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Episode 9
March 21, 2017

A System for Others to Succeed

Matt and Andy are joined by Kristy Tillman and new contributor Cap Watkins to discuss design management. We learn about some of the traits of bad managers and discuss how to advocate for design within an organization. Should design work be diversified and spread throughout a company, or is specialization valuabale?
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Andy
You are listening to Working File, a podcast about design practice, and its relationship with the world. My name is Andy Mangold.
Matt
And I'm Matt McInerney.
Andy
On this episode, we're gonna discuss Design Management.
Matt
And you're gonna learn that you've only had bad managers.
Andy
This episode had a lot of lingo in it.
Music
Andy
Just half a glass, Cap, really, that's it?
Cap
I have a lot more sitting here, so...
Andy
Oh okay, I see. That's gonna be "as the show goes" kinda thing.
Cap
Depending on how long this goes, it's gonna be either a disaster or very delightful.
Kristy
It's gonna be delightful.
Matt
Depends on how boring you are, Andy. Come on.
Laughter
Andy
I gotta say, from our experience, the shows that we think might be disasters ended up being the most popular ones, either because people like listening to train wrecks, therefore, it makes a popular podcast, or we have no sense of what's actually good or bad when we make it, and we just have to put it out there to find out.
Matt
Yeah, maybe a little bit of both.
Laughter
Andy
I've only really been drunk, like drunk drunk, two or three times in my life and one of them was on an episode of the podcast because we thought it'd be fun, [chuckle] and it was, I think.
Cap
That you remember.
Andy
Yeah. Not this podcast, a much less professional, a much worse podcast.
Cap
I see.
Andy
Anyway, welcome to Working File. So tonight we are joined by Kristy Tillman, ongoing Contributor and Head of Communication Design at Slack. Kristy, how are you?
Kristy
Hi.
Andy
You just got off work, right? You got off a little bit early to make this happen today?
Kristy
No, I didn't. [chuckle]
Andy
Oh, you didn't? That's right. We ended up pushing it back a little bit. Either way, we appreciate you being here, whether you left early or not. And we also have a new contributor joining us, and this is Cap Watkins from... You're the VP of Design at BuzzFeed, that's your official title?
Cap
That's my official title.
Andy
You are a vice president of design, that's very exciting. Thank you for joining us on very short notice.
Cap
What's funny, is I realized, there's no president. Do you ever hear of a president of design, there's... No one's that.
Chuckle
Andy
So it's not like the president of design dies and then you become the president.
Laughter
Cap
I think I've gone as far as I can go. I think this is it.
Andy
You've worked your way up to the top. The president is a lie. It's an illusion.
Laughter
Cap
It's an illusion.
Andy
So, the topic tonight is going to be the... Well, I'm actually gonna... The topic tonight is Design Management, and I will have to confess that this episode is stemming from a Twitter conversation that kind of horned myself into that, Kristy, you were having on Twitter with another person that has a similar work to you but a different company. And I'm interested in this because my job is largely being a designer and also somewhat, to a much lesser degree, occasionally doing something you might call 'Design Management' or maybe a little bit of 'Creative Direction'. At a small company, the titles all blur together. It doesn't really matter. But, I know that the position you're in now, and the position that our other guest Cap is in, is a position of largely management of designers, and perhaps less of what you might call 'Design Work', in the sense of you're making things with your hands and you're drawing shapes all day. And so I wanna kind of defer to you on what this topic actually is, 'cause I don't know if we're talking about how to manage designers, or how we're talking about how to manage as a designer, but either one, I'm interested in. So, what are we talking about tonight, Kristy?
Kristy
Well, I don't even remember the conversation on Twitter.
Andy
It was ages ago.
Kristy
Yeah, okay. Maybe that's what it was. But I think we're talking about the former, so managing actual designers, which is different than managing as a designer.
Andy
Sure.
Kristy
'Cause I don't design things anymore. I'm not sure about you, Cap. At work at least.
Cap
I mean, if I'm doing that, something's gone horribly wrong?
Kristy
Yes.
Laughter
Andy
And just so we're clear about our language, when you say you're not designing things anymore, what exactly do you mean? Like you're not in sketch or whatever.
Kristy
I'm not making actual artifacts that have business requirements. But I consider being a "Design Manager" to be designing a team, to be efficient, and effective, and successful, which is its own design project. Lots of the same approaches, iteration, experimentation, interviewing stakeholders, all of those types of things that you would do for a regular design project you do I think, when you're building and growing a thriving design team.
Matt
Maybe a good starting point would be, what does a day look like for you?
Kristy
Right now, it is... There is no one day. What I'm doing at Slack right now is I'm literally creating a team from scratch. So the communication design team didn't exist when I started in October, so we're a brand new team within the company and that has a ton of implications in it. At Society of Grown Ups, where I was before Slack, I was also the first designer there and fell into design management there, and also built a team from scratch. All of my experiences have been really building teams. What my role looked like at day 20 has changed drastically by day 200. Right now, I'm spending a lot of time hiring, and looking at portfolios, and doing interviews, as well as kinda keeping the ship afloat and making sure people around the company get what they need. That will look drastically different, I imagine at 90 days, when hopefully all of our reqs are filled and then I'm starting to spend most of my time doing what I want, and starting to put in some of the cultural plumbing that needs to exist to keep the team growing, and making sure designers are doing their best work. My role will be constantly changing until we get a full team. And I'm certainly used to living in that world 'cause I've done it before. It's really different than inheriting a team.
Andy
Would you say that sounds similar to what you do on a day-to-day basis, Cap?
Cap
We're in a different stage. It sounds like my day two years ago. When I started at BuzzFeed was a lot of, "Holy crap, I need to hire people so right now," so right now I manage managers mostly. I manage three design managers who manage the team. So I'm kinda past the point of like... They're responsible for recruiting, right? They are the hiring managers on all the reqs, so I help sometimes with sourcing, or going to a portfolio review, giving them a gut check right, on the decision they're making but I am generally not... It's not my hire to make anymore, if that makes sense?
Andy
Sure.
Cap
The other thing I do... I do some other stuff at BuzzFeed that a lot of people don't know about, so I'm also the VP of IT right now.
Andy
Oh, interesting, the skunkworks?
Cap
[chuckle] I've been doing that for about a year, over a year now, a year and three months, I think. So I was given the IT team. It's like a global team. It goes across three offices, it's LA, London and New York. And so I'm managing that team that does the helpdesk tickets, does the networking for all the offices, all that stuff. And then I'm also product managing our A/B tools team. So they build the tools, so we can A/B test things and experiment. So I work with them pretty closely and then I am also engaged in ton of... Not design culture stuff, I mean, obviously I am involved in that, but I'm actually involved with a higher level in tech team culture stuff, all product development. So I ran our mid year and annual reviews this last year, kinda came up with the format for those things, deployed that format to people, took their feedback, iterated, that kind of thing. I run manager dens which we... Which are like these small groups of managers that get together every week to kinda talk about manager stuff together, and that's kind of cross department at this point. I'm at this point were I'm engaged at a much higher level in a bunch of stuff, that I think as a whole, benefits design, but in terms of the day to day recruiting, and the kind of designer to manager interaction, I don't have as much of that anymore.
