Well, it’s the end of the road. Or rather, the end of the path.

In the final episode of Revision Path, I’m interviewed by design educator and long-time friend Lisa Babb. We reflected on the remarkable milestones achieved by the show, discussed the dynamic shifts and trends that have shaped the design landscape over the years, and I talked about the legacy and influence of this platform, from the guests who have shared their stories to the listeners who have made this community so vibrant and diverse. Make sure you keep listening to the end of the episode for a few special goodbye messages.

This episode is more than a recap of what Revision Path has achieved. My hope is that it will be a beacon for the ongoing evolution, diversification, and recognition of Black designers, developers, and digital creatives from all over the world. The conversations that have taken place here only underscore the enduring power that comes from a vibrant, engaged, and diverse community.

Thank you for allowing me to hold the mic for you all.

Sponsored by Brevity & Wit

Brevity & Wit

Brevity & Wit is a strategy and design firm committed to designing a more inclusive and equitable world. They are always looking to expand their roster of freelance design consultants in the U.S., particularly brand strategists, copywriters, graphic designers and Web developers.

If you know how to deliver excellent creative work reliably, and enjoy the autonomy of a virtual-based, freelance life (with no non-competes), check them out at brevityandwit.com.

Sponsored by School of Visual Arts

The BFA Design program at the School of Visual Arts consistently produces innovative and acclaimed work that is rooted in a strong foundational understanding of visual communication. It encourages creativity through cutting-edge tools, visionary design techniques, and offers burgeoning creatives a space to find their voice.

Students in BFA Advertising are prepared for success in the dynamic advertising industry in a program led by faculty from New York’s top ad agencies. Situated at the center of the advertising capital of the world, the program inspires the next generation of creative thinkers and elite professionals to design the future.

School of Visual Arts has been a leader in the education of artists, designers and creative professionals for over seven decades. Comprising 7,000 students at its Manhattan campus and more than 41,000 alumni from 128 countries, SVA also represents one of the most influential artistic communities in the world. For information about the College’s 30 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, visit sva.edu.

The Mailbag Episode

After years of asking questions to designers and developers all over the world, now I’m in the hot seat! For this special mailbag episode, I answer your questions about Revision Path that you sent in from our website and via social media. (And I have to say, you all definitely asked me some hard questions!)

How long does it take to put together a podcast episode, and have I ever had to take an episode down? What happened to our design anthology RECOGNIZE? Why did we have Facebook as a sponsor? What are my thoughts on AIGA? And why do we charge for job listings? Listen to this episode for the answers to these questions, and several others. Keep sending us your questions, and I may do another one of these episodes in the future!

Transcript

Full Transcript

Maurice Cherry:
Okay. So this first question is from Jarvis J., and he asks, “how far are you from where you thought Revision Path would be right now?” That’s a great question. I promise not to say that before every question, although these are some great questions that I got in. I would say very far, but also not far at all.

Maurice Cherry:
When I started Revision Path back in 2013, I really wanted it to be kind of an online magazine. And then, I’d say probably within the first year or so of doing Revision Path and trying to keep it on a fairly regular schedule of it being an online magazine, I discovered it was just easier to make it a podcast. I could turn it around much quicker and stay on a schedule. I would say just that first transition was more than what I thought it would be when I started doing this whole project.

Maurice Cherry:
But as far as like where we are right now, and if we’re far from where I think I wanted to be, I would say yes. I mean, we’ve been doing this podcast now for almost nine years. I think it’s been a good, steady resource in the industry. Like people are always coming to Revision Path for one reason or another, whether it’s finding out about black designers or placing a job or something like that, and I think that’s been good. However, there are bigger things I would love to do with the show. And we’ve sort of over the years had opportunities to do some of those things, but just not on a consistent basis. For example, live shows.

Maurice Cherry:
We did our first live show in 2017. That was here in Atlanta. We did it with Facebook Design, and that was a great show. We did our 300th episode in New York City at The Greene Space back in 2019. That was good. And in 2020, actually we were planning to do a live tour across the U.S., in conjunction with different chapters of AIGA. So we were going to start in Los Angeles, and then do, and not necessarily in this order, but I’m going from west to east, but doing Seattle, Houston, Little Rock, Chicago, Atlanta, D.C., New York. That was the plan, because I had talked to people from each of these chapters. We had talked about doing some kind of programming. I was going to just basically pay out pocket to go to each of these places, and schedule and do live shows.

Maurice Cherry:
And so we did the first live show in 2020 in Los Angeles. That was with Roland A. Wiley. We recorded that at Leimert Park in Los Angeles, and then the coronavirus happened. And then once that happened, the flights got canceled, plans got changed. There was talk of me trying to take these same instances, this tour, I should say, take it online and do digital things. But if you remember spring of 2020, we didn’t know what was happening. The pandemic was just beginning and people were still trying to figure out what all this was and what we were going to do.

Maurice Cherry:
So the thought of sitting at home and doing a live event on Zoom didn’t really vibe well with me. Like I was like, “Yeah, I don’t know if I want to do that.” And then also I lost my job because of the pandemic in May of 2020. So I was like, “Yeah, I really don’t want to do it now.” There are bigger goals I have. For a while in the past, Revision Path had a blog. We had a blog with fairly regular entries from guest writers. I would love to continue to do that. I would love to do live shows again, once it’s safe for us to congregate in that way. And I’ve even thought of ways that Revision Path could maybe branch out more and do more video things.

Maurice Cherry:
I can tell you this, last year there was…or there are plans, I should say, because they’re still on the table, to do some sort of a live video show with Revision Path, like on Twitch or something like that. I think at one point we were talking about doing it with Facebook, and doing it on their Facebook Watch platform. But now Facebook book is Meta, and they’re doing stuff with the metaverse. And so that kind of fell through a little bit. So I would say right now my goal is just to keep hitting these milestones with the podcast.

