Growing up outside in the Australian sun, while I liked sport and also had a strong passion for music and art. I did a music degree at university but ended up with a career as a designer.
Taken with my iPhone with a clip on macro lens
I grew up in Adelaide and studied for a degree in music performance at the Adelaide University Elder Conservatorium of Music where I spent much of my time within the confines of the electronic music studio designing and composing for public audiences. In this time I also worked part time for FADS (Franklin Advertising and Design Studio) where I cut my teeth on brochures and display advertising. I have been working with tools such as Illustrator since version 1.1, Photoshop Beta and QuarkXpress 2.0.
The first version of Illustrator that I was able to get my hands on
On a move to Sydney a started my own studio "Tonant Design Imperium" where I serviced contracts with Unilever Australia, Simplot and Campbell foods. The Tonant offices were within the complex of one of the Unilever subsidiaries – Florafoods. As such my team and I worked very closely with their marketeers developing packaging systems and promotional campaigns over a number of years. In this time my appreciation for brand wealth and the importance communicating brand value clearly and consistently was fine tuned.
Many of the designs I implemented for the food service market both here in Australia and New Zealand are strong brands today – Frytol, SPD, Chefade, Vegitol, Spreadrite and Master Craftsman to name but a few. On top of local brand development my company also managed the packaging artwork for international brands such as Flora, Robert Timms, Rosella, Liptonice, Continental.
Probably my most successful packaging design
Into my fourth year running Tonant Design Imperium I started to move toward electronic products as I saw the packing companies start to employ there own designers and computer operators. Initially this took the form of CD ROM development using Macromedia Director (then under the brand MacroMind) and desktop video products using Adobe AfterEffects and Premier.
With the emergence of DV and the purchase of a Firewire card and RAID drive my team and I were producing promotional video products as a sideline to our bread and butter packaging business. At this time the processing power available to me was by current standards tiny and rendering times were calculated in weeks. Pre-planning was essential for any chance of delivering to schedule – storyboards and animatics were an important part of our standard processes.
Yours truly pitching desktop video services on the small screen
Excited about the internet boom and looking for a change after seven years working with essentially the same people and brands, I dissolved Tonant and contracted to the Bigpond Web Hosting division within Telstra as a user interface designer. At Telstra still Australia’s no.1 telecommunications provider I designed and implemented the presentation logic for their web hosting self service system. From here I jumped to Praxa in Melbourne where I designed and implemented interfaces for applications based on the Windows Media Streaming kit.
My next role was with edocs – a Boston based software company which sold EBPP (electronic bill presentment and payment) solutions. My first implementation was in Australia where I helped design the interface and implement OLBS (online billing system) at Telstra.
The majority of my work was focused on facilitating requirements gathering for customer self service (CSS) implementations. Some of my recent client engagements have been with Vodafone (UK), Avaya (USA), Sempra (USA), Cingular (USA), AT&T (USA), Portugal Telecom (Portugal) and Sprint PCS (USA). Finally my role for edocs changed to that of a troubleshooter to fix problem implementations both from a development and customer relationship perspective, my work at Avaya and Sempra was in this capacity.
No longer in existence but I remember this logo appearing in films at the time
On the purchase of edocs by Siebel systems I was moved into the Siebel architecture group and given the task at looking at ways to increase the efficiency of the development process from a UI perspective. In this short time with Siebel (before they were in turn purchased by Oracle) I wrote a number of white papers discussing the integration of RIA (rich internet application) technologies, UI methodologies and reviewed the OnDemand product line against its competitors.
After the purchase of Siebel by Oracle I moved across into the AppUX group. After ten year working primarily on Supply Chain Management applications I was let go when the AppUX group contracted to include only US and India based team members. It was a year before I got my next role. I spent a lot of that time making videos for Bizztube.
One of my TV commercials for Bizztube
While at edocs I met Mike Massaro in London where we were both stationed for a few months to implement ebilling at British Telecom. Mike reached out to me to see if I was interested in helping improve the payment experience at the company where he was CEO. I was soon on a jet to Boston working for Flywire. At Flywire I was introduced to contemporary product management culture and agile product development processes things I discovered were given only lip service at Oracle.
The company let go 25% of “Flymates” in May 2020 as part of Covid 19 downsizing. Sadly I was part of this, however on a more positive note the company went public a year later making the options I had exercised rather valuable. It’s true what they say, working for Flywire is not a job it’s an adventure. I traveled extensively during my time with the company, learnt and did so much and am left with many great memories. My wardrobe to this day still comprises many high quality swag items from this tenure :)
Mike Massaro delivering a post IPO press conference