Jim has worked in over 50 disciplines in his life. A discipline is a trade or occupation that a person could spend their life in. Most people work in one or two in a lifetime. Jim’s skill levels range from deep expertise to just enough knowledge to get a job done. It is impossible to maintain expertise in this many disciplines so Jim rapidly studies to regain needed knowledge when necessary. The knowledge of some disciplines is fading gently into the mists of time.
All listed disciplines were engaged in numerous times over many years. They include various levels of skill attained and each one produced useful work that accomplished one or more employment or project objectives.
- Entrepreneur / boot-strap start-up – founded, co-founded, co-built, or helped others found over 100 companies in over a dozen industries for most of the past 40+ years.
- Outsource hiring and supervision expertise – since 1976. Currently on oDesk.com and Elance.com.
- Financial and operational data analytics – since 1977.
- Bank and private equity funding for small businesses.
- Purchasing / supply chain – industrial and consumer products.
- Logistics & freight – foreign and domestic shipping & receiving, packing, customs, warehousing, rail, truck, air, and ship.
- Accounting & tax – financial statements, tax returns – 16 years full time CPA.
- General business consulting in some two dozen industries.
- Human resources – hiring for technology projects, professional services, construction, retail.
- Law – business, family, taxation – including writing a couple of small sections in the Internal Revenue Code.
- Litigation support, court certified expert witness.
- Business process design – cross-over discipline – since 1974.
- Business conceptual framework and model design.
- Business planning, feasibility studies, financing proposals.
- Business valuation – some pioneering in the 1980’s.
- Author: “Business Valuation Litigation Handbook” plus many published articles.
Sales and Marketing
- Search engine marketing – Adwords.
- Search engine optimization.
- Social media marketing.
- Professional services – CPA services.
- Construction and landscaping projects.
- Retail (sporting goods).
- User interface design.
- User experience design and components of several related disciplines.
- Residential and retail interiors.
- Product – home decor, lighting, tabletop, iPad dashboard holder (patented).
- Significance design – development of a new design concept for residential interiors.
- Construction hardware and tools.
Technology and software
- Browser and server (full-stack) Web and mobile application development.
- Programming – Functional Reactive, OOP, design patterns, 4 languages, database setup (not admin).
- Product management – Web applications.
- Project management – Web application development.
- 3D computer graphics – modeling, texturing, lighting, rendering.
- Lighting – LED, CFL, color temperature issues.
- Productivity software development – worked with desktop software application developers on some of the earliest software for desktop business computing. Features developed are now part of everyday computing.
- Small business IT – servers, networking, security.
- Product – residential decor, furnishings, etc for Web.
- Interior – rooms and interior panorama (published in book).
- Camera and lighting.
- Content creation – writer, research, interviews, blogging, videos.
- Project management and supervision – residential and commercial remodeling, underground utility pipeline.
- Mechanical maintenance of equipment and purchasing.
- Surveying and job layout.
- Heavy equipment operation.
- Overhead powerline apprectice lineman.
- Residential landscaping and septic repair.
- Marketing and bidding.
- Auto and truck mechanic – including engine rebuilds.
- Warehousing – lift truck operator, sub-foreman, can labeling, shipping.
- Concrete pipe manufacture and installation.
Areas of study – low but useful skill level.
- Psychology – environmental behavior research and design.
- Physiology – the biological study of the functions of living organisms and their parts, in our case the relationships with external stimuli regarding ambiance.
- Cultural anthropology – the science of humans, in our case mostly the cultural aspects relating to lifestyle desires.
- Ethnography for product design and marketing.
- Neuroscience – biological reaction to surrounding environment.
- Cognitive science – brain area reaction to environment and stimulus.
This many disciplines is an experiment in human cognition. How well can the human brain deal with this much information? How to maintain self-esteem when pivoting to entirely new industries frequently? How does one socialize or find community?
It also reflects a restless and inquisitive personality that wants to experience as much as possible in life. Something like this has been totally impossible until the Web came along and rapid self-study became possible. It is unlikely that anyone has ever tried to work in this many disciplines before.
Some of the disciplines listed, such as user experience (UX) design include disciplines within them. This field is relatively new and evolving rapidly. UX design is now critical for Web application development. Below is Jim’s vision of a comprehensive UX design discipline with included disciplines in bold:
User Experience Design
- Value proposition: High quality user experience with the product or service. Better matching of business goals with user goals.
- The UX Designer reports to the Product Manager.
- Understand business goals:
- Increased sales, productivity, potential customer contacts, customer interaction with brand, etc.
- Understand needs and goals of the user with research:
- Ethnographic research, personas.
- Define relevant user tasks.
- Determine the context of each user group.
- Translate the needs into requirements and feature specifications:
- Functional, reliable, useable, convenient, pleasurable, meaningful.
- Design solutions that meet requirements:
- Web – wireframes / mockups, storyboards – Visual Design.
- Responsive design process, mobile first, iterative with other design processes.
- Design usability – Usability Design:
- Web – human-computer interaction through UI’s with high usability. Apple Human Interface Guidelines (HIGs).
- Design information presentation that people can use effectively – Information Design.
- Design wayfinding:
- Web – taxonomy, categories, navigation, labels, hierarchy – Information Architecture.
- Design interaction of the user with the product – Interaction Design:
- Web – Journey maps, workflows.
- Design aesthetics:
- Graphics Design / Visual Design – colors, shapes, icons.
- Develop prototype and evaluate solutions for user tasks:
- Iterative process.
- Minimum viable product.
- Measure results – use analytics to understand if product meets user and business goals.