Or, 12 things I wish I knew 5 years ago

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Illustration by Nicolas Solerieu

I’ve been at Opendoor for 5 years and have watched it grow from from 15 to 1,300 people. I’ve learned a lot by making a lot of mistakes along the way. Here are 12 things I wish I knew 5 years ago, when I first started at the company.

Product development

They often don’t work the first, second, or even the third time, but each time you try, you’ll learn something and get closer to succeeding.

The clearer the line is, the easier it will be to ask for more resources for your team. …


Hear from Doni about growing up in Tanzania, starting his own business, and how advertising can do social good.

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Open Book is a series of interviews where you get to meet our creative design team at Opendoor.

What do you do at Opendoor?

I’m a Senior Art Director on the brand design team, where I support marketing campaigns for both home sellers and buyers. Recently, I helped launch our talking houses campaign — one of my first projects here.

Our objective with the campaign was to address low awareness of Opendoor in a number of our markets. Because we’re creating an entirely new category, many people don’t know that we can make selling a home easy, and stress-free. …


Hear from Melody about establishing a research culture at Opendoor and how her identity as a first-generation American has shaped her.

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Open Book is a series of interviews where you get to meet our creative design team at Opendoor.

What do you do at Opendoor?

I’m a user experience researcher. Because we’re a lean team right now, I work across most products with an emphasis on our seller and buyer experience. My day-to-day involves helping product teams understand our customers, evangelizing customer-centric products, and building a great research culture.

As the first researcher at Opendoor, how did you establish a research culture?

Before I started at Opendoor, I chatted with a number of researchers who have been in this position before and I asked them this exact question. …


Hear from Claire about pursuing design as a study, what ballet has taught her, and getting back into illustrating.

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Open Book is a series of interviews where you get to meet our creative design team at Opendoor.

What do you do at Opendoor?

I’m a brand designer! I partner closely with our marketing team to design everything from multi-channel campaigns to signage in Opendoor homes. My focus lately has been to evolve the visual language and create a systematic approach to our organic social presence. I’ve also been art directing our very first lifestyle photoshoot to build a library of ownable images.

(Keep an eye out for a fresh new look in the coming weeks!)

How did you become a designer?

I’ve always loved drawing. I went to the Rhode Island…


Hear from Nicolas about crossing the Atlantic to work at Opendoor, why disagreeing is healthy, and how exercise is essential to his work.

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Open Book is a series of interviews where you get to meet our creative design team at Opendoor.

What do you do at Opendoor?

I am a senior brand designer on the brand team. Most of my time is spent on designing and building landing pages. The rest of my time is spent on helping the rest of the design team out with visual design, especially for the web.

Editor’s note: Jumping in because he’s selling himself short here. He strongly helped define the company’s visual language and brand since he joined three years ago. As an early member of the brand team, he single-handedly designed…


Hear from Yuri about building customer empathy, immigrating to the US, and his YouTube channel.

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Open Book is a series of interviews where you get to meet our creative design team at Opendoor.

What do you do at Opendoor?

I lead the product design of the home shopping experience, which includes the feed, search tab, detail page, filters and our design system. My work involves defining product requirements with stakeholders, testing out hypotheses, producing mockups, and working closely with engineers on implementation.


Hear about Annie’s love for architecture, ceramics, and Michelle Obama.

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Open Book is a series of interviews where you get to meet our creative design team at Opendoor.

What do you do at Opendoor?

I’m the design manager for our consumer products team, which includes seller experience, trade-ins, partnerships, and mortgages. My job entails helping my team lead the vision and strategy for our products, developing our design processes, hiring great talent, and elevating our design culture.

How did you become a designer?

I studied architecture, so my path to design like most designers wasn’t straightforward. …


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Having only worked at a large Silicon Valley company before Opendoor, I didn’t realize how much I took for granted. That even the language that I spoke day to day was steeped in Product-Speak. (“How do these eng stories contribute toward our KPIs? Should we take this offline so we can re-prioritize this sprint?”)

This reminded me of a story told to me by a friend who happens to be a family physician. When patients tell him they have “vertigo,” he asks them:

  • Do you feel like you’re looking down from a great height?
  • Do you feel lightheaded?
  • Or, do…


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At Opendoor, we give offers on homes before we see them in person. This involves a whole lot of behind-the-scenes work, which includes looking at photos of the home.

Our photo carousel is one of our most-used pieces of UI, but it’s also one of our least efficient. So for our hack week, I tried to improve it.


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I use Slack every day and love it. It’s a really well-made product and it’s clear that a lot of care and heart went into it. But I’m a nit-picky designer with too free much time! So here’s an unsolicited redesign that addresses my issues with navigation, notifications, and search.

Faster Navigation

Issue: Navigation on Slack for Mac is really snappy. Not so much on iOS, with the swiping and the tapping and searching. 🐢

Possible Solutions: Tabs and persistent history. 🐇

The tab bar is a quick and simple way to speed up navigation. Here’s one way it could be done:

Billy Roh

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