On to the Next One
I am proud to announce that I will be joining the Neo NYC team as their UX Designer starting this week. The process of getting to this position has been very interesting and has revealed many great lessons. Some of which I would love to share with you in this post.
- Find your village - The seed for my current opportunity was a conversation with Jeff Gothelf Managing Director at Neo, in a dive bar downtown. And it was continuously watered with mentorship from Josh Seiden Managing Director at Neo, workshops with the Lean Startup Machine, collaborations with Cyrus Innovation, UX classes through General Assembly and Skillshare, and impromptu code reviews with developers at church. I always took advantage of grabbing drinks and talking shop with the individuals in these communities and never regretted it. Except a few crazy nights with Matt Jording Developer/Tank.
- Take on challenges - I had the opportunity to design and develop the Lean UX book site. At the beginning of the project, i was nervous because i didn’t consider myself much of a front-end developer. But with some good advice from friends and a couple visits to w3schools, I feel more confident in my coding abilities than ever before.
- Product development is a people story, not just a tech story - The members of my former product team at Flavorpill have become great partners over the past two years. We were unified by a great product idea but found our most rewarding experience in building one another up as teammates and friends. Even though I don’t share my 9 to 5 with them anymore, we are always finding opportunities to work with another and continuing that experience into the future.
Thanks for reading! And I will be sure to deliver more updates as I continue into this exciting new opportunity in my life.
There is no ‘I’ in Team but there is a ‘Mate’
This was my first experience working with a full product team. And if any of you try to harm them, I will cut you.
I had a friend named Arnold in grade school who was the funniest person I knew. His sense of humor and child-like wonder was unique amongst the teen angst, rage, and pre-pubescent discomfort our peers faced in those days. On our high school graduation day, I knew that I was never going to find another Arnold ever again in my life. But during college, I met Edwin who quickly became my new Arnold. Not in the sense that they resembled each other in any way but that they were such unique and wonderful characters. One could not replace the other but from that day on, I was always on the search for my next Arnold.
In a similar manner, this is how I perceive my current product team members. I have been able to learn so much by working with them and tackling problems with them. By the effort of our back-end developer, I was introduced to Agile which has revolutionized my view on product development. I kept begging him to find ways for me as the interaction designer to be able to deliver points but they were reserved as a unit of measurement exclusively for developers’ to estimate their work. That was until our project manager illustrated the benefits of the Lean product development methodology that I found a new framework to define my role for the team. The team has continually encouraged my growth as a designer and has many times challenged my ideas and solutions without compromise. After working with this group, I see the truth in James Shore’s words when he writes:
Almost every challenge in building great software is, in some way, a people problem. That challenge may be communicating effectively, dealing with the unpredictability of moods and motives, or figuring out how to harness people’s desire to do the right thing for the team and the project. Few problems are solely technical. Agile methods put people and their interactions at the center of all decisions. How can we best work together? How can we communicate effectively? Successful software projects must address these questions.
So before you address the target segment for your product, realize that the first people you are going to have to work with is the product team. They are the ones who will work beyond the role of a cog. They are the ones that will inspire song. They are the Arnolds that you will be searching for for the rest of your life.
UVP / An open, social platform to discover and share great local events.
Role / Interaction Designer, Visual Designer, Coffee-fetcher
Responsibilities / Retrieve valuable feedback from target users to identify the core problems the GEL product is solving. Sketch and wireframe features for solution interviews with users. Maintain style guide of creative assets. Deliver final UI designs and user-flows to development team.
Lesson Learned / The Lean and Agile methodologies are pivotal in setting up a product team for success. Narrowing the focus and fiercely prioritizing features are key in creating a successful product. Be empathetic to the users. If you are nervous to test your product in front of users, you are most likely protecting your grand idea rather than creating the strongest solution for their problem. Working with a skillful, humble, user-minded team is the foundation to any great product.
Feel free to request an invite for the beta launch and see the product for yourself.
Flavorpill Dedicated Email
UVP / A mailer that joins Flavorpill with other culturally connected brands to offer great contests, giveaways, and experiences to our subscribers.
Role / Visual Designer, Front-end Developer
Responsibilities / Design and develop a captivating email product that will drive interest to Flavorpill’s curatorial voice and to the partner brands. Make it cross-client and cross-browser compatible.
Lesson Learned / You thought you knew your front-end business learning html and css but say hello to tables and Outlook! Consider how email products translate to mobile devices because a growing number of users are viewing emails on their phones and tablets.