I help make
dreams come true

I'm an artist, interface designer, and front end developer in San Francisco. I've spent the last 7 years making the dream of a successful solar company come true, and now I'm looking for my next mission.

What's your dream? Maybe I can help make it come true. Find out how

Am I a unicorn?

No -- at least I'm not that kind of unicorn -- but I do have a set of skills that enable me to perform many of the jobs necessary for getting a digital product to market. In certain situations this set of skills can be pretty magical.

The idea for the unicorn came from an email discussion where I had asked my friend Suelyn for advice on how to describe my broad set of skills. She pointed out that some people would classify me as a "unicorn designer": I can conceive of, research, design and build many types of digital products all by myself.

I thought, hey that's great: I can draw a unicorn to explain what I do. Problem solved. Seriously, though, Suelyn's email was so helpful I've asked for her permission to include it here -- it's great advice to any designer, and was invaluable to me.

Thanks, Suelyn!

The Anchortree

The Anchortree was the logo of my first company, Thoughtpool. It's always been a very special image to me -- it came to me in a dream while backpacking through the Ventana Wilderness alone during a birthday getaway. This is a digital composition of the Anchortree, combining imagery from different parts of the world. The main picture used is one from Bagan, Myanmar, where my partner and I traveled last year.

  • I worked with the team at Sighten over the course of a few weeks to completely redesign their solar system design tool. It was a blast: The team over at Sighten had a strong vision for this part of the product, which made designing a breeze.
  • I've been working on Thesio for a few months. What started out as Just Another Markdown Editor has quickly evolved into what I consider to be a serious product with it's own purpose: Make writing long documents like articles, papers or novels, much, much easier. I can't show more than this right now, but I'm really excited about Thesio.
  • Presences is a new type of camera I'm designing. The idea is to use currently available technology to build video that gives the illusion of presence, by combining three video feeds and using eye tracking software to determine the location of the viewer's head. Early tests are promising!
  • While working on my writing app, Thesio, I realized that something I was building might be useful to others. Familiar is a rough sketch of a javascript library that allows you to change the interface depending on the level of familiarity the user has with the system. For instance: Advanced users can be shown a different set of controls than novice users. This is a drawing I did of Athena, Familiar's mascot. Athena can be seen sitting on my shoulder at the top left of the screen!
  • I've been helping the Now! festival for a couple of years now. The festival is a distributed festival -- think Burning Man in your neighborhood. This is the most recent poster I designed for the festival which hosted over 100 events over the course of the week in the neighborhoods surrounding the Panhandle in San Francisco.
  • I've teamed up with Brent Schulkin again to work on his stealthy little mobile startup. I can't say much about what it does or how it works, but I'm really excited to be able to help.
  • This year, my grandmother Mary passed away. She was an artist and taught me the artist's way and showed me the path. I am forever indebted to her for the infinite universe she unlocked within me. This is a digital illustration I did shortly after her passing.

Work with me!

In February of 2015, I left the company I helped start in 2008 after it sold to NRG, an East Coast energy provider and Fortune 250 company. Since then I've been contracting for various companies and cooking up some projects of my own.

Recently, I've consulted for big names like IDEO on products that won't be released until 2025, but I've also been able to work with early, growth stage companies like Sighten. Being a consultant has been a great change of pace: It's been really exciting to work with so many talented teams on such a diverse range of ideas.

Between contracts, I've helped several friends develop new businesses as well as honing several of my own ideas like Thesio, a new way of writing and creating complex documents. From Thesio came a prototype of a javascript library I'm working on, called Familiar. I'm also collaborating with friends on projects like Arbitus with Tim, an ultra-super-top-secret project that seeks to eliminate soft costs in solar lead acquisition. Then there's Everything Unlimited where I'm collaborating with my best friend -- and former boss -- Tibet and my partner Tania, which is an idea we've been working on for a while around making the workplace more equitable.

