“We Wask the Kwestions Here!”—36Point at HOW LIVE

Written by in Profiles

Voss and Beery plan their assault on HOW LIVE in Chicago

There are many reasons to admire Barbara Walters. Among the greatest, in my opinion, was in an interview with the bombastic Muhammed Ali, in the prime of his career, at the height of his physical and verbal sparring powers. After interrupting Barbara’s several times, the steely  Walters said, “Muhammwed? I wask the questions around here!” he shut up. She had TKO’d The Greatest. Now, about that interviewing pair from Ohama, NE….

Donovan Beery and Nate Voss have become fixtures at the How Conference, trolling the hallways with their Muffled Mike and Recording Pack grip for 36Point. Donovan and Nate get the most out of short interviews. They work so hard at the conference that we wonder if they ever have time to simply sit down and take it all in. Lucky for us, they are experiential sponges. We last visited Donovan in the summer of 2010. He has put many miles under his feet since then, attending conferences and talks, meeting design’s more engaging characters. He will again be at HOW this year, on tour for 36Point with Nate.

-3) Donovan Beery! You look familiar—can I blog about you?

Do people really ask, or in that manner, need permission to blog about anything? I seem to read a few blog posts here and there, and really, if you ask permission first, it’s probably not a true blog.

-2) CYNIC! THESE ARE CAREFULLY CRAFTED WORKS OF  BLOG ART! Did you choose your HOW role… or did it choose you?

After a few years of podcasting about design, we kept talking about design events, and thus kept talking about what our guests said was the biggest event for the typical designer that is held every year – the HOW conference/ Eventually we knew we had to do more than cover it from a distance, so I bought a ticket to 2009’s Austin event, and we started doing daily podcast recaps from the hallway after the days’ last session was over. Last year in Denver we took it a step further and recorded an addition seven interview shows with various speakers. Since podcasting is what we do on 36 Point, it just naturally seemed to fit.

-1) Who was the most irritating person you ever interviewed at HOW?

Oh, I think we irritate our guests way more than they have ever irritated us. Justin Ahrens of Rule29 will probably be offended if I don’t say he’s the most irritating individual we have ever had on the show though, so if you need a name, go with that guy.

0) You are right. Justin gets under your skin. Like tattoo ink: indelible. Who was the most charming, beautiful, intelligent, relevant, grateful, saintly?

That would be the fabulous Debbie Millman.

1) She served the Kingdom of AIGA with great poise and honor. Where does your passion stop and your work begin?

The passion of design and all it can do is one of the great things about being in this profession. But it’s so easy to start treating projects like they are only work, get too obsessed with making money over great design, or want to cave under some of the stress that can be caused by deadlines and disagreements with clients. That’s what I found the most beneficial part of being at the HOW events has been – you instantly remember why you became a designer, and you have the energy and passion to keep doing it for the next year.

2) The HOW Conference as a filling station. I like it. How do you separate life from work… since I know enough about each of you to know you work a lot and love your work!

I actually keep fairly regular work hours, and make sure to take at least one or two days off a week.

3) Good for you. Do you have an office at home?

I have a computer there if needed, but no, probably why the work/life separation has been working for me the past few years.

5) I am sure your wife appreciates that. Too much work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Do you have children or pets…. and if so, how do they inform your work and ideas?

My wife and I have a cat and two pugs. They have yet to be able to communicate any design ideas to me, but I’m working on them. We’ll see if they can master English well enough in the next few years.

6) Your pug plays a big role on your FaceBook page. Name three or four things you want to accomplish through your appearance at HOW 2011.

–I do want to get a tour of the Threadless office in Chicago, as I have seen some pictures online that make it look like a fun space.

–I hope to be inspired by someone’s work like I was with both David Berman’s and Kevin Carroll’s last year.

–I hope to once again have you confuse me with Steve Hartman, and once again continue to ruin his reputation because of it.


Which came first, the chicken or the D-Man?

7) I can make your Third Wish Come True.. but you must shave your head completely before conference to keep me on Steve’s scent. Now. Very Important:  Name three or four places you would like to see while in Chicago … museums, architecture, buildings, paintings, restaurants, walking trails…hot dogs covered in Chicago Glop?

Woah, I don’t plan that far ahead in these manners. I plan to play it by ear.

8) Liar. You collect Superman dolls and metal chickens. You live in Omaha, home of Marlin Perkins and Jim, risk management companies and billion-dollar investors in Dairy Queen and Fruit of the Loom! You must OCD-level organized—calculating, methodical, planned! You just don’t want to admit that you will be over at the Playboy HQ interning. Aside from that, which designer do you most want to spend a candle lit moment with at the Neenah Closing Party, assuming your respective spouses would be willing to give you a Roman Holiday?

This interview went south fast, eh?


What does this collection say about Beery?


  1. 06

    Looking forward to reprising my interview at HOW Conference this year. These guys keep you on your toes so beware if they stop you in the halls!

  2. 06

    We do plan on doing recaps at the closing party each night once again. All are welcome to stop by and say hello, but we do record these, so yes, be warned.