Plastic who what now?

Short version: I’ve been designing and developing for the web for over twenty years. I care a lot about helping people learn and do good with technology. I’m currently the Associate Director of Business Development at 10up. This is my site and it’s where I write in plain language about technology and design, faith and love.

Slightly longer version: I came up with the moniker Plasticmind years ago while dreaming up a name for an imaginary band in college. I decided it was easier to remember and stood out a bit more than Jesse Gardner.

Currently, I’m an Associate Director of Business Development at 10up, a web design agency that makes finely-crafted websites and tools for content creators. My job here involves three parts: technology, strategy, and empathy — understanding the needs and challenges of our clients and then to putting together creative ways of meeting those needs and solving those challenges.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

For years, I doodled on napkins, recorded radio programs on cassette tape and tinkered with computers. My fascination with the pen soon became a fascination with the mouse (not long after the invention of the mouse), and programming in BASIC soon became programming in HTML.

After years of practicing magic with Photoshop, learning HTML the old-fashioned way (view source) and doing my own blogging with Movable Type, I decided to throw caution to the wind and combine these skills to form a web design agency. The idea of helping people build a website, a tool that let them express themselves visually but let them manage the content on their own site—it was a revolutionary concept and it got me excited.

So, in 2005, I started Plasticmind Design.

My wife and I had no idea what to expect, but the next five years were incredible. The business grew by leaps and bounds as did my experience. I designed things in Photoshop. I wrote application in PHP. I crafted web interfaces with HTML, Javascript and CSS. I learned well the old expression, “Why work 8 hours a day for someone else when you can work 16 hours a day for yourself!?” More importantly, I helped people communicate their stories: food bloggers, political bloggers, photographers, designers, small businesses, churches… I even had the pleasure of working with some much larger clients like Six ApartMarc AndreessenMozilla and AMC Networks.

It was actually my client work for AMC Networks which led me to the next part of my journey. In 2010, I started work at AMC (then called Rainbow Media) as Director of Platform Development. I worked with a great team and helped build some cool stuff that is still being used by the different channels. It was a wonderful job: challenging, exhilarating and ultimately rewarding.

The hour-and-a-half commute, however, was proving difficult with a young family. That’s when Elise Bauer approached me about coming on at Simply Recipes. I worked there until the company was acquired in 2016, then I went back to freelance design.

It felt good to stretch those muscles again, especially since the industry had changed so much since I had left it in 2010.  It ended up being a good year for Plasticmind Design. I had enough work that it nearly covered my full-time salary from the year previous; and as an added bonus, I got to work on some great projects with some incredible teams.

I worked with J Cornelius and the Nine Labs crew to launch the redesign for the Committee to Protect Journalists (which was especially relevant after Meryl Streep’s shout-out at the Golden Globes). I worked with Dan Mall and some other really smart folks on the Superfriendly team to rethink and redesign Harvard Business School’s Digital Initiative site. I worked with Phil Hollows and the FeedBlitz team to help redesign and re-architect their application UI.

Then, at the end of 2017, I was approached by 10up about taking on a new role: business development. I was excited for the opportunity to hone by business development skills, so I took the job.

Inevitably, people still ask me about building sites for them, but I’m not taking on any new work now since I’m focusing specifically on business development (though I’d be glad to talk to you about how 10up might help!)

That said, I would still love to hear from you! Send me a message and I’ll do my best to get back to you within a few days.