Season 1, Episode 3
This is a transcript of one episode of the Samsung Developers Podcast, hosted by and produced by Tony Morelan. A listing of all podcast transcripts can be found here.
Community Manager, Samsung Developers
Developer Evangelist, Samsung Developers
In this episode of POW, the tables are turned and I am the one being interviewed. Hear stories from my past life as a freelance graphic designer, like when I designed Madonna’s first website, recorded a knock-off version of The Final Countdown for Nokia, and had a chance encounter with a Ferrari that launched my career at Samsung.
- Watch Face Designing
- Galaxy Watch Designer
- Galaxy Watch Studio
- Mobile UI Theme Designing
- Themes Studio
Check out the Samsung Developer Program website at developer.samsung.com to learn more about designing watch faces using Samsung’s Galaxy Watch Studio (previously named Gear Watch Designer and Galaxy Watch Designer), as well as designing mobile UI themes with Samsung’s Galaxy Themes Studio.
Be sure to sign up for the Samsung Developers newsletter to learn about the latest from the Samsung Developer Program.
NOTE: Transcripts are provided by an automated service and reviewed by the Samsung Developers web team. Inaccuracies from the transcription process do occur, so please refer to the audio if you are in doubt about the transcript.
Tony Morelan 00:02
Hey, I'm Tony Morelan. And this is POW! Podcast of Wisdom from the Samsung Developer Program, where we talk about the latest tech trends and give insight into all of the opportunities available for developers looking to create for Samsung. On today's show, we're going to do something a little different. We're going to switch chairs, and I'm going to be the one being interviewed. I sat down with Charlotte Allen, she's the one in charge of our outreach, finding the best opportunities in building the relationships that drive our developer program. Charlotte is also the person I called when I said I wanted to work for Samsung. Hope you enjoy.
Hi, Tony. Hey, Charlotte,
Tony Morelan 00:40
how are you? I'm doing fine. How about yourself?
Charlotte Allen 00:43
I'm good. Excellent. Can I tell you I'm really excited to have the opportunity to interview you today? Yeah, this is This should be fun. So how long have we known each other maybe a year.
That's actually a year and a half.
Charlotte Allen 00:54
year and a half. It seems like longer in some ways.
Tony Morelan 00:58
But I think that's a good thing. In a good way,
Charlotte Allen 01:01
yes. So I'm excited because in the year and a half, we've been working together, you've done so many amazing things. And I'm excited for the community to get to know you and to learn about some of the things that you've done. Yeah. So tell us a little bit about Tony.
Tony Morelan 01:17
Sure. So before I started working at Samsung, my entire career, I was a freelance graphic designer. At a nice office at home, I got to work on a lot of nice projects. I got to set my own hours. I mean, really, it was it was a great gig.
Charlotte Allen 01:31
Tell me a little bit about some of the cool projects that you worked on as a freelance designer.
Tony Morelan 01:37
Sure. Yeah. I did a fun project for Nokia. I didn't animation for the conference. Okay. And they wanted some music to go with it. I don't know if you know the song. The final countdown. Yes, yes. done by a band called Europe, right. So they wanted that song. And I said, Well, you can't just go and take that song. I said, however, how about I record Knock Off version of that song. Yes.
Charlotte Allen 02:02
Okay, so musically inclined as well.
Tony Morelan 02:05
Yeah. So you know, back when I was a kid, I thought I was going to be a rock star and okay the band and did that for about 10 years and realized, yes,
Charlotte Allen 02:13
you had your own band. Yes,
Tony Morelan 02:15
yeah. And so when they said, Hey, they wanted this song, I said, I can do that for you. The next year, they loved it so much. They said, come back and do us another one. So then they asked me to basically rip off a U2 song. And that was a lot of fun. I still managed to, you know, plug in my guitar every once in a while, even the music that you're listening to today on this podcast, right? That's my alter ego. Is the atomic tone? Yes. So yeah, so I, you know, good opportunity here. I still get to, you know, do a little recording have a little fun. So yeah, all the music that you're hearing today is from the atomic tone was fortunate to actually get my start right around the same time that the internet was really starting to grow. I actually worked on HP’s first website, but I would say, you know, the craziest project that I worked on was I actually designed Madonna's first website.
Charlotte Allen 03:36
So wait a second. So Madonna the Material Girl, yeah, yes, Madonna. Wow, that's pretty cool.
Tony Morelan 03:46
Yeah, so I was doing some work for Sony Music. The internet was totally new. They didn't even have a website for their music division. And they were wanting to bring their artists online. So I designed a site for Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Ozzy Osborne. I mean, even Britney Spears, you know a lot of the big names at the time. Yeah, so that was a lot of fun.
