Remember “Don’t be evil”? Google’s iconoclastic corporate slogan that slowly but surely accumulated so many caveats and exceptions that it needed as much legalese as a terms of service agreement. Principles are no match for the long-term corrosion of market realities and expectations. The levies will break, the good intentions will flood.
You’ll share your opinion and sometimes we’ll disagree. Sharing is one of the most important things to having a great relationship. It’s dear to me. I think it’s the core ingredient to a good team and good problem solving. When ideas oppose one another there’s usually good reason, in design we call that an affordance, experimenting with that affordance is the crux of building a solution. And as someone who dedicated a year to civic tech, working with a Mayor in Albuquerque, I can tell you first hand that there is nothing more powerful than discourse and negotiation.
We’ll want to share some values. Not all values. I worry that’s just as bad, actually. I don’t want us to look alike or act alike — even have similar hair cuts or favorite pants. I understand it happens though. The values I want us to share are a predisposition toward openness and the unfamiliar. Also a fierceness when sticking up for those that you’ll invite in to your cove. Genuinely having fun and being people focused. Asking that people actively try to live meaningful lives with activities and stability in family and relationships.
We’ll need to get along, as I have strong design opinions. Not unlike most people with a unusually high percentage of creativity flowing through their bloodstream, I can be determined! I have been humbled before and I expect I’ll continue to be. I can push limits and question boundaries, but always with the intention of improving them. In many cases I’ll ask for things that might disrupt a process or a particular groups routine. It’s my honest opinion that this is a key part of doing good interaction design. And often leads to greater, more actionable needs and insights. My experience has been that it helps teams I’ve worked with solve some of the more interesting problems instead of getting distracted by the nonstop rush of low hanging fruit.
You’re eager to make things and grow. And you want your people to grow with you. Unlike many of my colleagues, I spent most of my twenties in one job. It was a small design firm employing two people. I worked there for about seven years and helped grow it from a garage to a downtown office— from a few years out of my undergrad until I took off for graduate school. The number one thing I learned from operating a small business is to never stop making stuff. For me making stuff will always be how I grow. Whether it’s learning something new or convincing a friend to let me build his photography website *again. You have to put your head down and keep coding, writing, creating, asking— making things is synonymous with growing.