5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Fall in Love with a Design Founder

And tips on how to survive if you fuck up and do it anyways

Ella Espinoza
Dec 9, 2014 · 3 min read

Designers are one thing, but designers who decide to create startups are a whole other level of crazy. It may seem endearing, and even exciting at first, to date one of these passionate risk takers, but after the magic of the honeymoon phase wears off, all you’re left with is a sleepless, caffeinated zombie with a human face.

Here are some things to consider before venturing into our beautiful, tragic world:

1. Forever fashionably late

When you’re trying to get that last animation done on the third iteration of that website_interface_FINAL_reallyfinal_v2, that the investor is expecting to see by Monday morning, the last thing on the priority scale is arriving on time to your mother’s Sunday brunch. Sorry babe.

Tip: Always say that the engagement is 1 to 1.5 hours before the actual time for prompt arrival at desired time.

2. Every dinner date will consist of an analysis of what the restaurant has done wrong

No romantic gazing into each other’s eyes here. The entire time will be spent either commenting on the awful typeface choice of the menu, or how the payment process could really be streamlined with some UX optimization that would surely revolutionize their business.

Tip: Better get a bottle, it’s going to be a long night

3. How do I feel? Here’s a poster

We spend most of our days directing a team, setting out the company vision, and fawning over the usability of our products. This is all stuff that involves communication in some form or another, but the truth is, most of us aren’t very good at expressing ideas that aren’t fully formed. When we are sure of what we want to say, don’t expect a beautiful speech, or words at all. We’re visual people, visual is what you’re going to get. And don’t worry, we’ll make it minimalist and vague enough that you’re left even more confused about what we feel than you were in the first place.

Tip: Turn head 45 degrees to the left and squint eyes. Still nothing? Fetch another bottle.

4. “So.. where is this going exactly…?”

We haven’t even thought about it.

In the startup world, particularly in tech, the only constant is change and we love it. We generally don’t tend to look farther than a month out, that’s what CEOs are for, so we’ll affix phrases like “if it lasts that long” to just about everything. You’ll likely feel like there’s an imminent expiration date slapped on the relationship at every turn.

Tip: This doesn’t mean that we don’t want commitment, for us it’s just not within reason to think that far ahead; and don’t try to make us, it’ll just be a frustrating experience for all.

5. We have a team full of mistresses

Being as passionate as we are about the success of our work, we likely won’t be out galavanting with other prospective honeys, but we will be spending most of our time at the office, or out bonding with our team. There will also, inevitably, be a work wife, or husband (most likely a dev), that we will rave about making, sweet, sweet, side project babies with every chance we get.

Tip: If you’re allowed to meet the team, you’re pretty damn special to us. Make an effort to make friends with the team, you’ll be spending a lot of time with them.

This is part of my quest to actually finish what I started, so keep up if you feel like reading some more of my nonsense every week.

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