This week, I sat down with Samuel Green -- a product designer at Airbus Aerial in Atlanta, GA and a visual artist. Samuel is also the owner of Studio Mobius, which they call "a small creative group composed of like-minded humans who think differently." Samuel's trajectory hasn't been a conventional one, but that didn't stop them from achieving their goals. If anything this proves that there is a multitude of different paths for people to take to get to their destination. Our chat covered many interesting topics including impostor syndrome, higher education, and creating a design directive in a very engineering-based environment. Give this episode a listen if you want to hear an insightful point of view on the future of design and how to carve out space for yourself in this competitive industry.
This week, I sat down with Samuel Green -- a product designer at Airbus Aerial in Atlanta, GA and a visual artist. Samuel is also the owner of Studio Mobius, which they call "a small creative group composed of like-minded humans who think differently." Samuel's trajectory hasn't been a conventional one, but that didn't stop them from achieving their goals. If anything this proves that there is a multitude of different paths for people to take to get to their destination.
Our chat covered many interesting topics including impostor syndrome, higher education, and creating a design directive in a very engineering-based environment. Give this episode a listen if you want to hear an insightful point of view on the future of design and how to carve out space for yourself in this competitive industry.
Revision Path is a Glitch Media Network podcast, and is produced by Deanna Testa and edited by Brittani Brown.
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Maurice: All right. Tell us who you are and what you do.
Samuel Green: My name is Samuel Green and I am a product designer and artist.
Maurice: Now, you were referred by someone else whom we've had on the show, actually, I don't know, maybe about 10 or so episodes ago, Dexter Ferguson, who is a designer at Airbus Aerial. You're at Airbus Aerial also. Is that right?
Samuel Green: That's right.
Maurice: How long have you been there?
Samuel Green: Two years.
Maurice: What's it been like?
Samuel Green: It's been very challenging, but in a good way. Yeah, it's been a lot of learning.
Maurice: What kind of stuff do you work on?
Samuel Green: I work on a software that allows companies to acquire imagery and analytics based off of the imagery. Then, that information helps them down the line with making decisions.
Maurice: Can you elaborate on that or is that top secret? It sounded kind of top secret the way you mentioned like, "We do things that do this."
Samuel Green: No, for sure, I can elaborate. Basically what we do is we have a suite of two main products. The first product essentially is like a data library, right? The data that we house in that library predominantly deals with aerial imagery and geospatial data, so essentially taking photographs of the earth from high up and then making maps out of that imagery. What we then do is we take that imagery and then we run it through a series of either machine learning algorithms or some kind of geospatial algorithm that basically pulls out various bits of information about the land and features of that geographic area.
We can look at things like, for example, using color infrared photography or RGB photography, we can look at the health of a forest. We can look at the extent of burn damage from a fire. We can look at flooding levels, the amount of sediment in water, the health of vegetation, agriculture and crops, things like that. We can basically overlay that data on top of the photographic map in the portal and give our customers information about that particular geographic area of interest. Through that particular portal, they can also order the imagery as well. The second product is a piece of software that ties into the ordering piece of the first product, right?
Basically what this product does is it's all about managing and connecting our customers with people who can acquire the imagery data they seek. Essentially the way we do that is we provide three levels of resolution: drone, which is the highest resolution imagery data, manned aircraft, which is the second highest resolution, and then satellite, which is the lowest resolution, but the largest geographic spread. Basically the second product in our suite essentially allows us to determine based on information given to us by our customer what kind of imagery we need to deliver and what the timeframe is for that delivery.
Maurice: As you're mentioning that, what I'm thinking in my mind, of course, is just like GPS and maps. I was actually reading something today. There was a study that said that GPS outage would cost $1 billion a day. When you think about so many things that use GPS not just Lyft or Uber drivers, but Google Maps or other things that use satellite positioning, that's amazing. Is that sort of data what you end up working with or supply to companies?
Samuel Green: Yeah, that's pretty incredible. Not exactly, but we do use some GPS data when it comes to collecting imagery like in a drone collection, right? It's kind of related, but basically in order for the photographs that we take to match up with the actual position of that area in geographic space, we do use GPS and a few other techniques in the process of what's called orthorectification. All that is is really stitching together a bunch of photographs and then placing it on a 2D map. GPS is involved to actually a large degree. Yeah. If GPS went out, we would have a hard time doing that. It's very difficult.
