Know this Nerd? Meet Micah Iverson

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Micah_IversonThank you to The Nerdery for underwriting the Know this Nerd? series.

Micah Iverson is a freelance user interface/experience designer based out of Minneapolis.

When and how did you originally become interested in technology?

Back when I was in 3rd grade or so (I’m 34 now, you do the math), our local town library had just setup an Apple computer with a dot-matrix printer. Using the paint program at the time I placed some clipart of a snowman and a tiger on a page and printed it out – it was so very cool. I of course had to show my older brother my awesome design skills – which he of course promptly made fun of me for putting a snowman and a tiger together.

I got upset and proceeded to run and charge at him like a bull, right as I reached him he stepped out of the way as I slammed the bridge of my nose on the corner of the table behind him and ending up needing a few stitches. I have been hooked on technology ever since.

At what age did you create your first website? What did it do?

I was in 7th grade, I think, when I designed my first website, it was a personal site which talked about my interests and links to people and things I liked. It was of course hosted on GeoCities and I spent hours and hours trying to figuring out how to write the html, figuring out how to use tables (no DIVs back then) and then working before and after school trying to upload my files to the server – because of course we didn’t have internet at home.

What do you do now? 

I now run a company called nVision 42 which primarily focuses on User Interface and User Experience design for Windows 8, Windows Phone and Web based applications.

The software I use on a daily basis includes Photoshop, Illustrator, Visual Studio, Expression Blend, Outlook, Skype, Office, all major browsers, Xbox Music and OneDrive (I store ALL my files now on OneDrive).

Even though I mostly focus on design now, I do have experience with C#, XAML, HTML, CSS, jQuery, Bootstrap and even WordPress for when I need to get my hands dirty.

The Nerdery

How have you increased your skillset over the years, formally or otherwise?

I am constantly trying to improve my existing skillset, while at the same time trying to discover new methods to achieve new and interesting results.

A lot of it comes down to seeing what your colleagues are doing and learning from them, I also spend a lot of time reading articles online, experimenting with new ideas and concepts on my own projects and just trying to find something new that I can use later on client projects.

Which do you prefer in design, the struggle or the achievement?

I have to say both, achievements that I’m truly proud of only happen when I work my way through the tough struggles and challenges within a project. Without struggles I feel that your mind becomes lazy and stale. Combine the two and you really become interesting, successful and powerful.

What people, groups, projects, or resources were most influential in your development as programmer designer?

I have always been a big fan of Art in general so I have a lot of influence from that industry, artists like Jackson Pollock, Piet Mondrian, Roy Lichtenstein and countless others.

When I first started learning Photoshop and digital design I read a ton of books on “Photoshop Tutorials”, “Photoshop Tips and Tricks”, etc. I would also find designs I liked online and would try to replicate the same effect doing it myself.

I have a lot of schooling as well, I have attended 4 different colleges and have a degree in Graphic Arts and one in 3D Animation – I have studied painting, pottery, photography, woodworking and drawing as well.

I now participate in quite a few Meetups and events like Startup Weekend, Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge and try to be connected with as many relevant people on social media as possible.

What do you enjoy about it? Is there anything you dislike?

I have always been a visual person so design just feels natural to me. Design is interesting because when something is designed well it actually kind of becomes invisible.

Just think about the chair you are sitting in right now, it was designed by someone at some point in time, but how often do you actually think about the design of a chair? When you buy it and when you find it to be uncomfortable – the rest of the time you just sit and use it as a chair.

Everything has been designed at one point in time and that is a really interesting concept to think about.

I don’t like the fact that often times people think design is quick or easy – everyone has a different reaction to a design – just imagine trying to design something that appeals and at the same time works for everyone.

If you were to be doing anything else, what might that be?

I’d like to travel more, furthest from home I have ever been is Canada – which is a nice place to visit, but there is so much more of the world to see.

I’d also love to be able to work on projects that use technology and software to help reduce world issues like hunger, homelessness, bullying, poor education. There is so much that can and should be done in these areas and eventually this is where I hope to end up.

Where do you spend most of your time online?

I spend a lot of my online time reading articles from all types of sites like The Verge, Neowin, TechCrunch, Core77, Designboom, etc. through an app called Weave, you can just pick your topics and they pull in relevant sites. I look at a lot of artists who post work to places like Dribbble, Forrst and Behance. I enjoy reading articles from MinimallyMinimal.com – he is a great designer, writer, and photographer and clearly loves things that have been designed well.

What concerns you most about where technology is headed?

Technology is becoming too addictive, it’s becoming harder and harder to put down our phones and interact with the real world. I look at my two young kids (4 and 6) and see their addictive desire to interact with my phone, TV, video games, basically anything digital and they become zombies when they use these devices. My kids aren’t even allowed to uses these devices except on the weekends and yet it affects them so much, I can’t even imagine what would happen if we let them use them more often than that.

It’s scary to think about how much more addictive we will get over the next 10, 20 years. Obviously I think it really comes down to using everything in moderation just as you would with food or candy.

What excites you most about where technology is headed?

We are really just getting started with advanced technology, we have only scratched the surface of what the possibilities will be.

With the increase use of sensors, internet of things, increased bandwidth, faster and smaller computers and an increasingly connected world – we’ll be able to achieve some great accomplishments faster and cheaper than ever before.

I use a Surface Pro 3 and a Windows phone and I’m able to do 100% of my work and play on devices no thicker or larger than a pad of paper, that is incredibly powerful and versatile. This type of workflow is only going to get better and move obvious as time goes on.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I recently started a new Meetup group called Less Yacking – More Hacking which is geared toward startups, entrepreneurs, designers, developers and other technology people who are actually building something and want to come be around other people doing the same thing.

I’d love to have people join our group and join us for 6 hour long work sessions of people hacking away on their projects and being around other interesting people from our community. And I am of course on Twitter at @nvision42 or @micahiverson.

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