Circles Conference 2014

The design team was fortunate enough to hit up Grapevine, Texas for the 3rd annual Circles Conference. This was the first time our team ventured out together, and it proved to be a weird, and fun time.

But other than being weird on the plane, we got to meet some great people and lose a contest by one point. Not bitter at all.

We also saw some amazing talks from people we knew of (Heads of State, Josh Brewer and Jessica Hische to name a few) and a bunch from folks we didn’t know. I wanted to take a moment to break down what we got out of it:

Culture is huge.

Companies like Twitter (Doug Bowman and Josh Brewer) from small to large believe in hiring for personality above all else. Skills can be taught, assholes won’t change.

At TrackMaven, we hire for personality as well as skills. Someone who has great skills but isn’t a team player, or who brags about everything, isn’t a Maven.

Make time for yourself.

Whether it’s a side project or stepping away to rest or be with your family, it’s important to not let yourself get burnt out.

Whether it’s our company-wide PLP (personal learning plan) initiatives or non-work/industry related skill growth, we encourage all Mavens to actively try to grow. We also have a no-limit vacation policy, which unlike what a lot of people say, doesn’t get abused at all. Quite often the design team will go to 4oclock HH, or long lunches just to take a break and chitchat.

Don’t forget about the analog.

Photoshop should be the second step. Bring your pencils. Make it real. All lessons that were preached to get us to break out of the mold and do something new.

Blake starts all of his illustrations as sketches, we piece together sheets of paper to get a sense of scale on print projects and we try to meet with customers every chance we can to understand context and environment. Engineering is always white-boarding, and I encourage it in design applicants as well.

Wade, myself and Blake

So overall, the lessons we took away were not necessarily new, but it was great to hear that TrackMaven is on the right path. We’re looking forward to hitting up another conference together, probably in the spring or summer once our team has growth a bit more.

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