VMSD - December 2013 - (Page 72)
Interview by Steve Kaufman
Microsoft's senior design manager sees his role as being in a big amusement park, running
from one fun ride to another.
What are your roots?
I was born in Romania and went to a math and physics high school there.
What brought you to the U.S.?
My father was a mechanical engineer who was hired by General Motors, so we all
moved to the Detroit area.
Does that immigrant experience give you a different, better perspective on the
I think so. In one sense, this is still the melting pot. There's always a new immigrant
population coming to the U.S. from somewhere, so I understand how people can
be confused and overwhelmed in a store here. Plus, of course, Microsoft can be
overwhelming to someone who's not conversant in our "language."
How did you get from math and physics to visual and design?
I'd always been interested in the visual arts. And in high school in Detroit, I had a
teacher who exposed me to digital arts. I attended a local art college on weekends and
worked on one of the early desktop publishing programs. In fact, my college degree
was in fine arts with a specialty in computer animation and interactive design from the
College for Creative Studies in Detroit.
Sunless in Seattle
And now you're working at Microsoft. Is it exciting?
It's like being in a big laboratory with an ultimate set of tools. Very innovative, with great
Born in Romania, raised in Detroit, Florin
Great challenges, as well.
gale is used to extreme climates with plenty
Absolutely. Right now, my challenge is trying to put these tools together into a retail
of white Christmases. how do he and his
experience. Product-wise, Microsoft is doing fine, but retail-wise, we're just getting
family like the Seattle weather?
The summers are paradise. The only people
who don't like Seattle weather are from Los
Angeles. They're obsessed with sun 24/7.
What do you think the mission is?
There's never been as direct a retail interaction before between Microsoft and its
customer as we're planning. Consumers have great respect and appreciation for the
Microsoft brand. That will bring them through the door, but then we have to turn that
respect into a retail experience.
You mentioned all the tools you have to play with. Talk about one.
We have a groundbreaking approach to video walls in each of our 40 stores. They wrap
around the entire store in a dynamic way, giving us unique delivery mechanisms for
our messages. We can combine all the messaging media - print, video, social and web
- into one point of contact, communicating with the consumer in a seamless physical
Communications. That's still retail, after all, isn't it?
Yes, and I'm fascinated with retail as a science, as a delivery mechanism for
connections, as an area of research figuring out how to connect with people, measuring
the effectiveness of our products, changing perceptions. It intrigues me. x
72 December 2013 | vmsd.com
COuRteSy OF FlORin gale, Seattle
I love the variety. I love to see the layers of
fog. We call it "mountain weather." I love the
four seasons - hot, cold, sunny, cloudy and
everything in between.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of VMSD - December 2013
VMSD - December 2013
From the Editor
VMSD Editoral Advisory Board
Who’s the Boss?
Setting the Stage
Top 10 of 2013
Made in America
VMSD - December 2013