Designer
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👀 who is this guy, am I right?

creativity + curiosity + compassion

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Mario Gomez-Hall

Hi! I'm a product designer and entrepreneur from Coronado, a small island town in San Diego, California. I spend my days designing the future of transportation and city-building at Lyft.

I grew up in California (with a brief stint in Australia), but at a certain age I wanted to experience the east coast, so I left for Tufts University in Boston. I got there and didn't know what I wanted to do, but looking back, it definitely made sense that I'd end up a designer. Inventing, learning, drawing, and solving problems were always been a big part of my life and continue to be. I majored in Engineering PsychologyHuman Factors. I spent 2 years working at Microsoft -- one as a designer, one a product manager, full-time during my summers and part-time during the school year.

At Tufts, I thought of apps and products that'd help people I understood -- students and young people mainly. As I sketched and ideated; discussed and delved deeper, I realized I needed to do this forever. I taught myself design tools, trained my eye, helped teach a digital art + photography class, and joined + spoke at entrepreneurship and design clubs. I built an app for my peers (see project here) and learned a ton. I failed. I met with people I admired.

At Microsoft, I learned about the process of creating products at scale. I worked with people who were very specialized and talented, and the work we produced was incredibly futuristic and forward thinking. My first year I worked in a small team of five as the sole designer, creating a few innovative apps for Microsoft platforms. I worked on 3D printing projects. Our app had to be scrapped, forcing us to make something else in 5 weeks. It was awesome. My second year, I worked on a larger team within Xbox, on a very futuristic streaming vision that unfortunately never came to fruition. I have no doubt that it eventually will, whether from Microsoft or someone else. After that summer, I was offered the incredible opportunity to work on a dream team (the original team had closed) once I graduated college, but decided to alter my path.

In late 2014, two peers and I started a company called Cymbal. I was the sole designer, and we chose a very challenging field to work in -- a combination social network - music service (the two verticals many VCs refuse to invest in). The philosophies behind the app and its design are difficult to navigate, but they constrained things and challenged me. I was never happy with where Cymbal was. I never wanted people to download it, because it was "about to get better!", but it was an exercise in learning to build iteratively, working with people you don't always get along with, and learning as you go from the thousands of passionate people who still use the app every day.

We built 3 major versions and dozens of minor versions across iOS, Android, and the web. I drew sketches, made wireframes, created prototypes, tested ideas, made marketing images and emails, created concert posters, and more -- and that was just on the design side. I came up with growth strategies, met with investors, raised $1.1M, got in arguments, learned a bit about leadership, read a ton, went to SXSW, got featured in the Google Play store, got my hopes up, got my hopes dashed, hired employees, moved to New York, hated New York, met my idols, and so on. Working on Cymbal was something I could have never prepared for, and it has changed who I am and what I want to be.

The last few years have been the most difficult of my life. My brother passed away in the Ghostship fire in Oakland, CA in December 2016, and my world got turned upside down. I left Cymbal and moved from Brooklyn to Seattle, to be with friends and enjoy nature, quiet, and the different way of life the west coast brings. It had an immediate effect on my creativity. I freelanced and worked on my ideas, and hung out a lot.

I moved to San Francisco and spent my days helping people start, expand, and run their businesses as a Senior Product Designer at Square. I learned a ton about designing for normal folks who want nothing more than for Square to get out of their way and let them support themselves financially through their passions. I learned about design systems, working within a big company, toeing the line between too risky and too bureaucratic, and made some great friends.

These days, I'm dedicating my time and energy toward designing products at Lyft, solving people's mobility needs and changing the way cities build and change for a more walkable, bikeable, scootable, and sharable world. I love working on meaningful things, learning from the world and my peers, and spending my life doing the things I love, like my brother Nick did.

I've got a million things I'm always thinking about. I'd love to talk with you about them.

 
 
 
The creative person wants to be a know it all. He wants to know about all kinds of things: ancient history, nineteenth – century mathematics, current manufacturing techniques, flower arranging, and hog futures. Because he never knows when these ideas might come together to form a new idea. It may happen six minutes later or six months, or six years down the road. But he has faith that it will happen.
— advertiser carl ally