Timeouts are lightning-quick interviews, questions to help you get to know the players holding court at Dribbble. To celebrate our fifth, we at Dribbble are sitting in the Timeout seat. Today: Susanna Baird.
Who are you? Let us know where you hail from and what you do.
I’m Susanna Baird from Salem, Massachusetts. I work half-time at Dribbble, writing and helping all of you amazing Meetup organizers. When not at Dribbble I write a lot, read a lot, mother a lot, and toil as a reluctant and barely acceptable housewife.
How’d you land at Dribbble?
When Rich and I moved to Salem in 2004, he informed me a celebrity named Dan Cederholm lived and worked in Salem. I said, “Yeah, a celebrity in your universe, maybe.” (Sorry Dan. I’ve now seen the way people throng around you at Meetups. Rich was right.) We met through our kids in 2006 and have been friends ever since.
Before kids, I wrote for magazines and newspapers. After kids, I picked up freelance gigs, including a yearlong stint with AOL News. In 2013 Dan and Rich asked if I’d like to do a little writing for them. I kicked off with a series about Irish designers, then launched the Weekly Replay, and the job grew from there.
What are you working on?
We recently launched a series called Moonlighting, about designers who spend a significant amount of time on non-design pursuits. I have several Spaced pieces in the works. (Teaser: Hoodlums and a hip music venue in Spokane). A new “Design For ______” series will kick off this fall, exploring design considerations and approaches for particular industries (e.g. education, nonprofit, professional sports, wine, comic books).
I’m a writer, through-and-through. When I go to an art museum, I head straight for the little blurb next to the picture, then step back and take a look. Instead of trying to write for Dribbble as the design expert I’m not, I approach Dribbble as a community full of interesting people who design. With the blog, I want to create a regional lifestyle magazine, wherein Dribbble is the region and the many, many varieties of design being practiced are the lifestyle. That last sentence only partially makes sense, but hopefully you get what I’m saying.
On the Meetup side, with the help of our sponsor Shopify, we (you!) hosted 50 Meetups in 12 countries the first half of this year and I got to attend my first (thank you, Raizlabs!). We just launched a partnership with the National Poster Retrospecticus, whereby we view their shows as atypical Meetups, a chance for you to gather in a new way while supporting a great effort and taking in some exceptional poster art.
We’re always looking for creative ways to bring Dribbblers togethers, so if you have ideas, please send me a note.
Tell us about your setup.
I use a MacBook Air, two Gameplan Notebooks, and a blue Bic pen, medium point. I have yet to pimp my desk, so will share a photo of my favorite office feature: our gable-end fanlight. (I didn’t know it was called a gable-end fanlight until I wrote the first Spaced.)
The fanlight looks out over Derby Square, home of the Salem Farmers’ Market and to a recent political rally, which Dan and Rich and I watched from three stories up while standing on the arms and back of the couch under the fanlight.
Choose a favorite shot from another player. Tell us why you dig it.
Every time I ask a Timeout subject to answer this question, they moan and groan. “Don’t make us pick just one!” they whine. Now I get it. Whine.
I’m going to pick three.
Looking at Lea Vervoort’s Grandpa makes me remember what it felt like to be young and at the same time, anticipate what it feels like to be old. I’m 43 and I often want to fly away. In 40 years, I’m hoping for wings.
Axel Hermann’s Project on the Moon WIP is an education. Not only is he showing me how he’s working, he’s made an effort to explain in his comments. I love when you all do this.
When I started working for Dribbble, I never expected to feel part of the community, but I do. I’m lucky because my two jobs, writing about you and helping you coordinate Meetups, allow me to interact with you in a positive way. You all are really nice to me, and a lot of you crack me up. (Making me laugh is the fastest way to my heart.)
Most recently, I had a great time working with Keith Frankel, Richie Stewart, and Kirk Wallace on Creative Mornings Boston. Kirk’s recent participation in a Meetup Playoff, during which he printed out his Dribbble avatar and taped it to the Analog Playoff form, made me laugh. Here is Kirk, as imagined by Kirk, for a talk by Kirk, with slides by Kirk.
(Commercial Break: Richie is speaking at the next Creative Mornings Boston, coming up next Friday. Go, Boston, Go!)