Posts tagged brad
People Who Make Things on the Internet

[Hi friends, I'm passing the blog baton to Brad for this one.] At the beginning of October, Sara & I went to New York City. This was my first time in NYC and my first time at Brooklyn Beta.

We went with our good friends Hannah & Perry along with their son Jude. We split our time in New York between the conference and exploring. Sara asked me to share a bit about the conference.

If you're wondering what Brooklyn Beta is, I've conveniently grabbed the description from their site:

Brooklyn Beta is a friendly web conference aimed at the “work hard and be nice to people” crowd — some of the friendliest web designers, developers, and practitioners around.

Our goal is to inspire you to make something you love, something that makes a difference. We invite speakers to highlight meaningful problems that need our help, get all the people who can turn an idea into reality in one place, and try our best to make it happen.

I found that Brooklyn Beta is about people and stories more than it is about design. Don't get me wrong, we listened to CEOs and founders from companies like Etsy, Airbnb, and Squarespace, but it was more than that. It was a gathering of people who make things on the internet, some of whom I knew, some I recognized, and others I got to know.

Prior to the main event, I went to talks by Squarespace,, and Facebook. I learned about arduino, user testing, and how products fail. There were many happy hours. We helped make 600 paper airplanes at the Invisible Dog. We toured the Studiomates/Creative Morning HQ/Tattly Offices. Good times.

Friday's event was excellent. All of the speakers shared their experiences and told wonderful stories. I left more inspired than when I had arrived.

Brooklyn Beta Take Aways: (Mostly from Tim O'Reilly)

  • Work on stuff that matters. Work on what is hard.
  • Create more value than you capture.
  • Writing creates context in which other people can think.
  • You can leave anything out, as long as you know what it is. —Ernest Hemmingway
  • Change happens slowly, then all at once.

NYC Take Aways:

  • NYC is huge. Subways are a perfect way to get around if you are exploring.
  • The Natural History Museum is amazing!
  • Birch Coffee is so good. I wish it were in Seattle!
  • Dumbo and Williamsburg are where it's at.
  • The architecture in NYC is mind blowing. There is a scale to the buildings and an insane amount of detail that you just don't see anywhere else.
  • LaGuardia airport sucks.

If you want to meet people who care about what they do and why they do it, I recommend going to Brooklyn Beta. I know I'll be there next year.

Interview: Brad

Next up in our ongoing interview series is my favorite person on the face of the Earth! He's quiet, bearded, and married to me. It's Brad McNally, our co-founder!

Q: What is your role at Constellation?
I am co founder of Constellation & Co. I am not as involved with the day to day, but I am diligently working on the new website and constantly thinking of new products. I am also the secret Art Director.

Q: Tell us about your day job. How are the two companies & roles similar or different?
I am the Lead Designer at BELIEF, a creative agency in Seattle Washington. I work on branding, packaging, web, and mobile projects. At BELIEF, I work with my art director & creative director to create story-centered work for clients and am responsible for design solutions from concept to completion. At Constellation, Sara handles all client work and almost all of the product design (I jump in for some secret art direction.) Currently, this allows me to focus on the site redesign and brainstorming new products with her. I'll occasionally design some of those products!

Q: You're a digital & web guy - how has Constellation & letterpress changed how you work?
I think any modern designer's mind explodes once they start physically setting type and leading and kerning go from concept to practice. In some ways it has reinforced my obsession with clean and simple type. I think the web is always trying to achieve the level of design and control that the print medium provides, so it's great to have an outlet to explore that kind of stuff. I'm excited about the new Constellation & Co. about page, it's going to be rad.

Q: What's it like, working with your wife & mother in law?
It's a trap! Just kidding. It is really great working with family. Sara's parents ran a successful business in Florida, so it's great to be able to pick their brains and learn from them. While Sara manages the day to day of Constellation, I'm still able to come and submit my 2¢. Initial critiques are always scary when two people come at the problem with different ideas or solutions, but we battle it out, and in the end the ideas are always stronger.

Q: What's your favorite place to eat in Seattle (and why)?
I love everything from Bitterroot in Ballard. They have amazing BBQ and drink.

Q: What's your favorite place to shop in Seattle (and why)?
I'd spend all of my money at E. Smith Mercantile in Pioneer Square if given the chance. I dig anything vintage/craft, and their selection is on point.

Q: What are a few of your favorite apps right now?
I have a few apps that I use daily. 

VSCO Cam: The best photo editing/film emulation app, you can check out my grid → I post alot of things to instagram as well →

Rdio: A music subscription service similar to Spotify. In my opinion, Rdio's mobile app is the best designed app out there. They nailed the details where iOS7 falls short.

Fog of World: This app shows you how much of the world you have explored by using your GPS. As you travel around, the map slowly reveals where you've explored. I've currently explored 0.000000430500924% of the world!

I could write a whole blogpost about iOS games. 

(And maybe we'll talk him into doing that!)