Years ago my dad came home with something special he’d bought: a Palm handheld organiser. Being a ten-year-old at the time – I was a little exited. It could do so much, had one of the first proper touch screens and was so much smaller than our desktop PC.
It was the coolest thing ever.
I realise now that that might have been one of the key moments that helped me realise what I wanted to do when I grew up. Making Cool Things, things just like that PDA.
I translated that idea to a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design Engineering at the Delft University of Technology. There I learned about everything there is to mass market products: the mechanics, ergonomics, material science, aesthetics etc.. But while I was learning all that, I started to realise something else.
By that time, the thing I used for the same kind of jobs was one of Google’s web-solutions. And although that was a step up from the Palm in terms of technology, as far as I recall, switching to it wasn’t quite the spectacle. My realisation was that maybe it wasn’t just the object that I fell for. Even if I were to make the ultimate, most perfect product it would not mean it’s the coolest and most successful. The best Japanese Quartz would still lack that something an original Patek Philippe has, the perfect Chinese LED-TV can still somehow lose out to a Bang & Olufsen.
A product is a part of a bigger story.
That made Making Cool Things become way more complicated. I needed to learn about creating that bigger story, about shaping the whole of what the human gets to experience. For that reason, I started reading up on UX/UI design and started building websites, meanwhile I looked for graduate degrees and found the Strategic Design and Management MS program at Parsons in New York. A degree with a contemporary perspective on business and (product) innovation, that emphasized talking to customers over cold numbers and excel predictions.
The sum of all this is what I stand for.
A multi-facetted human-centred way of approaching the world.
To ultimately Make the Coolest Things.