Illustration of Derek Powazek by Adam Ellis

Technorati, Favorites, and Moving Forward

As a designer, I like big challenges. Sure, you can pay the bills endlessly tweaking a pixel here and there, but it’s much more fun to be on the bleeding edge. In my career thus far, I’ve been lucky to have had a hand in some pretty major web happenings: HotWired, Electric Minds, Blogger. Some failed, some succeeded, but they all had one thing in common: They were doing brave things, well ahead of their time.

Technorati, where I’ve been the Senior Designer for the last 15 months, has been another fantastic challenge. The first seven months of my employment were spent reimagining the entire product – branding, logos, features, and functionality. Since the redesign launched, in addition to evolving the design, I helped conceive of and create new features: Tags, Blog Finder, Explore, and now Favorites.

Almost exactly five months ago today, I sent an email to a group of people in Technorati. It said: “If I could work on just one feature, it’d be Technorati Favorites.” I outlined an interconnected, personalized world of blog reading. A lot of this stuff if obvious (show me when sites I like update), but Technorati’s the one place that can track all the connections and make it searchable in a snap. The idea wasn’t just to build another aggregator, but to create an environment where users could get a more personal connection with the blogs they read and loved.

Add this blog to my Technorati Favorites!So I’m so very proud to see Technorati Favorites launch today. It’s the product of a lot of hard work by one of the most talented teams I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. It’s a 1.0, there’s lots of room for improvement (and a four phase growth plan saved on a wiki somewhere), but it’s planted like a seed, and it can only grow from here.

It also bears the distinction of being my last project as a fulltime employee of Technorati. At the end of this month, I’ll transition out of my fulltime job and into a more advisory, consultant-ey role. I still love the product and the team, but at this point the major design work is done. There’s a visual language in place that can handle just about anything it needs to say, a compelling set of features, and just about the coolest roadmap you could imagine. Technorati’s gonna be just fine – and I’ll be there to help whenever they need me.

As for me, this change will give me more time to focus on JPG Magazine and my other dormant projects. It’ll also enable me to once again take on a variety of interesting contract design work. I’m looking forward to getting back to my natural freelancing habitat.

My time at Technorati has been one of the most amazing work experiences in my life. I feel very privileged to have gotten to work with these brilliant people, at this amazing time.

Ever forward.

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Hi, I’m Derek. I used to make websites. Now I grow flowers and know things. I’m mostly harmless. More.