Maurice: When I was... Geez, this might have been at least 20 years ago or so, but I remember when I was interning for NASA. One of the things that we were working on was putting together this cylindrical coordinate system for something called SOFIA, S-O-F-I-A, which was this large I want to say like a jumbo liner or something like a huge airplane that had a hole cut in it with a telescope. We were working on the cylindrical system for that telescope. The plane basically just flew the world. I think it hovered in the troposphere or ionosphere, whatever sphere, one of the spheres.
I don't know, but it will hover up there and it would get great imagery that was sort of more precise in a way than satellite because satellites were, of course, outside of the earth's orbit. But then it was I guess not as precise. I think this was probably before drone footage may have existed. I'm not sure. This was in the like late '90s, early 2000s or something. That reminds me of that as you were mentioning all of that. That initially came to mind.
Samuel Green: Yeah. Yeah. Some of the accuracy like just thinking about taking satellite photos, there's a lot of stuff that goes into that. One of the things I learned about was just like the fact that we had a photograph the atmosphere and there's something you got to consider, right? If taking a satellite photo, what's the angle of the satellite as compared to the surface of the earth, right? Basically the more perpendicular the satellite camera lens is to the surface of the earth, the more accurate your photo is going to be when you stitch it together.
Yeah. It's like there's all kinds of weird stuff you got to think about, but it's pretty amazing technology. I feel pretty privileged to be actually learning about this stuff.
Maurice: What would you say is unique about working there?
Samuel Green: That's a good question. Probably the fact that we are dealing with extracting this kind of invisible data about the earth from photographs. There is an incredible amount of information already at our fingertips via mapping software like Google Earth and Google Maps and Waze and all this other stuff. It's really interesting to see that taken to it's like most technical extreme, right? Now we're extracting what's the health of this forest based on the amount of green in the photograph? Are these flood waters we're looking at or is this just a regular river system based on the amount of sediment present in the water? It's just like all this invisible data that lives around us that we don't...
All this invisible information that we don't really realize is there I think is probably incredible and a pretty unique opportunity to get to see that on a daily basis.
Maurice: How did you find out about Airbus Aerial?
Samuel Green: I was actually in between jobs and one of my friends who was also a designer that I worked with had just accepted a job at another company, but Airbus had hit him up and they were looking for a designer. He declined, but pointed them in my direction and interviewed with the chief software architect and eventually the president of the company. It was still a really small company at that point in time. I met with the lead web developer and one of the UAS specialist and interviewed well. From there, the rest is history.
Maurice: How did you end up like approaching new projects at work? I would imagine like you say you're extracting all this invisible data, you're probably looking at a lot of numbers and statistics everyday. When a new project comes up, how do you approach that?
Samuel Green: I mean to be honest, we're still nailing down our process.
Samuel Green: The company itself has been around for two years. We're still in a lot of ways trying to figure out how to approach each new project honestly. But I think one of the things that has worked for us on a regular basis or that's worked for us on multiple occasions is just really trying to stop and understand like what the crux of the problem is, right? Each project from my perspective is a problem to be solved for a particular group of people. We spend as much time as we can really just trying to dissect and kind of discern what is the actual... What's the crux of the problem here, right? That goes back to the five why's, right? Just keep asking why. Why is this a problem?
We start there. We're still trying to figure out how design sprints fit into the organization, but we basically do a bit of an abbreviated design sprint where after we kind of have an idea of what the actual brief is, we start trying to ideate around the solution. That could basically be... What we've been doing so far is we have a small group that gets together. Once we figured out the requirements for the project, business requirements, then we start kind of together and trying to work through what's the workflow, what's the basic functional workflow to get this piece of functionality off the ground.
Once we've determined what the functional workflow is, we then go into a deeper ideation phase where we start thinking about the form that it'll take. That basically is just a bunch of rough sketches and a few wire frame prototypes. Then from there, we just kind of take into the kind of I guess more high fidelity design phase.
