Pat Dryburgh

Ten good reasons you should apply to work as a designer at Steamclock

I’ve known Allen Pike, co-founder of Vancouver’s Steamclock Software, for several years now and have had the privilege of working side-by-side with him on a number of projects, including an iOS app for Canadian outdoor clothing and sporting goods brand, Arc’teryx.

When it comes to product design and development, interacting with and managing clients, growing and nurturing a team, and giving back to the community, I hold Allen in the highest regard.

Allen and his team just announced they are looking to hire a lead mobile designer and I thought I’d give you a few damn good reasons why you should strongly consider applying:

  1. They’re really nice.
  2. They have a solid reputation built on quality and integrity.
  3. The work they do is interesting, challenging, and (almost) always fun!
  4. They host cool events like their annual Open House (happening tonight!)
  5. Allen is an excellent writer, which is a very good indicator of how clearly a leader thinks and communicates.
  6. They’re really, really nice.
  7. Their super cool looking office is in the heart of Gastown which is the best neighbourhood in Vancouver.
  8. Allen is likely to blush as soon as he reads this post, proving that he hasn’t let his success get to his head.
  9. Other amazing designers have and continue to work with Steamclock.
  10. If you don’t, I will.
Hijack a project to convince your company it's ready for a design system →

This article from Segment’s Jeroen Ransijn was a real gut punch for me. I recently attempted to apply the exact same strategy to a project I’m currently working on, but differs from my experience as I have thus far failed in my execution.

Where I think I went wrong was when I decided against bringing the newly created design system into an older, existing project I was later asked to help with. My reasoning at the time was to avoid conflicts with the multiple other design libraries already in use by developers who had worked on the project before I joined. This decision has prevented me from being able to continue evangelizing the design system I had created to the organization, leaving my poor design system in the dust.

Jeroen’a excellent article is part of a new ongoing project called, “a resource for learning, creating, and evangelizing design systems” by Figma1. Really excited to dig deeper into this resource over the next few days.

  1. The collaborative design tool I wish Danny Robinson and I would have thought to create back in 2013 while we used Google Slides to remotely design Perch 3.0. 

It’s days like today when I wish god existed so I could yell at it.

Pushed a minor update to my site last night to use the new CSS Grid Layout Module for its layout. There are still a few quirks here and there, so please let me know if you spot anything out of place.

The Death of Mobile Money and Financial Inclusion in Uganda →

Having worked in Uganda on a project dedicated to improving financial inclusion in sub-Saharan Africa, I’m incredibly saddened to hear that the Ugandan government is considering a tax increase on mobile money transactions.

If you want to get a sense of the injustice being inflicted on the people of Uganda by the telecom industry and their own government, read this article.

(via Ray Besiga)

Since returning to full-time freelancing this past February, I’ve been using Cushion to track my time, submit and track invoices, and forecast my income and expenses. Even though I’m not yet using the product to its full potential, the value I’m getting out of it is tremendous.

Recently, Cushion released an update to the user interface that I have found greatly improves the usability of the app. In his post explaining the reasoning behind the change, Jonnie Hallman promises to share more about the design process and technical challenges they faced. This is my public reminder that his team’s fans are patiently waiting 😉

I’ve made some changes to the layout of my site. If you’d like to see an overview of what’s changed, I have added screenshots to the pull request I created to make the update.

I am really enjoying this album by Made Mountain. It’s very musically interesting without being extravagant. It has the feeling that a group of musicians sat around in a studio one Saturday and jammed out a great record, so it came as a surprise to see the majority of the instruments were played by one person: Robbie Manson.

On his beautifully designed website, Manson also wrote what I wish I had available to me over a decade ago when I recorded and released my first EP: instructions for how to self-release an album.

(via Chase Reeves)

My WrestleMania Predictions for 2018

I was in the rec room in my aunt and uncle’s basement when I first saw Hulk Hogan bodyslam André the Giant. It’s been 30 years since I saw my first WrestleMania on a VHS tape. While like most people my interest in the world of professional wrestling has ebbed and flowed. But tonight, my interest in the product is at an all time high.

I thought I’d share my picks for the matches on the main card.

Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns (Universal Championship)

Brock Lesnar legitimately is the Universal Champion. No one, not even Roman, is bigger. They’ll give it to Roman, but only because they still have plans for Brock and don’t want to feed him to Braun Strowman just yet.

That said, I could see Roman benefitting from having Paul Heyman turn on Brock. It won’t hurt Brock, but could give Roman a far bigger platform.

