Smallness has always been part of my nature, be it needing to take growth hormone when I was younger, or even the fact that my name comes from the Roman family name Paulus meaning “small” or “humble” in Latin. I never felt my short stature was an issue, in fact, it became an integral part of my identity growing up. Perhaps this is why I’m rarely impressed by scale, and have a distaste for monopolies and large corporations.
Speed has never been one of my strengths, either. At school sports days, I would often finish last (but get the loudest cheer). I’ve always been a slow eater too, yet rarely get indigestion.
These aspects of my personality I’m familiar with, but recently I have come to acknowledge another1. Although design gets conflated with creation, its the act of improving what already exists – organising a room, editing a text, refining an interface, refactoring a codebase – that I enjoy the most.
While others were wooed by the potential of designing for billions, this idea made me feel queasy. So did the thought of working for a large organisation, although I gave it a go. While others moved fast, eager to ship whatever they had built, I remained cautious, avoiding the frameworks and fads, instead doubling down on the foundational aspects of my craft. Today, as we come to terms with the wreckage wrought by this hastiness, I find myself eager to fix things; slowly, one small piece at a time.
While I take a degree of pride in these aspects, it’s probably worth acknowledging these as biases before I approach any new work. ↩︎