Value judgments are destructive to our proper business, which is curiosity and awareness.
— John Cage
I’m a designer and technologist who lives part of the year at sea aboard a sailboat called Rejoice. I do this because most of the things that are great about being human are clearest to me on a small boat in the middle of the ocean, and the designer’s first responsibility is to understand what’s great about being human.
Let’s work together
I have over twenty years of experience helping teams of all sizes use design to turn big ideas into successful products. I was a senior product designer at Google for seven years, where I led design projects on Search and Fuchsia (a new operating system). Before that, I was design director at Metaweb, a startup that built the technology that became the foundation for Google’s Knowledge Graph. For the Long Now, I designed websites for Long Bets, an arena for philanthropists to place high stakes bets about the future, and the Rosetta Project, a platform for linguists to collaborate on the creation of an artifact archiving 1,500 human languages, which was then launched into space. I love transforming ambiguous complexity into powerful tools that help people understand themselves and the world around them better. While I’m taking a hiatus from full-time work to explore the sea, I’m looking for clients who can benefit from part-time engagements, both on-site and remotely.
Let’s party together
I think magic happens when like-minded people come together in the right places. I staffed my first TED in 1999, and have helped produce EG for over 15 years. I co-founded the SF Embassy, a collective of music-loving city explorers; when we went to Iceland, we were the second largest group of Americans to visit that year. When I went to Burning Man in 1996, it was the first time I had to “voluntarily assume the risk of injury or death” to attend something, which I liked so much that I did it nine more times. The Kumbha Mela at Haridwar in India is the largest gathering I have attended; over 60 million people came to bathe in the Ganges during the event, which has happened every three years in one of four locations in India for centuries. I am fascinated by communities both ephemeral and eternal, and how the roles we play in them help us come to a better understanding of ourselves and each other.
Let’s sail together
In 2018, after twenty years in San Francisco, my wife Kristie Dahlia and I sailed Rejoice, a 40 foot Hallberg-Rassy monohull sloop, out the Golden Gate and south to Mexico and the extraordinary Gulf of California. In the short time we’ve been away, we’ve learned that less comfort makes us feel more alive, that the occasional real fear of death extinguishes most other anxiety, and that wildness is not something you visit but something you are. We’re telling that story at Getting Free.