Hello! I'm Ariel McNichol

I'm a product designer & entrepreneur creating products that

I made this video, filming myself on family vacation. Workaholism is my vice.

The story of my career so far...

I began my career as a designing game-training games with UCSF neuroscientist, Dr. Michael Merzenich, and been on a quest to design benevolent brain-enriching experiences since. I've taken many detours into consumer & entertainment creative & faced a midlife crisis of conscious that led me to try to leave tech to become a therapist...but there is just too big of a need for scalable benevolent motivational nudging, so I've started MotiSpark that's helped patients throughout the US

Testimonials

Fotios Konstantinidis
Fotios KonstantinidisSenior Director - Innovation and Strategic Partnerships Visa
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“Ariel is one of the few people that possesses all qualities that lead to success in the business world: Creativity, tenacity, persistence, professionalism, business acumen and above all integrity. She is amazing in her creative work and vision, product management and presentations to investors and clients. She always goes above and beyond on what is required to make her company successful and profitable.”
Eva Eilenberg
Eva EilenbergLegal IT expert, worked with Ariel at 2 companies
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“Ariel is a brilliant dynamo. Her piercing intelligence and visionary creativity, combined with her “Energizer Bunny” drive and unstoppable passion for technology, make her an asset to any enterprise and an absolute delight to work with...I trust her instincts, her sensibility, her skills and talents, as well as her ability to work harder—and smarter—than just about anyone I know.”
 Deena Varshavskaya
Deena VarshavskayaFounder and CEO of Wanelo
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“Ariel is phenomenal at getting things done. She is incredibly creative, yet extremely focused on execution. She is able to bridge the gap between highly conceptual and abstract ideas and practical outputs...”
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Let’s connect!

Get in touch via email or LinkedIn, and let’s discuss how I can help you.

Thought Leadership

I enjoy speaking, writing and collaborating on topics such as how we can use technology to reduce negative SDoH (social determinants of health) while keeping in mind how healthcare entities need tangible benefits as we bring consumer-like experiences to outpatient care. I'm a technophile who believes that we can and must use the addictive magic we've developed for good. I believe in developing win-win technologies and products. Particular areas of interest for me are in identity management and measuring behavioral impacts and the frameworks that we must develop to collaborate on these topics.

Beyond work

I am a mom of bi-lingual boys and dogs. I grew-up in Hollywood raised by a single mom who started multiple businesses. Today, my teenager tries desperately to fend off my questions about what's cool. My 10 year old still lets me exploit his cuteness like in the videos I made of him below right before Covid lockdown (pre-masks) as part of a sales/feasibility test with a Medicare provider. It made people feel better, got us a new customer and gave my son a sense of mastery during a time when everything seems out of control, hurray! I love to geek out on behavioral economics, pop-neuroscience, social psychology & trying to figure out how to make the power of stories into therapy. I had an eclectic childhood with a mom who showed me how to be fearless & determined & build new industries. But, I do fear climate change...but hold strong with belief in human innovation.

Portfolio: I'm working on this (April 1, 2021 - coming soon) You will only find imagery where I did the vast majority of the work. I've done a lot of wireframes, information architecture, specification docs, graphics, logos, motion graphics, social media campaigns and 'rescue UX' for companies and orgs like Apple, Disney, ABC, THQ, PBWC.org, The Annenberg Institute, WellsFargo, The Gap...and helped in the early days of some now giant, giant, world-changing platforms.

1st Problem: how come I would just mindlessly scroll on my phone & jump to read comments/likes, but couldn’t get myself to exercise, stretch and go to sleep? How come every mental health & motivational app I tried made me feel worse off after just a few days?

Solution: I created MotiSpark to send me novel video nudges that tickled my mirror neurons & ended with whimsical pushes to do my desired actions…and they started working! So, i made them for friends….and long story short, I brought on a great team and advisors, launched with healthcare providers serving people throughout the US, earned a patent, got a grant, raised some funds and constantly improve our product.  See our corporate site,  learn about our program for seniors or try an experimental version now. Along the way, we found other problems we are fixing like using fun, short-format TikTok like content to reduce the 88% health illiteracy in the US while also building trust by scaling the power of local providers from underserved communities who add video greetings.

mEgo's many incarnations

Problem: how can we control our online selves and make it so that we never have to build another 'about me' page from scratch? How can we wrap up app links into one intuitive UX?

Solution: mEgo, an online identity layer that lets you pick what to share where and uses an avatar as a mechanism to sort areas of your online lives (ears music, stomach food, feet travel, etc.) There is a many year story behind mEgo & our mistakes & unlucky timing - but it was a wildly wonderful ride with millions of mEgos used around the world. We raised a lot of money, forged partnerships with giants like Adidas & The NBA...our virtual good store became too successful. But, one day it will be time for the identity layer to come back to live.

Methods: Rapid prototyping, user interviews and a/b testing are favorite tools - looking back at (MeGo,mEgo,meGO) efforts you can see we used many. We did formal focus groups - the kind where we got to sit behind a mirror and watch people talk about our product. We did a lot of a/b split releases and pushed a lot of version out (always debugged beautifully.)