From a touring musician on MCA/Universal Records to Design Director for President Obama to a Creative Director at Facebook, I realized that punk influenced my approach during each experience. It fostered independence, confidence and taught me it’s not about me, it's about we. This took me decades to figure out but I will try to share in under an hour.
Creative Director on the Building 8 team at Facebook
Josh Higgins is currently a Creative Director on the Building 8 team at Facebook, exploring new technologies that bring the world closer together. In 2013 Josh concluded his role as Design Director for President Obama’s 2012 campaign. As the Design Director, Josh built and led the creative team for the historic 2012 political campaign in which the web, design, and technology played a pivotal role. The responsibility of Josh and the team was to design the Obama 2012 campaign both online and offline. A main focus was to create a uniform message and consistent visual language across all mediums. With roots in both advertising and graphic design, Josh’s work has earned him national honors. Josh dedicates a percentage of his time to social causes. Finding creative ways to support these causes has manifested into exhibits and charitable projects, like The Hurricane, So-Cal and Haiti Poster Projects in addition to lecture series with photographers, designers and film makers with proceeds donated to various charitable organizations
Thanks for coming and spending your Thursday evening with me. Thank you to yelp and everyone for having me. So, my talk is about punk rock. It's about my story. I got some feedback last year. I disagreed with something someone said, and I came out them a little aggressively. They said, "That is so punk." I thought to myself, what does that mean?
So, I started thinking about my relationship to punk rock. When the Exploited came out with this album in the 80s, they definitely didn't have in mind what I am going to talk about. But it is said now, and it was said back then by someone, that punk is dead. I think for anyone that says that, they don't really know the true definition of punk. I'm going to try and explain what I think it is tonight.
Before I get to that, this is me in 10th grade, with that earring. I was like a lot of kids that were drawn to this music. I was angry. I was a little bit of an outcast. I was looking for a place that I could express that. This was the first album I ever bought. My friend Jim Brown turned me onto it. I really related to the title, because I sort of felt "Out of Step" at the time, too. At that age, you're trying to figure out what's going on and everything, so it just really resonated with me. I remember feeling a little bit out of step, but I totally was drawn to this music. At the time, I didn't realize it, but the same feelings that made me feel alone and angry also allowed me to be a part of this thing called Punk.
So, after years of being angry and destroying things, it got old. As my anger faded a little bit, I was able to see punk for what it really was. I think Punk is more than music. It's more than an outlet for anger. It's personal expression and a drive to question the status quo. It's not fashion or the latest trend. It's an idea that guides and motivates your life. Punk urges you to think for yourself, be yourself, and do it yourself. When my understanding of punk shifted from this outlet for anger to a way of how I approach things in my life, everything changed. It not only shaped those things, but it also really helped me find design in a weird way.
I grew up in Southern California. In the early 80s, I was introduced to punk rock bands like Black Flag, TSOL, Sex Pistols, Bad Religion The Clash, and many others. I was always really drawn to them. I think one, because they were shows that I either went to or bands that I really liked, and two, because I was really drawn to the raw visual language of these fliers. All black and white, and all done on photocopy machines.
So, when I started playing my own bands, I would spend hours at a photocopy machine making fliers for my band, Mercenary, in high school. I would emulate those fliers, and I would spend hours in Kinko's. I made hundreds of fliers, and it was to me almost as fun as playing music. Fast forward a decade to 1995. The band I was playing in fluff signed our first major label record deal with MCA Universal.
This was one of those moments when everything changed for myself, and the band. I got an endorsement with Fender Guitars. We went from touring in this van to touring on a bus. I was very happy to tour on a bus. We would put different names on the bus so you didn't know who was in there. We were Burt Reynolds for this tour. We played the first five Vans Warp tours. The small band named No Doubt opened up those shows. We got to tour some of our heroes. This was one of the best six weeks of my life.
