Once upon a time,
a short boy with a cracking voice was a big geek. That was me. I was in my high school's new design program because my mother saw its announcement and said to me, “Hey, you're creative and you're good with computers. Maybe you'd like this.” They were my favorite classes, but I didn't know if it was what I wanted to do as a career yet.
when I wasn't at school or playing Dungeons & Dragons with my friends, I tinkered with computers. I recklessly enthusiastically “distro-hopped” from one Linux installation to the next on the trusty tablet laptop I'd gotten for the design program. It was fun to see what they could do, how they were different, and how I could customize them.
One day, I tried changing a configuration file and the laptop's mouse input mysteriously stopped working. I fiddled with it for a while and tried the most promising solutions I could find on Google, but that only resulted in the graphics driver — actually, let's just say I made it worse.
Eventually, I went on the Linux distro's forum to get help. To my surprise, it was the project co-lead who replied to the thread. After the customary exchanges of "Did you try X?" and "Yep, I also tried Y and Z," the co-lead connected to my computer. While he cleaned up my mess, we chatted via instant messenger. The co-lead asked me what I did for a living, I told him I was a student, and he asked what I was majoring in. I answered, “Oh, I'm only in high school. But I'm in my school's new design academy. They just started it.”
I'll never forget his all-caps reply:
“WE HAVE NEED OF YOUR SERVICES.”
Just like that, I was on the team. From my new vantage point as an insider in the open source community, I saw tons of brilliant people with brilliant ideas working on brilliant projects.
But I also saw that virtually none of these projects were successful, despite all their innovative capabilities. The reason seemed obvious to me. They were too hard to use, too intimidating to learn, too ugly, and/or some other flavor of unusable. It was such a waste! I couldn't stop thinking about it.
How many revolutionary ideas will never be explored again?
How many hours or years or lifetimes of effort were wasted?
How many Googles and penicillins and bitcoins and self-driving cars and inexpensive water purifiers and sustainable spaceships are crumpled in the trash cans of of unknown exasperated geniuses?
How many projects that could've actually changed the world are gone forever because the user experience design was lacking?
What could have been?
From that day forward,
I worked as hard as I could to become the best designer I could be. I still genuinely believe that this is how I can do the most good during my lifetime.
So, if you have a team of brilliant people with brilliant ideas working on a brilliant project that can make an actual impact on the world, please give me a chance to contribute. I really want to help.
Think I might be a good fit for your team?