Austin, TX photo by Carlos Delgado on Unsplash

Around 7 years ago one evening, I spent over 2hrs (on what was supposed to be a 30min catch up) having an absolute blast talking to the two co-founders of BoomTown: Cooper Bane and Grier Allen. At the time I joined, BoomTown was a small software company. ~30 of us sat in one room in an old grocery store on Rutledge Ave. Now, there’s roughly 275 employees spread across in 3 offices (Charleston, Atlanta & Emeryville) with a brand new HQ on upper king street in the pacific box and crate complex.

In a few weeks — I’ll be leaving…

A manifesto is a published declaration of intentions, motives or views by an individual or group.

If Design is about rendering intent, shouldn’t we as leaders/managers of designers be intentional about how we lead? You might think to yourself “I don’t lead any designers”. But, you might be a mentor to a colleague or you might have more influence on people than you might think. It’s never too early to think about the crossroad between design & leadership. Because, it’s quite possibly one of the hardest design problems to tackle. …

“Quit your job. Screw school. Go learn on your own.”

Sensational? Maybe. But, how many times have we heard this? It’s great. I love the attitude of seizing the day and doing something productive with your life. If that works for you, by all means go do it. I applaud you - stop reading now and go do it.


For the rest of us, keep reading. I received a 4 year degree and know that I wouldn’t be the designer or person I am today without it. …

Things I’ve learned & observed while working at a company that’s hired 130+ people in 4 years.

I’ve had the pleasure of working at a rapidly changing startup since 2011 (BoomTown), coming on board as employee #38. Things have changed, teams have formed, products have shipped - These are few things I’ve learned & observed, in no particular order.

  1. Change is the only constant
    Everything can and will change. Teams will grow, products will shift, roadmaps will be scrapped, desks will move, people will be hired, fired, promoted & demoted. Change, is the only thing that stays.
  2. Hire for culture first This is a huge one for us at BoomTown. We have culture interviews for every candidate…

My realizations after spending 3 days in a room with 400 of the best real estate agents & brokers at BoomTown Unite (#btunite).


A big theme was educating the consumer on housing and the current market. A big point of contention with design is also educating clients on why design is important and how crucial of a role it plays in their business and success of it. Think about how educating your clients or potential clients could build your own brand. …

Future-proof, responsive, customizable & brandable™

Long awaited were the days when we didn’t have to take down the servers to push a design or code update. At BoomTown, part of the journey was reimagining where we could go.

A blank canvas

The current product design was born in 2007. Fast forward to 2011 —and we had found the site to be very outdated. Sure, it went through various tweaks, bug fixes and improvements along the way, but nothing as massive as a redesign. The conversion rates and time on site were very positive. Users were using it, so the big question we asked ourselves was, why a redesign?

Written in 2011 for FuelYourCreativity

Art is subjective. We’re constantly trying to validate our work in the eyes of our peers, clients and our industry. With such subjectivity comes great responsibility. Our industry is littered with bad designs, horrible practice and a general mis-understanding of what exactly we do. The great thing is: you, me, the guy in room 4B, the new guy, the kid in college struggling with his typography, the seasoned vet who is world renowned we can all change the outlook of the industry

Constructive criticism has all but died in our industry. With instant likes, favorites…

A concept for more information on the road-way when braking

The taillight - They’re 1,000s different styles. Some are tall, some are short, some are ugly and some are stylish. At their core it’s all basically the same regardless of how awesome the form factor is. Some have a turn signal, some have a reverse light they all have redlights. A simple off and on.

Taillight: A red light at the rear of a motor vehicle, train, or bicycle.

Typical on/off function of a taillight

A Quest for More

Instead of a basic on off, I’ve proposed a solution that actually gives you information on what the vehicles infront and around you are doing. In some of my near bumper…

But, that’s ok

Being a designer in a highly refined world has a way distracting you with great work. With sites like dribbble & behance showcasing amazing designers from across the globe — working on never ending fantastic projects, it’s easy to think to yourself “My project isn’t glamorous enough to share”.

Design isn’t always glamorous.

Subtle details are the backbone of great projects. Not all of these details are “portfolio quality”. Creating individual files for icons, retouching photos, thinking through interaction states, creating pattern libraries, testing multiple browsers, worrying about software updates, project managing… You get the picture. …

A mantra

It’s hard to define what makes us get up in the morning. High quality, badass, stellar, awesome, “the best” and other words we quantify our projects with are intangible… When someone asks “Why do you create things?” Is it for the rush of shipping a project? Or is it the fact that we’re making something better, with our bare hands & brains to communicate a concept?

I’m not sure.

Here’s some tangibles on what an awesome project entails when I look back at it:

It took 365 hours to make.

You hated it, loved it, hated it and loved it…

Chad Engle

Designer, Maker of Things | Design Director @GoDaddy

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