I’m a designer and developer currently building community experiences at GitHub. After five years of working in San Francisco, I now live and work in Manhattan.
Before starting Spectrum, I worked at Facebook as a lead product designer building payments experiences on Messenger, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram. I joined Facebook after two years of working at Buffer, a social media management startup where I was the first product designer.
Along the way I've started several side projects. In 2008 I created my first design blog, Elite by Design (offline). This site was my learning playground where I documented tutorials, tips and tricks, interviews, and resource lists for graphic and web designers. Elite by Design was my entry point into the world of design, and more specifically, product design.
Before leaving for college in 2010 I started a music discovery website called The Kollection. At its peak, The Kollection was reaching more than a million people per month and streaming tens of millions of songs from independent artists looking for their big break. One of my favorite memories from The Kollection was getting to interview Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at a show in Austin, Texas, the year before they won their first Grammy. I managed The Kollection for 5 years, helping share thousands of songs with the help of more than 50 contributing writers.
In 2014 I became fascinated with the tiny design details that made the best applications and products better. I began documenting these interactions, animations, and beautiful touches in a blog series called Design Details. Between 2014 and 2016 I documented 22 applications with screen recordings and my own personal notes. These posts have reached hundreds of thousands of designers on the web, and the videos have been streamed millions of times.
In late 2014, Bryn Jackson and I met during a meetup at the GitHub headquarters in San Francisco. He came up with the idea of interviewing the designers who were designing the products that I'd been documenting on the Design Details Blog. We teamed up to start the Design Details Podcast.
Bryn and I co-hosted the podcast together for 256 episodes, interviewing hundreds of designers, engineers, product managers, and founders. After episode 256, Bryn retired and I enlisted the help of my good friend Marshall Bock to co-host and explore a new format for the show. The podcast has been downloaded more than 5,000,000 times from designers all around the world. Today we record weekly shows talking about the latest indsutry news, answering listener questions, interviewing people doing interesting work, and sharing the cool things we find each week.
In 2015, as the Design Details Podcast was ramping up, Bryn and I teamed up with Jonathan Cutrell, the host of Developer Tea, to create the Spec Network. Spec is a podcast network for designers and developers. We host more than 10 shows on the network, and our shows have been downloaded more than 25 million times. Spec has paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars to show hosts since 2015.
In the winter of 2019, fueled by a fascination of online privacy and security, I created Security Checklist. This small app is an open-source project aimed at helping individuals improve their online security and protect their data from the endless barrage of data-hungry corporations on the internet. Security Checklist has received contributions from dozens of people and the site has reached hundreds of thousands of people online.
In early 2019 I worked with Max Stoiber and Nik Graf on Changefeed, a tool to create a beautiful changelog for any product in seconds. We learned through our experience of maintaining a changelog for Spectrum how powerful a public record of changes can be. It helps to keep people engaged and excited about what you’re building. Changefeed aims to make the creation and subscription of changelogs much easier.
I love helping designers, engineers, and founders in any way I can. I like to do this in two ways:
1. My Twitter DMs are open. Let me know how I can help, ideally with specific questions or problems you're working through. I can be helpful in thinking about job interviews, portfolio presentations, tactical design work, working at startups vs. large companies, being a developer/designer hybrid, working in the open source community, building side projects, and podcasting. If I don't reply right away, please follow up – sometimes things slip through the cracks! But I'll do my best to reply quickly.
2. If you find yourself in Manhattan, I'd love to meet you for coffee. I like to do this on Wednesday afternoons each week, for about an hour. Just shoot me an email or DM on Twitter and we can find a time. This hour will be most productive if there are specific questions or problems you’d like to talk about. Of course, I won't always have answers, but I think I can be a helpful listener and bounce questions back at you to hopefully provide logical next steps to pursue. If you’d rather just meet and chat casually, that’s fine too!
Copyright whenever. This isopen source.