Me, Decoded

James Mathias (muh-THAY-uhs) is an American born, Scottish, cisgender, monogamous, pansexual male. His pronouns are he/him or they/them.

Table of Contents

Name Preferences

Please call me James, never Jim.

Guiding Ideals

Learn. Every day should bring our brain banks something new. Learning is at the core of my design practice and life. My days are filled with curious questions, clarifications, and confirmations.

Share. Sharing is literally caring. When you give away that which you’ve earned, you’re receiving a priceless gift. Helping others learn is an amazing way to pay it forward in life. I’m an open book when it comes to what I know and what I don’t. Everything I know is yours to keep!

Grow. Sometimes a freebie if you participate in the above two ideals, but often this is something you must consciously pursue. I believe in being progressive and proactive when it comes to personal and professional growth. I’m prepared to be uncomfortable, and to sit in that discomfort.

Core Principles

Transparency. Transparent behavior gives those around you a clarity that is often hard to maintain, but it is super important to operate in a way that is open and clear. Even when it hurts.

Humility. The deep understanding that I do not, cannot, and will not ever truly understand another person’s pain or lived experiences. And the ability to sit with the discomfort that knowledge brings. A reminder that I need to check myself and the space I consume, so I can gratefully yield the floor to other voices.

Curiosity. Never stop asking questions. Never. It’s as important now as it was when you were five. Digging gets to the core faster. Question everything, keep digging.

Optimism. See the light in others and assume the best. I prefer to live and work with this in mind, as it naturally guides me to more humanity centric solutions, and helps me with my anxiety. I should note as of 2020, I’ve found myself struggling with this, it’s been a rough few years.

Inclusion. Embrace and recognize differences. Open your heart and mind to the cultures, ideas, set backs, and triumphs of others. That said, unchecked inclusion, or inclusion for the wrong reasons can be harmful. Ask questions, and protect peace as needed.

Kindness. Treat each other as you’d like to be treated. Kindness is different than niceness. Being nice is a facade, it’s pretending to be kind. Kindness requires more from you, but the outcomes tend to be better.


I’m diagnosed with ADHD, Anxiety and Panic disorders. While I can appear to be “fine”, and do have many tools at my disposal for coping with the symptoms, I do have many bad days and moments. I only ask that you are patient with me as I navigate through those moments.

I prefer not to “mask”, but I will do so if I feel unsafe or for the comfort and benefit of others.

I don’t hug. It’s not you, it’s me. I don’t feel comfortable embracing co-workers or acquaintances. This typically happens outside work, at conferences or after-parties. Please don’t be offended if I decline your hug. I am not rejecting you.

I do fist bump. I prefer to fist bump as it’s less intimate, and feels more casual and appropriate for platonic encounters.

I like sharing. I’m big on sharing my thoughts, opinions, and knowledge. Often to detriment. If I begin to derail please let me know. I can talk for-literally-ever, and I can lose track of time easily.

I ❤️ Mondays. I’m the most optimistic and enthusiastic on Mondays. As the week goes on I find myself losing steam in terms of my general disposition. I find Mondays to be a good reset, a fresh start. I like fresh starts, they bring hope.

I dislike compliments. I actively practice checking my ego and I’m not fond of compliments. Telling me I’m good at something doesn’t really do anything for me. I can’t grow if feedback is all positive. There is always something that can be improved. Help me find that thing and fix it.

I connect through shared experience. I often attempt connection or communication through shared experience. This can come across as centering myself, but I promise it’s just me looking for a way to connect with you.

I love to laugh. Humor has always been a part of my life. I love making others laugh and I find a lot of life to be very funny. Laughing keeps you young and I laugh at myself a lot.

Sometimes I will make self-deprecating jokes as a way to deflect when I am in an uncomfortable situation. This is a old coping mechanism I’m trying to stop using, but it does happen when I am very uncomfortable or in embarrassing public situations that I cannot flee from.

Lunch is hard. I have an eating disorder and I’m a vegan. It’s difficult for me to go out to eat socially. I tend to overeat due to anxiety and finding a restaurant that offers both vegan and non-vegan options is nearly impossible. Quite often normally vegan foods like beans, rice, and veggies are cooked with butter, meat stock or on the same equipment as non-vegan items. The whole scene is a bummer.

Work Preferences

I dislike jargon. Shoot straight with me. Blue-skying a B2B synergy session is a waste of time. I greatly prefer plain speak and getting to the point. Jargon is always used to mask, deflect, or worse.

I dislike forced innovation. Everything we do should be an exploration, and if we land on something that is both best for the customer, and innovative, well yay us! But, it’s just as awesome to find the best solution for our customers even if it’s a tried and true “boring” way to do it. Embrace simplicity my friend.

I prefer action. I’m not a meetings guy. They waste time, disrupt deep work, and usually end in scheduling a follow up meeting. Meetings are great for facilitating procrastination. Alternatively I prefer autonomous action. Seek forgiveness, not permission.

I dislike secrets. Secrets in the workplace are always bad. Just speak plainly and tell me what we’re up against. I’d rather know layoffs are coming than have you “protect” me.

I dislike office politics. It’s silly and immature behavior.

Titles are for resumes. Experience isn’t purely a quantity game. Quality of experience is more important. Bottom line, I don’t care what your corporate rank is. If you do great work I want you on the team and at the forefront.

I like to think. I prefer to tackle problems more slowly. I like to think things through, really explore, experiment, and test. I can produce things quickly if the task requires it, but I vastly prefer being able to approach tasks more thoroughly.

Tough Subjects

I’m happy to discuss the following topics one on one with the shared goal to learn and grow, but I will not participate in bad faith debates or attempts to convert me to [n].

Religion? Generally speaking my beliefs are based on love, logic, and common sense. However, I do believe that Evangelical Christianity is an extremist organization and a lost cause that does more harm than good in the world.

Politics? I tend to lean towards policies that help generate freedom, peace, and happiness for the largest group of people possible. I consider myself far-left of center.

Racism? Strongly anti-racist. I believe that racism is a white people problem and that it is the responsibility and duty of white people to do the heavy lifting in the abolishment of systemic racism, and to help marginalized communities build equity towards the fight for equality.

I believe Black lives matter.

Gender? Gender is a social construct. Binary gender is an outdated concept. Gender is a spectrum. Individuals have the right to identify as they please, and nobody has the right to disrespect, deny, or otherwise disregard that identity.

I believe transgender people are people, and that their lives matter.

Abortion? Strongly pro-choice. Nobody has the right to tell another person what they can or cannot do to their own bodies, bodily autonomy is a birth right it cannot be taken or given by the laws of man. Pro-life is Christian propaganda, and literally has nothing to do with life, or saving babies. The Pro-life movement is about forcing birth, rooted in racism and the fear of losing a white majority.

Drugs? Pro-Legalization. All drugs, everywhere.

Guns? Anti-gun. Pro-bans. Guns only cause death, mayhem, and destruction. I would prefer they didn’t exist at all, but would settle for small changes over no changes.

Social Reform? I’m for free college, free healthcare, universal basic income, policing & prison redesign, 12 hour work week, raising minimum wage to meet inflation and costs of living, outlawing billionaires and redistributing their hoarded wealth.

Pronunciation? It’s a soft G.

Indentation? Tabs. Don’t @ me.