However, after seven albums and a decade of touring, I was starting to get really burned out. I'd been playing music since middle school, and only made a living at it for about 10 of those years. It was a tough career, and I knew that I needed to do something else. So, as I was figuring out what my next move would be, a friend of mine said to me, "Hey, I think you would be a good designer." I said, "What's that?" She remembered those fliers I used to make. She said that that was design.
So, she introduced me to her professor and convinced me to take a typography class, which is just like an introduction to design, to just get a sense of what design is. I took that, and I was just all in. I fell in love with type in the second week. So, I enrolled back in school, but I actually never graduated after doing it for two years.
When I finished, the job market was really bad. I remember my professor saying, "This is the worst I've seen it in decades." I'm like, "Fuck. I just came from a no-money-making thing." I started knocking on doors and calling people that I had relationships with, and Fender, who I'd had an endorsement with for a long time. I said, "Do you have any design work that I could help with or that you need?"
So, they gave me this lame assignment. I took it. Fender's heyday was in the 80s, and so a lot of their apparel and things like that were hair metal stuff. They're now sponsoring bands like Blink 182, Green Day, and so on. But they were missing all these opportunities for these bands to wear their apparel. So my assignment was to design a shirt that they would wear.
This is one of the first ones I designed, and it did really well. I used to have a shot of the bass player from Green Day wearing it. With the popularity of the shirt, they asked if I could produce more things. I said, "Sure!" But, I learned a great lesson to always get a contract before you do something, because with the popularity of the shirt, they made hats, and they made patches, and straps, and picks, none of which I got paid for.
I chalked it up to a good portfolio piece, however. Fender had always been good to me, and it was a great learning experience. I was with the photocopy machine fliers, so screen posters have always been a big passion of mine ever since I learned how to do them. Art Chantry was a big influence. He was a big influence on my early design career, and a lot of his stuff were screen posters. I learned that craft, and I would do most of the posters for bands that I knew, and I would do them on my own time.
In 2005, a guy named Leif Steiner emailed me, and he'd seen one of my posters that had been in communication arts, and he asked if I would design a poster and contribute to his project to support victims of Hurricane Katrina.
This is the poster that I did for that project. How the project worked is, he was asking artists and designers to design between editions of 25 to 100 of these posters, print them, send them to, him, he would sell them online, and then the money would go to support the victims. I thought, 'Wow, what a great way to contribute. Since I have no money, this will be a great way to donate. It was super rewarding. The poster ended up raising thousands of dollars, and way more than I could have given out of my bank account.
It was cool to use the skill that I had learned to help people that I didn't even know. That feeling was really infectious. After that project, I decided just to dedicate a portion of my time to helping causes that I believe in. So, in 2007, Shepard Fairey, who is a friend of myself in the band, was supporting Obama. He designed the Hope poster. He was urging friends to design posters in support of this guy, Barack Obama. He said I should check him out, and that if I liked what he stands for, I should design a poster.
I partnered with a friend of mine, Rafael Lopez, who's a Latino illustrator in San Diego. We decided to do ours in Spanish, because San Diego is a border state. We thought that we would take them across the border. We ended up doing our own crowdsourcing. We emailed friends and asked them to send us however much money they could, and we would print as many posters as we could with that money. I built a website to sell them off of, and then we used that money and sent it back to the Obama campaign.
Then this happened. Oprah buys our poster. We were like, "Holy shit." I was really busy packing posters. So, with the success and what comes with Oprah liking something of yours, the Obama 2008 campaign contacted us, and asked us if this could be an official campaign poster for 2008. There were three different ones. There was the Hope poster, there was this one, and the one from the campaign.
Since that, I've organized and participated in other cause-related things. One of them was the California poster project. There were some wildfires that ripped through San Diego, L.A., and Orange Counties in 2007. I had some friends that lost homes. So, I called up Lief, and I said, "Hey, can I use the model for your project that we did for Katrina? Can you give me some tips on what to avoid?" I put this project together. It was about 185 artists, and what was cool about this project, and about even the hurricane project, was that a lot of people, both students and well-known people, contributed. It was a way for people who weren't known to get known, because their posters were among all these other ones. It was really cool.
