Pulling in references as varied as South Park, Wittgenstein, John Donne and Andy Warhol, Stephen Fishman's articles cannot be accused of being dull. His opinionated takes on customer experience, user design and the social enterprise provoke discussions at every turn. Find out what drives Stephen in this interview. 

An Interview with Stephen Fishman

CMSWire: What first brought you to land of content strategy and user experience?

Stephen Fishman: When I got my first job writing software in 1993 I worked in a small IT shop with an older customer base who had only seen green screen mainframe tools before.

I was writing client-server applications and wanted to find ways to focus on development rather than phone support. Being an engineer, I took a systems level approach and started reading books on human factors so I could learn how to design interfaces that would be intuitive.

After a few years of working in private industry, I took a job at a premier consultancy with some of best UX talent in the country. I worked directly with a bunch of different UX types visual designers, information architects and content strategists. In several projects, I took on opportunities to work as an Information Architect under the tutelage of senior UX professionals who have since gone on to create and lead UX teams across some of the most prestigious companies in the world.

After the dot-com bust, I returned to private industry with my new UX skills and honed my abilities in research and design working on projects with deep UX and content strategy requirements. I was about to take a new job as an Enterprise Architect, when a former colleague called me and asked me to join him at a UX boutique to lead their technology team. For four years, I worked with another team of super talented professionals and ended up leading the strategy discipline and directing all sorts of UX projects for the fortune 500.

In 2011, I went back once again to private industry and my technology roots and now lead the development team for a prominent dot com.

CMSWire: What project are you working on now that you'd like the readers to know about? 


Stephen: My favorite part of my job has nothing to do with tech or UX. My favorite part of my job is team building and coaching individuals to help them reach their potential.

Outside of my full-time gig, I'm writing a book on how passionate professionals can find a path where passion for excellence can be rewarded in corporate america (and how the people around them can come to understand them).

Additionally, if I did not have enough commitments already, I'm doing some creative consulting for a feature documentary on what inspires people.

CMSWire: What excites you most about your field today?

Stephen: What excites me most is the idea that our field has only begun to scratch the surface of its potential to impact business and people's lives.

CMSWire: Was there ever an "aha" moment in your career and if so, what was it?

Stephen: There have been several. Perhaps the most impactful was the realization that the best long term results don't necessarily come from willing a project to succeed, but instead come from creating a place where the larger enterprise can improve their capabilities set.

CMSWire: What would your one or two biggest wishes for the industry be for 2013?

Stephen: My biggest wish by far would be for the industry to put purpose in front of profits for driving the enterprise.

CMSWire: Is there anything else our readers should know about you?

Stephen: The best thing for my career has been to marry a supremely talented artist who complements me and helps me grow (my wife is an emmy award winning film maker who has won multiple awards at SXSW).

Speed Round : 6 things you should know about Steven

1. Right now I am reading

"The Strategy Paradox: Why Committing to Success Leads to Failure (And What to do About It)"

2. Quote to live by

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.

3. The best word ever said


4. When not working, I am

Spending time with my family, mountain biking or playing games.

5. Word that should be struck from the dictionary


6. Best song ever sung

Toss up between Green Day's Jesus Of Suburbia / City Of The Damned / I Don't Care / Dearly Beloved / Tales Of Another Broken Home and Johnny Cash's A boy named Sue