Maurice: Can you give me an example of a project because I'm trying to I guess see... Given this data that you're pulling, I'm wondering like what is the type of project that you would be doing with Airbus?
Samuel Green: We had this idea to... We work with mostly other companies, right? Actually that's all we work with is other companies. We have this data. We have this photography. There's a lot of data in it. Some of the data that we're pulling out, for example, is just what is the vegetation health, right? There've been a lot of wildfires lately. We've been trying to assist in the recovery effort for wildlife. For us, one of the things that we're doing is we had an idea for basically taking the locations of customers, like insurance policy holders, right, taking their data, their locations, and then essentially fusing that data with an analytic we created based off of a satellite photo.
This analytic was basically called a burn area analysis. The burn area analysis, all that does is it really just combines color infrared photos and RGB photos to give you a sense of what has been burned and what has not. We then take that information and we create a layer on the map that acts as an overlay that our insurance customers can use to kind of get a sense as to visually what's been destroyed and what's not. Then what they do is they essentially take those two data layers, the customer policy locations and the burn area analysis. They take those two layers and they perform an operation in our system called a fusion analysis.
Essentially that's just a fancy word for saying that we take two database tables, and we join them and we figure out where the overlap is. The goal for that feature, the goal for that product is to basically allow the insurance company to prioritize where they send adjusters and which claims they get to first.
Maurice: It's used kind of in a way like for risk analysis I would imagine.
Samuel Green: It's almost like risk analysis except that risk analysis I think connotes like some sort of preemptive nature to that data, right? Where like you're collecting it for information prior to an incident, right?
Maurice: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Samuel Green: While we would certainly love to get there and that's definitely something we're working on, this is more for after a catastrophic event. How can we help provide situational awareness and coordination efforts to these companies that need to help these people get back on their feet? That's kind of where this project came in is we're looking to help these catastrophic team managers and claims adjusters be more effective at responding to a crisis after it's happened or while it's happening.
Maurice: Okay. What's unique about working at Airbus based on other places that you've worked at?
Samuel Green: I would say probably being a designer and trying to build a design organization within a company that is very engineer driven.
Maurice: What challenges come with that?
Samuel Green: Really I think just like the most basic one of people not really understanding what design is or the place it has in an organization such as ours.
Maurice: Now, are you working on a team when you're doing this or is this just kind of like a solo effort?
Samuel Green: About 50-50. It's been a solo effort for the first year and then we brought on our second designer back in November of 2018. It's been a team effort since then.
Maurice: Okay. Yeah. I mean I think with software engineering companies, it can be very difficult when design is sort of brought in because... I mean I can speak just from experience here at Glitch. We have designers that are... We call them design engineers. Essentially they do design. They can do front end. They can do UX, but then they also know how to implement it. They can code it out. They can do front end, backend. I don't know if that's like full stack... I mean titles are weird anyway, but I don't know the way you have to describe how it is they do what they do and what you would actually call that I should say.
But then we also have very discreet sort of visual design needs. Like we need someone that can design slide decks or that can design one pagers or...
Maurice: Design slide decks or that could design one pagers or we have discreet graphic design needs that are just visual, not engineering related or focused at all.
Samuel Green: Right.
Maurice: And it can be difficult for the non-designers to understand that, to understand that difference. Yes, we need designers that don't code. You don't have to have someone here that has to know how to build out something. And even with Glitch, we have a media department. We also need designers that work with videos. So we need motion graphics. So we might need someone that works with sound. We need a sound designer. Well, we don't need a sound designer, but you know what I mean? There are other design needs that are not something that has to discretely be tied to an engineering task or focus. And I can see how that can be difficult in a software engineering company when everything is about building software.
Samuel Green: Oh yeah. Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, that's the mindset, right? It's like, you want it to be functional. It's a functional mindset versus another kind, and I think that's the issue is that the fundamental misunderstanding about design is that it's not necessarily all about aesthetics, it's about communication.
Maurice: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Samuel Green: So especially when you have a need for someone who is strictly doing the visual design. It can be hard to see the value in that if you're not coming at it from the perspective of, okay, this helps us communicate more effectively about our product or our goal.
