The Iowa Idea: Preston So
In this episode of the Iowa Idea Podcast, I’m joined by Preston So. Preston is a product architect and strategist, digital experience futurist, innovation lead, developer advocate, three-time SXSW speaker, and author of Voice Content and Usability (2021), Gatsby: The Definitive Guide (2021), and Decoupled Drupal in Practice (2018).
A product leader at Oracle, Preston has led product, design, engineering, and innovation teams since 2015 at Acquia, Time Inc., and Gatsby. Preston is an editor at A List Apart, a columnist at CMSWire, and a contributor to Smashing Magazine and has delivered keynotes around the world in three languages. He is based in New York City, where he can often be found immersing himself in languages that are endangered or underserved.
Preston and I dig into some of fascinating research and insights from his latest book, Voice Content and Usability – which was released on June 22. This was such an exciting conversation about voice and language as our oldest interfaces. We nerd out on linguistics and paralinguistic phenomena, and discuss the innovation and evolution of language. Preston shares valuable lessons from his work with AskGeorgiaGov, which included accessibility challenges and perspectives on how we might design to be more inclusive when it comes to the emerging world of digital voice interfaces.
It was an honor having Preston join me on the show. I hope you enjoy the episode.
Preston So (he/him) is a product architect and strategist, digital experience futurist, innovation lead, developer advocate, three-time SXSW speaker, and author of Voice Content and Usability (A Book Apart, 2021), Gatsby: The Definitive Guide (O’Reilly, 2021), and Decoupled Drupal in Practice (Apress, 2018).
Preston has been a programmer since 1999, a web developer and designer since 2001, a creative professional since 2004, a CMS architect since 2007, and a voice designer since 2016. Since 2015, he has led product, design, engineering, and innovation teams at organizations like Acquia, Time Inc., and Gatsby.
A globally recognized subject matter expert on omnichannel content strategy, immersive digital experiences, conversational design, and the decentralized web, Preston is Senior Director, Product Strategy at Oracle, where he oversees developer experience, developer relations, headless CMS strategy, and open-source strategy for Oracle Content Management.
Preston is an editor at A List Apart, a columnist at CMSWire, and a contributor to Smashing Magazine. Named “probably the smartest person working in this industry right now” by Web Content Management author Deane Barker in 2020 and a top influencer in Onalytica’s “Who’s Who in Digital Experience” in 2021, he is also Editor in Chief at Tag1 Consulting.
At Gatsby, Preston led the product and design teams for the general availability release of Gatsby Cloud, one of the most anticipated Jamstack product launches of 2019. As Director of Research and Innovation at Acquia, he launched and led the Acquia Labs innovation center, directed groundbreaking voice-driven experiences for clients like the State of Georgia and Nestlé Purina, and drove Acquia’s headless CMS and decoupled Drupal strategy.
Previously, Preston oversaw the Entertainment Weekly website and its development team at Time Inc. (now Meredith), contributed to Drupal’s open-source Spark initiative, operated a lauded freelance web and print design studio with a diverse clientèle across the United States, and directed the most recent redesign in 2013 of The Harvard Crimson’s online edition, the first student-designed responsive newspaper site in the Ivy League.
Preston has given free web development classes in public libraries and in 2017 founded Decoupled Days, a non-profit conference about the future of content management systems, now in its fifth year. He is based in New York City, where he can often be found immersing himself in languages that are endangered or underserved.
The Iowa Idea Podcast theme music written and performed by Paisley Bible (https://paisleybible.bandcamp.com/).