Then, in 2010, when the Haiti earthquake happened, myself and Lief started a project. This is a poster that I did for that. It was interesting to see the difference between the artists that we had for the Southern California project and for this project. With this project we had over 510 artists from around the world. Again, I would do this after work. I would have the posters sent to my house, and then I had this whole filing system in my garage. I would take photos of them and put them up on the website, and I would do that every night.
When the project first started, it was a lot of U.S. artists. Then I started getting ones from Iran, from Africa, and from Japan. It was really awesome to see the world of art come together for this project. After each one of these projects, I felt so fulfilled by them. Then I would go back to work the next day and sell shoes and beer. Those were not as fulfilling as doing stuff like this, and I does say, "God, I wish I could do this full time." Then I got this email just a few months later. I was thinking, 'Oh, that's so fucking fake.'
I thought I was getting punked. So, I replied, "Sounds interesting." The next e-mail I got was for a conference call. After a month of interviews and crazy background checks, I received this letter. I packed up everything I could fit in my car and I moved to Chicago from San Diego. I had my first meeting with my director, Teddy Goff. I said, "So, what's first?"
When I got to the campaign, the only people that were hired so far were directors, everyone else was there to start building their team. So, I was asking him what was the first thing he needed me to do. He said, "Well, I need you to start building a team of 24 designers. I need you to finish up the logo for 2012. I need you to design BarackObama.com. Then I'd like you to write the process on how your team will interact with the other teams, such as policy and communications. Can you have something for me by next week?" This set the tone for how fast this thing was going to move.
This was the first thing that I worked on for the 2012 campaign. I worked on it with Matt Ipcar, from the 2008 campaign. This was for 2012. We wanted to update the logo, because it was a very different time from 2008. The president had four years of presidency under his belt. The economy was not great. We had a lot of things going against us. So, we worked with Hoffler to add these serifs to Gotham. We thought of it as this contemporary sophistication. It was a nod to America's past, and we called it Hope and Change Now Standing its Ground.
When I arrived at the campaign, the office looked like this. There were a lot of open desks. Then, within a few months it looked like that, all desks filled. There were eight hundred plus people on the campaign, and the one thing that I always remember when I would give people tours, is that they would come by and they would say, "God it's so quiet, for how many people are here." Everyone was just like heads down, because we were coming from a deficit for sure.
We did all the interviews for CNN and other news outlets from the campaign floor. That's David Axelrod, the senior adviser for the president, doing some interview. That guy in the foreground had to stand there and make sure no one walked through the shot.
I made some unlikely friends. This is David Axelrod, who was in that last shot. He's a senior adviser to President Obama. His office was directly next door to mine, so I would see him every morning. I would totally trip out when I really started thinking about our two worlds and how different they were. Yet, we were both united by this cause, and that was really cool. I think we were friends. I felt like we had a good friendship.
We had people come by and tell us to get plenty of rest and eat well. They gave thanks for all the long hours and hard work. Some of them would jump up on desks to let us know. We played a lot of ping pong to relieve stress. That gentleman was the only one brave enough to play the president in ping pong.
The main thing I was there to do was to lead the design team. So, the second party I tackled was designing BarackObama.com, as well as all the constituency sites. Designing this website and functionality is an entirely different talk on its own. But, one of the things I'll note is that we were one of the first to ever have a quick donate button on the site. If you were logged into BarrackObama.com, you could put your credit card information on there. Then, when you wanted to donate, you would just choose an amount and click that button. This served us very well during debates. When Mitt Romney would say something really fucked up, we would see that thing just spike.
Like I said, we did Latinos for Obama, Women for Obama. African-Americans for Obama, and Young Americans for Obama. One of the things the campaign manager said is that we were going to measure every single thing on this campaign. At that time, 2011, I wasn't really savvy to testing. I hadn't done a lot of it. Consumer testing, a little bit, but not to the scale that we were going to do this here. I think now it's obviously commonplace to do this type of testing, but it was something new for us, at least, on the campaign.
