For just over 4+ years I had arguably what some may consider to be the “dream job” in software design: serving in a largely self-defined Principal level role for a revolutionary team ushering “Design Thinking” into a 25 year old enterprise technology firm, Citrix—with 100% executive support from our CEO and SVP of Customer Experience. I worked on initiatives that combined my talent and energy: Driving visionary concepts, leading design evangelism, delivering innovation with the Citrix Labs team, coaching startups at the Startup Accelerator, and running a successful design speakers’ series, plus countless other activities that were fun, rewarding, and impactful. In a rare situation where I helped shaped design vision and culture—with executive visibility and trust— I also learned a great deal about what it means to foster a corporate design team’s success (witnessing its rapid growth to over 120 people!), and what it means to be a design leader (not for the faint of heart!)…with all the inherent challenges, frustrations, and anxieties ;-) It has been an amazing journey.
And in the end, I did everything I sought out to do…and more, with opportunities I never imagined possible. I can say with sincere gratitude and profound awe: “Mission Accomplished”.
So, what’s next? How does one transcend such a uniquely compelling situation? What comes after the “dream job”?
Now, it’s time to disrupt. In tech circles, this is has become a trite buzzword implying some game-changing invention that radically alters convention (usually along with some wild-eyed multi-billion dollar valuation ;-) However, for a designer— a fundamentally creative individual, who constantly evolves, seeks stimulus for personal and professional growth— once awhile you need to pursue that risky, uncommon opportunity, a catalytic event to shift your whole perspective and approach, taking things to the next level. To learn something completely different and push your own limits. Sometimes, you just need to disrupt yourself.
And what better way to do that than by joining an exciting 20+ person start-up called Cloud Physics, as their Director of UX, charged with bringing beauty & soul to “Big Data” analytics? :-) While I’ve been in Silicon Valley for 12+ years, to the surprise of many I’ve actually never worked at a start-up before (ironically, perhaps). So let’s take a leap—into a wholly new role, company, and environment with a compelling focus and critical impact upon design strategy & vision. There is no textbook or class syllabus for something like this—improvisation will be key! I’ll be taking a different approach from “big corporate” Customer Experience, emphasizing a Lean, Navy SEAL, craftsperson approach to delivering design excellence. I might even learn to code, just a little bit ;-) It’s both exciting and daunting, with plenty of worthy challenges ahead. I look forward to sharing lessons and insights from “start-up land” in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!