Today we revisit the ‘Why I Qwill’ series to learn about our head of design, Paul Ruxton! For more info on the series and Q’s interview with our CEO, check out Greg’s interview.
If I may say so, Paul, that’s one sharp tee you’re wearing. Where can I get one?
This is the limited edition Qwill shirt. So far we’ve only handed them out to some of our early testers and supporters, but if anyone would like to get one just reach out and tell us “how you Qwill!”
Ok back to business, please state your name and describe your occupation for the court. JK! For me.
Paul Ruxton, I’m a designer. At Qwill I’m responsible for all design — brand, product UX, marketing… everything.
Very nice. And why do you ‘Qwill‘, Paul?
Hmm, good question. I Qwill for the team, the product, the challenges, and the rewards.
No matter what you’re working on, having the right team is critical, and the Qwill bunch is my true dream team. Truly. I can’t imagine a better group of superstars to be working with. And the product is exciting. I can’t say I’m excited about estate planning necessarily, but I’m excited to redefine what this means to ordinary families, and how their experience can be so much better than what they’ve had before.
Building a product, company, and culture from scratch is extremely challenging but also rewarding when you care about the product, the goals, and your teammates. That’s why I Qwill.
So lovely! Finding your dream team is something special. Where did you start? My first job was as calculator.
Wow, cool! I’ve never figured out how to use the memory function on a calculator so maybe you can show me a few things.
My first real job was working as a dishwasher and a busboy at a casual dining restaurant when I was in high school. I needed money so I could buy music gear.
I respect that struggle. What career advice do you have for youngsters who want to follow in your footsteps?
My path has been very indirect, so don’t copy my path unless you want to get lost!
My design career started as a web designer in the mid-90s, the early days of the web. I had spent the previous 10 years as a working musician but was looking for a career change and this kind of fell in my lap. I taught myself to code and how to use the design tools of the day and jumped right in. It was a unique time period, a pivotal point for design and my career.
I usually advise young designers and creatives to first; master the tools of the trade. This will give you a solid foundation for everything going forward. Then hone in on one skill — your true strength and become a master at it, a proven bad-ass. Let hiring managers clearly understand what makes you unique, your clear strengths. Then your other skills are the bonus points that will put you at the top and make you really valuable.
Who had the most influence on you growing up? And why? That’s the best part.
Wow, so hard to attribute to just one person. I was influenced by so many people — my high school art teacher and music teacher, my parents (of course), and many others. But the one person who stands out was my friend’s mother. She was way more liberal and free-thinking than any of the other suburbanite moms. She really opened my eyes to unbiased, open-mindedness which has been a foundational point for everything I’ve done in my adult life.
Let’s go Freak Friday. Who would you love to swap places with for a day?
Donald Trump — I would immediately resign as POTUS. Then I’d donate my money to Amnesty International, the ACLU, and organizations focused on ending poverty, homelessness, and fighting for human and civil rights. He would hate being Paul Ruxton lol.
I’d also like to swap places for a day with anyone sitting on a beautiful tropical beach with a perfect Mai Tai.
What’s one thing you hope the next generation gets right? Assuming they’re still human.
Ah, getting a little serious are you?
The next generation needs to figure out how we can come together as a global society and end all our stupid divisions and borders. Equality, access to education, healthcare, quality of life, freedom of thought and expression — these are global problems and we need to solve them together.
Take me to a happy place. What’s your favorite family tradition or childhood memory?
In my family we like to say we’re not traditional, but we actually have many family traditions, mostly around vacations and holidays.
We took our son to Disneyland for his 5th birthday. He was at that age where everything about it was truly magical. For his 10th birthday he chose to go to Disneyland again, and we had a fantastic time. So from that point on it’s now a family tradition for us to celebrate his birthday at Disneyland every 5 years. I’m looking forward to celebrating his 25th birthday there in 2020.
Where’s your favorite place in the world? Try to tell me without bragging, though.
J’aime beaucoup Paris. But otherwise, I really love being home with my family.
Do you collect anything? I love a good oil can.
I also love a good oil can! Actually, I’m a bit of an “old things” nut job. As a result of this affliction I don’t allow myself to collect things, otherwise, our house would turn into an antique store…. or possibly a junkyard depending on your perspective. I have a nice collection of vintage keyboard instruments.
Have you ever met anyone famous? Present company excluded, of course.
Uhh… I worked in entertainment for 20+ years, so yes.
So cryptic, I like it. What’s your favorite phone app, currently?
The apps I use almost daily are — Instagram, Asana, Spotify, Gmail, and Qwill (my fave of course).
What’s one thing you’ve lost that you wish you still had? I used to have an ink pot.
Lost or let slip out of my hands? I wish I still had my ‘59 Impala, and my late 50’s Wurlitzer 112.
What’s the best advice you ever received? My mom told me never to go into politics.
My high school music teacher told me, if you’re going to make a mistake make it a good one. In other words, don’t be afraid to fail. And when you do fail don’t be embarrassed or try to hide it. Learn from the mistake and move on.
Last and most important question. How do you like your eggs cooked?
Over easy, scrambled, poached, sunny side up…. I’m not picky.
Lauren is Qwill’s marketing team (#startuplife). She’s lived in the digital marketing world for the past 8 years, with specialties in marketing automation and making super colorful content maps. In past lives, she’s been a neuroscience researcher, 6th grade teacher, and candy store clerk, all carefully chosen occupations to test varying personality theories. When she’s not blogging for Qwill, she prefers a good lakeside or beach read, and will never say no to a road trip. Check out her instagram for a peek inside the life of a work-from-home cat mom.