We measured a lot of things, but none more than this donate page. This is how it looked when we started. It was basically the design and platform that was from 2008. It was now 2012, and there was a lot more people on the Internet, and we needed design to build a new platform and donation flow to handle this traffic that we were going to receive. We design partnered with our friend in development, and our back end team to build this new platform. So, we needed to make it fast. We needed to make it stable. At our highest peak, we were doing $3 million an hour. So, you can imagine what one minute of downtime would cost.
So, we started with testing the design of the page, and we started with this real simple horizontal form, and tested against a vertical form. Another test we ran was to optimize a vertical form, and made the photo of the president larger. What do you know? More Obama, more money.
One of the engineers said that we should test the background blue, and see what that does. I thought it would never win. But it did. It taught me a great lesson: Never test anything you can't live with.
We tested adding video to the form, as well. Turns out people do not like video when they're trying to donate. We tested hundreds. We did AB and multi-variant tests to a very diverse target audience, and with all our learnings we ended up with what we called sequential donate. Based on all the data that we had gotten from the test, we learned that turning the donation form into four smaller steps increased conversion rates by 5 percent, which, with our traffic, was pretty major.
We also introduced in-line validation. So, previously someone would get to the end of the form and it would then call out the error, and in this way it called out errors in line, which was also a big win. So, where we ended up was a 60 percent faster platform, a 49 percent increase in conversion rate, 161 increase in Sign-Up conversions. So, people wanting to just be part of the campaign. The campaign raised $1.1 billion. 690 million of that was raised online, and this is the first time ever in political history that that was done.
It's interesting that the swagger that the team that did all the TV ads- that used to bring in all the money- had, really changed. It was awesome, because they put the design and front end team in the far corner of the building. They had us in the mix of everybody else, but we would get up and unscrew the flash and lighting, so this whole floor would be like lit up except for this one section that was dark. So, they put us on this other side of the floor, where we could turn off all the lights, but no one ever came over there. I remember being in a meeting, and our campaign manager says, "I don't know what they're doing over there, but it's great."
125 million of that was a result of testing. So, if we wouldn't have done that testing, we would have just left that money on the table. I know that I call these numbers, and testing, but it's not that sexy. But you know it is sexy? 690 million dollars.
So, we did the designing for the Obama offline, as well. Not only was I overseeing the designers that were in HQ, but also the state offices. Not every state had an office. Some had one. Others had three. Ohio had three offices, because it was a battleground state. I was doing an audit when I got the position, and I did an audit back in 2008, and I noticed that everything that came out of the headquarters was very tight. It was very cohesive, and the things that came out of state offices were very D-Y-I.
One of my major goals was to make everything consistent. So, after we finished the logo, I developed this brand guide, about 125 pages, and I distributed it to all the state offices. All the other states were producing things that looked identical to anything else that we were producing out of HQ. Really, that was one of my biggest goals, to make sure everything was consistent, because consistency builds trust, and trust is very important in re-electing a president.
We design all the identities for the various campaign fundraisers. Beyonce, that's the third round that we did with her, and she sent us her own photo, and then we would put it in, and she said, "I don't like it." I'm like, "You sent that to me." So, it's interesting. But very fun. It was very fun to do these. It was a way to get out of the brand book, and do something a little bit different.
We design all the constituency logos. This is six of about 13. Again, we tried to make them a set. We originally had these as Scout badges. That's where we started with these. We were going to make little patches. But the campaign made us pull it back again, because they thought that was too much of an idea. I liked where we ended up, but I did think that the set of badges was kind of a cool idea.
Then came forward, when the White House and the campaign writers finalized the slogan for 2012. We worked with them to express it graphically, and myself and three designers did hundreds of variations of this over probably a week. We had them all pinned up. We agonized over even that period, and how big that should be. We knew that once it was finalized, it would be everywhere, and it was. It graced every podium that the president stood behind, and all the placards, banners, even a barn. The craziest place it ended up was Katy Perry's dress.
