Product Management | UX | Software Engineer | AI Specialist
Funny story, I used to be a cartoonist.
I drew for newspapers and designed screen prints. I learned how to code to because I didn't like how comics looked on the web. In fact, I talked a teacher to let me take an advanced Flash class and failed it. twice.
But there was something twinkling in the interface. My background is in philosophy and linguistics, not Computer Science, but Flash seemed oddly familiar. The timeline was linear, but each cell in the timeline could stack infinitely. Flash was a doorway to Borgean possibilities.
10 years later, I became the first hire for Home Depot's Applied Machine Intelligence team.
AMI is a small cross-functional team within Home Depot's IT department. We're focused on new in-store solutions and back office automation. Because of our various backgrounds, we can operationalize ML into current business processes.
We also vet emerging technology like computer vision and partner with companies like Google and Slalom. We also work with GA Tech students in our innovation lab to quickly test out new ideas.
As a product manager, I work with stakeholders to build a business case, develop a sustainable strategy and whatever else is needed.
I also work on the system design for our Store Ops mobile strategy.
Today, I give lectures at universities about product strategy and AI.
Teaching is my passion. That probably goes back to my cartooning days. While the specific topics vary, the theme is always about how to communicate the complexity and variability of a system. Every good leader has an intuition about the dynamics of their given system. If you want to build leaders that can make good choices, you have to be able to communicate that system. Once that intuition has developed, tests and data make more sense.
Enterprise UX, when done well, fills this vital role and becomes indistinguishable from Product Management. Enterprise UX should probably be called Stakeholder & User Experience, but that's an unfortunate acronym.
Recently, I presented to high-level execs on implementing AI in the enterprise.
My latest talks focus on 1) the intersection of machine learning and user experience 2) product management counterfactuals and 3) dynamic system documentation.
I've built products and led teams at startups, agencies, and Fortune 25 companies.
I started in the trenches of code and I still enjoy coding. But as the companies I worked for grew larger, I noticed bigger bugs in the system. Bugs that cropped up from culture or an over-dependence on methodologies. Those glitches early, in the system, could doom a product before the first sketch was drawn. So I was drawn to those problems.
Most of the time, the problem is simply a breakdown in communication or a lack of trust. Generosity goes a long way. Other times, the problem was not being able to see around corners. I found that I had a knack for seeing sideways. I could identify bottlenecks or material constraints and quickly set an alternate course. You know you're on a good team when you present an idea and immediately get three better ones.
Various Titles: Director of Product, VP of Product, Principle UX Architect, Senior Developer, Product Strategy Consultant
I'm constantly learning. I'm probably trying to grok an algorithm while we speak.
Left to my own devices, I'll dive into a new technology and not come up for air. But over time, I've learned two things:
- Most things, I'll never fully understand.
- It's much better to learn by working with others on real projects.
AI is fascinating, but it's just one tool that fits into a dynamic system.