Never underestimate crazy ideas.
I was born in Saltillo, Mexico in '75, so I was really young when i was exposed to a PC for the first time, and right from there I knew I was going to build my career around computers, didn't know about what or how, but I knew I was going to spend hours in front of a monitor…
I studied Graphic Design in a very art focused school and that helped a lot with understanding and appreciating graphics outside a computer. I had to learn all the digital stuff on my own, and after I graduated, the school asked me to stay and teach.
I started my freelance adventure at the end of '02 and never looked back.
In 2008 decided to move to Austin, Texas and have a fresh start. And after over 11 years of freelancing i guess is finally time to take the next step…
I am a Flash developer/designer by nature, and have been involved in so many different projects that i can't really say I focus on a certain type of industry, but if I could choose one it would be games and entertainment business, music too.
What do you do for inspiration?
Empty spaces, nature, architecture, math, i always try to find the math side in nature.
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
I guess there is no bigger achievement than actually do what you love and what is a passion for you, so that by far is my biggest achievement, i get to do what i love, on my own space, pretty much every day...
How many hours do you work each week?
There was a time where I did 70+ hours a week, but lately I try to keep a healthy amount so it can be around 40-50 hours a week.
How do you relax or unwind?
With a very active social life. Watching stand up comedy, just disconnecting completely from work.
If you weren't working on the internet what would you be doing?
What's your favourite part of your job? What's the hardest part of your job? What do you do when you get stuck?
The favorite part is to get the clients excited of the idea/solutions we come up with. When i get stuck, i take a break with the company of my good friend Johnnie Walker...
What's the longest you've ever stayed up working on a project?
There have been many 12-16 plus a day 4 hours of sleep and back again projects I've done, but the last one that comes to mind is my own website/portfolio, that is me sitting there for 12 straight hours to create the time lapse. http://www.djnr.net
If there are any pivotal experiences/decisions you could point to that helped shape your career, what would they be?
The first one was starting playing with Flash 12 years ago i got hooked and that started my whole career, the second was to decide to move to the USA and restart my business, and i guess we are on the verge of turning this into a small studio.
What software could you not live without?
Flash and Photoshop.
How many projects does your company juggle at any one time?
At least 5-7.
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
Engaging users into a real interactive experience, clicking everywhere and not just scrolling and scrolling….
What area of web design lacks the most?
Lately actual interaction, we have to be clear about one thing: "scrolling" is not an interactive feature… I understand we are in the era of just devouring information, but still that is not what an "interactive" experience it's all about.
Has winning FWA awards helped you in any way?
It has given me credibility, exposure and lots of traffic, and the fact that we are used as inspiration for other creatives is such a big honor.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
It was a mining company website, i barely remember how it looked like, but i do remember using lots of animated gifs! I tried to find it on my files but unfortunately it is gone.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
I guess by now you will figure out I am not a good writer, so this might never happen.
Are there things you do OUTSIDE of work to ensure that you are in the right mindset to be creative and/or successful in whatever you are doing?
I try to stay drama and worry free, before getting back to work I have solve any personal or day to day problems, not that I have many, but having worries on my head while working just blocks everything.
Of all the websites you/your company have produced, which one are you most proud of?
The latest project or current project is always the best almost every time, but if I had to choose 1 it would be charlieuniformtango.com, it was also released as an iPad App using the exact same flash code, with a few adjustments to make it touch screen friendly.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
This was one of my first freelance projects, about 8 years ago, i had to built an NFL Draft Selector, so needless to say, data needed to be pulled from different sources and reflect the actual live draft. I spent a whole weekend working on it.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
Of course! who said it was going to go away? No seriously, is wrong to say one thing is better than another, we are in an era where you can use any tools necessary to accomplish a goal, and Flash used to be in many cases the only viable tool to accomplish really interactive and multimedia projects for so long...
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
Definitely, web pioneers are always a step ahead because they had to learn on their own, and there was nothing scripted for them to follow, this could apply to new generations, although the web this days is becoming a cookie cutter, API world, etc and so you still need some education, but not completely neccesary.
If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring FWA award submitter, what advice would you give them?
You have to be "Pixel Perfect" and attention to the smallest detail.
Never underestimate crazy ideas.
How difficult do you find employing the right people in a world where everyone calls themselves a web designer?
Brutal! This has been by far the most challenging issue for me, and I guess for a lot of people.
How do you keep up with the latest capabilities of Flash or do you rely on other members of you team to do this?
Experimenting, experimenting and more experimenting, this was the way I learned my way in Flash, trying to figure out how some site was built and coded and then try it on my own.
What would be your ultimate vehicle to travel in?
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
Word of mouth, my own work/clients always referred to new clients.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
From the beginning i learned with online tutorials, both for flash and photoshop, if you have a crazy idea for an interactive piece, the only way to do it is by experimenting on your own over and over, sometimes you will accomplish what you had on your mind and sometimes you will end up with a completely different thing that will surprise you. You need to have a passion for math and physics too.
How do you keep your finger on the pulse of the latest web trends?
I browse the web at least 2-3 hours a day, i keep up with all the social trending issues, etc...
There must be a project that you have always dreamed of doing, what is it?
Working on a movie tittle animation/design.
What does the future hold for your company, or you as a person?
We are about to change from being a freelance to create my own small studio, so please wish us luck!
What is the most expensive thing you have bought in the last week?
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
Overcoat? what is that? Ever heard of the weather in Texas?
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
When i was a kid, my mother always told me "If you are not going to do something the best possible way, don't even bother doing it", and i guess this has applied to so many things in my life.
Share your knowledge!