About (2007)

I was born in Kansas City (year of the rat, house of the lion), grew up out­side Kansas City, went to col­lege in a small Min­neso­ta town, and since then I've been liv­ing in and around San Fran­cis­co. I work for a prod­uct design con­sul­tan­cy called Coop­er, where I design inter­ac­tive expe­ri­ences for all sorts of dig­i­tal devices and plat­forms — glu­cose meters for nurs­es, online invest­ment tools for finan­cial pro­fes­sion­als, com­put­er-assist­ed sur­gi­cal appli­ca­tions for doc­tors, and var­i­ous oth­er web, desk­top and hand­held things for people.

There's more

When I first moved to San Fran­cis­co, I want­ed to be a writer. For a while, I wrote con­stant­ly, and wast­ed a lot of stamps try­ing to get peo­ple to read it. Even­tu­al­ly, I got bored of wait­ing for peo­ple to be amazed by what I'd mailed them. And while I was liv­ing on someone's couch and eat­ing very lit­tle at the time, I even­tu­al­ly ran out of mon­ey; soon after, I ran out of cred­it. So I got a job at a small pub­lish­ing house where I went through var­i­ous post-col­lege embar­rass­ments — watch­ing oth­ers do the real work while I became the de fac­to 90's tech IT guy, un-jam­ming the fax machine and walk­ing doc­u­ments between buildings.

One fall after­noon I decid­ed to take a job on a farm. Some friends were going to a pic­nic at an organ­ic veg­etable farm in Boli­nas, a small town north of San Fran­cis­co. Boli­nas is known for its insu­lar­i­ty, eccen­tric­i­ty and law­less­ness, and for its large organ­ic farms. I tagged along, and a month lat­er, I was mov­ing out of my city apart­ment, giv­ing away a lot of stuff, load­ing pump­kins into the back of a truck and liv­ing in an Airstream trail­er. Good times.

Over the course of the next few months, I enjoyed the fresh air, fresh food, and Cypress Hill, the field music of choice among my fel­low farm­ers. When the rainy sea­son came along, I took a job at an envi­ron­men­tal edu­ca­tion cen­ter called Slide Ranch, locat­ed a few miles down the coast near Muir Beach. After that, I bounced around for a while. I coor­di­nat­ed a lit­er­a­cy pro­gram at an Oak­land home­less ser­vice agency (before the orga­ni­za­tion ran afoul of fed­er­al reg­u­la­tors), worked with recent­ly adju­di­cat­ed high school kids at a job skills pro­gram in West Oak­land, and devel­oped gallery demon­stra­tions and exhibits at a sci­ence muse­um.

For the past five years, I've worked for Coop­er, a prod­uct design con­sult­ing com­pa­ny. Coop­er was found­ed in the ear­ly nineties by Alan Coop­er, a soft­ware devel­op­er and author of a cou­ple [1, 2] of influ­en­tial books about soft­ware design. The com­pa­ny began as "Coop­er Soft­ware," but became "Coop­er Inter­ac­tion Design" to empha­size our focus on the design por­tion of the soft­ware prod­uct devel­op­ment process. Today, we're just "Coop­er," and we say that our work is "prod­uct design for a dig­i­tal world." We design inter­ac­tive prod­ucts: strict­ly soft­ware prod­ucts like web sites and appli­ca­tions, and software/hardware com­bi­na­tions like hand­held devices, glu­cose meters, infu­sion pumps, and so on. I feel incred­i­bly lucky to have found a job that is con­tin­u­al­ly chang­ing, and that involves sto­ry-telling, sketch­ing, prob­lem-solv­ing, writ­ing, and get­ting super deep in all kinds of weird fields. I find it so intense­ly fun that I often for­get that it's work.

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