art in in designing t shirts and things like that. So so, yeah, I'm sorry to see the different types of design on that. You know, the show of around the city. Nice nice. Yeah. For people that are listening reverie is a virtual reality bar. Now. What advice would you give to somebody that wants to follow in your footsteps like they they're hearing your story right now. What advice would you give them so event? One one thing. I would say is always a strive for progress. Not perfection. What happens a lot of times for me is I tend to get caught up in the details. You know, the fine details that don't necessarily matter in they prevent me from making actual progress. So like, I said, I come up with a lot of ideas. I write them down on paper. And then I think of all the things I need to to bring this idea to life in I'll get caught up in things like, you know, as a designer I'll get caught up in things like branding. Like what is the logo LaGuardia the logo hassle of perfect now? How do I apply that to you know, the business cards in the website? And that's before I have any anything else like established as a forum conducted all the market research and things like that. So so for debt benny's, again, why this is a a huge accomplishment for me is because as I said settled these guardrails for myself when I said, I'm going to get this website out is now going to be perfect is not going to have everything I wanted, but I'm gonna get it out there. I'm gonna see what the response is like in out it. That's the beauty of what we do is probably design is we have the opportunity to already and so. The goal was to make progress. Don't get caught up in the Brandon. You know, if you see the new now is very simple is a very simple word Mark in China and come up with any low. I just said let me throw something out there that looks professional enough where it can at least get somebody's attention. But it doesn't have to be the final thing. You know? So I'm strive for perfection. I mean, strive for progress not perfection in you know, if if you're like lack of perfection is is causing inaction like if you're not able to to move forward on something because you're so caught up in. Oh, if this isn't quite right, or oh, I don't have all the pieces yet than than you're doing yourself a disservice cause even even before before. Denny's a perfect example is my portfolio, you know, I would get so caught up in. In having my portfolio of be perfect in have everything in these ahead in out. I would always, you know, I would complete a case study I will put it up there. But I wouldn't make the site live. 'cause I would then start looking at other people's for folios and other designer like case studies and things in and it would kind of show me like what I didn't have our kind of focus on the things that I didn't have versus the things that I did have in my earlier in in for me. That means I have this this website that nobody can see in in. I'm basically wasting all this time working at this company that I know is not the right company for me at the time. And I'm not promoting myself. You know, it even if the portfolio is imperfect if I'm out there, at least somebody can see you know, what's going on. They can see the progress. They can see the changes. But the fact that there's nothing. There it basically made me visible to you know, the the people that I was looking to get noticed by. So again, I had after learn is still something I'm working on. But I really strive for progress in action in moving forward versus prevention because striving for perfection will slow you down. And and it really just it prevents opportunities from presenting themselves 'cause just by e even this man of whom of the opportunity to speak with you. I automated we thought man would would do I need to know. What do I need? You know, how how can I prepare for this not push? So up just immediately that you know, if I let it it, it would've it would've pushed this interview to you know, possibly June. 'cause I would have always thought there's more than us to be done for me to be perfect. But I think even now are making progress I'm going through this interview with you. And I think there's still something at some money is able to take away from this, even if it's not, you know perfection. Oh, I think so I think so and I'm really glad that you said that because you would be surprised how many people that I'll reach out to to be on the show and the first response, and this is not to say that they should automatically say, yes. But the first response is usually an emphatic. No, they're like, I'm not where I wanna be in my career yet. Or it's always like it's always something or they feel like they're not good enough yet. Or and I'm like, no, I wanna talk to you. Exactly where you are in your career right now. Because for me, I mean, I've done almost three hundred these episodes to me, I want the variety of having people at every different stage in their design journey, you know, from the people that are students to folks that are just starting out to mid career to professionals to icons I want everybody along the spectrum. So people can kind of see where they fall in. I don't want it to just be the folks that are at the top of the industry like to me. That's that's boring. You know, I want folks throughout the whole spectrum. So I hope folks that are listening when I reach out to you like just don't don't say, no automatic. Yes. Like like, I wanna talk to you for a reason, I wouldn't have reached out to you. If I didn't think that you would be good to be on the show. So like when they talk themselves out of it. And I never tried to like force anyone like when they say, no, I'm just like, okay. Like, I never tried to like twist their arm about all I really wanted to be on the show. It's like if you don't feel like you wanna be on it. That's fine. But like the. Chances of becoming back are like slim to none. I'm just going to be honest. Like, I have other people I can reach out to and if you're not interested like, I don't want to is not I don't feel like it's supposed to be. And maybe I'm a bad podcast or by saying this metal feel like it's supposed to be my job to like, you know, force you to come on my show, if you don't wanna come you just don't come on. It's not something bigger deal to me. So. Now on your website. You lists three things you missed what you're reading what you're drinking. And what you're watching some to put you on the spot here with a little bit of a kind of a lightning round. So first off what are you reading? I just ordered a new book. I haven't actually started it yet. But it was a book that I got I found doing research for Denny's. And there's a guy I going to get his name wrong. I wanna say his name is David Carlson. He just released the e book about student loans. So it s something that I ordered and we'll be diving into but having started yet. Okay. What are you drinking still a lot of ST fee is the hometown team right there? A really that's what Baltimore it is. It is. Yes. From Baltimore got exposed to it when I was working at Under Armour. They carries us the they carry a lot zesty in. So it's a highly caffeinated A T A, call themselves, the high octane see all the rush without the grind on the flavors are pretty good in in for me. Is it just keeps me going? A lotta my friends. They joked. In 'cause I just I can fall asleep anywhere. And so so having some tea hasn't, you know, a lot of caffeine, but I don't get that crash that I give him coffee is a pretty nice. So still drinking zesty for sure I got Airbus to basically by so. Some funny story about zesty. So for for people have listened to the show for a while. They know that I also used to have a T podcast, and I did through all twenty fifteen I called it the year of T. And so every day, I would review a different to you. That'd be short episodes, like five minutes or less and the goal is that you'll find out about a new T in the time. It takes you to refresh Cup. And I remember this T sent me some samples I think they were like just starting out because I looked at it recently. I was like, oh, this is not the same company. Like, it was like they were just starting out around twenty or so and they sent me three samples and I reviewed them. And I thought they were they were mostly pretty good. I mean, I I like to drink highly caffeinated tea to the TI drink now is actually from a celestial seasonings. They have this brew called morning thunder. That's like a Black Sea. Fix a black T and a roasted yerba Mata, which I've been drinking Bramante for a long time. It's another one of these kind of it doesn't have caffeine, but it has some compound that has caffeine life. I don't know if it's as much as is. But that might be something we're trying I used to drink this. Other tea is the company doesn't exist anymore, but it was called radio activity. Corny name. I know, but they and the the tea was like done in this method, call CTC, which is cut tear, curl. And so the T looked like like instant coffee grinds almost and you brew it up. And I mean, it'll get you going all day. It's yes, something else. So lastly, yeah, look into that. So lastly, what are what are you watching? You know, everybody's always on the game of thrones. And I've actually never watched. I've watched one episode of game of thrones. So so now, I'm in the process against the new season's coming out, whatever. So I'm starting to watch that and. Yeah. That's why I like I'm like kinda I guess everybody likes it. So I'm only excited because everybody likes it. But I'm not really I'm not really that into the idea of just sitting there watching the game gongs, and I tend to I tend to like Washington shows that are a bit lighter. Like, there's a show on Netflix. Call final table, and it's a it's a cook off with some of the greatest chefs around the country. I mean around the world, and it man as so I get so I guess motivate like once I watch I'm ready to get into the kitchen. You know, what good steak I love westernized show. So that that would I was eight as one it's like kinda my favorite right now actually finished. So that's not moving game of thrones. Where do you see yourself in the next five years? I kinda work would you like to be doing? Oh, that's that's a that's a good question. Because I I struggle. A struggle with that one only because I feel like as a as a designer our trajectory is always toward a creative director in in. I have a hard time seeing myself in that role where I'm not doing the actual work of design myself a more like delegating. End sort of, you know, directing in our kinda I dunno. It's hard for me to see myself as not a contributor blood. That is ultimately what we tend to be moving towards. So I I really really am having a hard time. I've always had a hard time answering that because at the stage right now just doesn't really appeal to me. But I think is probably one of those things like once you're in it because I did actually end up talking to somebody who made that transition to creative director tonight as them, you know, how did that feel you know, not being able to do the design work yourself? And and they. They actually loved it. They said that they almost felt like they had they have more control over the design because are now, you know, they're just not doing it. But it's still their vision. You know, so maybe maybe it would work out great for me, and I will love integrative director. But as far as I guess Perea, Pat goes if I'm thinking about working for a company, that's that's what I imagine at some point. But you know, things like that benny's in in working for tried that may change w you know, I I've always had entrepreneurial spirit, and so the idea of working for somebody else doesn't necessarily appeal to me either, you know, working for somebody else for like the rest of my life. It'd be nice to have something to my own in, you know, build something that I'm really proud. And so maybe maybe it will be deputies. I don't know. But but either way I think it will always be something around design in you know, it it really does have to be something. I'm really passionate about that. I I think makes a difference. And right now again, Deb any sex out of those boxes for me. So I I'm not really sure I can't say no with confidence. What it might be? But yeah, I guess we'll see we can we can reconnect in you do another interview, you know. Well, just kind of wrap things up here where can our audience find out more about you and about your work online. My website is Dexter Ferguson dot com. You actually, I did just pick up the domain a US decks dot co. Nice. So that also takes you there. And that's that's my portfolio. You can contact me through the contact form on on their also have I am not a fan of social media. So I actually don't have a idea count. I don't have you know, Facebook or a personal Twitter, but I do have a Twitter for Denny's. This is dead at Deb in his in. I'm on Lincoln suspects Varga soon. You'll see product designer. All right. Sounds good will Dexter Ferguson. I wanna thank you so much for coming on the show. I mean, I I think I really like what you have to say about striving for progress not perfection up as you detailed your story about how you learned about design. In high school and started, you know, kind of going to college and learning it, and then really kind of seeing where your career is gone since then I can really tell this is something that you have a passion for and I hope that while you're here in Atlanta that, you know, the city inspires you whether that's entrepeneurship through debt bennys or whether that's professionally through these meet ups and such. I'm not see a bright future for you ahead. So just I just want to thank you again so much for coming on the show. I appreciate it. I appreciate it. This is a first of all great platform. And you know, I'm happy to be a part of able to contribute at this point. So that thank you for the opportunity. And that's it for this week big, thanks to Dexter, Ferguson. And thanks to you for listening. You can find out more about Dexter and his work the links in the show notes at glitch dot com forward slash provision path. Revision path is brought to you by glitch the from the community where everyone can discover and create the best stuff on the web. Check us out at glitch dot com. Four also, powered by simple casts. The easiest way for podcasters to publish and distribute audio on the internet. Make sure you check the show notes for a link to sign a four fourteen day free trial. This episode is edited by kisha TK Duta's and produced by Deanna Testa are intravenous overs by music, man. Andrey with insurance ultra music by yellow speaker. If you liked this episode, and please let more people know about it by leaving us a rating and review on apple podcasts. It only takes about a minute. Or so to do and it really helps spread the word about revision path everywhere. Speaking of everywhere, you can also find us on Spotify, Google podcast on soundcloud, or wherever you find your favorite shows. And of course, make sure your following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter just search for revision path. Oh, and don't forget about our audience survey again vision path dot com for its last survey. The survey ends on may the first we really want to hear from you. Thanks so much for listening. And we'll see you next time.