Maurice: That's a good way to look at it. That it's not about the aesthetic, it's about communication. I need to ... I should employ that tactic. That's actually really good. So you originally are from Cleveland, Ohio. I actually have a lot of family in Cleveland. Tell me what it was like growing up there. Was design a big part of your childhood and everything?
Samuel Green: Yeah. You know, I honestly don't remember much.
Samuel Green: It was the first 10 years of my life, maybe nine, we moved to Milwaukee when I was a kid. But what I do remember is Cleveland was very snowy. It was very, very cold a lot of the time. I don't know, yeah, design wasn't really a huge part of my childhood, you know? At least not in the traditional sense.
I remember reading stories about other designers and people who were like, oh yeah, you know, I was drawing from the time I could hold a pencil and all this stuff. And I was like, yeah, I liked to doodle a little bit, but I was never that into drawing as a kid. It's weird how I got into design, honestly, when I think about it because my father is a computer scientist. He works primarily on databases. So growing up, my father, he worked at Firstar bank, IBM, DEC, doing database warehousing for all these companies.
And so for me, I always had computers in the house growing up. We had PCs before a lot of people had PCs, before it was really a regular, common occurrence. So I just remember I loved Legos. I love taking apart and building computers. That's probably the first and was formative experience I had as a creator that I can think of.
Maurice: So when did know that, I guess, design was the thing you want to do, since you grew up in sort of ... what it sounds like is you grew up in this very tech positive environment.
Samuel Green: Yeah, yeah I would say probably college, honestly.
Samuel Green: What's interesting, my mother was really into art. She exposed me to an abundance of art styles and film and styles growing up, and I really had no idea what I was being exposed to. But thinking back on my life, as an adult I can see very clearly where a lot of that influence came from. She was my first link to a lot of, oh, those old classic leading man movies with Humphrey Bogart or Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock movies, all that stuff. HG Wells' Time Machine. She really got me into that stuff. So I think without knowing it, she was planting the seed for me in that regard. So I always had a little bit of an affinity for drawing, but I never was someone who did it prolifically as a child, and that didn't really take hold until middle school or high school.
Maurice: Okay. Yeah, I know that a lot of, I guess, education here in the states is like that where as a kid you're drawing, you're finger painting, you're doing all this stuff, and then as you get up there and education go to primary school, secondary school, et cetera, the art stuff just weans off and becomes more of a hobby, I guess. I mean, if you went to a school that had an art program, that's one thing, but it seems to be less and less encouraged the older that you get.
Samuel Green: Yeah, yeah. Which is sad, right? Because none of my schools had a really in depth art program that I went to growing up. And weirdly, it really wasn't until high school, honestly, where I had an amazing art teacher where I really saw just how powerful of a tool drawing and painting could be. And then later on, graphic design.
Maurice: Okay. Well let's get into that. So, you went to Georgia state, when did you move to Atlanta?
Samuel Green: '96.
Maurice: Oh, Olympics. Okay. So you moved right around that time, and you went to Georgia State for design. What was your time like there? Because I know, I'm trying to remember around that time, I know we had Atlanta College of Arts. I think we had the Art Institute of Atlanta.
Samuel Green: Yeah.
Maurice: So you had these sort of discreet design schools where people could go to, and you had Georgia Tech. I don't know how much of a design thing they had outside of perhaps architecture, but what was it like there? What was your time like there at Georgia State?
Samuel Green: Yeah. You know, totally. We had all those schools, Atlanta College of Art, SCAD, all that, you know, I didn't really know what I wanted to do after high school.
Samuel Green: I took a gap year and worked at Publix for a year and that was great. I made some really great friends there. Learned a lot about just how to live as an adult. But it was a lot of soul searching. My first few years there were spent just taking a bunch of different classes. I had a strong interest in anthropology and linguistics. Since middle school I thought I would study sociology. Just a number of different things. I was just trying everything, right? Just trying to soak it all in, because it was just so exciting thing to be, first of all, on my own away from my parents, because I was living downtown off campus at the time.
Maurice: Oh, nice.
Samuel Green: Yeah. Yeah. So I had that taste of freedom, right? So I was just like, oh, give me it all. Give me everything. So yeah, I just went from thing to thing and, I've always been curious about a bunch of different topics so I just tried to satiate that curiosity as much as possible my first few years, and then it wasn't really until I started getting into the drawing and painting classes, I was like, I really love this.
