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Preview: Airbag Industries

Airbag Industries

Last Build Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2018 18:56:51 -0600

Copyright: Copyright 2018

Help Wanted, the Nerdy Kind.

Tue, 27 Feb 2018 18:56:51 -0600

There are two folks on this Earth who may read this and think, "what the hell Storey?" To them, I say, "Please understand that I have to keep moving towards a solution. Google is coming. And I don't want to get caught on the wrong side." I am referring, of course, to the April deadline when Chrome will start displaying a warning to users who try to visit sites that are not secure.

And now I am a tad frantic, paying the sins of being a poor webmaster all these years. While some of you have been upgrading your servers over the years, Airbag has been happily running on time machine also known as a 2005 Mac mini sitting somewhere in a co-location facility in Costa Mesa.

I may be living in Texas, but my heart is still in California.

As much as that lunch box Mac runs like a champ, it's time to move on. Learn something new, and find a way to get Airbag's sixteen years of content onto a new platform.

Which leaves me at this moment. I've got an old MySQL database that hasn't been upgraded in ten years, and I'm beyond my comprehension of how to go from here-to-there so I can import the contents into a new, modern system.

And this is perhaps where you come in. I've reached out to two people to ask for help, but they're busy with things like "making a living" and "running a business." So, if you are a MySQL subject matter expert (and by that I mean someone who lives more for databases than, say, design) or you know someone who is, I would be grateful to have a chat about what I need compared to your ability to deliver the goods. I'm not expecting charity here, I want to make sure the job is complete.

Ready when you are.

We Could Have Saved Eden But The 1:1 Will Suffice.

Sun, 11 Feb 2018 23:13:18 -0600


People make managing people hard. God said as much in the book of Genesis. I mean, people were handed one simple request—don't eat The Damn Fruit from The Damn Tree—and sure enough they done did the one thing. People are stupid.

What often makes interactions between people difficult is a lack of an ability to listen and empathize combined with an absence of soft skills. I don't have a scientific study to back this up, but I've managed and mentored hundreds of humans to know that 85.6% of people don't shoot out of the magic world portal with the ability to relate or talk to other people.

This problem is why we have gone through an entire forest after forest after forest printing business books about the need for successful communication between people, how to do it, and why this creates a "win-win." Eventually, HR got the memo and invented the 1:1, a bi-weekly event where a manager and the employee are forced to speak for thirty minutes. The intent of these times is for the manager to provide dedicated time for open and honest dialogue regarding the business relationship.

Instead, as far as I can tell from many (a ton) conversations I've had with people who suffer from bad, 1:1 conversations, in these situations the manager abuses the time to:

  • Arrive five minutes late
  • Ask for an update about the person's current project
  • Talk about themselves
  • Check their phone for messages
  • Ask what people are saying about the manager

Sound familiar?

As it turns out, in the "people suck" area, we have one more problem: we're not great at investing time to train leaders (managers) on developing skills related to listening and empathy.

It's okay though, if God couldn't control two people around an apple tree then we can't exactly be held to a higher standard.

However, that doesn't mean we have to stand idly by, letting so many bad managers poison the Trust Tree (I wonder, what's the carbon footprint of time wasted in bad 1:1s? I don't have a TI-85 otherwise I'd calculate this myself.)

This is exactly why I help my friend Jen Dary build her business, Plucky. She helps managers, new and old, be better at their job by developing proper people skills. So when she came to me with an idea to help people host better 1:1 conversations I didn't hesitate. I've had far too many conversations with designers who've suffered from empty interactions with their managers to know there are too many people out there expelling enough useless carbon monoxide to cause massive flooding in Tahiti.

The result of our collaboration is the Plucky 1:1 Starter Pack. A deck of smartly written, wonderfully designed cards that will enable even the most Luddite manager (Hey Ray) to have more productive, meaningful conversations with the people they manage. Based on Jen's broad experience mentoring studio owners, industry titans, and brand new spanking managers alike, this initial pack of cards covers a wide array of topics that will force those soft skills to any 1:1.

Perhaps if God had these cards in olden times, then today we'd all be buck naked, eating peeled grapes, and riding tigers towards double-rainbows.

