Up Close with Kate Rutter at S.O.T.P.

The Exploratorium, an interactive museum on Pier 15, is a super cool place to visit even if you’re not a kid with your 5th grade science class. For adults in the tech community, “SOTP Flips the Stage” (11/10/2014) hosted a night of inspiring User Experience Design stories amidst the exhibitions with neat things like bugs and microscopes. Kate Rutter of Intelleto, and formerly of a bunch of other awesome things, kicked off the night followed by nine other designers who shared their UX inspirations.

SOTP (Sum Of The Parts) partnered with IxDA to create this opportunity to “flip the stage” – To pull new faces out of the audience of the typical design meetup, and put them on stage to tell their story. Sponsored by AutoDesk and Carbon Five, attendees enjoyed some of the best wine, cheese, and pastry treats ever offered at meetup event. Seriously–I’ve been to a lot of these things, and we’re not talking pizza and beer.

"Out of this World!" exhibition at SFO Museum

“Out of this World!” exhibition at SFO Museum

I wasn’t just there for the delicious complimentaries, however, or even to network. This was the first time I, yours truly, took the stage to talk “Design” as one of the nine who shared their story. “Why do you have a passion to create great experiences?” I got to talk about my work at the SFO Museum, and how time and time again I met people who were excited by the exhibitions they experienced at SFO.

The turning point for me came when I realized I wasn’t just earning a paycheck or satisfying a client; my work was touching the general public in their daily lives. This feedback from strangers gave me new pride in my work, and was the first time I really understood that, as a Designer, I could make a powerful impact on the world we live in. And I should, because I don’t have to wait until I’m Elon Musk to do it.

“Sure, that sounds like fun!” The most inspiring story of the evening for me was Kate Rutter’s. Her story gives courage to those who maybe don’t have a “career path” and demonstrates that following your heart, relying on your talents, and helping your friends can lead to really interesting and innovative places. What started with learning FileMaker and the first Macs evolved–and dare I say, pivoted–to a senior role at Adaptive Path, Co-Founder at Luxr, and instructor at Tradecraft.

My main take-away from the evening? I mean, besides a head swimming full of inspiring stories and blood alcohol concentration? Sharing design stories on stage was fun, do it again!


Designer and observer.

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