Andy
So what I'm interested in here specifically is you both come from design backgrounds, so you both were doing design work before you became managers of the designers. Correct? That's true for you as well, Cap?
Cap
Yeah, I was a designer for, I wanna say, six or seven years before I started managing people.
Andy
So what I'm interested in is how that path changes the way you approach your job now, because something that I'm conscious of in my role, and again I'm kind of doing the mini, mini, itty bitty, baby version of kind of the things that you and Kristy are taking on, just on the smallest scale. Our company is eight people, so it's really, really tiny. But I am the design person in that space. And something I'm very conscious of, self-conscious of, frankly is that management is basically a whole nother job, you can go to college and get a degree for it, right? That's what getting a degree in business is. I'm sure there is specific degrees depending on where you go, in business management, or in specific subsets of that, and as somebody who has a background in fine art, ostensibly, I am self-conscious of kind of inserting myself into that world and being like, "I know how to manage things 'cause I did shapes and colors for a long time and have a degree in that." So I'm curious to know how your histories, for both of you, have affected how you approach your job now, and possibly giving you a different perspective than somebody who maybe did go to business school, or maybe has a different background.
Kristy
Well, I actually did go to business school before I went to design school.
Andy
Oh, I had no idea, actually.
Kristy
Yeah, so I actually have a degree in business management, and it does not affect the way I run my teams at all so... [chuckle]
Andy
You're saying your first degree doesn't?
Kristy
No, it doesn't. No.
Andy
But your history as a designer does?
Kristy
Yes, absolutely. So I think my history as a designer does and also I think the biggest thing right now, 'cause I have not been managing people for as long as Cap has, I'm on my fourth year of doing this now. Well four and a half years. The managers that I actually had as a designer probably have informed my management style the most, I mean both good and bad. I've had a spectrum of folks manage me, as an individual contributor, and that really shaped me in a lot of ways like what kind of manager do I wanna be, and also what kind of manager I never wanna be. And those things have shaped me way more than going to business school, or even my individual practice as a designer, and it has been a lot of trial and error. Also a lot of self-reflection. People are hard and complex, but also people are super rewarding. It's a long like grey area between. So a lot of hard won fights, making lots of mistakes, and being very transparent with people on my team about like, "Look I'm trying this but first I'm doing this." With my last team, I was very open. I was like, "Look, you guys saw me fall into this, so like you know, bear with me."
Kristy
"And I realized that your career, and your progression, are at the whim of me getting things right." And just being transparent, and having just building genuine relationships with people, is sort of my philosophy. And it has worked. My last team that I just loved, we have a very, very, very, very, very strong relationship. We all still keep in contact and some of them have wanted to come with me, and for other reasons they couldn't, timing issues and such. But yeah, it's really been a lot of my own experiences as a individual contributor, and having good, both good and bad managers, they have shaped my experience mostly.
Cap
I don't have a lot to add there, actually I've only been managing people for four years. I agree. I didn't know what a good manager was for a long time I don't think. I... I think a lot of people have this problem where the only management you know is the management you get, kind of. And so, you wind up in a situation where like myself, I went through the first four, five, six years of my career with managers that... I mean looking back on it, really sucked, like were really bad. And I didn't realize for a long time that that was true, because I didn't know what to expect. I just kind of thought this is what it's supposed to be, I guess. And then around the third or fourth year of being a designer, I read "Managing Humans" by Rands' Michael Lopp, and I was like, "What?"
Chuckle
Cap
I was like, "That's what's supposed to happen?" [chuckle] What's a one-on-one? What is this? And I just read this whole book, and all of a sudden, I wasn't even a manager yet, and my eyes were opened to all the terrible things that had happened to me.
Laughter
Matt
Actually, what... How do you characterize good and bad management at this point of your life? What were your horrible experiences?
Cap
I mean in everything from like someone who was super dictatorial, right? To somebody who doesn't meet with me very often, doesn't advocate for me, doesn't help me learn stuff, doesn't give me a path to growth, doesn't actually the bare minimum of 'tell me if I am doing a good job or not', these are all things I just figured out, figured I had to do for myself and I think part of that's coming from a startup background, where I was working at like... My career started at a five-person startup. And my first three jobs were very similarly sized where you don't really think about that that much, and you can't, and it's not something that's happening, but when you... I went to Amazon, it was like... That was where it was supposed to be good probably, and it just really wasn't. And so then I added all that up to decide like, "Okay, well I don't want to do any of that so, I am gonna try to like, I guess Costanza it and do the opposite."
Laughter
Cap
And so, instead of hidings things, I started sharing things. Instead of not telling people how they were doing, telling them how they were doing, just doing everything that I always wanted, basically. And that's taken me pretty far, I think what I'm coming to recently is, obviously there's a limit to how much I can do with that experience, 'cause I only have so much of it. And so now, I feel like I'm turning into this situation where I'm actually learning a lot from the people that I manage, so the managers that I'm managing at BuzzFeed, particularly like Sabrina, who's one of the managers there, gives me lot of very direct helpful feedback and pushback, and it's opening my eyes to things that I didn't know, I just didn't even know were important, or I didn't understand... And it makes sense when I'm told it, but it's hard to know because it's like I'm not building on experience anymore, I'm building on new things which I think is exciting and also extremely terrifying.
Andy
So I'm also curious to know, and forgive me, this is a podcast that's about designs, so I'm gonna keep pointing it back at design because I'm trying to find the connection here. I do wonder... I had an experience, and again I'm talking much smaller scale, but when we started our business, I didn't want to do any of the business stuff, right? That was a necessary hurdle in order to do the design work that I wanted to do, I felt like, "Okay, fine. We'll do these contracts, we'll do these agreements with clients. We'll come with these... " All these little pieces you have to do when you're like running a business, I figured we just do that and kinda get over it.
Andy
And over the course of the time we're running our business, I've become more and more interested in approaching those things like design problems, which is something that Kristy kind of mentioned earlier, and alluded to. And basically saying, "Okay. Well, if we're gonna have to have an NDA or we're gonna have to have a engagement letter, or we're gonna have to have an offer letter for someone we're gonna hire, let's approach these things as opportunities to represent our values to somebody formally. And not approach them as these kind of boring formalities, and basically approach the problem as like, we're gonna design a system in which designers and in my case, developers can succeed, right?" That is the sort of challenge that I feel I'm taxed with.