Alright, enough of my yuckity-yuck. Go, read Jen's post about the creation of the 1:1 Starter Pack, and then buy a pack or ten. I don't make a wooden nickel off sales of this product; I just want to help build better communication between people. Which means less of my time spent consoling victims of bad management.

Twenty Years Apart.

Sun, 28 Jan 2018 20:18:46 -0600


A List Apart turned twenty last week without any fanfare from what I can tell. No parades of accolades from old designers now turned executives, IPO millionaires, goat farmers, and those still doing the Lords's work in the thick of it all. ALA turned twenty just like it did every other year, it published the next edition.

No matter what your experience is to ALA, we should all take a moment and consider this milestone for a moment. While publications are crashing all around (that pivot to video—pfffft). While journalism is currently in a fight for its existence. We should appreciate that an independent magazine focused on the advancement of a new medium outlived many other publications, digital fads, and horrible startups with budgets "ten-thousand-X" of what ALA has ever had to work with.

We have lost a few great publications of original web content in this time including High Five, Swanky, Dreamless, Feed, Suck, Digital Web Magazine, Hot Wired, k10k, The Fray, Gawker, and The AWL

The longevity of ALA is a testament to what can be done when you have a smart, talented, and humble publisher who puts the interests of the community-at-large over those of his own. Jeffrey Zeldman has—many times—passed on an easy sell-out for the sake of the readers, creating a lasting beacon, a shining resources for aspirational designers to hardened veterans to come together to share experience, knowledge, and opinions on the future of our medium.

Having said that, you can't get to a publishing milestone of twenty years alone. Our community would not have an accolade like this to celebrate without all of the editors, writers, designers, and developers who gave a lot of their time and expertise to keep the magazine running like clockwork all these years.

Congratulations Jeffrey, nice work my friend! And thank you to Erin, Eric, Fred, Brian, Ethan, Ryan, Jason, Tim, Mike, Kevin, Sara, Jenn, Yesenia, Mica, Aaron, and so many others for your time and hard work publishing every issue all these years. I would not be where I am without A List Apart. It connected me to a community of folks that inspired me in so many ways to get to where I am today.

Here's to another twenty years of ALA!

PS—Here is, to date, my only contribution to A List Apart. I'm still proud of it because the title cracks me up and I was able to bring something I learned studying advertising to the web.

Twenty Eighteen Preparation: Becoming an Endless Newbie

Sat, 27 Jan 2018 16:49:58 -0600

I'm late to reading The Inevitable—it was published almost three years ago—but, since the book is about innovation and disruption in the next thirty years I figure I'm alright missing the first few. You may know the author from his other projects like founding executive editor of Wired magazine and former editor/publisher of the Whole Earth Review. This is all to say, Kevin's done a lot to give him a distinct point of view. While the theme of the book is about the future it begins with a thought about the past and present that immediately resonated with me: It's taken me 60 years, but I had an epiphany recently: Everything, without exception, requires additional energy and order to maintain itself. Existence, it seems, is chiefly maintenance. Well, damn. I didn't expect those words of wisdom, especially in the first paragraph. I don't know about you, but as soon as I read those lines, my brain went immediately into cataloging all of the things I've started, but not properly maintained. Everything from worthwhile entrepreneurial pursuits stuck in the backlog of ideas to this very website. And then—how convenient—the book says the thing I was thinking. Keeping a website or a software program afloat is like keeping a yacht afloat. It is a black hole for attention. I can understand why a mechanical device like a pump would break down after a while—moisture rusts metal, or the air oxidizes membranes, or lubricants evaporate, all of which require repair. But I wasn't thinking that the nonmaterial world of bits would also degrade. What's to break? Apparently everything. Airbag is still churning along on a twelve-year-old Mac mini running on one of the last versions of MovableType that Ben and Mena Trott worked on personally, strung on top of a MAMP stack as old as the grail protector in Indiana Jones. I'm sure this setup could go another 12 years (assuming the web exists as we know it by then, seriously, when is the last time any of us browsed a gopher "site" or loaded Usenet to read through a newsgroup), but that lack of maintenance, the need to constantly upgrade, means to some extent starting from scratch. Kelly calls this becoming "endless newbies." All of us—every one of us—will be endless newbies in the future simply trying to keep up. Here's why: First, most of the important technologies that will dominate life 30 years from now have not yet been invented, so naturally you'll be a newbie to them. Second, because the new technology requires endless upgrades, you will remain in the newbie state. Third, because the cycle of obsolescence is accelerating (the average lifespan of a phone app is a mere 30 days!), you won't have time to master anything before it is displaced, so you will remain in the newbie mode forever. Endless Newbie is the new default for everyone, no matter your age or experience. I wasn't expecting this type of message in Kevin's book, but I'm sure glad to have had it. In the past, when I brushed off new advances or updates to technology and processes I preferred to stick with a simple path of "it still works fine," but in doing so I realize now that I have l lost a lot beginning with the ability to function with current best practices in certain areas of my skill sets and the degradation a few projects, especially Airbag. So welcome to the new real life, where more and more of our time must be spent maintaining our awareness, education, skills, and technology are required just to keep up with the next day. The first chapter of The Inevitable was a good, unintended wake-up call (the rest of the book is great too, by the way). Now, onto the future through the lens of the endless newbie.[...]

