Where I’m writing from

· CloudOn, Content Management, Design, Gigs, Mobile, Product, User Experience


When Apple brought the touch screen and the tablet together they kicked off a new revolution, one that moves us all one step closer to direct manipulation of the digital world at our hands.

As a writer, I suppose I have naturally gravitated toward the realm of writing and editing, where we’re still following “word processing” conventions developed in the late jurassic era, and a model of interaction with screen objects sometimes referred to as WIMP (windows, insertion point, mouse, pointer), revolutionary when first developed at PARC but increasingly feeling like a remote control apparatus¬†in a world of immediate and direct manipulation using our senses and our hands.

So for the last couple of years I’ve been working at a startup called CloudOn where we make a document editor for mobile people that lets you store your stuff in the cloud, get to it from anywhere, and work on the devices you prefer.

We’ve learned a huge amount from the product we launched in 2012, a few months before I joined, and soon we’ll be rolling out an updated version of CloudOn that I honestly believe will change your mind about what is possible on an iPad. You’ll start to wonder why you can’t just reach out and touch, move, rotate, and position everything you work with.

So where am I writing from? Anywhere I want.

Our launch is coming up soon, so I wanted to share a sneak peek with friends, family, and well wishers. This little video gives a preview of what we’ve come up with.

You can watch it here or drop by our signup page to be notified¬†when it’s available.


Tune In, Cloud On, Rock Out!

· Applications, CloudOn, Design, Development, Gigs, Information Architecture, long story short, Mobile, Product, Teamwork, User Experience

One thing about working real hard is that a lot of things I’d love to post about never seem to make it to the top of the queue, and then the blog turns into “here are my slides, here is a video of my talk, here is a weird song by the band, here is another conference I attended,” etc.

A lot of the best stuff stays in draft form or as brain crack, or gets hinted at in tweets and not much more.

And then I miss even the important stuff, like where’s my book-ending “hey, I left AOL, or should I say AOL left me” post? Maybe I’ll still post it, or maybe this is going in my book, as I like to threaten people from time to time.

So I’m way past overdue mentioning to my surviving blog audience that I have taken a new job, director of product at CloudOn. I started this month and am neck deep in it already, hence the lack of extended “enjoying my severance” essays and photo journals.

Our product right now is a free app for iPad and Android tablets that enables you to edit and work with Microsoft Office files “in the cloud.” That’s the logline. There’s more to it (Dropbox and Google Drive and Box support! Acrobat Reader and image files! etc.), and there’s lots more to come, but that’s the gist of it today. Personal productivity across platforms, helping people get things done with the most convenient device available, seamless experiences across context.

This is the kind of user experience and product management work I love to do. Hard problems with vast theoretical underpinnings and thousands of difficult decisions required to actually ship something real, early and often.

I’m recruiting a UX team, currently looking for a visual design maven to anchor our in-house design practice, and ultimately building a more well rounded product and UX operation as we grow.

We hit 1,000,000 iPad downloads yesterday, I think, so there’s not a minute to lose!