We did all the signage for the Democratic National Convention, and we worked with our events team on the environmental design. It's just a crazy amount of printing. I remember signing off on the PDA for these on a Wednesday, and then I saw this on Saturday on TV. That printer was working overtime.
We did all design for campaign literature. Health care was very difficult to explain to folks at the time. It varies from state to state, which makes it even more difficult. So, we had to come up with this system where we could flow in tax from that state, but still keep this consistent brochure.
We designed all the vote cards and consistency collateral. We even did a few vehicle wraps. These were used for campaign volunteers to go around and get people to sign up to vote. We even designed door hangers. Nothing was too small of a project. The philosophy of the team was to put just as much effort into something like this as BarackObama.com, because we knew that any one piece could be the difference between winning or losing.
Silkscreen posters. I got to do some on the campaign. It was awesome. I found out a few months into the campaign that these bands were going to be playing concerts on behalf of the president. I sent an e-mail to all the state offices and I said: "Hey. If you have a band coming through or playing in your state, let us know, and we'll design a poster silkscreen and we'll send it to you and you can promote the show with them. They were stoked because they had this really cool piece to promote the show. We were happy because as designers we got to do something a little bit different than what we were doing day to day.
This was a project that was self-initiated by the design team. I hired a designer named Zach from Facebook. He printed out this Obama quote, and we had this plotter, and he made this four foot poster of it, and he put it up on the wall, and I thought it looked pretty cool. The next day, as people came in, they were taking pictures of it and selfies in front of it, and it really caused this enthusiasm because it was getting the staff excited.
I sent an e-mail to the whole campaign staff, and I said to send us their favorite Obama quotes, not letting them know what it was for, and then we distributed them among the designers. When we had time, we would design these posters, print them out, and then after everyone would leave at night, we would put one up somewhere else in the campaign so that when they came in the next day, there'd be something new up there.
These were really fun to do, and they became pretty popular in the campaign. The people that run the online store wanted us to put them up in the store. But these were really fun to do and they became like pretty popular. Like I said among the campaign and then the people that run the online store were like hey we should put those in the store. That felt a little weird to me because they were born out of this desire just to do something fun and good. So, I made this agreement with them that we could print 500 posters of each and put them in the store. Once they are gone, they're gone, we wouldn't print them again. They agreed to that. So we sold them in the store for a little bit. It was amazing.
I designed a hat, and we sold one of those. To me. We made lots of buttons, the staple of the campaign being buttons and patches. Then the official campaign poster for 2012. This was a fun project. We partnered with Anna Wintour and Vogue magazine, and she rallied a bunch of clothing designers to do one off pieces for the president. We would sell them in the online store, and then the proceeds would go to support the campaign.
When she came to talk about this project, she came to Chicago. We had this coffee shop in the lobby of the building. Everyone would go down there to get coffee. I got coffee and I got on the elevator and who walks in? Anna Wintour and her assistant. The button to our sixth floor was in front of her, and I felt really weird. So I just stood there waiting for something to happen, and she just looked at her assistant, and her assistant just jumped in. It was classic.
We held two runway shows. One in New York, one in Chicago, and our team worked on the identity and environmental design of how the stuff was shown.
This was one of the last things that I designed for the campaign. This is the election night credentials. To get in to see the president speak, whether he won or lost, this is what you had to have. The back of these had a code on them that the Secret Service would scan. Everyone from the president's guest to volunteers would get these. I remember probably like four months into the campaign my director Terry said, "Hey, you should start thinking about the election night credentials." We're like a year away. He said that that's the one thing everyone keeps. That's a lot of pressure. On top of all the other fucking pressure. I worked with a good friend, Jessica Hische, on these. We did some custom. We did some custom dye cutting and embossing. I tried to go all out. He said to make them special. I remember when he got the printing bill. We ended up with a really great system.
