Google’s Dean Hudson on Making Design More Transparent and Putting Your Best Foot Forward in Your Job Search

Dean shares with us his thoughts on how you can put your best foot forward during your job search and how you can make design more transparent through relationship building and collaboration.

Christian: Welcome to Design Meets
Business, a show where design leaders talk

about practical ways to quantify design,
about making our work more transparent,

and about how designers can make a
bigger impact in their organization.

I'm your host, Christian Vasile,
and before we begin, I'd like to

thank you for tuning in today.

On the show today, I'm talking to Dean
Hudson, one of the senior UX designers

at Google in Sydney, Australia.

Our conversation revolves around
making design more transparent through

relationship building and collaboration.

We're talking about hiring and how you can
set your best foot forward and a little

about why not moving into management is
a perfectly fine decision and it doesn't

necessarily mean that you're not growing.

I hope you liked this one.


Thanks so much for coming on the show.

Hey, from one doesn't know about you,
but simply takes a look at your resume.

They will be astonished by the products
you've worked on over the past 15 years.

So we're talking inside organizations
such as Yahoo and BVDO and Atlas,

Seattle, Microsoft Instagram, and for
the last three, four years at Google.

So I know you've got a lot to share with
us on that intersection of design and

business, but that is a rabbit hole.

And before we willingly fall into it, tell
us a bit about your story, you know, how

you got here and obviously most important
out of all the teams in the world.

Why wouldn't Ozzie support
Tottenham, Hotspur.

Dean: Uh, Hey Christian, thanks for having
me on so great to speak with you today.

Um, yeah, I've, I've kind of had like a
pretty varied career, both in terms of

like organization size and, and the types
of design, um, that I've been doing.

So, um, like a lot of designers, you
know, I, I didn't really have like a

straight line from where I am now and
kind of where I started, you know, like.

Less high school.

And I always knew I wanted to do
something creative or you know,

that artistic kind of field.

So I didn't really know what I was doing.

So I kind of went to university
and, um, started a finance degree

and thought, you know, that might
be a kind of good way to it.

I don't know, find something that piqued
my interest and get into a career.

I never thought I was
going to be a fine artist.

I'm not particularly talented, but I
just want us to do something creative.

As I started doing photography as a major,
um, and very quickly discovered again,

like I wasn't going to be a photographer,
but, um we started playing around with

digital photography, which was like a new.

Technology at the time, you know
we're still doing standard dark room

self, but we also started playing
around with, you know, really basic,

you know, digital cameras and, um,
you know, tools like Photoshop.

And, and that really kind
of piqued my interest.

I was like, this is really cool.

You know, I didn't really know
design was a career, but I

thought Photoshop is amazing.

Like I was playing around, you know,
taking photos and then just doing

some kind of cool things in Photoshop.

So I, I quit that course after a
year, decided it wasn't for me.

And I wanted to kind of, um,
see where this new interest in,

in digital tools could take me.

And, um, started first
stumbled into graphic design.

I was like, oh, okay, cool.

Like this is, you know,
kind of photography.

digital tools and kind of want
us to see where that took me.

So I enrolled in a course in graphic
design, um, and that was like a

three-year study and really great
kind of founding and things like, you

know, typography, color theory, uh,
layouts, you know, all of that stuff.

So, um, again, it was really quite early
in the kind of early two thousands.

So where was sort of thing like we
had, we did some multi-media type work

at, um the college I was going to.

The focus was more on print design.

You know, I was going to go to
an ad agency and, you know, I

want it to become like a creative
director or something like that.

Um, and so left school and went to
work for a really small graphic design

agency where, you know, we're doing
things like branding and magazines

and book layouts and things like that
really traditional graphic design.

Um, but we also started to have clients
that wanted to do a bit of a, you

know, they wanted a website as well as
having like a brochure or something.

And, um, that was something I was
like gravitated towards as well.

I was like, oh, there was no one else
on the team that was able to do it.

And I was like, yeah,
I can figure this out.

So, you know, I started picking
up Dreamweaver and and building

really terrible websites in
tables, um, at a bit of flight.

And yeah, it really kind
of had an interest there.

And as I started to do more and
more of that type of work and then,

uh, decided to kind of as a lot of
Australians to pack up my things

and move to London for a few years.

Um, so did that, and just did a
lot of like contracting over there,

working for places like transport for
London and Reuters, and then kind of

like a bit of a hybrid mix of like
traditional graphics and starting to

do a little bit more, um, digital work.

Uh, but I kind of, it was also like
the iPhone was really kind of starting

to get popular and that time as well.

And I started to get really interested
in, you know, the different apps

and screen designs that were
happening on those types of devices.

So I was like, yeah, this is kind
of where I want my career to go.

I want to start doing more work like this.