So Not Very Cool.

Sun, 21 Jan 2018 15:54:28 -0600

Dean Allen, a very large inspiration earlier in my career, died last weekend. I didn't get to know him personally, but that didn't reduce the impact his creativity and innovations had on me earlier in the century. It was a time when software made it relatively easy to publish online without having to spend a lot of time on arduous repetitive tasks. The curious and creative nerds at the time flocked to new found capabilities, sandboxes that allowed us to play as producers and publishers. Dean was one of the few at the top.

When I discovered Dean's website, Textism late one afternoon the rest of my evening was booked as there was much to absorb and process.

It was his writing style that I connected to the most because it was unlike anything I had read before. Textism was smart, informative, witty, and at times it felt like an abandonment of grammatical rules—like a David Carson approach to writing. Dean's voice and tone opened a large door for me. I studied his work and tried to emulate what I had learned in my own attempts at writing.

In addition to his prose, I learned (we all learned) a thing or two from Dean's writing on design and attention to typographic details. Dean was a book designer at some point in his life, and he brought that expertise to the web. He made several contributions to my education on typography through articles like "Typography for Writers" and "Hunting Small Caps:"

Now, being the droll, sophisticated urbanite you are, you're aware that abbreviations and acronyms appearing within bodies of text, such as NAFTA and RCMP are ANNOYING and DISRUPTIVE, robbing your droll, sophisticated ass of a pleasant reading experience. The solution is to set these in small caps, whereupon RCMP and NAFTA become far more AGREEABLE and less IRKSOME. Note that many designers think of small caps as a stylistic nicety, ignoring their practical contribution to the goal of an approachable, even body of text - a goal that predates the arrival of the plucky desktop publisher by several hundred years.

Just clicking around offered new information on type as few sites practiced typographic standards with as much rigor as displayed on Textism.

Dean eventually diverted his energy and attention towards the development of Textpattern, a content management system that was used and loved by a large community of designers, developers, and writers. And then he moved to the south of France where a different lifestyle drew him away from things with screens and keyboards (who can blame him). More and more time passed between posts on Textism and then one day it disappeared for good.

I remained hopeful for a comeback, but it never came. After hearing about Dean's demise, the best I can hope for are more remembrances by others who knew Dean personally with stories that never made it to HTML until now. If you've got one, I'd love to read it.

Twenty Eighteen Preparation: Steal Like An Artist.

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 20:49:16 -0600

Monteiro was in town a few days ago and invited a small group of friends to hang out with him at ABGB. I was happy to see Austin there and to have the chance to chat for a bit. Seeing him inspired me to dust off my copy of Steal Like An Artist when I got home. I received my copy at the very first Creative Mornings Austin, where, "man-Austin" gave a presentation titled "A writer who draws."

