Garth Shoebridge

I live on a small farm south of Johannesburg, South Africa with my partner and three daughters. This is my story.

Architecture 1.0

After matriculating at Parktown Boys High, I trained as an architect and graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1994. To this day I absolutely love architecture and the intricate, unanswerable debate of whether form trumps function or vice versa. After a few years of practising architecture for myself and a few small firms, I decided to transfer the skills I had learnt to a new, exciting space called the internet.

Architecture 2.0  –  Datatec

In 1998 a friend got me the lucky break I needed and I began working at Datatec as an information architect. The nature of Datatec’s business meant I was soon working on exciting projects for a number of corporate clients across a variety of industries.

This culminated in being part of a team seconded to work on South Africa’s first purely virtual bank. These were truly heady days and the ability to rethink what it meant to interact with a business virtually taught all of us many lessons that I still use to this day.

Unfortunately to dot.com bubble burst and the project was put on hold. Alan Benington, head of the web team at the time decided to create a new company that could deliver the same services we were providing for other clients in South Africa – Umlungu Consulting was born in 2000.

Architecture 3.0  –  Umlungu

I joined Alan in Umlungu Consulting and for the next 10 years we provided digital consulting services for a number of prestigious companies in South Africa including:

  • Barclays
  • Woolworths Financial Services
  • Woolworths
  • Liberty
  • Discovery
  • iBurst
  • Ovations
  • Nashua Mobile
  • ADvTECH and
  • African Bank to name a few.

As the company grew though, both Alan and myself found ourselves doing less of what we loved (designing and coding) and more of having to manage the company and staff. We decided to try a new approach.

Architecture 4.0  –  clickclickBOOM

Alan and myself formed a new collective called clickclickBOOM consulting that would allow us to do the work we loved without the overhead of a digital agency. I would focus on consulting around great user experiences and Alan on crafting the code that would underpin them. To all intents and purposes our model worked as planned and we both got to enjoy doing what we enjoy most.

What we found though was the work soon became polarised to our differnet roles – Alan and clients that wanted his technical strategy and coding skills and others wanted my user-experience focus.

Architecture 5.0  –  Bethink

In 2014, I committed to focusing purely on designing systems from a client or customer’s point of view. I created bethink – a space for me to explore, design and enjoy great user experiences.

Titbits

Percentage agreement with the following:

The ideal distance to your nearest neighbour is 1km62%
A snot-flying, night on the town should be within 30 minutes’ drive75%
Mp3 collections should be measured in terabytes83%
Photography is the best way to keep a diary85%
If you want something, make it happen96%
Deep down meerkats want to be chased down single-track76%
Fools should be suffered gladly15%
Coffee, tequila and craft beer must be added to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs81%