I've never been able to hold a linear view of my life. Management coaching taught me I need to define my purpose and goals but singular outcomes feel limiting, like I'd be pulled along by my goals rather than on a frontier of my own. For some reason, since a young age I was compelled by the idea of a "renaissance person." Perhaps this was inspired by feeling like an outcast while in pursuit of a professional hockey career. I wanted to be able to be good at the sport, but still be smart, and still be an artist.
But the ways in which we make careers want us to specialize. Simplify our narrative. Pick something and stick to it for 10,000 hours.
"But we must take care when we use metrics. … Once we decide on them, they have a habit of setting the agenda. As the old adage goes, what gets measured gets managed."
— Sep Kamvar
It wasn't until recently I recognized I had by living by the maxim: pursue maximal interestingness. Throughout my life I've veered toward the path of uniqueness, trying to avoid the status quo — doing things my way. While this makes some aspects of life more complicated, I look back and see richness and vibrance.
Perhaps that's why I'm so drawn to design. There are no walls around design; it's a magnificent tool for value making that's unbounded by status quo. Yes, we work with the status quo, but it's just another input, just like everything else.
Design is the practice of turning complexity into value.
And good design happens when you immerse yourself in diversity. Good design doesn't happen, consistently, in a silo. Good design happens when it's exposed to the world.
It might sound crazy but I’ve always felt closer to a broad cross section of humanity than most of my peers working in technology. I feel closer to the culture. Perhaps that’s in part to my experience working in luxury fashion for Aritzia, whereby you need to have a strong sensitivity to self expression, diversity, …
… or my experience performing as a musician, or even my experience performing as a hockey player.
Design can be applied to anything to add value.
Ideas cannot be owned and value is created by building.
Trust is the foundation for collaboration.
Stories are the glue of our species.
Everyone has the ability to do anything. Some people are better at some things that others.
My operating model:
Anyone that's worked with me will have examples of me using these principles while giving feedback. They are born out of a constant pursuit of scaling creative, collaborative team's within a corporation.
Be hard on the work, be easy on each other.
Don't optimize too early.
People are more important than places.
Species scale thinking
Lead by inspiring, support through systems.
belief 1. In order to add value designers must understand the material they are working with. Greater understanding yields greater output.
I’ve lived many different lives and crossed paths with many different people—this gives me a great value working as a technology designer.
It wasn't until recently I recognized I had by living by the maxim of "maximal interestingness."
The exceptional, in my story, doesn’t come from a familiar narrative but from a unique and diverse mix of experiences.
My CV doesn’t describe a series of accomplishments that add up to a common understanding of greatness. But the experiences I’ve had give me a strong foundation to lead in any organization. As a leader and as a designer it's imperative to have an understanding of different people and different contexts.
A life of maximal interestingness
Examples of my life experience:
Recently completing the design and build of a house on an island in the Pacific Northwest, near dear friends and embedded in community.
A decade of digital transformation work experience building a UX design and research function and eCommerce business at the preeminent women’s luxury fashion retailer, Aritzia.
Co-founding a startup in the intersection of gift economies, music, crowdfunding, and 21st century thinking.
Or my studies, which in the mid-2000s took me to Italy to study interaction design through the lens of “Italian Design,” both contemporary and historical.
The foundations of working on global products at SAP, blending business intelligence, insights and the social and collaborative nature of work on the internet.
Or the perspectives I’ve formed on people and their experiences by being a semi-professional hockey player in a Canadian Major Junior hockey league in the pursuit of a professional career.
Being a tree planter, a flight coordinator, or my lifelong pursuit of writing, recording, and performing music.
My intent isn’t for you to add up these bullet points to understand my qualifications, but to illustrate an atypical path.