As Rave’s VP of Design Strategy, Rand lives by the belief that good design can solve almost any problem, and that its execution taps the focuses of art, human factors, digital psychology, ergonomics and the scientific method. As a result, he has built intellectual partnerships with MIT, Babson College, the Carroll Center for the Blind, Suffolk County (NY) Public Safety, Ottawa County (MI) 9-1-1, and other organizations to ensure the needs and situational realities of the user are always taken into consideration in Rave’s product experiences. In addition to his day job, Rand assists in teaching Mobile User Experience at Babson College in Wellesley, MA. Prior to joining Rave, he led various design initiatives in Fortune 500 biotechnology (Bio-Rad), retail (Staples), and healthcare (CVS Health).
1. Where did you grow up and how did you end up at Rave Mobile safety?
I grew up in Leominster, MA from a long line of Italian blue collar workers. It was a miraculous upbringing of love, family, food, and great lessons in work and play. I emerged from college in the late 90s as an English, Art, and Linguistics major and fell into the internet industry right in the middle of the dot-com boom, and was promptly and heartbrokenly laid off during the dot-com bust. Over the next decade, I found myself gravitating toward design and especially the scientific end of design, today known as UX. I think I developed a solid and well-rounded base working my way through large corporations like Staples and CVS, as well as biotechs, en route to landing at Rave, when our CEO Todd Piett hired me in the fall of 2012.
2. Where do you see opportunities for growth and advancement within Rave?
This question is not or for me to answer, but for our customers and end users. Luckily, we’ve always had and continue to have a remarkable relationship with our customers, who, I always say, are the salt of the earth. Rave, like any company or any good human being, is always doing whatever we can to find ways to be better. Luckily, we have so many natural customer relationships, along with intellectual and accessibility partnerships, that allow us to constantly gather feedback about all aspects of the Rave experience and how that can and will continually evolve for the better. The humility among people who work at Rave to know that it is not about us but about those we serve is what Rave is all about.
3. What are three words you would use to describe yourself?
Sensitive. Nostalgic. Grateful.
4. What one word would best describe your leadership style?
Autonomous. I’ve learned that empowering your people through trust, education, and opportunity in order to gain respectful and responsible autonomy is the most successful and human way to lead.
5. How do you keep yourself up-to-date with the latest trends in the industry?
If one has to work for a living, it consumes more than half of your waking hours. So to me, it’s therefore ludicrous to not do something you are inherently interested in and passionate about – so staying atop of industry and design trends comes naturally out of life interests for me. Beyond obvious research (Adobe, LinkedIn, CNBC) what I try to do is relate every experience I have in life back to what I do for a living. For example, if I am playing with my dog, I think about what is out there in terms of technology, safety and healthcare to maximize the life and happiness of my dog. Rave offers some of these solutions, but lots of other platforms do as well, and from there, I study their user experiences. That is one of thousands of examples of how my mind works day to day.
6. What is your favorite part about working at Rave?
The people. Even in the hybrid and remote work environment we’ve been running for almost the last two full years, it’s the culture of respect, intelligence, humor and, most importantly, being true to the Golden Rule that sets Rave apart from anywhere else. And of course, there is the daily experience of knowing that what you are working on truly helps to save and improve human life.
7. If you could travel anywhere right now, where would it be?
Back to Italy. I miss it terribly, and get so envious when I see it anytime on television. I can smell the olive and cypress trees. I can taste the food. I recite happy conversations in my head with my relatives in my broken Italian. It feels like a second home to me at this point. My wife and I are always talking about where we want to go after the pandemic finally stops hampering international travel. We run through so many places, but always come back to this amazing place from where our ancestors originate.
8. Who is your favorite music artist?
Roll the tumbling dice on the Stones, Dead, Beatles, Zeppelin, Talking Heads, Clapton or Phish and I’m happy. I stopped being cool around the turn of the century and have no regrets.
9. Outside of work, what are your favorite things to do?
Cooking, hiking, travel, maximizing every moment of existence with my family and parents while we still have each other.
10. Do you have anything else you’d like to share with our blog readers?
Just that life is unpredictable and imperfect and to not wait to do what you love, be with who you love, eat and drink what you love, because (and maybe it’s just the season here being Christmas, but as the Ghost of Christmas Present said) “The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember… time is short, and suddenly, you’re not here anymore. ».