I love especially painting, I love the act of laying down paint, the various textures between oil paints and acrylic and the feeling of dabbing the paint with a brush and experimenting with different application techniques to get different effects of the paint, or just different surfaces and how you would treat the surface, like wood versus canvas versus linen and non-gesso versus gesso, all this stuff. I just fell in love immediately once I started taking those classes.
And so I really just thought I wanted to be a studio artist and go that route, but it wasn't until I took my first graphic design class I was like, oh this is cool. This is cool. It was just that moment for me where a light bulb went off where I was like, okay, so this combines two of the things that I really love the most, communication and language and visual creation, right? It's being able to do like visual art and have it serve a purpose of communicating something was really appealing to me.
So once I had discovered my first graphic design class, I gravitated away from drawing and painting and more into graphic design and learning how to use various tools such as Photoshop and Illustrator.
Maurice: So even back then, it sounds like Georgia State had the ... you had that opportunity to be able to break away from that and go into more computer aided design in a way.
Samuel Green: Oh yeah, absolutely. Georgia State has some really great professors and I honestly would ... a lot of folks don't really think of GSU, per our earlier note, a lot of folks don't really think of GSU when they think of art schools. The Ernest G. Welch School Of Design is not top of mind for a lot of folks when thinking about art or design degrees, but it's a really amazing school. It's got a lot of great professors and I ... and some amazing students.
I don't know, I honestly would consider it one of the best places you could go. And not just because of the art aspect of it, but also because one of the things I loved about being at GSU was that I had the freedom to explore a variety of other topics as well. And I think that really helped inform my growth as a designer and artist.
Maurice: So when did you end up graduating from Georgia State?
Samuel Green: I did not graduate.
Maurice: Oh, okay. You want to talk about that, or?
Samuel Green: Sure, sure, not a problem. Yeah. So basically I was there for a while and unfortunately I ended up, not unfortunately, I just ... I was one of those people that was always a little bit too curious for my own good. I honestly just found it ... I wanted to get out and do stuff. I was like, oh, I love what I'm learning, but I really want to get out there and apply it.
And thankfully I had a friend who was working at the time in the Robinson School of Business on his economics degree and he was like, hey man, we need a webmaster. I know you have experience in building and maintaining websites. Are you interested in doing this? And I was like, yeah, sure, why not? And so basically I started doing that and really I just fell in love with that and met some really great people at that school who had a small business on the side that they were running.
And they were, I guess, impressed enough by my work that they asked me to do some work for them on a freelance basis. And so they were my first freelance clients and did that work. They really loved the work that I did. We had a great relationship that lasted for several years. I grew a lot as a designer, ended up taking on more projects and eventually I was just like, you know, I kind of want to do this full time. So I took a big leap and decided to forego my formal education at the university and just started working as a freelance graphic designer and web designer. That's how it all started.
Maurice: So how was your early career then? I'm curious to know, after you left Georgia State and you wanted to apply it out in the real world. What was that like?
Samuel Green: It wasn't easy. A lot of folks were like, so, when did you graduate? And I would have to say, oh, I didn't graduate and here's why.
Samuel Green: And I always made it a point to ... I never was dishonest about that fact, right? I was very upfront about that fact, to the point of being proud of it to a certain degree.
Samuel Green: I was much younger at that point, also, so. But-
Maurice: That was also, I think, around the time when the whole like, I don't know, I feel like the narrative in tech around being ... I don't want to say a dropout. That's a crass way to put it. But not finishing college was a badge of honor that a lot of entrepreneurs back then wore.
Samuel Green: Exactly. Exactly. I think there were a few Mark Zuckerberg ... did he graduate?
Maurice: I don't know, he probably didn't.
Samuel Green: Yeah, that's also Stanford, but anyway ... But yeah, that is exactly right. It's about that time. It was '07 or '08, and so a lot of the tech luminaries, I guess we can call them, we're still fairly young and college dropouts. So there definitely was that, that played into it. But it was difficult because there were people who did want that degree, right? They wanted to know that you had completed something and that you had started something and you saw it all the way through until the end. So I'll say that for a college degree, is that it definitely shows that you stuck with this course, right? You saw it through.
