Formal Third-Person Summary
Strategic and innovative consultant, coach and facilitator offers a powerful blend of customer research, product design, software engineering, multi-channel marketing, and customer experience leadership for people and teams creating groundbreaking new products, services and businesses.
Informal First-Person Career Overview
- Over 15 years experience motivating and managing both myself and small remote teams of designers, engineers, and system administrators. Over time I developed a "loosely-coupled, tightly-focused" team of associates who had delivered many projects together and were highly-aligned and productive.
- I have managed technical projects with frequently non-technical clients, in person or remotely, with very high on-time and on-budget success. Nearly 100% of my clients hired me for a second project, and over 70% hired me for a third.
- For larger projects I designed and facilitated meetings and workshops to clarify scope, make complex decisions, or build consensus. I think my high-water mark for consensus is facilitating a solid, full-throated agreement about audience definition and visual design goals among six academic department heads, two powerful leaders of on-campus arts organizations, the provost (representing the college president), and the vice provost (representing the faculty) – although scheduled for eight hours, we wrapped up in five.
- I have documented and taught several of the master processes I've developed or discovered. To date this consists of at least eleven short handouts used at various project stages, over a dozen public presentations, and at least double that in private client sessions. I have also taught as an adjunct faculty member at Colby-Sawyer College.
- Because of my dominant attention to whole systems, it is virtually impossible for me to avoid "going meta" on a situation. This has many advantages in synthesizing and integrating information for decision-making, especially in agile and iterative development. My engineering background keeps me close to the details.
- Although I am primarily a generalist and have hired competent engineers for significant work, I remain grounded in the reality of software through data modeling, coding, debugging, and user testing. In the last five years I have written code to ship commercial products using Objective-C (for iOS), Ruby on Rails (for web applications), html/css/js (for marketing websites), and Perl/SQLServer/Apache (custom web CMS). Back in the day I wrote a little C (fractals and image processing on an Amiga), edited a fair amount of Postscript (hand-tuning fonts for experimental ink-jet drop sizes), and wrote the occasional sed or awk script (for log processing).
- On the server-side, I have operated a client-facing "cloud-hosted" website content management system since 1999 (Windows Server, SQLServer, Perl, Apache). For other projects I've configured Ubuntu Linux and done the usual Unix-y incantations. Back in the day there was $100K worth of Java, J2EE servlets and JSP, Oracle, iPlanet, and Solaris on Sun hardware, all colo'd at a biometric secure facility. I'm also a recovering Wordpress admin.
- All this hands-on with the code has made me a pretty sharp quality assurance engineer. I enjoy QA work, and because of my background I can often provide valuable customer experience feedback as well as detailed error reports.
- In the beginning I did a lot of business and technology integration work, including crazy one-off projects like integrating a webserver forms submission script (expected to be used by every "electricity customer") with a huge industrial-scale postal-mail fulfillment system (to deliver voluminous printed materials on electricity deregulation to every consumer in the State of Maryland); or building a color measurement laboratory and defining repeatable procedures for collecting and processing data from experimental color ink samples; or integrating a retail perpetual inventory system linking a UPC scanning cash register with an IBM AT, in 1985 (it wouldn't be cutting edge if you didn't bleed).
- Acting as creative director over dozens of projects I consistently allocated resources for iterative design, allowing time for full exploration of subtleties like typographic rhythm, layering and shadows, grouping photos in pools for random selection, etc. These iterations were tested for user reaction, with various degrees of sophistication, before, during, and after design decisions.
- Like with the code, I have hired designers for significant work, but I've also been hands-on with Photoshop since version 1.0 (these days mostly replaced by Lightroom and Acorn), and with Illustrator since at least version 3 (though I've started the switch to Sketch), as well as numerous other tools and utilities for design. For Ace It! and Affirmable (both iOS), I created and produced all the visual design elements, including the app icon, view layouts, typography, and a dozen unique in-app topical icons. Typography is something of an enjoyable hobby, and the Bringhurst book sits next to A Pattern Language and Stop Stealing Sheep on my top shelf.
Qualitative Market Research
- This blend of experience in leadership, technical, and design fields is useful when researching customer or constituent attitudes, opinions, and perspectives, especially when getting inside the mind of the customer. When the project warrants it I can build a profile of a customer or groups of customers that will clarify exactly how to deliver the greatest customer satisfaction.
- Because my wife is a social-psychologist and emotions scholar, I am familiar with some unique knowledge and perspective about measuring human sentiment, both individually and across cultures or sub-cultures, and I can deliver this knowledge in the business context.
Feel free to inquire about any career details that spark your interest.
There are lots of project examples in the portfolio.