Maurice Cherry:
We’ll hit episode 450 this year. We’ll hit episode 475 this year. We’ll hit episode 500 next year. And then of course next year will also be Revision Path’s 10th anniversary. Do I have plans for those things yet? No. I should probably start thinking about that since it’s going to be coming up sooner rather than later. I’d say just in terms of the initial idea of Revision Path with it being this online magazine, and now to it being this sort of steady staple in the design industry for us to have the respect of design organizations, tech startups, tech companies, et cetera, for it to be in the Smithsonian, I would say, is very far from where I thought Revision Path would be. I hope that answers your question.

Maurice Cherry:
Okay. Our next question here is from K.B. who asks, “how long does it take to put together an episode of the podcast?” How long does it take? It varies, because putting together the episode, if we’re just talking about postproduction from when I finished the interview up to when I get it back from RJ, who is our editor, I would say it roughly takes a week. But the thing is, I record so far in advance that RJ just kind of gets to them week by week by week. And so we have a regular production schedule. I record the intro and outro every week. So we record that in the beginning of the week, I pass it on to him. He already has the raw interview file. He does his edits, gets it back to me. I get a transcript done, upload everything, and it’s good to go.

Maurice Cherry:
So usually in the postproduction stage, takes about a week. If we’re talking about everything before that, also kind of adding into it, I would say that also will vary, because when the guest books on the show, that’s usually everything that I need to go ahead and get started with the actual interview for the episode. So I’ll do my research. I’ll put together a few bullet points. Then I have the guest on the show. We do the interview.

Maurice Cherry:
Well, I’ll put it like this, the time that we book for the interview is roughly 90 minutes. 90 minutes doesn’t mean that we use everything in that 90 minute. We may use probably only about an hour or so of that audio, but I do 90 minutes, one, to handle any sort of technical difficulties that might arise on my end or on their end. Sometimes maybe they’re not in a super quiet space, or there’s like mic issues or headphone issues. We work those out before we start recording.

Maurice Cherry:
And then when the guest is ready, I let them know I’m about to start recording. We do the recording, we do it all the way through, hopefully, fingers crossed. I’d say now it’s much better. Sometimes we would have issues with the recorder that I use or with Skype or with the guest internet connection or with my internet connection. There can always be things that go wrong. But within that 90 minute timeframe, I’ve got everything I need to go ahead and send off to RJ to start to get the episode together.

Maurice Cherry:
While I’m doing the interview, I also will take notes, like edit notes to say like, here’s a timestamp where I coughed, or here’s a timestamp where the guest dropped something or something like that. And he edits through all of those and it’s good to go. Roughly the interview portion, including everything else, I would say it takes about like a week or so to put an episode together. I try to do them in advance because I’m also scheduling them around different events that might be happening, or trying to see which episode can I place in this spot for maximum reach or that sort of thing. So it kind of varies, but roughly about a week, I would say.

Maurice Cherry:
I’d say the quickest turnaround I’ve done on an interview has been maybe a couple of days. Like we record, I get it to RJ, he gets it back to me, and then we have everything together. But if I’ve got everything that I need to get started, and we request with the guests, we get that going, we record it, I send it off to RJ, get the transcripts, all that stuff, roughly about a week to put an episode together. And then it’s out for the world to hear.

Maurice Cherry:
Ryan B. asks, “have you ever had to take down an episode for any reason?” So luckily within the 430+ archive of Revision Path episodes, I have never had to take down an episode; knock on wood about that. I’d say 99% of what I record with the guests ends up in the final episode. We’ll edit out a cough or a sneeze or something like that, but there’s very few episodes that I’ve had to really aggressively edit.

Maurice Cherry:
And to that end, because everything that we talk about goes in the show, and the guest has reviewed it and everything, we have not had to take any of those down. Now, what has happened, I’d say in recent years is that we will get people who will write to the show leaving, I would say the equivalent of a negative Yelp review about the guests, but not about what the guests said on the show.

Maurice Cherry:
So it’s never about what they said on the show or what I said on the show or our conversation or our topics, but they will leave a negative review about their personal interaction with the guest, and using that as justification for why I should remove the interview, which I never do. If you had a negative run-in with this guest for one reason or another, that’s on you. That has nothing to do with the episode that I’ve done.

Maurice Cherry:
And usually these are for like old episodes too. Like ones I’ve done maybe 3, 4, 5 years ago. There’s someone that sort of comes out the woodwork and is like, “Hey, this person said this thing to me or did this thing to me. I don’t know why you have them featured on your website. You should take it down.” And I’m like, “Yeah, I’m not going to take it down. That’s a problem you had with them. That has nothing to do with what I talked about with them, or anything like that.” So I don’t take those down.

Maurice Cherry:
Now, it’s a different story with 28 Days of the Web. 28 Days of the Web is our sister site, 28daysoftheweb.com. We do these profiles for every day in Black history month in February, where we profile a different Black designer or developer or something. I have had to take quite a few of those down for different reasons. The biggest reason being that the person just doesn’t want to be recognized.

Maurice Cherry:
None of the information that I have when I put those profiles together is coming from like some secret private place. Like it comes from their public LinkedIn, their public website. I’m getting that information from there, so I’m not creating anything myself. Like it’s all from them. And so they’ll see it and they’ll say, “Oh, well thank you for the honor, but I want you to take this down.” And so I’ll take it down in that instance, because it is something that I’m doing to recognize people that I may, for one reason or another, not have on the show, because I haven’t reached out to them, or…I have a long list of people, like potential folks that I could have on the show. I think it’s maybe about 2,500 people at this point.

