DESIGNER AT Sidewire - podcasts host
Bryn is the type of creative guy you want to meet in your life. He's always busy making awesome things, thinking about new projects and recording amazing podcasts.
He's a man of a few words, but I can tell that he is smart, thoughtful and always relevant. I'm inspired by his calm and his will of changing things, so the world could be a better place to live.
Things to know about him?
- He has an extensive knowledge in Comic Books and Superheroes.
- He doesn't like sugar, so I can't bribe him with my desserts.
- When I first met him I though he was casted to play Ben (Ross Geller' son) in FRIENDS.
Can you describe the path that led you to design?
I was never really looking to get into product design, but it's still somehow pretty easy to trace the dots to where I am now.
When I was younger, all I ever wanted to do was design cars. I love cars. I remember geeking out when I would learn the reasoning behind specific fine details of cars that no one else would really think about. The silhouette of an F1 car in a Mercedes SLR Mclaren or the subtle bend of a Hofmeister Kink on a rear-wheel drive BMW. There are just these details with such clear reasons behind them once you know about them, but most people never even see them. I think that learning to love the
reasons behind a detail at a young age really made it easy to think about digital product that way.
I eventually enrolled at Minnesota State University for Automotive Engineering and quickly veered off course into the Music Industry program where I focused on audio engineering. I loved it so much, I honestly thought I'd do it for the rest of my life - but there's very little market for it unless you get very lucky. So, I kept digging. I tried Art History, I tried Marketing, and eventually bailed on school altogether.
A couple years later, while I was working at an IT call center, I was offered a significant scholarship to a culinary school in New York. I was all set to go, had already sold my car, got rid of my apartment, everything. Then, in the middle of preparing to head to NY, someone offered me a job designing websites and it was clear that this was what I wanted to do.
"Working with incredibly talented people every day to build awesome products is my dream job."
Wow! That was quite a journey! You are now as a Designer at Sidewire. Would you say that your doing your dream job on a daily basis?
I've never really thought about having a dream job. If I think about what I would do with my free time, even if I wasn't getting paid - yes.
Working with incredibly talented people every day to build awesome products is my dream job. I feel lucky that I get to stretch out and try new things all the time at Sidewire, through Spec, and all the awesome friends I've made here in the City who are always building something new.
Do you have another super secret passion?
My other passions are driving and cooking.
You're doing an awesome work with Design Details and now you're launching Immutable, can you tell us more about this new podcast?
Immutable is a project I'm very excited about. The success that Design Details and Developer Tea have had enables us to approach new shows differently. We've found that we have this audience of primarily younger designers or folks who are actively trying to learn - so we're working to create new ways to help them get the answers and information they need to do that even better, without requiring a lot of their time.
It's also been immensely rewarding for me because I got to work with 3 people I've wanted to work with for a while - my co-host, Sam Soffes (of course), Ryan Putnam (who did our show art), and Charlie Deets (who gave us our theme music).
Who was your favorite superhero/villain growing up? Why?
Growing up, Batman. But, honestly, Batman's kind of a terrible superhero. He's a very one-note character.
But, I still read comic books on a daily basis and my current favorite is Blackagar Boltagon: Black Bolt. He's a Marvel character that was introduced as a villain for the Fantastic Four, but became so popular that he and his family got their own series called The Inhumans. Now, the Inhumans are a race similar to mutants, but they're all very specialized and they work best in teams. Black Bolt is the king of the Inhumans and his team is his family - the Inhuman royal family.
Black Bolt's power is that his voice produces massive sonic waves that can cause massive damage. He has destroyed cities with it, leveled mountains, even torn a hole in the universe with a bomb that amplified his powers. Because of this power, he is effectively mute. If he even whispers, it could kill people, so he is forced to rely on his team. I also think that Black Bolt is a good metaphor for the power of words.
I think that if you say (or design) something, it should be meaningful. There should be a reason. This is not something I'm particularly good at, but it's always something I'm working toward.
You know that Batman has his Batcave and Superman his Fortress of Solitude. What's your favorite place/environment to do what you love?
This is going to sound really lame, but honestly, my bed. I've built so many things just sitting in my bed on a Saturday morning or late into the night while Sarah is asleep next to me.
I just installed a monitor on a swing arm next to my bed that I connect to my laptop (or to my Xbox when I want to blow off some steam) and I just love sitting there and designing or hacking on something new.
Do you have a favorite object, like a lucky charm or something that really matters to you?
I have these pencils, Palomino Blackwings. I always carry one with me wrapped in a Field Notes notebook. I don't know why, but I just love holding them, playing with them, and of course, writing with them.
What superpower do you wish you had and why?
I wish I could pause time. I never feel like I have enough of it to do the things I want to do.
What is your personal Kryptonite?
Sugar. I hate the taste of it. It tastes like a chemical to me and it makes me feel gross for the rest of the day.
Who would you choose as a sidekick to fulfill your passion for design in the real life. Why?
I wouldn't say sidekick, but as a partner, I'd definitely choose Sarah. I can hardly get anything done without her. She has this uncanny knack for forcing me to stop obsessing over perfect and just get something done.
What is your definition of a modern hero?
Someone who is looking forward. I think we have a lot of people solving very trivial problems, when we could be working on things like leaving Earth or electric drive systems like Elon Musk.
I think these are things that set up humanity for success a little more than most startups these days.
"I think we have a lot of people solving very trivial problems, when we could be working on things like leaving Earth or electric drive systems like Elon Musk."
Can you name 3 persons who inspires you everyday? Your very own heroes.
1. Bret Victor - I really think he's approaching tooling from the perspective of what is ideal vs what we already have. It's blue sky product thinking brought into reality.
2. Cap Watkins - At Sidewire, I'm technically in charge of the design team, which means I need to learn a lot about hiring and management. Cap's writing constantly helps me learn things I've never had to think about before - let alone try.
3. Ryan Putnam - Ryan has this rare ability to produce many different types of illustration or design and still always be immediately identifiable. He's incredibly talented, yet he remains one of the most helpful, humble people I know.
One more thing... Mask or Cape?
Mask. Capes are impractical.