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Plantronics: Lead Designer

August 16, 2010

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Darrin Caddes, the Vice President of corporate design at Plantronics, has an amazing story of how he overcame a tragic motorcycle accident that broke his back and left him in a wheel chair, permanently, to becoming a successful headset designer. How he came to run the Plantronic design operations is truly an inspiring tale that can teach us all a good lesson in life and business.

Caddes spent the beginning of his career designing cars and motorcycles before breaking his back. Three years after the accident Caddes was still working designing cars and motorcycles, in an interview with Forbes reporter Kym McNicholas, he describes the difficulty he had with designing a product he couldn’t use and how that is what led him to work for Plantronics.

“It was a little bittersweet watching someone ride off on something that you put your heart into and not being able to experience it personally.  And so I think there was, you know, even though I continued to do it for a while, there was a part of me that still wanted to have more of a direct personal relation to the products we were designing.  And so, yeah, when this thing popped up with Plantronics, it just seemed to be a perfect match.”

Caddes didn’t allow his disability to get in the way of having a successful career. While his expertise for most of his career was in designing motor vehicles he describes the transition from motorcycles to headset designing as fairly simple.

“You’re trying to create a decent composition of surfaces and proportions with color and texture and all of those things, whether it’s a vehicle that’s X number of feet long or a product that’s X number of inches long, the basic design principles are very similar.”

Caddes feels he has a strong personal connection with the product, because he is disabled he needs to use hands-fee devices everyday, he understands consumer needs and uses that to design the best products that are the most convenient, practical, and comfortable for consumers.

To watch the interview with Darrin Caddes and learn more about his story click on the link below.

VIDEO: Darrin Caddes Interview with Forbes

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