I grew up in Canada 🇨🇦. Just east of Toronto. My life revolved around things like riding bikes, Star Wars, and drawing. Boy, I loved to draw.
When I was in the 6th grade my friends, and I found skateboarding. We hung out at the local skate spots, we waxed curbs and skated till the day turned into dusk. Hitting the local smoke shop for one last sugar fix before heading to a friends house and settling in with some video games in a basement.
Skating perhaps above all things shaped me in a way that I never expected. It taught me to be independent as well as creative. It opened my eyes to not only skateboarding but the culture surrounding it. Art and music quickly found its way into my young life. I got addicted to shoes. I kept skating when others pursued other activities. Then the computer came along.
My dad was an art/photography/shop teacher. I was lucky enough to have him work at a school that had a generous budget that they could afford these lovely beige boxes I grew to love. My first Mac was the Mac Classic. The all in one let me explore Mac Paint, play Dark Castle and offer a glimpse into a new world.
In the 6th grade, I learned about desktop publishing. Was scanning family photos with a black and white flatbed scanner and laying out a project in Quark Xpress. In high school, I was the wizard in the computer lab, spent nights on local BBS's downloading Star Wars midi files and making random art in Photoshop.
I spent my high school nights selling shoes at the mall and playing guitar in makeshift bands with my friends. I also started working at Toronto's largest indoor private skatepark. Home to a wide and mellow mini ramp that I loved to slide out on and bruise my hips. At the mall I met my wife. We both loved shoes and subsequently each other ;)
I went to college for Graphic Design. Ran the college print shop and provided tech support for my classmates. I also learned to design better. In addition to my two other jobs I spent summers at a third job learning about computerized embroidery, screen printing, 3d cardboard model making as well as how the local biker gang ran coffee trucks (it's a fun story for another time).
In 2000 I graduated from college and was lucky enough to stay on at my internship at a small design studio. I cut my teeth building websites and improving my animation skills in Flash and After Effects. Not only that but I learned that I was obsessed with learning more programs and expanded my toolkit as wide as I could so I could take on anything that was thrown my way. I spent the next thirteen years in the advertising and design industry.
Somewhere along the way I got bit with the product design bug. So following my advertising career, I worked on Cinemagraph creation software for both the desktop Mac and iOS. Cinemagraphs are neat little videos with looping portions amidst a static scene. I took my years of animation experience and attempted to distill my knowledge into a simple workflow just about anybody could use. I never thought I'd ship an app. Let alone one that won an Apple design award.
I decided to move to San Francisco and work at Fitbit in 2014. Moving was something I wanted to try, that one regret I'd have if I didn't try it. At Fitbit I helped build and ship an iOS app that sees millions of daily active users. I made device animations that the President saw (if he met his step goal) and helped contribute to thousands of people leading healthier lives. I got into design systems. And found a nice little animation school where I could finally learn to animate in Maya. Something I had wanted to do since high school.
Today I'm at SoFi where I lead the Core Design team. I work mostly in design systems with a small team at SoFi. We collaborate with engineers and designers to build future financial products. We design patterns, components and set the visual tone for our product suite. When I'm not at work I'm probably hanging out with my family, playing video games, the guitar or making things with leather. I still find time to skateboard.