Maurice Cherry:
So everyone that I have on the show that I could talk to, I can’t have because we just do it every week. And so some of those people will end up becoming 28 Days of the Web profiles. I mean, even if you go back all the way to 2014 when we started that, you’ll see some of those people have been guests on the show eventually. Have not had to take down a podcast episode, but I have had to take down a 28 Days of the Web profile here and there.

Maurice Cherry:
This next message is from Jordana T. who asks, “what’s the biggest blessing in disguise you’ve gotten from Revision Path?” I’d say the biggest blessing in disguise is probably the rooms that Revision Path is mentioned in that I’m not a part of. I think that’s probably the biggest thing. I’ve done this now for a long time. I’ve interviewed a lot of people, and those people will talk to other people who talk to other people.

Maurice Cherry:
There’s oftentimes I’ll be researching something for work or anything like that, and I run across someone who’s like, “Oh yeah, I know you. You’re from such and such.” I think that’s probably been the biggest blessing in disguise is knowing that the work that I’ve done is being mentioned in other rooms and other places without me necessarily having to be in them. That’s probably the biggest thing.

Maurice Cherry:
I think the other biggest blessing in disguise for me is the network that I’ve been able to build, just personally and professionally. Interviewing all these people has gotten me an in with different companies in different ways, whether that’s for sponsorship purposes, whether that’s for consulting or any number of other things. I’ve been able to get my foot in the door so I can say, oh yeah, I know someone at Microsoft. I know someone at Dropbox. I know someone at Meta, or something like that.

Maurice Cherry:
And that’s not to say it in a braggy sort of name-droppy sort of way, but it is a blessing in disguise to be able to have that one-on-one access to someone who could possibly get me access to someone else. I think that’s been the biggest kind of a blessing from the show. Doing this interview-based show is always good.

Maurice Cherry:
Another big blessing in disguise is honestly just the fact that so many people are appreciative of hearing these conversations. Like I will get messages from people who are just glad that they found this as a resource, whether it’s through their own research, or a friend or a colleague of theirs is on it. Like hearing back from people, what they thought about the show or what they thought about the interviews, and how much of a help it’s been to them has been a real blessing. Knowing that I’m putting something out there in the world that, yes, is educational, and that you’re learning about these people, but is also inspirational.

Maurice Cherry:
I’m glad that people are finding that inspiration from listening to these stories and listening to people and learning about what they do and being able to expand their own kind of personal knowledge of black designers and the work that black designers can do. Yeah. That’s kind of been the biggest blessing in disguise from doing this whole thing.

Maurice Cherry:
All right. Next up is this question from Rosie. Rosie asks, “how come some of the podcasts have transcripts and others don’t? When will that be fixed?” The simple question is that some podcasts don’t have transcripts because I don’t have the money to pay to get them transcribed. That’s the easiest way to answer that question.

Maurice Cherry:
We do have an accessibility sponsor that we’ve had now probably for the past year, which is this great studio in D.C. called Brevity & Wit. When we were part of the Glitch Media Network back in 2019, we had podcasts for a couple of episodes, well, not a couple, for a lot of episodes. And those are the ones I think in the like 250 to maybe 340 range of episodes, those have transcripts. But no, all of the podcasts do not have transcripts.

Maurice Cherry:
We use a service called Rev, R-E-V, to do our transcripts. And they’re roughly, I think it’s like a $1.25 a word or something like that. So you can imagine with 400 plus episodes, that’s a lot of money to transcribe all of those episodes. Now, if you are a company out there who would love to sponsor us so we can get all of our episodes transcribed, I would love that. Like please hit me up. I would love to make that happen.

Maurice Cherry:
But no, because of that, that’s why some of the podcasts do have transcripts, some of them don’t. One of the goals I would love to have is to have the entire archive transcribed, but that is probably going to happen way off in the future. That’s something that we have to have the funds to be able to do. I do know that now there are these sorts of automated services where you can send them a MP3 or an audio file of some sort and they’ll spit out a transcript. They sort of do this speech to text kind of thing.

Maurice Cherry:
But what I find with those is that the transcripts that you get back, unless you’re speaking in absolute like perfect English, they are always going to be messed up. Like with Rev, I know that there are real people that are transcribing them. So there are certain words and things that they’ll pick up on and spell correctly.

Maurice Cherry:
If I use one of these automated services, by the time I get all those transcripts back, I’d have to then probably go through all of them individually to make sure the words that were said were right, especially if we’re talking about interviews that have slang terms in them, or the names of companies or things like that, that will be hard to spell out. I guess that would be hard for an AI to kind of figure out, but a human could figure it out. That’s why not all the episodes have transcripts, but that is something in the future I would love to do. And if you’re a company that’s listening and wants to sponsor us to make that happen, I am all ears. Hit me up.

Maurice Cherry:
Oh, this is a really good question. This one is from Cole M. Cole asks, “what are your thoughts now about AIGA? In early episodes, it seems like you didn’t like the organization, but you’ve also worked with them in the past. And now you have the new president of AIGA as a guest on the show, which is it?” Okay. Fair enough. I would say I probably still continue to have a complicated relationship with AIGA. Part of that complication, I’d say it comes in waves.

Maurice Cherry:
Back when I was starting out as a designer in the like mid-2000s, and trying to really become a part of the design community in Atlanta, I did reach out to AIGA Atlanta several times, and never really heard anything back. They never responded to my emails. I would go to events. I would feel out of place at events and things like that. And so it wasn’t until, one, I started this podcast. And two, they saw that I was doing work with AIGA National, that the local chapter here started to pay attention to me.