Andy
And that was exciting to me because I genuinely felt like the things I was interested about Graphic Design, with a capital G and a capital D, which was never really colors and compelling shapes, and posters, it was always systems and how you extend things, and how you account for variability within a system. I generally feel like those things I can apply to this new problem. Do you feel like your background design has helped you in that direct way, or some other way, or not at all? It sounds like both of you is just basically saying, "Having been a designer and been under other managers, I learned how to be a good manager, and now I'm doing it." And I'm wondering how the actual things we share as designers, the fundamental building blocks of our profession are involved in that conversation, if at all.
Kristy
So I consider I cut my teeth as a designer at IDEO, which is very process-oriented design studio, and I feel like that process has been actually tremendously helpful in the idea of constructing and building teams. Just the idea that there's gonna be a lot of experimentation, iteration, and measuring, so just really enacting that design process on the team. I'm super transparent about that in my last team. We tried all different types of methods. After five people, it became increasingly hard for me to have a good purview of what everyone was doing, right? But I didn't wanna errant on micromanagement, I didn't wanna be over people's shoulders and asking them, they're adults and great designers, but it was like, how do I get that formation? We tried all different types, we did a weekly report, we did some stand-ups, we did a Slack channel standup. We tried three or four different things, I would always ask them, "How does this feel? Is this a burden to your process? How does it affect your workflow?"
Kristy
I would also look on other end and see if I was getting the information I needed to report to my boss about what was going on, right? So there was tons of experimentation around that. When we were talking about design values, what would make a successful team, there's lots iteration on that, design paths or growth. I mean, it's all basically designing a one big puzzle. That's what my experience, building teams, especially from the ground up. Lots of trying, lots of trial and error, especially with the bunch of new personalities. That's been both of my experiences. Coming together with a group of folks I have never worked with before, and they've never worked with each other before, and trying to figure out how do we build our culture, our rituals, around these personalities and those synergies? That takes a lot of experimentation. Just being really transparent with folks about, "These is the experiment, I'm open for your feedback, nothing is permanent until we get it right." All of that process I've used on teams. I use it all the time.
Matt
Were there any concrete takeaways from that? Or was it just the idea of experimentation and making sure you go through that with every new group of people?
Kristy
Well, the concrete takeaway is designers feel super invested in the process of being a member of that team, and that's super important to me. Not for me to just impose processes on people without respecting their time and their feedback, making sure that the team... There's a really good way, I found, to make a group of new folks feel they are all in this together, is that they're actually active and participating in building the design culture that they're gonna be working in. That's a huge takeaway from that, and it generally works. People will want to do the thing that they've been able to get feedback in. They'll also really understand it if the conclusion is that, "We're gonna do... I need you to do this end report for me. I know it sucks, whatever." They've seen that we've tried other things that didn't work. There are sometimes as a manager too, you have to impose, you just have to say things. You have to be super direct, for better or for worse. You just don't have the time to particularly experiment. People have trusted in you that you're doing that for a reason. There's lots of ways to get by in that way.
Matt
One thing you did mention, when you started talking about this was the idea of, once I have to manage more than five people that becomes difficult. What has your experience been like moving from a scale of, maybe you have a team of less than five people clearlier now, and a team of much more than that, or at least trying to build that, how have you learned to manage something like that?
Kristy
I haven't gotten there yet. My last team was six people? Yes, six people. And when I get finished with all my reqs, I think we, will probably be at nine, and that's just the first build out of the team. Nine people won't get done what we need to get done. But that's what I'm starting off with. And that's too many to directly report to me at least at that point as well. The idea of managing managers will happen pretty quickly.
Matt
What's your limit for yourself? How many people can you oversee and know what's going on?
Kristy
Six was really hard. That was the limit, because if I was doing one-on-ones weekly, that's six hours, and I like to go back and take notes, and do action items from my one-on-ones.
Matt
That's like a week gone.
Kristy
Yeah. Add another hour and a half to process those notes. You're looking at seven or eight hours just on one-on-ones, I have 40-hour week. It can go very quickly. Six people is kind of the max that I can really handle if I'm giving them a ton of attention.
Andy
And something you said resonated with me too which is that, the things that are more natural for me, which is either because of just who I am as a person, or because of my training, and background, and practice as a designer, the things that are more natural for me, that helped me the most in the management parts of my job are a willingness to accept when an idea is wrong and move on to a new one, which is something that kinda gets grounded into you over years of criticism amongst peers, or criticism from a manager, or your boss. You have to learn not to get married to your ideas. And instead, just try them, if they work, you embrace them, if they don't, you throw them away. And the other one is just having a decent sense of the ways in which the system will break at its limits, being able to extrapolate, and occasionally interpolate things to just figure out, "Well if we do this at our Monday morning meetings, it's actually gonna take a lot longer in these situations, and that's gonna cause people to get disengaged."
Andy
And being able to kind of foresee that and understand how things kind of live on the system. That has been something that has kinda helped me a little bit. And those things I do, I do associate those things very strongly with design, specifically. That's the same way you have to understand, "Well, if we're trying to make the page of like this, what happens if someone has got a really long name and the post is really short, and this image has a really tall aspect ratio? It's all gonna fall apart." It sounds like a stretch but it's the same part of my brain that also...
Kristy
It's the exact same thing.
Andy
Yeah, for sure.
Cap
Can I tell you what drives me crazy about this whole thing?
Andy
Yes. Of course. [laughter] Cap, don't you know that's what podcasts are for? They're just for ranting. This is just rants.mp3.
Cap
Yeah. I was gonna off on a total tangent. I was gonna talk about how the lines at the grocery store are really long, and that's what bothers me. [laughter]
Andy
What's the deal with snow?
Cap
No. That's true. What's really bothering me about this is the... I feel like the thing we were kind of all circling is that term like 'design thinking'. This is a term that comes up a lot. Or inject design thinking into your organization and people will think about these things right, in this way. I think what's interesting about that is, so I'm working across all these departments, right? I'm talking to managers, I'm talking to HR people, I'm talking to...
Cap
You know, people that are impacted by the decisions we make on all those teams, and everybody thinks this way. It's not design-specific. A good manager is gonna think about the impact of their decision making, regardless of whether or not it's a design manager, whether or not they have a design background. These are all things that... HR is gonna be thinking about the people they impact with their decision making maybe in a different way, with a different set of concerns than you or I might have. But they still go through what you would kind of dub a semi-creative process that is iterative, and would, if you backed up, really looks very similar to what we're describing here.
Andy
Sure. Yeah.
