About Me

Hi, I’m Mike Davidson. Thanks for visiting Mike Industries! For a couple of decades now, I’ve used this site as a place to write, experiment with design and code, and connect with others in the industry.

You can also find me on Mastodon 📈, Twitter 📉, and LinkedIn, or email me at [my first name @ this site].

I work as a Design Executive at Microsoft and have spent most of my career building design teams at companies like Twitter, Disney, ESPN, and NBC. I have also designed things for the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, the Seattle Supersonics, the Seattle Mariners, K2, and the state of Alaska — big teams and small teams, at private companies and public companies, in print and in digital, on the desktop and on mobile, in person and remote.

I’ve built a wide variety of things, but below are some favorites:

  • Building a 100-person Design & Research team at Twitter responsible for all aspects of user experience and branding while the company was in the process of going public. We achieved 50/50 gender equity, had one of the lowest attrition rates in the entire company, and are still close today.
  • Starting a company called Newsvine, which was one of the first social media sites to share revenue with its users. As a fast-growing citizen journalism site, we were acquired by NBCNews where I worked for 5 more years helping the company modernize its news and design operations.
  • Inventing a technology called sIFR that enabled, via Javascript and Flash, tens of thousands of websites to use custom typography in an accessible way for the very first time.
  • Designing Disney’s first ever on-demand movie streaming product, more than a decade before the release of Disney+. While at Disney, I also led the design of the first mainstream media site to embrace web standards: ESPN.
  • Designing the commemorative ticket for the very first baseball game at Safeco Field, the Mariners’ new ballpark which opened in 1999.

My philosophy for building world-class design teams is simple and has served the companies I’ve worked at well:

  1. Hire the most well-rounded people you can find.
  2. Build a structure that focuses on being a great teammate — not just to your fellow designers but to engineers, product managers, and everyone else at the company.
  3. Make yourself as unnecessary as possible.

People who have worked on teams with me also know that I consider it my personal responsibility to make sure people are having fun, moving up in their careers, and feeling respected and included.

Some other random things about me:

  • On the advice of a friend, I cut shoelaces out of my life about 15 years ago and have never looked back. I recommend you do the same. Slip-ons only. You won’t regret it.
  • I am widely known on the internets to be passionate about a certain showerhead: the Kohler Flipside. For less than $100 you can improve the way you start every single day of your life… why wouldn’t you do that??? Take out the plastic flow restrictor and you’ll thank me in the morning. There is a handheld version you can sometimes find that is even better.
  • My favorite travel destination is the Galápagos Islands, and I can’t recommend it more highly.
  • I recommend hitting these restaurants if you’re coming to Seattle: Paseo for the pork loin sandwich, The Pink Door for the lasagna, Skillet for comfort food, Kashiba for sushi, Oaxaca for the molé tacos, and El Gaucho for steak.
  • I hate eggs and love children’s toothpaste.

I’m always on the lookout for interesting opportunities and investments which improve the world one experience at a time. If you’d like to get in touch, feel free to send me an email at [my first name @ this site].

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