Maurice Cherry:
I’d say probably the most egregious example of that is when I spoke at HOW Design Live here in 2016, and the president of AIGA Atlanta at the time had reached out to me, and was like, “Oh my God, I feel like I should know who you are. I don’t know who you are. You’re one of two Atlanta people that are speaking in this conference. We should get to know each other.” Which I was like, “Whatever.” Super transparent. We didn’t know who you were before, but now that you’re hot, we kind of want to know more about you, that sort of thing.

Maurice Cherry:
Like Cole said, I have volunteered with AIGA. I was on their national diversity and inclusion task force for three years. Did a lot of work there. Ended up making my exit from the organization. And then a few years after that decided to cancel my membership with AIGA. I do have a complicated relationship in that respect. I’d say within the past, what…almost 10 years now? I’ve seen AIGA go through now three executive directors. Like I knew Ric Grefé back when I started the show. I knew Julie Anixter, who was the executive director, and I still keep in contact with. And I know Bennie, Bennie F. Johnson, who was our 375th episode guest, who was the new executive director of AIGA, not the president.

Maurice Cherry:
I’ve had relationships with each of them. Bennie and I actually talk fairly regularly outside of podcast stuff. I would say Bennie, and this is to the organization as a whole, I mean, it’s over a hundred years old, and they have not done a great job with keeping up with the times. I think anyone that is a modern designer, particularly if you’re a product designer or a UX designer that came about in the past 10 years, like AIGA doesn’t really have any relevance for you.

Maurice Cherry:
And that’s partially the organization’s fault with not really keeping up, in that respect, with the trends of where the design community has gone. I think they are starting to make those changes now, and starting to become more of a professional organization that offers services and access and information of things that are of importance to current working designers. I can say they did not offer that before.

Maurice Cherry:
So like there’s different conferences and webinars. There’s like continuing education courses and things you can get now through AIGA. They’re really trying to turn things around. I’ll say from the time that I have worked with AIGA, I’ve even been to the headquarters in New York. Recorded, not an episode there, but I did record an interview there. Got to sit in the AIGA boardroom, and talk to people. They’re a small organization. I’ll say that they’re may be about 25 to 30 people. So they’re not this like massive group. They’re a small organization that happens to have these different chapters across the country. And each chapter kind of operates independently, for the most part, of AIGA headquarters.

Maurice Cherry:
And so a lot of people’s, I think experience with AIGA, particularly through their chapter, is what colors their perception about the organization as a whole. Certainly that was the case with me. Now that I’ve worked both with local and with national, yeah, I have kind of a conflicted relationship. Am I an AIGA member now? No, I’m not. But I do think that they are starting to become an organization that is doing what needs to be done for the modern designer now, which is really be not just an educational resource, but I think also becoming a resource that is important to the design business community.

Maurice Cherry:
I’ll give you an example. In Canada, there is a organization called RGD, which is kind of, I don’t want to say Canada’s answer to AIGA, but it is a professional organization for graphic designers in Canada. And a lot of employers in Canada really look at your RGD membership as a good thing to have on your resume, or something like that. So if you take the skills tests and things that RGD has, and you are able to put those on your resume, then it means you’re a designer of a certain caliber.

Maurice Cherry:
Whereas I think if you’re an AIGA member and you put that on your resume, it probably doesn’t mean anything to most companies. They probably have never even heard of AIGA, or know why it’s important, or why hiring an AIGA member is a benefit over hiring someone who is not an AIGA member. Those are things that I think the organization still is trying to work out for itself. Those are kind of my thoughts on AIGA.

Maurice Cherry:
I think it’s still an organization that is doing great things. Like many other companies and organizations, they’re trying to find a way through this pandemic, because AIGA does and continues to do a good number of in-person events and things like that. It’s just different when you can’t congregate like you used to. Like how do you have the big AIGA design conference, for example, that’s like a four or five day event, how do you have that when everyone’s at home? You bring it online. And so they’ve managed to bring it online and make it more accessible to more people.

Maurice Cherry:
And now that they’re using online as kind of that event space, they’re able to have other types of events that they can spin up for different sort of niche parts of the design community. They’re doing what they can. I am still not a member, like I said before, but I think they are taking steps in the right direction to make the organization more of what it needs to be for the modern designer.

Maurice Cherry:
Sarah Z. asks, “why are you charging for job postings? The job board on Where Are The Black Designers is free, so I don’t understand why I should post a job here instead of there.” Okay. So I debated on whether or not I was going to include this question in the episode, because it’s a question, but it’s also actually a very common gripe that I get from companies that write to the show. So I figured this would be a good public way to say what I’m already saying privately to many companies.

Maurice Cherry:
I understand that companies are trying to diversify where they post their listings. It’s something certainly I think that has been a thing that’s been present in the industry, but especially after the kind of “summer of racial reckoning” in 2020, a lot of companies were like, oh, we need to seek out the black voices and where the black people are and blah, blah, blah, and all this all kind of stuff.

Maurice Cherry:
So, I get that. And people will look at Revision Path, they’ll look at other black/POC focused job boards, like Where Are The Black Designers, or People of Color in Tech…there’s a number of them. There’s actually a lot of them now more than there used to be. Some of them do allow you to post for free. Some do have a charge that’s associated with it.

Maurice Cherry:
When I started the job board, which I think was back in maybe 2015, 2016, I think, the price was $99. So it has not changed the entire time that I’ve had the job board. Actually, what we did, I want to say around 2016, 2017, was we started to offer lower priced job to your listings based on the type of job that you were posting. So, full-time and part-time jobs were $99, but if it was say an internship or a contract gig or a freelance gig, it would be $49. So we would make it half price.

