In the second part of our Viz Team series, we met some of the members of Zazzle’s storied Visualization Team — the team that makes the magic happen around the products you see on our site.
We hunted down a few more members and got them to spill their backgrounds for us:
Q: Alex says that you spent ten years working in the music industry with the likes of Natasha Bedingfield, Tracy Chapman, Fiona Apple, The Script and Christina Aguilera’s producers. Now you’re at Zazzle. Where did your life go wrong?
A: I spent a long stint in Southern California doing that and also mixing production and musical compositions for TV Shows (Survivor, Fear Factor and Deal or No Deal). I also have experience writing custom software to run music hardware. There’s a lot of carry-over to the work I do now at Zazzle. I run the visualization studio, and work with the photos and models — most notably handling our latest apparel refresh with the new styles and colors, running the cameras and putting together the scripts for the day-to-day team.
Q: So, you have experience interfacing with real “models”? (The kind that ask for bottled water, not the kind that’s a mug).
A: I manage people in a shoot-environment and I know how to bring in people who are not technically skilled, while also being able to explain what the needs are for the photo shoot. But it’s much more than that. It’s also an amazing combination of programming, image processing and photography.
Q: There’s a lot of love on this team. What do you love about this team?
A: Our team is so small. We’re involved in everything, every step of the way.
Q: A veteran of Macromedia and virtual reality pioneer, you developed the tools that power the visualization technology at Zazzle. You’re pretty much a legend.
Q: Give me your 60-second background. You deserve at least 60 seconds.
A: In the mid-80s joined VPL and worked on the first virtual reality system, co-inventing the DataGlove (on the October 1987 cover of Scientific American), invented Swivel 3D, one of the earliest 3D modelers for desktop computers. Designed Macromodel and Pulse Creator, a tool that combines 3D modeling with interactive character animation. Co-developed the Director Player (what went on to become Shockwave Multimedia player). Also co-founded Paracomp (one of San Francisco’s first multimedia companies), which later merged with Macromind to become Macromedia in 1991. Also, was CTO of Pulse Entertainment. You can read more here.
Q: Give me the 20-second version of your background before Zazzle.
Just 20 seconds for the background?? I’m a Bay Area native who randomly moved up to Portland, Oregon a few years ago … I have been immersed in various technology projects since I was 17, when Young tried to teach me about memory management on his original Mac*. Over the years I have worked with various technologies, such as 3D, graphics, UI, video, and audio — to varying degrees of success!
* to clarify, the original MacBook Air, I am, in fact, just turning 21!
Q: What’s something someone would be surprised to learn about you?
A: I’m actually quite humble.
Q: What’s the best part about being on the Viz Team?
A: I’ve known the guys for years and it’s not only great to have an excuse to talk to them all the time, but also they’re doing fantastic work for Zazzle and I enjoy helping them do that. Clearly it’s the most stylish, best looking and coolest team, as well.