How long have you worked at littleBits?
Since March of 2012, when the company was about 6 months old. I was employee number 5. Over the past year or so I’ve worn many hats — from industrial designer, graphic designer, workshop director, admin assistant — you name it! It has been a crazy and invigorating ride.
What lead you to the position?
I graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in industrial design and I wanted to work for a company that solves real problems. littleBits solves a really important problem: empowering people of all ages to make & invent their own things.
Describe a typical work day.
It usually starts with a cup of tea with honey. On a typical day, I brainstorm project ideas with the other industrial designer, Emily. I work in the product task force to develop & curate new littleBits products. Part of my job is making sure the overall product experience, from Bits to packaging to projects, is the best it can be. And I eat a lot of chocolate in between.
You have designed a lot of littleBits projects, can you tell us about your favorites?
My favorites are usually projects I didn’t make myself! I’m constantly impressed with how our community members use Bits.
I love the Bubble Maker that was made during a workshop at NYU’s ITP school. It’s a crowd powered bubble blower.
I’m really proud of the workshop I organized about Hurricane Sandy. It felt wonderful to be able to teach children about a relevant world event using littleBits.
How do you come up with all of the project ideas?
All of my project ideas stem from having fun! As part of the design team, it’s really important to create a wide range of projects to show the versatility of the Bits. From high tech 3D printed ones to crafty cardboard ones.
Honestly, I love designing silly characters the most. If a project’s form can make someone smile when it’s turned off, just wait until they see the project come to life with littleBits – it blows their mind! My inspiration stems from toys I liked as a child. I loved stuffed animals and toys that had characters and personalities. I like to think that each individual Bit has a unique “voice,” and by embedding them in playful projects, children can relate and communicate with them better.
What Bit do you identify with?
Well there’s a joke around the office that I’m the ultimate DC motor fan. Anytime I’m working on developing a new Kit or Bundle, I think there should always be a motor — you can never have enough motors!
If I were a Bit, I would be an RGB LED. I love multitasking and exercising different parts of my brain. On the RGB LED, you can combine 3 different colors. Similarly, I’m constantly combining different skills and projects throughout any given day.
What’s your favorite thing about New York City?
24-hour access to delicious food. You can’t beat that. Even if I am exhausted or having a bad day, knowing I can order dumplings at midnight makes me feel better.
Aside from littleBits, what else are you working on?
I am currently curating a “gun show.” It’s a design show in NYC around the issue of Gun Violence. I hate how most design show themes are wacky & conceptual, like “trophy” or “human.” This show is pushing the idea that design is a solution to public health problems and not just legislation. Submissions can be in defense of gun ownership, against gun violence, related to self defense, guns themselves, mental health, etc. The range of work being submitted is amazing, from 3D product prototypes to graphic design to interactive technology – I am really excited!
I’ve also been painting my entire life, it’s a passion that led me to design. So I paint in acrylic in my “spare time.”
What are your favorite companies and industry trends at the moment?
CRONUTS. Just kidding.
I find the shift toward manufacturing electronics in the US really interesting and inspiring. For example, our friends over at Adafruit have a warehouse in New York where they run their business and ship orders in the same place – that’s awesome!
Any advice for people looking to create with Bits?
Fail quickly & often! I have project ideas that fail on a daily basis. Before I make the final model of a project that you see on the Projects Page, I’ve made 4-5 prototypes that either totally bomb or needed to be tweaked. Don’t spend hours drawing & planning a project before you make it – just try something! You’ll learn more from taping together a janky model in 2 minutes than you will from slaving over a technical model.