But I think a lot of folks that I gravitated towards and whom I ended up later working for or with also saw the number of projects that I had done outside of my coursework, and they saw that I had the ability to deliver on my word and that I had the ability to communicate effectively and to collaborate, right? And I think that was the most important piece is knowing that I could work well with others and that I was able to listen and decode people's wants and needs and hopes and fears and distill that down into something that would take the form of what they desired.
I think the biggest takeaway I have from that experience is just going out there and just doing what you felt passionate about and putting your best effort into everything and I think that showed.
Maurice: Well, peaking of doing what you're passionate about, you have a side venture called Studio Mobius. When did you get the idea to start that?
Samuel Green: Yeah, so Studio Mobius. So I started that in 2014 and basically I was working full time at a company and I decided I just wanted to go back into freelance work, and I really just wanted to have a company behind my name to help give my clients a bit more confidence in me as a solo designer. And really, it was just a way for me to make my taxes easier on myself. So it was more of a contracting entity. But eventually that morphed as I went away from freelance design into an outlet for me to do my more creative non-money-making work, right? The work I that didn't really need to do to put food on the table.
Maurice: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Samuel Green: So around 2017 I linked up with some friends who were creative in a number of different fields and decided to transform Studio Mobius from a freelance contracting entity into one that was more geared towards creating audio visual installations.
Maurice: How does Studio Mobius differ from your day to day work?
Samuel Green: Yeah, so this is more-
Maurice: -Studio Mobius differ from your day to day work?
Samuel Green: Yeah. So this is more, Studio Mobius is more ... It's what I don't get to do in my day to day work.
Samuel Green: So it's, you know, like I said, I had formed it with a couple of friends and two of those friends are musicians. One of them produces music, electronic music, and the other one's, he's, he's also a DJ. And the other one's a DJ and producer as well. The other friend is a guy who does visual art, and he is also a videographer and a photographer. So it's very different in that, you know, we produce kind of like these, I guess audio visual installations for music events. And we do a little bit of stage design as well.
So it's really like a lot more of like this ... A lot of what we produce takes place in the physical realm. Although it may start in the digital realm, it eventually makes its way out into the real world or meet space I guess. Whereas a lot of what I do for my day job, the end product is mostly purely digital. So we're looking to create experiences, you know, a better kind of that around you, that are in the space that you exist.
Maurice: Can you talk about what some of these experiences are? I mean, I took a look at the website and I did see a couple of sketches and I saw that you also did some event collaboration stuff.
Samuel Green: So what we end up creating is usually like a blend of projected visuals and like lighting installation for the stage and performance area. So for example, we'll either bring in a DJ or there'll be a DJ who's putting on a show at a venue in Atlanta, and they'll reach out to us. And so essentially what we do is, using a few pieces of software, we'll create visuals either prior to the show or we'll do basically live generated visuals during the show, right? And those visuals will be projected onto a surface.
And then we'll also compliment that with lighting as well. So some of our more simple lighting installations have been just like an LED panel that is reactive to the person in front of it. So we use like infrared sensors and photo electric sensors to kind of detect when there's motion, and it'll transfer that information to lights and it'll light it up. Some of our more, like the visuals aspect, will be realtime generated visuals based on perameters such as the audio coming from the DJ. Or in some circumstances we'll actually use crowd feedback and generate visuals based off of the crowd's movement.
Maurice: What do you think helps fuel these ambitions that you have? 'Cause it does sound like what you're doing in your day job and your night job, two totally different things. If I can call this a night job, I should say. What you're doing with Airbus is very technical with data. What you're doing with Studio Mobius is very creative with visual and light. What do you think helps fuel these ambitions that you have?
Samuel Green: Yeah, yeah. No, Studio Mobius is definitely a night job, for sure. But you know, I think it's really just me and my desire to like express myself to my fullest degree. If I can say that without sounding too haughty or arrogant. But it's just really ... That's who I am as an individual. I love, you know, like I said, I grew up with computers on the one hand, taking them apart, putting them back together again. And I grew up with the love of Art Nouveau in architecture on the other hand. So I feel like these two outlets really allow me to express myself in totality.
