Kelly Franznick is the type of person who can spend his vacation working on a stop-motion animation projects, and his spare time hanging out in a used computer store. In other words, as we celebrate Geek Pride Day, he’s the perfect person to feature as our latest Geek of the Week.
Continue reading for his answers to our questionnaire, including his technology tips and his thoughts about the most important tech trend on the horizon.
Name: Kelly Franznick
Job, hobby and/or other geeky pursuit: Founder and CEO of Blink, a user experience research and design firm.
Coolest thing about what you do: Being part of helping make new technology easy to for people to use. At Blink, we get to work with some of the latest technology and smartest folks in the industry.
What does it mean to you to be a geek? I recently listened to Kevin Poulsen (Senior Editor at Wired News) say in an interview that “There’s nothing in technology you can’t pick up on your own if you apply yourself to it.” I think that this really captures the spirit of geek.
Geekiest thing you’ve accomplished, built or worn: I once spent far too many hours of my vacation doing stop motion animation with a friend and our kids. It was one of those projects that the kids were interested in for about 30 minutes, but my friend and I became obsessed. We rigged up a green-screen and used the hotel lamps as makeshift studio lighting. The software for doing this (iStopMotion from Boinx) is really slick and easy.
Your best geek tip or trick for managing everyday work and life: I delete items from my inbox, I never empty my trash. This gives me a great searchable archive of all of my old email. I’ve looked at setting up a single click action that would file my mail instead of deleting it, but can’t get this to work as universally across mobile, web, client, etc.
Mac, Windows or Linux? I use both PC and Mac laptops for work and personal use. I’ve tried to be on one machine, but always come back to using one of each for what they are best at.
Kirk, Picard, Janeway or Sisko? What, no Pike? I’d have to go with Kirk.
Transporter, Time Machine or Cloak of Invisibility? Transporter – this probably says something about my ferry commute and my trips over the 520 bridge.
If someone gave me $1 million to launch a startup, I would … probably hire my brother. We exchange phone calls with startup ideas about once a week. We have a two ideas that might have legs and I’d love to see if that is true.
I once waited in line for … Most recently it was an iPad 2. We were working on a project for it and I was anxious to get my hands on the camera capabilities.
Your geek role models (And why?): Douglas Engelbart. He is most widely known for inventing the computer mouse, but was also one of the first to demonstrate concepts for things like hypertext, video conferencing, and word processing. He has had a huge impact on user experience.
Greatest Game In History: Tempest. I love the game and there is something about the crispness of the vector display it uses.
Best Gadget Ever: I’m really impressed with the iPod Touch. For $200 you have a video camera, video conferencing device, email client, web browser, and game platform. I can even remote in to servers at work.
First computer: My first PC was an IBM PC (8088 with dual floppy drives). I still remember the hard-bound user manuals that came with it. I probably held on to it too long – I remember trying to upgrade it to a 386sx.
Current phone: iPhone 4
Favorite app: Rhapsody on the iPhone. I like the ability to pull up nearly anything on my phone and listen to it.
Favorite cause: Lately, because of budget cuts in Washington State, I’ve been doing a lot to help support and fundraise for the public schools here.
Most important technology of 2011: It has to be the tablet. I think we are still trying to understand how users will use their tablets and where the use boundaries are between smartphones, tablets, PCs, and other devices.
Most important technology of 2015: Near field communication. Hopefully this will happen before 2015, but I think we’ll see not just in-person transactions with mobile phones, but also a crop of smart devices and objects that use NFC.
Words of advice for your fellow geeks: Do not fear new technology, but also remember that you are not the typical end-user.
Geek of the Week is a regular feature profiling the characters of the Pacific Northwest technology community. See the Geek of the Week archive for more.
Do you or someone you know deserve this distinguished honor? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.