I'm available for hire and collaboration. If you think we'd get along, I'd love to hear about what you're building:

  • Solar is a complicated product with a long sales cycle. Because the industry is growing so fast, it can take up to 6 months for panels to be installed. I designed this timeline to help people to get a quick grasp on how long the process is and give clear instructions about what the next step is.
  • Download the design comps LEDs are expensive. We built PURE Lights as a way for people to upgrade their entire home to LEDs without breaking the bank. The centerpiece of the product was an inventory and calculator system which served as a store.
  • Download the design comps PURE Lights allowed users to specify the lights currently in their home and, based on their electrical usage and utility rates, see how much they would save with LEDs. This screen is the final step of upgrading your incandescents to LEDs, where you pick out the color temperature of the blubs -- a very confusing task until you see something like this.
  • Download the full proposal One of the many iterations of our generated proposal. After entering a customer's financial and personal information and designing them a system using our custom built tool, a button is pressed and out comes one of the best sales tools in the industry.
  • Here's what our project lifecycle looked at the company. I put this together for as part of a pitch deck I can't show, to help investors understand why our balance sheets looked the way they did.
  • One of my favorite projects was designing our on-site call center for 75 local sales people. The design I came up with ended up being used until we moved out of our first office (164 South Park, Twitter and Instagram's first office). I was able to design the space in such a way that even with an open layout, noise was reduced and team cohesion was increased.
  • Partner integration was a normal, day-to-day task for our team. Here's a piece of marketing collateral I put together for our partners at Alarm.com: This piece was used by door-to-door salespeople to drive lead acquisition with great success.

The startup curve

I helped to grow, lead and design One Block Off the Grid through the startup curve. Our own personal trough of sorrows came in the years after the time when Solyndra, an experimental solar technology company, very publicly encountered problems and went under.

Funding for solar dried up immediately: There was less awareness then about how much of a no-brainer the technology is. But still we grew. Our peers and partners (the biggest names in the industry) also grew. As we grew, new financing models became available and 1BOG pivoted: Instead of group discounts and consumer advocacy, we would be the Expedia of solar.

We built a suite of advanced tools that the rest of the industry adopted soon thereafter. We built slick internal tools that made our time-to-call and other metrics the best in the industry. We were killing it! But funding was still scarce, so we ended up merging with PURE Energies.

PURE Energies is a Canadian company: They brought money and a talented salesforce to the table, we brought our technology stack, customer acquisition expertise and seasoned sales team to the table. Together, we formed and built a company that sold to NRG just a couple of years later for 9 digits.

2013 - 2015 IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIPS

  • Candace Saffery Neufeld Incomplete

    Was my Incomplete

    2009 - 2009

    Incomplete.

  • Sen Kanthaswamy Incomplete

    Was my Incomplete

    2009 - 2009

    Incomplete.

  • Keith Mosher Incomplete

    Was my Incomplete

    2009 - 2009

    Incomplete.

  • Norissa Kyin Incomplete

    Was my Incomplete

    2009 - 2009

    Incomplete.

  • Tim Haines Incomplete

    Was my Incomplete

    2009 - 2009

    Incomplete.

  • In 2012 we took some time to redesign the entire site. At this point, we were doing comparison shopping for solar and business was booming. We had 200,000 members and the top installers in the industry as our partners.
  • With 140 sales people in the US and Canada, we needed a simple way for each person to manage and check their pipeline. I designed this timeline as a way for salespeople to see recent activity in their sales pipeline, so that they could always be abreast of changes to accounts.
  • Quail was our internal quoting tool. This is a screen grabbed from our system design tool. In this slide, a solar system designer selects the roof slope pitch in order to accurately determine how much electricity a system would produce.
  • Download the full proposal One of the many iterations of our generated proposal. After entering a customer's financial and personal information and designing them a system using our custom built tool, a button is pressed and out comes one of the best sales tools in the industry.
  • Early version of Lend. We worked with Pepsi for a number of weeks to make Lend, our "American Idol for Social Good Facebook App", was initially very appealing to many partners. We worked with people from Southwest Airlines, Pepsi and GM to build campaigns.
  • We were obsessed with improving our metrics. After seeing Panic Software's beautiful company-wide status board, we decided to build our own. This was the first of three versions built during my time there and was it was a really fun tool to build that helped bring cohesion around goals and a way to celebrate the achievements of employees.
  • Over the years we had many partners and integrated with many different platforms. Here is an example of partner integration within a mobile app.

The solar revolution

It started out with Dan Barahona, Sylvia Ventura and Dave Llorens organizing a neighborhood together to get a group discounts on solar. This was before Groupon, and it spread like wildfire. Suddenly, solar was much more affordable and 1BOG was taking off.

It became clear that we had a winner on our hands, and so Virgance became 1BOG.

Over the next 4 years, we would build an incredible company employing around 140 people in San Francisco and Toronto. We were in the sweet spot, providing benefits to both the solar industry and directly to consumers, passing on savings and knowledge in the process.

I designed everything from consumer-facing solar calculators to full spread newspaper advertisements to the internal tools and quote production/management software. Even though we had switched from many companies to one, as the sole designer for much of the time I was privileged to have a diverse set of interesting problems to solve.

2011 - 2013 IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIPS

  • Avra Durack Incomplete

    Was my Incomplete

    2005 - 2007

    Incomplete.

  • Shannon Coulter Incomplete

    Was my Incomplete

    2009 - PRESENT DAY

    Incomplete.

  • Tibet Sprague Solution Architect @ Rosetta

    Was my Cofounder @ Thoughtpool

    2005 - 2007

    Incomplete.

  • Grant Patterson Incomplete

    Was my Incomplete

    2005 - 2007

    Incomplete.

  • Matt Bellehumer Incomplete

    Was my Incomplete

    2005 - 2007

    Incomplete.

  • Carrotmob! The idea that changed my life. Building Carrotmob with Brent was a huge pleasure -- he's wonderful to work with and always willing to try every good idea. Lately, I've started working with Brent on a new idea related to Carrotmob -- stay tuned for more info!
  • Designing for an incubator was a blast. The variety of work and the level of creative freedom was unparalleled during those first couple of years. I designed everything from our brands to our marketing collateral to our business cards.
  • One Block Off the Grid worked with many partners to generate leads. Here is an example of Kiva's affiliate dashboard that I designed and built, so that our partners could track the effectiveness of our affiliate campaigns.
  • Early version of the 1BOG homepage: This was right after the launch of our nationwide campaign which connected thousands of people who would otherwise not have access to solar to information and people that could help them out -- all while growing 1BOG's bottom line.
  • Early version of Lend. We worked with Pepsi for a number of weeks to make Lend, our "American Idol for Social Good Facebook App", was initially very appealing to many partners. We worked with people from Southwest Airlines, Pepsi and GM to build campaigns.
  • We worked for a long time on Lend, eventually getting pretty close to finishing a very robust Facebook platform that interfaced with a normal web view, as well. Everyone we were working with was very excited.
  • After all the work we did, our partners got cold feet: Nobody wanted to put their money where their mouths were and "social media" was still new: Nobody understood the potential impact just then of what Facebook platforms could give to brands. Nobody signed for our initial campaign and we eventually had to conclude that Lend was not destined for this earth. A year later, Pepsi came out with the Refresh campaign, which was a bit of a slap in the face: Pepsi Refresh was Lend.

Designing an Incubator

I joined the founding team of Virgance in the late summer of 2008. It was there that I earned my stripes. Virgance was an incubator for socially good companies. At this point in time, incubators weren't the hip thing they are today, but we were on a mission: Let's prove to the world that you can make money and do good at the same time.

We started with four business units: Carrotmob, One Block Off the Grid (1BOG), Green Options Media, Lend and Greenfund. I was the sole designer and front end developer for most of these products, and I felt like a kid in a candy store. Over the next few years, I would work on everything from novel voting interfaces for volunteers around the globe to designing a blogging platform for green bloggers. We raised a $750k seed round, then our Series A. Things were going great.

Each of our businesses was gaining traction, maturing and in most cases, making money. The one unit of the company that grew the most and the fastest was One Block Off the Grid.

