Strategy Retainer

Get 24-7 Access to Me for Design and Product Strategy Advice On Demand

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I can’t recommend Brian enough…

When Brian came on board, he helped us significantly accelerate our design efforts and meet our major enterprise clients’ expectations and deadlines. We have gotten a lot of mileage out of his work, and we've received good responses from our customers. I can’t recommend him enough.

Alex BeletskyAlex Beletsky
COO and Co-Founder
Dispatch.me

I wouldn’t hesitate to call Brian for design strategy…

Brian’s questioning of our business and user objectives for a new video analytics SAAS–prior to any discussion of design solutions–was a bit unusual for me. In fact, I’ve rarely met anyone with a process like his. That said, by the time we started negotiating with Brian, we had already decided to work with him. One of the key capabilities Brian brought to the table was the ability to help us distinguish between "vanity" analytics and "actionable” analytics, so that our service’s data was always presented in a way to help users actually make better business decisions. In the end, the prospects to whom we showed Brian’s designs were wowed by the extremely clean and elegant presentation of our video analytics, and we got excellent feedback that this design was much better than the existing, highly established players in this space. At that point, we knew our main business challenge would be sales access, and not product quality. If I needed to develop a design strategy for another analytics product or service in the future, I wouldn’t hesitate to call Brian first.

Rohit SharmaRohit Sharma
Managing Director, North America
kPoint Technologies

Designing useful, usable, beautiful data products customers find indispensable is challenging. Learning things the hard way can be extremely costly.  Your ML, data science, analytics, or engineering efforts need to show results, and if there are humans in the loop, then how you design the last mile experience can have a huge impact on your ability to produce value. You don't want to produce a technically correct, but effectively wrong solution that produces little to no value, and that's where my retainer engagements come in.

A retainer with me is intended to give you access —when you need it—to my 24+ years of design and business experience so that your data products, enterprise applications, visualizations, and machine learning models are human-centered and capable of producing the user engagement and business outcomes you seek.

How It Works & Pricing

Our agreement entitles the primary project contact to unlimited 24/7 access to me via phone, email, and a private Slack channel. I return all messages no later than the next business day, although in practice response time is much quicker (particularly between 10am to 6pm ET).

Meetings are scheduled in advance, and typically take place via Zoom. There are 8 possible areas of involvement:

  1. Kickoff Meeting to discuss your long-term goals, current initiatives,  and the organizational or market challenges you're facing
  2. Design Reviews (DataViz/UI/UX/Dashboards/Presentations etc): Have a work in progress and need quick feedback? You can use me for spot reviews of your low fidelity and high fidelity designs and prototypes.  Note: this retainer does not include me doing the design work to address the issues  (i.e. me creating any type of design assets, mockups, prototypes, etc).
  3. ML Model UX Critiques: concerned about ethics, second-order consequences, optimizing your reward function, user engagement, model interpretability, or other human factors relating to your AI initiatives? I can help advise you on the non-technical and operational considerations you need to consider to ensure your technology produces the desired outcomes.
  4. Hiring Advice:  get feedback on a resume or interview you had with a new staff member. I can also review portfolios of designers on request.
  5. Product Strategy: get spot help prioritizing your product backlog or roadmaps (we would do this together on a call).
  6. Managing Stakeholders and Cross-Department Relationships: design is a team sport. Are internal politics or people in the way of your initiative? We can discuss how centering around the customer/user can help you navigate tricky situations and build relationships.
  7. Periodic Market Insights: when I come across content, events, or people in my network I think you should know about, I'll be sharing that with you so you have another set of eyes on what's happening in the data product space.
  8. Situational Responsiveness to needs that arise that you deem require my assistance not covered elsewhere.

The price is $12k (USD) per month and will be automatically billed each month to your card. Professional courtesy discounts are available for quarterly and annual arrangements. Participation is limited; I only accept (4) active strategy retainer clients at any one time. You can elect to be added to the waiting list if spots are not available.  To inquire about availability and fit, please set up a Discovery Call with me below. If we have already discussed this service and you are ready to proceed, you can purchase the retainer subscription here.

Fine Print

  • Payment is due up front, in full using a credit card (I will provide a checkout link after our Discovery Call). If you are purchasing a block of 3 or more months in advance, you may  pay via ACH transfer, or bank wire. Email me for payment instructions.
  • Unfortunately, I cannot accept payment through third parties or any other method except for those stated here.
  • This packaged service is subject to the terms and conditions of my consulting services and the terms described on this page. In short, it is provided "as-is" to ensure the best value and fastest possible delivery. No additions or modifications to these terms may be made.Access will begin immediately.
  • You will be billed in advance of each month's period of service automatically.
  • If you wish to cancel, please notifiy me at least 72 hours prior to your service renewing for the following month so I can cancel your renewal at the monthly anniversary date. Once the service has renewed for the following month, you are entitled to a "I forgot to cancel" grace period of 24 hours to request a full refund. No other refunds including partial-use refunds will be given.
  • If we have already discussed this service and you are ready to proceed, you can purchase the retainer subscription here.

Interested? Let's talk

Before engaging in a Strategy Retainer with a client, I require us to have a 30-min Discovery Call first. It's free, and there's no pressure to buy or any sales pitches. Prior to setting up this call, I will send you a brief intake questionnaire, which you can request here:




Brian's designs and recommendations significantly shifted people’s excitement and expectations about our technology. He understands data.

A big concern when you’re introducing new technology to your staff and clients is making sure they will want to use it. We were concerned about the ease of use and appeal of a new survey data platform we were introducing, but Brian was really able to understand our challenges quickly. His design and recommendations significantly shifted people’s excitement and expectations around it. A big reason why we hired Brian is because he understands data, and the new design he created will only help reinforce GSG’s brand as being innovative and ahead of the curve. My team has been really impressed with Brian's ideas and the simplicity of the designs he created. I definitely recommend him!

Michelle WoodruffMichelle Woodruff
VP of Practice Operations
Global Strategy Group

Brian brings a very high floor in terms of end results. The worst possible end result they will get from him is so much higher than what most designers can provide at their best.

When you’re bringing on a consultant, there is always a level of uncertainty about results, and there’s nothing worse than ending up with solutions that aren’t feasible, workable, or usable at the end of the process. While Brian’s processes differed from what I was used to, and I didn’t always want to get into the level of requirements detail that he felt was necessary, the bottom line is that Brian brings a very high floor in terms of end results. Given how many different responsibilities I am juggling at any given time, it was extremely comforting to know that my goals for the [new Apptopia analytics] product would always be met, and that my bottom line was so high. I’ve recommended Brian to my peers because the worst possible end result they will get from him is so much higher than what most designers can provide at their best.

Jonathan KayJonathan Kay
COO, Apptopia