Revision Path

292: Melvin Hale

Episode Summary

Melvin Hale may say he's "a regular guy who beat the odds," but with twenty years of design experience and a decade of design leadership under his belt, he's so much more than regular. We started off talking about Melvin's current work at Facebook, and quickly went on to a look back at his time growing up in Vallejo, going to college in the South, and his journey as a designer through the ad agency world before ending up in Silicon Valley. Melvin also shared tips on how he builds creative teams, spoke on some of his career influences, and even talked about whether or not his kids want to follow in his footsteps. Give this week's episode a listen and learn more about Melvin!

Episode Notes

Melvin Hale may say he's "a regular guy who beat the odds," but with twenty years of design experience and a decade of design leadership under his belt, he's so much more than regular.

We started off talking about Melvin's current work at Facebook, and quickly went on to a look back at his time growing up in Vallejo, going to college in the South, and his journey as a designer through the ad agency world before ending up in Silicon Valley. Melvin also shared tips on how he builds creative teams, spoke on some of his career influences, and even talked about whether or not his kids want to follow in his footsteps. Give this week's episode a listen and learn more about Melvin!

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Revision Path is a Glitch Media Network podcast, and is produced by Deanna Testa and edited by Keisha “TK” Dutes.

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Episode Transcription

Maurice Cherry: All right, so tell us who you are and what you do.

Melvin Hale: Hey there. My name is Melvin Hale. I am a product designer at Facebook. Been here for a short while. Previous to that, I was design lead on Google Maps and spent a little time on YouTube, as well. Been in the design industry for quite a while and live in beautiful, sunny California.

Maurice Cherry: Now I have to ask about Facebook. Well one, they're a sponsor of the show, and we've had product designers from Facebook on the show before, as well. But I'm curious with you kind of just being there in this new capacity, what's it like for you? Especially coming from the history that you have. What is it like working at a company like Facebook?

Melvin Hale: It's refreshing. I never charted this out in my career. Even landing at Google was never in the charts, it was never a plan. It was all going with what the universe said, "This is where you need to be." And I remember coming here and seeing the team and meeting the different design leads and directors, it felt like home. And contrary to what people might read in the news, and there's been some negative press, there are a group of passionate individuals here that are trying their best to do right by the user, do right by consumers and the experience to make sure that it is all cohesive and that we are transparent and that the platform is delightful to use.

Melvin Hale: That's the number one thing I love about being here. The design is integral to the platform. Everything that we do here revolves around good quality design, excellent execution, and well thought out ideas.

Maurice Cherry: Now aside from it being that kind of refreshing change in terms of what you've just spoken on, how is it different from some of the other places that you've worked, particularly out there in the valley? How has it been different?

Melvin Hale: The biggest difference I can definitely say is the emphasis on design. Facebook is not engineering-led. There is a heavy emphasis put on design and execution and the quality in craft. Those elements make up the bedrock of the experience here at Facebook. If you're looking for a company that's more driven by engineering and capabilities and utility, that's not necessarily Facebook. Facebook's goal is to push the boundaries of what is possible in design and stretch engineering to push and make new things. So it's fascinating to see what's being done here.

Melvin Hale: You can look back in the past at Paper, when that first launched. And in order to make that product a success, they built a prototyping tool to help bring that concept to life. Now while Paper no longer exists, that prototyping tool has evolved into a very powerful tool to use within the organization and outside. The company is always pushing the envelope, and I find that fascinating.

Maurice Cherry: Very cool. Very cool. So you're out in Sunnyvale right now, but you're also originally from California, is that right? From a little bit further south, is that right?

Melvin Hale: Yeah, well actually further north, yes.

Maurice Cherry: Oh further north? Oh, that's right. You're in Sunnyvale, you're from Vallejo.

Melvin Hale: Yeah, the V-A-double L-E-J-O.

Maurice Cherry: I'm familiar with it. I spent the summer in San Francisco when I was like 19 and I think we went all up and down the bay. So I've heard about Vallejo, but why don't you describe Vallejo for the audience. What was it like for you growing up there.

