I Make Media.

 I grew up in North Carolina and always wanted to live on the west coast. In 1998 I made it happen and moved to Seattle without a job and ended up staying for 20 years.

After a few months, I got a job as a data analyst and met my wife Sachi. Soon after, I started an online community program at the company, which ended up being the last time I worked for someone else.

I founded Common Craft in 2003 and it has employed me (and Sachi) ever since. In 2007, an animated video experiment went viral and we suddenly became known for being pioneers of the “explainer” video genre. Since then, we’ve been dedicated to remaining a two-person, home-based company. Today, our work is focused on Common Craft members who use our original videos and visuals in educational settings.

More than anything, I am a writer. Sometimes my words become scripts for Common Craft videos, chapters in a book or issues of a newsletter. Other times, they’re used for mediocre attempts at humor in Slack and text messages. I wield my words with great care and benefit from having Sachi as my editor.

Today I’m combining my expertise in communication with a deep passion for custom home construction and designing for livability.  

Most people consider me personable and easy-going. I smile a lot, maybe too much. My natural setting is optimistic and generally happy, with a side of anxiety. If we met in person, I would ask you a lot of questions.

I try to live my life with great intention and a focus on quality. To me, this means remaining in control of my time and being willing to take risks and accept trade-offs in order to craft the life I want.

I have a deep and abiding connection to the pacific northwest of the US. In 2019, we moved to an island off the coast of Washington State called Orcas Island. A wooded, mountainous place, surrounded by the waters of the Salish Sea, is where we’ve chosen to be.

1973 – Born Winston-Salem, NC, USA

1998 – Earns Master’s Degree (MHA)

1998 – Moves to Seattle

2000 – Creates & Manages Online Community of Customers

2002 – Becomes a Blogger

2003 – Founds Common Craft

2004 – Marries Sachi

2007 – Establishes Explainer Video Genre

2012 – Publishes The Art of Explanation

2015 – Launches Explainer Academy

2019 – Moves to Orcas Island, WA

2020 – Publishes Big Enough

A Big 'Un

10 Things About Me

  1. My middle name is “Omar”, making my initials “LOL”. 
  2. I grew up on my family’s goldfish farm in Kernersville, North Carolina. 
  3. I have two dogs, Maybe and Piper.
  4. I was in a car wreck in high school and a piece of glass remains in my cheek.
  5. I once traveled overland from Beijing to the west coast of Norway. 
  6. I swing a baseball bat left-handed, but play tennis right-handed.
  7. My first car was a 1984 Honda Prelude.
  8. My first concert was Prince’s Purple Rain tour. 
  9. The first CD I purchased was “Easy-E – Easy Does It”
  10. I’ve seen the band Phish over 50 times

My Company

Common Craft is the company I’ve run since 2003. In 2007, my wife and partner, Sachi, joined the company and it became greater than the sum of its parts.

As an experiment, we started making animated videos that explained technology and social media. Those videos, made with paper cut-outs and a whiteboard, were viral hits and are now known as the first explainer videos of the YouTube era.

Since that time, Common Craft has been our laboratory. We’ve experimented with multiple business models and technologies as we searched for a balance between entrepreneurship and quality of life.

The Explainer Academy is where we teach explanation and explainer video skills. 

Today, Common Craft is primarily a membership service for educators. Our growing library of original videos is used by educators in over 50 countries. The story of Common Craft is told in my book Big Enough.

Ready for Rain is  a newsletter that's personal

On most Tuesdays, I share a story from my life on Orcas Island and a recommendation for something I love. I'm interested in how to design work and home for lifestyle, livability, and fluffy dogs. Learn more.

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