Airbus Atlanta Baltimore benny Denny Dexter Ferguson US BT Georgia Boeing caffeine MAURICE cherry China lead designer Europe Mari Sherry I
318: Dee Tuck

Revision Path

40:25 min | 1 year ago

318: Dee Tuck

"You're listening to the revision path. podcast a weekly showcase of the world's black graphic designers web designers and web development breath through in-depth interviews. You'll learn about their work. Their goals and what inspires them as creative individuals. Here's your host Maurice Cherry okay. Welcome to the revision path podcast. My Name is Mars Cherry and before we get into this week's interview I wanNA talk about our sponsors. FACEBOOK design and abstract. facebook design is a proud sponsor of a vision path so learn more about how the facebook design community immunity is designing for human needs at unprecedented scale. Please visit facebook dot design. This episode is also brought to you by abstract design. workflow management for modern design teams spend less time searching for design files and tracking down feedback. It's been more time focusing on innovation and collaboration like glitch but for designers abstract is your team's version control source of truth for Design Word With abstract conversion sketch design files present. Work requests reviews collect feedback and give developers direct access to all specs. All from one place. Sign your team up for free. Fourteen Day trial today today by heading over to. WWW that abstract dot com. Now for this week's interview I'm talking with D.. tuck engineering manager manager at abstract. Let's start the show right. Tell us who you are and what you do a D.. Tuck back and I am an engineer manager at abstract so what does being. An engineering manager entail at abstract. What's a what's a normal daylight for you? Oh man lots of meetings lots of meetings yes so I hardly run run two teams run. The I run the platform squad. God and in an enterprise admits and so at participating a lot of meetings with With product in our in our stakeholders. I'm also responsible for for running our agile methodologies so such as all our scrum meeting so I'll also act as a scrum master as well so I spend a lot of time in meetings and a lot of time in Jere. Oh and you've been in the role now for about a year so enlisted year. Yeah so I started. I started abstract January January of this year but I've been an engineering manager for about About two years nice. What attracted you to the company? So I came across abstract during a time from where my my previous company decided to outsource their engineering department. And so I was just I was just kind of looking came across abstract on linked in and I was just like I read the job description for the engineering manager role and like right there at the top. It talked about diversity inclusion and I was just like wow this this is different and so I just kind of dug into it and I really looked on linked in and I really saw that there were a lot of people did that you know look like me as I was like okay this it does. This is a little different and so so yeah I was able to reach out reach out to want to recruiters and the rest is history there now. You're you're running two squads like you said what's the biggest challenge with your role. I mean it sounds like a lot. Managing teams yes so definitely early mcalinden is booked right at definitely say time. Time is a big challenge with me. You know Kinda Kinda having having a lot of meetings things whether it's with the weather's with Martine our with our product managers. It's definitely a task to balance both but I think I'm doing pretty good job. Edit and so as the engineering manager you're also hiring for both of these teams. I'm assuming that right. Yes now how is is it when it comes to kind of recruiting and retaining talent because you just like you said you looked on linked in your Deny you saw people that looked like you and that made you interested in it. How is I guess the process and you have to go too far in the weeds on this? But how is the process for recruiting and retaining talent for you. We get a lot of applications and so definitely have to like spend time you know screen candidates but one of the things about one of the things about abstract and one of the things that I- enjoys that. Ah We are very intentional. And like in recruiting diverse talent and whether that be sponsoring lesbians and Tech Afro Tag Tag are any of the other the base tech conferences. Where we're usually there and so I usually try to jump on board with our recruiting team to kind of get out there and be candidates face to face and so I think one of the things that I that I can say When you think about like DNA and tech and you know and hire is that you have have to be intentional about it and so in a lot a lot of times that means putting money out there to actually do it like you know descended sending your employees that he's to these different different conferences to Kinda get out there and mingle with people so and I should also mention just for transparency for people that are listening abstract has sponsored provision path? Also there but I think it's it's a it's a good thing about being intentional I would say this was maybe about four so years ago I was doing consultant back when I had my studio and there will be a lot of companies big name companies that are so afraid of even when a dipping being their toe into the whole diversity and inclusion topic for fear of getting it wrong or saying the wrong thing saying I remember one client particular. I'M NOT GONNA name but one client particular. Big Media. Company was like yeah. We really want to try to recruit more you know black creative talent designers and developers. There's and I asked them if they had thought about just like going to like an Hvac job fair and it was like you could see people's minds exploding at the thought like we. We never thought of that. Yeah like go where they are like beret relationships and like you said the intentional about it. That's sort of what it takes. Yes Yep Yep it does is another thing too is is is a lot of a lot of companies will focus on hiring senior engineers. And I just honestly I honestly honestly think that there's a there's a conflict there right so if you're if you want to focus on ideas and inclusive hiring right if you only focus on hiring those who have you know ten years of experience then like it's going to be hard it's Nepalese definitely. Just going to be hard so so things like definitely opening up the gates to be able to support but those who are coming out of BOOT camp. This is definitely the way to go now. For Deny there's one company it's actually. I don't even remember. The name of the company was but what what I could tell us that it's clear they were just trying to find like black and brown versions of who their ideal employee would be and often times that a person may not exist because of a number of different circumstances socio economic circumstances education etc that they're just not going to be in that same pipeline or level of who you would really want but if you're being intentional about diversity and you know you're able to kind of determine what the base things you need what are like nice to have sorts of things right find that that probably makes the process a lot easier from recruiting standpoint. Yep Yep now I would say part of that you know is the recruitment but also oh retaining so like how diverse I say diversity and inclusion are like two sides of the same coin like it's one thing to bring diverse people land. But how do you keep them. Can you talk a little bit about sort of what the culture is like at abstracts. Yes so I definitely agree with you. Were saying like there's there's kind of like two sides of that coin right. I once read like diversity is inviting people to the party inclusive is playing music that they danced you right so yeah one. One one thing think of abstract I can definitely say. Is that like there. There are events that support you know different backgrounds. One of the things that we just did. Recently in the San Francisco office is is that we had a Latin and tech tech event and so really just making sure that like every everyone feels feels included One of the things that yeah I thought was like super cool when I got to abstract is that like is that we have a a people of Color Slack Channel Right that was like coach shock for me right. 'cause like I you know I'm usually I'm I'm usually the I'm usually the only one at my company. I'm usually the first first black or I you know. LGBT bt. Like it's I'm always. I've always been the first you know because I've moved around the south And so it's just definitely just stuff like that to just like Bill like okay. Here's a space for you. Connect with your people and like like I say abstract is very intentional. is in supporting different. You know the backgrounds in groups of people. Yeah now. Let's let's switch gears because you're talking about the south here you're located in Nashville. Is that where you grew up. No so I'm I'm originally. I'm originally from Cincinnati Ohio. Yep some born in born and raised in Cincinnati Ohio. I left Cincinnati yet at eighteen manner and went to Tuskegee Tas to study computer science and so after after graduating from Tuskegee actually kind of stayed stated Alabama. For about four years. I just moved around. Missile defense companies there so So yeah then I found my way to Nashville it was I guess tech and that sort of stuff a big part of your childhood growing up where you're exposed to an early I would say I would say I would say say yes and no right so one would be one of the things that like really like made me like fond of computers. Is that like my uncle. He used to work at a pioneer. Right Yeah the Audio Audio Company. So just he was just kind of like a super cool guy right. He always had a nice car He you know flu. He was the first person I knew that ever flew out the country. He's going to Japan all the time and so he was. He was also the first person who had a personal computer right. And all my all my weekends I would like spend my time upstairs and his he. He bought a two story house from our for my grandmother. He moved upstairs and she moved downstairs. And so I spend weekends at my grandma's India. I would spend hours upon hours just sitting at his computer. I mean I was. I was in there like changing all the settings things I mean. I don't know what I was doing. Computer head like windows ninety five on it. I mean I was I was just doing. I was doing everything like I. Just I would stay there for Hours upon hours and then one day I came down I came downstairs in my in. My grandpa was sitting on the couch and he was just like you know. What are you doing upstairs like? What are you doing up there and I was like you know? I'm on a computer. And he was just like he was just like us up. They are for like nine hours. Ten hours you know. He's he's a he's an older guy he's just kind of like so like like what are you doing. I was like look. I'm just on the computer. I have fun. He was like you know what when I retire. I'M GONNA I'm GonNa buy you a computer and so I was like cool in like an I'd never said anything about it. But soon as he retired he called me and was just like. Hey I you know I wanNA take you to circuit city in by you computer and like at that at that moment hours like static and so I think the the engineer was born in media. At that point I became like the family. tech specialist. I was going around fixing people's computers and printers ranters and Yes that that that's kind of how it started and also to like the schools that are schools at win. Two they expose US attack through through Nebbi National National Society of Black Engineers and then there was some. There was some other programs that like I stayed in contact with it so oh but even when I got to college you know I'll be. I'll be honest like I thought I was going when I when I signed up for computer science like I thought I was going to be like fixing computers installing all in word like. I didn't know anything about coding. Though that doubt thing like I didn't have any experience in my childhood that you know where I was actually like developing things so yeah when I got to college it was definitely a whole new ballgame so yeah so yeah I just remember my first first day my first day at Tuskegee in my computer science one on one