Hi–I’m Ryan. I help designers become the leaders they hope to be.

Find your way through leadership with distilled content from decades of experience, refreshingly relevant content for the situations you face every day, and made specifically for design leaders working in tech.

At some point in my career, it’s likely that I’ve had the same responsibilities you have today.

For over twenty years, I freelanced as a digital maker, designed and developed products in-house at Apple and Comcast, built and led brand-new teams at Electronic Arts (twice) and Nestlé, and transitioned over to Corporate Strategy as an executive at USAA.

Then, in 2019, I needed something else.

So, I left the corporate world and decided to redesign my professional life so that it met my needs, too. Without really knowing what I was doing, I started working for myself. I began creating products and services again.

I wrote Business Thinking for Designers. I began teaching design leaders everything I knew under my parent company, Second Wave Dive. I ran popular, 8-week intensive cohort courses called "Design Meets Business," "Strategy Business Thinking for Designers," and "Design Org Strategy."

Then, in late-2022, the world around design began to shift. While my cohorts were going very well in terms of meeting my and my students' expectations, we all began running out of energy. And, I couldn't morally continue to charge a premium fee for access to helpful materials if students didn't have the energy to fully participate.

So, I made another shift.

Now, I run CDO School, teaching designers how to confidently transition and thrive into the senior levels of their careers. CDO School is a management school specifically for designers that fits in your pocket.

  1. When you lead Design, Design is the product
  2. The CDO School Leadership Playbook
  3. Four Fits to make Design crucial at your company
  4. Measuring Design is an act of bravery
  5. 5 things Design VPs are paid to do differently than a Director or Manager

More importantly, though, we focus on helping you find your own leadership path. And, our methodology is what helps you stand apart.

If you're looking for grow your skillset, there are 13 courses and counting, 100's of quick tips, 30+ "plays"—plus deeper coaching and learning for when you face more complex leadership challenges.

  1. Design Org Strategy
  2. Clear, Concise Storytelling for Designers
  3. Predicting Business Impact for Designers
  4. Prioritizing at Scale

I'll help you transition through each stage of your design leadership journey, from senior to CDO. Inside, you'll get actionable tips to prepare, grow, and exceed in your career as a design leader.

If you're looking for more articles…

I write about eight topics to help you own your design leadership career.

  1. Personal Growth
  2. Business Acumen (and Metrics)
  3. Making Design Desirable
  4. Strategic Thinking (and Foresight)
  5. Effective Communications
  6. Planning and Operations
  7. Developing People
  8. Emotional Intelligence

Thanks for being here with me,