Hi, I'm Richard.
Professionally, I express myself through creating new products and businesses. My first business was designing and printing t-shirts in my parents garage at 14yrs old. Since then I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of several rewarding companies. I write articles and books about what I observe and learn. I'm a regular contributor to Forbes.
In the late 90’s I started a small design agency with a focus on web and digital product design. Our business got the attention of a friend and she asked me if I’d join a new web business within Multichoice, which is the largest broadcaster in Africa. We launched a digital ad sales platform on top of DoubleClick’s technology. It was tons of fun and that’s where I met the brilliant Stephan Pretorius. Together we imagined a new venture that would bring strategic online marketing to the world’s best brands. With this vision, and some VC funding, we left Multichoice and created Acceleration.
Acceleration was my first venture funded business and I got to work with amazing legendary investor Jonathan Beare and alongside the talented Jacques Van Niekerk and Grant Keller. The company was eventually sold to WPP, where it now lives under the Wunderman Thompson umbrella, under Grant’s capable leadership.
Soon after Acceleration, I was recruited by a software startup in the marketing analytics space to run international sales out of Boston. That was 1999, the height of the dot com era. We raised a lot of money, spent a lot of money, and eventually came face-to-face with the dot com crash. Traveling the world I learned a lot about how the different cultures do business, which has proven invaluable in my global leadership roles since then.
After a failed attempt at an on-demand printing startup and a more successful attempt at being a stay-at-home dad, I started the product design firm Fresh Tilled Soil. We were one of the first dedicated digital product design agencies. Voted Boston's Best Place To Work several times, we delivered more than 700 projects to Fortune 500 enterprises and startups alike. I'm very proud of team we assembled and the work we created together. In 2019 we sold the business to ADK.
Since then, I’ve been running design transformation at InVision. Our team’s work is primarily product focused. We discover new product opportunities, find product-market fit, and then build and deploy them. Our transformation team’s products include the Design Maturity Assessment, InVision Learn and the Design Leadership Forum. Our current challenge is to scale and integrate these products with InVision’s core design toolset.
I also race cyclocross, illustrate, make furniture, read, and travel to places that push me out of my comfort zone. While Europe's mountains are my current favorite place to explore, I’ve been fortunate enough to make a living as a scuba diver in the Islamic Republic of the Comoros and taken several overland trips across Africa's most beautiful countries.
My core product skills and knowledge:
- Technical: Work effectively to align technical and creative teams
- Management: Light touch manager with a focus on outcomes
- Creative: Generate high impact ideas with bottom-line results
- Business: Deliver consistent product value to customers
- Marketing: Create compelling narratives and enablement paths
- Sales: Simplify sales motion with clear PoV and experiments
- Design: Solve problems with big 'D' design thinking
- Research & experimentation: Build an in-the-moment learning culture
My top leadership skills and knowledge:
- Leadership: Inspiring and compelling customer-focused vision
- Management: Assembling and aligning cross-functional teams/squads
- Strategic thinking: Differentiate with defensible market leadership
- Results-orientated: Align behavior to incentives and measures
- Culture: Autonomous decision-making cross-functional squads
- Business maturity: People and practices before tech
I am NOT:
- ...a micro-manager or bureaucrat
- ...suited for businesses or organizations that don't want to change or move fast
- ...a technical leader. My focus is people and practices.