I'm trying to help people foster their own creativity and empowerment to solve big, important problems we face as a human race today. I invent new ways of interacting with computers by learning about people, sculpting pixels, and playing with code.
I recently left a long stint at Apple, where I designed and prototyped new things to poke at with the Human Interface Device Prototyping team. My work included the invention of new interactions across iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, and more, as well as fundamental UI concepts for Apple's Force Touch and Taptic Engine, which are now in the MacBook, Magic Trackpad, iPhone 6S, and Apple Watch. My explorations helped justify and refine the development of the iPad mini, iPad Pro, Apple Pencil. They also led to the strategic acquisition of major new technologies. As a side project with a friend, I designed and shipped a transportation app that now makes Apple commuters' lives easier.
I'm now applying my design and invention practice toward helping human learning at a nonprofit called the Khan Academy where I'm Director of Design, and Co-Director of a brand new Long-term Research group aimed at inventing new technology for learning with Andy Matuschak. I'm implementing a new design process and making space for experiments that better leverage the dynamic medium. I believe that playing with interactive, explorable explanations and better tools for thought has great unlocked potential to foster understanding. I also believe we have so much to explore in combining the best of computer and human strengths to support learning.
My meta goal is to continue finding and refining a style of design leadership that stays true to myself and empowers the team, setting the quality bar high for both our design output and the humanity of how we work together. I'm proud of how far the team has come and excited by how far I know they'll go.
Sometimes, I'm up to some other stuff.
I spin music as DJ China Tu Madre with La Pelanga Collective which I co-founded out of Oakland in 2008. Last year, we were invited to a residence at the Brick and Mortar, where we now curate a series of Global South dance party nights. We also have a podcast and a blog. I've learned to dance in a wide variety of styles that looked impossible to me from the outset, and was a paid dancer and substitute dance teacher for a few years. Record digging and dance serve as powerful ways to connect to people from all over the globe. I am a relentless studier of human cultures. They never cease to fascinate me with their power to influence thinking, travel far beyond their origins, survive hundreds of years despite persecution, and evolve continuously.
I am a friend of the Communications Design Group; occasionally I hang out with Bret Victor at the lab and draw a unicorn or make something sparkle. I've recently started an experimental project called 50 Years with Paula Te. In 2014, I spent a month at the intersection of fashion and computation, learning how to generate things to wear in code at Eyebeam in New York. The resulting work has been on exhibition several times since then. I've been part of the Cultural Incubator at Gray Area Gallery, and was an artist in a field of inquiry called the Future Soul Collective at YBCA in San Francisco.
In ancient history, I studied Computer Science and Engineering at MIT. I did undergraduate research with Pattie Maes at the MIT Media Lab, and graduate research with Julie Dorsey at the Laboratory for Computer Science (now CSAIL).
I'm dedicated to helping build a truly diverse and vibrant community of inventors who know how to listen, understand, question, and be prepared to redesign the world. I believe in cultivating deep cultural change that empowers all people to invent new systems of thought. I believe that we can find new ways of being that move beyond the dominant systems that led to marginalization and imbalance in the first place. I daydream about joyful ways to subvert the status quo.
I'm very aware that nobody can make great change by themselves, regardless of how much our society likes to portray individual heroes.
Are you an designer, prototyper, educator-and-tinkerer, person-who-doesn't-fit-into-a-category, who aims not only to hone your craft and build great things, but also design the experience people have working with you? Want to build together? Or, are you an organizer of things and want me to give a talk? Feel free to reach out (response time variable)!
mayli at maylikhoe.com