I’m not for everyone

Surprise, neither are you.

There are people and places where you are going to fit in well and thrive. There are other places where people will dislike you, ostracize you, and generally make your life miserable. We are not one-size fits all. Part of our human journey is finding the people and places that fit our unique puzzle shapes.

I was reading my Glassdoor reviews and saw some people had a very negative experience with me. It hurt me to my core. I don’t want to upset people at all!

I know that I can be overwhelming to people sometimes. My interview style is provocative. I do this because I really want to know what the candidate is like in real situations. Most interviews are surface-level only where both parties reveal as little about each other as possible. I feel I need to shake things up to get real reactions.

One thing I am attempting to do is eliminate candidates who won’t like my approach and style. I don’t want them to realize they made a terrible mistake after six months of working. Rather, I want people who say, “Ahh! This is exactly what I am looking for”. (or not)

In that spirit, here is some things about me that may not be your cup of tea. If you still like me, please apply for a role on my team. I am hiring 5 more people this year. (Plus a summer intern!)

I’m loud

People laugh at the way I type; it’s super loud. My voice projects further than I realize. In meetings, I am louder than other people. I don’t mean to be overwhelming, but I can’t help it sometimes. I try very hard to be a good listener, but I think one of my flaws is that I talk too much at too high of a volume.

I’m not a (strict) process guy

Some people think that if you follow the right process, you will have a good design. I am not one of those people. I think creativity means coloring outside the lines sometimes. I think many projects of mine have been successful through “muddling through” with other smart people.

I am not saying process is never useful. There are many rituals and specific procedures that I think are incredibly valuable. For example: We maintain rigid change logs after very ritualized acceptance meetings. However, some designers follow process so rigidly that it impairs innovative thinking.

I don’t do UX research

UX Research is a sacred cow, for sure. Specifically, I don’t subscribe to the idea that a designer can’t know anything without rigorous testing, usability studies, ethnographic interviews, affinity diagrams, card sorting, and persona development. I believe designers are smart people and can figure out solutions to tricky problems.

Alternatively, I believe in “Talking to People”. You want to know more about how the backend works? Go talk to the engineer. You want to know more about a specific use case? Go talk to a customer. You want to know if people will like a new feature? Go sit in a pitch meeting and talk to the prospects. Get out of your chair and go talk to people.

I don’t think talking to people equals UX Research. I think they have different outcomes and techniques. If you want to do affinity diagrams and sticky notes on my team, you are going to be disappointed.

I am the UX architect

I have always worked on large B2B systems. For these kinds of products, it is essential to have a unified experience and interface. Customers do not want to feel like your application is a patchwork of different UI paradigms. Features get built at different times, by different people, but the design team has to try and keep the interface consistent.

This means that I personally take the role of UX Architect. I am looking at every single design and making sure it is high quality and consistent. If you want to be left alone to make your UI completely unique, you are going to have a bad time.

I have ultra high standards

Side story: Years ago, I was showing my designs to the CEO of Marketo. He immediately started picking on every defect. At first I thought, “OMG! He is terrible!”. Then I thought, “Wait! He is right, those are flaws. Am I the one who is terrible???” I left the room and sat at my desk thinking about what had happened. I dedicated myself to delivering a design that was better.

I thought through the details more. I added in several edge cases and changed the UI to better support the overall use. I had everything locked down except one detail, which I thought he wouldn’t notice. Of course, he DID notice. Finally, I fixed that detail and presented again. When he accepted the design, it felt great. I had done my job better.

I drove the design and vision of the Marketo product ONLY because I was able to up my game and design better. The CEO made me a better designer, even if it hurt a little at first. My entire 9 years at Marketo was this process over and over. Creativity is great, but if you don’t sweat the small stuff, people will not trust you or your designs.

So back to me. I have high standards. It can be really annoying. It’s not just the end product design either. I care that you name your layers. I hate a messy file. I care how we interact with others. I care how you use constraints, components, overlays, and more in Figma. I care about all of the details. If you are sloppy, you are going to hate me.

I tell dad jokes

If you don’t like dad jokes, you are going to despise me.

My friend keeps saying “cheer up man it could be worse, you could be stuck underground in a hole full of water.” I know he means well.

Dad Joke

Summary

  • 2003, I had a job as a project manager. I was really awful at it and got fired.
  • 2006, I worked at Intuit and hated it. Ended up quitting after 1 year.
  • 2007-2016 I had times where I could do no wrong, and others when I could do no right. Alot depended on my manager. One guy was the devil incarnate.
  • 2018, I was working as a designer of a startup and the head of engineering hated me. I ended up being fired.

Tl:dr: I am good for some people and not for others. One of my personal values is transparency. What you see is what you get. If you like it, apply for my team. If not, it’s ok. I still believe in you.

7 replies on “I’m not for everyone”

Hey Glen! You are probably the best hiring manager I’ve met during my job search so far, although I didn’t seem to be a match due to my generic portfolio style and lack of B2B experience, which I understood. I liked you because you are straightforward, got back to me within 24 hrs and didn’t keep me waiting (I recently turned in a design challenge that I worked so hard on and they haven’t gotten back to me for a week!); you intentionally left your blog in the rejection email, which I found extremely helpful and inspiring as a young designer; you have a unique way to approach design problems, which is very interesting to me! I just feel sorry for those who think otherwise. There’s SO much they can learn from you! I don’t normally comment on anything, but I think it’s unfair to let those negative comments bring you down. Hope you feel better!

I think it’s difficult no matter who you are. Life is hard. People are complicated.

Whatya think?