Charlotte Allen 04:05
So the Material Girl Madonna, how was it working with her?
Tony Morelan 04:10
Really the only feedback Madonna kept giving for the website was make my picture bigger make my picture bigger. So we would do rounds and rounds and wrath of the website and Madonna's picture kept getting bigger and bigger. I
Charlotte Allen 04:21
don't think anybody's going to be surprised by that right?
Tony Morelan 04:23
No, no, no, when I think back that was probably one of the most unique projects that I got to work on.
Charlotte Allen 04:29
Wow. So tell me about your journey
Tony Morelan 04:32
to Samsung. how I got here. Yeah, so that that was unique. Also, I had no intentions of leaving my freelance gig. Truthfully it was it was amazing. However, I came across an amazing opportunity. A friend of mine who was also a graphic designer knew about Samsung. She invited me to attend a workshop here at the campus in Mountain View. Where they were going to teach you about the software called gear watch designer has since been changed to galaxy watch studio. The free software that Samsung makes available to designers to create interactive watch faces without doing any coding. As a designer, that was like all I needed to hear. And then when she said that there was free pizza, I thought hacky? No, why not show up for me? That sounds like a great evening.
Charlotte Allen 05:17
That's something we have in common. Yes.
Tony Morelan 05:23
Interesting enough. That was when I first met you because you were the one who was actually putting on this workshop. That evening, I went home and actually stayed up all night creating my first watch face. You guys were kind enough to actually give me one of the watches. So I created this design and I put it on the watch and I sat there and stared at it and thought, oh my gosh, I've just created this like interactive moving animated artwork that's sitting on my wrist. And knowing that I could then take that design and upload it. To the galaxy store and start selling this, I thought, Oh my gosh, what a great gig. I thought of it as sort of a fun hobby at the time. But I found myself over the next six months, spending more and more time designing watch faces and then eventually becoming approved to design phone UI themes. When I learned about that, I just was so excited about this new way to be creative, to actually get my designs out and available. Seriously around the globe. I mean, that first time that I published a watch face, I woke up that morning, and saw that I had a sale from Argentina. I had a sale in Russia, Mexico, United States, Korea. I mean, it was just amazing to see all these sales from around the globe. That just got me even more excited.
Charlotte Allen 06:46
Yeah, that is amazing. And I personally have seen some of your designs, which are amazing. Thank you. So I talk a little bit more about your design. Yeah.
Tony Morelan 06:54
So you know, when I started doing the artwork, I wasn't thinking so much like what's going to be the top seller, it was more of this as a creative outlet. You know, I'm a huge fan of artists like Miro and Mondrian and Matisse. I love cars. I love industrial thing. So I found myself being inspired by just things that I saw out in the world that could be turned into a watch face. So I was grabbing my phone and snapping pictures and, and getting inspired but all these, you know, different unusual objects that I could turn into a watch face.
Charlotte Allen 07:24
So is that what inspired my most favorite designs that I've seen of yours? And I remember they're these amazing car wheels. And these are Jags. Yeah,
Tony Morelan 07:34
exactly. So I was at a stoplight and again, a Ferrari pulled up next to me. And I see his wheel and I thought, Oh my gosh, it's like a perfect watch face. So that inspired me to create a watch face that I call to sorrow
Charlotte Allen 07:48
to sorrow. Yeah, that mean
Tony Morelan 07:50
like that. In Italian it means treasure, which I thought hey, you know this is a great a great word. It was great inspiration for the for the watch. That watch face ended up becoming Like top seller, what was nice was right around that time, Samsung started to take notice of my designs, they wanted to feature that design on a banner on the homepage on the Galaxy store. It was huge. I mean, it was from that design that I really started to see, you know how much money can be made off of doing these watch faces. I then realized that I'd love this way too much. started asking myself that question, could I go work for a company? Could I actually go into the corporate world? I mean, a lot of times people start in the corporate world, and then they go home and they start doing freelance work while I'm doing it reverse, then the question was easy to answer. And that was Yes. You know, I wanted to do this. So I made a phone call. And that phone call was to Who? Me? Yes. It was to I don't know if you remember that phone call? Absolutely.
Charlotte Allen 08:45
Yeah, the phone call you said I want to come and work for you. And this is I should say after a number of conversations that we actually had already had, where you are providing some really great feedback to us about the design process areas and we could help you even come to some of our follow up meetings. And they are you are already supporting some of the other folks who were also from the workshop and who are in the design process. So that was kind of this natural thing that started to happen.
