Not quite two years ago I somehow sneaked in the back door at frog, the global product strategy and design firm that started when Steve Jobs convinced Hartmut Esslinger to create a firm in the US to create a product design language for the Macintosh.
Today was my last day.
It has been quite a ride. Oddly enough, the actual client work was, for the most part, not terribly interesting. It's not that frog doesn't do amazing work, I think, but that I was the new guy. I did get to do some cool stuff, and I definitely learned a ton doing client work, but it was, by far, the unbilled work that I did at frog that got me excited.
I've blogged about most of it, and will blog more of it soon.
I thrived at frog. It was an amazing place to work. I got to work alongside people like Jared Ficklin, Joshua Noble, Michael McDaniel and many more... It was the kind of workplace in which you can't help but hone your skills and practice your craft, surrounded all the time by people giving it their all. It's what I imagine it would be like to play professional sports.
It would take something pretty big to pry me away from such an environment. That thing was Reaction (site update coming very soon). Reaction was founded by Michael McDaniel, with whom I got to work quite a bit while we were both at frog. Reaction is a company that Michael started about 8 years ago, just days after Katrina made landfall in the U.S. Michael is from Mississippi, and he was compelled to do something to help those affected. Being a designer, with an industrial design background, he found his problem to solve in the short-term housing options available to FEMA when assisting those displaced from their homes. He designed The Exo as a better solution to the short-term housing problem. He explains it a heck of a lot better than I can (so far), so I'll step aside:
I'll be serving as technology director at Reaction, working on the hardware and software that will make these smart temporary houses that keep occupants safe and comfortable. You'll definitely be hearing more about all of this in the near future. I'm elated to be working on a product that I know is going to make a difference in the world.
That said, it is just now hitting me that I have left frog. I will miss frog, and all my colleagues, dearly. I have written frequently about the difficulty of creating and sustaining a culture of innovation and quality in a corporation, and I will probably spend a few years trying to figure out how frog did it.