My time in high school
Attended high school in the
Overall high school experience
8/10. As much as I wanted to believe the stereotypes, everyone was your best friend when you were at a party. I was definitely a freak/geek but I had *one* class in my junior year that happened to have most of the football team in it. One night, I was riding my bike around town (yes, I would just put on my walkman and ride all over town most nights) and happened on a party where the same jocks were out on the lawn. They yelled at me to come in and party with them. They turned out to be some of the funnest people I'd ever hung out with in school. Then again, this was before the serious money began rolling in to the school district.
Grades in high school
A's and B's
English, History / Social Studies, Visual Arts
Math. I think I just learn that stuff in a more practical way than it was taught to me. I just could not understand why my teachers were so geeked out on numbers. Then, I took a geometry class from the football coach and I got an A.
Arts / Crafts
Life since high school
Attended college / university at
I went to one of the top art schools on the west coast and majored in graphic design. In my early 20's I worked my tail off.
Post-graduate education or training
None. I didn't even graduate with a bachelors. I got an amazing opportunity after interning at a startup and never looked back.
Places lived in US
Current occupations / past occupations
Designer. I use this term because it goes to the root of what I do. I've worked in many flavors of this discipline over the last 16 years, but they all had in common a process I've been perfecting just as long.
Industries I've worked in
- Retail Trade
- Information (e.g. Publishing, Film, Broadcast, Telecommunications, Libraries)
- Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (e.g. Law, Accounting, Interior Design, Graphic Design, R&D, PR, Advertising, etc.)
- Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation
Did your education prepare you for your career or occupation?
Yes and no. I definitely learned how to develop a process for how I work that's been essential to my career ever since. But, my college was behind the times when it came to the cutting edge technologies that were coming about in the late 1990's. I learned more about that stuff in six months at my first job out of school than I did in four years there.
Has your education or career/occupation trajectory ever changed? How?
Definitely. My career has demanded that a single person should be able to take on at least four roles. I can't complain because, if you can do it well, it's one of those jobs where employers where employers are still willing to pay top money.
A little introspection...
To me, being successful means...
The hardest to achieve: to be truly happy and satisfied with life. It's so easy to forget what happiness is as you get older, or you remember a happier part of your life but you can't find a way to get back there. It's all about accepting and loving yourself. Once that happens you make others feel the same way about you, and themselves, and everyone's suddenly happy, and the world seems like a better place.
Success to me also means being able to trust and believe in yourself. I remember the first time I took on a project and I didn't feel anxious about how I was going to get it done. I realized that I was good enough at what I do that, even if the answer didn't come to me quickly, I could fall back on my experience to know it would eventually come if I put more effort in to it. Even when I got laid off from jobs in the past I never doubted myself that I had the skills and talent to always find work.
Lastly, success would be raising my 4 children in to adults that are successful in life themselves.
My definition of success has changed over time.
As a teen, my idea of success was to be known as "great" at whatever I chose to do in life. I would be famous and all the kids in school would see me as some kind of hero. Now, I realize who the heroes really are.
My greatest accomplishment to date and what I’ve learned from it
Professionally, it would have to be landing my present job. I never bothered to try and get in to this company because everyone told me it was impossible to get hired there, and they only brought in the top talent. After losing my last job, I managed to get an interview there and I went in and killed it. I was so desperate and angry at my last employer that it brought out a confidence in me I'd never really tapped in to before. I remember going down my resume with my interviewers and pointing out how I only took jobs from Fortune 100 companies and I wanted them to be at the top of my resume.
Personally, it would have to be my children. I shake my head at friends who say they'll never have them, thinking that without kids they'll have the time and money to truly experience life. They have no idea what they're missing. If you really want to know who you are raise kids.
My biggest mistake or regret so far and what I’ve learned from it
Not thanking the people in my life who made me who I am before they were gone. I always assumed they would see that I was doing what I loved and know they saw that in me before I did, and this would make them happy. I'm sure they were, but I regret not telling them that in person.
An unexpected event that significantly changed my life and how it impacted me
I'd have to say 9/11. I was 25 at the time and working in the financial district in San Francisco. It was the first time in my adult life where I genuinely felt like we could all die. I remember watching GWB addressing the nation that night with my dad, who had fought in WW2. My dad didn't say much, which was saying a lot. The look in his eyes said it all. Thinking back, I wonder if he was imagining his son going to fight a world war like his father did him decades earlier.
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My favorite spot in or around Palo Alto
There's too many, but Cow Hill stands out the most to me. So many times I went there to figure my sh** out.