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There is one tweet that changed the course of my entire career. It was late 2013, and after a few frustrating months of freelancing, I sent it into the ether — fully expecting no one to read it. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This one tweet was the beginning of nearly a decade of working remotely as a designer.


A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet Jess in San Francisco during her second week at Envoy. I learned a lot about her, her process and her sense of humor and am excited to share some of that with you.

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Jess Bottali, Product Designer at Envoy

Hey Jess! Why don’t you tell the folks at home a little bit about yourself?

Oh hi, endless internet abyss!👋

I’m Envoy’s newest product designer (until this post is out-dated in the near future).

My design career has spanned a wide range over the last decade. I actually started in photography in college and worked in that space for a few years. Fun fact! I used to primarily photograph South Asian weddings and because of this grew a strong love for Bhangra and Bollywood music! …


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In September of 2015, I worked with the team at RaiseMore to help run a two day feedback summit in Oklahoma City. We went through 4 feedback sessions. The rounds of one-on-one interaction with real people were incredibly helpful. The Group discussions on Day 3 discussing the product roadmap were very insightful. The weekend would inform a lot of the next several rounds of product features and iteration. Among our team, there was a feeling that we really had our finger on the pulse of the industry and in the end, that was a bit of a liability. …


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If no one is using your editorial products, your products cannot make money. How do we sustain profitability while preserving our soul?

Advertising on the web is generally regarded as being an obnoxious, terrible and immoral thing. I disagree with that… with some caveats.

I think advertising, in it’s many forms, was a logical step in the monetization of the web. Advertising is an ever-present part of modern life. You can’t open a magazine, watch a television program or drive on a poorly maintained roadway without being advertised to. The idea that it would be ported to the internet is totally normal.

So that’s established: I think advertising online makes sense.

Here’s the caveat — and it’s a big one: The ongoing pursuit of ad revenue can become the north star of a company, either implicitly or explicitly, and when that happens advertising becomes terrible and — at times — immoral (it’s almost always obnoxious). …


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But are they? Has business become a damaging replacement for people?

For a while now, I’ve been musing in some form or another that “Design & Business are inherently linked.” Recently I’ve been having second thoughts. I mean, functionally, I understand the commercial nature of Design’s history. Design, as we know it, stems from commercial art, and without the element of business, Design would be even less lucrative (on a local level) than it is now.

As our endless march toward monetization continues, though, the business aspect feels like a co-opting of Design’s positive effect on humans. I don’t want to say that business has hijacked Design to make it about profit instead of people, but that’s kind of what I’m saying. That’s not to say that business and Design don’t have a right relationship that should be loved and embraced. It does. But haven’t we all been taught that Design is about people and relationships? As Joel Califa points out, there is any number of departments inside an organization who are gunning for revenue and monetization. Compare that to a small team of designers supporting revenue initiatives but also trying to create usable and useful things. It gets hairy. Money usually wins out over usability. …

About

Keaton Taylor

Product designer and dad.

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