Roman defeats Brock

AJ Styles (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE Championship)

The least exciting buildup for what will likely be the most exciting match. Yes, WWE, it’s a dream match. But not because you said so over and over and over again.

Nakamura defeats AJ

Kurt Angle & Ronda Rousey vs. Triple H & Stephanie McMahon

I predict Rhonda breaks HHH’s arm.

Rhonda breaks HHH’s arms

Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Asuka (Smackdown Women’s Championship)

Charlotte losing to Asuka tonight all but guarantees a Charlotte vs Rhonda rivalry for this year, giving Rhonda a legitimate challenge before climbing the ladder to meet the Empress at next year’s Wrestlemania.

Asuka defeats Charlotte

Daniel Bryan & Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn (If Owens and Zayn win, they will be reinstated)

I am so intrigued by this match. These guys are clearly the most over talent on SmackDown, but I don’t yet see how this leads to what ultimately matters: Daniel Bryan getting his chance to win the WWE championship at next year’s Wrestlemania.

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn defeat Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon

The Miz (c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Bálor (Intercontinental Championship)

The Miz is awesome.

Finn Bálor defeats The Miz and Seth Rollins

Randy Orton (c) vs. Bobby Roode vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Rusev (United States Championship)

I want Jinder to win this title and rub it in America’s face.

Jinder defeats Randy Orton, Bobby Roode, and Rusev

The Bar (c) vs. Braun Strowman and unnamed partner (Raw Tag Team Championships)

Braun brings out a cardboard cutout of himself to stand in his corner. Wins in under a minute.

Braun and a cardboard cutout defeats The Bar

Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Nia Jax (Raw Women’s Championship)

I am actually very emotionally invested in this match. Growing up, I too was ridiculed for being fat. Nia Jax is the Braun Strowman of the women’s division and deserves to demolish everyone who stands in her way.

Nia devours Alexa Bliss

The Usos vs. The New Day vs. The Bludgeon Brothers (Smackdown Tag Team Championships)

The Usos need to win this match, but I’m scared it will be given to the Bludgeon Brothers, the worst gimmick given to two of the most badass looking wrestlers ever.

The New Day throws pancakes

Spent an hour today debating a street preacher in order to prevent him from spewing his hatred at people on the street. Just doing my part.


I still remember the first time I met Amy. Her family had just moved to Dorchester and was visiting our family’s home for the first time. She was my first female (half-second) cousin who was the same age as me.

While we attended the same elementary school, we did not share the same group of friends. However, we would smile and nod in acknowledgement of our familial connection when we would pass one another in the hallway or on the playground.

Eventually we wound up working at the same local grocery store where we were able to develop a closer friendship. Around this time, we discovered a shared interest in web design. Like me, Amy was frustrated by designers too lazy to understand the medium for which they were designing. In our minds, a web designer who didn’t know CSS was no web designer at all.

It was so cool to see someone I knew personally achieve so much in our industry. Her work was fun and playful and stood out in a very tough industry. She was even featured in the design publications I read which only made her even cooler in my eyes.

Her eventual move to England to be with her partner, Chris, whom she met through conversations about the UI he was developing for his online fitness community, truly opened my eyes to the power of the Internet to connect people in real life all across the world.

Amy and I fell out of touch in recent years. However, she did ping me a few months ago to laugh about a song I recorded back in high school called “Jesse Spano is a Speed Freak.” She may have been the one and only fan of that song.

My condolences to Brian, Sharon, Justin, Nick, and Chris. As evidenced by the wonderful joy she brought to the world both before and after her disgnosis, she will be dearly missed.

This year’s Jack Richardson Award nominees have been announced and I’m really excited to see my friend Michael Marucci nominated for best Producer/Engineer of the year for “You Left Me With a Kiss” by Karen Emeny. I had the honour of playing lead guitar on this track, which you can listen to for free on Bandcamp.

Also pleased to see my dear friend and collaborator Carly Thomas nominated for Best Contemporary Singer/Songwriter. It’s been a couple of years since our last journey together on the open road and I’m really starting to miss it.

Blogging with Airtable →

A few years ago my friend Edward Chan introduced me to Airtable, a very neat tool for creating relational databases through simple spreadsheets. Teams use it for everything from customer relationship management to project management to documenting inspiration for creative projects.

In addition to its very impressive UI, Airtable also offers an API. Designer David Yeiser just launched a redesign of his blog which is now powered by Airtable’s API and Next.js, a framework for server rendered applications. David can now update his blog using Airtable on his desktop or mobile device, including storing drafts and publishing different types of content.

