Open to Interpretation

How an Amazon designer turned his disability into an advantage.

Observing Michael Nesmith during a high-stakes meeting at Amazon is like watching a symphony in motion.

While his artfully tattooed arms and hands deliver his message through American Sign Language (ASL), an interpreter across the table speaks out loud for Nesmith, translating his signs to the spoken word. At the same time, a second Amazon interpreter signs back to Nesmith — telling him what others in the room are saying — including side comments and chitchat that a hearing person would pick up just by sitting there. Although Nesmith is Deaf, he doesn’t miss a thing.

“Being Deaf is my superpower, and it's also my kryptonite,” said Nesmith, an art director at Amazon who has been unable to hear since he was a child, and was raised by Deaf parents...

Continue reading about Michael Nesmith at Amazon's Day One blog...

Michael Nesmith, Visual Designer, Amazon Devices–Direct Sales


The Open to Interpretation video featured above was produced by Amazon's Day One blog team.