Tony Morelan 09:13
Yeah, I found myself actually not only teaching the other designers that were invited to come to these meetings, but I was actually teaching the Samsung people how to use the software. That's when it gave me the confidence like, Yes, I could go work for Samsung, because I knew I had something that I could offer.
Tell us about your role here at Samsung.
Tony Morelan 09:37
So my title is senior developer evangelist. But I often tell people, I'm a teacher. And there are different sides to that. So one side of being a teacher at Samsung is going out into the community. So I will speak at conferences, I will conduct workshops, I will teach at universities, lots of different ways to get out into the community and teach how to design and create for Samsung. Here at the office, though I am writing blogs creating YouTube tutorial videos, we've now been doing this podcast series. We've also launched a webinar series. So a lot of different ways where I can help the community but being here in the office, so it is all about assisting designers and developers on creating for Samsung.
Charlotte Allen 10:21
Yeah. So you touched a little bit on something that I wanted to ask about a webinar series, which is something that was just launched very recently, where you did just some amazing work, I mean, from building the studio, which is really cool, just doing cool vibe to our webinars to come up with a name, which is wow. Yes. And talk a little bit about, wow, sure. Everybody wants to know what that means. And then also, the recent webinar you did,
Tony Morelan 10:48
yeah, yeah, we launched this new webinar series called Wow, which stands for webinars of wisdom. And the idea is to not just teach but do it in a very fun sort of quirky way. So if you have seen any of the episodes of well, please go check them out, you can find them on YouTube, just search Samsung developer program and just put in Wow. And it'll show there. The latest webinar that we did was about how to become a themes UI designer, what it takes. So you have to submit a portfolio of a mockup of a theme. And once it gets reviewed and approved, then you get the ability to download the software and start creating themes.
Charlotte Allen 11:26
And so well then led to what we're doing right now. Yes. Which is pow, so POW talk about what that means. Yeah, a little bit about so
Tony Morelan 11:33
POW is podcasts of wisdom. I mean, it took me off about two seconds. You know, when we were done creating Wow, I thought Hmm, we have to come up with something for podcasts. What could that be? And it was pretty quick. It just came up with POW podcasts of wisdom. So lots of great plans with that. We're actually putting together our schedule already of all the interviews that we're going to be doing. So we'll be interviewing some internal people here at Samsung. They can share a lot about our technologies and processes and how You can be successful using our tools. We're also going to be interviewing designers and developers that are already successful with Samsung. So we've already lined up quite an impressive list of people that I'll be interviewing on pal that can share their journey. How did they become a designer or a developer selling for Samsung? So super excited about that?
Charlotte Allen 12:20
Yeah, I'm super excited about it as well. Another thing that you've worked on, that I've been really impressed with is you've created some amazing tools to support designers. And the cool thing about you, Tony, is that you've been on both sides of the fence. You've been on this side of the fence as the freelance designer who attended our workshop. And now you're on the other side of the fence of knowing the kinds of challenges that designers sometimes face and have come up with some amazing solutions in the way of tools and so if you can share some of those tools that you've put in place, yeah,
Tony Morelan 12:52
for sure. The first tool that I created is called the asset creator. I noticed that when I was doing watch face design means that I was spending just as much time creating the graphics that are needed on your seller page as I was creating for the watch face, so I needed to find a way to speed up the time that it takes to publish your watch face. The asset creators have Photoshop template file that automates a lot of what is required when it comes to saving all the different images. If you're interested you can go to our website which is developer samsung.com actually wrote a blog and even created a YouTube tutorial video on how to use the asset creator so you can just search asset creator in the search field and there'll be a link for downloading the asset crater itself.
Charlotte Allen 13:34
So asset creator and I think there's a recently yes little that you just created.
Tony Morelan 13:39
Yeah, so inspired by the asset creator. I created some lifestyle photos; the photos are unique pictures of the watch in use. So I've taken the watch and I've put it into unique backgrounds. So I've you know, placed it on a leather jacket or I've found some tech looking, you know, vent or a pipe or you know, just different lifestyle pictures of these photos. And what's unique is that you can just copy paste your watch face into the layer in Photoshop, and Photoshop will automatically position at depth of field blur, it will do all of the necessary adjustments to the picture so that it is embedded into the scene. So it's a huge time saver. Lots of unique pictures out there. So again, you can find the lifestyle photos on our website, going to developer dot Samsung Comm.
Charlotte Allen 14:26
So one of the important things that you said a couple times with both of the tools is, is this time saver? Yeah. What kind of time are you talking?
Tony Morelan 14:33
So I would say, you know, I would spend half a day creating the assets for your seller page.