So, I pulled the book from the library and brought it upstairs where I tend to keep a pile or four of various reading material. Normally the book would sit there, get a few scans until it was time to de-clutter the area and bring everything back down to the library. But this year I vowed to use books for what they were intended for, reading not staking. Yesterday afternoon I hurried home, grabbed the book and headed for the rooftop to read under a brilliant, blue, cloudless sky.

Steal Like An Artist is a quick read that is deceptively simple. At one hundred and forty pages and eight inches square, it reads just as quickly as scanning Twitter or swiping through Instagram, but that does not have an impact on the potency of ideas and the depth of inspiration. The simplicity is a first-hand example of how constraints produce the best result—the subject of the last chapter: "Creativity is Subtraction."

The deception in the book comes through the many anecdotes and quotes by successful artists, poets, musicians, and creators that support the main books of the book. They are intertwined briefly, almost casually, but not at the cost of the message. Whereas, other books in the same category use these hooks to string out each story to add weight. You won't notice this by simply scanning the pages. I didn't when I first got my copy, and that's my loss.

I did not intend to finish the book as quickly as I did, but I feel more inspired and ready to build on this framework of thinking and making. I'm tempted to go through the book again soon, but take more time to process each chapter and turn those ideas that apply into more actionable items than simply checking off the first book read in 2018. If you're looking for something to help you get off to a great start to the year, then I suggest picking up Austin's book and spending an afternoon with it.

Twenty Seventeen In Review.

Sun, 07 Jan 2018 10:56:21 -0600

Inspired by the Paravel boy's (Dave and Trent) accounts of their 2017, and the themed annual reports of Khoi (movies) and Jeremy (writing), here is a brief overview of my 2017. Worked I accomplished more at work this year than I have in the previous three combined. At IBM, I earned a reputation for getting things done with an outside perspective, and in this year I was given more challenges. Everything from running two more Incubator projects to internally producing the InVision film to...well lets just call it a project to empower the entire sales organization there. In August I was offered a tremendous opportunity to join USAA as an executive director running the design program for the financial advice and solutions group. I inherited six teams of designers, directors, and producers—half of them in Austin, the other half in San Antonio. In addition to our product work, I've also been able to dive into the challenges and needs of standing up a design organization within a large company. My work at USAA is incredibly rewarding, and I can't say enough about the people there and the support and trust they have extended to me. Mentored While I continued to counsel a handful of people throughout the year, I chose to spend most of my extra time in 2017 working with Jen Dary on her work building Plucky. Jen's energy and passion are infectious which makes the time spent more rewarding. Last year I got to put my design skills to use in a way that I haven't done in a while (read: non-digital), and I'm anxious to see the outcome. Played I acquired a few toys this year: 2017 Volkswagen Golf R, Google Home, Nintendo Switch, and a DJI Mavic Pro. — I've always, always wanted a Golf R and this year I happily turned in the Lexus GS F and picked up a white one. Two hundred and ninety-three horsepower with all-wheel drive turns every driving occasion into a GT event. It certainly makes the journey to San Antonio and back a lot of fun. — After testing Google Home, I kicked Alexa out of the house. The conversational user interface is a pleasure to use because it's smarter than both Siri and Alexa combined. I picked up a Google Max, and I have to say it has exceeded all expectations I had for sound quality and volume. — For years now I've been pretty good about only having one game console in the house (I'm Brilliantcrank on PSN if you're there too). That all changed when I saw the early promotional videos for the Nintendo Switch and the new Zelda game and I knew I had to have one. It's nice to see Nintendo get back on top with their innovation in building an entire experience (hardware to software) that is so unique and enjoyable. — While Kitchen Storey and I enjoy our townhome with a fourth-story roof patio, it doesn't provide the same view that we had while living at The Shore in downtown Austin. Now we've got these damned gigantic power lines in the way of our southwest view. Well, not anymore thanks to a drone with a fantastic camera. It's my new favorite activity in the late afternoon, providing the conditions are right. Consumed Like the friends above, I too consumed a lot of media. While I enjoyed a fair amount of movies at the Drafthouse this year, I enjoyed "television" more: Ozarks, The Crown, Westworld, Mindhunter, Glow, Godless, and Ricky and Morty. There were notable documentaries in 2017 including Abstract: Art of Design, Vietnam, Oklahoma City, and LA 92. In 2017 I pulled the cord and canceled packaged cable replacing it with a subscription to HBO, Netflix, and PS Vue. The picture quality is insanely better than anything I ever got from Comcast, AT&T, or Google. And my total spend is less than half of what I used to pay for television. While I'm writing about media consumption, let's cover podcasts: The Daily, The Stack, Design Driven, DesignBetter.Co, Serial, Best Episode Ever, and Slow Burn (my favorite of 2017). Recor[...]

