Ian Myles is the founder and CEO of a new mobile stealth startup called meep. Prior to that, he was a VP at Astro Studios and Design Director at Motorola. As far back as 1989, he was advocating for environmentally considered design as part of O2, a collective of European designers. He’ll be speaking at Device Design Day, so we thought we’d ask him Six Questions.
1. What is the most cherished product in your life? Why?
It’s an object more than product: a small piece of bamboo with a number and Kanji character on it. It is my father’s WW2 POW ID tag. When he was 27 though to 30 he was a PoW in Hokaido, Japan—a hard time by any measure. It reminds me to be determined and strong in the face of adversity and that people need to be treated as people not livestock or, in our profession, commercial targets. Coming from a militaristic culture, he broke ranks with history and tradition and insisted that we don’t do any work for any military. This object has “religious” power for me.
2. What’s the one product you wish you’d designed, and why?
The bicycle, for the simple joy it provides to millions. Every frickin’ day!
3. What excites you about being a designer? Why do you keep doing it?
Really difficult projects—I like problem solving. And I love that happy client feeling.
4. When do you first remember thinking of yourself as a designer?
When I couldn’t follow the instructions on a model airplane kit. I have a hard time accepting the status quo, following rules.
5. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned, and who taught it to you?
Ian Dryburgh of Design Accumen. He designed the first airline chairs that folded flat into a single bed for BA and revolutionized that class of travel. The Lesson: Define the ideal experience and the design will fall into place.
6. What are 5 things all designers should know?
1. Don’t accept. The Wright brothers didn’t have a flying license. Make shit happen, watch shit happen, or wonder what the hell just happened—you choose.
2. Never polish a turd. Know that Design is 2% inspiration, 150% perspiration. Go all the way a few times—complete a build to develop a full appreciation for how little you know and how hard other people work to execute. It’s not all in the la la conceptual stage.
3. Ask: is what you are doing really making the world a better place?
4. Ego stops you being great. Be your own worst critic. Embrace criticism and failure for your own growth.
5. Team play far out strips lone stars.
Come see Ian speak at Device Design Day on August 20, 2010 in San Francisco.