How I got here
No fancy schools or gear. Just a lot of hard work, amazing mentors, and a great team of doctors.
1990 TO 2005
I was the first child of a ferociously independent and creative mother, and a hardworking, resourceful immigrant father. As a kid, I was always trying new things - painting, card tricks, cooking, whatever I could entertain myself with. This was especially true in 2005, when my teenage self was diagnosed with stage-3 burkitt's lymphoma - a rare, fast growing blood cancer. Facing that diagnosis scared the hell out of me.
While in the hospital undergoing chemotherapy, I started to get curious about the world around me. I questioned why things were the way they were. Armed with a hacked, buggy version of Photoshop, a 15-foot long ethernet cable, and whatever the 2005-internet could offer me, I taught myself design.
After chemo, I started making short films, doing graffiti, and learned to write C#. I decided some mixture of those, plus design, was what I wanted to do with the life I almost lost.
2005 TO 2012
Throughout high school and into college, I worked odd design jobs here and there. After a while, an opportunity came to intern at an aerospace company - Aerojet Rocketdyne - and I immediately applied. I got the job, and worked on the internal web systems that were used by the teams who built the Mars Curiosity Rover's sky-crane engines (the thing that lowered it onto the surface). #NerdAchievement
In Spring of 2013, on the advice of a fellow graffiti artist in Australia, I applied for an event called "+20". It was a one-day hackathon Google and Semi-Permanent held with a top-20 group of emerging designers. I was picked for it, and I met my first mentors there. Shortly after, I graduated with my degree in Communications and was hired as the 2nd designer at Whistle.
2014 TO NOW
At Whistle, I ended up taking over and leading mobile product design through to the company's acquisition by Mars Petcare for $117M. After ensuring a smooth transition for the team, I joined Google to work on YouTube's Subscriptions team in 2016, where I owned mobile product design for 2 years.
As a 20% project, I created a cross-functional product innovation incubator, which was a self contained full-stack team of specialists that worked with researchers to identify the most impactful unmet needs at YouTube, created product designs to meet those needs, rigorously tested the designs, and ultimately shipped the highest-performing concepts.
In 2018 I decided to accept a role as a Senior Product Designer at Udemy, where I helped strategically plan a similar-style internal incubator, and started a company-wide social good initiative.
In 2019, the recovery from a nerve sheathe tumor prompted me to leave Udemy to seek some volunteering, as a means of therapy. In the margins of that, I run Vault Labs alongside Anthony. We’ve provided companies ranging from small startups to huge corporations with consulting services, in addition to building our own original IP, such as Sharpen.design.