I'm John, from gloomy Melbourne, Australia.
I’ve been a Designer since 2009, amongst other things.
That's all you need to know. Read no further if you're actually considering working with me.
My journey into tech was born out of fun and pain. I grew up in the PS2 era, so naturally, armed with Tony Hawks, GTA and Jak & Daxter, I found religion at a young age. I was quite devoted. In fact, my worship was often met with my bible being taken away from me. Alas, I also grew up in the Win 95 - Vista and dial-up era. I had 99 problems, and learning how download Pamela Anderson’s Playboy cover discography via Limewire, on a sub 30kbps connection, then burn the files onto a CD and clear any traces before the sun rose — not to mention trying not to infect my aunty and uncles PC with a 'trojan', whatever the hell that was — were some of my problems. You can imagine my pain.
As the years went on, my pain grew. My new, shitty ~$500 Windows Vista infected laptop that my mum slaved to buy me, seemed like it was spawned by Bill Gates & Steve Ballmer just to torment me. I know I found religion at a young age, but Jesus Christ. Aside from death and taxes, if one thing is true, it's that when you're poor, 13 years old and try to boost the performance of your PC by messing with Regedit one too many times, you either set yourself up for a career in IT, or lay your circuits to rest. It was at this age I became a techno-masochist.
After becoming Certified by Microsoft (informally) for troubleshooting, formatting and the volume installation of Windows, it was all gravy. From sneaking a cmd script onto my friends computer-illiterate dads PC, that triggered when he opened IE and posed as a stalker, informing him he was being watched and his son is in danger (we all got a good laugh out of this); to cracking the neighbours Wi-Fi using a dictionary hack, fuelled by an Xbox addiction that had our household modem unplugged and banned; to having my cousin teach me HTML&CSS at cafe's, while driving us around our hometown in the Dandenong Ranges, searching for where Julian Assange lived; to learning how to Photoshop late passes and the signatures of my overlords, this whole computer thing seemed full of possibility.
Fast forward a few years and I started tinkering with games. Mainly editing .ini and .dll files to downgrade graphics below the minimum settings, to get >30fps. Times were rough. Then I got into modding GTA:SA: replacing textures with my own, editing save files and stats. This led me into learning some 3d-modelling, replacing models with my own and messing around with some OpenGL & C++. As that was well above my pay-grade — and as a huge fan of Newgrounds at the time — I started decompiling Flash files and learning ActionScript; making my own versions of existing games. This continued for many years and I started attempting to re-create games I loved, such as AoE, C&C, CoD Zombies, and eventually went on to study a Bachelor in Game Design, with a partial scholarship. I bailed before graduation as I had a good opportunity at a startup, and rode that wave for almost 4 years. I learned a hell of a lot and really dialled in my design skills. I did another few years at agencies thereafter, working across a range of roles.
From 2014 - 2018, I ran a supplement manufacturing company called Hapi [formerly Noots], in the cognitive-enhancement field (Nootropics). We were amongst the first to do this in Australia, at the time. It didn't work out and almost broke me, but it was once again an invaluable stepping stone, and a great introduction to the field of science.
My last official role was as the General Manager & Senior Product Designer of SOURCE, a boutique Product Development agency in Melbourne. GM meaning GM-in-training, and GM in training meaning glorified BD-Manager. I grew a lot in this role, exposed and worked on several blindspots, as well as became a bit more mature in the process.
What about now? Well, as of writing, I'm focused on designing and building Webflow sites, on a freelance-basis. I currently manage this ecommerce website, freelance at Superseed Ventures (part of Reece), freelance at Tapestry (ML stuff), and contract for Reground (waste-reduction) occasionally.
I'm also writing a workbook, dubbed the 'Get Your Shit Together Starter Pack', which I've been working on for over two years. I spend a lot of time reading, analysing and summarising studies. Naturally, it's about self-development, but at the same time, it is a parody and critique of the loathsome self-development industry, life-coaches, spiritual-gurus, hustle-culture, pop-influencers and religious-ideology. I've tried to write it in a Hunter S / Chuck Palahniuk / George Carlin style. I sort of describe it as a self-development guide for 20-somethings, laced with satirical-humour and a rock-n-roll flare, to make the dry scientific concepts more approachable and engaging. I am very much writing this for myself. This has been a very rewarding pursuit so far.
And more recently (>mid 2022), as my ADHD-brain reaches novelty-plateaus quite ofter and seeks its new obsession, I've come full circle and started designing a game. Though this is a low-priority right now, the timing feels right. It's going to be a short Psychedelic-Western adventure game, based loosely on the Acid-Western sub-genre, combined with my love for Sergio Leone's Spaghetti-Westerns. I'm particularly motivated by the freedom to create whatever I want — to create a game I want to play — without the overbearing restrictions of many large game studios these days; studios who seem more concerned with appealing to as many people as possible while trying to offend nobody, raking in enormous profits from pay-to-play micro-transactions, resulting in games designed by creatively bankrupt MBA-squares, not actual gamers. That's my view, anyway.
To view a full breakdown of my roles and experience over the years, scroll down or click here.
That's me. 🤘
What I'm working on
Currently I’m focusing on the social enterprise world. The projects I’m taking on are progressively with NFP's and more conscious private companies.
Other than contract work, I’m working on an Effective Altruism charity and personal-development tool, to help support various causes to do with reforestation, mental health, animal well being and finding a little purpose amongst the gloom.
I also have a new found passion for gardening, carpentry and off-grid living! A big project of mine at the moment is becoming fully self-sufficient and reducing my footprint. Lots of digging, which is keeping me fit!
Tech Entrepreneurship Nanodegree
2015 - 2015
Swinburne University of Technology
Associate Degree: Entrepreneurship & Innovation
2013 - 2014
Swinburne University of Technology
Bachelor's Degree: Games & Interactivity / Digital Media
2011 - 2013
Swinburne University of Technology
Diploma: Digital Media
2010 - 2011
Various short-courses in UX/UI Design, HTML/CSS