I have a long and storied history even though I’m still young (relatively speaking). I started off my professional life at the United States Air Force Academy studying psychology and computer science. I enjoyed my time there and still value the consistency of the military community. After my second year, I denied my inner software developer and moved up to Denver to study music. I put myself through school by working as a Genius at the Apple Store. Apple’s obsession with a positive customer experience was my first exposure to the philosophies and theories about customer satisfaction. My core values are still informed by my time at Apple.
Eventually, my focus transitioned from Apple to software design and development. I was never without a side project; I had little time for anything but design, code, and coffee. I started making enough money I had to start a business. That business soon became my full-time job. It was rewarding working with small businesses at first, but I quickly found myself consulting major corporations about improving the user experience. Ultimately, I noticed very few companies in the software industry really focused on the user. UX was so obvious to me that I simply couldn’t see myself doing anything else.
The user experience has always been a passion of mine, but it’s exciting to see it finally become such a major focus for larger corporations. Samsung, Microsoft, Apple – they’re all on the user experience train. Are they doing everything perfectly? Absolutely not… but that’s not the point. An excellent user experience should start with known foundations then build specific interactions for each user base utilizing real, unbiased data and iterative design. Every customer is unique, requiring more than a simple formula to make them happy. Creating the best user experience requires an understanding of psychology, philosophy, data analysis, user testing, constantly changing variables, and the ability to mold that into a usable piece of software, all while having fun leading your team. That’s what I enjoy doing every single day.
When I’m not in the office, you might find me hanging out with the family at home or on a Colorado mountain trail in our FJ Cruiser. I also enjoy reviewing technology and producing YouTube videos in the physical room that is Neon Studio. Musically, I’m always dabbling with ideas or learning new instruments; an album is in the near future. In the garage, I’m typically getting my hands dirty on the truck or the motorcycle, the occasional kid’s bike too. As a time-strapped maker, there are often unfinished wood or metalworking projects in the third bay. They get done… eventually. For a little rest and relaxation I enjoy reading, movies, games (board and video), and I may have a slight obsession with learning. Learning is actually my favorite thing to do. Sure, I learned things in college, that was fun… but getting excited to learn new concepts in the software industry at work or how to weld in my free time – that’s the secret sauce to my burger of life.
So, what’s next for me? I’m looking for UX leadership opportunities.