I've got a lot of love for what Dann is doing with his video series. Anything that can inspire people or bring the community closer together is 💯 in my books. Thanks Dann for letting me say things into your camera and for letting the world finally meet the one-and-only Taco.
Sidebar: you don't fully realize your own quirks and mannerisms until you have both seen yourself on video and heard your voice recorded. I highly recommend both, no matter how uncomfortable.
Anyways. Super fun to hang with Dann – I hope it was fun to watch! Here's some more Q&A that didn't make it in.
Hardest thing is definitely the fear of: judgement, sounding dumb, being wrong, coming across as self-promote-y or any other thing that the voice in the back of your head shouts whenever you think of doing something new. If you put out a lot of work you'll inevitably say or do something stupid or annoying or silly. I've embraced it. Who really cares?
If I had to choose between shipping a lot of things and being wrong or looking dumb, versus shipping nothing and never quieting that voice in my head...well, the decision seems clear. Ideally I'll get better over time.
The best thing: when someone tells you that your work was inspiring, or encouraged them to do something new, or motivated them to move across the country. The Design Details Podcast has been amazing in this regard; the people who have reached out saying that the show helped them realize they wanted to be a designer, or inspired them to move to SF, or helped them land a dream job – that makes every hour of work worth it to me.
Tomorrow. See ya at the studio, buddy.
That's paradoxical question. If I've never done anything mean in my life, it's impossible to have a meanest thing. Truth.
The moon. Fingers crossed for Elon to make this a possibility in our lifetime...
For the most part, yes – people are generally awesome and generally willing to help anyone that needs it. Of course there's always more we could be doing; I think that design education and building better tracks for junior designers to get their first job (and actually be successful in that job) could be better.
Bryn and I talk often about what it would look like to take a new designer from 0 to 1 as fast as possible: learning the basics, the objective truths, the core principles of design. The better and faster we can transfer that knowledge to the next generation of designers, the faster they can land their first design job and start working on the problems that need solving. That is an exciting area to me.
Talk to people who experience that problem. Get feedback on product decisions early. Find people you trust to give you honest critique. Create space to move vertically and horizontally through possible solutions. Ruthlessly eliminate and prioritize those possibilities. Ship and learn.
I realize in the video I said rockstar because it was the first thing that came to mind. In hindsight that was a terrible answer.
I think Taco (the pup) would be a very suitable, if not exceptional, taco (the food) designer. His attention to detail is unmatched and his appreciation for fine meats is paramount.
There was a point where I just needed to work with a team of designers so badly. I needed to learn more and get better and learn about process, shipping at scale, user research, craft, etc. Facebook felt (and still feels) like one of those rare places where you can learn about all of these things in a structured, supportive environment surrounded by a crazy amount of talented people. So it's been a blast; I'm so fortunate and thankful.
There's an answer to this in Dann's video, although I'm not sure it's super helpful. Everything is hard to ship in one way or another, whether it's because of the significance of the desired outcomes or just the fear of sharing something that you care about.
I've found that surrounding myself with people who know how to turn this fear into productive momentum has been incredibly inspiring and made me realize that most people still feel the fear of shipping. People like Dann Petty who ships Epicurrence and his videos, or Bryn Jackson who is writing guides to help designers level up – being around this kind of energy every single day has been the single-best thing to help me grow and motivate me to be better.
Why not both?
Eating. Sleeping. Generally staring at computer screens. Supremely boring.
Thanks again Dann – everyone should subscribe to his videos on YouTube!