White Christmases Don't Write Themselves.

Sat, 09 Dec 2017 17:23:53 -0600

This evening I caught wind of a young kid in New Jersey who started a toy drive for children in Puerto Rico. If there is ever a "find a need and fill it" story, that's all you need right there. When you come across a need to help others don't wait for someone else to do it—go! This is how to effect positive change in the world. Even if that means you can't conceive of how to pull it off, move forward and ask for help. People wait for a leader to illuminate a path to help others.

At work I was asked to take point on our departments's participation in an annual "Season of Giving" program. Wherein we partner with a non-profit group to help assist their members with their needs during the holidays. An otherwise difficult time emotionally and financially. This year we selected an organization that helps underprivileged children prepare for the public school system so they start out on an equal footing educationally, socially, and confidently.

While we signed up to support more than we did the year before, I pushed our department to give beyond our primary goal. I'm pleased to report my fellow designers, producers, and developers at USAA have given more than 200% of our original ask. The extra funds are going to each family with children in school to help offset costs of groceries during the holiday time. I thought it might be possible to achieve this goal, but to have it actually happen is a tad overwhelming and makes small drops of liquid form around my eyelids (stupid eyelid water). I am sincerely thankful to be a part of a group of people who are so ready to contribute, pitch in, when the need arises.

If you haven't made good on an opportunity to help others during this time, please do. It's a weird time for a lot of folks out there and they can use a bit of recognition, support, and love. And if you can't find a good cause, then I recommend joining this young leader and his effort to comfort children in Puerto Rico.

Make it snow.

Come design with me.

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:16:36 -0600

Last week was mostly spent going through new employee orientation at USAA. It has to be the best onboarding experience I've been through to date. The company culture is strong, so much so that you can feel it in the hallways. Thousands of people who are genuinely happy to be working at USAA—happy to be working for the betterment of the membership. It reminds me of the level of exuberance at Airbag and Happy Cog, in the early days, but to see it happen at the scale of USAA is simultaneously jaw dropping and infectious.

USAA is a singular place where you don't have to sell user centered design because everyone's primary focus is on the member. And it's been that way since day one. No matter who you talk to, their priorities are the same: Member first, everything else is second. It's incredible.

While the design program at USAA has existed for almost a year, it still has that new MacBook smell. There are opportunities all around to build the design culture, grow awareness about best practices, and drive adoption. While that might sound daunting, it's hard to convey how ready and willing everyone is to interact with the design program in effort to become a better business for our members.

If that sounds interesting to you, then let's talk because I am looking for the best talent that is ready to make meaningful, positive, tangible impacts on people's day-to-day lives. If you know someone who would be a great fit, send them my way.

USAA is hiring for all of the positions: designers, researchers, front-end developers, product managers, directors, and an executive director or two. These positions are located up and down the 35: San Antonio (where I would move to tomorrow if I had the opportunity—it is quickly becoming the old, chill Austin that we lost in 2012), Austin (unchill, since 2012), and Plano (I have no opinions about this place but the studio is brand spanking new). No matter where you work, it's a great company with fantastic benefits, design challenges, and we all work on the side of the angels.

If you would like to know more ping me on LinkedIn.

Now Serving Those Who Served.

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 17:14:23 -0600

Yesterday I had my photo taken. It's horrible, but we were in a bit of a hurry to get enough paperwork signed and submitted so that I can attend an all day workshop this Thursday. On the way back to the visitor's lounge, I squeezed in a quick visit to the logo store to get this sweet new baseball cap with well-stitched logo hotness:

In just a few days I will start the next chapter of my career as an Executive Director of Design at USAA. I'm pretty excited.

