When my grandfather, James Goodsell, passed away last year, my family gathered to go through his belongings. He had worked for the US Department of Commerce and the Foreign Service arranging international trade missions and directing trade centres in Sydney and Milan. (He staged trade shows featuring American computers as early as 1973.)
My grandfather had filled a wall of his study with hotel door hangers from his travels. Rather than relegating them to the trash bin or a yard sale, or dividing them up among the kids, I asked to keep them as a collection. Both the design language they embody and the personal story behind them seemed to merit being shared.
They’re also a metaphor. As an entrepreneur, I’m constantly working out when to open doors and when not to, when to clean up and when to leave people be. But more than that, what does ‘Do not disturb’ really mean? It means ‘Rest in peace’.
Michael Lebowitz founded digital agency Big Spaceship in 2000. He now serves as its CEO.