One of the other things that I didn't realize would be part of my job was: We had two campaign photographers that traveled with the president and vice president. My job was to give them creative direction depending on what the event was and what we were looking for for either online or descended press. One of the things I would always say was, "Let's try and capture moments that even if you were at the event, you might have not caught." I came out with an about four terabyte drive of photos that never saw the light of day. I put some together to share with you guys. These are just some of my favorites. They were taken by photographers Chris Dilts and Scout to Function. They both have websites and you can see some of their other work.
I would get shots like these and I'd be like, "Scott, what the fuck is going on there?" Will I Am showed up to this event. That table you see along there, dignitaries and other people would bring the president gifts. They would put them there for him to see and sign. Will I Am just comes and picks up a dignitary's hat that he gave and put it on. You see the Secret Service guy going, "Oh shit." We had some crazy photos like that.
One of the things I always wanted to do was get on Air Force One. When I when I found out that the two photographers traveled with them, I had to go. But I could never could get on there. Security was so tight. Scout caught a couple of photos of the president on Air Force One. It's one of him exiting. The boss and the boss talking. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall. I said to Scout, "Did you hear any of the conversation?" She got a nice one of the president next to my poster.
This is one of my favorites. This was the last rally for the 2012 campaign. It was special not only that Michelle was there, but also that this is where the president announced that he was going to run for president in 2008, and where his last rally was. It was pretty cool.
One of my favorites here from election night. One of the biggest learnings I found on leading this team in this crazy pressure cooker of American politics, was how important culture is. We were working 14 hour days, seven days a week, minimum from day one. I remember the first day I looked at my watch around 8:00 p.m., and no one's leaving. Then I see the first set of people start trickling out at ten, and that's what it was from day one.
One thing we would do to build that culture is, after we would ship a successful project, we would come into work and this would be hanging over your desk. You get a nice necklace to go with it. A couple campaign volunteers were not happy with what it said prior, but they couldn't alter my cake. Buttons were a big part. We had two button machines in our in our little area. Again, I'm a Californian in Chicago. Most of the people on my team were not from California, and they didn't understand what my sayings meant. This is how I give a lot of creative direction. For my birthday, they made about 100 buttons of my most said California sayings.
We would make buttons for friends and for ourselves. Whenever I talk about this work, I have to talk about the amazing team that all this work would not be possible without. It was really hard to get everyone in a photo. I remember, this was a whole afternoon of trying to chase people down. This is not everybody. This is most people on the design team.
This is our front end team. We were definitely one team. We were all integrated. It was designers and front end developers all sitting mixed together, with different disciplines, but definitely one team.
On my way home from Chicago, I received a call from Facebook, and they're like, "Would you be interested in building a brand team here at Facebook?" I didn't know if my skill set applied to Facebook. I didn't know what it was. I just knew the blue app. I didn't know anything else about Facebook.
Then, about two months later, I got another call from a different recruiter from Facebook, and they said, "Well, let's just fly you out, and you check it out, and let us show you what's going on." So, I came out to San Francisco, and I went on campus, and I was thinking, 'Man, everyone is so fucking happy. What is going on?' That was one of the first things I noticed.
I also noticed that like everyone was just really into their jobs. I had always been at agencies where there were at least one or two people going, "Fuck this place. This place sucks." All these disgruntled people. It was really refreshing to feel that vibe at Facebook. I've now been a creative director at Facebook for four years, and over the four years I've been on a team called The Factory.
We did a variety of projects on The Factory. It's a brand marketing team within Facebook. We did things like the Facebook logo. We redesigned the thumb. When I joined, Facebook had no brand guidelines, and I was like, "You've got to be kidding me." So, this was about two years worth of work. Every time we'd get to a point where we'd think it was good, someone would have some feedback about it, or the brand had changed.