At the end of the day though, I think that my grand strategy, if I can call it that, is really to move more towards experience design and interior architecture. I've had a passion for architecture ever since I was a child, and it's something that I've been interested in exploring. And honestly it's been one of my greatest regrets, if I could say that. It's just like not exploring that track further when I was an Undergrad. Not really giving that a chance. So I kind of see Studio Mobius as a way for me to rectify that and kind of get into architecture, kind of like as a backdoor. So starting small with interiors in kind of like, you know, real world experience design, then moving eventually into small scale architecture.
Maurice: Do you have a dream project or anything that you'd love to work on?
Samuel Green: I can't say that I do. I would really just love to ... Honestly no, I can't say I do. Which may sound strange, but I would just really love to create more immersive experiences for people.
Maurice: Have you heard of FLUX? Have you heard of that?
Samuel Green: Yes.
Maurice: Have you participated in that?
Samuel Green: I have not.
Maurice: For those that are listening, can you just kind of describe, I guess, what FLUX is? I know I just kinda threw it out there, but can you talk about what FLUX is?
Samuel Green: Yeah, yeah. FLUX is basically a series of immersive and performative pieces. And they can reign from being site specific to not. But essentially it uses a lot of light and sound to create these kind of, I guess otherworldly or immersive experiences for folks that are a bit out of the ordinary. A bit out of the everyday.
Maurice: I could see you possibly participating in something like FLUX. I mean I looked at, like I said, some of the work that you had on Instagram, it looks like it lines right up with that.
Samuel Green: Yeah. You know, that would actually be dream project. Yeah.
Maurice: See, you had one all along. Just had to pull it out there. There is was.
Samuel Green: Yeah, yeah. I mean honestly, you know now that I think about it, I'll tell you like I would love to do something like FLUX quite honestly. Or working with Art on the BeltLine would be ... I've got a few ideas for some pieces I'd like to do on Art on the BeltLine. Or even working with like someone like T Lang from the Ghost [inaudible 00:05:50]. That would be amazing.
Maurice: Interesting. What is the Atlanta design space [inaudible 00:33:57] been like for you? I'm curious.
Samuel Green: It's been interesting. You know, I'll be honest with you, I have struggled with putting myself out there as a designer.
Maurice: Why is that?
Samuel Green: Well, I would say probably because I lack a lot of the formal education that my design peers have. So that's a big part of it. It's like I've dealt with a lot of anxiety of like imposter syndrome, of like not feeling like a real designer. Like I don't really have a place in design spaces because I don't have a lot of the same foundational background a lot of these designers have.
And a part of it's also, it's been ... I think I've felt more closely aligned to artists, and so I've been involving myself more in artist's space than Atlanta's design space. And it's not to say any one is like, I don't know.
Yeah. It's not to say any one is better than the other, it's just, that's kind of where my head's been for a while. So I'm trying to get more into Atlanta's design community.
What I found so far is that it's actually pretty amazing and it's actually a lot more mature than I anticipated it to be. You know, like as compared to places like New York or San Fran or LA, Atlanta has a wealth of incredibly talented and forward thinking designers. So you know, now that I'm kind of getting more involved in the scene, I'm very happy [inaudible 00:35:12] meeting these people. I think, you know, there's a lot of like hunger in our community. There's a lot of designers who are just really wanting to do, and are doing, some big things.
Maurice: What are you most excited about at the moment?
Samuel Green: I would say my day and my night job, honestly. I'm really excited for what Airbus Aerial is doing currently, and I'm very excited for the future of the company. We have a lot of really talented people working for the organization. And so, you know, like I said, it's a young company, we're two years young, so there's a lot of amorphousness to the company, right? But slowly things are starting to take shape. We're adding more process to help us as we take on new projects.
And one of those processes that I'm really excited about is implementing the design process, right. We are growing so fast, and at the same time everyone in the company is working really hard to make sure that we don't grow too fast, right. And a part of that is really just understanding how to build a product. And so I think we're taking some really great steps in that direction of like implementing more of a design process and design thinking throughout the organization from top to bottom. And that excites me a lot.
