The Intern Becomes the Master

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So, there I was, at SXSW, enjoying the heck out of an author’s book reading. For one, he was actually reading from his book, which I’d yet to see any other author do all week. But mostly I enjoyed it because Golden Krishna is just ON FIRE. His book, The Best Interface is No Interface, is sweeping UX designers up left and right with its insightful, wry commentary on the torrid love affair today’s technologists have with screens.

UX designers, Golden contends, have forgotten to solve problems and are instead proliferating needless, “lazy rectangles” of interface. His face bearded, his voice soft-spoken, his manner energetic and passionate, a disciple of Alan Cooper and Don Norman, he’s today’s UX prophet. He totally looks and sounds like his name, I observe inwardly.

He read on from his gospel, teasing, “Want to know how attractive you are? There’s an app for that. Need a college? There’s an app for that. Save the whales? There’s an app for that. Giving birth? There’s an app for that. Dead? There’s an app for that.”

Preach! I think to myself. This guy’s so great. At Leopard, we often produce tools for sellers, paid for by marketers. What that means is that we have to advocate for users and problem-solving when our clients may want first to know “What will it look like?” It can be tricky.

I sat enthralled, wondering when the choir would march in singing. I pictured all of Ballroom G at the Austin Convention Center up, on our feet, “Be gone from us, lazy rectangles!” I desperately wanted Corien to finish the call she was taking because Golden Krishna was saying so many smart things in a row and I needed a witness. And the thought kept nagging: I swear I’ve heard of someone with this exact name before.

I still hadn’t realized: The reason Golden’s name was so familiar to me and seemed to match his demeanor so perfectly, was because I totally know this guy.

Golden was an intern here at Leopard in the summer of 2007. He sat next to one of my best friends so I saw him nearly every day. He was so kind and sweet and… BABYFACED. He had no beard, and I swear to you, he never said anything that made me think of gospel choirs. I listened to all 20 minutes of his book reading and discussion without putting it together. My hands were practically in the air in a permanent state of “Amen,” but it wasn’t until I took my copy of his book to him for signing that his identity was revealed to me:

Me: I love what you have to say SO MUCH. I want our whole company to read this book. Can you please sign it to “the Leopards?”

Golden: (Looks up at me.) Wait. What’s the name of your company?

Me: (suddenly sheepish) Heh. Leopard. So, we call ourselves “Leopards.”

Golden: Where are you guys?

Me: Denver.

Golden: No way! I was an intern there.

Me: GOLDEN!!?? (Finally seeing past the beard.) IT’S YOOOOU!!!

Golden Krishna_LeopardIntern
“Wait. What’s the name of your company?”

After sharing with all the Leopards about our chance meeting, the book is making its rounds. We are so proud to have been a part of your educational and professional journey, Golden. Your book is phenomenal and we wish you more continued success in spreading the gospel of thoughtful, purposeful UX.