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060916 summer 2016 Over the last few months, I’ve been living in Palo Alto, CA. I worked on a few different projects with a lot of talented designers and engineers, both inside and outside of the office. These are reflections from the past few months that have stuck with me. I think that spending some time writing these thoughts down will help me internalize them.



Always have something to show.

A coworker once said to me "With software people I feel like it’s always either done or not done, whereas with an interaction designer they can sort of find the right way to show the idea without building it all”.

Do whatever it takes to get your idea across, even if you have to fake it. It’s critical that you are able to iteratively test concepts with people, and utilize the feedback to fine-tune the product. With that in mind, it’s important to focus on having skills that will allow you to rapidly prototype your ideas. Learn things like Framer, Origami, foam core construction, 3D printing, and so on.



Have some skills that complement each other.

Outside of your specialty area, it’s also important to have some skills in the disciplines that the people that you work with specialize in. For example, having some level of experience with UX research, UI design, and product management can be supremely helpful to a software engineer on a product team who wants to maximize their value.

Having experience in complementary areas allows you to better empathize with your teammates and helps you to understand how your work can contribute to the development of the product. Broadening your ability to execute an idea end-to-end gives you a lot more power and makes you the the right fit for the job more often.



Socialize your skills & have a ‘thing’.

When you enter a new space, it’s important to think about how you will present your skills and interests. Having a strong, specific skill or area of interest that you have developed deeply can be helpful when you’re new and looking for a way to dive in.

Be the person whose name comes up when someone brings up the topic. The Oh maybe we could do something with virtual reality – <your name> knows all about that! type of a person. Decide what it is that you want to be known for, and then find a way to spread the word. Show people your projects, give presentations on the topic, and generally be an advocate for the area of interest in the community.



Engineering is about making wild ideas real.

Too often have I sat in brainstorming sessions with engineers where the conversation quickly boils to an argument on engineering feasibility. When someone asks “Is that possible?” in a generative discussion, it derails the flow of the conversation and takes the focus off ideation.

If everyone feels the need to run through all of the failure cases of their idea before bringing it up, then we won’t have many ideas to work with at the end of the brainstorm. So instead, let’s talk about wild ideas and set a creative vision. We can always re-scope the concept as we implement it. If we only choose to pursue things that we know how to implement at the beginning, then we’re hindering our potential to develop innovative things.




Profile for bomanimc

Reflections on Summer 2016  

Four generalizable takeaways from my experiences during the summer of 2016. During this period of time, I was a Software Design Intern at I...

Reflections on Summer 2016  

Four generalizable takeaways from my experiences during the summer of 2016. During this period of time, I was a Software Design Intern at I...

Profile for bomanimc