Those who know me well know I don’t suffer the status quo easily. It’s perhaps a bit of stubbornness, and perhaps a bit of benign naïveté. But mostly, it’s because I think the worst reason to do something a certain way is because that’s the way it has always been done.
While I’m not known to be particularly rebellious, I don’t take norms for granted. Progress, change and innovation result from the efforts of individuals willing to go against the grain, ask why, and then work, think, and be different. This is more true than ever, these days.
And so I’m really excited to announce that I’ve signed on as managing partner at Rebellion Design Co., a user experience and design company started by my long-time friends and colleagues Chris DiClerico and Jake Wallace.
Chris and Jake founded Rebellion years ago as an antidote to so much of what is wrong with the marketing industry, namely agencies trying to do design work with processes, philosophies and structures that not only impede great design, but corrupt peoples’ relationships and well-being. I’ve long had a taste for shaking up just such models, and so what Chris and Jake have been doing has been incredibly attractive to me.
Rebellion eschews bloated, layered teams that hide talent from clients, and they forbid the spec-laden, bait-and-switch new business processes common to the business, instead operating on a number of principles that just make sense. They honor honesty, transparency, obsessive attention to detail, tenacious problem-solving, and, above all, excellent experience design.
And, of course, their core focus was another draw for me: I get to return to my roots in user experience design. While I’ve loved my time in advertising and content creation and will always revere and respect the talented people I’ve had the pleasure to work with, I continue to believe that the useful and rewarding experiences real people have with brands are what create the most powerful bonds. Brands can no longer message their way into peoples’ hearts. And in a world that is starting to seem technology-poisoned rather than technology-enabled, brands need to pay more attention to the quality and nature of their digital footprint.
In a world that is starting to seem technology-poisoned rather than technology-enabled, brands need to pay more attention to the quality and nature of their digital footprint.
Further, as more and more brand experiences become rooted in digital — from direct-to-consumer to digital conversion journeys, from IoT sensor-rich environments to voice marketing/smart speakers and mixed reality — user experience design will become even more critical to that brand experience. Especially considering the value, utility, privacy and trust implications this will have for real people.
These are exactly the kinds of problems I love to solve.
Lastly, by joining as managing partner at Rebellion, I’ll be able to fill one of my favorite roles in the creative business: the enabler. In my years of executive leadership, I’ve learned that makers on a mission — whether it’s to create an ad, a website, a product or a business — need support. They need an environment where great things can happen. They need opportunities. They need champions. They need new ideas. They need growth. They need trust, stability and the safety to fail. They need people to enable their mission. As I help Chris & Jake write the next chapter of Rebellion’s story, I get to enable the unique and talented Rebellion team to achieve even more.
So I’m pretty happy to once again be a rebel in this industry that is ready for revolution. Rebellion Design is already doing it, and I’m excited to help take it further.