There are far worse problems to have in life than to love what you do too much. I’m excited to announce that I’m moving onto my next adventure.
A Mobile Story
In late 2009 desperate to find a new job, I scored an interview at R/GA through a connection there (who may or may not have been my wife). When I interviewed at R/GA the only position they had open was for a “mobile web developer,” whatever that meant. “That’s fine,” I thought to myself, “I’ll use this as my foot in the door and eventually get to make real websites.”
It didn’t take long to realize how foolish that mentality was.
For close to three years I’ve had the opportunity to create web experiences for an ever-increasing pile of mobile devices. I got to watch the mobile landscape change on an almost daily basis, and see everyone freak out as a result. I got to watch as mobile web efforts went from nice-to-have (at best) to the center of everyone’s attention.
Like a salmon swimming up a waterfall (process), I worked hard to help developers, then designers, then strategy folks and clients understand how to plan, design and develop big web ideas on small screens. I began writing and eventually speaking about mobile web design, and even made a few resources along the way.
Those extracurricular activities consumed so much of my time that my wife called them my second job. I’d close the laptop after a day of R/GA work only to open it right back up to build a presentation, write a blog post or book chapter, code a side-project or do any number of other mobile web-related activities. It became unsustainable to continue taking part in all these extra activities while holding down any fulltime job.
That’s why I’m leaving R/GA. Not because I don’t love my job, but because I love my job too much. Weird, I know.
At the beginning of the new year I’ll begin a new adventure doing a mixture of consulting, front end design, workshops, speaking and writing.
I never thought I’d ever be a consultant. A quick Google Image search for “consultant” makes it painfully obvious why I felt that way. But after a while I realized that consulting really just means helping people. And I love helping people. The only thing better than making something yourself is empowering someone else to make something even better. I’m extremely excited to help companies and organizations make sense of this crazy multi-device world, and help them plan and execute future-friendly web strategies. I can’t wait.
Front End Design
There’s no substitute for making things, and for me that itch will always need to be scratched. So I’ll be rolling up my sleeves and doing all I can to create functional, beautiful and adaptive websites. It’s a tall order, but I aim to create experiences that look and function beautifully across anything that can access the web.
I’m excited to announce that I’ll now be offering a new workshop titled Everything You Wanted to Know about Responsive Web Design…and Less! It’s a full-day adventure that covers everything from landscape trends, strategy, approach, process, design patterns, development best practices and more. It sounds like a mouthful because it is!
The workshop is designed to adapt to its audience, meaning that it can be more strategy-centric, design-centric or development-centric depending on who’s in the room (I’m pretty sure the CMO doesn’t want to look at media query blocks all day). Ultimately the goal is for the workshop to be digestible no matter what your discipline may be.
Feel free to contact me if you’re interested in having me give this workshop at your organization, conference, event or bar mitzvah (I’m still working on the balloon animals part).
Speaking and Writing
In addition to consulting, designing and workshopping, I’ll continue to speak and write (hopefully doing a lot more of both). I have over 60 blog post drafts already in the hopper that I can’t wait to get out the door, and I’m looking forward to continue speaking about the subjects I care so much about.
I wouldn’t be where I am today and wouldn’t have been able to make such a leap if it weren’t for the help and support from some truly amazing people. (This is the equivalent of signing the back of a high school yearbook, so feel free to stop reading if you’re not into that kind of thing.)
Thanks to everybody at R/GA, especially Jack Bishop for teaching me most of what I know about mobile web development. Dave Edwards for all your guidance, humor, this website and more humor. Richard Ting for trusting in me and giving me the freedom to help in whatever way I could. Cindy Pound for always having my back. Everyone in the mobile lab – John Mullin for being old, Michele Nauman, Brian Tobin, Ross Popoff-Walker, Rob Spychala, Phil Robinson, Sean Kelly, Joseph Lin, Will Creedle, Julie Renwick, Jonathan Greene, Ryan McLaughlin and honorary lab members Kyle Bunch, Will Turnage, Karyn Riegel and Josh Stephenson. I have so many amazing and/or hilarious memories from the lab, so thanks for that.
To all of my web heroes who have taught me so much and somehow still let me hang around and annoy them. Thanks to Josh Clark for all your guidance, support and encouragement. Jason Grigsby for giving me so many opportunities and for also putting up with all my shit. Luke Wroblewski for all your advice, constant inspiration and Norwegian music. Stephanie and Bryan Rieger for influencing how I think and for the honor to collaborate with you. Scott Jenson for all your encouragement, advice and wisdom, and for also putting up with my shit.
Dan Mall for all your help and for showing me that moving back to Pennsylvania and working for yourself is totally doable. Lyza Danger Gardner, Jeremy Keith and all the other Future Friendly astronauts for shaping my perspective and inspiring me. Tim Kadlec for putting on a great show and letting me bother you for all four of them. Vitaly Friedman for being one of the nicest humans on the planet and for the opportunity to write for your site, write for your book and speak at your conference. Jeffery Zeldman for getting me into this profession, for giving me the opportunity to speak at your event and to write for your publication. All the Pittsburgh people: Jason, Val, Matt, Jay, Nate, Jen Robbins (counting you as a Pittsburgher) and others for being awesome. Everyone on Twitter for sharing, conversing and collectively teaching me new things every day. Special thanks to Mike Gallay for the never-ending support, encouragement and advice. And of course there are plenty of others who have helped me that aren’t mentioned here.
Thanks to my family and all my friends for their love and support. And of course, thanks to Melissa, my wonderful, patient, loving, encouraging wife who puts up with all of this and pushes me to be a better human being.
Here’s to a new year and new adventures!