Jon Gold

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Living the Dream, Part One

If you’ve been following my tweets recently you’ll have noticed I’ve been waking up and going to sleep rather late. 8 hours late, actually. Why? I’m in San Francisco.

bike+bridge 3

Why are you in San Francisco, Jon?

I’m making some awesome pixels with the guys at Prismatic. We haven’t nailed our elevator pitch yet (and I want to do the product justice), so I’ll just say it will involve an app in the sphere of content curation/sharing/consumption. Kind of.

I’m working with some insanely talented engineers, and doing the most challenging IxD of my career so far; let’s just say it won’t be your run-of-the-mill RSS Reader. Stay in touch on Dribbble and Twitter to be the first to see and hear what we’re getting up to.

Here’s the splash page I put up whilst we focus on actually building the product. We’re not looking for signups or anything right now (hence the lack of content), but everyone’s been asking to see what I’ve been working on so…

How does San Francisco compare to London?

I’ve lived in London for 22 years, I love it more than anything in the world and I will always be a Londoner at heart. But this place is next level. I don’t want to descend into clichés but there’s an awesome buzz here.

  • I walked past Jack Dorsey in the street on the day I arrived.
  • I’ve met loads of amazing people at great startups (there are startup events every night of the week here).

Maybe I didn’t make enough of an effort in London; maybe I socialised too much with the design scene and not enough with the startup scene (they’re relatively fragmented in London); in any case I see San Francisco as a massive boost to my career — and I think it should be to yours too.

My career? Really?

Sure, move out here. If nothing else it will give you an amazing experience to take back to London, Lisbon, Lagos, or whereever you currently work.

Jump

A few years ago a classmate at uni who’d worked at a big agency in New York mentioned I should stay in London, that the American design scene is too much of a culture shock to be productive. I now realise that that’s exactly why you should throw yourself into new experiences. He said that in New York people worked till 8pm(!). It’s 3am on a Sunday night and we’ve just finished work. Suck it.

Maybe it’s a startup thing - that if you have some vague notion that you’re trying to make the world a better place it becomes fun; if you’re rebranding a nothingy corporate client you want to end your life a minute past 5pm. But anyway.

Come to California, build awesome stuff.

Everyone is looking for designers here. Here’s a huge thread on Quora talking about the shortage of designers. If you have a portfolio, send it to me and I can pass it on. If you want advice, email me. Seeing Luke Beard’s blog about working at Zerply earlier this year really inspired me to find work in America after dreaming about it for years; if I can return the favour and help another designer make that leap of faith it would be awesome.

If in doubt

Say you’re creating ‘the Airbnb for geosocial hyperlocal Instagram-esque vertically-integrated metastartups’. I don’t know what that means but presumably someone in the Valley does.


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Jon Gold

Jon Gold is a technologist, musician, and attention activist researching the long-term future of computation at Airbnb, focusing on the intersection of Artificial Intelligence & the creative process. Contact