Melvin Hale: Oh, man. Vallejo set the tone for what I believed America could be, or what I thought America was, which was a melting pot of cultures and working class, middle class Americans doing their thing. And it didn't matter your race or gender or anything, as long as you were down, no one really cared. I had friends from all walks of life and we had a great time. A great time growing up. And to this day, I'm still friends with a lot of those folks. Even after I left around 17 [inaudible 00:04:45] 20-odd or more years later, but to say I was from there, to say that yeah, I went to school with [inaudible 00:04:52], he was a senior exiting as I was coming in. It's amazing to be a part of that history. The school we went to no longer exists anymore. The town has changed quite a bit. Not necessarily for the better, but it has changed. But it's a great, small, quaint town with beautiful modern homes. It's nice. I love Vallejo.

Maurice Cherry: So while you were growing up, I'm curious to know when did you kind of first get this spark that design was something that you wanted to do for a living?

Melvin Hale: It never really hit when I was growing up. I didn't notice what I wanted to do. In fact, I thought I wanted to be a rapper. And that was my goal. Because everyone around me was rapping. In art class, I sat next to this guy, Jamal Rocker, aka [inaudible 00:05:44], and he had an album, dropped several and still dropping albums. So I figured I guess that's what I had to do next. The unfortunate thing is, I was terrible at it. I was terrible. So that quickly dried up. So past that, I didn't know what to do with my skills in drawing or illustration. I didn't know that was a career I could take. And it took many years for me to get to the point of deciding oh, design is where I want to be at. And that wasn't until my early 20s. It took a while.

Melvin Hale: But I saw everything in between. And I think that's what has helped in my career. And I'm deviating a little bit, but just I didn't pick up design until much later, but all the jobs that I had prior to that, in the service industry I was a 411 operator for a while, I valeted cars, I worked in construction, I did all of these different jobs so that when I finally said I'm gonna commit myself to the corporate life and then eventually into design and then learning more about design and teaching myself how to code and teaching myself what is a good grid layout, that transformed me. So I kept this humble nature, but was always hungry and always hustling to keep moving down that line. And that's led me to where I am today. And I've found that spark was ignited once I discovered the design industry. It was like, oh, there's so much I could do with this and there's so many ways I could take this.

Maurice Cherry: Well also, I think, back then there just weren't really a whole ton of resources. Not like there are right now with courses and bootcamps and stuff like that. A lot of stuff you really had to teach yourself. You had to reverse engineer whatever you saw on the web and try to figure out how it works so you could recreate that.

Melvin Hale: Man, exactly. That is 100% true. Trying to figure out how ... mouse trails were a big deal in the 2000s, so trying to figure out [inaudible 00:07:48]. Flash intros. How do they do this? How do they make these vector objects? And how is it moving across the screen? There were no books. It was okay, well let me just start writing code. And that's where it all began.

Melvin Hale: It was fascinating to just be a part of the beginning of all of this. So yeah, being here now and seeing the transformation of design and what it means to be in this industry and how much more resources are available to up-and-coming designers is absolutely remarkable. And it's amazing to see.

Maurice Cherry: Now one thing I always thought that was interesting when I was doing my research is that you went to Oakwood, which I don't know if a lot of people are familiar with Oakwood. I'm familiar with Oakwood because I'm from Alabama. But what was the journey for you going all the way from Vallejo, California, to Huntsville, Alabama, where Oakwood is?

Melvin Hale: Yeah, enter to learn, depart to serve. So I grew up [inaudible 00:08:51]. My father was a pastor, my uncle was a pastor, my grandfather was a pastor, and I grew up in the [inaudible 00:08:58] Church, and while my parents weren't exactly strict with our schooling or what schools we went to, we always went to public schools and never, ever went to a private Christian school, it was always public. They were adamant that we would be in church every sabbath to get our life right. So when I left high school, when I graduated, my mother, she put me out, she's like, "Look, you're gonna get your act together because you're getting in too much trouble." I mean literally like the Fresh Prince of Bel Aire, she sent me to my aunt and uncle in Atlanta who were doing really well, where I had a cousin there. He had been going to Pine Forge and all the [inaudible 00:09:45] schools, and was going to Oakwood. And so they said, "Hey, we got connections at Oakwood, we'll get you in there," and within days, I was accepted into Oakwood and started my journey into chemical engineering for my first year of study.

