A Mediocre unicorn

Philipp Tautz
3 min readNov 15, 2018

Yesterday in an interview the first thing my interviewer asked me was, why my resume (and Linkedin profile) starts like this:

Hi, I am Philipp.

I am a unicorn who started out as a dressmaker, then learned Photoshop and consequently web design, moved on to Front End Development and web analytics and finally morphed into a Project / Team and Operations Manager. Currently I am once again focused on UX / UI Design and Front — End development, while project managing my own design sprints.

The important part here is:

I am a unicorn [...]

(Hi, I am looking for a job as UX designer, or realted ideally in Tokyo, and I am happy to code HTML / CSS as well, if needed, my portfolio can be found on my site. 😃)

This is me with one of our birds. My glasses are brighter now and the bird is a bit older, but I do love this photo.

She wanted to know why I am starting with “I am a unicorn”.

There are 2 reasons:

  1. My skills and experiences are rather unique, as I hope I outline in the paragraph above. I do not have a traditional education, I am fully autodidactic and (sadly) I am not specialised in anything. That makes me perfect for Startup jobs, because I can fill a lot of roles, but startups are a rate thing where I live, in Japan and I have to imagine that in most other countries my skill set(s) are also not very common.
  2. I am a (mediocre*) white man. That means, in tech I am pretty much the norm and I need to stand out if I want to be able find work and not go under in a sea of people looking like me. — In order to work, I need to stand out in a busy and competitive market.

My “Brand” name / logo “taotsu” or 田小津 (in Kanji in Japanese and I really with Medium Engineering would support ruby text input) was originally a joke, but turned into an ideal branding exersise. Most of what you can find with DuckDuckGo (or google if you must) when looking for ‘taotsu’ is me.

Though, self branding like this does not work with recruiters to introduce me to prospective employers (👋🏻); it’s too unique. Being unique (or better rare) in my skill set led to unique → unicorn.

I am not all rainbows and sunshine, but I do bring a lot of fun and laughter to the table and skills to the team.

Branding is important, especially if from the outside, one does not look particularly interesting.

* One note on mediocrity: most people are mediocre and either do not care or do not know. Some can overcome it by sheer luck and doing the right thing at the right time. Others need to work hard to overcome.

I am working every day to not fall back into lukewarm mediocrity: I study, work, listen, engage and fight inequality. And not to say: hey I’m better then you, but to satisfy my need for knowledge and self improvement.



Philipp Tautz

UX Designer looking for new opportunities! Noise maker, aspiring auto-biographist, moderated radical