So I kind of took a bit of time and,
you know, polished up my kind of, uh,

you know, HTML kind of coding skills and
kind of rebranded myself as like a web

designer and managed to get a job working
for a, uh, kind of like an online poker

company over there and was doing a lot
of, you know, just like small web design

projects for them, but then also kind of
doing some really, um, basic UI work as

well, you know, kind of designing the,
um, the interfaces for some of their,

uh, poker playing, uh, application.

And then moved back to Sydney, um,
in Australia and, again had rebranded

myself as like a web designer, got
into bigger agencies working as like

a digital designer and building out,
um, experiences for their clients.

But, you know, pretty quickly got burned
out by the whole pitching and, and just

like, you know, sprinting executing,
and then kind of onto the next one.

Not really a lot of time to
be thoughtful and iterative.

So, um, started looking around it,
like what other kind of opportunities

were out there and really.

Stumbled into UX by accident.

I saw like a role posted at, um, Yahoo
in Sydney asking for like UX designers

and, um, I've had, I went through the
job spoke and I was like, oh yeah,

I kind of do some of this stuff.

Or like, I kind of see,
like I could do that.

And, um, moved into a rollout
into a small startup that they had

acquired as their only UX designer.

Started working with, um, embedded within
like a product team for the first time.

Um, BR super naive didn't really know
what, like a product manager was.

I didn't know, like what agile
was, all of this kind of stuff.

So had to learn a lot
of things on the fly.

Um, but it was a really great
environment to, to do that, and

really just learn the basics of.

Um, shortly after that, I was approached
just out of the blue, by a recruiter

from Microsoft over in Seattle.

And they were building out the
design team on being the second, most

popular search engine in the world.

Um, and, uh, I ended up flying
out there to meet the team and

kind of took a chance on them.

And they took a chance on me
and, um, you know Seattle, uh,

to, to join the team there.

And that was like a really
great introduction to how

larger organizations do UX.

And we did some really interesting
work over there on a windows phone,

which is sadly now no longer a
thing, but it was, um, a really

interesting platform to design for.

Um, got a lot more
experience working in mobile.

moved back to Australia, started
working out last year and again, like

a really big, enterprise, uh, company.

I'm sure you're familiar with a little
bit tools like JIRA and confluence.

Um, and that was a really
great design education as well.

So, you know, really learning about
design systems and, building these

like really powerful tools for, for
different types of, um, um, user.

And I was there for a few years and
started, you know, leading a design.

I came over there and, and kind of
let you know, we're working on a

couple of different products, but.

I kind of wanted to get back
into the consumer side of things.

Um, and I got a email again,
kind of sent me out of the blue

from a recruiter at Facebook.

And then again going through
a really big growth period.

And, uh, we're looking at building
out their design team across

a range of different products.

So, um, again, ended up just
saying yes to, to a new opportunity

and moved over to the bay area.

And I actually started working
at Instagram, which is obviously

part of the Facebook family.

And that was just like an
amazing job at an amazing time.

You know, it was probably at
the, I don't know, there's so

many interesting things going on.

That was right in the
middle of the rebrands.

It was when stories first came.

No, it was just like Instagram.

It was just like win after win after win,
they just kind of couldn't do any wrong.

And it was just such an amazing
talented team there and such a

great environment to be a designer.

So learned so much amazing stuff there,
which I then kind of brought back

to, to Australia and started working
at Google for the last four years on

Google maps across a couple of different
products first on Google automotive.

So building up the maps experience
in like next generation electric cars

and then transitioned over to the user
generated content team where we, you

know, design experiences for people to,
uh, contribute back to the map and make

sure everything's fresh and up to date.

Christian: Yeah.

It sounds like a journey, a long journey.


A lot of, a lot of organizations.

Very diverse, very different
across different countries, across

different cultures as well, where,
you know, people work differently.

So I'm wondering any patterns there
that you've noticed over time as

to what some common challenges are
between all of these companies,

what are they all struggling with?

Dean: Yeah, I don't know if there's like
one thing that they all struggle with.

I think every company kind of
has their own take on the, the,

you know, the product design,
um, journey and how things work.

I think that they will have different
users, they all have different products

will have different goals so that there
are a lot of unique challenges, I guess,

that all of them, um, Some of them have
more mature design practices where,

you know, design is very much at the
forefront of, of everybody in the company.

And it's something that, um, you
know, even down to every engineer, has

like lot of, uh, care and dedication
to the craft and the details.

Um, so yeah, I'm not sure if there's
one thing that they all struggle with.

I think there's unique
challenges at all of them.

Um, but I think overall it's, uh,
I've kind of been able to see design

become just more and more relevant
in any integrated to the businesses

as I've gone along in my career.

Christian: So what are
some of these challenges?

what can someone expect if they join one
of these larger companies to, to work.

Dean: Yeah, there's, there's a
lot, I think these larger companies

obviously have like large user bases.

They have large products, they
have lots of different features.

So I think maybe one of the
challenges is that right.

Just kind of finding your place
within that larger product and being

able to create impact as a designer.