and our professor like pulled up the terminal and started like typing C. Plus plus Hours lie. What is this like you know I was like I was like super confusing? I'm like I I signed up the right thing. It took some getting used to but I made it wanted you decide to go to Tuskegee. Yes so I go back to this uncle so again you know he definitely saw something in me and so I shall her one day he called me and was just like. Hey I'm GonNa give you this phone number to this church and they're they're doing a black college tour and I want you to figure out information and how much it costs and let me know if you WanNa go and I was like okay a even now that I'm older. I knew what he was doing. Like if you're serious didn't you'll call and you'll come back and report formation if you don't call it I'm not GonNa waste my money because you're not serious about it so you the so now. Now that I'm older. I understood his tactic. But you know I called and got him the information. I remember the lady telling me on the phone. She was like it's like five hundred seventy five dollars. An I was thinking like That's a lot of money you know at the time. So I'm like okay. Well I called him back. I was like So it's like it's like wagner books and he was just like all right. How do I pay? I was like okay so he actually pay send me on a blackout Sydney on a black college tour and honestly it changed my. I live my whole perspective on after high school. In like what I was going to do. In like Like college became real at that time. But I I went to Tuskegee and honestly it felt like a different world like it did like I felt like you know I'm talking about the the cosby show. Yeah Yeah and so oh honestly I got there and I was just like you know this feels like home. I was able to learn a lot about the history about booker. T. Washington and just really like George. George George Carl George Washington carver and so just like these names like I had heard in like I was able to like really just like little. Oh me from MHM Cincinnati Ohio. I'm able to just really be immersed in this history like you know like like you know it was just. It was definitely just exciting and so out of all the colleges that I went to Tuskegee just felt like home. It felt like home a yeah. Yeah Nice I've I've been to Turkey before it's folks no from listen to the show. I'm from Selma so I've been to ski. Alabama State Alabama and Al Stillman Mile. Like you name a a black college in In Alabama. I have most likely been to it. I think actually when I was in high school. I think we marched the March and we marched through Tuskegee or something a- at one point was on my shortlist of schools to go to as well because I I wanted to get out of Alabama so bad and I was I was getting scholarships and things and I was like I'm GonNa go to Stanford I'm going to go to Harvard. My mom is like nope. You are not going far. I'm not getting on a plane and visiting you outs folks in California or wherever you need to go somewhere close And I it wasn't a black college tour but it was sort of like Well in a way it was a tour because they took us to the Atlanta University Center here in Atlanta where. There's like five or six black colleges in one huge campus. So morehouse Spelman Clark Atlanta Morris Brown at the time The morehouse school of Medicine. And the interdenominational theological center like all in one. Big huge food campus here they. They're distinct schools. What they share like the same proximity he could easily walk between them through all the campuses and stuff? And it's funny. You mentioned a different world because of course folks no different worlds based off of like Morehouse and Spelman. I was also a big fan of school days. I remember we are. I remember. We took the tour and there's like a little walkway cuts between the the big lawns of Morehouse. And Clark have you seen school days. Yeah Yeah I've seen Asia okay. So you know the opening in school days where they show the big like I like the administration building. So that's on Clark's campus okay. And then at the end of the movie when they're ringing the bell that's on more houses campus so that bell is right outside of a of a Sale Hall Hall and I remember walking that walkway and like looking in one direction and seeing the administration building looking at other direction I saw the bill and I was like Oh. I'm going here here right at the time where it was right. After the Olympics it was post freak nick but Atlanta was still like pop and this was like ninety eight ninety nine something like that like popping in Atlanta always has popping energy reggie back then. It's totally stories. I was like I'll go in here like this is. This is where I'm going and also gave me a scholarship. So I was like I'll I'll do it. I'll good. What was your time like at a ski man? To Ski was great anybody WHO's graduated from Turkey we refer to Tuskegee as mother Tuskegee League right and it's I mean it's it's almost one of those experiences that like even when you try to explain it to people only people who've gone at US truly understand what you mean but yeah like I mean ski was just amazing like I mean there was. There was professors. That were like super supportive. Right one thing about going to like an hp you is that like those professors are there because they want to see black. I people succeed Lying cans down like like the. They're there for that that reason. And it's it's it's one of those things that you definitely feel in classes asses office after after hours. You definitely you definitely feel a sense of like. Hey this person wants to win and so and so I I can just definitely. He just said I had a lot of support. I mean it's challenge challenging at times Ri- You know there. There wasn't at during the time I mean I graduated wait in Graduate High School in two thousand and three I went to speak in two thousand and three and so acting like you know technology you know we were still like getting you know getting courses online and things it. You're you know there was some challenges there but it definitely made me a different person. Made me made me grow up. Made me made me learn how to learn how to survive right. I feel like Ah Tuskegee taught me like I can live and I can. I can do anything. I could live anywhere and do anything. So yeah I mean Tuskegee was just just just amazing. It didn't honestly the the computer science department hands down like one of the best computer science computer science departments And and I and I say say that not that I've experienced Not that I've like experienced like coursework at other colleges but just knowing just knowing we like to emphasise of like really really like exploring different languages As a as a as a developer. They also have a lot of lot of connections fans during this time. When I was there there was a lot of connections with something like the the the missile big-name missile defense companies? Such as like your key mar has no wonder grandma and and so In Microsoft as well so like all those big name companies with like come to the school there was there was a lot of alumni that went there and so they would come back and talk talk to us and so I I felt like that was that was definitely valuable right because like I'm sitting I'm having a conversation with someone who works for like the FBI FBI right and he actually person graduated from Tuskegee so he understands like what we're going through. All the professors were there when he was there so it was able to Kinda like create bonds bond with alumni. That will definitely come back and give students like nuggets So yeah it was. It was cool. It was cool. You know h you. Sometimes uh-huh don't get the best reputation in the world. I think particularly when it comes down to like technical disciplines like getting technical education there but it sounds sounds like Tuskegee really kind of prepared you for the working world once you graduate. Yeah Yeah it it did definitely took my first role in missile defense at Ed Lockheed Martin and so honestly like I I was I was there for like three years in like I. Continuously say like college was a lot harder than the things I was working on so like you you know it was definitely a challenging program and so it may like navigating the industry a lot a lot easier. Yeah so you were able to kind on of red after you graduated you were able to like start your career right away in what you were studying. Yep Yep I was Started started as a software engineer. in missile defense. So yes I was. I was working on some pretty cool stuff I worked on. I worked on space systems team so I worked. I worked a lot with radars since sensors and missiles so it was it was cool is nice. Yeah and so now. You're you're an abstract. You are You work remotely you mentioned Before we started recording that you're in Nashville right now. What I mean as much as you can talk about like what is the? Is there a Nashville texting. Because I feel like a lot of tech coverage in the South tends to get ignored like tech news or even tech communities in the south you get ignored like people look I think as far west as Texas they look as far north as DC. And then they may be talked about Miami Atlanta. We'll come up every now and then but you never really hear about tech stuff going on in Tennessee or Mississippi or Arkansas Alabama or anything like that As much as I guess you can talk about like does it feel like Nashville has tech scene of some sort. It's definitely is definitely growing so I don't know if you've heard her but like an Amazon. Bring their headquarters headquarters here and okay. Yeah it's definitely on the cup. Yeah it's it's definitely come up but honestly I've been here about six years and I've always had opportunities right So there's there's definitely there's definitely the opportunities here is just a matter of what you're what you're looking for right there. It's there's A. There's a lack of diversity here in in Nashville when when when when it comes to tech To be on you know it's not going to be on. It won't be uncommon for you to be the only only minority on the team. That's you know that's that's kind of been my story since I've been here so Y- I find that I don't know it's sort of that way in on Lanta in a in a way that it's like that I mean certainly there. Are you know firms here where you'll go and you won't be the only one but I know even if I go to events since or just certain rooms that I'm in the have to deal with tech or with design it still can be very much segregated in that way but but then I'll tell them like oh I do such and such this company and then all of a sudden like the conversation changes. Oh Wow you do that. Wow that's great I'm like Yeah uh-huh for are you WanNa you WanNa pay me the attention but now it's a it's a totally different story. So Yup no no no I totally understand what that That that a feeling is like I mean you would even in a city like Atlanta. That has a big. You know multiethnic multicultural population. You know largely black. That's still exists in a lot of tax basis. which is you know in two thousand nine hundred ninety? That's that's a certain thing to say but it does exist Yep Yeah and I found I found the same the same scenario in In Nashville I can gear like any like conferences that they hold here. I mean if they're homegrown in conferences meaning meaning that like it's like a national group that had actually put it together like they had like the Music City Code Conference every year and feel like over the years it's gotten It's gotten a little better. Where like you'll you'll see more diverse talent Because of honestly honestly the reason why we can't see more diverse talent like popping up here is because of the boot camps. There's a lot of people going to go into the boot camps and so that that has actually elite helped a little bit but honestly I I still haven't had a civil hat still haven't had the opportunity to you know work with a lot of a lot of like my minorities and and I get the same I get the same kind of response that you that you mentioned of like once. I have a conversation with someone and then you know it's kind of kind of kind of dry dead I am like Oh yeah. They asked me what I do. And I'm like Oh yeah. I'm I'm an engineering manager. And then they're like. Oh yeah really like you know. And then it's a it's a whole thing. So what are you doing over there. You know sometimes it can. It can turn into a job