Monthly Archives: April 2011

Seeking new professional challenge: what I want to do

Having operated a successful digital product design and development consultancy (Devise) for the past 4 years, the time has come for me to seek a fabulous new professional challenge in the form of a full-time position. (My Devise co-founder and I are moving in different directions.) 

Being a respected design practitioner and community leader for the past 12+ years, I aim to work in a strategic & managerial capacity while continuing to stay involved in hands-on research and design activities. In crafting my professional future, it’s helpful for me to write up a description of my ideal role. Here’s what I want to do:

  • Make the world a better place by improving people’s experiences with medical devices and healthcare-related technology (and if not having a medical/healthcare angle, then designing for touchscreen/mobile devices, complex systems, gestural interfaces and/or immersive environments is most appealing to me)
  • Help identify business opportunities and solve complex product definition challenges through strategic application of the most appropriate research and design activities 
  • Creatively direct people and manage product design activities in order to help define and deliver delightful products and services
  • Collaborate with a cross-disciplinary team of highly intelligent and talented people to get the work done right, helping to ensure that all constituent stakeholders come together as seamlessly as possible to reconcile the viable, feasible and desirable in equal measure
  • Lead and help to build a team of user experience designers, including hiring, training and mentoring
  • Conduct original user research as needed to understand people’s real-world behaviors and needs
  • Deliver innovative design solutions as needed in the fields of interaction design, information design, visual design and information architecture
  • Instill user-centered design techniques and approaches to improve product development processes throughout the organization
  • Be respected for bringing passion, commitment and creativity to my work
  • Have internal authority within the organization commensurate with my level of responsibility in providing the business with great design solutions
  • Be supported in keeping up with professional trends by attending industry conferences as well as personally speaking & writing about interaction design
  • Remain based in Portland, Oregon with up to 10-25% travel to support activities such as user research, team collaboration and professional development

The possibilities beckon, and I’m excited to think where my career will go next. Could the universe deliver a role to me with all these qualities? If it needs a little nudge from myself and my friends, consider it nudged from my end, and I greatly appreciate any help you, dear reader, might provide in my search. 

Please feel free to get in touch with me to discuss opportunities, via email to liz(at)devise(dot)com, Twitter @ebacon, or via the web form at . Cheers! 

Poems I spoke on the way to & from Thunderhill

I spoke these poems into my iPhone’s iTalk app, each paragraph being a continguous spoken section, and the paragraph breaks being a pause or gap in time. Poetry is inherently an aural art form and I hope that hearing them spoken adds to the experience for you, my dear reader. There are a couple on-the-spot edits in there as well, with the transcription being the final shape of the words. Choosing line breaks in the final written version was occasionally challenging. Enjoy if you might… (Note: I can’t get the audio files to play in Firefox but they work fine in Safari and likely other browsers.)

    Travel to Thunderhill (March 5, 2011)

The clouds hang in the valley
around the green
The trucks smoke in the rain
I will not investigate
the weeping in the bathroom
I will believe
I can stick to the road
I will believe
I can love again

The exit is open
but I do not take it
I travel forward
with a new destination
There is no moss growing on this tree

The confused geese fly east
and I wonder if they know something
I don’t

The thorny quilt of pine trees
blankets the hills
and it warms me
even as I pass them by

And now the fields are full
of flowering trees
and I shiver for the potential of the buds

The road is open,
I am free
I pull forward,
I spread my wings
I fly into the distance,
approaching I don’t know what 

    Return from Thunderhill (March 7, 2011)

I travel through
the regional highway
well-tended walnut trees
crouch and reach
and the cemetery — 
every gravestone has flowers!
pink, yellow, white
golden signs of love enduring
I am floored, I am flummoxed
I want to live here
I want to die here
The goat lies peacefully
and watches me pass

As I practice the warrior
in a rest stop
a man approaches
tells me he and his friend
don’t have enough money 
to get where they need to go
I tell him I’m broke
He walks away
I realized how relative it all is
The sound of a clarinet
floats through the beautiful, cold air
I ask the man
if his friend is playing 
the clarinet
and he says yes
Five dollars goes in the hat

Eyelashes are tiny veils
over the inner soul
and I think the flutter
must appeal 
the way a kimono
can be opened

A huge barn 
in the middle of the golden fields
is filled to the rafters with hay
and I am filled with hope 
up to my ears

Across the freeway 
I gape
at a metal cow, disemboweled,
lying on the ground,
bigger than life-size,
a testament to the land
Hope and death 
on either side of the road

Raindrops fall from the sunny sky
and I laugh
I see the clouds gather
on the other side of the hills
Their shadows darken the curves ahead
but I am not afraid

The sign says 
watch for snow
The road is strangely 
quiet and empty
The raindrops and sun
appear again
I wonder where the road travels
between the hills
It doesn’t look frightening
I am nervous 
but collected
I proceed,

The fattest rainbow greets me at eye-level
as I crest the peak,
descend from snow to wet
Relieved, I think I know
what the rainbow means

I say goodbye to California,
golden land of opportunity
and shitty pavement

A small woman trudges beside the road
and I wonder what’s in her bag
A factory chimney belches the whitest smoke 
into the sky
I don’t believe it
I pass the truck carrying huge, dead trees
and I feel great sorrow,
sick inside

Jacob’s ladders shoot through the clouds
and I lift, warmed