Maurice Cherry:
And what I found was that people didn’t even want to pay the $49. They expected it to be free. A lot of people expect some kind of discounts. Like I will have multi-billion dollar organizations that will contact me and want a discount on a $99 job posting. Usually they want it for free. But when I say it’s $99, they want to know if there’s any discounts. I don’t offer discounts. Like I keep the price low to make it accessible. I know that if I were to have it for free, everyone would post jobs here, which is not to say that’s a bad thing. But then on the back end, I would have to spend so much extra time trying to filter out what’s quality from what’s not. And what I find to be the differentiator for that is putting a cost on the listing.

Maurice Cherry:
The cost is $99. We mention it on the podcast, like three or four times when you post it, depending on when it falls within our production cycle. So it’s getting out to thousands of people worldwide, which I think is a pretty big reach, aside from it just being on our job board. We also used to do a newsletter. We found the newsletter was not very active in terms of people finding out about stuff. So we would just put them right there on the podcast. And actually, if you go to the job board, I think it’s still there. But if you subscribe to RSS feeds, I don’t know if people are still doing RSS feeds in 2022, but you can get a RSS feed to the job board. And then you can get the jobs as they’re posted, like with no delay. So, it’s a big reach.

Maurice Cherry:
And the reason that I have that cost is to make it so I can differentiate between that. There’s this comparison thing in this question that I also wanted to address, which is, why is this black job board free, but this black job board isn’t? Don’t do that. Don’t do that. If you’re a company that’s doing that, don’t do that. Like, one, black people are not a monolith. But two, we’re catering to different, I want to say we are catering to fairly different communities with Where Are The Black Designers does, with Mitzi Okou and what I’m doing with Revision Path.

Maurice Cherry:
I’m sure in the Venn diagram of our two communities, there is some overlap, but it’s not a perfect circle. So to try to compare and say, well, their job board is free, and your job board is $99. What’s the deal with that? I mean, it’s $99 because it’s $99. Also all the proceeds from the job board go right back of the show. Like the money from that pays RJ. It pays our transcripts. It pays for advertising. So it’s not like I’m just pocketing the money. I don’t see any of that money. It’s a direct loop right back into the show.

Maurice Cherry:
So every job listing that we get, yes, it makes sure that it goes out there, but then also it keeps the show alive. I mean, for several years we had a Patreon, and we still have a PayPal where you can donate either on a one time basis or on a monthly basis. But I found those weren’t ways to really keep the show going. The job board really keeps the podcast alive. And so those listings go directly back into the show. So that’s why I charge that much.

Maurice Cherry:
One is quality control. And two, because it’s a source of revenue to keep Revision Path open. Well, I mean, not like it’s closed like a business, but you know what I mean. It keeps the show going. But I will say, the jobs that we get are from all over. There’s educational jobs, there’s private sector, jobs, there’s small businesses, et cetera. We just did this thing last year, where we created kind of like an enterprise type job board sponsorship. So if you wanted to sponsor for like the entire year for one flat price, which is, to be completely transparent, is $2,000. You can post as many jobs as you want to the job board, no problem. You get a code. You can post them all the time.

Maurice Cherry:
One of the current job board sponsors we have is Work & Co, and they post all the time. I’m sure if you’ve listened to this show within the past, what? Maybe like five or six months, there’s been several Work & Co positions that we’ve put up. And they’re a pretty well known reputable agency. As to why we charge for job postings, like I said, one, it’s quality control. Two, it actually keeps the show going. Like it goes directly back into the production of Revision Path. That’s why I do it.

Maurice Cherry:
All right. Next. Y’all are giving me some really spicy questions here. I’ll answer them. Anyway. This question is from R.G. who says, or who asks, I should say, “why is Facebook a sponsor of Revision Path? It feels hypocritical given all the harm Facebook has done to this country and this democracy that you would cape for them so hard on this show. Why is that?” Y’all are a trip. Okay. I’ll answer it. I’ll answer it completely honestly.

Maurice Cherry:
Revision Path first came on Facebook’s radar in 2015 back at South by Southwest, when I did the Where are the Black Designers presentation. I did it there. Some people from Facebook were there. They invited me to their Facebook house. For those that don’t know for South by Southwest, it’s this big interactive, film, and music festival that takes place in Austin every year. And so companies, particularly for the interactive part, will rent out spaces like restaurants and things like that, and basically turn it into their base of operations, also known as their house. So you’ll to have like a Facebook house, a Microsoft house, an eBay house, whatever.

Maurice Cherry:
So Facebook had a house there, and I got to meet folks. That is how, from doing that, I ended up not only speaking at Facebook to close out their design lecture series in 2016, but also got to visit the campus, be on the headquarters, record a number of interviews while I was out there. And yes, Facebook has, in the past, financially sponsored Revision Path. Facebook has not been a sponsor of Revision Path since 2018, I think, 2018.

Maurice Cherry:
When we joined the Glitch Media Network, again, I’m trying to be as truthful here. I’m just trying to think of the best way to put it. When we joined that network, the CEO of Glitch, who is Anil Dash, has said a number of very kind of inflammatory things about Mark Zuckerberg, who is of course the CEO of Facebook. And so let’s just say that that didn’t really mesh well, the fact that we were joining this network, and Facebook is like, yeah, you know what? They kind of just gave me the silent treatment.

Maurice Cherry:
So for the year that we were on the Glitch Media Network, Facebook was no longer sponsoring. I think there was conversations and opportunities around re-upping that sponsorship in 2020, but then with the pandemic and everything, it all just kind of fell through. We were even at one point, and this is kind of leading up to our 300th episode, we were going to do that episode at Facebook’s headquarters in New York, and had been talking about it.

