[This post is part of a series on Mentors and Heroes]
Josh Damon Williams is the director of product strategy at Hot Studio, a people-centered design studio, where previously he served as a senior user experience designer. He is also a part-time DJ. Follow him on Twitter @joshdamon.
Josh Damon Williams’s mentor is…
Ryan P. Sims, User Experience Designer
How long have you known each other and how did you first meet?
I met Ryan in 2003 when he made the highly questionable decision to interview me for a UX Designer role at Hotwire.com.
How would you describe how you relate to your mentor?
Ryan allowed for a lot of autonomy, while at the same time managed to provide thoughtful guidance. He wasn’t pedantic, didn’t give tactical instructions about what to/not to do. Instead he had a more Socratic approach to critiques, and this approach encouraged better, broader, and deeper thinking.
How formal or structured is the mentorship? Does Ryan know you consider him a mentor?
Ryan was my boss, but he didn’t foster a particularly hierarchical team structure; instead he kept things as a two-way street. He reviewed my work, but he also solicited my feedback on his work. But yes, he knew that he was helping provide structure to my approach to design.
What is one piece of advice your mentor gave you that has stuck with you the most?
When in doubt about a design solution, review your objectives. If you’re still in doubt, maybe you have the wrong objectives.
What else do you want the world to know about your mentor?
1) He’s been doing great work at TripIt for the last year or so. 2) When wearing a beard, Ryan bares an uncanny resemblance to the character Dr. Daniel Faraday on Lost. 3) More info can be found at http://tumblr.ryanpsims.com
Thank you Josh for sharing your mentor with us!
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Well damn Josh – thanks!
Thank you, Ryan. And thank you, Whitney.
This is a fun series, and one that definitely deserves attention. It's refreshing to see some discussion around pedagogy in a designer's blog — much better than “10 Great Strategic Tips for Decreasing Social Disintermediation in Augmented Realities.”