Cap
And I feel like there's this... I get asked this stuff sometimes, like, "How do you inject design thinking? Like how do you take design and apply it to these other things?" And I'm like, "Well, I don't," right? Because they already do this stuff.
Andy
More like, how do you as a designer, stop thinking that the way that you figured it out is the canonical way to do it, and everyone else is just living in your world? I think that's a real issue we have as designers.
Cap
Yeah, I think we're at this point where it feels very exclusive to me, like it feels a little excluding, to just phrase it in this way, to set it up as, "Well, we have the one true way of thinking about this stuff." And I do think there's there's value to us being in these conversations. I think the thing we bring is potentially strategies for finding out how people feel about stuff. We bring tactics maybe that wouldn't be available or unexperienced from other, unexperienced by other departments, right? HR may be sending surveys out, and that may not be the best way to figure out how these changes are going to feel to people.
Andy
Sure.
Cap
How can you... We bring user interviews, or we bring... Maybe we do bring something more of an iterative process, or a different perspective but I don't know. I feel like there's just as much that we can get from these other places, from these other people, or other good managers from other teams that can seriously change the way that we think about things, just the same way as we would with other people.
Andy
For sure. And I definitely, I agree completely, and I don't mean to imply that design is a process that is the objective right process, and should be applied to everything, and once you apply it you'll see the one truth of the world. I more meant that it's kind of interesting that some of the skills... There's skill overlap, I guess is what I mean. It's not that we're taking design, and using that as our approach to something else. It's more that, well, as a designer, I developed these skills, and it turns out if you just twist it and turn it a little bit, that's the same skill that this other person is using to do this different thing. Which is to say that perhaps, a good HR person would also make an excellent design manager because they...
Matt
It makes you wonder, right?
Laughter
Andy
It really does. I'm very much a generalist, so I have a very like holistic view of the world. I very much feel like there's a good chance that HR manager could be an excellent design manager, because, what is really the difference at the end of the day. But yeah, I agree completely.
Matt
I tend to cringe a little bit anytime anybody says the word design-thinking, because it sure sounds a lot like just thinking. And it also has this implication that other people aren't creative, which I think is not true at all. I think that's just kind of...
Cap
I mean, well, I think it comes from this place of, like I remember when I started designing stuff, and this was like in 2000, like, professionally, like as like a job. It was 2006. And in 2006, a lot of people that I worked for, like I was doing some freelance work, a lot of people thought that my job was to make things look a certain way. Right?
Matt
Yeah.
Cap
Like that's what my job was. And I wanted to be a part of maybe because I'm a generalist or whatever, I wanted to be a part of what it was, and why it was the way it was, right? And at that point, that was actually a problem for design, as a discipline. Like when I moved to San Francisco, and started up my first startup, that was still something that came up a lot with the designers I talked to, that they were still fighting those battles, there were tons of blog posts written about it. This was the topic of the time, was how do we get in to these conversations? And so now we're at this point where... I think we've kind of overshot, I think we don't realize that we got it. Like we did it. It's done.
Matt
Yeah.
Cap
People hire designers now, they expect them to be involved in more than just making things look a certain way. For the most part. I think, obviously that stuff still exists in certain places.
Andy
But I was going to say, do you think that's maybe just at progressive, forward thinking, fairly modern companies like Slack and BuzzFeed, and not at places like older institutions that are bigger, or perhaps institutions that are not coastal, and do you think it's actually widespread that people are approaching design as we're talking about it here?
Cap
I think it's widespread. For the people that I recall writing about this all the time, and thinking about this all the time and talking about it all the time, it has been solved. It's a solved problem. I probably... I don't know. I've hired product designers from Oklahoma. I know that... You know Sonic Drive-In? They have a product design lab, it's really cool, and there's this great...
Andy
Oh, awesome.
Cap
I tried to hire a product designer from there, he wouldn't leave. He was like, it's too good.
Laughter
Cap
You laugh, but it's crazy. He lives in the Midwest, like it's... That's where it is.
Andy
That's great.
Cap
So I don't know, maybe it's a little more widespread than we even think. I bet he's got a much nicer house and he could afford in New York.
Kristy
Or San Francisco.
Andy
Or San Francisco. Well, that's very encouraging, I think, if that is actually the case. Obviously, I don't know, I'm just sitting here in my house in Baltimore, not talking to anybody, so, but yeah, I think if that is the case, then, you said we might have overshot. You think that we... I definitely feel like like designers are likely to try and overreach their own personal boundaries, or the boundaries of their job. I would call us eager to get involved. What is it that we've overreached kind of collectively?
Cap
It's not in the wanting to get involved. I think everybody should want to get involved. I think engineers should want to design, designers should want to engineer, all of them should want to do product stuff. I think that makes better stuff. I think overshooting... It's like we kept a chip on our shoulder. We kept it. It didn't go away, we didn't get rid of it. It's just like we're still kind of ticked, and I don't know why, 'cause when I look around I'm like, "Man, this is kind of awesome. Everything is just kind of great all the time."
Chuckle
Andy
I'm glad to hear somebody say that, Cap, because I've been looking around for the past, oh I don't know, four or five months and everything seems a little messed up.
Cap
Sorry, I just mean inside of a company where things are safe and warm.
Andy
I know, I know. Sure. [chuckle]
Cap
But yeah, I don't know. It feels like we're going to this place, we're going to the place that we were fighting against a little bit, right? We're starting to build up a wall around design that makes it feel like this ivory tower, that like, "Oh, you need design thinking. Oh, you need us to come teach you to think about things and teach you process," and I don't know that that's necessarily true or good for people, personally, but...
Andy
And I also, I share Matt's cringe at that term just because of what you just mentioned, right? I feel like design is very likely to latch on to an idea, rebrand it, because we're good at that, and then sort of pitch it as if it was our own unique special idea that we came up with and aren't we the special ones?
Kristy
So I just recorded my High Resolution podcast with Jared and Bobby, and they asked me what did I think the design trend would be in the next five years, and my answer was that design would decentralize within companies, and that more people outside of design departments would be... Even design processes and designers would be less important within companies. So let's see if that happens. That's my contribution to that.
Andy
To Cap's point, do you think that's already happening? I know that I mentioned the things that I think I bring to the table when it comes to making "management decisions" and there are software developers in my company that bring those exact same things to the table, right? Because if you're writing software, you also have to iterate, and find the solution that works correctly, and not get married to your first idea. And you also have to, even more so, understand how systems are going to extend and bend, and break at different limits, so these skills are not necessarily mutual to us as we've kind of established. So I do wonder if this process is just kind of designers opening their eyes and realizing that, "Oh yes, in our industry, we call this iteration and a think wrong and in your industry you call this a brainstorm, or the sprint, or whatever you wanna call it in a different kind of specific field." But I'm want to look at different people doing different things and see the connective tissue, and see the unifying theory of how people make stuff, but maybe I'm being over-ambitious.
