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[ Eh, memories. Here's a page of HTML from way back in 1998! We didn't have enough bandwidth for good images, we had to learn to write well ]Where did you say you worked again?
What do I do? I work for a company called S1 Corporation. It used to be a subsidiary of an internet startup called Security First Network Bank, which is, oddly, a bank. We build software that you can use with a browser and through a secure interface pay bills, transfer money, apply for a Credit Card , check your balances, etc. Sort of like Quicken online, only with real money. Around 3800 banks use our software today. Anyway, S1 built the software, and now we're sans bank and will sell it to another 2000+ banks over the next few years, which should make the original investors extremely rich (but that probably won't include me).
I design the screens: what you see, the process you follow when you fill in forms, the choices you have, the navigation among functions, what things are called, etc. It's a complicated act of faith, balancing cognitive psychology, sociology, gut instinct, design principals, intricate HTML coding, lots of testing with users, and short deadlines. I defend the user, and try to make things easy to understand. As I said, it's complicated, but there is something compelling about difficult problems...
I work in an cubicle but I have a wall of windows, I have flexible hours, and can dial-in and work from home if I want. It is a satisfying job and I work with a bunch of very interesting and funny people. I spend most of my time working on interfaces for things that have barely been started on the internet, like performing financial operations via internet phones and Palm computers, and integrating better analysis and tracking of user behaviors via transaction databases. Over time, my job has changed to the point where it is more about strategy now; where are we going, what will the customer base change into, what technologies will be available, and how will we get all of the different pieces to fit into a coherent whole?
Why are you a 'near' native Atlantan?
The flying tour... I was born outside DC (While Dad was Navy programmer for the Pentagon and NSA), then he went the reserves route and became a rocket scientist in Huntsville until 1966 when he joined Hewlett-Packard and we moved to California for a short stay in Palo Alto, and then moved to Atlanta in 1967 when I was in the second grade, staying here until I graduated HS (learned to drive here, the most important native skill). I have an undergraduate degree in Industrial Design from Auburn, and some graduate classes in business @ GSU. I've been living in Atlanta (Norcross / Sandy Springs / Virginia-Highlands / Buckhead / Decatur / Morningside / Buckhead again / Roswell / now Morningside again) since graduation in 1983.
What are you reading?
Usually I'm reading about five books simultaneously, and they rotate stochastically; typical examples would include "Bombardiers" by Po Bronson; books on Java Programming and JSP; a Richard Brautigan work such as "Trout Fishing in America"; "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Robert Pirsig; and "The Paperboy" by Pete Dexter. I'll read just about anything that isn't too fuzzy, including soup cans, CD liners, catalogs, and movie credits. I also regularly read Wired magazine, Fast Company, Health, Psychology Today, the Utne Reader, Communications of the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery, geek UI design stuff), etc., etc., etc.
Nature or Nurture?
Are our behaviors the product of our genes, or of our environment? I squirm in my chair and say both. Nature is potential, nurture is reality. 10,000 psychologists breathe a sigh of relief.
Holons or finite subparticle divisions?
Trick question from physics theory (but it actually relates to all fields of human awareness). My answer: Holons all the way up, all the way down to infinity. Finite subparticle divisions would mean that eventually we would keep cracking matter down until we found the ultimate elemental constituent of everthing -- I don't think its there. To go beyond this explanation I'd have to resort to gobbledygook physics and metaphysics, which would cause people to leave the site.
Red or white wine?
Red, definitely. I like Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon, Zinfandels, Burgundy. When I'd go visit my parents in SF, we'd always take one day to go up to the Napa or Sonoma valleys and hop wineries. Big fun, but for some reason the wine you buy in the morning is always better than that stuff you loved later in the day...
What do all those acronyms in your sig mean?
IDSA (Industrial Designers Society of America, like the AIA for product designers) ADC (Allied Design Council, an Atlanta based multidisciplinary design group) ASD (Association for Software Design, well..., briefly) ACM (Association for Computing Machinery, geek UI design stuff) SPE (Society of Plastics Engineers. Yup, I used to be authoritative about polymer chemistry) FSSNOC (Four Stroke Singles National Owners Club. Thumpers rule!) AMA (American Motorcylist Association)
What is important to you?
I used to have a really schmalpy 'sensitive guy' answer to this in here. But everyone who knew me gave me a hard time when they found it. So it's gone. There, I feel better already.
Spaulding Grey, in his movie "Swimming to Cambodia" talks about his search for a "perfect moment" before he could leave the shooting of the movie. If you look hard and are open to the experiences presented, you can find a perfect moment most days. I think you can enjoy or detest almost any activity, the difference depending on your attitude. I CHOOSE to enjoy as many things as possible, and most of my friends seem to have the same disposition.
|Copyright © 1997 - 1999 Phillip Randolph Carter
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