Once again I will have designers of many roles and levels, to lead and mentor, full-time. My enthusiasm is not driven by a position on an org-chart, but by the challenge and opportunity to help others become better designers, business persons, and community leaders. And all of it in the service of deserving persons who served their country (and their families), like my father-in-law who served in Vietnam.

USAA was not the only role that I had on the horizon, but after learning more and more about the company and its culture, it wasn't hard to think the universe was trying to tell me something.

Everyone I spoke to about USAA had nothing but praise for the company: Industry titans, peers, family, and friends —across the board, they all had nothing but incredibly positive remarks. It is rare, for me, to have a conversation about a service provider and for every person to not only recognize the brand but also have a positive comment based on their engagement.

More importantly, the member (user) is the center of everything USAA does. It's one thing to talk to fellow designers about the importance of user-centered design, but in my experience, it's another for the leadership to agree. In fact, during the many conversations I had with product and service leadership (read: VPs), they were fervent about the importance of a user-centered focus. How glorious is it to not have to defend the role design plays in creating better experiences for users?

There are challenges ahead and a lot of work to do, but all seemingly within my wheelhouse. It's just a matter of how well we can execute, and I'm ready to give it all I've got.

Thank you to everyone for your positive statements and support, I appreciat'cha.

Goodbye Big Blue.

Fri, 04 Aug 2017 12:41:56 -0600

It is with bittersweet emotion, that I announce I am no longer an International Business Man. I served the company for two years, one month in an array of capacities. The highlights include incubating ten new IBM products and services, producing a short film (to be announced soon), starting a quarterly culture magazine, creating a studio leadership conference, creating a global design news program, starting Design at IBM, and—the best thing of all—leading and mentoring one-hundred designers. Not too shabby. My best days at IBM were the ones when I lead teams of designers, researchers, and front-end developers. The worst days were the ones immediately following the end of design bootcamps when my teams disbanded and left for their permanent assignments. In-between I had the tremendous opportunity to work with designers and studio leaders from all over the world on a daily basis. And the folks in Austin...they are a very special group. It's only been a few days and already I miss seeing you all—Doctor. To make this more meaningful to those of you outside of the IBM bubble, here are a few things I learned (sometimes the hard way) in the last two years: If you want to earn an MBA, don't go to school. Instead, go work for IBM where you will end up with a better education than you will ever receive reading about business. IBM is an exceptional place to observe where the future of business, technology, and design is heading for some of the world's largest corporations and enterprise-at-large. The old cliché holds true, especially at a company with four hundred thousand employees: Don't seek permission to start or fix something so long as you delivered to your very best. It is my experience that big business loves spirited entrepreneurial individuals that can connect different parts of the business and deliver quality results—org-charts be dammed. You'll know when you're doing the right thing. Being a jack-of-all trades, especially when it comes to knowledge of business, technology, and design practices from multiple industries and business verticals have a lot of value. When you join a large company it's important to dive deep into the culture, but not to the point that you lose touch with the outside world. Tools and process are less important than connecting people from different parts of the business and solving problems together. It's still all about finding and working with the right people. It is possible to take a group of talented strangers who know nothing about an industry and turn them into an effective team who produce a mind blowing product. The secret, find the users and involve them in the process. It's so stupidly simple and yet so many people screw this part up. If you're not working with your users, you're working towards unemployment. Thank you Fahad Osmani, Nigel Prentice, Doug Powell, and Phil Gilbert for making my time at IBM a worthwhile challenge. I learned a lot in the last two years, and that's mostly due to the trust that you afforded to me from day one. I won't forget it. Lastly, I'd like to end this with a friendly apology to all of my former co-workers in Austin and around the world. I don't like saying goodbye, so I have to admit to slipping out the back door. As I've stated in the past, I'll always be around for every one of you when you need perspective. Don't hesitate to reach out and let's keep in touch. Meanwhile, keep writing.[...]

C'est la Vie Austin?

