Although he has a degree in business administration, and his first job was in sales, Leon Papkoff, he began his multimedia career as a Flash developer at a small ad agency. He adapted well to the industry and eventually founded Design Reactor with his business partner in 1997.
Strong Visuals, Technical Expertise and Adobe Products
What site do you look at every day? On most days I look at the Adobe Site of the Day Showcase.
What's the subject/topic of it? It covers virtually every industry, from entertainment and technology to consumer sites. Viewing the featured projects really starts to open up my mind to think about the different ways that companies can communicate digitally. I would never copy them, but I think about ways that we might be able to take a showcased idea and somehow change it up and take it to the next level. Its inspiring to see what some of the best designers and communicators of the world are doing.
What's so great about it? The sites come from all over the world, so there's a range of talents from technical innovation to really amazing design advancements. I can also track where the Fortune 500 are willing to push the envelope when it comes to marketing and communicating digitally. It allows me to understand how liberal some of those companies are and which ones might benefit from our services (we've found that our values couple well with companies that are on the bleeding-edge and willing to push the envelope when it comes to communicating).
What makes it work technically? They have a fairly good search engine that works well, but it definitely could use a bit more sophistication.
How would you improve it? Or would you? I would start tagging the sites they showcase based upon industry, technology, verticals and maybe by type of communication. For example, thought leadership vs. marketing vs. advertising; it would be really valuable for visitors to be able to do searches based on those tags. Since a lot of people also use the site to monitor new technology and design advances, I think Adobe should make it easier to find specific types of material. It may allow visitors to find more examples of what they are trying to do and actually learn and develop better ideas.
What's your job? I'm one of the founders, and CEO, of Design Reactor in Campbell, California. I help lead the creative and technical advancements and innovations for the company.
If you have a degree in what field is it? I have a degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing and management.
How did you get involved in this industry? I was forced at gunpoint. Kidding. I started at a small ad agency, but I started out as a Flash developer. Although I have a business education and my first job was in sales, I adapted well to the position I'm in currently (one minute I'm a business-minded CEO and the next, I'm helping push the envelope when it comes to design and technology).
What's your biggest Web (design) turn-off? Excessive, poorly edited content. I think that the Web is going to fundamentally change over the next few years where companies are going to realize that less content makes things simpler. It's a bit ironic actually, because people developed the Web to communicate better, but it's gotten to the point where there's so much content that it's difficult to find anything. Fortunately, the use of metrics and traffic reports are changing the way people think when building their sites; couple that with significant advancements in UI, video communications, audio and animation and users will begin spending more time on simpler more streamlined sites.
Who, in this industry (or not), has been your biggest inspiration? Steve Jobs, because of his vision and his impact on the industry. He decides when the market is in search of a product and creates the product to fill the need. His vision and his timing are impeccable.
What's the weirdest thing you've bought online? Socks.
What do you do in your spare time? I watch movies, play video games and, I can't seem to get away from surfing the Web to keep tabs on how people communicate.
What music are you listening to right now? Classic rock.
What product/gadget can you not live without? Unfortunately, my PDA.
What's your dream computer set-up? An HP gaming machine with an AMD Athlon™-based processor.