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My Daily Grind

For the past 6 years, I've been helping grow Goldstar, a live events ticketing company that operates a website and iOS/Android apps. Each day is currently split between managing my small team of UX designers, doing UX work across several teams' projects, and helping to unblock designers and developers with whatever they're struggling with.

Helping Team

Notable Work & Achievements

So, what have my hands actually touched? Here's an overview of the types of projects I'm typically involved with and outcomes achieved.

Managing UX Team
  • Led a large attitudinal user research project which interviewed 40 individuals. Wrote interview script, coached other UX designers, performed interviews, and generated insights.
  • Coached other UX designers on their interviewing skills, reviewing video recordings, and providing feedback on presentation & speaking style during team meetings.
  • Established OOCSS coding style, coaching other designers/developers, reducing development time/effort and the number of CSS styling bugs.
  • Built a UX knowledge base for organizing research insights using Airtable for easy retrieval when starting new projects.
  • Established convention of keeping a UX Project Journal, designed to keep a record of decisions and insights, wireframes, prototypes, through the lifecycle of long-running projects. This helped stakeholders stay up to date with progress and informed them about why decisions were made.
  • Established the practice of design pairing, where UX and UI designers work together, regularly side by side, while generating wireframes and mockups.
Notable UX/Design Projects
  • Rebuilt checkout process, increasing purchase conversion by 15%, decreasing user-facing errors 75%.
  • Discovered and plugged a checkout scenario worth around a hundred thousand dollars per year.
  • Led implementation of Apple Pay and Paypal on Web, iOS and Android platforms, which almost instantly accounted for ~18% of payment types.
  • Designed and led implementation of a "magic link"-style email-only signup for checkout, boosting new checkout signups by 15%.
  • Redesigned the site's primary search & filtering interface on desktop and mobile, boosting engagement 30%.
  • Led a site-wide responsive Web redesign, and rebuilt site's core layout.
  • Redesigned several existing and new internal admin tools.
  • Redesigned partner portal.
  • Successfully advocated moving to Bootstrap CSS framework for new internal tools, which increased speed of development and reduced burden on design team to minimal levels.
  • Built an icon font generator, forked from another gem, for managing the conversion of SVG icons into an icon font. Early versions included embedding the Base64-encoded font in CSS for easier use in email.
  • Built a live styleguide using the kss gem & middleman to audit current CSS and help enforce coding guidelines.
  • Built a email template generator, using Middleman, to bridge the gap between the team's custom-built, email-delivery app and the team's familiarity with Ruby templating systems.


I while away the hours building the UX practice at Goldstar, wireframing, building prototypes, structuring and reviewing user tests and interviews, building analytics reports in Looker, and helping teams scope their projects. I also do development in HTML, CSS, and Javascript (React, jQuery), and Rails. I like to ship early and often.

  • Design/UX Leadership
  • Project Management
  • UX Design
  • UI Design
  • Javascript/jQuery
  • PHP
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Sinatra
  • Phonegap
  • React

Recent Workshops Attended

  • 2016: UIE, Creating a UX Strategy Playbook, with Jared Spool
  • 2015: Cooper University, Transforming Customer Experience (Service Design)

Random bits & highlights

  • Fresh out of college, I worked on a hyperlinked, networked sales presentation system for a Fortune 50 beverage manufacturer (cough, not Coke) that predated the Web.
  • Early in my career, I helped a friend build a Flash-based Pokemon card trading app that matched players wanting to trade cards with public spaces where they could safely meet.
  • Made the NYTimes Best Seller list, as cofounder of SMITH mag, when our Six-Word Memoirs book, "Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-word Memoirs By Writers Famous & Obscure", made the list for several weeks.
  • I was paid to reimagine Newsweek magazine with my SMITH co-founder, Larry Smith. We were among three teams hired, another was led by legendary designer Roger Black, so ... we were in amazing company, and it was really fun work.
  • After I left Wired, they wrote up a small project I did, Painting via RSS.

Other Work



A ruby gem for dynamically building an icon font from a folder of SVGs. We use this @ Goldstar. This project was forked from Fontcustom, to which I also contributed enhancements. I created this fork (and released it on Rubygems) to ensure I could update the gem easily.

Published Writing

The Bottom Feeders

They had a kick-ass product, cash in the bank, and eager customers. In the scrappy world of Silicon Valley start-ups, they were about to be eaten alive. (Wired, 10/1996)

Ground Truth
Never get lost again, as geographic information systems usher in the era of intelligent transportation technology—smart cars. (Wired, 12/1995)

Fun Stuff

Building Furniture

Every so often I get the urge to build something from atoms.

Why does robot love kitten?

The name is an homage to the classic ASCII "zen simulation" game Robot Finds Kitten.  To me, it's as succinct a metaphor for living with technology as I've discovered.