Kristy
I think from a business perspective, it's kind of inefficient to have design be hoarded by the "design department,"so I run a communications design team. In my old job, I ran a brand team and a product team, but now that I'm only running a brand team that has to service the entire organization, I have a different lens. One of the things that has come to me is how inefficient a lot of the requests are that we get. So when people say, or sales might come to us and say, "We just launched this new product, and we need a deck, and we need a two-sheeter, we need this and this and this to go out and sell this thing." And I'm just like, "Why do they need that, why do they keep having to ask us?" So one of the things that I've really been thinking about is how do we remove ourselves in a bottleneck to set up teams to make and do their own thing? So someone in sales, they have this software, and I created a template for them so that they can continue to modify that particular template to do x, y, and z in this particular software, and now that team is set up to be able to go do these things. They have a kit of parts and they can move things around and do it without having to come to the design department.
Andy
I gotta say, Kristy, I think you could definitely argue that you're taking a designer's approach, right? In many ways you're describing a brand system. You're gonna set some rules, and then you're gonna hand it over to some company, and they're gonna run with it, and you have to basically set the boundaries so that there's enough room to play.
Kristy
Totally. It's the designer's approach and it's sort of like putting ourselves out of business, right? They don't have to come and ask us to do this thing, and then when our CEO asked us to do a head count request next year, I can say, "Well, I've set up sales to do x, y, z. I need one less designer than I would have asked for if I hadn't set up sales, right?" So, I think to some degree there's some business, there's a huge business implication around this kind of idea of decentralizing design in organization from an efficiency and profitability perspective.
Cap
I have a question for you. Have you considered... I considered this a long time ago and never really pursued it, but I've been thinking about decentralizing design in a different way, in terms of brand design stuff like... Obviously for the stuff that you can kind of give people the control to do it themselves, that's great, but there's obviously things that are still gonna come.
Kristy
Oh, totally.
Cap
And I've been thinking a lot about the head count request part, right? Because I'm making a request on behalf of all these other departments, and it's hard to build the case 'cause you're not those departments to invest, right? Because... And so I feel like brand design tends to be behind because of that, and so I've been considering, and I kind of talked to some departments about this and it seems possible. I've been like, "Why don't you request headcount for... I think you need two designers and they can be on our team, they will report into this team, they will get support from our team, from the design team, right? They'll get their reviews from us, management from us, all that stuff, but then they will be dedicated to your business unit, and they will learn your business unit, and they will be able to contribute it at a high level to that unit." And so then you have other departments investing in design. And conceptually, it's interesting.
Kristy
That's the way the product, the teams work, right?
Cap
Yeah. Right, great.
Kristy
Oftentimes, they sit on the pillars, or pods, or whatever each company calls them, with the engineers, with the project manager and product manager. And they're embedded in that team, and they report up to design, and they get their craftsman leadership from design, but they learn that specific feature or that specific product and they pretty much never let it go. That's an interesting way to think about it from a brand perspective. Before I started at Slack, we had one designer who was dedicated to growth marketing, so she did a lot of the website stuff. She reports in to me now. She was the only designer that was working on brand stuff outside of the product team, now that I'm growing the brand team, people are asking... It's interesting you said that because I've actually had this conversation with people who are like... Marketing was like, "I need someone to do emails, or I need someone to do ads." Right? And it would be interesting to say, "Have them ask for headcount to do that."
Kristy
The conflict with that though is, when you talk to designers in interviews, no one wants to just do those things. They come on the brand team because they say, "I wanna do a bunch of different things, I wanna try a bunch of different things." And part of the appeal on being on a brand team is the idea they get to do a bunch of different stuff. If you interviewed brand designers that's almost always what they say, particularly at a company, in a team, maturity stage as Slack is, it's like, "Okay, wow I get to come into this company that's super cool, and help define what brand design means there." I would never be able to hire designers if I said, "Hey. Come work for me, you need to do ads, you work with growth marketing and all you do is email banners." Never in a million years would anyone come work for me. But I think your idea makes a tons of sense, and it's something I've thought about, it's just a complete 180 from what designers expect when they come to companies on brand teams.
Cap
The way I thought about it was like having them on a rotation.
Andy
I was gonna say, "Yeah, put them on a cycle."
Cap
To like, you have the slots always for those teams. And if there's really deep work to do obviously having someone dedicated to that is good, but for stuff like ads or email templates or whatever, you could conceivably be like, "We will always have those slots and we will be rotating people in through there." Just like you would anyway, kind of... I don't know. It's very half baked, I haven't done this, I can't recommend it 'cause I have no idea.
Kristy
I think it's worth a lot of time thinking about seriously. 'Cause it's already plugs into some conversations I've had and some thoughts I've had. So yeah, I'm gonna sit with that one.
Cap
Please don't hold me accountable.
Kristy
One thing I did do, design methodology, was go around and talk to different stakeholders before the headcount request for this year and say, "Hey, what are your big projects that you have?" So that I can actually make an informed decision but it's interesting idea that they would hire their own designer.
Andy
And coming back to what you said earlier, Kristy about... By being afraid you put yourself out of business, I would be surprised if that were to happen. I don't know about how Slack works internally but assuming that the company is growing and doing well, I have to assume that design is just almost every other job which is to say that, you can always be doing more of it and doing a better job of it. And I would guess if you proved you're worth by making things faster for sales or whatever, that you would only be asked to make things faster for everybody else, and then make them look better and also be faster and just more, and more, and more, to infinity. Do you think it's actually a thing that threatens to put you out of business so to say, do you think it's actually that could lead to less designers "at a big company," if you do a really good job at decentralizing things?
Kristy
So I said this sort of flippantly, I feel like designers are one of the most insecure professions ever.
Andy
Oh, for sure.
Kristy
If you look at Design Twitter, all people do is complain about design, and want to make design this unapproachable thing so that they always have a job. If you look at some of the arguments though, that's like the crops of the argument...
Andy
That's so true.
Kristy
They were the huge argument about what was it with Jared Spool and he said something about everyone's a designer, and people like...
Cap
Everyone lost their minds, oh it was so beautiful, I loved it. Everybody hates Design Twitter, I love Design Twitter. It's the best.
Chuckle
Andy
I don't know how you do that, Cap. I don't even follow this Spool guy 'cause of that... I could not abide it.
Cap
What? It was so good, I loved Jared. It was such an innocent thing too and everybody just lost it.
Kristy
Yeah, I love Design Twitter, too.
