Why I Joined Aalto Design

The 7 factors that drew me in

I joined Aalto a few months ago as their first VP of Design. One of the more frequent questions I get when interviewing candidates is, “why did you decide to join this company?” Here’s the list:

The People

From my first conversation with Nick, Aalto’s founder and CEO, I was drawn toward the people who work at Aalto. The design team is stellar. The rest of the company is made up of strong, smart, senior, and incredibly well balanced individuals. Everyone possesses a rare blend of both high IQ and high EQ. They’re great at the hard skills and the soft ones. This creates a supportive yet high-performing culture that’s not always common in startups or Silicon Valley tech companies. It’s a group of people I want to work with and learn from.

An Unsolved Problem

Real estate is one of the few consumer sectors still not significantly improved by advancements in internet technology and mobile computing. Almost every other aspect of our lives has been updated— the way we shop, eat, communicate, travel, work, and so much more. But, even with all the attempts at innovation in the space over the past few years, 99% of US real estate transactions still follow the traditional process that regularly brings people to tears. The problem still exists, and I believe that Aalto is best positioned to solve it.

Read more about the problem with real estate

The Mission

Aalto’s mission is to democratize real estate. We want to improve the way people perform one of life’s most important transactions by using technology to give more control to individual buyers and sellers. I’m incredibly drawn to the boldness of this mission and it’s potential for positive impact at a large scale.

Read more about Aalto’s mission

The Stage of Company

I love the size and stage of Aalto right now. We’re big enough to do big things, but not so large that we have to navigate process, bureaucracy, and politics. We are designing the foundational elements of the product and service. There is still a ton of space and need for large, innovative changes and improvements to the customer experience. And I, along with the design team, get an opportunity to shape this company’s culture and approach to building products.

The Investment in Design

I was very impressed by Aalto’s investment in design. They had a staff-level designer on the team since almost the beginning, and they decided to bring on a VP at an earlier stage than most startups do. In my interviews, it was clear the leadership team understood the value a high-performing design team brings to a business, and the reasons why great design is especially needed to achieve the Aalto mission. It became clear to me that Aalto isn’t a place where designers need to evangelize their value or fight for a seat at the table. Instead, we get to focus on creating amazing work in partnership with the rest of the company.

The Design Challenges

I’m a lover of both complex UX challenges and emotionally compelling design. Sometimes you have to trade between the two, but not with Aalto. Our problem space provides big, hairy service design challenges while requiring a finely crafted end experience that calms, guides, builds confidence, and engenders trust. It needs the full spectrum of design. Though that can sometimes feel overwhelming, it’s an exciting mix of challenges that will never leave me feeling bored.

Read more about Aalto’s design challenges

The Potential for Impact

Residential real estate in the US is a multi-trillion dollar market that has yet to be significantly disrupted by the current technology revolution. The potential for business impact is massive. While that excites me, what motivates me more is the potential to positively impact the individual lives of buyers and sellers. The choices about when to move and where to live are very tied to financial stability and quality of life. Any improvements Aalto makes have the potential to directly improve the lives of our customers and their families.

More Info on Aalto Design

All About Aalto Design is our Medium publication. There you will find general info, the latest updates, and case studies from across the team.

Aalto.com/careers shows all our open roles. We are hiring, so take a look and tell your friends.

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