Maurice Cherry: Is that what you ended up graduating with? Or did you change your course of study?

Melvin Hale: Oh, no. Okay, so now the story gets interesting. GPA skyrocketed, got on the Dean's list, was doing great. And then through the National, I can't remember what it's called, but it's like Black Engineers, or something.

Maurice Cherry: Oh, NSB, National Society of Black Engineers?

Melvin Hale: Yes. I had an opportunity to interview for an internship at NASA. And went there, interviewed, went really well. But during the interview process, as I'm talking to them, I was asking about schooling and what it would take, and they were like, "Oh, yeah, after doing seven years here, then you'll move on to this and you can do an apprenticeship," and all this other stuff. It would take years, like almost a decade before I would even make like 70,000. I was like, this is hell. There is no way I'm doing that. I could be a truck driver and make more money. So I'm gonna change my degree.

Melvin Hale: So I decided to try commercial art my second year. And there was no, again, there was no digital design. It was all just strictly photography and layout and color theory, the part of that program. Mid way through that second year, though, my grandfather got sick and my grandmother called me from Vallejo and said, "Hey, grandpa's sick. No one in the family's helping. I don't know what to do." And immediately, I said, "You know what? I'll be there." I dropped everything, left school, took care of my grandfather for the next seven months. And when I passed, I figured I'd missed too much school, so just started working.

Maurice Cherry: Oh, wow.

Melvin Hale: So never really graduated. Just was on the right track, was doing the right things, then life happened. So then there was this lull for a couple of years before kind of got a break to get into PR at Cartoon Network. And from there, kept studying design and then got a bigger break at IBM working under [inaudible 00:12:08], who is still there to this day, which is unbelievable. And he said my portfolio was terrible and it's the worst work he's seen, but he liked the hunger and gave me an opportunity. And in fact, I sat in his office. So he had this giant desk that he had removed and set up two desks so that I could sit right next to him and learn the ropes. It was amazing.

Maurice Cherry: Wow. Like a real apprenticeship.

Melvin Hale: Yeah. It was amazing. It was amazing.

Maurice Cherry: What did those sort of early moments of your career teach you?

Melvin Hale: I think the biggest thing that that taught me was two things. The answer will always be no if you never ask. Two, give people a chance. So oftentimes, when I'm mentoring young designers that are getting into the game, or when I'm talking to ...

Melvin Hale: Young designers that are getting into the game. Or, when I'm talking to designers on my team about expectations of their role, and what they should be doing, or how they can grow. You know, I'm always looking at opportunities to help them along, or to put them under my wing and surfer them along. Even when people might say; Hey, they're not ready for this. Or; This work doesn't look that great. I'm always trying to give people a chance.

Melvin Hale: Because, that's all it took for me. And, maybe in the moment that I'm with them, I can help them, and propel them through to the next phase of their career. Or, even in that moment of just saying; Yeah, I'll help you out. Even if they choose to move on, or maybe they don't stay with me or whatever. But, just being able to give them a chance is the biggest thing. And then, encouraging them to always try.

Melvin Hale: Don't worry about the skill set that you have, because if you're worried about what somebody might think, yeah, you're not gonna get the job. But, if you say; Hey, I think I can do this. I really believe I can do this, and I wanna try my best at it. If you just give me a chance, I can grow. So, those two elements. The one, never stop asking. Never stop hustling. And the other, as a lead, as you move up that line, as you rise up, reach back. Help people out. Pull them along.

Maurice Cherry: Yeah. So, from what I've seen from, you know, again, doing research about you, you've worked pretty much across, I feel like, the spectrum of what one can do with design. You've worked in corporate design. You had your own studio for a while. You worked at Agency Life. Now, you're working at some of the top tech companies in the world. When you look back at your career across all this, what do you wish you would've known when you started?

