I started frustrating my parents and teachers with why and how questions about everything at a very early age. And the answers were frequently followed with more whys. I may have discovered the five whys by the age of 10. It wasnt insolence it was curiosity. I loved understanding why and how things work.
That curiosity combined with my experience working for one of the first interactive agencies in the world, Fry Inc., led me to an emerging discipline now known as user experience. While at Fry, I worked with premier retailers to establish some of the first ecommerce sites including Spiegel and Crate and Barrel.
When I joined Razorfish, I had a mentor who exposed me to user research. We went into peoples homes to observe how they put outfits together. While that seems like a menial task, the struggles, behaviors and emotional investment that went along with every outfit decision was striking and game-changing. Physical or digital, peoples needs were not being met.
So a fork-in-the-road moment for me was the realization that you can be in the business of best practices, live by analyst evaluations and one-up the competition, or you can make things better in a way thats meaningful for businesses and people. Theyre not mutually exclusive.
As vice president of experience for Razorfish, I work with clients and teams to find meaningful solutions for businesses and people. Its exciting, frustrating and heartbreaking but at the end of the day, its rewarding.
Having been in the industry for 16 years, Ive also realized the importance of down time. Its all relative though my vacation primarily consists of bi-annual fitness adventures in places like Brazil and/or Costa Rica where I get to challenge my fear of heights on a daily basis. Oddly relaxing in context.