pitch but yeah yeah. It's interesting how that conversation nation just kind of ends up shifting like that but yeah So as I was doing my research I saw that you you gave an interview with abstract one of the questions that you asked for people who have been on the show before they know that I always ask something called the Oprah question and you said that if you can have dinner with one famous person that you choose Oprah's I was like okay. This is this is cool and you said the question that you wanted to ask her is can you walk me through your greatest failure so I wanna ask you to like walk me through your greatest failure and talk about how you emerged from it. Yeah Okay Yeah so so I I would say like one of my one of my greatest is failures the the one that I felt like I felt like in my heart of like. Aw Man this is. This is bad it definitely definitely had to do with tech right So Oh as you as I stated it went I went to Tuskegee and I took my first computer science class and I had no idea what I was doing like I mean I was I was. I was picking up the concepts and you know I was. I was I was doing. I was doing enough to get to see you know on the test. I was skating at line of like take you know one wrong. Move would be failure right but I I did this I was I was I was right at the seventy percent mark mark. I was a C.. You know I thought I was going to pass asked the class. I stayed in the computer lab overnight. Bugged a lot of like the more the upperclassmen. They was like help me teach concepts. You know it'd be there. It's like one two two o'clock in the morning I was there like I put my heart and I put my put everything into it and so when I got my great for you know for the course I got a D. and yeah and I'm like no I mean I calculated this great like to to you and I'm like no no no I passed. I know I've gotta see right and so to be honest like I immediately started crying like I was just like. Oh my God like I can't. I can't do this like you know. No I gave it my all in like I still feel and so I went to my professor my professor's office and just like you know I I just don't understand Dan like why didn't pass. And you know why you know why. Why do I have a D. needed to have to take the class over like why and what he did is he turned to the whiteboard and he was just like he put he put some logic on the board and he was like saw this and so I wanted to bore and and I ended up solving I end up solving it and then I mean it took some time there? Were you know He. He had he had to add some input in there right kind of helped me solve of it but he was just like see. If I pass you to the next class you'll just fail. And so he was just like he was like you know. Trust me take the take. The class is over and you know think things would be a lot a lot a lot easier like I don't I don't WanNa move to the next level and you fail and you know that kind of like I love out of the office and I was like okay. He has a point but I was still kinda like men like. Is this going to be. You know it's just GonNa be a pattern of light. Can I really do 'cause I really gave my all. Oh you know and so talked to one of my friends at the time and I was just like look I feel my first computer science class. You know maybe switch my major and I had like I have have the pamphlet with all the all the courses and the different majors. So I'm flipping through it and I'm just like Oh maybe construction science management and my I was like my friend was like look. You love computers like you love you. Love Tech like go register for this class. Ask in like get off my phone. I was like I was like yeah. You're right because like I really couldn't find anything and then I was just like I'm not a quitter and so but it was one of those things like emmy it hit it. Hit Hard. Hit Hard for me to fill the class. But he was right at the course over I end up getting an A.. And from there the rest is history and by taking that class over. I was able to like build. I was able to build a foundation if I went if he was right. If I don't want to the next class I would. You just failed and it would have just been like an ongoing thing of like Pat. I mean fail pass fell pass and nobody has money time for that so So Ah I definitely would just say like him like making me like realize like a you know you need to spend more time on on the fundamentals before you can go to the next level and yeah I mean it definitely. It definitely was the best decision that you know somebody he. He made the decision for me. But but you know definitely that opportunity You know change me you know. What do you think it helps? I guess fuel that like sense of ambition that you have. Where does that come from? Yeah I I mean I would just say like my parents and just like you know people people in my family Definitely definitely just a specifically the women in my family they are go getters and like really would just like you know work worked hard and like never want it to be in a situation Shen where they had to act someone for anything and so I would. I would definitely say that is that is always kind of like stuck with me is like I always wanted to be independent Always wanted to be able to take care of myself and so just really just watching the women in my family like do that and so it just it has definitely drove me to like. Be The best person possible when you look back at your career like the worker doing now at abstract and even your previous roles things what do you wish you would have known when you first started. That would definitely say say. Don't be afraid to bring your whole self to work on day one. Yeah I would I would definitely say that I just always being. I mean. Just coming from doc a history of always being the only black in the room on the only woman in the room A you know I it you know it it. It took a took a it took a second for me to like really like come out of my. Shell have nice nice sense of humor. There's there's other other things about me you know like I'm very I'm very invested in technology. you know I like I like Geeky things and so so And so yeah I think like just just just just really like bringing bringing my whole self to work day. One probably will be the best thing I could. I could have done it a bass. Yeah what are you most excited about at the moment being in a position where where I can directly impact diverse candidates? Right being at the table that that's one of the things like that it. The last like five years I started to I started realize of like. Hey the only person in the room. I don't it that just being that minority and being the first and being the only just really started to get to me and so that that that kind of like help help drive my decision to like move into leadership and so I'm just I'm just. I'm just really excited to really make changes this. You know be able to be on the panel where we're hiring decisions are may right What does success zest look like for you at this point in your career? I mean it sounds like you're you're at where you wanna be but you know what a success look like yeah I would definitely definitely just say really just grown as a leader you know perfecting my leadership abilities to like run teams in like Produce induced high quality work in just really make changes in DNA space for tip. The dealer space in Tech is interesting. 'cause I mean it's something that has always he's been a regular conversation but I feel like within the past. I don't know maybe like ten years it's taken on this very interesting being. What's the best way that I can put it because interesting is not a good way to put it on? It's almost like a racket in a way. Like you certainly have people. I think that are walking the wall talking to talk with diversity and then you have people that just do the conference circuit and all they do is just talk about the issue but they're not actually actively contributing to her they're Kinda I just keeping it in people's minds in a way. What do you think about like? Where do you see kind of the diversity in Tech Conversation from your unique vantage point? Where do yeah? Yeah so going back to what I said before about bootcam- same really like hiring less less experienced engineers and like like nurturing that talent and so I definitely say boot camps are to art away to go. If you're not hiring from boot camps in like you know I don't know how serious you are about deny right and and it's it is really understandable. That like okay you have a you have a cop you have a complicated product are really this this high profile product and you need some experience to kind of get it off the ground like I told her I totally get I totally get that but I think there are some companies who like totally totally disregard like boot camps and scream and scream deny I'll all over their website is like no. You're not you're not you're not serious. If you're solely solely focused focused on experienced individuals so yes I think I think just just just definitely when one of the things that I feel like the industry needs to move towards is really is really really foster. Fostering at talent There's actually boot camps out there where like companies can like sponsor sponsor sponsor scholarships oops. And then you know give those give those people who like Who are awarded that-that scholarship through their company? They can actually be no higher that talent directly correctly from that from that bootcamp types of creative ways and strategies to like really increase. Denying I think like just going just going to talk about it. Are you know posted on. Your website is just not enough. It's not enough. Where do you see yourself in the next like five years? What kind of work do you WANNA? We doing yeah So next five years so I have plans to move out to the bay area permanently so I definitely see myself living on the west coast and with that I like to. I like to really get out there and like just really do more talks more. PODCAST like this. This is This is my first so on and so I I really I really like to get out there and just really liked talk. Talk Talk to talk to people who are interested. Did in coming in the field mentoring definitely really given back to the tech community to be honest to be honest and really really really just grown and grown as a leader as well all right. We'll just it kind of wrap things up here. Where can our audience find out more about you about your work and everything online so you can find me? Only Dan at DEDUC and then I'm also on twitter as well D- tuck underscore and that's D. E. T. U. C. K.. Underscore right sounds good will d talk. I WanNa thank you you so much for coming on the show I mean I i WanNa thank you for sharing a little bit about kind of what life is like at abstract but also really going more into to your your personal journey. One thing I think that really stood out to me was that you had this. This uncle this possibility model as like Laverne Cox calls it of someone that it is doing something that you could see yourself doing like. It's a possibility for you to be. You know where he is doing. The things that he's doing and tech is sort of the vehicle Nicole to to get you there and so it's it's good that you had that kind of inspiration to be able to get to where you are right now and then also just sharing like experiences. That's a ski. Getting more people really need to look at Hughes and invest in HP. Because there's some really special stuff that's going down there winter nights. VCU myself like. I mentioned I went to Morehouse the house. A lot of good stuff going on there. Don't just look at it. It's like oh it's the black school like some special happening at. HSBC US but no thank you again so much for coming on the show I really I do appreciate it now. Thank you for having me. And that's it for this week. Aw Vic thanks to detox and thanks to you for listening you can find out more about the in her work to the links and the show notes at click dot com forward slash revision path. And of course thanks to both facebook design and abstract facebook design is a proud sponsor of provisions path tomorrow and more about how the facebook designed community is designing for human needs an unprecedented scale. Please visit facebook dot designs. This episode is also brought to you by abstract design workflow management for modern design design teams. Spend less time searching for design files and tracking down feedback. I spend more time focusing on innovation and collaboration glitch but for designers designers abstract is your team's version control source of truth for design work with abstract your conversion sketch design files present. Work request reviews collect feedback back and give developers direct access to all specs. All from one place. Sign your team up for free. Fourteen Day trial today by heading over to. WWW DOT abstract abstract dot com provision path is a glitch media network. PODCAST is produced by Maurice. Cherry and edited by Brittany. Brown are intial intro. Voice overs by Music May Andrey with intro music by yellow speaker were also powered by simple casts the easiest way for podcasters to publish and distribute audio on the Internet. Make sure you check the show notes for a link to sign up for a fourteen day free trial. And if you'd like this episode

