It does, you know. You just have to get it hot enough.

Monday, May 25, 2009



~4 years after deciding to go back to school and study design, I find myself in possession of a rather fancy diploma from Carnegie Mellon for the study of Master of Science in Tangible Interaction Design.   

Right now, I couldn’t tell you what that actually means. I need to wander off and do some “reflection on doing”, as the Eindhoven gang says. I’ll be wandering to Tokyo first, then back to the bay area to put in time for my employer that gave me an unpaid leave to get my degree, then, actually, I’m not sure what I’ll be doing.

If my employer and I can agree on something I can do for them using my newly-learned skills, then great. I’ve been there ~8 years and have a lot of wonderful relationships and memories that I’d hate to walk away from. On the other hand, maybe what I want to do isn’t something I can do for someone else, or isn’t something I can easily do at a public company smaller than Nokia or Microsoft or Apple.

Thus the “reflection on doing”. I just did ~4 years of design learning, and I need to think about what it means and where I want to go.

However, I’ve decided one thing already: I’m not a “foo designer”. I’m a “designer”. I’m not an “interaction designer” or an “user experience designer” or an “industrial designer” or a “whatever designer”. One of the most important things I learned in these recent years is that it’s all design. Architecture is design, industrial design is design, graphic design is design, typography is design, service design is design, etc.

Over the rest of my career I’ll design (and probably prototype) small, medium, and large things that I hope will make people’s lives better, even if it simply entertains them or amuses them. The last thing I want to do is silo myself and reduce the opportunities offered to me by defining myself in some narrow fashion.

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posted by jet at 22:10  


  1. Well done and congratulations!

    I’m glad to hear you’re taking a broad view of your possibilities. I think people categorize themselves partly because it makes it easier to market themselves to others, and also, sadly, because it allows them to quit learning about anything unrelated to their specialty.

    I’m a materials scientist. Within the scope of that training I’ve done a pretty broad variety of work: structural materials and semiconductors, coatings and bulk materials, Big Science and yield-improvement engineering. I’m sure I’ll change specialties again.


    Comment by Jeff Hershberger — 2009/05/26 @ 12:50

  2. Wow, congrats! It’s been a long time coming! I’m amazed that you’re considering going back to Alviso, if I read this correctly. I think there still is a lot of work to be done there, but at the same time, now is the best time to explore new opportunities, right?

    Have a great time in Tokyo. I was there 2 years ago, and it was fabulous. I really really enjoyed it there.

    Comment by Steve — 2009/05/26 @ 12:53

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