The Creative Technologist

Front-end developer, Interface Engineer, Web Designer. All of these titles have some reference to a large community of technologists whose medium is within the digital space. I can attest that all of these titles neither describe who I am or what I do, and I tend to believe that goes for 99% of all other technologists in the workforce today.

So how would I describe myself or the thousands of other people like myself? I definitely do not want to peg myself into a specific role where I’m solely identified as an SME in one area or another. I’d rather have my peers understand that my broad knowledge of technology ranges from the creative to the analytical spectrum and beyond. So what label does describe me. I’d like to introduce yourself to the Creative Technologist.

Creative and Technology? I can see most people reading this are now thinking to themselves how can those two groups be synonymous? Are they not mutually exclusive? I assure you, they are not. They are much more aligned symmetrically than you were possibly lead to believe. Nowadays, developers and front-end developers are in the position to lead creative thinking within the digital space at a high level of service to their clients and their user base. A technologist must be creative in the very sense to develop and communicate their ideas and visions in a way that helps create an experience that is long lasting and sound as a complete solution.

Coming from a graphic design background, I’ve had the opportunity to work with creative concepts and formal execution during the entire development cycle. However during my design years, I was limited in my role as to what could be accomplished as I had no input into how the concept would be built nor architected to complete my vision. From the standpoint of a project manager or lead, they are to see individuals as resources tied to a skill-set that can be applied within a project timeline. Where I see the creative technologist is at a broader level of implementation. The creative technologist must be involved at the ideation, pitch, creative envision, development, delivery and maintenance levels.

Like many articles or rants before this one, the Creative Technologist is the link between the copywriter, art director and IA’s. We must be the glue that holds all of these connections together. In the end we are the ones to produce a viable solution or product. How many times have you been on a project where you were given a solution that involved no technology input at any point in the project setup? Just to tell your project manager that the solution they architected isn’t feasible or does not make any sense? I’m guessing all too much. Here are 3 suggestions for solving this issue.

  1. Get involved
    Inject your self into the meetings and minds of your managers. Letting them know that having you in those initial ideation and business development meetings will help create a more feasible and working solution.
  2. Communicate
    Preach the word of the Creative Technologist. Let everyone know how you can come up with a creative solution for a project that looks to be impossible. 7 out of 10 ideas may fail, but 3 of those will be your successes.
  3. Educate
    We hold a lot of information and knowledge within ourselves. This doesn’t help the person that sits next to us if we don’t involve them as well. Informing and educating our peers will create a strong and coeisive group of Creative Technologists that will back you up in a crisis and will also provide a larger diverse group of experts who can conceptualize, develop and deliver.

Personal Project

Been working on a personal project of mine in my free time lately. Its a simple idea, rate and share twitter posts that people tag as #OH, or have the text “Overheard” or “OH:” in their tweet. Its been out for a week now, and there are many things still left to do on it.

Goodbye Rick Wagoner

So yesterday Rick Wagoner agreed to leave GM as the CEO after the Federal government asked him to do so. Here is the article from the Detroit Free Press.

Rick Wagoner was done in as General Motors Corp.’s head coach by a fatal combination of politics, bad breaks and ultimately, the simple math that gets most coaches fired — his team lost more than it won in his eight years at the helm.

GM has lost $82 billion since 2004.

Its share of the U.S. car and truck market has shrunk steadily.

And ultimately, when GM’s survival was on the line and the Big Banker himself, President Barack Obama, had to decide whether to keep federal loans flowing to GM, the Big Banker didn’t find Wagoner’s track record reassuring enough.

So Wagoner has to go.

“He’s a good man and it’s an unfortunate ending,” said Matt Cullen, former director of GM’s global real estate operations who left GM a year ago to head Rock Holdings, a unit of Dan Gilbert’s mortgage and sports-related enterprises. “In the end, Rick put GM and its people ahead of himself, which is what he’s always done.”

Wagoner has been assailed by critics through much of his tenure at GM, and has survived repeated calls for his head from Wall Street and media pundits. He warded off a 2006 attempt by billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian to push GM into an alliance with automakers Nissan and Renault. On several occasions in recent years, GM has offered journalists selective interviews with GM board members who said they still had faith in Wagoner.

But as the Tuesday deadline approached for Obama and his auto industry task force to decide whether GM and Chrysler look viable enough to merit further federal loan support, Wagoner’s future began to look shakier and shakier.

Obama, in several recent interviews about the auto industry, seemed to go out of his way to point out past mistakes of GM and other Detroit-based automakers, even as he expressed a desire to keep them alive and avert bankruptcy.

In other words, he was conveying hope for GM laced with skepticism about its leadership.

The timing was terrible for Wagoner, too, thanks to the AIG debacle.

Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner appeared to be caught somewhat flat-footed by the outpouring of outrage about the bonuses of AIG executives. So even though Wagoner was working for nothing this year, and Detroit auto industry executive pay is has been nowhere near as excessive as Wall Street’s, Wagoner is partly a victim of populist rage at the CEO class.

One reason Wagoner has lasted this long in the CEO chair is that there has been no obvious successor to take his placeat the head of a complex global entity. GM has been doing many things right, from improving its product line to reducing costs, and there’s no reason to believe that GM President Fritz Henderson will chart a radically different course from Wagoner’s.

Wagoner himself has chafed a bit at GM’s critics, at one point telling me in 2006, “We’ve got smart people here. We all finished at the top of our class, too.”

In the end, though, it doesn’t matter what grades you got or how nice a guy you’ve been.

When you’re the leader of the team, you’re judged by your victories you put on the board. GM just hasn’t performed.


Home Improvement Tips

Starting to learn some more on the home improvement front that its not always better to buy things in pieces rather than buying things in sets. First example, cabinent hardware. Cabinent hardware is better bought after everything is painted and finished. Otherwise you will have something that looks good in a bag than what you really are going for as an end product.

Translation, were buying new cabinent door handles after we paint the kitchen.