A little about Peter

Peter Merholz has worked at the intersection of design, technology, and humans for over 25 years. Currently, he’s an independent consultant focused on improving the effectiveness of design organizations. His clients include JP Morgan Chase, Ceridian, The New York Times, Roblox, and Starbucks.

He co-founded Adaptive Path, the premier user experience consultancy, acquired by Capital One in 2014. After leaving Adaptive Path, served as a design executive, leading teams at Groupon, OpenTable, Capital One, Snagajob (now Snag), and Kaiser Permanente.

He co-wrote Org Design for Design Orgs, still the premier book on building in-house design teams, and co-hosts Finding Our Way, a podcast exploring design leadership.

Oh, and, yeah, he coined the word “blog.”


My work resides at the intersection of technology and humanism. An Apple II and early Mac kid who got his B.A. in Anthropology. 25 years working on the leading edge of design, first in CD-ROMs, then the Web, mobile, and now service design and beyond.

I pursued user experience because I was frustrated, even angered, by how needlessly difficult it was to use technology, and realized my analytico-synthetic approach to problem-solving was ideally suited to address this challenge.

The arc of my career has been one of expanding scale and scope – from interfaces, to flows and structures, to strategies and systems, and now to the organizations in which they reside.

Throughout, I’ve always had people at the center of my work, sensitive to how what we’re building fits into the broader context of their lives. How does the experience evolve over time? How does it cross channels, devices, and delivery platforms? What are the human and technological components, and how can they be orchestrated to deliver great experiences?

Coherent experiences require the coordination of teams that reside in departmental silos. Employees can’t be reduced to fungible “resources” defined by their job title. The frontier for user experience is now organizational design–how do you shape and operate cross-functional teams to best serve customers?

Where I’ve Worked

My design career began as a web developer at Studio Archetype, one of the first design firms to take digital media seriously. I was the Head of Design for Epinions.com, an iconic “first Web boom” startup. 

I then co-founded Adaptive Path, the premier user experience consultancy, and helped lead it for over 10 years. I was intimately involved in every aspect of the business, from project work, to recruiting and hiring staff, to planning and program our industry-standard events. 

Leaving Adaptive Path, I’ve had a number of roles in-house, running design teams at Inflection, Groupon, Jawbone, and Snagajob. I’ve also conducted long-term contracts with OpenTable, Capital One, and Kaiser Permanente.