Tuskegee Nashville professor facebook engineering manager Alabama Tuskegee Cincinnati Maurice Cherry Atlanta engineer Ski Ohio HP US Morehouse Spelman Clark Dan
305: Sarah Huny Young

Revision Path

1:12:08 hr | 1 year ago

305: Sarah Huny Young

"You're listening to the revision path podcast a weekly showcase of the world's black graphic designers web designers and web developers through in-depth interviews. You'll learn about their work their goals and what inspires them as creative individuals. Here's your host Maurice Cherry welcome to the provision path podcast. My name is Maurice Cherry before we get into this week's interview. I just wanted to let you know once again again. We're hiring for designed director here. At Glitch you know as a company were really growing every single day and we're looking for a design director to join our team that can not only help build a team of talented designers but also help to deliver a unified experience to our audience of consumers numerous curator's and creatives so if that's you if that sounds like something that's right up your alley and check out the show notes for linked to the job listing or head over to glitch dot com forward slash careers and apply today now for this week's interview. We're talking to one of my favorite guests. Are you might remember from episodes one hundred and two hundred for vision path the brilliant creative director designer and fellow route one hundred winner Sarah honey young. Let's start the show right so tell us who you are and what you do. Hello My name is Sarah honey young. I am <hes> award winning creative director and visual artist. I am also an adventure writer and I consider editor my work to be based in documenting and exalting black womanhood and queer community first of all just have to say it is so good to talk with you again first of all. I think one thing that's happened since I think since we both last does that we're both like now fellow route one hundred winners here honor that was wonderful. I love putting that in my bio in resume congratulating field well the verve. Thank you thank thank you. I wish I would have had time to do the do the event unfortunately I didn't have time to go up. There event is fantastic by way yeah. It's it's a grain of it really is open bar. Everybody's drunk look. It was like that when I did the when did the A._I._G.. A awards gala it was open bar like that it was it was a fun night definitely by everyone that was there so I know I know that a lot has happened since then so I don't know where we start well. When we left spoke to me I was all the way in fight of my amazing wonderful though affirming product American woman which is a portrait and documentary series exploring black women relationship with America since we talked I actually mounted an entire exhibition here in Pittsburgh at a venue called Manchester Craftsmen's guild that was wonderful just to finally see all of those portrait actually printed out in mounted in that way I actually was supposed to screen the full length documentary there but it is still well not done? I have not finish that documentary yet. It has become like not the bane of my existence because that's not fair 'cause talk about it that way but it has become like the thing that is the the little ringing in my ear. Constantly is trying to get that documentary then now what I am still intending to do in fact the last time we talked. I said New Orleans was my last city and then my act went to Atlanta and I saw you in Atlanta China. When I was shooting American woman in Atlanta that was due to funding actually provided by my cousin Damon young and his wife Alicia they contributed to my funding and I was able to add another city but right I went back to New York for that project and has like a New York two point? Oh and I also needed to always go back to Chicago because whereas I shot probably ten to twelve women in every single city I went to for American woman I <music> only shot five women in Chicago like I also have to say no black transgender women in America woman and I cannot ever call this project on until I have trans representation in it and so there's actually two women in Chicago who I wanted to very specifically <hes> photograph interview around the experience of black transgender women in America because that that is something that really really needs to be represented in this project and really needs to be represented everywhere. I know everybody loves Pov- now and that's fantastic as far as media representation but they're still like we can't call it done. We can't call that especially when somebody Black Trans women are still suffering violence leaving losing their lives so American woman is still ongoing. It is now year three and it's actually on hiatus while I'm working on other things but American woman has has reached the milestone but it was very affirming to actually get that mounted as an exhibition finally and it was a fantastic turn out we had a big panel and artists Park and party around the exhibition. Pinch actually was not a solo exhibition there were two other artists name Martha Riyal and Kenneth Neely who were a part of that exhibition as well and it was it was a beautiful experience but I still need to get their documentary done and I still actually would love to solar show for American woman somewhere but finding a venue that actually has honestly enough room to present it in the way that I want because the Portuguese I really big. They're like six feet feet by four feet. They're all huge. There's like sixty of them and they'll be about seventy when I'm done circling around Chicago and then there's somewhere where I need to actually be able to screen the documentary so I think honestly the American woman I consider it in some ways my magnum opus but I don't want to call it back and I'm still pretty young and I don't WanNa say like Oh. This is the best thing I'll ever do. It is one of the most important things I'll ever do but it's it's still ongoing absolutely right. Now I remember I think this was maybe like early twenty eighteen or so c._N._N.. Had mentioned some news about they were coming out with a series. That was obviously very similar to yours. Yours <unk> also titled American Women. You remember that Oh yeah absolutely I do because I was really upset about it. Actually I heard about that on New Year's Day of a two thousand eighteen it was like packed twitter notifications base but people were calling me like. Did you know well really they. Were like did you know C._N._N.. Stole your project to which I was like what why let me go online and see what the hell is going on. It was very similar except of course it was populated by mainly white women. I think the only black women in it were able to do Vernon Isa Ray and the focus of it was extremely similar to my project is not the exact same Brooke Baldwin. I think her name is is the C._N._N.. New newscaster who worked on that she actually named Toronto Burke in the metoo movement or one of the infractions for her doing her series which was interesting 'cause Toronto Berg the founder of the B._B._C. Movement is in my American woman series so mainly <hes> I didn't have an issue with someone else you know exploring and talking to American woman around what is your experience Eh one in America today right. That's an ongoing conversation that I didn't start that she didn't start they is just an ongoing thing but what was just frustrating about it was that it was named the exact thing as as my project I and it's funny 'cause people more for like while you're not the first either actually I am. I the first person to ever have a theory called America Woman that Explores Women's relationship with America. It just happens that my project REC centers black women completely so you may think that I'm doing like the so called black version of something that already happened but actually I did not I I researched whether I had an original idea and in original title for months and months and months before I actually went for it because I wanted to make sure I wasn't stepping on anybody else and so I wanted to make sure I wouldn't have a have a trademark or copyright issue. The only things that were actually literally called American woman were theory of like workout videos WanNa say kind of V._H._S. thing that had they had long since abandoned their copyrights and there is a magazine called American Women Magazine so after my project a good year and a half after my project came C._N._N.'s American woman they were supposed to do it as a theory they abandoned that idea I guess because they had actually an extreme amount of outcry I never got an official response from them but there was a lot of people who were <hes> inundating them in my defense which I appreciate. I'll always appreciate the way that people show up to protect <hes> me and other black women around around black women's proprietary work so that was so and then there was a T._v.. Show I think it was on F._X.. Called American woman <hes> they came out after my project and now there's a movie starring Sienna Miller Club America woman but I actually actually have had the copyright core that for a couple of years now I'm actually working on renewing it right now. which is just it's always a car? It's always a cost financially and it's a time thing because you have to crew and for anybody who wants to copy write something on and protect their work. You have to monetize it which is kind of interesting to me like I have a lot of thought one that living in a capitalistic society how you can't actually own your own idea and protect it from other people unless you're purposely monetize it and making money off of it so that's that's kind of interesting with a product like American because although I do I have a coffee table ghosted I put out at some point in the in the next year or two. It wasn't ever to make money like I don't WanNa make money off of the women who have trusted me and shared their stories with me although they don't mind they're like girl gets money like we believe in you. We let me quit our image and likeness and and your hands because we trust you so you need to sell something to make this happen in to continue like protecting us in belting thin so be it but that's never wasn't American woman with four so else. That's the process I'm going through ongoing with America. Woman American woman is probably going to be on going all the way through twenty twenty to be perfectly honest with you but I do have a whole lot of other things that I'm working on as well because me being an artist artist and me being <hes> scatter brain with A._d._H._d.. I always have an idea and I'm always working on multiple things so I wanNA talk. I guess you know a little bit about that. Funding is interesting you mention that about how unless you're making. Money from your idea that's like the only way that you can protect it and also even in order to protect it. You've got to spend money on it like you have to buy a copy. You know get a copyright or trademark what have you I know when we last spoke. We were sort of talking about funding to projects that you had American with me and one of them. The other one was <hes> eighteen thirty nine MAG as you kind of look at American women and I guess any other projects that you're working on that we'll talk about what is your relationship now with funding. That's a great question I am he'll bill applying for grants although night in gung-ho cash and I was doing a couple of years ago just because I've found a way to execute things