And now for something completely different
Well, I’m making a (kind of big) change.
After 10+ years in the agency world, I’m moving to the product side of things. Starting next week I’m going to lead UX at DraftKings.
I’m really, really excited about this opportunity. I’m also pretty nervous about it too.
FIRST… GOODBYE TO A GREAT PLACE
For the past four years, I’ve called SapientNitro my (work) home. It has been a great company to work for and I’ve had the opportunity to work with many big name brands on challenging and consequential projects. I’ve learned a lot about design. Hell, I even owe being back in Boston to Sapient. I was living in Chicago at the time I met with their recruiter. My wife and I wanted to move back; Sapient made it happen.
Most of all though, I’m going to miss the friends I’ve made, both current and past coworkers. The people at Sapient are a passionate, talented group of people who are just really good, fun people to hang with. I’m going to miss seeing them every day.
A CHANCE TO BUILD PRODUCT
The biggest thing about this change is getting to focus on a single product. Learn what users like, what they don’t, always focused on improving. DraftKings is already a widely used and really successful app. The prospect of working on this with other really talented people, striving to improve, evolve it, is incredible.
A few years ago I had a chance to “build product” on an internal project at Sapient. I wrote about some of my experiences and learnings here. We did a lot of things wrong on that project. But it was a demarcation point for me, as it got me thinking constantly about product design and process. First, I had loved working on a single product and working to make it engaging. Second, I began to appreciate how much process and and methodology impact the outcome, over pure talent and hard work. Or to put it differently, how you empower and direct talent and hard work are huge factors for success. Now I get to focus on these things full time.
BOARDING A ROCKET IN FLIGHT
DraftKings has been around for just 4 years. They already have millions of daily users. I’m joining a team that has done an amazing job building a product that a lot of people want — and are passionate about — in an incredibly short amount of time.
I’m really excited about joining this rockstar team. And while everyone appreciates the success they’ve achieved, they also want to improve, to learn, to get better. That inspires me. To find a group of people committed to always be improving. I am going to learn a lot from them.
A SCARY PROPOSITION
DraftKings is hugely successful. I better not fuck that up.
I confess that I am nervous about this move. It is doing something different from what I have been doing. It comes with a lot of responsibility and a lot of challenges. What if my ideas or approaches are wrong?
I am joining a successful and talented team (see above) and I trust that together we can figure out the right moves and make good decisions. And also learn from the wrong ones. Still though… butterflies.
BUILDING A TOP-FLIGHT DESIGN TEAM
One of my tasks will be to build and lead the UX team. There’s already a great foundation. This is an awesome responsibility. I’ve had experience building and training the team at Sapient, but this is going to another level. It’s a huge ask. I’m excited; nervous (again).
So if you’re focused on UX in Boston and want to work on an important product, reach out. Let’s build connections and get to know each other.
So now I move to DraftKings. I can’t wait. I am invigorated by the challenge and opportunity. I don’t know what’s in store for me on this journey, but I’m sure it will be an incredible ride.