Andy
They're definitely seeds of deep insecurities embedded in our industry. I think a larger... A lot of it comes from the fact that we're lumped in with fine art. Most people that study design formally at a university or college, or studying it amongst other fine artists that are doing painting, or sculpture, or God forbid, drawing or something... And so I think that a lot of us are the... I also, anecdotally, I've known a lot of designers that basically got into design because they grew up as creative kids and they wanted a job that was also creative. If they could, they would be painters, or they would be sculptors, but they know that making a living that way is difficult.
Andy
And so it feels like, I think to some people, that design is the last bastion of a way you can possibly make a living doing what, to some seems like frivolous creative work. And also I, myself feel insecure about design because I look around the world and I say, "Well, what am I doing to make it better? Given the state of affairs of everything, and here I am with my particular skill set." But yeah, I definitely think there's a deep insecurity, and that can definitely have negative effects inside an organization, like the ones you're describing, if the people feel like they are going to lose their jobs. So you don't feel that way, then, Kristy? You feel like it's actually fun.
Kristy
No, I think there'll always be... People can only do so much work in a week. The design departments aren't going away, but I do think there's a lot that we can do to help our teammates and other organizations. I think there's absolutely nothing wrong with giving away the trade secrets basically. I think Cap made a good point that someone in HR could already be doing those things, and giving them our tactics to improve on the processes that they already could be using; I don't think there's anything wrong with that. And I think it just makes business sense to do that, so no. I don't think the design departments are gonna go away, but I do think that those tactics could be useful to a lot more people and that we should not hoard them in the name of being employed.
Cap
We built a CSS framework at BuzzFeed that essentially sets it up so that any engineer can just build a thing and it'll look like BuzzFeed and everything's fine.
Andy
I think that's what CSS is supposed to be.
Laughter
Andy
I think you did a good job.
Cap
What's interesting is the designers, just like with prebaked Keno templates or whatever, could feel threatened by that, but none of them do. They actually feel very liberated by that because it's... I think when you speed those things up, you're preventing designers from making what they kind of see as minutia decisions, that are not as impactful. So in a keynote template or whatever, deciding on every single deck where the text is gonna go is kind of a bummer, even to a designer, right?
Andy
Yeah.
Cap
It's very tiring.
Andy
Yeah, for sure.
Cap
At a certain point, you're like, "Who really cares?" You have those moments of self-awareness where you're like, "Who cares?"
Laughter
Cap
And it's the same thing with product design where it's like, "Do I have to pick another green? Or which one of these 32 greens that we've already implemented do I use?"
Andy
Put the button in the bottom right and the back button goes in the top left and we'll go from there.
Cap
Right, just here's the color, here's the button. Now make experiences that work, actually work well and perform well. And here's this kit that you can use, and you can challenge that kit if you need to, but they feel very liberated by that. They don't feel constrained; they don't feel worried that, "Oh, we're aren't gonna need product designers because engineers will do our job for us." That's not how they feel about it.
Andy
And that, to me, is something that I think we've learned from engineers, frankly. The idea that you can work on your tooling, and improve your frameworks, and build things that will make it easier for you to build things. Basically, get to a work that matters. And being close to the development world and seeing how many new frameworks, and libraries, and languages, and text editors, and all of the sort of the orbiting accessories of being any kind of software developer, how many new things there are in that world is all because when you're a developer, you're working on this thing every single day, and you're working in software. You're working in software to make software, so you're really, really close to your tools, and it's very easy to make a new tool if you have to. And there's limits to that. There are diminishing returns, it's certainly not celebrating all of it, but it's very interesting to see how that sort of lesson of, "A little bit of work upfront to abstract this thing, or to make a system that will then make future things more easy," means that I can spend more time doing what I am uniquely fashioned to do as a skilled human, and less time doing what a computer could already do, because I have some rote system that I've given shape to.
Matt
That's something that I think about all the time, too, is just if I'm doing something that I think a computer could do, I'm just like, "Well, this is bound to go away sooner or later." I can never get that sad about it because isn't the world gonna go that way no matter what I do? If it can be automated, it's gonna be automated. I better get good at the things that can't be.
Andy
And I think most designers would agree that the thing that makes them good at their job probably could not be automated anytime soon. I don't wanna talk about AI and the stupid whatever, "We've become the same with the machines," what's that thing called again?
Matt
The Singularity.
Andy
That's the one. That thing. I don't wanna talk about that thing, so short of that, I think most people would agree that the thing that makes them a designer is not something that is just, "Oh yeah, every time I get the slide, I put the text big and white into the center, and that's why I'm a good designer." It's like Cap alluded to; thinking in a bigger picture about the experience that's gonna happen when we string together these screens that, yes, have consistent margins, and have consistent typography, and have this sort of system applied to them, and less about actually making those decisions repetitively, over and over again.
Kristy
Can I just say that I love how this podcast is no longer about design management?
Laughter
Andy
Well, they never end up the way they started.
Kristy
I know.
Andy
I do wanna push, Cap, on one thing because, Cap, you mentioned that you think that if more people are more interested in everything; if a designer is more interested in engineering, engineering's more interested in design and everybody kind of understands each other's language and shares a passion for it, that we just get better stuff made. And I almost completely agree with you. I do wanna play devil's advocate for a second and point out that I think I worry sometimes about how much I agree with you because, I do think that there's something to be said for the trappings of modern life, basically allowing for specialization, where before specialization was not possible, right?
Andy
And I think some of the biggest advantages of working at a big company is that you can have people that are extremely specialized, and very, very good at something that other people would not be capable of doing given their other tasks, and other sort of focuses. So I wonder just where you draw the line because if everybody should be interested in everything, surely you don't imagine some future world where everybody working at BuzzFeed has the exact same skill set, because I think we can agree that would probably fall down. So how do you know where to say, "This is where we stop?" "This is how much you should care about this thing that is not actually in your job description"?
Cap
I don't know if I believe there are lines necessarily. So I believe in expertise, not specialty. I don't know if... That's a very fine line, but I feel like specialty or ownership. I believe in expertise, not ownership, if that makes sense. So, I don't know. Some designers at BuzzFeed write a little CSS. Some designers at BuzzFeed write JavaScript. Some designers at BuzzFeed can play around with Python. It's kind of up to the person to be interested in what they're interested in. I mean, obviously we push them in a direction at BuzzFeed, because of my own personal preferences, which I'm sure that's probably not a good idea.
Andy
Well, if you're really good then it's probably fine, but don't mess up, is the important thing to remember there.
Laughter
Cap
No. But, I just don't know what the problem would be. You say it would fall down but would it? I mean there are so many people I know who are multi-talented at so many things and what's the fear of that? If I had a designer who could actually build what they designed at the same time, is that wrong or bad? I don't feel like it is.