Melvin Hale: The power of staying put.

Maurice Cherry: Okay.

Melvin Hale: You know, there's beauty in saying, I've done it all. But, that comes at a price. Right? And then, had I planted roots and stayed put at a few places, maybe my career would be in a different place. Maybe my skillset would be in a different place. But, because I was hungry, because I started out with this idea of, I can do anything. And, I just wanted to try everything and taste everything. My career was a buffet of options.

Melvin Hale: I could go to startup, I could go to corporate, I could do this. It just felt so exciting, so, I just kept doing that. If I could tell myself, my 20 year old self, now; Hey. I would tell myself; Look, just ride this out for a little while. Stay another couple of years. See what happens here, versus jumping around. That's definitely what I'd say. But, it was an amazing journey, for sure.

Maurice Cherry: It's interesting that you mention that, because I'm recalling, actually, a conversation I just had with a previous guest, who mentioned that, right when he got out of school, he ended up working for a place, and he stayed put for a while. I think he said he stayed put there for about six years, which, in the design industry, staying at one place for six years is pretty much a lifetime when you think about how fast things move in technology and stuff. But, he mentioned, I think you know that, he felt like he was growing, but not stretching. If that makes any sense.

Melvin Hale: That makes sense.

Maurice Cherry: Like, he was getting better and more proficient in the work, but didn't feel like he was really challenging himself. And then, eventually ended up moving on. But, one thing that I hear about, particularly, when it comes to Millennials is about job hopping. You work at one place for a few months, and then, another place for a year and some change. And then, you work somewhere else.

Maurice Cherry: And, the perception is that, the person can't be tied down. Or, they can't have any sort of, I guess, stability with being at one place for too long, because they're always looking for the next best thing. And so, it was interesting when you said that you wish you would've stayed put for a while. Because, I almost feel like, the fact that you were able to go to so many places has been such an advantage for you. You were able to see design from many different facets, and many different types of experiences.

Melvin Hale: Yeah, that's true. There are levels to it. I was, for sure, in my 20s to think, and anybody in their 20s, if you're listening, if you're in your 20s and early 30s, jump. Move around as much as possible. But, as you start hitting your mid-30s, start riding it out a little while. Give it two, three years before moving into the next phase. So, as you get later into your 30s and moving into your 40s, you should be fairly settled by that point.

Melvin Hale: Whereas, I was moving around quite a bit, still trying to figure out where I wanted to be. Still trying to figure out what made sense. So, yeah, I wouldn't say, stay there for ever, to your point of the previous guest. Right out of school, and staying at a place for six years, that's a long time. With that being said, Julie's out. She's here. She leads Creative here at Facebook. And, she was an intern right out of college, and has been here for 12, 13, 14 years.

Melvin Hale: So, it depends on how invested you are, and where you wanna take that. So, six years on one hand, the other part of me says; Stay a little bit. Move as necessary. But, don't chase money. That, I will definitely say. Don't chase money.

Maurice Cherry: Don't chase money.

Melvin Hale: Ever.

Maurice Cherry: I mean, I think certainly, yeah, well, actually, no. Elaborate on that a little bit more, because one thing that I know people are trying to do when they make these job hops, or go from position to position, is so they can level themselves up. Not just in their career, but also, just to make more money.

Melvin Hale: Sure. I think that, the biggest drawback to that is, if you had stayed at a place for three years and showed your competency, shown the impact that you can make within an organization, continue to grow inside an organization, that pays in dividends over time. Versus, having to job hop to get that, because, you're resetting every time you job hop. That's one of the biggest challenges.

Melvin Hale: The other side of that is just, a little tidbit of knowledge my mother gave me, which was, if you always chase the money, you will forever be lost. So, I see people doing that now. They're trying all types of get rich quick schemes or; Well, if I just do this and make a little more here. They might consider that hustling. But, it's almost like they're addicted to the game, and not really settling in and saying; This is what I can do with my career and myself, or where I wanna take this.

