I have been working somewhere at the intersection of film, design and technology for 15 years and I still don’t know how to tell the story of my career in any coherent way.
I spent my undergraduate years at Stanford studying Social Psychology, English, and dabbling in their Symbolic Systems program. After college I took a position on a feature film production in Seattle. One late night after work, I read a cover story on Wired magazine about the coming convergence of video and the internet. I couldn’t fall asleep. Four weeks later I moved to the Bay Area and started at a boutique digital design shop in San Francisco called Circumstance Design. This was during the first internet boom.
Circumstance was purchased by a large web conglomerate which seemed less inspired by the convergence of film and the internet, so I used the moment as an excuse to apply to film school.
In 2005 I received my MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of Film & TV. After graduate school, I took a two-year hiatus to turn a screwdriver at a computer repair shop. As it turns out, I’ve used everything I learned while fixing computers—from data recovery to RAM installation—in all of my subsequent creative work.
Most recently I served as the director of TED Talks at TED’s New York headquarters. I started there in 2007 and witnessed the organization grow from seven people in an apartment posting academic lectures online to the thriving non-profit media property it has become. Among the privileges of working at TED was the opportunity to learn the dark arts of video encoding, how crucial narrative is to education, and the fundamentals of making beautiful slides.
Today I live ten minutes from Quiet’s office in the Hudson Valley with my wife, twin seven-year-olds, and a bamboo infestation in our backyard.