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By now it’s clear the world will be very different tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. What we don’t know is how. I’m writing this to help future me have a record what the past was like. I want to remember this turning point or later know if I was foolish to think this was the moment when everything changed.

The proverbial watercooler

I started optionally working from home on March 2, 2020. I immediately went stir crazy and visited the office and gym a few times. The few half days I went to the office, work felt business as usual with extra Purell. There was more signage in the bathrooms about washing your hands for two happy birthdays. …


my design leadership goals

This doc is an aspirational description of how I’d like to lead my teams and work toward’s my company’s mission. You, the designers on my team, are the audience. I hope this doc helps you know what I’m striving for and so you can give me feedback to help me get there. I’m interested in all ways I can raise the quality bar of my own work to serve you better.

TL;DR

I want to support you through your work and growth. I hope to be open, direct, and reliable. We’ll both make mistakes along the way and that’s ok if we reflect and grow from it. …


5 tips for opening your company’s satellite office

Congratulations! Needing more space in a new market means business is going well. Brace yourself for the adventure ahead. Opening a new office is a lot of work: part startup, part growth hacking, and lot of relationship building. I’ll share what I learned when opening the Pivotal Labs office in Berlin and what I’ve observed since joining the Mailchimp team in their Brooklyn office.

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Freddie takes care of our plants at Mailchimp in Brooklyn

1. Maintain the values, create your own culture

This is advice I got from Co-founder and CEO of Mailchimp, Ben Chestnut, and CEO of Pivotal, Rob Mee. I couldn’t agree more. Without shared values, your office and HQ are different companies with shared HR.


We’re hiring designers for more than email at Mail…kimp?

Designers, engineers, and PMs at Mailchimp work together to build tools for new and growing companies. We’re a leading marketing platform for small businesses that builds tools to help music producers, kimono designers, and ski-slope enthusiasts maintain their livelihoods. It’s truly a delight to serve them and empower the underdogs.

If that sounds fun to you, come join our product design team.

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The friendly Mailchimp folks in Brooklyn

Why I joined Mailchimp

I moved to New York specifically looking for a kind, collaborative, diverse team with bright technical folks working on a brand customers love. I wanted to spend my days with people who were empathetic and thoughtful by putting work before their egos. I wanted to move projects forward on teams where design, engineering, and product were equal players and could bring all kinds of different experiences, life histories, and ideas to the table. Those were my personal criteria for my next job and was thrilled to find it at Mailchimp. …


What do you want to do in 5 years? What about 15 years? This question is hard because technology, industries, and what’s possible changes so fast. As a thought exercise, I tracked the career history of ten designers who inspire me in 2015 to help me make my own plan. I figured out it was time to rejoin a product company, continue writing, and most importantly not to worry. Because this activity was so valuable for me, I made a spreadsheet template for you!

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Download your Inspiring Designers [Template]

Map Your Inspiring Designers

  1. On a sheet of paper, make a list of 10 designers you look up to. See how far you can get without doing deep internet research. …


Our world today is designed to be instant, connected, and fast.

Us software people say the apps we make help people do more, in less time. We are more productive than ever. We live, make, and work in a world where more is supposed to be better — but at a cost.

Some of the original makers at Facebook and Google now say “our minds are being hijacked.” …


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Losing a loved one is painful and personal. Figuring out how to grieve at work or support a colleague can be confusing. For me the heavy feelings come in waves, sometimes slow, heavy, and droning. Sometimes bright and sharp like a tiger in the face. It can change from minute-to-minute, hour-by-hour, and phase-by-phase. This makes it hard to know what kind of support to ask for, what to take, and how to describe my experience.

I’m reading Sheryl Sandburg’s book Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy about how she moved through the sudden death of her husband Dave. She’s right that “how are you” feels like a ridiculous, unanswerable question. But “how are you today?” or “how are you feeling right now?” …


Case Studies / Experience Reports are one way we tell the story of our project work. It often helps to think of it as a narrative for someone who has no context on your project but understands building software (other colleagues). They’re usually made as slide deck presentations and delivered as talks to the office or a small interested group. Below are the kinds of things that are often interesting in case studies:

Project Kickoff

  • What was the composition of your team and stakeholders?
  • What were you asked to build? What did you actually build?
  • How are you measuring success?

Product…


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My family used to joke about making a course for Silicon Valley kids to practice doing laundry and interacting with babies. I live in a strange bubble that designs infrastructure for much of our modern world. It can be a powerful magnifying glass on global issues.

People today are sad. I see it around me and we know it to be statistically and clinically true. Ads, Likes, and Facebook posts like this one, drain our serotonin (the chemical in our brain that makes us happy). I believe Marie Kondo sold over 8 million books because she is an astute business person and has great timing. …


Ditch your laundry list of topics you want to write about. Ignore all the outlines you started months, nay, years ago. They’ll be useful later. Maybe.

My biggest writing secret is getting down what I have on my mind the moment the idea strikes. Usually it’s in the morning when the internet is quiet and my mind has time to wander.

Start scribbling

Don’t worry about an introduction, conclusion, the flow, grammar, any of it yet. Edit later. Just get your raw message down. Ignore finding the perfect tool. Choose an editor that’s familiar (email draft, notes app on your phone, a slack message). Start with what feels comfortable and known. …

About

Nina Mehta

designer, writer, artist / ninamehta.com

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