As someone who’s currently using a complicated mess of Draft actions and Workflows to publish his blog from his phone, I’m currently a bit envious of David’s approach. While I’m not quite ready to make changes to my current setup, it’s inspiring to see people experimenting with new ways of publishing to the open web.

Vancouver Product Hunt Meetup →

There’s a Vancouver Product Hunt Meetup happening this evening at the WeWork Burrard Station office. Looks like a number of new products will be demoed from 6:30–8pm, followed by drinks and networking. Hope to see you there!

On Dribbble

I was invited to join Dribbble on January 19, 2010 by Phil Coffman. The pitch was simple: show and tell for designers and developers. Initially closed to the public, this nascent community of creative professionals allowed access to view and publish content via invitation only.

In an interview in the inaugural issue of Offscreen Magazine, designer and Dribbble co-founder Dan Cederholm discussed how this strategy not only helped to keep support and scaling costs to a minimum, but also ensured the quality of the content. Unlike Twitter or Facebook, Dribbble was a closed community of creative professionals who shared, critiqued, and learned from one another.

Around the same time I became a full-time freelancer, Dribbble opened its doors to the public. Though the ability to post “shots” was still limited to those who had been invited to do so, anyone could come and view the work that was being posted. While this change in paradigm upset those who enjoyed Dribbble’s private nature, it also gave designers, illustrators, and other creative professionals a simple way to promote their work to a larger audience.

Later that year, I received my first recruitment call from Aol. Having seen the work I was posting on Dribbble, their recruiter reached out and invited me to Palo Alto for a 3-day job interview. Though that job didn’t pan out, a year later it led to my introduction to Danny Robinson, CEO of Perch, who would end up hiring me for my first startup job. It was this opportunity that allowed me to move cross-country from small-town Ontario to the city of Vancouver, British Columbia.

In 2011, I attended my first Dribbble meetup in Brooklyn, New York. Held during that year’s Brooklyn Beta conference, the meetup was my opportunity to meet people like Drew Wilson and Jonathan Christopher, as well as Mr. Cederholm himself. It was one of my first opportunities to finally meet people I’d looked up to from afar. Dan especially was incredibly kind and generous, a quality he’s continued to show in his interactions with people who participate in the Dribbble community.

When I was hired as the Design Director at Brewhouse, I encouraged the team to sign up for Dribbble. It was during this time that I got to meet the world-famous Meg Robichaud, whom I would later contract to design the iconography for the Mountain Conditions Report app for Arc’teryx.

Last night, I attended my second Dribbble meetup, this one hosted by the folks at Metalab, a Victoria, BC-based design agency who in the last year or so have opened a beautiful new office in downtown Vancouver.

After writing my name on my name tag, I set off to find someone to chat with. Rory and I first crossed paths with an awkward smile and nod as I made my way back to the name tag table to return the Sharpie I had stolen, but on our second pass made eye contact and struck up a proper conversation. Rory is a Scottish product designer who just recently came to Vancouver following a two-year stint in Australia. He currently works for a remote product team building email marketing software. Rory and I were joined by my friend and occasional collaborator Allen Pike, co-founder of Steamclock Software and creator of Party Monster, a DJ app that refuses to play Nickleback.

As the night progressed, I got to chat with Jonas Caruana, an athlete and entrepreneur, Mearl Morton, an illustrator and print designer, Eliza Sarobhasa, a developer, project management student, and photographer, and friend and colleague Kenny Grant, whose company just launched a helpful tool for previewing how links will look when shared across multiple social media and mobile chat platforms called Lookout.

After 8 years, I still find myself in awe of the people who make up the Dribbble community. Dribbble, much like Twitter before it and blogging before Twitter, has had a direct and profound impact on my life. I’m so grateful for the community that Dan and Rich started and Andrew and his team continue to steward.

These last few weeks in Whitehorse, while cold, have been awesome. A challenging project, a great team, and fun extracurricular activities. This is why I’m a freelancer.

I am longtime fan and advocate of Jonathan Snook’s colour contrast checker, but today found myself wanting a similar tool for Sketch. Stark is a Sketch plug-in created by Cat Noone, Michael Fouquet, and Benedikt Lehnert that makes checking the contrast between two layers a breeze. Stark also allows you to simulate various forms of colour blindness, a valuable tool for those who care about designing for accessibility.