Ever since I was a child, I’ve been fascinated with interfaces such as car dashboards and electronic control panels. Once I got my first computer, a Mac, I was captivated by all the interface controls, keenly investigating the buttons, icons, and menu controls, and noting the subtle interface changes as each new OS was released.
As I grew up, I fell in love with design first and later programming – I studied theatrical set design at college, got a job programming multimedia CD-ROM interfaces at work upon graduation, then took night classes in product design at Art Center in Pasadena. I knew CD-ROMS were giving way to the internet, so I taught myself HTML and got a job as a web monkey at the huge web consultancy USWeb/CKS (later becoming marchFIRST). I took more night courses in C++, Photoshop and Illustrator, but Flash became my new obsession and after proving myself as an excellent Flash programmer and designer, I was soon promoted to Senior Designer. I was chosen to design and code the more coveted projects (Harman-Kardon, Dentsu, William Reid) at marchFIRST’s San Francisco office, and when the company entered into a joint venture with Japanese advertising giant Dentsu, I was asked to move to Tokyo as Senior Design Technologist at the new company, DentsuMarchFirst. I worked on several wonderful and creative projects (Ad Museum Tokyo, Sogetsu) where I got to flex my skills in information visualization and interface design, but I decided it was time to pursue a Master’s Degree at the Interaction Design Institute of Ivrea (IDII), Italy.
While I did some interesting work at IDII (Email Solutions, ChitChat), after one year into the two year program I became frustrated with the small number of assignments we were given and I decided to transfer to NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP). I adored ITP and did several interesting projects (Telepresence Picture Frames, PulseLamp, Wake n’ Bacon) before settling on my Master’s Thesis, a convergence of Network Theory, Information Visualization, and Familial Social Software called The Family Hedge. As soon as I was done presenting my thesis, a director from Yahoo who was in attendance took me aside and convinced me to concentrate full-time on bringing this product to market and got me to pursue a patent for my unique visualization interface and he introduced me to several angel investors.
By the end of the summer of 2006, the San Francisco venture firm Alsop-Louie Partners offered to fund my venture, now named Kinfo. I grew the team to ten people and together we built a beautiful web app, but the competition (Geni.com) had lapped us and all we had was a more elegant, less-feature-rich version of what was already in the marketplace, and Facebook was quickly becoming The One Social Network to Rule Us All. We took a hard look at the marketplace and determined that what was seemingly a great idea in 2006 was not that essential in 2009, and I made the painful decision to cease operations in April.
Since then, I traveled a bit then joined Intuit as Senior Experience Designer where I work on the most popular finance software in the world. In my spare time I still tinker and create, though 🙂