Selected Works



LAX Airport
Pioneer Zephyr
Rose Rabbit Lie
Homer Dome

A journal about creative thinking.
Mostly words. Some pictures.

Always served hot.

Skip Intro

In the beginning, the 'Skip Intro' button often goes unnoticed. But as binge-watching progresses, the urge to click intensifies. It's not a reflection on the title's artistry but the anticipation of what's next.

In spite of how much you love the main title, playing it repeatedly can dampen your excitement to get back into the story.

When you unbox the latest iPhone, you feel like you're experiencing something special in that moment. Unboxing experiences are powerful examples of amplifying anticipation, and the first time is always the most memorable.

But imagine if you unboxed your phone every time you received a notification, phone call, or text message. Binge tv sessions experience this with every main title. And that's why a simple button can have such a huge impact.

While a visually stunning intro is essential, it's the spark of anticipation that truly combats the 'Skip Intro' Goliath. And the secret weapon? Music.

It's not just about visuals; it's about crafting an auditory experience that grips viewers from the start.

Spend money, time and energy on the music.
There is a reason music players have a repeat button.

No, Less

The improvisational rule of "Yes, And" is a fine way to generate ideas. Sadly, "No, Less" is rarely given equal attention. It's distillation, not addition, that gives an idea meaning.

Apple and the Genius of Place

Imagine a bridge spanning across centuries, connecting the past and the present, the physical and the digital. At one end stands Frederick Law Olmsted, the 19th-century landscape architect. On the other, the modern marvel of Apple's Vision Pro. The bridge? The 'Genius of Place'.

Last week, while watching Apple's WWDC keynote, I saw an emerging landscape taking shape.

Instead of soil and stone, it's pixels and code. A place where the boundaries of our physical and digital lives are brought closer together. And as I watched Apple talk about its revolutionary spatial computing platform, I couldn't help but wonder if Frederick Law Olmsted's design spirit possessed those behind Apple's new vision.

As the mastermind behind the first planned community and the town I grew up in, Riverside, Illinois, with its winding paths and considered landscapes, Olmsted put his faith in the truth that every place was its own entity, with its own character and spirit. His design approach was revolutionary at the time with the intent to reveal, not impose. And his approach was simple - consult the uniquely spiritual quality of a place, and infuse it into every design decision possible.

In Apple's vision, the 'place' is not just a physical location but a merging of one's true world with an entirely reimagined computing paradigm. A radically different yet uncannily familiar type of place where the spatial experience is tailored to your unique needs and preferences. Vision Pro creates a digital landscape as varied and meaningful as an Olmsted park with all the spiritual qualities of you and your surroundings.

Olmsted's landscapes were designed to be immersive, draw the observer in, and offer a peaceful retreat from city life. With Vision Pro, you'll have an equally immersive experience, a digital journey that's as familiar as an unplanned stroll through one of Olmsted's parks. A slow roll of the digital crown on top of the headset replaces the winding Olmsted path. Around each turn, the landscape unfolds around you just like Olmsted intended.

I can't help but imagine a connection between Apple and Olmsted rooted in a shared vision, the belief that place has power. Whether it's a physical landscape or a space filled with rounded glass windows that you can move with a glance and a pinch. Each place, and now every spatial computer, has its own unique spirit, an evolving 'genius' that makes it unique.

It gives me a sense of curiosity and excitement as I consider what it might feel like to design for and fall into Vision Pro's digital landscape next year. The idea that 19th-century design principles remain relevant to present innovations reminds me that fundamental human needs haven't changed.

However, everything we interact with will change.

As we enter a new era, computers are no longer independent of us but present an unprecedented connection to how we define a place.

This transformation gives us a moment to reconsider our approach as designers, to shift from a "user experience" mindset to a "user belonging" mindset.

Only by designing for a sense of belonging can we create meaningful spatial computers that consider more than just virtual pixels in a space but center wholeheartedly on people in place

I think a refined version of UX, we might call it BX (Belonging Experience) will emerge over the next few years, not because I want to coin the term for a new product or industry, but to remind designers that if people don't feel like they belong... they will leave.

We must appreciate place's power and its genius in shaping our future digital interactions. From this point on, design will be about fostering a sense of belonging, where everyone feels connected and cared for in the digital realms we inhabit.

So here's to the genius of place in everyone's living room or office. Here's to Central Park's winding paths, my hometown of Riverside, Vision Pro's spatial computing landscapes, and all the places in between. Here's to the experience designers who dare to cross this bridge, linking the old and the new dimensions, the spatial and the digital.

And here's to us, the wide-eyed seekers, who are fortunate to live in a time when we can travel across this beautiful span.

Artificial High and the Fading Effects of A.I.

Midjourney was a hell-of-a drug when it first hit the scene. I was pretty addicted the first few nights playing with it. But four months into experimenting with this new creative psychedelic, I don't feel the same feeling when prompting vs. creating. Is there a difference between the satisfaction you get from your "own" idea instead of the AI collaborative kind?

Engaging in a creative and fulfilling activity releases dopamine in the brain. This explains why we prefer the Poäng armchair we assembled from IKEA over the one we purchased from Target. As our creative process becomes easier, the feeling changes. The less effort we invest in our "own" ideas, the less joy we might experience.

This brings us to a significant question in this new era of AI: Is creativity less rewarding when the effort is optimized?

Do creative projects need to simmer and stew, nurtured by human hands and time, to be truly remarkable, or can they be fast, efficient, and still memorable?

I believe the amount of passion and effort put into something directly affects the positive feelings an audience experiences when engaging with it. It's the emotion you feel when you experience a musical performance whose life's work is poured into their creative passion. It's also the emotion you feel when a brilliant film keeps you on the edge of your seat. A lot of work went into making you feel that way.

Memory loves meaning.

Today's AI doesn't even have a memory — it simply predicts what comes next.

There's nothing like the incredible feeling we get from generating our own ideas. Collaborating with another person adds an emotional and empathetic dimension, leading to a richer and more meaningful experience. A generative moment with someone else may seem spontaneous, but it's the result of years of experience and life lived by both individuals. I really hope this kind of purposeful conspiracy is never abandoned.

But my god, stuff is moving fast ... and I have to ask myself, how many variations of the AI drug will it take to fire the dopamine in my brain to keep me addicted to tech-driven creativity?

Well beyond what's available today, but then again, four more months of advancement might convince me to take another hit.