Is Your Life Designed for You?

Waiting and hoping for a “perfect” opportunity won’t get you any closer to the life you want. According to two renegade designers, you already have the tools to create that life—from wherever you are right now.

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It was just lunch, Dave Evans told himself. Just a conversation. Evans was a tall, smooth-talking Silicon Valley jack-of-all-trades with a resume that included heading up the team that designed Apple’s first mouse and cofounding the video game giant Electronic Arts. Lately, he’d been teaching a popular course at the University of California, Berkeley, on navigating life after college, and was wondering if his friend Bill Burnett, the newly appointed executive director of Stanford’s Design Program, would be interested in doing something similar there.

A thoughtful, no-nonsense design geek, Burnett had a similarly wide-ranging portfolio. As an undergraduate at Stanford, he’d gotten swept up in the human-centered design movement, a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to engineering that had revolutionized product design in the ’70s. Over the course of his career, he’d created award-winning designs for Apple’s Powerbook and the original Star Wars action figures, as well as helping launch several successful tech startups.

Evans thought it would take a year of lunches to win Burnett over, but as soon as he laid out his scheme, Bill started peppering him with ideas about how to add design principles into the mix. “This problem has been walking into my office for the past 20 years,”…

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About the author

Hugh Delehanty

Hugh Delehanty is a former editor for Sports Illustrated, People, Utne Reader, and AARP The Magazine and the co-author with NBA coach Phil Jackson of the #1 New York Times bestseller Eleven Rings.