Maurice Cherry:
The team that I had at the time — shout out to TK and Deanna and Britt — yhe team I had at the time had even went to Facebook’s campus in New York to scout it out for the event, but it ended up falling through. We ended up getting The Greene Space. The rest is history. I’ve had conversations with folks from Facebook since then. Facebook is now Meta, but Meta is a huge organization. Even the people who I talk to back in 2015 have moved on from the company, or they’re in other parts of the company. So I have to speak to like a whole new person about what Revision Path is and why it’s important. So I often have to like plead my case to them several times.

Maurice Cherry:
And after a while it’s just like, well, why even bother? Especially once we joined the Glitch Media Network in 2019, and that wasn’t a fit in terms of being on the network of a company that has openly disparaged the sponsor. Kind of not the best thing to do. I’ve had conversations with folks from Facebook. I mean, of course we’ve had still people from Facebook on the show, but they have not been a sponsor for a minute, Facebook/Meta. I mean, even at the top of the year, we had Charlene Atlas, who was a researcher at Meta Labs, their Reality Labs. Yeah, that went fine, but that was not a sponsored thing. We haven’t spent Facebook’s money on this show in years, but I appreciate that people are, I guess, calling me out in a way, or calling the show out for that sort of thing.

Maurice Cherry:
I do appreciate that because it keeps me honest. It makes sure that the audience knows like this is where we stand in terms of like certain issues and things of that nature. But no, Facebook/Meta has not been a sponsor for a long time. I could see how, that sort of hypocritical remark, I could see where that would come from, particularly because we were taking their money during the time of like Cambridge Analytica and all that sort of stuff.

Maurice Cherry:
So I get that, but a lot of that information came out after we had already took and spent the money. So like, I can’t unspent the money and give it back to them. But I also never told them like, we are no longer sponsoring. They just sort of moved on, especially once Facebook themselves got into podcasting. I think, and I’m speculating here, so if you work for Facebook and this is the case, don’t come after me, but I’m speculating that once they got into podcasting themselves, they’re like, “well, why are we sponsoring shows?” That kind of fell through. And to be honest, I haven’t pursued it since then.

Maurice Cherry:
Rob asks, “I have a question, but it’s about something related to Revision Path, RECOGNIZE. What happened to it? And is it coming back this year?” I’ll answer that second question first, which it is not coming back this year. I’m not sure when RECOGNIZE is coming back. I do want it to come back, but it’s not coming back this year. As far as what happened to it, tail as old as time, we don’t have the money to put RECOGNIZE on. That’s kind of the biggest reason behind it.

Maurice Cherry:
The first year that we did RECOGNIZE, we received a grant from InVision from their Design Forward Fund, and that allowed us, one, the opportunity to pay the illustrator and to pay the writers for their finished edited submissions. But then it also meant that it would have the audience of InVision on their blog, which I think is called Design Together, I believe is what it’s called. So we had that big kind of megaphone and platform for the first year of doing RECOGNIZE.

Maurice Cherry:
The second year, we started it in 2019. The theme in 2019 was Space. And then we started in 2020, and the year, the theme for 2020 was Fresh, I believe. The pandemic kind of put just a big rain cloud over the entire kind of, I don’t even want to call it a competition, because it’s not a competition, but it put big rain cloud over the entire process, because people aren’t thinking about trying to submit to a design anthology when they’re just learning about this virus and how it’s spreading and what they can do to try to protect themselves from it.

Maurice Cherry:
We did receive a fair number of submissions, but what happened was we got, I think we got down to six, that were kind of good ones that I wanted to move forward with. And then four of them completely just dropped out of the process. They were like, “I don’t have time for this. I’m too stressed. I’m too this.” Which I completely understand. And we ended up just proceeding that year with two authors, Regine Gilbert and Kahlil Crawford, I believe is his last name. And we published those. Those two ended up also getting republished in A List Apart. Shout out to Aaron Gustafson, who’s the editor-in-chief over at A List Apart for helping to make that happen.

Maurice Cherry:
But the interest, because of the pandemic kind of died out. Plus I had just lost my job. I was paying for all of this out of pocket, like out of savings and everything. So it just got to the point where it’s like, oh, this is a lot. And even as I thought about the third year, I wanted the theme for 2021 to be Reboot. And we had made graphics for it and did a campaign. I think the open time was like three months, which is the largest submission period that RECOGNIZE has ever had, to give people enough time.

Maurice Cherry:
And we got a number of submissions. And then after reading through all the submissions we got, I didn’t feel any of them were good enough to kind of move forward on. There were like three or four that I’m like, well, maybe if we shifted this and changed this. But then just kind of stepping back and looking at the entire process with how much it was going to cost and how much time it was going to take to work with these authors. And the fact that these submissions were just not really up to the quality that we used to get. The quality really decreased from year to year of the submissions.

Maurice Cherry:
So I made the executive decision in 2021 to just put the hiatus on RECOGNIZE. One, because, like I said, the quality just wasn’t that great. I mean, it’s hard to put out a design anthology of essays when the essay prompts that you’re getting, or the essay submissions you’re getting have nothing to do with the theme that we put forward. Like the theme was reboot, and we were getting just basically things that people wrote about whatever they wanted to. They wrote about nothing that had to do with design. They just wrote stuff. Some people sent in designs, which… it’s a literary anthology, so you don’t need to send me something visual. So the quality just was really not that great.

Maurice Cherry:
And then looking at how much it was going to cost in terms of editing, paying the illustrator, paying the writers, I was like, “Yeah, I just don’t have the money for this.” So we didn’t have a sponsor or anything lined up for it. And so that’s why I ended up putting it kind of on hold. One of the things I would love to do in the future is bring it back, but bring it back in like an actual printed form. I’m working on a project right now, at the job where I’m at, where we’re making an actual magazine, like a print magazine. And so I’m able to work with printers and see how much it costs and all the kind of behind the scenes stuff that goes into making a print magazine.

