May 2nd, 2012
You may be wondering, dear Graphpaper reader, what has Chris Fahey done with himself in the nearly two years since he posted anything on this rickety old blog?
Well, at Behavior, we built a bunch of great websites and products for some great clients and partners. I did a little bit of conference speaking and teaching. I ran my first marathon, finished two triathlons, and knocked out some teeth in a bike crash. I read a lot of good books. Peggy and I went to dozens of concerts, ballets, and operas. And we finally bought an apartment in lovely Red Hook, Brooklyn.
And, after eleven years of co-owning a successful an exciting design agency, I’ve decided to move on and start a new phase in my career. That’s right, after more than a decade at Behavior, and 15 years in consulting, I’m leaving the client services business to finally focus all my creative energy and experience on one big thing – to build not just a single tremendous product, but to help forge an exceptional brand and a fantastic team.
That’s why, a few weeks ago, I joined ZocDoc, a NYC startup with an astonishingly simple concept: Book doctor appointments online.
You enter your location and insurance plan, and ZocDoc shows you the schedules of all the great doctors you can go see today, tomorrow, or whenever you like. Making ten phone calls just to wait two or three weeks to see a doctor? Sucks. Going to ZocDoc and in 5 minutes booking a doctor for this afternoon? Awesome.
It feels great to be working on a product directly for customers – for my users, not my client’s users. The difference is profound: As I told a friend last week, I’ve moved from client service to customer service. And it already feels right.
The health care user experience is, generally speaking, terrible. I can’t think of an industry whose need for elegant, easy, and humane user experience design is more acute. And ZocDoc is one of the very few companies I’ve seen who are making a real difference in the patient experience. I knew I couldn’t leave Behavior to spend all my time and energy building something that wasn’t meaningful and positive. ZocDoc is both. I’m proud to be working on something so manifestly good for health care, something good for both patients and practitioners.
Leaving Behavior was the hardest decision of my life. I’ve had the deep honor of working with so many remarkably talented people at Behavior over the years. I’m immeasurably grateful to my fellow founding co-partners, Jeff, Mimi, Ralph, and Khoi, who in late 2001 all had the courage to join forces to start an interaction design consultancy out of our apartments, and to work together as a team to grow and build what would become well-known as one of the smartest and most innovative interactive design agencies in the business.
I am also grateful to all of the talented people who’ve worked with me at Behavior over the last decade. Some of the best designers and design leaders in the industry have worked, and still do work, at Behavior, and I feel fortunate to have been able to work side-by-side with these inspiring people.
And of course I am thankful for Behavior’s clients. A lot of typical agency people like to complain about clients. I’ve never felt that way, and Behavior has never been an agency like that. Besides, of course, the Mad Men-like thrill of winning new clients and coming up with beautiful ideas for them, there’s no denying that the continuous problem-solving of client services can be almost addictive. At Behavior, every new client presents an opportunity to learn something new, to meet great new people, and occasionally to even form lasting friendships. This constant flow of new people and new ideas is easily the best part of consulting work, and it’s what I’ll miss most about it.
(That and, of course, being my own boss. I’ll miss that, too.)
What especially excites me about this big change, though, is the opportunity it gives me to get back to sharing my new experiences and ideas right here at Graphpaper. Expect to see more posts very soon about ZocDoc, health care UX, product development, and much more.
For now, I leave you with this: