Growing pains

By | March 3, 2008

I can hardly remember the growing pains from Koko.  We had 30 people at the peak.  I remember agonizing over organizational charts.  I remember thinking about communications lines.  I remember how hard it was to get engineering leaders to communicate effectively (at all) to account managers.  I remember isolated incidents, but I really don’t remember massive pain.  Maybe I am remembering it with rose-colored glasses?

At work, we are growing because of success on the marketing automation platform we built. I am very proud of the job we all did and the response that the market is giving us is just fantastic.  I think there is a long way to go, but fundamentally, it is a strong product in a market with a high demand.  But the growth is not coming without a price tag.  Communication, structure, process and responsibilities are all shifting to try and set up for our next phase of operations.  Who is to say these shifts are good?  Who is to say they are bad?  No one can predict, but they are definitely turbulent.

The growing pains are happening inside me as well.  I am about to manage someone for the first time since Koko.  I have never been a middle-manager before.  How will I handle the new role?  Will I be able to succeed if Marketo grows to 100 people?  1000 people?  I know I feel comfortable in the rough and tumble world of making that first product.  But will I mature my own process to work in the more methodical world of the second and third products?  I hope so, but it’s scary.

People say, “Oh that is a problem you want to have.”  Certainly it’s better than problem you don’t want to have, but it feels stressful anyway.

Sometimes I feel that blogs I read by other designers are very confident.  Do these people not feel insecure?  I certainly do.  Is being open about your insecurities on a public blog a bad idea?  I don’t know.   Being a User Experience Designer means being introspective as well as extrospective (not a word?).  You have to be able to think objectively about emotions without filtering out what is negative in social terms.  I love UX.  I consider myself very lucky that I am able to do this for a living.

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