In past lives, I § ran a consulting company, MINKY, that delivered the first version of Microsoft Docs which replaced MSDN § worked in various multidisciplinary roles at Microsoft where I got to write, speak, build open-source products, and work on bringing Microsoft and the design and web communities closer § worked at Amazon in its early days where I led the launches of the first versions of Amazon Prime Video and Kindle Direct Publishing § and, taught Flash and standards technologies at Purdue University where I earned two Bachelor’s degrees, one in Computer Science, and the other in Interactive Media Design.
Currently, I split my time 75/25 between developing Digest with my wife and partner-in-crime § and, assisting her with refining our options trading practice.
Hodling 35 shares of GME @ $300. 💎🙌
Sometime in 2017, my wife and I shut down MINKY to work on an idea that had been nagging us for years: Digest. My wife, the CEO, works on the back-end—some 20 AWS services tied together to provide blazing-fast feeds. I work on the front-end: a Swift and Obj-C app that that tries to keep up with the blazing-fast feeds. We design every aspect of Digest together: from its interface to its moral code. Digest is in private beta, and we’ll open it up to the public when we think it’ll add more than subtract. Dog knows the world doesn’t need another social product that wreaks havoc.
On April 19, 2021, my mom contracted COVID-19 in Pune, India. My family helped her beat it alone, at home. On this site we share everything we learned caring for her from across the world in the U.S.: from our high-level approach to our virtual patient chart to her blood test results.
MINKY was hired by Microsoft to create a unified, cross-platform, cross-device documentation and content system for the company. The project involved working with various internal teams to understand the company’s diverse documentation needs and deliver something that could fully replace hundreds of homegrown systems hosting tens of millions of pages, including MSDN. We collaborated with Jeff Sandquist to design, code, and pilot Microsoft Docs v1 for a handful of products. Today, Docs is Microsoft’s defacto home for documentation and learning resources.
More Final product delivered by MINKY Live site
MINKY served as the creative agency for the Build 2013 conference. This included overseeing and producing everything from content and online strategy to signage and printed material.
More Announcement Site Agenda Site Live Site
I served as the Experience Director for Build 2012, and was responsible for the all-up conference experience: everything from keynote to collateral. In collaboration with Paravel, Inc. we were able to sell Build out in 53 minutes (beating the prior record by 5 weeks).
More Build it Fast
I helped convince the Microsoft.com team to go responsive starting with redesigning the home page, and then served as the advisor for the redesign process once the project was greenlit. The redesign was very well-received by press, customers, and the web community alike, and at the time was often cited as setting the bar for modern, corporate web design (even apple.com was not responsive then). The Story of the New Microsoft.com, the backstory of the redesign that I published on my blog, made it to the top-three of Hacker News (and almost brought down my site at the time). In the subsequent years most of Microsoft’s web properties adopted responsive design as a part of their web strategy achieving what we’d set as our stretch goal as a team.
MoreThe Story of the New Microsoft.com Paravel, Inc.’s Case Study CSS Squirrel Feature (squeee!)
<picture/> element proposal within Microsoft. The specification was cowritten by Mat Marquis and Adrian Bateman, making the Responsive Images Community Group the first W3C CG to get major traction for an element proposal.
My first attempt at hand-illustrated letterpress business cards. I just like them, OK.
Commissioned Aaron Gustafson to create a cross-browser implementation of the Grid Positioning Module as an eCSStender plugin. The module helped the
Grid specification gain traction.
Led the launch, creative, and execution of the second 10K Apart contest in partnership with Jeffrey Zeldman and Eric Meyer. The 10K Apart site, designed in partnership with Paravel, Inc., marked the first responsive site from Microsoft.
MoreRead more on Zeldman.com Archived Site
Commissioned Jason Santa Maria to run with this typographic expoloration. The original idea I commissioned was to present poetry with glorious web type. He volleyed with a whimsical tweak to the subject matter. Sold! An all-star team consisting of Frank Chimero, Naz Hamid, Trent Walton, and Dave Rupert breathed life into the concept. The project was tweeted over 20,000 times in a week, and became an inflection point in demonstrating the power of web typography.
MoreLost World’s FairsIE9 and the Lost World’s Fairs
Cofounded the 10K Apart contest in partnership with Joshua Allen, Jeffrey Zeldman, and Eric Meyer. Matt Brown and Tiffani Jones worked with us to build a gorgeous site. The contest was a hit with the web community. Over 350 entries were submitted in less than a month, it was tweeted over 20,000 times, but most importantly, got web developers to look at Internet Explorer in a new light.