without being reliant on funding now there are always. I'm going to be some big huge ideas. I have that requires some kind of monetary compensation from someone. Who's not me 'cause I don't have you know I don't I don't have fifteen thousand dollars to fund anything except funding ending food into my children valve and and and keeping a roof over our head so I still believe in pursuing funding and grants but there is a time issue that is always a factor when it comes to grant some of them turn over over pretty quickly like they'll give you response within a month and you'll have that check on the second month and that's fantastic with the vast majority of grants and funding opportunities? You really don't find out for months and months at a time. Maybe six months later you'll get like a yes and you'll get like the Czech ideally but me being I never said on ideas for that long and since we last part actually have my own artist studio now where I can do a whole lot of stuff that I didn't have the ability to do before war before it had like a literal dedicated space where I can take photos. Now I hang in there. That's a meeting place for me. I work from there on my creative direction stuff for my company Supreme Clientele. I work on D._J.. Sets in there because have I wandered my way in T._d.. JAKES and that came from the work that I've started doing around events ration- as well and it all it seems like a lot like we were talking earlier and asked me my title and I had hi to really think about it because I have a lot in. It's hard to break it off into one word unless I just use creative but then people are. There's a follow up question what you mean. You're a creative okay. What the hell does that meets? It requires more explanation so I'M I. I'm always going to be a creative director. I that's how my mind works and that kind of encompasses everything that I do creatively as well as on the marketing and communications N._P._R.. Sides branding all the things I do for my clients and my own project. I'm always gonNA macron myself an artist as well because I let remind people like not that there's not design work that if artistic but being someone who has always been an artist but not really been a part of an art scene until moving to pick for five years ago that's an important point to make people as well also photographer that is paying a lot of bills right now which is glorious because before I ever see funding for American women I would've never thought I would be actual working professional supply quantify at this point and then yeah the event curious and indeed saying thing it's a lot if our creative though not doing mathematics or biochemistry. I'm an artist a right brain person in my period and really if anything you like involves creativity or movement visuals new VIC rhythm. I'm probably going to be influenced. The sold more about that events or is this is something that kind of organically came about through your design work. Is that right yeah. I think Kinda not really it's helped by me being creative but yeah I mean even just your you know I like to wander off a question but when you ask me about like how what if my relationship the funding so the adventurous and things did come from meeting money and needing money by doing something that I've always been good at. I've always been a party girl and I don't mean like wild sniffing coke off uh-huh site party girl although knock it to you I guess but I mean I love their only events. I love love gathering people. I'm an extrovert. I know there's like an ongoing joke okay and with my friends in New York and probably other cities to where they're like. Don't invite me anymore. Group dinners like people don't like group dinner. They don't like figuring out the check like I get it but I love the like that I love bringing people together. I had a a Lotta great quantities in in New York. I was through myself birthday parties in New York. I really epic F- Halloween Party in New York that some people still talk about but when I moved to Pittsburgh of course that was starting all over Gra <hes> I do have cousins here. My mom lives here but I had never action here myself and I wanted to find people who are like me. There's a lot of events series here that are cool. Some of them are are low buji for my taste. I'm not really in who like party where you have to dress a certain way. <HES> Kinda like everybody to be able to express themselves. I'm not really into extremely heterosexual. Male dominated basis either and I think that comes from me. Dipping inter-factional is how I'm I'm a black woman also queer black lament so I I don't like to hyper hyper hyper heterosexual masculine faces and that's a lot of the party scene period but specific to my interest the party scene here in Pittsburgh in many other cities city this kind of just a dominated by that so I had a friend who I talked about on the last podcast. His name is Aaron Clark. He's the Cultural Engineering Ace Hotel Pittsburgh. I threw a birthday party for myself and once I knew enough people check a couple years. They hear like okay. I think I know enough people now to have me a little party. It was actually a lobby party at Pittsburgh and a lot of people came like a lot of people like how people at my own birthday thing. I didn't know them from a can of paint but they're black people. They were ready to party. They're like this is an interesting venue. I would've never thought to throw a party in hotel. Lobbies knee being from New York. I was like Yuccas do that and that's all the time like if they're always partisan. They're cute. I think you said Houston D._J.. In the lobby of a hotel New York that was something that was strange to me but that one went very well and then I did another event April so it was a Halloween party that one was extremely pop into then I did a party around the release of the Black Panther movie in February of last year can't believe Black Panther just came out last year. Movie came out like wow aw was last year. It would have been February of two thousand eighteen so I did a huge party called the F. O.. Future is now in a hotel it was actually in the gym tricked about whole Jim out to look like we're Kanda. I haven't even seen the movie because the party was the day after the movie came out. I was like studying the trailer. This is always the creative director. I was like pausing the trailer looking at the art. It was in the background so I could make it seem like that. I hit the nail on the head like pretty firmly too so that was an that was the event I think there's probably about three hundred fifty four hundred people in their gorgeous just are the black guy afterwards so fricking gorgeous like blackness so bad and everybody looks so fantastic you know everybody was putting on the Duckie us and everything from like everybody was mad. African mad confident around like after movie but there were just so many different displays of of of how we tire to the motherland and how we tie ourselves to be black American as well and our own heritage and culture here and I saw what I did with that party in really every party is just like because I'm like I would like to go to an event like this so if other people come at school but I'll have a good time if it's just me and my homies and it was like okay wait a minute wait a minute. I can actually do there because what happened. Was People told me exuberantly really like you need to keep doing stuff because your party he'll different than other parties. I've been to hear cleese. Keep doing this. I love that this is a black woman run promotion company which I was like Oh. I'm a promotion company. Okay cool. Oh Yeah let's call it that let's just say that was intentional and then some people started calling me eventuate or when they started writing about me and I'm like yeah okay. That sounds legit. Let's do that and mainly that women so comfortable in my space is that queer people comfortable in my face and that the people I do attract who may not identify if clear L._G._B._T._Q.. Plus they would come in and not care about that either and that was important to me like you adapt to the people who can't go everywhere so party the way you can yes you're going to see and then in high heel at my party in the face and then you're going to see the Jews that look like Lil Wayne in the corner who don't Oh care and that is a very interesting thing. I found about Pittsburgh. I know that this exists in New York. I know it does but it was something that I needed to find in Pittsburgh as well like where's the crowd where we can all just be ourselves and then nobody needs to do double take their have anything smart to say about about the clear boy in the corner who was fabulous and should be able to express himself and Dan and flirt just the same way as anybody else can't so that is the center terror of why I got into throwing party of my party company called darkness and spreading. I don't know if I mentioned that or not which is functions on two tiers the first it's an it's an inside joke. If you've ever seen Chapelle show is seen the Rick James Name skit like darkness. Everybody dog misses wedding which is hilarious like humans day like so funny to me but it also like in that skit. I don't know if you remember you know Rick James being like a lighter skinned person he was talking about the murky by the because they were dark skinned and he called them darkness to like mess with them on some color and stuff but I was like I think that is empowering as heck like I'm not Dr Brown lifestyle but I'm like that is like a metaphor. I want you to talk about what I'm trying to do. With my series of events. I'm trying to spread black culture throughout the city that is not known court at all but which there's a lot of a lot of people Pittsburgh but there's a lot of black people in Pittsburgh who have been looking for a different kind of event. I love a good team. <hes> I had an alice in wonderland themed Halloween Party in October of two thousand eighteen was released fo fulfill. There's a black light party. Everybody glowed look like belly actually three minutes oh belly by hype Williams and then I did an event actually on July Fourth Call Diaspora to dope dope which was a celebration of the black I ask bre here in America and beyond and that I had that event on July fourth variance emotional if I said F this America's. Birthday crap 'cause I'M GONNA try not to cuss in this protest as well like F that I would rather center the people who actually built this country and have you know have all the trappings things of July fourth that we've black people love well we as people period because everybody loves good cookout. Everybody Level Barbecue. Everybody loves a block party but that is something that I have always specifically tied to our culture by people just gathering in celebration ritual so it was fantastic worries like it would it would be uniform L- like the best of our forth I've had maybe even since I was a kid when my parents throw big block party are you there. A neighborhood here called the hill district. I WanNa say besides maybe a neighborhood called home would and maybe Williamsburg D._v._d.. Williamsburg hanging on the hill district is the most historic black neighborhood in Pittsburgh. It's the most historic black neighborhood in Western P._A.. Like past like Philly which is five hours away the district as a neighborhood. It's very very similar to Harlem in that. There's a a lot of rich history in that neighborhood in it is still it's one of the only historically black neighborhoods in the city to hold onto itself. It has not been heavily gentrified at all yet. It definitely needs somewhere. There's a a lot of associations around keeping that neighborhood in the ownership of black people which is important to me so they have a block party in that neighborhood that centered us but also took advantage of this beautiful venue that cost us like tens of thousands of dollars that I did not have to put up and that was you're headed by a new venue called all summer and they offered me this space and I was like absolutely so it was just it was so good. I don't know if I even explaining it right but if you think about the best family cookout you've ever been to and like just said the range of ages their babies. They're they're senior. Their Mama came through my cousins lived there. We have all food <hes> we had music. I actually did