Design; “the lens through which we experience life.” Rishad Patel shares with us why design is such an exciting industry.
What’s your story?
I design things. I run T. Rex Design, my design company. We design strategy, branding, experiences and mobile and web interfaces for businesses and startups. Over the last 20 years, I have designed websites, mobile apps, newsrooms, newspapers, magazines, radio shows and commercials, advertising, floor rugs, books, brands and identities. I’ve lived and worked in New Delhi, San Francisco, Mumbai, Singapore and Wanganui in New Zealand. I’m interested in most things, which means I read about them, travel to them, meet them or eat them as much as possible.
What excites you most about your industry?
This is a wonderful industry to work in, because my job is to design delight. Design mediates our interaction with the world. It is the lens through which we experience life. Design influences how we work, eat, love and express ourselves.
Barely anything in the creative, technology or media industries stays the same for more than a couple of hours, which means that by the time I wake up tomorrow morning, it will have reinvented itself, again. Agility and constant learning are a part of my life, and I am fortunate to be able to constantly meet people around the world I can learn from.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m many different kinds of Indian with a bit of Persian ancestry thrown in. I love to travel, but my real connection to Asia comes from food. I will eat anything as long as it isn’t moving and it makes me happy that the many food cultures across this insanely diverse continent will keep me busy for the rest of my life of unfettered greed.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore is my favourite business city by a long shot. I like the work ethic here. I love the simplicity of business processes, thanks to a transparent administration and a marked lack of red tape. Also, the environment for startups and innovation is incredibly dynamic.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
My father was an artist named Mickey Patel. He liked to tell me that there were only two ways to do things: the right and the wrong way. “Choose the right way”, he said, “and life will be simple.”
Who inspires you?
David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker. The work of the architect Sou Fujimoto. The writer and geologist Simon Winchester. The writer and surgeon Atul Gawande. The writer and neurologist Oliver Sacks. The artists Maurizio Cattelan, Paul Klee, Rene Garcia, Mark Rothko and Mickey Patel.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
That the truly chilling predicted repercussions of climate change are already here now, way earlier than we thought they would. Rolling Stone has the most recent article: http://rol.st/1W1uC19
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have gone to study musical composition at the Berklee School of Music when I had the chance. Oh, and I would never have started smoking (I quit 15 years ago).
How do you unwind?
This might sound somewhat pathetic, but I often unwind by working — I truly love what I do. Other ways involve reading The New Yorker, cooking and hanging with my wonderful friends.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Laos, because of its incredibly gentle, friendly people, the wonderful food, that lovely swimming hole in the hills above Vientiane, and the utter peace that settles over you.
Everyone in business should read this book:
The Circle, by Dave Eggers. It’s an eloquently told story of how insidiously our hubristic obsession with technology and profit can dehumanise us.
Shameless plug for your business:
At T. Rex Design, we’re in the business of helping you delight your customer. We design really good web, mobile, strategy, branding, editorial and experiences. I work with startups around the world to design better products. Currently, I am a cofounder of two startups: JidoBox, based in Singapore, soon to be the most peaceful accounting app in the world, and Givatude (based in San Francisco), a great way to gift your friends right from your iPhone.
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>