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What's currently your favorite site/project? Google Earth!

What's so great about it? I'm a simpleton. I can't get enough of Google Earth...I have wanderlust...and this is a great way to satiate it. Seriously, I believe this is one of many great metaphors for visualizing the Web and connecting people. It satisfies the way I always wanted to surf the Web...now I can truly stroll through the streets of some exotic destination, sample the local cuisine, gaze upon a beautiful vista, watch a locally produced documentary, etc.

It may connect people in ways that we have not yet dreamed of. It takes design where I want it to go, beyond page decoration and into the complex solutions that can change the world. And that is what it's all about: changing the world, not licensing it.

What makes it technically compelling? It's more like what makes it technically daunting. I can't imagine the next steps Google may have to take to give the user access to real time imagery (or closer to real time). I think the world will need to become a kinder gentler place before that happens, but I can dream.

How would you improve it? Or would you? Ensure quality co-creation of content available for a diverse world. Don't commercialize it to the point of turning-off the user base, but make money so it will continue to be successful.

What's your job? I'm a design strategist (at the Institute of Design we called it design planner) at Meta4 Design, Inc. in Chicago.

If you have a degree in what field is it? I received a bachelor's in finance from Michigan State University I am also fortunate to have a Masters of Design Methods from the Institute of Design at IIT (founded by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy of the Bauhaus).   

How did you get involved in this industry? I have always gravitated toward problem-solving and aesthetics. I need to solve problems that can help change lives; design has the power to do that. So I guess you could say, the industry found me.

What's your biggest Web (design) turn-off? Arrogance.

Who, in this industry (or not), has been your biggest inspiration? Ross Lovegrove. Not that he is directly connected to my profession, but I am inspired by his passion.

What's the weirdest thing you've bought online? A rubber blowfish to hang on my nanny's rear view mirror.

What do you do in your spare time? Enjoy the presence of my four children; play my guitar (Heritage 157 with Fender Hot Rod amp); travel; attempt to stay out of trouble; keep up with friends. Sometimes I switch up the order.

What music are you listening to right now? Jagged by The Old 97's.

What product/gadget can you not live without? A white board. OK, fine, my cell. No, make that my MacBook Pro. Damn it! Don't take any of them from me!

What's your dream computer set-up? Twenty of the latest generation MacBook Pros (with maxed out RAM) coupled with the biggest damn monitors they can support along with twelve hotshot designers and eight geeked-out programmers to make those systems sing! (The geeks can bring along their PCs for testing if they want.) Twenty because I need to build big projects and I design through others ["Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood..." Daniel Burnham]. In the end, I know that it doesn't matter what you have on your desk, unless you have a rock star to play it, you will end up with crap!

Endlessly fascinated by the nuances of the companies he works with, Douglas Wills of Meta4 Design believes that designers are in an enviable position of being able to learn about a diverse group of industries.

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