The name comes from the idiom for always doing the best you can.
To bend over backwards, go the extra mile.
I’m Bill Klingensmith, Creative Optimist for my art & design studio, “MYDARNDEST”, in Rochester, New York. For my day job, I am the Lead UX/UI Designer for the eCommerce Retail Product called Freshop with NCR Corporation.
I can offer your team the knowledge and experience to innovate with a holistic approach to problem-solving and product growth. By balancing technologies with established objectives, we will create customer success, strengthening your company’s brand as a leader in its industry.
I’ve been in the design industry for close to 30 years. Reflecting on my career to date, it is an incredible journey, and I have been part of some great experiences, including the social impact on community food accessibility. I look forward to what’s next in other industry’s ability to leverage Software as a service (Saas) and product innovation. With great enthusiasm and confidence, I will continue to be an instrumental part of it.
I have seen tremendous change and evolution in technology and practice over time. From my beginning as an Undergraduate Art/Design Student and working in a small offset print shop, I’ve learned to combine digital technology, design principles, and conceptual problem solving into my practice. In the beginning, I combined analog with digital with page layouts on computers that I moved into print production in the early to mid-1990s. Upon arriving at Graduate School for a Master of Fine Arts, I realized the importance of being a life-long learner to be a relevant participant and leader of interactive media by designing and programming websites and mastering the Adobe suite of software tools. Preparing me for a promising career as an academic, I taught web design, interactive media, and graphic design in Higher Education until the pull of entrepreneurial dreams became too strong.
When this decision came, I left to be part of the local small business community and food movement by focusing my design studio based on the principle of helping others use the language and technology of big brands to grow successful businesses. In this effort, I identified and joined forces with inspiring, like-minded individuals to help build companies that would improve our community with value-driven missions, including access to local, organic food through digital products I created. With lots of hustle, mentionable success, and lessons learned, I went through a significant life change that required some time to rethink my purpose in life. I parted ways to focus on what I wanted to be as a professional. In that time, I continued learning new technologies and re-establish myself as a visual artist. In time, I realized my purpose was to be part of a team to help independent businesses and their customers by creating an innovative product that benefits many, not just a few.
Presented with a full-time opportunity with a promising eCommerce start-up (Freshop), I leaped at the opportunity to help independent grocers sell online to remain competitive against big box stores and the perceived luxury of online shopping for groceries. The real value of this product became most apparent during the pandemic when online shopping was the only safe way for communities to obtain their groceries. Our purpose was clear, give all the independent grocers desperate to service their dedicated customers the ability to do what is necessary during this global crisis. We all rose to the occasion to get those stores who came to us online and continue servicing their communities. We gained the interest of NCR Corporation, an American software, managed and professional services, consulting, and technology company. They acquired Freshop in January of 2021.
My most important takeaway from 2020 was that I learned that you could only do so much good work and help your customers in your area by yourself. My personal goal has been to build a team to support the marketing and user experience to offer an even better product experience. Giving our customers a solution that is easy to use meets their business goals and strengthens the confidence of their customers for continued loyalty to their favorite local grocery store brand. I am optimistic that one day this will become a reality.
Here we are today. I have become a proven, dedicated, and experienced design professional who shares with those I work with an infinite desire to make a positive difference to their lives and the businesses we support. It is not always about technology. The critical ingredient is empathy for the customer and the end-user to create a product they will love. I am looking for an opportunity to work with a team of like-minded professionals passionate about the work they do. My goal is to continue working with the teams, companies, and industries that invite me to offer my expertise and passion for creating success.
I enjoy meeting with customers to understand their goals and points of friction with technology and marketing. Empathy and communication go a long way with those who commit to your product and services. Happy customers buy more stuff and stick around.