Two weeks ago I moved the very last interview from Signal Tower to this site. All of the interviews that have been published now exist here. I’ve done a lot of reflecting in the process. I also moved over a copy of the original About page, which tells the origin story well.
In early 2013 I started recording and publishing interviews I was having with friends from The Starter League, several of whom were starting their own businesses. Eventually, I started emailing and reaching out to other people I admired or thought were working on interesting things. Surprisingly, most agreed to talk with me.
Truthfully, I don’t think I’d be where I am today without that project.
A guy I knew from the Atlanta tech community, Jon Birdsong, recommended I have an entrepreneur named Adam Wexler on the show. Almost 2 years later, I’d join Adam as a co-founder of SidePrize. When I left SidePrize, I took a job with a guy named David Klanac, who subleased space from SidePrize in the Atlanta Tech Village. The connections I made through my interviews changed my life.
These interviews were popular on an online community called Designer News. I was an early and active member of the community, which at one point was the primary place for product designers to hang out online. In 2016 the people behind Designer News asked me to host a podcast for the community. And once again, I jumped at the opportunity to meet a ton of interesting people.
Anyways, you can view all my interviews here, but I thought I’d share a few of my favorites over the years.
Cap Watkins, VP of Design at Buzzfeed (Signal Tower)
Few people have shaped my views on building product design teams as much as Cap Watkins has. His comments about finding and hiring end-to-end product designers is one I still reference today. “Designers knowing how to code and talk to users cuts down on wasted communication. It creates a tighter connection with other teammates and ensures that design is part of the process from start to finish.”
Mikael’s interviews are interesting because of the timing. The first interview was when he was running a freelance marketplace called Ooomf—but he had this side project called Unsplash, which curated CC0 photos. Three years later, when I interviewed him again, that side project was getting 6 billion views a month and responsible for a significant amount of the web’s photography.
Clark Valberg, Invision CEO (DN FM)
Clark, who at the time was known for personally emailing every designer he could meet, is one of the most jovial and entertaining people I’ve ever interviewed. His story about how Invision grew from his agency is one that many strive for but few actually accomplish.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Linda twice, once after publishing her first book and two years later after her second book. From the founding of Rails Girls to the Hello Ruby books—it’s obvious she has a talent for making technology approachable.
Adam Wexler, Founder of Insightpool (Signal Tower)
This interview is important to me, because as I mentioned above, two years later Adam and I would start SidePrize (now known as PrizePicks). Adam is a titan of an entrepreneur. He is constantly hungry, extremely resilient and always pushing.
It’s been several years since I’ve published an interview. I still get the occasional email asking if I’ll be start again anytime soon.
I really hate the content treadmill—the idea that you need to be constantly publishing. It’s really easy to burnout doing that. Publishing interviews at the time was a ton of work. Even if you have a producer.
So am I going to start publishing again? Maybe.