Maurice Cherry:
And I’m like, I think RECOGNIZE would be great as like an annual digest of some sort, but that would require, I think, many more submissions, many more quality submissions, in order to make that happen. Not to mention the price to print and ship, which was much less than I thought it would be once I really started doing research. That’s what happened with RECOGNIZE.

Maurice Cherry:
The quality of the submissions greatly decreased. The pandemic I think just took a lot of wind out of people’s sales for wanting to contribute to something like this. And I didn’t have the funds to really keep it going on my own. If we get a sponsor that’s able to make it happen, then maybe we’ll bring it back. To answer that second part of your question, again, it is the not coming back this year, and I don’t know when it will come back in the future, but it will come back. I do want to bring it back, I just don’t know when.

Maurice Cherry:
Medina D. asks, “I recommended a friend of mine to be a guest on the podcast. When are you going to interview them?” So this particular guest that Medina is talking about, I’m not going to say who the guest is, but I have already reached out to them, just waiting for them to hopefully respond, and we can make that happen. But I do want to sort of pull the curtain a little bit back on how we have guests on the show and how this process works. Because I would say within the past maybe year, maybe the past two years, I’ve gotten a lot of people who want to come on the show who it’s very clear they’ve never heard the show before at all. And the only reason that they want to be on the show is because it’s a black podcast.

Maurice Cherry:
I will get any number of people in a number of different fields. Many of them not even designers. I’ll get nonprofit CEOs. I’ll get marketing people. I’ll get authors of business books, all want to come on the show and talk about my book. Oh, I want to come on the show and talk about this project that I’m doing, and it doesn’t fit with the tenor of the show. They’ll say they’re a big fan. And I’m like, well, clearly you’re not a big fan because you would know that we don’t cover this sort of stuff on the show.

Maurice Cherry:
I’d also say probably the interesting thing is that many of these people who do this are also not black. Is it a black show? Yes. Because I’m a black host and I talk to black guests, and that’s the thing about the show. Like I talk to black designers and black tech people too, but I try to be very deliberate in that, because what will happen sometimes is that I think, one, because Revision Path has been around a long time. And because we do kind of straddle between design and tech, Revision Path is often miscategorized as a show for people that it’s not even about.

Maurice Cherry:
So like for example, people will say, oh, well, Revision Path is a show about black designers in Silicon Valley. It’s not. It’s not. It’s not geographically specific in that way. Or people will say, well, Revision Path is a show that talks to BIPOC creatives. We don’t talk to BIPOC creatives. We talk to Black designers, creatives, artists, that sort of thing. So I have to be very deliberate in that, because oftentimes Revision Path just gets lumped into the overall “diversity in tech,” or, I guess diversity in design conversations too, but in a way that makes people think that they can just come on the show for whatever reason, even if they don’t fit sort of what the guest roster is, or what the theme of the show is about.

Maurice Cherry:
When I do have guests on, I try to let them know that even if there is a particular project that they want to plug, the interview is not just about the thing you want to plug. Like we’re not that kind of show. First of all, because I record in advance, like up to a month in advance. Like by the time you hear the interview, it’s been at least a month or so since we’ve had that conversation. It’s hard for me to do really timely things. And I do that on purpose to keep our production schedule pretty lean in that respect.

Maurice Cherry:
But secondly, if you just come on the show and it’s all about, here’s the one thing that I’ve done, that doesn’t make sense in the entire archive of the whole show, because it’s about people’s individual journeys as designers, as developers, et cetera, et cetera, not about this one thing they did this one time with this one company that they worked with. It doesn’t become this sort of evergreen sort of thing, if you just want to come on and talk about one particular thing.

Maurice Cherry:
But I don’t know. I think Revision Path has ended up in some PR database, because I get all kinds of folks that are like, “Oh, I want this person to be on my show. And they’ve done this, this and this.” And it’s like, this is a white man. Why would I have them on the show? You looked at the guests, do you see that I have white men on the show? What’s not clicking? I don’t know. They’re clearly not paying attention in that respect.

Maurice Cherry:
But to put a finer point on Medina’s question about the friend that she had said wants to be on the show, oftentimes people will recommend like friends of theirs, colleagues of theirs, et cetera, to be on the show. And I like that. I love to get that sort of warm referral. What I will ask is that if you do that, please supply enough information to me, so I don’t have to hunt down who this person is. Like for example, someone will say, “Oh, I’ve got a really good friend who should be a guest on the show. Respond back and I’ll tell you who it is.” I’m not going to do that. Why don’t you just tell me who it is instead of having to play this kind of back and forth game.

Maurice Cherry:
Or they’ll give very little information like, oh my friend Alan would be a great designer. Okay. Alan who? Does Alan have a last name? Do you have a link to Alan’s website or LinkedIn, so I can find out more information about this person whom you’re recommending? Make my job a little easier by giving me the information, especially if this is like a friend or a colleague of yours that you want on the show. Like, help them out. Like help me out, but help them out too, to make sure that that information is correct.

Maurice Cherry:
Now, when I do outreach, and I guess this is sort of branching out from your question a little bit, Medina, but when I do outreach, I try to make sure that I connect via email. One, because I just have my one inbox, and it’s just easier for me to manage it that way. If you’re a designer that’s got a contact form or something like that, just make sure that it works. I can’t tell you how many times I go to a person that I would love to interview, and I go to their website, and there’s absolutely no way to contact them. There’s no social media links. The contact form doesn’t work. There’s no email address listed. It’s like, how am I supposed to reach out to you?

