I’m originally from the Bay Area in California, but spent most of my life in central Missouri; a fairly stark contrast, but one I feel richer for having experienced.
Growing up, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be a chaos theorist or comic book illustrator, but I ended up segueing into a combined journalism-and-fine art trajectory in high school. Writing a news analysis column for local papers on the side, my first year of university was as a painting major, but once I got a taste of design — and the magnificent collection of European and Asian professors who were hiding out at the state school in Southwest Missouri I attended — I changed my major to dual-emphasize Graphic Design and Illustration. I kept writing for the paper on the side, got a bunch of design and design-related jobs, and started my first business at age 19: a culture magazine.
That magazine did really well and then flopped, which gave me my first taste of the sweet-yet-bitter field of entrepreneurship. From there I worked all the harder, taught myself all I could about how businesses are actually run, graduated, moved to LA, and worked for a production studio for a year before starting up my own multidisciplinary practice. At first I did generalist design work, but quickly integrated web development into the equation before refocusing heavily on branding, a field that hit the sweet spot between many of my interests (namely design, philosophy, communication, and sociology).
Things escalated quickly from that point on, as my branding studio did pretty dang well, resulting more than a little navel-gazing, which led to a fantastically successful breakup party that marked 1) the end of a wonderful relationship with the girl I was fortunate enough to date for a time, and 2) the end of my somewhat-conventional entrepreneurship-focused lifestyle.
Deciding that I would pursue my world-traveling ambitions while I was still young enough to enjoy it as thoroughly as I’d always dreamed of doing, I got rid of everything I owned that wouldn’t fit into a carry-on bag, scaled my business so I could run it from the road, and started up a blog called Exile Lifestyle. I asked my readers to vote on where I would move, and they decided I would call Argentina home for four months.
In the four-plus years since then, I’ve also lived in New Zealand, Thailand, Iceland, India, and Romania, traveled to the 48 contiguous US states twice (once in just two months, aboard Greyhound buses), roadtripped through South America and rode the rails through Southeast Asia, and visited about 30 other countries outside of my longer-term home bases.
During that time, I’ve pivoted from building brands for other companies, to consulting on branding, to building brands for myself. I’ve started and run nearly a dozen medium- and small-scale endeavors, in industries ranging from sustainable product design to subscription-based publishing technologies. I currently make my living by publishing books (nonfiction and fiction) through a publishing company called Asymmetrical Press, which I co-founded with two fellow authors, Josh and Ryan from The Minimalists. I also periodically teach classes online, give talks, and run workshops all over the world.
I have a wonderful family; my parents live in central Missouri, and my siblings (all three of them) are scattered around the US, doing various interesting things and living happy lives.
Non-standard relationships make sense to me, for me, on a practical and philosophical level. I date as I travel and am fortunate to have some very special, truly amazing, and inspiring people in my life.
I’m a minimalist in that I own very few things, and am careful in how I consume. That doesn’t mean I’m anti-consumption, but rather that I think very carefully about how I spend my time, money, and energy. I tend to buy less but invest in quality when I do, and I trend toward the same in relationships, business endeavors, and just about everything else.
I’m left-handed, blue-eyed, scary-good at Tetris, and can’t cook worth a damn.