A side benefit of working in product development is getting to use a lot of software tools.
I've built a career on creativity and technical ability, along with the experience needed to make smart choices.
When I was still in high school, my parents bought me my first computer—a Kaypro II— which makes me one of the few people you'll ever meet who used WordStar running on CP/M.
After high school, I was accepted by the USC School of Cinema/Television (George Lucas, Robert Zemeckis, Caleb Deschanel). In my senior year, I was hired by Warner Bros as a production assistant at a startup called Warner New Media, where I had two amazing mentors in Donna Cohen and Larry Israel. After a couple of years, I became their first digital video editor and later an interactive designer. This is when data transfer rates were measure in kilobytes and computer displays were miniscule.
I was recruited by Sony a few years later, which meant a move to Monterey. After designing several CD-ROM entertainment titles—including one that had a 12-year shelf life (unheard of in tech)—I took a year off, during which I taught myself HTML, published a community newspaper (one of the first with an online edition), got a perfect tan, and decided to change careers. As chance would have it, HTML is almost identical to early word processors and UNIX isn't so different from CP/M.
Switching from product development to marketing meant starting from scratch. Once again, I was lucky to have a great mentor in Meredith Mullins at McGraw-Hill, who taught me traditional marketing and handed me the keys to the company website.
Fast forward two years: I'm a web producer at Novell in San Jose In the midst of the dot.com boom. A year later I was hired by Siebel Systems, where I had yet another great mentor (yes, a trend) named Sherman Hsieh, and for the next six years I honed my web marketing skills.
After Siebel, I moved from the wood-paneled world of large enterprise to the Wild West of start-ups...and that brings us to today.
A startup is the perfect playground for an autodidact. Every day is different and the opportunities to learn are many, which in my case meant...
I've traveled around the world and worked on some amazing projects: I designed the UX for the first split-screen mobile browser in Seoul using what I learned from Warner Bros & Sony; made a commercial over a weekend using my film school training; taught myself 3D modeling and animation over a weekend just so I could make the employee newsletter sexier.
And, I pass it on. The teams that I've managed always expand their skill sets because I know the importance of having a mentor who encourages continuous learning, both as a way to increase their value to the company and to explore their interests. It also allows me to build a top-notch team at the drop of a hat.
To me, the future is the same as the present but more interesting and less annoying.
The first thing I notice about anything—be it software, HTML, a rental car, or a soap dispenser—is whether the creators really understood the end user. Forcing someone to wait three minutes for a page refresh isn't thoughtful, but we all suffer through it to this day. That's something I can help fix.
So that's it. I hope you know a little more about me. If you have any questions....
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