AMA: Marc Hemeon, CEO & Founder of Design Inc.

👉 This is the short and sweet version of the full AMA 👈

Marc is the Founder and CEO of Design Inc. His career in design began more than 20 years ago and has spanned well known startups and public companies including YouTube, Google, Oakley, Digg and TeeFury. Prior to Design Inc. Marc co-founded incubator North Technologies with Kevin Rose, which merged with popular watch site Hodinkee.

Prior to North, Marc co-founded fflick.com, which was acquired by YouTube. While at YouTube, he held roles including leading design on the YouTube Player, YouTube Live, YouTube TV, was key in the first broad redesign of YouTube in 2012 and then again in 2013. While at Google, Marc continued in his product designer role and contributed to Google Analytics and occasionally collaborated with other teams on special projects.

Previously, Marc was the Director of UX for Oakley, under Luxottica. He and his team designed and created the e-commerce platforms and digital marketing for a variety of Luxottica brands including Oakley, Ray-Ban, Arnette and Revo. Prior to Oakley, Marc worked as a lead product designer at Digg and then going even further back, he co-founded TeeFury and DesignByHumans, two popular art driven crowd sourced t-shirt sites.

(switching to first person)

I tweet at @hemeon, write at Medium, and post photos of surfing and life in the OC on Instagram and occasionally paint paintings. I recently started doing a weekly YouTube show at Design Inc. with Joel Beukelman called UNDO, alsoavailable as a podcast.


What are the three most important things you learned in all of your jobs? (Julian Dorn)

Really great question Julian — here are a few things:

  1. Never burn a bridge — like ever — even if someone super pisses you off and you hate them and they want to sue you and all the bad things — just walk away — don’t go to twitter, don’t talk any crap — just walk away.
  2. If you have a problem with someone, go to them directly one-on-one and address it — be kind and courteous, but direct — don’t try to adjust or sugar coat, but be kind.
  3. You can’t build anything without others — so be a good friend. Say yes a lot, don’t expect to always get paid or make a ton of money from your efforts, everything will work out in the end.

Hey Marc! Thanks for joining us.

  • How does the pairing work on Design Inc? If a company wanted a designer who’s previously worked on projects involved with X, can they specify that in the “checkout” process?
  • How many designers are currently on the platform? (not sure if it’s something you can share :)
  • Do you envision the you’ll expand the Design Inc categories beyond Logo, Brand & Visual Identity and Design Critique?
  • What’s been the feedback thus far from both designers using the system, and clients receiving work?
  • UNDO is two episodes in (kudos!)… keep up the good work! (maxlind)

Pairing right now is still fairly simple, we try to ensure variety in price and location. We currently give 5 designers on pairing — we will certainly be doing much more work here to make this smarter.

We have had thousands apply and we are adding more designers everyday.

We are plan to be regularly launching new design services as we develop out our platform. For us each design service has to be clear, actionable and understandable — so we are very careful in choosing our services — but very excited for the next two!

The biggest feedback we keep getting over and over from the designers and users is frankly how painless and easy booking a design service is on Design Inc. — like, both designers and users traditionally have a lot of friction in working with each other, have to have a meeting, then do a proposal, then haggle over a contract and price — where we have truly tried to just simplify all of this — and make the experience of working with a designer and users very nice and simple.

How do you feel about the design culture being so centered in big cities like SF and NY? Sometimes it feels like to get a solid job, you must move there, regardless of how you personally feel about living in a metropolitan area vs the mountains or by the beach. (Ray Sensenbach)

I think about this question a lot actually — currently there is NO place in the world for tech quite like San Francisco and the Peninsula (Palo Alto, Mountain View, Cupertino etc.) LA, NYC and others have amazing communities — but still nothing quite like the SF area.

Moving and working for the companies in SF will jump start your career unlike anything else I have seen — I have lived in SF twice (moved up and back from Orange County) — building Design Inc. down here in Orange County has been much harder than if we built up in the bay area — the networks are just not nearly as mature — for example I have been looking for PR and Marketing folks and down here I am finding a real lack in basic tech knowledge — I was in SF yesterday, had a meeting with someone who is great at marketing and we could dive right in talking about the best strategies to move forward because of the base of knowledge they had.

What the most effective method to improve ones design skills? (Adam Rasheed)

If you want to learn to paint, every painting school in the world has you copy the paintings of the old masters and learn their techniques. I believe this is the best way to improve your design skills — to literally see UI you like and then recreate it for yourself.

Ira Glass talks about The Gap — a void of experience you just have to grind through — check it out here.

In your opinion, who are some designers that are doing incredible stuff? (Aaron Davis)

I really love the Gif, Looping Video revolution happening right now — Allison House is crushing that world hard right now.


This is just a taste of Marc’s AMA. Check out the full conversation ⚡️here!

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