2015 - ???? IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIPS

  • Kalvin Wang Solution Architect @ Rosetta

    Was my Cofounder @ Thoughtpool

    2005 - 2007

    Incomplete.

  • David Anderson Solution Architect @ Rosetta

    Was my Cofounder @ Thoughtpool

    2005 - 2007

    Incomplete.

  • Clayton Cornell Solution Architect @ Rosetta

    Was my Cofounder @ Thoughtpool

    2005 - 2007

    Incomplete.

  • Orestis Herodotou Solution Architect @ Rosetta

    Was my Cofounder @ Thoughtpool

    2005 - 2007

    Incomplete.

  • Dave Llorens Solution Architect @ Rosetta

    Was my Cofounder @ Thoughtpool

    2005 - 2007

    Incomplete.

  • Meeting Brent and Steve changed my life. Brent was a legit activist with years of service. Steve was a lifelong entrepreneur whose last company sold to Microsoft and became Bing. I had found people to learn from!
  • Download our Seed Round pitch deck Within a couple of months working on our various brand new companies, we needed to put together our first serious pitch deck. We had a big dream, and some growth and revenue to back it up.
  • Virgance was an ambitious idea: An ecosystem where entrepreneurs, engineers and activists could work alongside one another on liquid teams building products that make money and help the world in some measurable way. Now that I'm looking back, I'm really impressed at how far we actually made it.

Finding my calling

Building Thoughtpool with my co-founder Chris was an incredible learning experience and a big turning point for me. One day, we were pitching an investor and were told, effectively: If you can convince an expert in the field to join your company, I'll give you money. We couldn't make it happen so, I decided I needed to up my game.

I made a commitment to myself that the next time I tried to build something, I would be better prepared. I had to find people who had done this before who could teach me.

I found Brent Schulkin and Steve Newcomb accidentally. I saw a video about Carrotmob, and reached out to it's founder, Brent, to offer my services. What a great idea that could improve the world!

Within a couple of months I was the first employee (or third, depending on how you count: I'm looking at you, Brad and Natasha) of Virgance, an incubator for social-good companies and, for much of the company's following 7 years, it's only designer and front end developer.

2007 - 2008 IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIPS

  • Brent Schulkin Solution Architect @ Rosetta

    Was Cofounder @ Virgance

    2008 - PRESENT DAY

    Brent is a Stanford grad, activist, founder of global movements, startups and an incredible communicator and good hearted person to boot.

    Brent started it all for me, when I watched a video of his first Carrotmob event in San Francisco. I reached out to him and within a couple of months was joining this crazy new startup that was going to CHANGE. THE. WORLD.

    I've learned a lot from Brent over the years: He's an incredible leader who brings out earnest effort in everyone around him while somehow helping everyone to keep their eye on the prize and have lofty goals.

    Lately I've had the chance to work with Brent again on his next venture, which is at this point disappointingly top secret but so very very exciting.

  • Steve Newcomb Solution Architect @ Rosetta

    Was Cofounder @ Virgance

    2008 - PRESENT DAY

    Incomplete.

  • Naseem Hakim Solution Architect @ Rosetta

    Was Cofounder @ Virgance

    2008 - PRESENT DAY

    Incomplete.

  • Natasha Mooney Solution Architect @ Rosetta

    Was Cofounder @ Virgance

    2008 - PRESENT DAY

    Incomplete.

  • Brent Schulkin Solution Architect @ Rosetta

    Was Cofounder @ Virgance

    2008 - PRESENT DAY

    Incomplete.