Andy
No. So the thing that pops up for me is... Again, our company is very tiny and as a very tiny company, we don't have the luxury of not being generalists. Like you just can't do it. And there are so many times where I think about how much better our work would be, and how much more efficient it would be, if we were just a little bit bigger, and we can have a person assigned to doing this kind of thing, and another person assigned to doing that kind of thing. And so we're kind of living in a little tiny tide pool that's like a little experimental petri dish of what it would be like if almost everybody had almost the exact same skill set. And I do wish, not that people had different skills, but that people were liberated from the ownership of having to do essentially everything all the time.
Cap
Sure. I mean, you want people to... I mean, specialize maybe is the wrong word there. I mean, you want accountability for specific things. Like even if someone is good at a lot of things, let's give them accountability for things. I feel like that's like... That seems fine. I mean to give an extreme example, when I worked at Amazon, that was the only place I've ever worked that split up User Experience Design, Visual Design, and running Development. They're all different.
Andy
I never understood what those words meant. People were...
Laughter
Cap
Yeah, well. But this is what you're talking about, right? They were like, "Oh well, we're big enough now, that we can have people really focused on system architecture stuff, like really deep UX thinking." It was deep UX thinking. It was deeper than anything I've ever done. And that's what we specialized in my UX Group. And then there was the Visual Design Team and you'd hand off these wireframes with flow diagrams and stuff to them, and they would make the Visual Design Work. And then it would be handed off to Development. The issue was that Visual Designers didn't understand what we were doing, and they weren't thinking about UX type things, like touch target sizes, or legible font sizes, or whatever, and it all kinda falls apart because when you start to specialize, then you have these moments where like, "Wait, this isn't your job."
Cap
"This is my job, it's my call." You start to build up these things that... Even if you don't mean to, I think. And I really... I agree that we need people to be accountable for an area. Like I want a designer accountable for the final design output of a project, just like I want an engineer accountable for the final engineering of that product. How they do it? I don't care. Like, how they interact, how they collaborate... If Emily, the designer, writes a bunch of code for this, and the engineer writes a little less code, great. Who cares? If we had somebody who could do it all, we just give it to them. Let 'em do it.
Andy
Sure. So you're basically saying we should embrace interdisciplinarity but not embrace inter-accountability, not muddy the waters when we have shared skills with shared accountability?
Cap
Maybe. I mean, as long as you can point to accountability, thats all that matters, right? So if it's one person or five people, it doesn't matter, as long as there's accountability for the thing. I mean, you even have that at your startup, even though you don't think you do. Like everyone's a generalist but everyone's accountable. And you're trying to get to where you're accountable for less, which is fine, as long as that accountability goes somewhere. Do you know what I mean?
Andy
Yes, I do. I'm just cringing at the word startup too. Just over here, cringing.
Laughter
Cap
Small company that is an upstart, if you will.
Laughter
Andy
We're really a lifestyle business, Cap, it's how I would describe us. We're just trying to live our lifestyle. Alright. Let's go to the Last Word. So, this is the last part of the show where you know every... Here's what I do. Every time I finish recording an episode I say, "You know what, Andy? Your homework before the next episode is to come up with a good name for the last part of the show." And then I forget to do it and then I arrive at this moment in the show and have no name for it. But, everybody gets a chance to kinda get in the Last Word. I wanna start with an anecdote which is... Cap, you mentioned very early in episode the people only know the management they've had, right? That your bias is formed by the experience you've had, and it's hard for you to know what management is if you've only ever had bad managers.
Andy
And the most visceral way I experienced this in my life is that I grew up only eating steaks that were extremely well done, beyond well done, because my father, love him to death, just doesn't believe that steak should be anything but extremely well done. And so I genuinely wondered when I was, up until going to college at like age 18, I genuinely wondered, "Why does anybody like steak?" This food is bad. It's tough, and chewy, and tastes like a charcoal briquette. This is not just good food, people are misguided. And then freshman year at college, my roommate makes a steak, does it rare, hands it to me, I'm like, "I'm gonna get sick eating this steak. What are you doing? You can't eat this." He was like, "Yes, you can." [chuckle] I was like, "I'm not gonna get sick?" He was like, "No, you're fine." And then I ate it and I was like. "Holy crap, this is what steak can be." [chuckle] Now, I love steak obviously, but I'm still... It's so visceral for me how I spent most of my life genuinely not knowing that steak could be different.
Andy
That's what that noun meant to me. When I heard that word I was like, "Ah, yes, a piece of rubber that's tough and you could use as a door stop." That's what I imagined when you say the word 'steak'. And I can only imagine that's even more true for something who have much less exposure too, right? I've had probably 50 steaks as a kid, and you don't have 50 managers when you're working at a job. So I think it's important to remember that bias, because it's a very real thing when we're trying to establish what makes a good and bad manager. None of us have that much experience, right? Who's been managed by 50 different people? Probably almost nobody. Anyway, Matt, what are your closing thoughts?
Matt
I shouldn't even get closing thoughts in this episode. I'm barely a manager, Andy. I manage a couple of people and I think that's really hard. I think I should just listen to Cap and Kristy on this one.
Andy
Cap, closing thoughts. Matt doesn't wanna say anything. [chuckle]
Cap
To kinda go back to that point about people not knowing, I feel like there is this sense from, I'll call them ICs, people being managed. The people who get managed.
Andy
ICs?
Cap
Individual contributors, we try to split the tracks, so we have to call them something.
Andy
Sure.
Cap
And so between the people that contribute to the work and the managers, it's like there's a sense from the contributing side that when you have a bad manager and you know it, you're just kind of ticked about it, and and you think that they're like incompetent, and you complain about them. I've done this. I can cop to this. But I think there's two things to know. The first thing is that that manager probably has a bad manager themselves, because if they didn't, then they'd be getting mentorship from that person, they'd become a better manager to you. So I would say, first of all, have some empathy if you have a bad manager. Understand that they probably are also not being managed well. And the other thing, I would say is because that's true, I think it is up to managers to do a this, but it's also up to people being managed to take their relationship with their manager into their own hands a little bit. I think like I said, reading that book about management is, when I wasn't managing anybody was really formative, and really changed what I understood I should be demanding as a contributor from my manager. It changed my perspective about that. And I think like... Read a management book even if you're not managing anybody, and if there's good stuff in there, you should just ask for it.
Cap
Obviously, if you have a really terrible manager who'll just tell you to get lost, and then you should probably [chuckle] do something else with your life, but I think knowing... There's a lack of education out there to let people know what they should even be asking for. And I feel like a lot of people are willing to let the buck stop at their manager, and it actually stops with them too, because it's a relationship. I'm a manager, and all the people that I manage have a relationship with me, and it goes both ways. And so, that's the thing I would say to people listening to this, "If you don't manage people, read management books anyway, and learn about that craft because it impacts you every day. It impacts you during reviews, it impacts you during one-on-ones, and it impacts you during the work you're doing. Make that relationship a priority to get better at and things will get better for you probably."
