DesignThinkers: Robert Wong

Robert Wong's presentation was my favourite presentation; his was mix of personal story and professional fulfillment. His keynote was "Crap I Think About At Google: 50 mins of random thoughts about life, love, work, happiness, HTML5, and a better world through creativity." To label anything Wong is doing at Google 'crap' is a completely inappropriate (but in keeping with the crass language that most of the keynote speakers enjoyed delivering). Executive Creator at Google Creative Labs, his job description seems quite open to whatever he wants to make of it. When Google came calling to hire him, he likened the experience to a spaceship landing in his backyard… he couldn't not go in and see where it took him.

He spoke of "highjacking the 7 trillion", a reference to the amount of money spent globally on marketing and advertising. At Google, Wong has the ability to harness a nice chunk of those funds and channel them to worthwhile endeavours—projects that promote art, community, awareness—while promoting the Google vision. The journey with Google has yielded some amazing work, which I will share here in links and video.

Some points from Wong's presentation:

  • job = necessary to feed your family
  • career = feeds your ego
  • calling = feeds your soul by giving job, meaning and delight
  • what does a better world look like? look at a 3 meter radius around yourself and start there
  • happy wife = happy life
  • 5:1 formula for a happy marriage (5 good things for every negative)
  • the element of surprise (S!) is the secret cheater formula, increasing the points in a positive action
  • S! = (empathy + creativity) divided by expectations
  • use the tools available to us as designers (photoshop, web, etc) to mockup the future
  • you will be happy in your work when you help someone or delight someone

Wong used the video spots to great emotional effect; when his talk ended one could hear the sounds of rustling kleenexes and sniffling noses.

Google Art Project

Chrome Experiments (requires Google's browser Chrome)

It Gets Better

Google Chrome ad

Google Chrome ad that aired during the Superbowl