Who is this guy?
BUCHAREST, ROMANIA – 1987
My name is Matei (mah-tey) and I was born in Bucharest in '87 as communism was beginning to seem like maybe it wasn't such a good idea anymore. One side of my family was mostly actors and writers, while the other side were educators, engineers and mathematicians. My dad (actor and writer side) was an editor at one of the biggest newspapers in the country and he was one of the people that REALLY thought communism was a bad idea.
He interviewed politicians, wrote against communism, and actively supported a regime change. None of those things were appreciated by his fellow comrades at the time... to say the least. A few death threats later, and my dad decided to leave the country and come to America. I was three, my brother one, and he came here before us with a plan that a few months later we'll be reunited and start raising hell in The States, as a family. Ten quick years later, myself, my younger brother, and my mother finally landed at JFK and got on with the hell raising.
LET'S START A BAND
I arrived in the US on Sept 1st, 1999 and started 7th grade on Sept 6th. I was definitely cool and not freaking out inside. A few years later, in high school, my brother and I started a band. We signed a record deal as I was leaving my senior year of high school and began writing our first album. We started touring full time after six months and $10,000 well spent on getting straight C's at the nearest college from our practice space.
My brother finished high school online after our management and label had a sit down with the principal, and we hit the road for the next five or so years. We released two albums, three music videos, saw more cities and places than I could have ever imagined existed, met some amazing people on the road, and played what must have been over 1000 shows ranging from dirty basements to summer festivals. There is an endless supply of embarrassing pictures online documenting those times.
Back to school
The band ended organically, no crazy story there. The guys I shared the road with all those years are still my best friends and I live with one of them, who still tours. I went back to school after someone I met mentioned Interaction Design. All those years of editing MySpace layouts were about to pay off. I went to The New Jersey Institute of Technology, got a BS in Human Computer Interaction and graduated with a 3.96 GPA in three years.
This was in part because I went to school when I was older. I really wanted to be there, I did my research on what career I wanted, and treated it much more seriously than my stint of higher education all those years prior. The same passion I had for music I now allocated to HCI, design, and coding. If I can give anyone any advice, it's that you don't need to know what to do with your life at 18, but you'll never regret taking the time to find out.
The real world – Data viz and UX
I began working product-side, designing a clinical tool in the autism field. Since then, I've been doing everything I can to create passion projects I'm proud of, and UX work that helps users and businesses. I've worked at agencies, start-ups, large corporations, and with many brands.
Currently, I'm working on putting together talks for Meetups, automating my home with a Raspberry Pi, and of course graphing everything I can.
I currently work at Spotify as a Sr. Product Designer.