Melvin Hale: And so, there's more money to be made staying put and showing impact versus job hopping all over the place. Because, that lends itself to credibility. The longer you stay in there with the troops, the more that people will see that you're invested in making something right. And, especially during those hard times. Especially when it's not ideal, and the organization is changing, and people are coming and going. If they can see you as that rock, again, that will pay out in dividends in the long run, more than it would if you were to go somewhere else.

Maurice Cherry: What's the most memorable place where you've worked?

Melvin Hale: Honestly, RGA.

Maurice Cherry: Okay.

Melvin Hale: RGA is a game changer for me, and it still remains that.

Maurice Cherry: How so?

Melvin Hale: During a time when everybody was focused on simply making websites, simply making these one-off experiences, they were building platforms of integrated ideas. It wasn't just; Here's a landing page. Here's a launch site. It was these massive integrated campaigns and product launches all wrapped into one. And, it was beautiful to see that, because it wasn't just; We're launching this one thing, and then moving on to the next client.

Melvin Hale: It was; No. This is going to be a several years long engagement that means building a product, a physical product that can track where you're running, and report that back to an App on your computer or your phone, and do all these different things. It was an amazing experience to see a company take the learnings from the early days of print to movie production, to doing graphics and special effects for movies.

Melvin Hale: And then, taking that into the digital space, and then turning that into this much broader product thing, was amazing. Because, no one was doing that at the time. No one was doing that.

Maurice Cherry: Sounds like they really sort of pioneered that. Because, I feel like, that's something a lot of companies do, whether it's an advertising agency, or even maybe a company like Facebook.

Melvin Hale: Oh, yeah. They're doing it now, for sure. But, back in 2006, 7, 8, no one was doing that. Facebook was just getting off the ground. And, here is [Bob Greenburg 00:22:02] saying; Hey, we should be thinking about platforms and building these larger integrated systems. I worked on projects for HBO as a great example, HBO on broadband. That product lasted for eight years before it was redesigned. And, even in their redesign, they still use features and components, and gestures that we created back in 2007. So, it wasn't a game changing experience for me.

Maurice Cherry: So, Melvin, throughout your career, I'm sure you probably not only worked on teams, but also built teams, led teams, etc... How do you ensure when you're building teams, that you're also keeping diversity in mind?

Melvin Hale: Great question. That is always top of mind for myself. So, as a African American male, who started out in this industry, pretty much on his own. And, without seeing anyone else that looked like him, except for two other brothers, [John Ferguson 00:23:03] and [Chris Hayes 00:23:04], who worked with me at IBM. Past that, I didn't see anybody else in this industry.

Melvin Hale: So, one of the things I look for when I'm looking at candidates' resumes is, I intentionally reach out to the community that I'm from. So, my network runs pretty deep with a plethora of minorities, men and women in the industry. So, I reach out to them and say; Hey, I'm looking designers to fill roles within my organization. So, it's always top of the mind. Always top of the mind.

Melvin Hale: But, it goes back to what I was saying earlier about giving people a chance. Oftentimes, many of these folks won't get that chance. Where someone else might, they might not, simply because of the color of their skin. Simply because they are a woman. And, I've made it my mission to make sure I give them a chance.

Maurice Cherry: So, even as you're building these teams and reaching back and, of course, bringing people up to the level where you're at, it's good that you're keeping in mind that diversity is something that is important, especially as you go between different types of companies. Because, I would imagine, there are a lot of the conversation around diversity. And, tech seems to mostly be at big tech companies.

Maurice Cherry: But, you really don't hear about that in the advertising space, although, certainly, there is a lot in the advertising spaces that relates to that level of inequity. But, you don't hear those same kinds of conversations. Maybe they're not as vocal as they are in tech.

Melvin Hale: I think the advertising agency is far more open to, come as you are. As long as the work is dope, no one cares what you look like. You can come in every day in a giraffe suit. As long as you're in picture perfect with your designs, as long as your code is crisp and clean, and doesn't take up weight, and doesn't slow down the machine, do whatever you want. It doesn't matter. I think that the challenge in big tech is, it grew from a place of, and I gotta be careful how I say this. But, it grew from a place of bro-culture. And, bro-culture breeds bro-culture. And, it just keeps growing and growing.

