Today is the fifth anniversary of my employment at Panic Inc., Portland’s little big software company. Five years ago, after a very informal lunchtime interview, I joined the team as a designer. On my first day, I designed the above icon, meant to be used in the menu bar.
If you’re wondering why the lines are kind of wonky, it’s a matter of optical adjustment. Using a principle similar to ink trapping, the icon was adjusted to look sharp, clear, and even on a pixel display. Below, the left icon is drawn “on the grid”, while the one on the right is “trapped”.
Five years later, I’m currently working on a similar graphic. I’m afraid all this is not a very good metaphor for the time I’ve spent here. Panic is a true second home for me; a place where I feel inspired, delighted, and safe. I love everyone in this office, I love what we do, and I love how we do it.
Just five years. Here’s to many, many more.
There were three of us: Greg Maletic, Alex Pasco, and yours truly. And then there was the fourth, Cabel Sasser. We wanted to jokingly “catch him up” on movies we figured everyone should see, and he hadn’t. So we rented out a movie theater, kidnapped him from work (blindfold and all), popped him in a red velvet seat surrounded by his family and friends, and rolled the projector on two great movies previously unseen by him, and unknown to the rest of the audience. It was a blast.
It was such a blast that we couldn’t just leave it at this one bespoke, double-feature screening of secret movies. We wanted to recreate the experience for the rest of our friends—and a bunch of strangers, if possible. And thus was born Match Cut Movie Club, a quarterly (or so) screening of just such double features.
The three of us pick two great movies to show. They must be 1. genuinely good and enjoyable, so nothing too artsy or mopey, and 2. seldom seen in some sense, so they’re new to most of our audience. When choosing, we try to find a common thread for the two selections. In one case, it was “Kirk Douglas at his most dramatic, Kirk Douglas at his silliest.” We then post about the next screening, keeping the actual movies secret. Folks show up at the theater, sit down (no blindfold needed), and we play some short clips and trailers to set the mood. Then the first movie starts. What is it? Only three of us know. Whatever it is, we promise it’s good.
See, it’s all premised on trust. If you trust Greg, Alex, and me, we promise not to punk you or challenge you in an annoying way. These movies probably won’t be what you’d pick if you browsed Netflix at home, but they won’t be hipper-than-thou either. You’ll walk out thinking, “man, I’m glad I finally saw that!”
Take Forbidden Planet, for instance. It is, in my opinion, the quintessential 1950s sci-fi movie. It’s a genre we all know mostly via parody and regurgitation. That’s fair; most of those movies were kind of crummy. But not this one. It’s gorgeous, it’s cleverly written, it’s wonderfully inventive. You’re not going to forget it.
It’s a movie you should see, and we try to show it the way you should see it: on a big screen, with friends, no rush or pressure.
So, our next screening is tonight. The movies we’ve chosen are seriously good; the first is in my all-time top five, and the second is perhaps the single best in its category. I bet you haven’t seen both, and I also bet you’ll love at least one of them.