To kick off our interview series I wanted to sit down with my co-founder of Lanky Living Anthony. Anthony is a really interesting guy who possesses many unique talents and is very smart and funny. Starting a company with him has been an absolute pleasure and I’m sure you’ll enjoy hearing from him as well.
First things first, who are you and how tall are you exactly?I’m Anthony Rezendes, UX designer and co-founder of several start-ups – one of them being Lanky Living. I’m originally from the Northeast and moved to Texas shortly after graduating college to follow my college sweetheart (now wife) down here while she went to grad school. As a visual designer, I hopped around to various Advertising Agencies, cutting my teeth on large corporate projects and absorbing as much as I could from seasoned art directors, creatives, and business professionals. I worked as a freelance designer on and off for several years and eventually got the opportunity to run a small web solutions department as Art Director. Later, I moved on and became Director of Design at a local non-profit after eight years. From there, I switched gears and moved back into the corporate side of things, taking on a job with a software company, first as a lead prototype designer, then as a Senior UX designer. I enjoy what I do, and have a lot of fun collaborating with like-minded folks on a variety of projects. I don’t consider myself excessively tall by any means, but I do run into many tall people problems that are frustrating. At 6’3” I’m more on the “tallish” side for your average person. From my perspective, tall is anyone over 6’6”, which makes me on the shorter side of the tall range, if that makes any sense ;-).
What issues has your height caused for you?
Being on the cusp of what I consider tall, I don’t really have any major issues I’ve run into. My feet hang off a normal sized bed a bit, but I’ve found workarounds for that (sleep slightly diagonal). I suppose one thing could be wear and tear on joints. My knees and feet get sore often and I wonder if that’s a height thing or something to do with age or heredity. Probably a combination of the three. I would say the majority of the rest of my frustrations have come from being more lanky than anything. Large shirts always fit a bit loose, despite being the perfect length. Medium size, while fitting perfectly around my torso, always end up being too short at the waist and arms. Then there’s my pant size, which is an odd size apparently. I run into many of the issues taller people run into – basically living in a world where things are built for the average sized person. The typical American is just under 5′ 10” which allows most folks to fit comfortably into cars, on public transportation, in showers, on bicycles, etc.. Unfortunately for me, those are the places I notice it most. My car is a great example. I own a popular model, mid-sized sedan. I have to drive with the seat all the way back, and even when I do, my elbow cannot rest against the door armrest because the seat is so far back. At the gym the other day, I was on the recumbent bicycle and had to have the seat all the way back. Even doing that I was still having to bend my knees more than I would expect to get the pedals around. Little things like this add up to a ton of everyday frustrations. You get accustomed to annoyances and make due. You can really appreciate when something has been done in a way that accommodates a variety of heights. That’s really the genesis of Lanky Living. It’s borne out of frustration for all of the little things. I would venture to say I’m not alone in this regard. In fact, we’re betting there are a lot of people experience these exact challenges. If you do, we’d love to hear from you.
How has being tall affected your life?I don’t look at it in terms of having affected my life, as I don’t define myself by my height necessarily. I’m happy to help grandmothers reach products from grocery store shelves, put dishes away on the top shelf, and even dust molding around the house. To me, it’s just something that someone has that makes them different and it’s not a big deal. I try not to get hung up on it. It is funny, though, to see photographs of me visiting my in-laws. My wife is 5 feet tall and her family is slightly shorter than average. I stick out like a sore thumb during our family reunions! I’ve mastered the art of taking selfies with my wife, in which I extend my arm at an angle and take the shot so as to make the difference in our heights negligible. It’s a tricky shot to pull off!
Thanks for taking some time out to chat! Where can people stay in touch with you?Well you can follow my writing here on Lanky Living, of course. And you can also see what is going on with me day-to-day by following me on Twitter at twitter.com/arezendes.
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