The thing that eventually inspired me to get into industrial design was the space shuttle. I keep this toy version on my desk.
I grew up in the 80s and I saw space shuttles everywhere, but I didn’t know what it was about them that made me think they were cool. I mean, yes, they went into space, but they also looked good. It was only years later that I understood that I was attracted to it because it looked the way it did because it had to.
A bad PowerPoint, an eye-opening PC, and a path.
My introduction to industrial design came from the most nervous man I had ever met. Columbia College Chicago sent a representative to give a PowerPoint presentation about creative careers to a class of bored high school art students. We were just a few weeks away from graduating.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but studying violin in my youth would give me inspiration, insights, and have many parallels to my future work in product design.
A couple of years into playing I realized that not only was I fascinated with the music, but also with the very instrument itself. A violin has such detailed beauty and cleverness. Its old world technology inspired me to learn more about it. All of the stringed instruments in the orchestra are scaled versions of the same basic design and I thought that was pretty cool. I was captivated.
When you see something in the store, what does it take for it to get there? What are the technical challenges? I’ve been really lucky in my career, because one of the first major projects I worked on, the Qualcomm QCP 2035, actually went to market. Working on it showed me that what I really like about engineering is the collaboration.
When I graduated from college in 1998 I was lucky enough to get a job at Qualcomm in San Diego. The company was trying to introduce a new technical standard for mobile phones, so they built a division to make handsets using that standard.