Maurice Cherry:
And maybe they don’t want to be reached out to, which is fine. That is totally something that you can do, that people can do. I don’t feel any sort of negative way about that, because for a while in my career I was very much the same way. I’m like, “Don’t talk to me, just let me do my work.” But it becomes harder when there’s not really an easy way to contact the person, or I don’t have enough information for me to do even preliminary research to see if this person would be a good fit.

Maurice Cherry:
Also because I do record very far in advance. Just because you send me this person’s name, I may not get to them for months, because I already have other people whom I’ve reached out to, or there’s just other folks in the queue. So it may take me a while to finally get around to that person, but I’ll get onto them eventually. I have a long list of about, I think I mentioned this earlier, maybe about 2000 to 2,500 people, that I could reach out to. Like I go through that list pretty regularly when it comes to reaching out to folks because I’ve been keeping the list now for nine years, and I’m continually adding to it and such. And so I make sure that when people recommend folks, I do move them to the top of the list.

Maurice Cherry:
I’d also say, let that person know that you are recommending them. So that way if I reach out to them, it’s not this, well, who are you? And what is this show? And blah, blah, blah, that kind of thing, because then it’s weird. It’s like, okay, well your friend recommended me, or your colleague recommended you to come on the show, and they often don’t even know. So like, let your friend know, copy them on the email or something. Help them out as well. But yes, to Medina, I did reach out to your friend. If they happen to get back to me, I would love to have them on the show. Let them know that I reached out to them, and then they can respond, and we can make that happen.

Maurice Cherry:
All right. We’ve got time for one last question, and this comes from Maya W. who asks, “you always ask a guest where they see themselves in the next five years, where do you want Revision Path to be in the next five years?” My overall aspiration for Revision Path is to grow this into becoming a multimedia network. The biggest reason I think is to grow beyond being typecast. I mentioned before about how Revision Path is often kind of misnamed or mislabeled as all these other things that it’s not. Being able to grow Revision Path into a network allows or would allow me more places to really say, this is what this is about.

Maurice Cherry:
What I’m envisioning with this kind of multimedia network is we still continue the podcast, because that’s the main keystone of all of this. I’d want to keep that. Maybe expand out to do other types of shows. There are other shows I would love to do. I would love to bring on other hosts on this platform. Maybe acquire some shows, have like a Revision Path network. That would be great. I would love to do something like that.

Maurice Cherry:
I would want to have an editorial arm at Revision Path, where we bring back the blog and have a regular staff of writers. We bring back RECOGNIZE, and make that a printed annual design anthology. And I would even lump 28 Days of the Web into that as well. Like bring that under the whole editorial arm. And then branch out and do video as well. I sort of teased that a little bit, about the possibility of doing some sort of a weekly live show, maybe on Twitch or something like that.

Maurice Cherry:
But I also want to do short documentaries or licensed short documentaries, licensed web series, things like that. Basically really build this out so Revision Path becomes kind of a staple in the Black community that deals with design. When I started Revision Path, I’d say probably one of the thing that I really wanted to do was make sure to inform people about who Black designers are. Like why are we doing this? What’s the reasoning behind all of this?

Maurice Cherry:
Part of this also even stems from research that Cheryl Miller, who, AIGA medalist. We’ve had her on the show before. Has talked about her 1985 thesis around basically why is it that there aren’t more Black designers in the industry? And part of that being that a lot of Black parents don’t really understand like what design is, or they think of it as a hobby and not an actual profession.

Maurice Cherry:
And so one of my hopes with expanding Revision Path into being this multimedia network is to provide enough information so people know like what design is. Like the black community knows like this is what design is. These are all the different sorts of things that you can do. And it’s as viable of an option to go into as if you were to go into medicine or to go into sports or to go into engineering or whatever. You just have more information.

Maurice Cherry:
I mean, granted there’s been a lot of talk and initiatives and things around STEM. Arts kind of gets lost in that. Sometimes it’s lumped in as STEAM as opposed to STEM, so the A gets thrown in there. But I want Revision Path to be this multimedia network that really lets people know that creativity in the Black design industry of course is something that we’re known for. These are the types of people that are doing it. These are the positions that are available. These are career paths that you can take. Basically just provide more information.

Maurice Cherry:
Like I’ve been very fortunate that I know that the show is even taught in some schools. Current designers are learning about this show and learning about the people on this show to help inform them as designers when they get out there in the world and create new things. Imagine the kind of reach that Revision Path can have if we’re able to do that through more ways than just this podcast.

Maurice Cherry:
Podcasting is great, don’t get me wrong, but I also realize that the platform is the barrier to getting out to more people, because everyone’s not going to listen to a podcast. They may watch a YouTube video. They may read an article or something like that, and so to allow Revision Path the space to grow into those particular types of media would be great. Next five years I’d want to do that.

Maurice Cherry:
And of course be able to do Revision Path full time. Like right now Revision Path is very much still my nights and weekends project, because I work a nine-to-five job. I would love to do Revision Path full time, and have the sustainable revenue from patrons and from companies and from sponsorships to be able to really do this full time and really crank out a bunch of great stuff. It’s not still just me, because I do have a small team, but to even be able to expand that team out to do more would be great.

Maurice Cherry:
Next five years, I hope to be there. I am putting things in place to make that happen. I just brought on a sponsorship director to help with getting more funds in for the show. And turn that revenue into these things that I want Revision Path to eventually become. I’ve got a plan for it, I just have to try to work the plan, and hopefully within the next five years we will be there, and you will be there too.

Sponsored by Brevity & Wit

Brevity & Wit

Brevity & Wit is a strategy and design firm committed to designing a more inclusive and equitable world.

We accomplish this through graphic design, presentations and workshops around I-D-E-A: inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility.

If you’re curious to learn how to combine a passion for I-D-E-A with design, check us out at brevityandwit.com.

Brevity & Wit — creative excellence without the grind.