This just shipped a couple of months ago, which I was really stoked about. We worked with teams on their logos. Logos for Facebook's initiatives. Recently, we did a brand campaign- a TV campaign- in Europe, as a test market. We did five different spots. Two with director Mike Mills, and two with director Gus Van Sant, and this is one of them:
"Sport. It's just made up games with made up rules. So why does it make us cry? Inspire us? Help us make friends with people we've never met? Maybe that's it. It's something we can be part of together. A way to find others to share in our madness. They're the ones who don't judge when numbers on a scoreboard make us cry with joy or pain. Because the same tears will be in their eyes, as well. We don't have to suffer alone, or even worse, celebrate alone. So we hang out in pubs, and living rooms, and news feeds, telling stories of games we saw two people who saw the exact same games, and happily listen as they do the same to us. Because they're the ones who helped us realize it's more than just a game. It's a ritual. An identity. But most of all, it's a way for us to be together."
We bought quite a bit of outdoor in London. Some would say maybe too much. Another program that I oversaw was the personalized videos program, so if you ever had a Facebook birthday, you got one of these videos. So, you either like me or hate me.
This is an example of one of the personalized videos. We shot all that practically on a soundstage, so that cake is actually a birthday cake made out of wood. We're like, "Hey, let's do an alternate ending." We had to have a real horse on set for that one. You'll start seeing that in your feed soon. Working with our events team, I've overseen the creative direction for the last four FA conferences that we do. So, both the visual identity as well as the space build- out with our events team.
Another part of my role was overseeing the analog research lab at Facebook. I don't know if any of you are aware what that is, but it's a space within Facebook where all employees can come and learn craft of making with your hands. We do everything from teaching screen printing to 'zine-making, typography, lettering, and sign painting. There's a whole host of classes that they teach in there. The analog lab works with our facilities department to do a lot of the branding on the different eateries that are on campus. Harvest is one of the places, it's a salad bar. We made some custom type and cut it out of the wall. It's really a cool and fun place to be.
One of the things that the analog lab did the first year was Unsanctioned. We hacked the Facebook sign out front to show our support of pride. We got in a little bit of trouble for it, but now the sign is an annual thing that we do, so it was worth getting in trouble for.
Last year, we designed this type treatment for Pride, and then we printed about 12,000 shirts. This was all the Facebook employees marching in the parade, which was awesome.
About two months ago, I transitioned off of the team that I'd been on for four years, and I am now working on a team called Building 8 within Facebook. Facebook is now going to be building some consumer hardware, and these hardware products advance Facebook's efforts in virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and the mission to CONNECT THE WORLD. We work for a badass woman name Regina Dugan, who recently led the advanced technology projects group at Google. Before that, she was the director of Darpa.
One of the first things that we did was the Facebook 360 team. We did the identity for these 360 cameras that we put out, and announced at F-8. Unfortunately, everything else I'm working on, I can't talk about. If you're interested in Building 8, there's a few articles that have been published about it recently that give it more insight. I'm really excited to be working on that team.
I have this piece of audio that I found early on in my career, and it's been something that's really inspired me through the years of being a designer. I put a little film together that audio.
"What do you desire? What makes you itch? What sort of a situation would you like? Let's suppose that I do this often in vocational guidance for students. They come to me and say, 'Well, we're getting out of college, and we haven't the faintest idea what we want to do.' So I always ask the question, 'What would you like to do if money weren't an object? How would you really enjoy spending your life?'
When we finally got down to something, and the individual says he really wants to do something, I will say to him, 'You do that. Forget the money. Because, if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You'll be doing things you don't like doing in order to go on living, doing things you don't like doing, which is stupid.' Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way."
Through all this work, I've realized how punk has shaped my approach to everything. It fostered independence and confidence. There are a lot of people today that would tell you punk is dead. Well, punk isn't a thing. It's a mentality. It's a way of looking at the world. For hundreds of thousands of people, it changed or redefined their lives, and in some cases led them to places they never imagined. So punk is not dead. It's very much alive. Thanks.