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Employee Spotlight- Matt Erickson

Matt is one of our rockstar designers for the Yeti team. He specializes in crisp design, awesome front end dev, and sniffing out the best BBQ in the OC!

Full Name: Matt Erickson

Job Title: Sr. Creative Consultant

Practice: Yeti Society!

When did you join Exsilio? March 2011

Hometown: Tustin, CA

Alma Mater: UC Irvine

What was your major? Film and Media Studies.

How would you explain your role here at Exsilio to a stranger? I’m basically your go-to-graphics guy! Meaning, anything internal and external, my job is to represent the quality that Exsilio is looking to embody through our marketing and creative services. It can be a digital ad campaign, an application’s user-interface, brand collateral, or landing page – basically my job consists of meeting with clients and bringing their vision to life through a visual medium. Nothing leaves my desk until it passes my level of quality, and believe me - I set the bar pretty high. Primarily, my area of expertise is front end development. I live for designing an interface with an easy-to-use user experience and workflow. Many of the applications we design for our clients, I help build that visual experience through HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript.

What does a typical work day look like for you? I wake up and make a hot cup of cocoa, turn on some show tunes, commute into work, head to my morning sync, prioritize my daily tasks, and then start to work! Throughout the day, I try my best to make myself available to my colleagues when they have questions or need help. In order to be successful and happy in the workplace, it requires a team effort. I can also be caught occasionally dancing in my chair. Sometimes, if I’m really feeling a design is going well I’ll turn up the volume and get swept away in the moment. Until someone stares at me like I’m crazy… jury is still out on that one.

What aspects of your job do you enjoy the most? Taking a vision that a client has, something that is non-tangible, and transforming that idea into something tangible. Using my skillsets to make a business more successful is personally rewarding. Especially when that project has a cause behind it. Better design = larger brand visibility, which help them increase sales and generate return business for our company. For me, the design team is like the marines; we are the first team in – there’s a lot riding on our shoulders. We are expected to take a concept and build a physical experience which our users and clients can actively engage with. Seeing that end product is pretty rewarding!

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned so far at Exsilio? COMMUNICATION! You are only as good as your word. Make sure you clearly communicate deliverables, project requirements, and identify risks to fellow co-workers. If everyone is on the same page, you can figure out a problem a lot quicker. If you try to go at it alone, chances are you are going to fail, simply because you are not holding yourself and your team equally accountable. A solid support system and well-structured communication will help a project thrive. Also proper communication with a client will give you a clearer idea of what they want. Another lesson I have learned is keeping it light-hearted in the office. It is important to joke around from time to time and be personable to make others feel included. We work on really challenging projects here, and you can easily get bogged down but it is important to be yourself and be real. It’s always important to recognize/reward your team for a job well done. We all love to laugh here.

What makes a great Exsilio employee? Following through on commitments. When you say you are going to do something, you need to put out 110% effort to get something done. Exsilio is not a business for those who are only interested in a 9-5. There is a culture here which is founded on the work-hard/play-hard philosophy. It’s important to do both and maintain a good work/life balance but at the same time, you got to put forth the extra effort and show your level of commitment. Going the extra mile will not only impress clients, but speak to your reputation throughout your career.

What has been your favorite experience at Exsilio? There was an opportunity to do some comps for a client. I saw that there was a chance for us to deliver more than what was expected. Instead of just doing the comps, I did all the HTML and CSS which helped the project get done ahead of time. It was a really rewarding experience and everyone was appreciative of the effort. Outside of the office my favorite memory was going to the Adobe Max Event, where we saw the Black Keys play live. The whole design team was in the front row of the mosh pit - it was pretty crazy, and a fun experience I’ll never forget!

What are some of your hobbies/interests outside of work? Well I just bought a house, so my main hobby at the moment has been doing some interior decorating! It is fun to take a blank space and make it into something unique. Kind of like my job as a graphic designer to be honest. Life is a blank canvas, you have to make it your own and put your spin on it as an individual by finding your voice. Outside of design… I really, really love horror movies. My favorite film is definitely The Shining! Stanley Kubrick is a genius. There are a couple of us here in the office that also love horror films. Surprisingly, the horror genre is actually a very complex layered narrative based out of many social anxieties and political foundations. I can go into the whole “Final Girl” theory but I would bore you. My inner film geek is probably showing.

What is your favorite activity to do in Orange County? Every Friday I go out with my girlfriend and best friend and try someplace new to eat. I am a BBQ fanatic and always on the lookout for something innovative for my palate – I guess you could call me a foodie.

Food that you can’t live without? Mint chocolate chip ice cream. It is my default. I LITERALLY can’t order anything else if I go to an ice cream shop. If I’m feeling down or need a pick-me-up, mint chip cures all. If they do not have Mint chocolate chip ice cream, I am out!

If you were to plan your dream vacation, where would you be going? The farthest I have ever traveled is Cabo for our Exsilio trip. I feel like, I definitely need to broaden my horizons. I guess I would love to see Australia and checkout the Great Barrier Reef. I love the idea that one continent can house such a variety of climates, from dessert, to urban city-life, to jungle – Australia’s got it all under one roof. Not to mention sharks! I’m fascinated with sharks… but that’s a different story.

Favorite Game (board or video)? I know, it’s old school right? I actually undertook a summer project where I hand carved an entire Jumanji game board. I think I just loved the concept as a kid and I never got over it. You know escape from reality and go on a real adventure. I also like chess… but that’s not as interesting an answer lol!


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