My name is Joshua Mikael and I’ve been helping established brands and startups create world-class digital products, platforms, and experiences for 15 years. I design responsive web apps, native mobile apps, and multi-touch display apps, as well as interactive journeys, events, and environments.
• Story Telling
• Visual Design
• Interaction Design
• User Experience Design
• User Interface Design
• Product Design
• Journey Design
• Film Production
• Web Sites
• Web Apps
• Native Apps
• Multi-Touch Displays
• Email Campaigns
• Technical Docs
• Short Films
• Online Gaming
// Recent Work
A double shot of personalization.
My current project at Takt uplifts an audience of 26,000,000 Starbucks loyalty members every week, delivering a range of omni-channel offers spanning the full population all the way down to highly personalized 1:1 offers and recommendations. The platform has enabled the Starbucks marketing team to increase their weekly offer output 40x while significantly reducing operational burden (Offer Configuration and QA went from 6 weeks to 1 day).
// Why I Love Design
Design is about discovery.
It’s a powerful way to examine our world and make sense of what we encounter. A tangible way to express authentic empathy and caring for others. A compelling way to tell a story and move an audience. And it’s a lot of fun. Some of the best moments of my life are a direct result of my passion for design.
Move swiftly toward truth.
For me, artisan craftsmanship is the path to truth. I believe that in everything we make, we should strive for deep enduring quality so that what is made stands the test of time and creates exponential value.
Amplify human understanding and ability.
Creators make, audiences consume. Implicit in this relationship is that both sides invest time to be part of it. By creating thoughtfully designed experiences that elevate human consciousness, we honor this mutual investment of time, causing exponential value to flow both ways, ultimately reinforcing a healthy bond between Makers and the Market.
Align with purpose and mission.
In collaboration with some wonderfully talented people, I have taken three distinct hypotheses to market, learning a great deal from each endeavor. From 2004-2007 I co-authored a book called Patriots By Choice that explores the legitimacy of a constitutional amendment that would afford more than 13,000,000 foreign-born Americans the right to run for President. In 2008, I cofounded an ambitious critical thinking project called DebateHall, which sought to facilitate productive civil discourse at a global scale, while simultaneously providing private academic subscription services to high school and college speech and debate teams (US audience ~120,000 users). In 2013, I cofounded a goal setting social network called Promis, a fun way to turn goals into stories.
Solo piano is perhaps my most personal form of creative expression. Since high school, I’ve written over 100 songs and performed countless hours of improvisational sessions. You can listen to some of my more recent compositions here.
Even a compass needs a Northstar.
Craftsmanship is sacred.
Focus on win-win outcomes.
Embrace uncertainty and chaos.
Failure is a synonym for learning.
Prototype immediately and often.
Goals are gold, they unlock great design.
Human beings deserve empathy and innovation.
Care about your work down to the very last detail.
Nice to meet you!
I was born in Key West, FL and grew up mostly in the central part of the state. From 1996-2001, I attended UCLA where I played NCAA Men’s Volleyball and earned nothing resembling a design degree. My first job after college was at Warner Bros., where for over a year I studiously honed my craft of Coffee Getter for big shot producers and actors. It was during this time, in between coffee runs no less, that a friend suggested I become an intern in his startup called Superdudes (the grandfather of all social networking apps). It was in an excited, focused, driven, well-funded startup environment that I learned the foundations of my Design craft. During the 15 years since, I have deployed projects across a wide range of verticals. It’s been a magical journey filled with bold challenges and amazing collaborators, and I can’t wait for the next 15 years.
“Together is my favorite place to be.” ~ Unknown
The joy and purpose my wife and two children give me are the measure of my life. I love being a husband and a father. It makes me a better person and fuels my creative drive. The power and positioning of design in modern culture hit home for me in a new way when I became a parent. The need for digital empathy, meaningful metrics, and generationally long term thinking about the the impact of our actions is peaking. Our ability to lead happy, healthy lives is directly linked to how proactive we are in crafting a wonderful world. If we are to continue to move forward as a species, technology that supports our ability to live a balanced life is surely a key part of our success. My family is a constant reminder of the role design plays in our everyday lives and how important it is to thoughtfully craft technology to serve a higher purpose.
“To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colors of a rainbow.” ~ Maya Angelou
My mother is an artist. Growing up, I was constantly surrounded by a sea of drawings and paintings at various stages of the creation life cycle, and she would often whisk me away to nearby towns to help her with traveling art exhibitions. Her devotion to every detail led to mastering the principles, materials, and techniques of art, painting, printing, framing, and exhibition. Through her passion for artistry, I witnessed firsthand how creativity helps us define a healthy sense of purpose, inspiring us to pursue our personal truth.
“He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” ~ Bud Kelland
My father is a gentleman giant: a former NBA and college basketball player and retired high school coach. During his years as a coach, he cultivated many young athletes, winning a state championship and helping players get athletic scholarships to college. He has a great ability to inspire effort and instill teamwork, and even those he’s 77, his shot is so accurate I’ve still never beaten him in h-o-r-s-e (in my defense, he did score a career average 20.2 points per game at FSU and had his jersey retired). My father’s work ethic and love for the game of basketball instilled in me the values of persistent practice and elevating others.
“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” ~ Henry Adams
My high school drafting teacher was a former U.S. Army Ranger in the Korean War named Mr. Davis. After completing his tour, he became an architect and practiced for many years, eventually retiring from his practice to teach architecture at the university level and drafting at the high school level. The many specific personal touches in my approach to the Design discipline are derived from his unending knowledge and impactful teaching style. To Mr. Davis, the cleanliness of our desk mattered, so it was part of our daily grade. And he never failed to point out a neglected french curve or a misheld pencil. “A steady rotation can give all of your lines the same thickness, which is a good thing. You want that, so practice your rotation.” Eventually, I came to realize that caring about these details was a subtle yet effective way to reinforce powerful design principles that I carry forward to this day, such as consistency, hierarchy, sense of place, and ease of use to name a few. What I learned from Professor Davis about the art of precision thinking is the foundation of my Design craft. He had a simple philosophy: precision thinking leads to excellent and expedient outcomes. I pay his investment in me forward by caring about the details. Magic doesn’t happen by accident. It happens when we care about the quality of our process in similar measure to the quality of our work.