  • The Asian and Pacific Islander Youth Advocacy Network is based out of San Francisco. I worked with them to expand their reach and to provide free services and information online to at risk and low-income Asian & Pacific Islander youth.
  • For this redesign of the Thoughtpool site (one of our last!), grunge was in. Oh man, I miss you grunge. So many fun textures to play with. Now everything is shiny and colorful.
  • I worked with Constance Rhodes at Finding Balance to build out a network of videos and valuable information to help young women struggling with body image issues.
  • The Church Communication Network worked in Satellite rebroadcasting and streaming. I helped CCN build a network of sites hosting thousands of videos online for free in the days before everyone put everything on Youtube.
  • InterceptOne worked with at risk youth. Working on this project with Michael DeFlorimonte was great: It was a new client and they really wanted us to try a bunch of different ways of presenting the Intercept One program. We ended up putting together multiple versions of the website and marketing collateral.
  • Hit Massage was our first client Christopher Strawser and I had as a team. Like most first things, it was harder than we estimated it would be but it was a huge learning experience for us and the client was really happy.
  • I helped my lifelong church redesign their site. This project was very special to me and was a walk down memory lane. The church closed after 35 years of operation, having fed tens of thousands of San Franciscans, housed thousands, clothed thousands and was an integral part of the community for a very long time.

Learning to hustle

I worked on websites and graphic for friends and family in my late teens while going to college. There wasn't an endless supply of work, so I also worked as an apprentice plumber and electrician in San Francisco during that time, learning about how things fit together physically. At the time, I was surprised to learn that the way computers worked and the way the real world worked were fundamentally the same. I didn't realize it then, but I was learning valuable design skills at that job.

My first venture was with Jacob Lecuyer and it was called Whatizreal?. We were a two man agency, specializing in web design and marketing collateral. Both designers and web developers, we worked for clients all throughout the country.

After the bubble burst, work dried up. I took a break from the internet for a while and worked at a fancy hotel called The Clift. Then, one day a new contract from an old client came up and gave me a way out of the service industry. A few months later, my then good friend and now brother in law, Chris Strawser and I started Thoughtpool. We had grand visions for a few products and even made serious headway on one of them. Ultimately though, we ran out of money and decided to dissolve Thoughtpool.

1982 - 1998 IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIPS

  • Michael DeFlorimonte Great guy

    They are Incredible

    1982 - ∞

    Incomplete.

  • Chris Strawser Solution Architect @ Rosetta

    Was my Cofounder @ Thoughtpool

    2005 - 2007

    Chris and I were good friends when we started Thoughtpool together. By the time Thoughtpool was shut down, we had become great friends. Thoughtpool was a huge learning experience for both of us. We were managing a real business!

    The original product we wanted to build was soon shelved. We focused on building websites for other people. Business was great. We learned how to manage clients, finances, employees and the whole gamut. The one thing that became more difficult as time went on, was focusing on the products that we had come together to build in the first place.

  • Constance Rhodes VP @ ConnectBioMed

    Was my First boss, CEO @ Shamrock Communications

    1996 - 1997

    Incomplete.

  • Manka Johnson Business Development @ Camden Beef

    Was my Best friend

    1995 - 2000

    Incomplete.

  • Jacob Lecuyer Macromedia, C2B Technologies, etc.

    Was a Family friend

    1996 - 1998

    Incomplete.

  • Here we are at 'The Land' -- a place my parents bought outside of the city to help at risk and homeless youth find themselves.
  • Home. As a family, over the course of a couple years during my teens, we all pitched in and remodeled the home together. It was hard when the 2008 housing crisis made it impossible to keep this treasure we all built together.
  • This is a picture of my family during the gold rush of 1997. It was a tough year: Our wagons broke down and I contracted a mean case of dysentery.

The early years

My father grew up all over the city. When he met my Southern Californian mother, they married and became hippie Christian ministers here, and over the course of 35 years, they ended up leading the largest congregation in the city. But at first, we lived in a commune. Then, my parents found a spot near Lake Merced with a big backyard and rope swings and chickens and goats. Yup, goats.

I was homeschooled and so was able to graduate "high school" early and go to college at 16. I didn't study much about what I do now, but that's when I began investing my time into learning how the internet worked. My best friend Levi and I built our first websites together-a SWATCH sales portal and a corporate website for his brother's climbing gym company. It felt like magic, then, to make money building things that lived on the internet.