Charlotte Allen 14:39
Absolutely. And that's why I wanted you to share is a huge time saver. So you've done so much already, in just a year and a half. Anything we should look forward to
Tony Morelan 14:48
Yeah, one of the things I'm most excited about, we're actually doing a partnership with the Art Institute of Dallas. So we're going to be conducting an 11-week course for the students there. That'll be really exciting. We're going to dive really deep into watch face designing and all these students will get an opportunity to publish their designs and make those available to the world. So really excited about that. And we'll be doing some additional outreach. So I know that we're going to go to how design in Boston this year. So that'll be a ton of fun. We're going to set up a booth, we'll have some interaction for people to come in and actually design watch faces on site. You know, in the past, we've gone to Adobe Max, that has been a wonderful experience in we have plans of returning there again in the in 2020.
Charlotte Allen 15:30
Yeah, I'm excited about both of those house new to us. We haven't been there before, but been planning what we want to do there. So it'd be really exciting. So hopefully, we might be able to meet some folks there as well. Yes. So what's the biggest challenge with your role here at Samsung?
Tony Morelan 15:43
I would say public speaking. I mean, I'm a very chatty person, but you know, I have not had much experience getting up on stage. Really?
Charlotte Allen 15:52
Wow, Tony, I'm really surprised to hear that I would not have thought and
Tony Morelan 15:55
he must have forgot about that time that I bombed. We were hosting about 100 different Here at the campus, and I was I was asked to just give a short presentation. I mean, maybe 10 minutes, the presentation could not have been easier. I mean, all it has to do is talk about myself. I just started at Samsung, like, two months earlier, I was just going to show a few slides and talk about me as a designer and how I got to Samsung. Well, just before I was going on stage, I was in the back of the room and a developer guy comes up. And he starts asking me about all these technical questions about our watch. I mean, I didn't know the answers. I'm a designer. I didn't know how many biometric sensors there were and the specs behind what they did. So he turns to me, and he says, I'm surprised Samsung hired you. So now I'm doubting myself, you know, I mean, was I qualified to do this job and they announced my name to come up on stage. So I run up to the stage and I grabbed the clicker to start going through my presentation. And I grabbed it upside down. I click the button, and I don't realize it but I'm actually going backwards to the presentation that was given. Before mine, and I don't realize this kind of talking away, and then I turn and I look at the projection screen, and I realized, I'm not even in my presentation. So I click the other button, but then I click it too many times. And I end up advancing like three slides into my presentation. And at this point, I'm just totally lost. You know, I'm nervous, and I start to feel this wave of anxiety come over me. And I don't know what to think. I don't know what to say. And I just froze. It just froze. us looking at the audience and they were looking at me, it honestly, it's the weirdest thing I just could not function. Someone actually came up onto the stage and grabbed the clicker from me. And together we just bulldoze my way through the rest of my presentation. I mean, it was fine. I mean, looking back at it, I'm sure it wasn't as bad as I made it out to be but you know, what it did tell me was that I needed to get some professional training. public speaking. So sign up for a few classes. You know, here we are a little over a year later in this past year, I actually hosted the Samsung developer conference award show. So, yeah, that was a lot of fun.
Charlotte Allen 18:16
So how can the community find you? Are you on social media and want to reach out to you possibly even see some of your work?
Tony Morelan 18:24
Sure, sure. So when I started doing my workspace design, I'd created a brand name that brand name is axeir. So it is a x e i r.
Charlotte Allen 18:32
have to ask again, is there a meaning to axeir or
Tony Morelan 18:35
actually no, I wanted a five-letter domain name. I can give a little advice is pick a domain name that people don't have to ask you how to spell it. Unfortunately, with axeir people don't know how to spell that. So yeah, that wasn't that wasn't the best choice. But you know what, I got the domain name. can find me online under axeir on social channels is axeirbuzz. So you can find me on Twitter and Instagram. You can find me on LinkedIn, you know, just search My name is Tony Morelan. Happy to connect with you on LinkedIn. And another way that you can reach me is just through our website. You know, I'm active on the forums. So you can go to our forums and post questions there. Or you can just send email to support@SamsungDevelopers.com
Charlotte Allen 19:13
so it's been a blast talking to you today, I've learned some new things. I didn't really know how popular you were with all the stars and but it's been great talking with you and working with you. And thanks for sitting down and taking some time.
Tony Morelan 19:27
Looking to start creating for Samsung. Download the latest tools to code your next app, or software for designing apps without coding it all. Sell your apps to the world on the Samsung Galaxy store. Check out developer samsung.com today and start your journey with Samsung. The POW! Podcast is brought to you by the Samsung Developers program produced by Tony Morelan with special thanks to Charlotte Allen and music composed by the Atomic Tone.