On the Studio Mobius side, I'm really excited because we just completed one of our first major builds, which is basically that LED board that I mentioned earlier where it's kind of motion activated LEDs that kind of give a real sense of presence to the stage performer. And so I'm really excited because we just finished that, and we've had some really great shows in the last six months. And we're looking into the future and I don't know, it's just really bright. There's a lot of room to grow in the interactive arts space in Atlanta. So I'm really excited about the future of Studio Mobius in that regard.
I'm also just really excited about the future of being able to collaborate with different artists in Atlanta. There are a number of like really creative people doing some really cool stuff here in the city, like [925 dot TB 00:37:17]. It's like a nice little cross over between the digital world and the real world.
There are a number of different lighting artists in Atlanta that are doing some really amazing stuff. Like ATL TB had another personal friend, Nick [inaudible 00:09:22]. What's up dude? He does some really cool LED builds. And there's some really great musicians here in the city that are doing some really experimental stuff with like analog modular synthesis, like the old Moog synthesizers and things like that. So it was a really cool DIY community here in Atlanta that's growing and kind of prospering. So I'm really excited for City Mobius to be a part of that scene as well.
Coming out of places like The Bakery and such.
Maurice: Okay. So what do you wish you would've known, like when you first started, when you look back at your career. What knowledge have you gained that you wish you would've known back then?
Samuel Green: Honestly, you know, I wish I had been more patient.
Samuel Green: Yeah, with myself. It's hard, I think. And you're so curious about like all this stuff and you find almost everything to be really interesting, and you want to do it at all. It's hard to focus, it's hard to complete stuff, and that can have an effect on just the quality of your work and how you relate to others. So I think if I were to run into my past self, and had some advice to give that past self, I would say slow down, be more patient, everything will happen as it's supposed to.
I think when I was younger I had this burning desire to get out into the world and prove myself and you know, be this amazing master of design or art or whatever. And you know, I think there's a lot of opportunities I missed out on because I was so impatient to get out there and do stuff, you know, like make stuff. And I think if I had been a bit more patient and a bit more, maybe pragmatic in my approach ... I don't know. Who's to say what would've happened. But I feel like there were some lessons there that I may have left by the road.
Maurice: Well to that end, where do you see yourself in the next five years or so? What kind of work do you want to be doing?
Samuel Green: Ideally, you know, I would be doing more of the work that I'm doing with Studio Mobius. I really have cherished my design and my time. It's tough. It's really tough. [inaudible 00:11:22]. You know, like on one hand I want to continue to learn and grow as a product designer. I want to learn more about how to implement design thinking within organizations where design may not necessarily be understood or a priority. So I'd like to continue doing that.
But I'd also really like to continue to grow Studio Mobius. And eventually I would really begin working more in the architecture space. So I loved to do some immersive art projects or some sort of interior architecture project that utilizes both light and sound to create and enhance the experience of that space.
Maurice: So just to kind of wrap things up here, Samuel, where can our audience find out more about you and about your work online?
Samuel Green: So you can always go to Studio period Mobius on Instagram. We also have a website, Studio Mobius dot CO. To learn more about me in particular, you can go to my Instagram. It's Sami, S-A-M-I, period black, like the color, period Arts. Sami Black Arts on Instagram. And that's my personal Instagram, and I haven't posted in a while, but I'll be posting more drawings and sketches and things of that nature on Instagram.
Maurice: All right, sounds good. Well Samuel Green, I want to thank you just so much for coming on the show. I think it was really interesting to learn about the work that you do at Airbus Aerial. Certainly, you know, as technology grows and matures, and even now with talks about cameras and surveillance and all this stuff, it's really interesting to hear about how that data is used and why it's so important.
And also I think it was great to hear more about just your journey as a creative, specifically about the point of just wanting to get out there and get things done. Like I always tell people that want to enter this industry now, there's no real one way to go about it. So there are many paths to get to where they can be a successful person in the design industry, and I think that your story really helps illustrate that. So thank you so much for coming on the show. I appreciate it.
Samuel Green: Yeah, Maurice, thank you. I really appreciate the opportunity to speak. And yeah. Hopefully if others can hear this story and learn something from it, you know, don't be afraid to put yourself out there and try something different.