Quietly Developing Ideas

If you have a degree in what field is it? I didn’t graduate, but did attend Columbia College. Since then, I have been featured in their alumni magazine and was invited to speak at Indiana University, University of Chicago, and more, as an expert in new media.

What’s the best site you’ve seen lately? What’s so great about it? I built it, but I’d have to say Galaist. Doing events well is difficult and Galaist makes a lot easier to accomplish; it also saves people a lot of time.

If you were to change professions, what would you choose to do? Firefighter.

Design or technology? Which is more important? Why? That’s a tough one. It seems that those two processes are becoming increasingly and intrinsically tied (parametricism is a great example). I find it difficult to designate one as having a higher level of authority or significance over the other. Every time someone designs something, they are using a form of technology, and every technology is designed. Chicken or egg? I’d guess the first technologies manifested by our species were created for utilitarian function, not for artistic purposes or as creative outlets. So, to answer the question, technology?

From where do your best ideas originate? Man, I have 37 per day. I guess I usually let them swim around in my brain for awhile, share them with my girlfriend, peers and co-workers. Then, I give those that stick with me a chance and start looking for spaces and people that can make them happen.

How do you overcome a creative block? What’s a creative block?

In one word describe how you feel when beginning a new project? Ecstatic.

What well-known site is most desperately in need of a redesign? Any major advertising agency with a site that’s still Flash. I recently read an article about how most of the 50 largest advertising agency sites cannot be viewed on an iPhone. That’s insane.

Do you have creative outlets other than Web design? To be honest, I can’t say that I have a singular “classic” or “artistic” creative outlet. I find that I enjoy expressing myself creatively, well, kind of through other people. I absolutely love creating retail spaces where people can gather, share ideas and start projects. I look at myself as a producer of sorts: I like to pour a trail of thought-gas on an idea and then let everyone know where the big fire will take place.

What music are you listening to right now? A classical station on the radio, but I can get into pretty much anything.

What product/gadget can you not live without? My iPhone.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve bought online? It’s either my inversion table or the Gazelle for the back of my cell phone store in Evanston.

What’s your favorite quote? “Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision.” —Ayn Rand

Do you have any advice for people just entering the profession? Be humble. Look at and listen to everyone around you. Develop your ideas quietly and then go to market and explode.

What’s one thing you wish you knew when you started your career? That all of the companies I wanted to work for when I was in college would suck as employers. Oh wait, I knew that…that’s why I dropped out of advertising school and opened a coffee shop.