Micah, 29, is a social entrepreneur with a passion for using design and technology to birth social good. He works as an Mobile/Web Interface Designer at Oven Bits and serves as the Creative Director of Instead.com. Community, design, micro-benevolence and the local church are what make his core passions. He may or may not have an infatuation with all things bread and a love/hate relationship with Vinyasa Yoga.
AHD: Can you give readers the background on Oven Bits and the story behind Oven Bits' name?
MD: Oven Bits is an application design and development shop in the web and mobile space. We started up a couple of years ago with the goal of “baking up” great design and development work for our clients, as well as a few ideas ourselves.
The name stemmed from the playful analogy of an oven, being a place where things are created, and bits, being a take on binary code.
AHD: It seems like you just keep growing, both here and in KC. Can you talk a bit about your recent success?
MD: It’s been an exciting, humbling and always intriguing experience. We all feel super blessed to get to do interesting work for incredible brands as well as work with other like-minded, stellar and friendly co-workers.
We’re passionate about ensuring experience with our team is the same high quality as our design and code. In other words, being personable! After all, why work with people a second time if you loathed the process the first time around?
Oven Bits has grown to a dedicated team of 12 and a project group of about 22 team members. I couldn’t be more thrilled to work with such awesome folks!
AHD: A quick look at your portfolio shows you’re interested in creating tools and telling stories that help people. How rewarding is it to be able to use your gifts that way?
MD: It makes all the difference! Clients like the National Breast Cancer Foundation work so hard to help so many in need. It’s very rewarding to get to help further their mission and programs.
In addition, we love giving back using our own skill sets. That motivation drove us to birth Instead.com, which is also an iPhone and Android app. It’s a micro-donation platform that encourages people to live within or below their means in order to give to the charity of their choice.
AHD: You couldn’t have grown up wanting to be a mobile/web interface designer or maybe you could have. When and how did you get your start doing the kind of work you do?
MD: Mobile phones didn’t even exist until I was a teenager! (Yikes…I officially just made an old-man-statement.) I’ve always had a passion for tech and an eye for design. In 2005, I started playing around with it and soon began to start teaching myself. The rest is now history.
AHD: How does your faith impact your work?
MD: Faith plays a large role in my creativity, design, attitude and work. Through creativity, I’ve gained a larger appreciation of God. Through design, I’ve seen beauty in the visual expression of the earth that we call home. Through the gospel, I’m compelled to share love with clients and co-workers, much as Christ demonstrated. And through work, I hope to express joy to everyone that I interface with and make a difference in many small ways.
AHD: Has Dallas’ creative community made your work better?
MD: The creative culture in Dallas has really grown on me. There are some very talented designers, entrepreneurs, musicians, artists and photographers that have touched my life or boosted my imagination.
As a creative, it’s great to get to connect with other like-minded folks that are using their talents to pursue dreams, businesses or ideas. That type of energy is both contagious and exciting.
AHD: Creativity used to be about painting and sculpting, now it’s just as much about innovation and problem solving. Given Oven Bits’ emphasis on design and functionality, is it safe to say your work is steeped in both?
MD: Most certain. As an Interface Designer, I’m inherently tasked with using design to solve problems and accomplish goals. It’s a hybrid role of making something both beautiful and useable.
At Oven Bits, we believe that web, software and mobile apps should be rooted in rock-solid architecture, intuitive user experiences and appealing aesthetics, all interconnected and “baked with love."
AHD: Do you prefer a project where the client knows what he or she wants, or one where he or she has only an inkling and the entire creative license is left to you?
MD: #ToughQuestion #ILikeBoth
There are pros and cons to each scenario. Not sure if I have a genuine preference.
AHD: To date, what’s been your favorite bit of “piping hot user interface”?
MD: Getting to design and code on the Instead App has, hands-down, been my favorite project! The mission of the app and codebase have served up a fulfilling experience and interesting set of challenges.
AHD: We’ve heard about your ping-pong table, what sets it apart from the rest?
MD: So the truth is out! For starters, it’s hand-built by our very own Aaron Garcia who is the Creative Director here at Oven Bits. Rumor has it that its wood was chopped from the forests of Dartmoor, its steel forged from melted roller coaster harnesses and that, on the occasion, it can double as a stealthily crafted conference table.