I was able to work briefly with a family friend whose company sold to Yahoo for over $500,000,000 and I was hooked -- things were changing so rapidly in our hometown and opportunity was everywhere.

It was at about 16 when I started regularly building websites and doing graphic design for friends and family. At this point in time, just before the bubble popped, the internet was still brand new and seemed like a magical money machine.

1982 - 1998 IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIPS

  • Michael and Diane My beloved parents

    They are Incredible

    1982 - ∞

    Growing up, my parents encouraged me to pursue many of my interests. They helped me to buy computers and helped me to learn about art.

    I mean, there's no real way to capture how much they gave to me that is still in use today. I recognize that I am tremendously fortunate to have them as my parents and wouldn't be me.

    Sure, I've done my own thing -- but I owe it all to them. Thank you, Mom and Dad! The older I get, the more I recognize how heroic you are.

  • My brothers and sisters There are 7 Brodeur kids!

    Is your family Mormon? No: Non-denominational

    1982 - ∞

    Growing up, we took care of each other in many ways. We were homeschooled, for the most part, and so learned about the entire world together.

    The hillside behind our house was undeveloped, a steep slope covered in Pine and Eucalyptus -- it was there with my brothers and sisters that I first fell in love with the wild places, building forts and rope swings and sleeping outside...

    Now we are scattered all over California, and so it's a real treat when we all meet up for the holidays.

  • Ian O'Rourke VP @ ConnectBioMed

    Was my First boss, CEO @ Shamrock Communications

    1996 - 1997

    When I started working for Ian, I had already been learning how to build things on my computer for a couple years as a hobby.

    Shamrock Communications was my first exposure to a professional environment where people were making stuff for computers. It was great. Not only was the work interesting and challenging -- being an intern was a new experience for me -- but the office had daily Marathon (a video game) tournaments.

    Shamrock made multimedia marketing materials that were intended to be bundled marketing materials. While I was there, the company was working on an interactive 3D video game for Chrysler -- something pretty advanced for it's time.

  • Levi Benkert Business Development @ Camden Beef

    Was my Best friend

    1995 - 2000

    Levi and I learned a lot about entrepreneurship together. In many ways, he learned much more quickly than I, but we cut our teeth together.

    It was with Levi that I worked on my first websites for pay and began the incredible journey of learning just as quickly as the internet grows.

    Levi went on to become successful in real estate, then founded and worked on orphanage in Burkina Faso and has just recently returned to the states to work in the beef industry.

  • Scott Walchek Macromedia, C2B Technologies, etc.

    Was a Family friend

    1996 - 1998

    Scott was pretty close with the family 15 years ago, and I ended up doing a brief internship once and then later a brief contracting stint for a couple of his startups.

    To me, at that age, Scott had the midas touch and inspired me to see computers and the internet as an incredible vehicle for change. At that point, I also saw that I could probably get rich in the process.

    The two brief moments where I worked on stuff that Scott was doing really galvanized my interest in what was being built online.

  • User Experience & Product Design

    I've worked on many products and brought a few from inception all the way to market and beyond. The last company I helped build from the ground up recently sold for over $100m.

    It may seem trite to say, but I really do approach every challenge while wearing the user's shoes. Once you spend enough time in those shoes, you realize that most of the time, a good product is a good experience, and designing great experiences is something I excel at.

  • Interaction & Interface Design

    Designing helpful and intuitive interfaces is pretty much my favorite type of work. Each product is a riddle without an answer, and the process of teasing out the most effective way to communicate to users and help them to accomplish shared goals is something I relish.

    Because I enjoy interface and interaction design so much, it's naturally where I've acquired large portion of my practical skillset. I've designed interfaces for people from all walks of life.

  • Prototyping & Front End Development

    I learned to turn my designs into products early on. I have a broad range of skills that allow me to take something from idea stage to production-ready.

    My main strengths are in front-end web development, but I've built products across many different platforms.

    My code is pretty good for a designer with no CS background, and I know all of the standard trade tools.

Current experience level MASTER SEASONED NOVICE When I started using the tool 1996 2006 2016
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