A small initiative to fix networking

Earlier this month, I attended DesignUp Conference along with the entire UrbanClap design team. The conference was held in Bengaluru by Jay Dutta. This was my second conference visit after Kyoorius Design Yatra in 2014.I met a lot of my ex-colleagues, friends and some of the speakers. I also met a lot of people in person who I engaged with on Twitter, Facebook via some shared interests.

There were hundreds of designers under one roof and I wish I could meet a lot more of them. A few walked up to me, I walked up to even more and I guess we had good introductory conversations. Deep, insightful conversations? NO. Got to know each other enough to stay in touch or even remember names? MOSTLY NO.

After the last day at the conference, I discussed this problem of networking being quite shallow and not quite useful with my team and something interesting popped up!

During one of the tea breaks in the conference, I introduced one of my colleagues to a friend of mine who works in a giant e-commerce company in their payments vertical as a UX designer. This colleague of mine had also recently done a full payments revamp at UrbanClap. They quickly found a conversation topic and 3 more people organically joined in hearing Payments. As a result, 4–6 designers discovered each other who were all working or have worked on payments in their respective organizations.

Enough! Tell me about your fix already!

Sure. I simply opened an open Slack Workspace for Product Designers 2 days ago. As I’m writing this, it’s 83 members strong.

With this I have 2 very simple objectives:

  1. Remove the awkwardness of meeting someone for the first time in-person at the next meetup or conference. Being a non-intrusive channel, you can simply start a conversation with someone or a group of people over a shared interest. Here’s an example that I recently shared with my team:
    “Hello, I’m wondering if there’s a good workflow around generating close to lossless gifs from Principle for Dribbble. Can anyone help? We can discuss it in ‘#animation’ channel. Would really appreciate some input.
    You can also create public channels for a meetup you’re attending and ask people to join in and get to know each other and the kind of work they’re doing so you have a good ice-breaker during in-person interaction.
  2. Share knowledge and get help. Being at a Startup, when we build our product and features, we constantly try to learn from others who have been there, done that. We constantly look out for case-studies, examples and try to connect with designers, product-managers from other startups as well to get some learning from them.
    This can help you do that.
    You can simply ask in the Slack open channel, “Anyone who has worked on Landing Page conversions? Need to bounce off a few experiments we’re running.” and hopefully, you’ll get a response from someone who has.

It’s a small initiative that I feel can make networking with other designers, people from product better and will help us all.

If you’re excited about this and want to be a part of this group, simply join here: