I create memorable experiences people love.
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I live in Beacon, New York with my wife Lily and our little grey kitten, Lucy. I like to go hiking and fix things. The Hudson Valley is one of the most beautiful places you can live on the East coast. Last year, the coolest thing was getting my driveway paved for my birthday. Currently, I’m reading Asimov’s Foundation series and likely hibernating. I like to watch soccer and cheer for teams I know nothing about. My love for food is well known. Especially to burritos who hide in fear whenever I’m nearby. I’m an authority on basic bread making. And my sneaker collection is confused by boot season, but they’ll get over it. When at the office, I like to write on and organize post-its. And I occasionally use a standing desk, but only when others are watching so I can exhibit my dominance and pretend the winter hasn’t beaten me at my sedentary lifestyle.
My superpower is cutting through complex problems and listening to people. I’m no savant, but I’m at my best when I connect personal passions to a noble purpose. It’s business meets virtue. Making a difference starts with ruthlessly removing barriers to innovation and helping teams return to what they do best, making a difference in the world. Connect new ideas with a growing sense of empathy for other people. New ideas excite me.
Recently, I’ve been redesigning a smart city software application for a top-10 Fortune 500 company. Cool, right? I also created ideation tools and facilitated workshops for a $10m software startup in Brooklyn. Last year, I helped write the go-to-market strategy for IBM’s Enterprise Blockchain SaaS offering, launched ACLU’s new membership onboarding, and helped facilitate MetLife’s global design thinking workshop curriculum. Other notable projects include redesigning Samsung’s shopping cart, Samsung’s CenterStage, IBM Cloud dot-com pattern library, IBM Watson Value Framework, and Amex Music’s live event launch.
My multi-disciplinary strategic design process is an end to-to-end experience approach that helps to identify market fit and human delight. The goal is to get to a smarter solution faster using collaborative problem solving.
One of the foundations of my process is research. You must understand the problem you want to solve. By asking questions you gather data and begin to uncover actionable needs. This is a good time to observe and listen. This can happen through customer interviews, card sorting, field research and meeting with stakeholders. The result is data and starting to shape insights through user journeys.
The next step is developing empathy and exchanging ideas. The goal is to come up with as many as possible and then prioritize them using a design criteria. This is where a diverse set of team members can speak to value and feasibility. Designers and marketing managers might have a better sense of value, while engineers and developers might have a better sense of feasibility.
I like to ask the question “what’s the smallest thing we can make to test our assumptions?”. When you create constraints around solutions, you can map a feature set and begin to wireframe intended user stories. This is where we begin to converge and the attention to detail is critical along with an appreciation for the intersection of aesthetic and experience.
Next, we build something functional emphasizing nimble design. Starting with assumptions from Step 1, we gather feedback by asking users about the experience and validate this based on improved behavior. Gaining early customer validation is weighed over releasing products with unidentified value. For example: driving consideration, building awareness, creating urgency, and increasing demand.
Values are important to me and begin with family and my local community in New York. While technology is the way of the future, impacting lives starts with the person in front of you. I believe in a hyperlocal approach to living where the people you interact with are those you care about most. I believe each person has infinite worth. It is my view that we are all created equal, but we don’t all have equal choices. Food is the ultimate equalizer and all peace is founded upon sharing your table with your neighbor.
Team building starts with having shared values and an awareness of humility. I’ve lead small teams of 3-5 and also teams of 12-15 people. Leadership is the responsibility to support but also to challenge. I believe in the principle of transparency, continuous learning, and engagement which helps bring people along on the strategic decision-making journey so you end up at a powerful solution together.
Leadership is an education and the best leaders think of themselves as the students not the teachers. Cross-functional teams benefit from quickly evolving solutions and deliberate co-laboring. Empowering a team with research and mapping critical life moments and assumptions helps to build a human-centered problem-solving foundation. This inspires teams to embrace experimentation rather than one-size-fits-all solutions. Using a design thinking framework helps teams with engineers, product managers, strategists, and designers work together to optimize ideas. The result is intentional growth meant to encourage responsiveness and a culture of learning.
Good design makes a product understandable. It also requires an awareness of potential consequences of what we do and prioritizing human well-being over artificial intelligence and autonomous systems. I believe in being honest. The compounding effect of rapid optimization and deployment puts humanity and authenticity at risk. I design with ethical principles in mind. This begins with integrity in the pursuit of true functionalism, demonstrating products that honor user values and communicate a message and its truthfulness.