MoreArchived siteMy post on MIX OnlineJeffrey Zeldman’s post
I helped write and choreograph Bill Buxton’s closing keynote address at MIX10 to an audience of 2500 people (and tens of thousands more online). Bill was the highest rated keynote speaker at MIX10 (but that was probably mostly thanks to Bill being Bill).
MoreWatch Bill’s keynote address
What does it take to get a web site off the ground? A Website Named Desire, a poster Erik Saltwell and I conceptualized, answers that question. I served as Creative Director, and the talented Jason Robards at XPlane produced it. We originally printed a thousand to give away at a conference. They were such a big hit that we had to do a few more print runs—the final count was somewhere around 20,000 (sans the hundred or so that are still sitting in my garage).
MoreCheck out the poster and site
I led the redesign of MIX Online. The team included Matt Brown and Tiffani Jones, Evan Sharp (who went on to cofound Pinterest), and members of the MIX Online team. It won “Best of 2009” on the now discontinued Paul Scrivens' Drawar CSS Showcase, beating over 1500 sites from some of the best known designers and design agencies at the time (including IDEO).
MoreRead the 4-part series about the redesign
I led the redesign of Channel 9, Microsoft’s most vibrant developer community hosting thousands of hours of video content. It was the first redesign of the site ever, and required navigating a complicated web of internal politics, and a very opinionated and vocal community. The team included Nick Finck, the principal of Blue Flavor at the time, Kevin Tamura, Matt Brown, and members of the Channel 9 engineering team.
I helped write and choreograph Bill Buxton’s opening keynote address at MIX09. I also championed a closing keynote address by Deborah Adler, the designer who revolutionized the prescription pill bottle. They ended up being the highest rated talks at MIX09, and helped steer Microsoft’s standing with the design community in a positive direction for the first time in many years.
MoreWatch Bill’s keynoteWatch Deborah’s keynote
I cofounded MIX Online: a community for web designers and web developers. Over the next three years, the site grew to become Microsoft’s unofficial web professional community, helped shape the MIX conference, contributed hundreds of articles and open source projects to the world, and put Microsoft on the design and web community map for the first time since IE6.
MoreCheck out the archived site
Cofounded and ran a program known as Artists in Residence (AIR). Its goal was to train the world’s top design agencies in Silverlight and Expression. Close to 300 designers and developers from around 100 agencies passed through the program.
MoreArchived press release
I served as the Lead Program Manager for Kindle Direct Publishing, a service that helps authors publish their books directly on the Kindle Store. I was responsible for its user experience and launch.
MoreCheck out Kindle Direct Publishing
I served as the Lead Program Manager for Amazon’s 35th product category: Instant Video (now known as Prime Video). My role involved driving all aspects of the product: user experience, feature prioritization, schedule, management of cross-team dependencies, testing, etc. I cut my teeth on this project learning both, how to build (and also not build) products, but also how integral people, communication, and process are to delivering anything. Close to 100% of our team quit after launch but I suspect we all look back at those then-intense days and nights as defining the rest of our careers.
MoreThe Forgotten History of Amazon Video
After fulfilling several SIGGRAPH jury and committee positions, I was invited to create and chair the SIGGRAPH 2005’s Web Graphics Program. The program introduded web graphics to the SIGGRAPH conference through a diverse prgram that included folks like Casey Raes and Ze Frank. 2005 was a uniquely special year for the week-long, 40K attendee conference as it featured a rare keynote address by George Lucas (whose hand I got to shake).
A research assistantship turned writing job for my mentor and professor, James Mohler, I ended up writing half of this book in the summer of my Junior year. The book was used as the textbook for a class I had to take the subsequent semester. I was awarded credit for serving as lecturer and teaching the class instead of taking it.
MoreCheck out the book
I’ve been blogging and writing online since Y2K. I’ve contributed a chapter here and there to a book or two, and even coauthored a textbook in the early 2000’s. My writing these days is hidden away on Digest (until we release it publicly) or, more regrettably, behind Facebook’s wall (I stopped writing there in 2017). Here’s a sampling of some of what I’ve written over the years.
A List Apart Column
MIX Online (RIP) Column
I've delivered highly rated talks and workshops at over 50 national & international conferences over the past decade. My talks tracked closely in spirit to my writings with a focus on giving the audience a more technical understanding of human behavior and interaction in order to help all of us better work with and influence others. I continue to believe this is the key to our best work and happiest times. I don’t accept speaking invitations anymore.