January ends today, which I believe means that the statute of limitations on posts reflecting on the past year ends as well. I felt it would be remiss for me to not at least highlight a few things that I spent my time on last year.

2011 was a big year. As the year started, I was currently working on an as-yet unannounced, top-secret project for Threadless, alongside Good Apples.

As a small team, with a couple internal Threadless folks, we designed and built an entirely new platform for them—Threadless Causes—which debuted on an episode of Alex Bogusky’s Fearless Cottage show. By that point, I’d helped give the project creative direction, and worked alongside Dan and Justin from Good Apples to breathe life into new interface designs for voting, design submission, and interacting with Threadless’s non-profit partners. I also helped build out the functional code and turn it into a real app.

After the launch of Causes, the team refocused to take the platform to the next level: Atrium. The central idea was the same, but with a broader audience. It was a fun challenge.

I continued my involvement with Threadless into the fall, working on incorporating various elements of the platform I had helped build into the a new Threadless site (still in the works on their end, and hopefully launching soon). I had a lot of fun, and learned a lot about Diango and Python in the process. I wouldn’t say I’m proficient yet, but I’m comfortable with the framework now, and as a guy who normally designs and builds Rails applications, I definitely stretched my legs.

Some other highlights of the year:

In 2011 I spoke at Rocky Mountain Ruby, worked on a new platform for Threadless, a new version of their site, did some mobile development and a fun holiday-themed site for TBWA/Chiat/Day, helped solve some marketing and ecommerce problems for a Good Apples client, designed and built new features for Lilly’s Table, redesigned my brand and related sites, and some other stuff I’m probably forgetting…
  • I spoke at the Rocky Mountain Ruby Conference in September, talking to a bunch of other developers about the high-level value of design thinking in both their code and life processes. Thanks to Marty Haught for giving me the opportunity. It was a blast. I look forward to my next speaking gig, whenever that might happen.
  • You might’ve noticed some new digs around here in the last year. You may also have noticed a new domain for this blog. It was time for a change. My existing studio site design was stale and my personal site was completely neglected. Combining the two and adding a fresh coat of pixels felt good. It’ll continue to evolve this year.
  • I built a fascinating, but unfortunately NDA-protected mobile web development project for both iPhone and Android phones for ad-agency client TBWA/Chiat/Day. The project was a good place for having fun with media queries and some new javascript techniques. The world of mobile development—and especially Android web development—is barely off the ground, and fascinates me a lot.
  • I also worked alongside part of the Good Apples team again in the fall to help out with one of their own clients. I did a bit of collaborative design (a lot of fun; akin to peer programming) and a good chunk of frontend development and Rails app integration to help take a one-page marketing site and closed wholesale store into the realm of a traditional, high-traffic ecommerce site, with higher search-result rankings in the all-important Google mothership. It was an interesting challenge, and I’m always game for anything ecommerce-related.
  • Lilly’s Table got some additional love throughout the year as I had time, and also with a final push on some fun new features in December. This is a web app that I branded, designed, and built all on my own, so I’m particularly proud of it. Chef Lilly continues to come up with amazing new recipes and we’ve got some other fun plans for the site in 2012.
  • To finish out the year, I got to help TBWA/Chiat/Day build an absolutely insane (and fun) little site/application for gifting Holiday-related GIF images. It was the site that kept on GIF’ing. I did a bit of UI design/consulting and built the whole app from scratch in Rails. It was a blast.


That’s the top-level view of my year. Thanks to my amazing clients for a good one, and for the friends and peers that pushed and challenged me throughout. I’m really fortunate to be doing what I do, and grateful to work with the folks I’ve had the chance to work with.

2012 is already shaping up to be an interesting year, with new challenges, projects, learning opportunities, and travel, already in motion. I think it’ll kick my ass in the best ways possible.

Let’s all go build some shit. Good shit.

chef lilly
good apples
lilly’s table
Marty Haught
Rocky Mountain Ruby Conference
ruby on rails
software development
working with people