“...I’ve been here for years
I’m rockin my peers
Puttin’ suckers in fear...”
— Mama Said Knock You Out, LL Cool J
Friday, June 29 was my last day at VSCO.
It's bittersweet. In my almost two years there, I learned a lot. I’m sad to have left some of the best people I’ve had the pleasure of working with — a humble and talented crew all around. I’m proud of the huge amount of work and impact that I was able to accomplish alongside that batch of people.
So why leave?
A number of things. Let’s use a list, shall we? In no order:
I came to a natural stopping point. I no longer felt that I could do the best work I could be doing and be the best designer I can be. With that, a natural progression has occurred in the past few years as I evolved and added more strategy, vision, and thought leadership to my skills. It places me in the position to better know how to help tech companies of all sizes and stages do better.
I turned 40 in March. With that milestone came a lot of reflection.
My father passed away last June (on Father’s Day, no less), and it’s been just over a year since. My best friend and oldest cat, Monty, passed away at almost 19 years old due to catastrophic health issues on January 23. On April 17, we also said goodbye to our dog, Shaun, at nearly 14 years old, also due to declining health. All three are missed deeply in various ways and stages. It’s been hard for me and Jen. Loki, our little tuxedo cat, survives them all and is seemingly enjoying his solo status as an only animal now.
My health has been on a rollercoaster for the past year and a half — incidentally, when I took an office job — and some of you may know of my issues. It’s been one of the hardest things I’ve had to juggle, balance, and deal with, and I hit a low point in March. In a moment of sickness (literally, on a sick day), I messaged three people I consider most influential in both my personal and professional life, letting them know of my intention to leave VSCO. It was time to create more space for healing.
Related to 1: The desire to work on different things for different people — I miss it. I want to further hone my skills, and I’ve thought long and hard about how I can be more valuable to companies at a broader and wider range, but also with the ability to go deep.
The desire to travel freely again: exploring more of the world and understanding where we come from. It’s one of my passions, and while de rigueur these days, the more we know the other humans (and animals) we share this planet with, the more we can understand each other.
More unstructured time — to ride bikes, to rock climb, to make music, to be creative, to learn, to make my days what they need to be, so I can be the best I can be.
In an effort to keep this brief, as there is more to come, what’s next?
I’m exploring a few things. I set up my desk at home. I’ve had ideas for months that I’ve wanted to explore and push on. And now it’s time. A notepad sits to my left with a pen, and I’ve written out a number of projects that I’m going to tackle in the next few months.
Things I can talk about:
A new studio. A consultancy. Product design, direction, and strategy. Just a holding page, Twitter, and Instagram. For now. http://studio28.co
A podcast. It’s called Hard Work Hard Living. If you saw me talk at the last Brooklyn Beta or at Creative Works last year, then you might guess the content of this podcast. The plan is that it’ll be season-based and have guests that aren’t necessarily in tech.
If you’re looking for an independent design director/product designer that can help you with design direction and strategy; or if you need someone to help your product design team with process and methodology — drop me a line. There’ll be more to announce on that front, but it’s always good to put an early word out.
Thanks for reading. As always, replies are welcome.
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