Maurice Cherry: But, that's fair though. Yeah, that's fair to say.

Melvin Hale: And so, it's that, where, it's not necessarily like that in agencies. I mean, don't get me wrong, there's still a good ole boy, bro-culture in some agency environments. But, they understood far sooner than the tech world that, diversity is what makes the world go round. When you're going to pitch clients in Atlanta, or New York, or Chicago, or Boise, Idaho, or even overseas. To show up with a team full of just one race or one gender, is not a good look.

Melvin Hale: ... gender is not a good look. Right? I think agencies quickly understood, now granted, I have no evidence to support this, no actual data. This is all male science. I think they understood that rather quickly that having a diverse team means you can have the best output. It's a good look to show up into a meeting with women as creative directors, black men and women as design leads or design directors, it shows the breadth of the organization. They're taking input and ideas from all sides, and all cultures ,and different walks of life. It means a lot to clients these days. I don't know why it's taken them so long to figure this out.

Maurice Cherry: I feel like it's taken so long because the people in tech don't want to give up the power that they've accrued so quickly. Really, the tech industry has boomed. The browsers wars were the mid-90s or so, so we're talking about what? About 25-30ish years of tech really ruling the roost in that respect. A lot of these people that have come up in the power very quickly, which is different from other industries where power is gained, I think, very slowly unless you're rich. I just don't think they want to give it up because if they have to look and see what's on the other side of it, they know that there's that much there outside of the privilege that's been afforded to them through working through big tech.

Melvin Hale: That's a great observation.

Maurice Cherry: Who are some of your influences?

Melvin Hale: Good one. It's hard to say. I look to a lot of the people around me. One of the directors here, Dantley Davis, is amazing. I look to him for guidance and advice. Chip Gross, he's out there in Atlanta. There's all the design beacons of the past. It's one thing to see that, and it's another to see the people in your life doing amazing. Jabari Adeesa is another one. Albert, as you mentioned earlier, seeing how he's grown. I look to them and see the paths that they're creating, right, oftentimes forging new ground. Tim Allen is a great example of that.

Maurice Cherry: At Microsoft. Right?

Melvin Hale: Yes. He is amazing. Watching all these amazing talented individuals, people of color doing things that 10 years were unthinkable is inspiring. I look to them as guiding lights. Okay, they're out there forging a path. I can do the same.

Maurice Cherry: Who are some of the mentors that have helped you out along the way throughout your career?

Melvin Hale: Quite a few actually. Surprisingly, a lot of women. I've gravitated to a lot of creative female leads that have really pushed me in the right direction. Colesta Fieria is one. She's over at Google right now. She was a creative director at R/GA for many years before moving around and leading different teams at Makerbot. Don't they do the 3D printer I think?

Maurice Cherry: Yeah. Makerbot.

Melvin Hale: Then, she led a team there. Then she went to Facebook. She's been at Google. She was at Google for a while, then left, and went right back. She's there now. Chris Keiger is another one. Corinna Rawley. They have done a lot to help grow my career as a designer and position. A lot of times I've worked underneath all of the them and seeing like, "Wow. My boss is a executive director." A woman that's four feet tall, and she's totally bad ass. This is amazing. They can identify with the struggle being a woman lead, and working in this industry, and knowing that potentially they're not getting paid as their male counterparts, potentially not being taken as seriously as their male counterparts. They understand the struggle of being a minority in this game. I've had many a truthful conversation, an honest conversation with each of them about that. They're amazing. They've been amazing mentors over the years. To this day, to this day, they'll reach out to them for advice.

Maurice Cherry: Among all of the things that you've done in your career, you're also a husband and a father. Do you kids want to follow in your footsteps and become a designer like dad?

