January 19, 2022No Comments

Leadership Book Recommendation, Powerful by Patty McCord

I'd like to recommend one of my favorite books I've ever read, Powerful by Patty McCord. Patty was a Co-Founder at Netflix and worked there for 14 years, developing the culture of the company.

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August 24, 20211 Comment

One Month as Head of Design at Northstar

Recap of my first month at my new design job as Head of Design, working on product design, design systems, leadership, marketing, and more

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August 1, 2021No Comments

What to Do Your First Week of a New Design Job

So it's your first week in a new design role, what do you do? What should you have prepared? Here are 10 ways to set yourself up for success.

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February 6, 2019No Comments

Why to Seek Unfamiliarity in Your Next Full-Time Job

As of when I am writing this, I am starting my first day at my new job tomorrow. I’ll be starting as a Product Designer at Dave, a financial tech company based in Los Angeles.

While looking for the next place to call home for my work life, culture was one of the biggest deciding factors for me. I believe that working with folks you can also call your friends outside of a work setting makes for the best outcome and work ethic at a company.

However, outside of culture, I was also looking for a role that was slightly out of my grasp and knowledge of prior experience. I was looking for something unfamiliar and that I hadn’t yet mastered. I’ve learned over my time in the industry that the best way to stay happy and challenged at a job is to work on things you haven’t had the exact experience with. It keeps you on your toes, keeps you learning, and keeps you yearning to get even better at what you do. You quickly realize you aren’t a master at your field, yet you can be a master at managing and improving how you approach each of these unique experiences.

Dave for me was a great step in the right direction for my career. At Dave I’ll be working on designing the future of finance as someone who has never designed specifically for this field, and for a change my job won’t only rely on what is looked at on screens. I’ll be working on designing real life experiences from brand to packaging and more. On top of that, I’m the first designer to be full-time at the company besides the CPO. As a result I’ll be working on developing a process around how design works with other parts of the company and probably even hiring and leading other designers as we begin to grow the team.

How this applies to your career and how you work can go many different ways, but I think the overall guidance of looking for something you feel confident yet unfamiliar with is a good place to start. The exciting part of life are the times we apply ourselves to overcome new obstacles, leading to a better you. Having the foundational skills for the job to rely on while using the rest of your skillset to learn and adapt I have found to be the best teacher in life, no matter how many mentors I have or books I read.

July 27, 2018No Comments

Knowing When and Where to Seek Feedback on Your Ideas

Sharing an idea is like passing around an ice cube in a room of people. When you first have the idea it’s a good size and it’s sturdy. It has potential and a lot of use cases for how to best take advantage of this new thought in your mind. You’ve built up the idea and let it freeze to a solid form, just big enough to be ready to start putting into action.

But then you take this “ice cube” and pass it around to others in this room so they can have a look. They give a couple thoughts on it, provide some critique and some feedback as to how it could possibly not be successful or be better. When they hand it off to the next person, it’s melted a tad and not as solid as it was at the start.

Finally, it gets to the last person before you in the room. Once they pass it off to you, the ice cube is almost nothing now. You didn’t have enough time to build it up enough to take the heat and thought of others. Now you're lost as to what you can do with an ice cube this small now as it continues to melt in your hand.

Our latest and greatest idea is cherished and held close in our minds. We care for it and are passionate about the idea but when it comes time to put it into action, we sometimes think that the opinion of others can make or break our product/idea in an instant.

While the opinion and advice of others can be beneficial and keep us in check when we need it, knowing the time and place to ask for it is important. Your idea may still be “half-baked” and require some more thought on your end which is not a bad thing (it’s actually quite exciting in my experience). Presenting an idea to someone in this state can lead to less than ideal feedback, possibly because context is missing that you are still working on.

You may be familiar with the term MVP (Minimum Viable Product), where a product is built to have the absolute necessary features first and then built upon. I believe this can also be applicable when forming our ideas as well, say an MVI (Minimum Viable Idea) before you decide to share with others.

This MVI covers the absolutely necessary user flows and business models that to the best of your knowledge will make this idea successful. Even some iteration on how it would work in practice, benefit others, and play a part in the market competition you’d be up against.

In a more practical sense, even smaller more personal ideas can have an MVI applied to them—personal goals you have, fitness regimens, apartment layout changes, a new recipe you’re creating, etc.

Being able to find and pull out the most important parts of ideas that can make or break their success is a skill that is quite difficult to master. I honestly don’t think anyone has in every aspect of their life either. We’re constantly having to acknowledge and put ideas into play before we go ahead and share them with others. Over time smaller ideas and goals become easier to share and get opinions on while larger overarching ideas or even businesses remain what we strive for most of our lives.

Acknowledging and being able to find the correct times to get the correct advice is one way we can be better at this though. Like anything, it just takes a bit of patience, practice, and even a bit of failure before we begin to get better.


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