because that's the again after the thing that I decided to do like I don't want to say <hes> in that came out of event curation. Actually I've always loved music people who've known me for a while we've been pulling my career no about bounce which I formerly called on like one of the most influential phone music porn on the Internet to this day. Oh bounces still amazing but I <hes> lasted in the hands of Kimberly Hind nine who was my partner in money down for a few years and I thought I've always loved me. VIC WORKED FOR VIBE magazine worked for bt for four years so I'm like here. I am with all these new with knowledge grown up with music my parents their music lovers. I know a Good D._J.. Which is why I have an ear for my events and who I want to actually hire for my events and when it came to like I think I want to give this a try just because why not this one we see if too hard or it seems too time consuming? It's not the right fit. I won't do it so I started in January and I still doing. It actually got some really exciting gigs coming up where he's still dishes. Just it's so different. It's so different than when we last talked that I'm really I'm really grateful and all of the ways in which moving to this city has provided me opportunity to warn myself as a creative and there's an artist minded person in general because because I wouldn't if I was still in New York and I love I love me some new yard. <hes> got so much soco but I know for a fact if I remained there or even if I moved to Bergen originally got tech job APP which is what I thought I would do. I would not have discovered all of these new layers to myself so I'm really grateful for some of the at the time misfortune that has turned out to be like a huge thing sounds like there's something the in the in the whole Vic curation process that allows you to pull together all the different skills that you have whether it's design or music or you know even just having like a certain I for something if feels like event curation ration- helps you pull all of that together it it takes the the intangible and turns it into something that's memorable that people never forget that the perfect way of phrasing it actually that is absolutely perfect Maurice and it was something I was thinking about before we started talking a little earlier. When I was like Oh crap I have to do a podcast to get my notes together again? Just got rain heck and totally forgot but I was thinking that like I may how finally found the thing like this is the thing because I can do a lot of stuff a lot of stuff. It's almost obnoxious when I start talking about what I do with people because they're like okay well. What can you not do that might be? A shorter looks like damn girl. I just ask you what you did out of courtesy. It's like half an hour later and you're still talking about what you do. What yeah it pulls together a lot of aspects of creative creative direction but that every product I have you can American woman? I made the logo of course I designed a website. I have a whole dog item around America woman. Even the way it's edited is very specific to my aesthetic and then my news theories worship cookware God has a completely new that it that I'm building and I recognize that as a huge asset 'cause when you put out like a really dope theory of promotional the visuals corn events or anything for your project projects for your event baby shower your wedding anything like that is that is the first thing that people can engage the tone so when people see what I've created digitally around my event they already know Oh this is it could be some good to right here. This is about to be well. Then the attention to detail is going to be there and I'm very grateful to have those skills because there's a lot of people who don't and then they have to spend a a Lotta money hiring people like me so I consider that like a great advantage but yeah the event thing honestly it's fascinating and I don't consider it really a departure from what I've always done it just getting closer to my dream of using my skills as a designer and creative director and being able to apply them to my own things and I still do love my clients. I just do because they they give me a lot of money in that and I also consider it a responsibility to be heading the visual and marketing communications profits for other people's dreams to that is an obligation that I take very seriously when I when I worked for my clients but I think my dream name of just being able to do what I want for the purpose of legacy building and having something that I can actually pass onto my kids. Should they want to take up the mantle of what I'm doing. It's it's really important to me as I as I get older while keeping that on forty and everything it's good it's good. It's a good thing it causes me to become overwhelmed in a way I wasn't before because now I I am responsible for people's good times on top of everything else but yeah it's definitely the bridge I was looking for. My ultimate. Dream is actually to own my own venue if not a series of venues that will also also be able to bring in my last gift and skill that I haven't been able to apply and that is performance. I have the greet in theater arts from Howard University. I actually went to college with chartered both man. That's like the Xiaomi from h you I went to college with Susan Watson who plays best on this is literally the homegirl and so when I see like my former classmates finding success and in performance torments and acting that is something like I desperately miss and although I find that I have my own artistic relief and everything that I'm doing now only Mike an actual performance menu is is if the final realization the station and I think everything I've been doing. It feels like it's so random but I started really in this year in two thousand nineteen. I've started to see all of these things start to joe together like okay this. They eh finally make sense so thank you for for seeing that too. That's extremely affirming. I mean certainly feels like you're moving closer to God. There's there's some there's there's <hes> it's a Michelle Shell Diageo cello. I think it's an album or song <hes> where something about becoming closer to the the the woman she wants to be or something to that effect. I might be getting it completely wrong but as you're describing all these things that you're doing with victories and how it brings in these other skills that you have it does feel like you're moving closer to. What's you know? The pinnacle of which are creative expression is I'll definitely go from your lips. Were University because uh I have behind a computer too much of my life now a lot of that was necessity and a lot of that is still doing really cool. Things like I divine <hes> what doesn't doesn't kill you makes you blacker. which is my cousin damning young bestseller published through Harpercollins? I got the opportunity design that book jacket and so I see my work when I pack Barnes and noble like that's amazing like that's Super Roberto that supernovae no there's so many other creatives who worked for go work for facebook slack. They work for these huge tech company so they get to see their work on T._v.. You know they're they're part of agencies and they're doing commercial work so it is not rare for someone with my same whitelist creative director to see their work in that affect but I haven't worked for any of those big tech companies like I don't know Viacom counts. That's the biggest company but not necessarily in the same way like I have seen my work in that way but you know it's just like okay. No this is the work I did under my creative agency. This is Supreme Clientele work on the big stage and that is extremely from some always gonna I know I'm always is GonNa do stuff for my friends and family and people I really believe in but yeah the ultimate realization is who gradually keep moving away from working on other people's James and making Shaw that I can actualize what I want for myself to and yes. It's a new realization. Even as I'm saying these words right now I can feel thing coming together like I see my life sometime as like a Nebula Sheila like this Nebula and I swear my high right now but all of these twinkling stars in the sky and I'm like how do I call all of this together in the Sun for myself and at this point in Pittsburgh Oh what about who would have thought that is is allowing me to do that and that's not only taking away some of the things I just sort of fell back on in New York. Taking away the comfort zone <hes> was forced to meet New People and meet some brilliant people forced to recognize. I've talked about this. What about it spoke about it many times in the past five years since I got ahead how I just could have never imagined never imagined that my New York was going to fall in love with a city like Pittsburgh again? My family is from here so always look familiar with it in some way but the lack of creativity that exists in this city and absolutely phenomenal and I'm really grateful that that I that I've been able to branch out in these ways that I have done is just so awesome here here I mean when I think back on our last conversation and just juxtaposing that to now is certainly feels like you. You're moving closer in with that that right direction is how does it. I mean just based on what you said so Farley. How does it feel having like switched gears in this way like you worked in tech and design for so long and now you're in kind of a difference almost like an art space almost with this event aeration and photography and D._J.? -Ing and everything like Eh. What is the shift been like in terms of I mean I guess one in terms of creativity but to in terms of just like your sense of self? How does it feel to to shift in that way I that I've been thinking a lot about `bout not because I think a lot about so actually because the not even the vast majority all of my work in some way come back to how I feel about myself and what things I'm discovering about Myself Yes oh and who that attracts in terms of people and projects to but mainly people like who who unbecoming actually attracts in terms of the people that I've met recently and that's like actually really inspired my worship God theories which off parts you a little bit more about but it's still like a little scary I think because I've definitely tried to do stuff it on like well? That did not work at all. All like my dope event was in June of last year. It was fun for who came but it was in terms of how I gauge success. It was unsuccessful. It was ended up getting rained out. We had to end it early if didn't attract as many people as I hope because it was actually on Sunday of a quiet weekend and people were tired like it was just like okay these were maybe some unwise decision. I'm GonNa do this party the again do it again so the deal to do it again on July Fourth of this year and to see this vision just come to fruition like I almost cried actually because I felt proud proud of myself and I felt proud of what I've been able to organically honestly and in a space of vulnerability manifest for not only myself but everyone working with me my dreams that never like I never see myself on the pedestal or thrown. It's always like a community of people who I want to take with me. So in terms of like the work I'm doing is like giving some kind of life and validity to my community eighty and I consider my community be like black women and inquiry people physically. It's it's really though and if those really good and and the money is not like super like raining down on my author anything hang right now. It's probably making less money than I would make if I just went and got a job at like duo lingo which I thought about my online but I am very fortunate to be in a space where I can send her this dream of mine this this sort of direction and and function of wind becoming the person and kind of what I've always wanted then afraid to even say it out loud like I want to own a venue one day. I don't think I've said that out loud at all until like the last couple of years and it's something I've always wanted always like there's there's people I've like texting like I delight in but this now like something I'm I'm speaking out. Loud with with purpose and things are just falling into place and I think it's because not only have I think I'm pretty don't person <laughter> but