Melvin Hale: I don't know. I don't see them doing anything that I do which is great. I'm actually glad to see that. All the kids want to draw. My oldest, my daughter Isabella was the last child, but now this third child, Matthew, are both prolific artists. Matthew likes drawing comics, and he'll take up pages after pages drawing Pana. Amazing comics, and he's only nine. It's incredible what he does. My daughter is really good at drawing animated characters somehow. She's picking up Japanese from it. It's incredible. Then, there's my other son, Elijah, He's trying to figure out what gets in between all that. He's very studious with school. He has desires of one day being a police officer. That's his words. I don't think they, I try not to bring work home. I try not to do design stuff around them. I let them see the fruits of it, the trips we'll take, or new clothes, new shoes, games, stuff like that, but never any of the designs. I've never let them see me jump into Sketch or Photoshop or all this other stuff.

Melvin Hale: Figure out what works for you in life and be successful at that. You don't have to do what Daddy does. You don't have to make the money that Daddy makes either. That doesn't mean success. Success is what you're happy with and what brings you joy. Whatever it is that makes you happy, I'm in full support of. That's what the kids know.

Maurice Cherry: Where do you see design going in the future? I feel like you have such a unique vantage point with where you're at right now. Not just in your career, but just from where you've come from as well. Where do you see this industry going in the future?

Melvin Hale: This is going to sound crazy, but I think a lot of it, that's because I'm crazy, but I think a lot of it's going to be automated. You're seeing, just the other day I saw a demo of someone just loosely drawing an couple of shapes in Sketch. Then, using machine learning and AI, it made a beautiful image, a photo realistic image. There are sites like This is Not a Real Person, This is Not a Real Apartment Listing, This is Not a Real Dog, I think that's the other one. There are so many versions of these things where machine learning is taking over and building environments, and worlds, and creating things. At some point we're going to get to a place where building advertisements and campaigns are going to be just, "Well I want to make a campaign like this," and a computer can do it using machine learning. There will always be somebody at the helm guiding the overall, I guess, design strategy in marketing. Even then, that can be solved with algorithms. I know that we have dudes that we have presenting it.

Maurice Cherry: Basically, there's not going to be any more humans in design essentially.

Melvin Hale: We will all be consumers of product and engaged in it. I think what that means is design will eventually become, well it might be generated, but it will become democratized where I can control my own environment. I can define the kind of ads and style of ads I want to see beyond just saying, "Show me more or less." That's where I see it headed. I think at some point this will just become an automated thing. We'll just be consuming all this great information, and can be in more control of our lives, or less. I think the days of sitting behind a computer and pushing pixels in Sketch or Photoshop, I'm saying they're numbered as in a few years, but I can see it wrapping up in the future for sure. I know it sounds crazy.

Maurice Cherry: No. I was going to say speaking of the future, I was just going to ask you, "Where do you see yourself in the future?" In the next five years or so, what kind of work would you like to be doing?

Melvin Hale: I would like to be on a beach in Cuba selling seashells to the boats. I don't know. I have let the winds of chance and fate drive a lot of what I do. All I do is point the ship in a direction and say, "I want to try for this thing, and then see what happens next." Right now I'm at Facebook, and I'm enjoying it. I'm writing it out. I'm trying to build beautiful things and experiences for users and I'm loving it. I'll see what happens next.

Maurice Cherry: Okay. Just to wrap things up here, where can our audience find out more about you and about your work online.

Melvin Hale: Sure. I don't broadcast a lot of my information online, but you can certainly go to my website. It's You can start there. I do have an Instagram. One is private, but one is public, and it's all about cars. It's haleyeah.mby, or you can find me on LinkedIn, Melvin Hale on LinkedIn.

Maurice Cherry: All right. Sounds good. Well, Melvin Hale, I want to thank you so much for coming on the show. I know we didn't have a ton of time to talk, but I really am glad that you were able to tell your story about where you came from and how you got to where you are right now. I think it's important certainly for our audience to know that there's more than one way to get into design, more than one way to get into tech. Where you start out is not necessarily where you'll end up. I think it's really important to also communicate that being yourself, and having that hustle, and that drive will get you far as long as you apply it correctly. I certainly think that's been the case with your career. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I appreciate it.

Melvin Hale: Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it Maurice.