Introducing our Design Director, Tom Underwood
What are some highlights from your professional background?
- I’ve had the pleasure of working with some incredibly talented teams. These people have been kind enough to let me play in their sandboxes and I’m a better person for it. Awards come and go, and they are nice, but the people are always the highlight for me.
Why was Crowdz a match for you?
- A majority of my experience has been with start-ups so I’m used to the fast pace, the chaos, CEOs under pressure, the ever-changing landscape. But most of all I’m addicted to the idea of incubating new ideas and creating something entirely new. The innovative vibe of a start-up is like nothing else.
What’s your role?
- With all my past companies I went in with a mixed bag of tricks but would soon be requisitioned by R&D or engineering or marketing or as running special projects for executive management. Originally, I came on as a creative resource but have since shifted into more product design…I think CFO might be next.
What are some of the hats you wear (known or unknown)?
- Product design
- Creative direction
- UI/UX design
Why were you interested in working with Crowdz?
- Actually didn’t know what Crowdz was initially…Kevin Hopkins needed some help with an oddly spelled crowd buying application. They needed a pair of outside eyes to look things over and help refine what they had developed so far.
What makes Crowdz unique?
- We’re pioneering new territory. The idea of invoice auctions isn’t new, however, technology has advanced to a point that it makes the auction more of a tantalizing prospect. There’s also the chance to do something that has some longevity. I look back on the companies I have worked for and most of what was developed is now obsolete. Tech has a very short lifespan, we aim to be an exception.
What is the future for Crowdz
- World domination…obviously.
What’s one fun fact we don’t know about you?
- I lived on the Navajo reservation for a couple of years and can speak a little lingo…very little…
If you could choose anyone as your mentor, who would you pick?
- O wow…maybe Jony Ive, ex-Apple Chief Design Officer
What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?
- Scuba diving cleaning boat bottoms
If you could learn anything what would it be?
- To drum-like Neil Peart
What is the first concert you attended?
- Blood, Sweat, and Tears with David Clayton Thomas…super loud
If you have 30-minutes of free time how do you pass the time?
- I don’t even know what that is….
Anything to add that might be interesting:
Originally started out as a California Registered Landscape Architect and worked on some very cool projects. The largest private Japanese garden in California, The 4 acre Naiman Center. The rooftop gardens at the Jakarta Hyatt Regency. Also Isuzu Corporate Headquarters, Pioneer Electronics, Singer/Songwriter Jewel’s corporate retreat as well as the Del Mar Country Club and Rancho Santa Fe Farms Golf Club.
During a downturn in the building industry and the need for my talents as an architect, a colleague, Kevin Hopkins, invited me on board to do some visual design work for a company called Creative Learning Systems, an educational environment design company. There I cut my chops on digital video production with blue and green screens, animation, UI interface design for robotics, animatronics, and remote camera control as well as crafting marketing and learning content. I was also involved in designing corporate training environments down to the furnishings.
My time at CLS provided a springboard into the world of tech start-ups where I got to work on Affinity Marketing platforms, Mobile media apps, mobile interfaces, online applications, music players. One of my favorites was working for Brickfish where I worked to develop a UGC powered campaign platform where brands could harness the creativity of the masses. One such campaign asked consumers to design a bag for Coach. The winning design was produced by Coach and sold nation-wide. But what’s cool is that I also got to create campaigns for:
Austrian Tourist Office
Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign
Car & Driver Cargill
Cord Blood Registry
DIY Food Network
Dr Dre beats
Earnst & Young
Exel Realty Trust
Gym Class Heros
Hotel Park City
Jack in the Box
Lord & Taylor
Man vs Food
Marvel – X-men
Mazda Speed 3
Montreal Visitors Bureau
Mother Nature Network
Norwegian Cruise Lines
New York Times
Old El Paso
Price Waterhouse Cooper
Procter & Gamble
Silk Soy Milk
T Boone Pickens
There North Face
Tractor Supply Company
I then was stolen away by Gloto Corp. who was developing an ad generating platform where interactive ads could be composed and published in minutes rather than days. We took a very complex technology made it simple enough so entry-level staff could, on their own, successfully create and publish ads in multiple formats in minutes. We used this platform in-house to build interactive ads for:
And then Crowdz happened…
For more with Tom Underwood watch our team video 5 Questions with the Crowdz Team.