more fo- just like when you live a life if that is a reflection of who you are inside and where you really WanNa go. It may not happen right away but eventually you'll find your tribe. You'll find your community. You'll find that like-minded people who have something else to add will add to it and you can just build like voltron and kind of realizing that you didn't really think you could and it's incredible to be able to do that and especially incredible I guess yes and the climate political climate which is so oppressive and I don't function throughout my eighth feeling oppressed because I just like refused to but it's really like a crazy time for us as black fuck right now for of clear for <hes> for women a lot and so I'm starting to focus more on self and community and what we can manifest instead of trying to instead of getting overwhelmed I guess by the big picture and like all of the things that can function as roadblocks and all the people who tell you know all the people who tell you can't do it or haters. I don't know I don't feel like I have haters but I probably have a couple and it's just not something that I'm focusing focusing on for the first time in my life not focusing on the hard thing or the adversity which again is is still a function of you know being fortunate. I understand that there's just some people who can't really function in that way right now but I'm really grateful and appreciative that I can and talking about this is really helpful to Maurice like I think I told you every episode is done a revision tough so far like you actually offering this. I call it a face. It's not as a physician I mean offering the space to us as black creative to not only talk about our work with talk about our dreams and talk about what makes us nervous and talk about things that were hard and how we overcome or maybe talk about stuff. We did not overcome. It's important important to not only showing people that we out to like us as Viner's web developers graphic designers programmers we are not only out here like you have proved that were out here but you also this podcast podcast and the faces give us an opportunity to be like our true selves and not have to function as a monolith or not how to always question is like the epitome in the peak of like black exlusive. Some of this stuff is hard hard in the young men can come up and hit me up all the time like i WanNa do what you do and others like young as one. I I WanNa do what you do. I'm like Oh which one oh events I I. That's how I like. That's cool and I want them to know like y'all. I'm not gonNA give you know BS story all right. I'm not like a trust fund baby. I couldn't like hit up my parents in the Hamptons for like a six figure loan to start anything I'm Eh but I'm still doing it but it's hard and this is where I asked up and this is what I want. You not do like that. All of that is just a manifestation as well. Thank you for giving me the space to talk about this. As I'm literally talking about it. I'm realizing things that are going right in my life and that's important for real. Thank you thank you I mean I think it's important you know with with one one thing that she said also was about. I'd like to show that it's not about black excellence. Which is something that I've been very deliberate about? I think since starting this because well the things you said one was that and then the second thing was about like not focusing on the adversity. Sometimes you can end up happening in. I hate to say this but like sometimes it can happen in black spaces where the focus is so much on the adversity that it's like a it's like a range either very focused on the adversity or you're very focused on like this pie in the sky ideal of what it is to be black or black creative in that way and like there was a lot of room in between for everyone else into only focus on the lows or focus on like the astronomical local high and so even with the people that I try to have on the show I want folks at all all different levels. I it always pains me when I reach out to someone and they tell me that they're not ready to be on the show yet. They'll say they're like Oh. I'm not ready. I'm not at that point in my career yet to be on the show and I'm like what what are you talking about like. I WanNa talk to you exactly where you're at your career right now like that's why I reached out to you about a status symbol or being a status symbol but that's what the cases for for them. That's you know that's everyone has their own thing. I get that but I try to talk to folks where they're at where whether that's in house somewhere in like the middle of America or if they are like at the top of their field in London or something I try to talk to people that are everywhere doing all kinds of things to show that what it is to be a black designers such a rich and varied experience I mean we know that there is no one way to be designer to be creative in this industry but also more so than that. There's no one way of what I guess. There's no one definition of what success would look like you know. I mean for some people it's for some people it is getting the job at the Big Tech Company and then for other folks folks. It's just being in their own creative space to make and do exactly what it is that they WANNA do <hes>. There's this one woman who I interviewed a few months back <hes> a saw her on a reality show actually there's this reality show on on Youtube called Oh man I'm blanking on the name but it's a it's a reality show on Youtube T._v. about a sneaker designers I think it's called the next grade sneaker designer something like a black woman. Her name was analysts and she was one of I think sewer three black women on the show and you know the way that they structured it was nobody really got eliminated. You just you made it through to the end you just got feedback and then they were doing the sneaker designs with dwayne Edwards Pencil Academy Portland won into a network is a black guy who designed for a number of years for Nike Jordan brand all that sort of stuff so I had her on the show to kind of talk about well what happens since the show because I thought Oh maybe she's still like designing sneakers and stuff <hes> she's mostly gotten out of that and it's Kinda doing something similar to what you're doing in terms of like making these spaces for creatives to kind of thrive and have their own way in Portland of all places like wall be able to kind of make the happened so success looks different for different people and I think it's important at least a here on this show to show that it's not just about being a designer at facebook or a designer at twitter or wherever it could be whatever you want it to be you know hopefully people see all kinds of different avenues and opportunities for being a designer for applying their creativity through the folks that have been on the show or and you're like what is it doing great double that because. Ah I was episode one hundred and two hundred like all and I'm not I don't I have never been like the Big Tech Company person like people know me just a function of me being around so how long like I am for many people like honey was the first black girl I ever saw on the Internet like so. Many people have said that in when people say that around younger people like how are you. I'm like the like this this year or whatever like they're like Dang. That's crazy. I don't know how we're still kinda. New in this in this field and what like just the Internet and digital access has really provided a in terms of all of the multitude of new titles new job that have been born really in the last like fifteen years is like insane and I think some of that that like expectation to be this kind of creative or how this specific kind of success and to warn in some way about a social media I mean it's always existed. It's this far beyond before. Social media became like a AH thing but I think about like when I was talking before about this like that face of honesty when you reiterated I thought if what we need to talk about in these spaces I think about the the saying that like social media highlight reel and indeed. I don't use social media as much anymore to bench about certain things <hes> I mean not personal things I guess I'm still unlikely definitely venting containing about like America and and just like all the trappings that come with living in a society ran by Literal Madman but I try I try to I'm not even going to try to keep a positive audited by you. Try to keep me about the work and about the people that I'm working with and how that is an extension of me but I do feel like that can give people not the wrong idea but not a completely correct idea of what we as creative are really really going through and what it actually takes to realize. Some of this stuff is a reason that I really want to get back to writing but writing more about the words because I do realize like just having so many years in the game in the way that I do. I have like a lot of stuff. I want to impart and yeah I don't think I'm ever going to work for like the big league creative agency because I have my own agency and I will and it will always function as a place where people don't have to have twenty thousand dollars minimum to even speak to me about working on their product but it also well well always function as the funnel through my own work like Supreme Clientele govind even see will always be the funnel in which I execute things marketing P._R.. Communications consulting design work development of video editing motion graphics like all of those things that I need to propel you know my my own work will always live through supreme clientele but I think her people who do get their really big exciting tech jobs which I do not because I mess can be very exciting. I did interview with Google or a couple years ago. Got All the way to the in person interview and it was exciting exciting to look around and be like like this is like the heck of big. This is like where you WANNA be. If you're in my line of work and I didn't end up getting it and I was I was pretty sad about it but and it it didn't turn me off of the tech industry because everything everything I do is still kind of involved because I do have like a design company that I consider like to to have his foot in in tech as well because I'm doing so much development work and always will actually really like I want to build my own thing and if that means getting like the if I were going to work for a company again it would just have to encompass a lot of the morals and ideals that I am intensely and flee passionate about and probably not a huge company either 'cause. I don't think of myself as a cog in the wheel sort of person I don't function that way in life and I don't punch in that way at work either so who who who really knows where I'm going to go as far as whether aren't gonNA perceive that but I do understand more now like I don't have to and that is not a way the only way to legitimize myself as creative as a artists as they heck industry that like I don't have to be validated by that anymore. That could be a choice that I'm that have a choice I make out of like really truly wanting to aligning with the ideals of the company is and and opposition to doing that out of validation so that's that's really important like realization that I want everybody to get to as as well like why <laughter> why you WanNa work for these companies and what is your exit plan. What are you going to be working on for yourself and it doesn't even mean everybody has to own their own business? Everybody should not it is not for everybody and it has nothing to do with skill talent or perseverance everybody but it's just it's not for everybody to strike out in that way. It's not doable and if not attractive for everyone but I also. I think that we should always have your personalty. Always have your personal passions always have your personal projects that you can apply your skills to well because our skills are not for other people. Only our skills should always be in service of ourselves as well so I hope that people get that out of not only my you know what I say in on a revision passed and beyond but just out of all of the interviews take you did because I think there's just a sprinkle of that in at least every person you've talked to like the importance lies of passions and doing one in having the