Alder Yarrow

Photo by Tom Sieu

I was born under an Alder tree on a hippie commune in Northern California. The Summer of Love was still a recent memory, and my unmarried parents weren’t about to accept the patriarchal conventions of The Man, so they opted to give me my own last name. Yarrow, a flowering herb in the Asteraceae family that has been used for millennia as the traditional medium for the I Ching hexagrams.

I grew up splitting my time between California, where my father remained, and Colorado, where my mother moved soon after I was born. My time spent in both places fostered a deep love of the outdoors and all the activities that take me there.

Growing up without television was perhaps the single greatest gift that my single mother could give me, and to this fact of my childhood and adolescence, I believe I owe my love of reading, my curiosity and creativity and my continued preference for standing in a river with a fly rod in my hand over Netflix and chill.

After high school, I returned to California for college, receiving a dual bachelor’s degree in Fine Art Photography and Communication with an emphasis on documentary film. After graduating, I helped an acquaintance start a web design company (such were the times) and having taught myself HTML the previous year, I became its first employee, with the glamorous title of Webmaster.


Thus began the entrepreneurial trajectory of my professional life, which has taken me all over the world and into the offices and board rooms of some of the world’s top companies. My career arc has shaped and been shaped by the development of the UX discipline as a whole, beginning with Information Architecture and ending up where we design leaders find ourselves today — solving problems for businesses and people at the intersection of technology, customer experience, and storytelling.

Having started my own consulting company in 2005 and most recently sold it to a large global organization, I spend my days as a design executive and my nights with my family and wine. In 2004 I began one of the first wine blogs on the internet, and have been writing several times per week since. You can learn more about the wine side of my life at Vinography.Com.

This web site is a long-overdue upgrade to the web site that I built for myself in the years after college. I hope you enjoy my images.