Playing the Design Card

I just happened to swing by Bruce Nussbaum’s blog before chaining myself once again to a particularly gnarly 3D model on which I’m working. While there I happened to notice that an older entry had a comment and went to check it out. As it turned out, it wasn’t that comment which was interesting, but the previous one that I’d missed.

For the Industrial Designers out there, this comment (Link) might be of interest:

When Galli took over Rubbermaid, someone called us to discuss finding them a director of design. If you recall, BW did a cover story on him at the time. The salary was pitiful and the job was not positioned to be effective. I called someone who used to work in design when Galli was at Black & Decker consumer products, then in CT, who said that Galli claimed to be a supporter of design, but he wasn’t. For these and other reasons, we decided not to get involved. As far as I know, they never went ahead with the search.

I remember all the talk and can’t help but wonder if the design community isn’t so desperate for recognition that it forgets how it’s just another card in the deck; played as necessary by people who only care about winning their hand.

This reminds me. As I’ve recently mentioned, I joined the LinkedIn system. When I first signed in, I went looking at some of my 2nd-removed contacts (those people whose profiles I could see). I came across an individual who played the same card as Galli.

Here was someone trumpeting how great his record was, particularly on product development/design. Even going so far as to cite a program on which I’d worked.


The truth is, he was the biggest obstacle in that program; at one point deciding he knew best what the design should be, redirecting the effort within a week of the deadline, and then sitting quietly as the Senior VP blew a gasket at the whole team when he saw the result of this person’s involvement.

Of course at that point I went back to what I’d been doing before senior management got involved in things about which they knew nothing. I delivered a product a few days later, meeting all the impossible deadlines and, as a result, being given some kind of minor reward for a product that still sells and earns the company millions of dollars. At internal ceremonies back then this person was the first to bask in the glory of the success and those of us involved in the design had some choice words to describe this individual. And now he’s out there making false claims on this product’s continued success.