I spent the first 23 years of my life in Texas. It’s a great place to learn how to do things for yourself and take chances. Want to develop an entrepreneurial spirit? It’s your ticket.
I went to school there, graduating with a BFA in Graphic Design at a time when some very forward-looking professors were just starting to play around with the idea of mixing up design and entrepreneurship. They had us come up with an entire business, draft a simple plan for it, then design the materials needed to cloth it with some legitimacy and present it to a panel of three industry veterans. Now those presentations are full-blown auditorium events.
Concurrent with my education I was moonlighting a freelance design business, working with small- and medium-sized businesses in the area. I was loving the idea of a designer running their own business. As one of my mentors put it: Getting to create the message instead of just delivering it.
Up until that point I had not touched a line of code. That all changed when I was offered what I considered at the time a hefty sum to design and build a website. Shit.
What I found in my first painstaking hours is that coding to me felt a lot like design. Once you get past the omg-how-do-I-just-make-it-blue stage—which isn’t limited to code, by the way. I pity the freshman being sat down in front of the latest Photoshop—you start to realize that writing code is a form of expression, just like any kind of design. It’s another way to see the world, and its magnificent. That’s when I fell in love with the idea of being a holistic builder of products. And that’s what I do: keep one foot in each world so as to better understand them both, and to produce something that has a more thorough usefulness to the world.