Andy
One quick thing to add to that because I wanna reinforce that, is that, it's something I always encourage people, especially students or people that are just entering the workforce to do, is to really provide a lot of feedback to their managers and employers and bosses. Because I think there's this imaginary wall where you assume the people that are higher up than you must have figured it out, and/or already thought of the thing you would say, and/or already decided against it because of this hierarchy. But having been on both sides of that and nobody knows what they're doing anywhere. [chuckle] So a good idea is a good idea, no matter where it comes from, and I think people need to be encouraged to provide feedback even when it may feel like they're stepping out of their place, as it may be.
Cap
Yeah, that's true. My boss who runs the entire product development department, her name is Dao. In my annual review last year, and almost every time that she and I drink together now, she was like, "No, you tell me what I'm doing wrong." She's like, "I need someone to tell me [chuckle] what's going on. What I am supposed to be doing that I'm not doing? When do I drop the ball? I really need you to do that for me." And I thought that was super interesting and it is super true that, yeah you have to tell people how to get better or they're never gonna get better.
Matt
Actually, I barely give a final word, but I will say this. The one thing I have learned, I have met a very similar position to Andy, in that I have a small company, I am one of the partners there and so we have 10-ish people, I always want that feedback. So I've just tried like every avenue to get it, whether it be like ask somebody, send a survey, how many different mediums can we try and it's inefficient, but I've learned everybody has a different way they wanna give you feedback. So just find the way that they can talk to you, and let them do it that way, as opposed to just assume that you can stand up in front of a room and say "Hey, so what do you guys all think about it, raise your hands if you wanna talk about it."
Andy
Kristy, put a bow on it, bring us home.
Kristy
I think my final thought might open up more thoughts, but I think it's interesting that... So in theory, I agree with Cap's final thought. I definitely think the manager-contributor relationship is definitely two-way street, and that ICs definitely have a responsibility to carry that relationship, but I don't know if this is like a privileged conversation idea that you can just offer feedback to your manager is such a foreign concept, I would say probably to 99.99% of all people. People are often at the... Like there's just a huge power dynamic when you manage someone, when you're responsible for hiring and firing, when you're responsible for their raise and bonus, that I think the onus is on the manager... I think there is a more heavy obligation on the manager to make sure you're pulling from your ICs what you need to help them.
Kristy
People aren't often just in positions where they're just gonna offer you feedback, unless you just have a really good relationship, right? But I've had relationships with people that I manage where they would definitely call me to the carpet, they will like set up a one-on-one with me to give me feedback, or they would send me emails or Slacks saying, "You said something that hurt me, or didn't come off right," right? And I could accept that feedback... But I considered it a very special relationship.
Kristy
I think of all the people that have managed me, there's probably been one person, well two now, 'cause my current manager is really great, where I felt like I could actually just offer them feedback without there being a retaliation, without there being punishment, or stunting my actual growth at a company. So as a person who is non-male in this conversation, and non-white, I would say that the idea that people just will... That you can just give feedback to your manager is just a completely foreign thing. And when you're managing people, you should think about the perspective that they're coming from. If people aren't speaking up on your teams, I think it's your job to reach out and pull that from them.
Cap
Yeah, and I agree with that, for what it's worth, my overarching point is I just think that people aren't educated about what they should even be expecting. I think people deal with bad managers a lot, like to your point, Kristy, They deal with it, and they don't even know it. They don't even know that they're being treated badly, that retaliation isn't normal or shouldn't be normal, sorry. It shouldn't be accepted just like as, "Oh, I guess that's just what management is." I think the more that contributors can learn about what the good craft of management could be, the more likely it is that they will be more unwilling to accept that situation. I think, like I said, for a long time, I just dealt with that for a long time and didn't even know it. I just had no idea because you know, you're two years into your career, you've never been managed before.
Andy
Yeah, I think Kristy has a really good point, and it's worth noting that the whole job of a manager presumably is to be the one to reach out and to bridge that gap, and to make the effort, right? To what Kristy said, it's not really fair of anybody in management role to expect that somebody is going to be willing to go out of their way, and maybe step out of their comfort zone, to give them that feedback. I think it does have to be the manager's job to work to bridge that gap more than anybody else.
Cap
Sorry, I was muted, that's totally true.
Andy
Podcast made! You're muting it everytime you take a big glug of wine, basically?
Cap
Yeah, also, so it's funny, I'm drinking wine, I'm also on like day 8 of like a cold, so I keep muting to hack up terrible things and then drink wine.
Andy
Wow, well you did an amazing job, no one would have guessed that at all, and we could edit that out and post that anyway, so thank you for being so careful anyway.
Laughter
Kristy
Are we done? Is this show over?
Andy
We're done, so what do you all wanna plug? Cap, you wanna plug your forthcoming book, or what are we plugging here?
Cap
No.
Laughter
Cap
I've been having a hard time with the book because of the aforementioned political situation we're in, I feel weird working on it in this particular climate.
Andy
I understand that.
Cap
We are hiring at the play buzz, I mean sorry, at BuzzFeed. If you are a product designer and you wanna do some fun work with some rad people, you should get at me, I'm just @cap on Twitter or cap@buzzfeed.com.
Andy
Very jealous of those handles.
Laughter
Andy
It's so short. Yeah, so if you wanna work with Cap, and work under a good manager, then get at him. Kristy, what do you wanna plug?
Kristy
I don't have anything to plug right now. I can plug that we too are hiring. I am hiring, looking for two designers, especially those with a really deep web chops, so if you can make nice working sites that are functional, and beautiful and efficient, you can email me at Kristy@slack-corp.com, or Twitter @KristyT, K-R-I-S-T-Y.
Andy
How about that, listener? Two plugs that represent career opportunities for you. What more could you ask for from a podcast?
Matt
You've been hearing about how your manager is so bad all this time, you didn't even know, and now you get some jobs, it's a pretty good podcast.
Andy
Go read a book about how bad your current manager is...
Kristy
And then come work for us.
Andy
And when you're done reading that book, apply for one of these better jobs.
Matt
See? It all works out.
Andy
With these better managers.
Matt
This whole thing works out.
Andy
Exactly.
Laughter
Music
Matt
This has been Working File. Thanks for listening.
Andy
Man, I have just one request for you, listeners. We make this show. All we ask is you do one little thing, which is that if you enjoyed it, go onto iTunes, give us a nice review. It really does help.
Matt
And if you somehow got a job out of this podcast, I'd say you're obligated to give us five stars.
Andy
If you got hired by Kristy or Cap because of this podcast, and don't give us five stars, I don't even know what to say to you.
Music