Mon, 08 May 2017 07:38:10 -0600

UnderConsideration, the force behind some of the best and longest running digital publications on design, organizers of amazing conferences, and fellow Austin residents have pulled stakes to move to Bloomington, Indiana. That's right, some incredibly creative, entrepreneurial, smart people just left one of the hottest cities in North America for a small town in Indiana, the type that was recently the subject of parody on television.

Armin Vit (co-founder of UnderConsideration) provided some rationale for this seemingly-crazy relocation.

One of the keys to doing what we do, which is an unconventional and highly unlikely way of earning an income—an income that is sufficient for a few extravagances like an HBO subscription (I know, living large!)—for two adults, two kids, and two dogs, is to have a low cost of living. The cost of living in Austin has increased, our property taxes are off the roof, and the traffic has become pretty insane. Even the Austin airport, which was super chill is now nearing JFK levels at peak hours.

As an Austin resident of six years I find myself nodding in agreement, especially at the last bit about the airport. Austin Bergstrom was one of the most chill airports in the country and now it's just as stressful as Oakland on a Monday morning—every day. I knew Austin was going to blow up, but I had no idea it would scale so big, so quickly. And it's still growing like crazy. The city and surrounding area is set to double in size in the next twenty years.

I don't know that Kitchen Storey and I could move to the middle-middle of the country, but we're certainly starting to consider that it's time to move back to the Pacific Time Zone. Airport lines be dammed.

Yellow is the new normal.

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 08:21:17 -0600

Roughly fifteen years to the day, I published the fourth blog post on Airbag. It was a quick reaction to an exciting game Super Bowl between the St. Louis Rams and the New England Patriots. The Rams mounted a last-minute comeback that was surely going to force the game into overtime, but with one minute and thirty seconds on the clock, Tom Brady drove the team within field goal range, and the Patriots added three points to their scorecard and one the game.

The year was 2002, and everyone was still trying to process 9/11 and the aftermath--we were still processing shock. Due to national security concerns, the NFL season was pushed by a week while the country considered what security precautions were necessary for events like football games were potential future attacks could occur. Thus, the Super Bowl XXXVI was the first NFL game to be played in February.

At the time we were collectively looking over our shoulder for another round, the next wave of attacks, all while trying to get back to routines. Before the Super Bowl, there was special news coverage on security--demonstrations of tactics and a showcase of equipment to be used to thwart any attacks. This was especially true for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. There seemed to be just as many news stories about security as there were stories about athletes and the games themselves. You had to wonder if this was going to be the new normal.

I can't recall the last time I read or watched a story about event security. And I don't remember the last time I heard what security color we're on. It's yellow or "Elevated Condition." Thankfully, I had to look it up.

Holiday Office Hours, the Airbag Way.

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 13:12:06 -0600

Dustin Senos, former Head of Design for Medium, and all around good guy came up with a pretty cool idea after a bit of introspection.

As the year comes to a close, I've been reflecting a lot on my career, the future, the past, and the present (2016, you've been a doozy.) When thinking about companies I've had the chance to work with, and the people I've met, I always come back to how thankful I am for those who took me under their wing. The people who took a risk hiring me when I was young and inexperienced, the people who supported me taking on more responsibility later in my career, and the people who took the time just to chat. My career exists because of those people.

Looking back at my early career I too had a handful of supportive mentors during school and at work (I could use one now come to think of it). More recently, I have enjoyed building up and continuing to mentor nearly one-hundred early career designers, developers, and offering managers at IBM Studios around the world.

Inspired by his career reflection, Dustin came up with Holiday Office Hours—a way to give back by arranging eight hours of time in thirty minute blocks over the holiday break to provide consultation for "people who may be in school, getting into the industry, new to design or engineering, or struggling with their first tech job."

Once I caught what Dustin was up to and why I joined up along with Noah and a growing list of industry professionals.

So, as long as you don't work for IBM (because you all already know how to find and schedule my time), sign up for a time slot and lets talk*. I'm happy to answer any questions you have and give what advice I might have after being in the industry for twenty-plus years.

* I removed the link because all slots have been taken. Given the response I'm going to consider doing this again soon, but after I get through the initial round of sixteen discussions. Follow this account and @brilliantcrank for future