So I think when you first join
you're not going to be given a

really large kind of portfolio or
kind of like hero piece to work on.


You have to start from the bottom
and just established you have your

place in the team build trust and
then kind of work up to some of those

larger, problems and opportunities.

Christian: I'll pick up on
something you said there because.

When you draw it, you said when he
joined one of these larger companies,

you're not necessarily going to be given
the cash cow in the first project, you

might have to prove yourself first.

And you said trust there, and I
should trust plays a really important

part of this you have to build trust
with your immediate product team,

but also with the wider organization
and say, Hey, look, the work I'm

doing is, is of really high quality.

Therefore I can maybe
advance a little bit.

So how do you build that trust?

Because there are
different ways of doing it.

And I would assume every
designer has their own style.

Some people do it truly
just to their work.

Some people are more
relationship building types.

Some people are a hybrid.

Where do you lie in, how
have you built trust with the

teams who've been working on?

Dean: I think, um, one of the.

How did it just the way as I've worked
through throughout my career is just

like always having this really open and
collaborative approach to, to design.

So, you know, not just kind of going away
into like a, um, you know, like a closed

office and kind of, you know, working on
the designs and then just revealing what

you think is the solution to the problem.

I think it's always just been about
sharing your work early and often

and bringing people along with
that on the journey with you, and

also just like not being precious
about your own ideas and, and where

the best solutions can come from.

inviting other people into the
decision-making process collaborating

with them early sketching ideas
up, um, taking other people's ideas

and, building on them or visualizing
other ideas that people have as well.


A lot of times the best ideas
come from other places like

outside of design, right.

There's people that are like closer
to the problem where they can kind

of see it from a more unique angle.

But one of our superpowers as designers is
being able to like visualize those ideas

and turn them into something tangible.

So, you know, there'd be times where
I'll be having like a conversation with

an engineer and, you know, they kind
of tell me about, oh, like, you know,

I have this idea for this or that.

And I can kind of take that away, mock
it up, make it look like something real

and then kind of show it back to them
and we can share it back with the team.

Um, and you know, being really generous
with attribution and engineer who's

contributed, not just kind of like, you
know, this is something that I've done.

It's, it's, it's like a team thing.

Um, and I think that really goes
a long way to building trust.

Christian: Yeah, for sure.

You look, what you're saying it has been
talked about for a long time to try to

involve the rest of the product team.

We've also had someone on the podcast
a couple of episodes ago, talking about

how she involved the entire product
team into testing, super hot them

to testing, kind of like kicking and
screaming in the beginning until they

understood just how valuable it can be.

And then as soon as that happened,
the whole product team became more

of an advocate for design as well
because they saw how important it is.

So just a design they say is a team sport.

And I find that people who.

Come in with this idea of I'm going
to come in and change everything

because I'm really skilled.

and I know what I'm doing are very
unlikely to be successful in, in,

in most organizations, because
it's just not going to work.

You've got to build what you've got
to build with the people around you.

So I find collaboration
to be very important.

I also know that there are a lot
of designers for whom it doesn't

necessarily come very natural, right?

Because we are problem solvers.

We w we're the problem comes to us.

Someone says, Hey, we need to redesign
this because something's not working.

And then our first instinct is to go into
a corner and just work on the problem.

But how do you get out of that mentality?

maybe take a step back first and
involve other people, practical

ways of how you've done that.

Anything you can share with us then.

Dean: Yeah, no, I think
it's a, it's a great point.

You know, I think it can be scary
to design out of the open like that.


It's that you've got to be quite
vulnerable about your process and

about ideas that maybe aren't fully
baked or aren't good ideas, right.

Especially early on there's there's
so many things that you don't know and

it's just like, you kind of have to play
around and, and see what sticks think.

I mean, that's something that just comes
in time a little bit, as well as you get

a little bit more, uh, experience maybe.

And, and, um, you, you, you know,
that, you know, like you're not

expected to kind of knock it out
of the park on the first go, right?

It's like, that's not really
what the job is about.

It's, it's an iterative process.

So, you know, just being aware of
that and being able to open your

workup and invite other people
into, to look into collaborate.

I think that's something
that comes over time.

I think also as well, like we were just
talking before about building trust

and how you can kind of get to that
kind of relationship with engineers.

It's, it's not always just about bringing
the product same into the design activity.

So, you know, like getting people
involved in sprints and all of that

kind of stuff, it's also about how
can you fold yourself into some of

the rituals and processes that maybe
happen on the other side as well?

So I remember like early in my career as
well, that was our engineering team would

help this ritual of like Friday demos,
but that would we'd go around and be, look

at every engineer's desk and kind of see
what they'd been working on that week.

And, you know, they'd get like
a little, uh, a golf class over

and be like, okay, that's great.

It was, it was purely just
like an engineering activity.

Um, but myself and one of the
other designers on the team were

like, Hey, like we should start
taking part in this as well.

So, you know, we started, doing
design demos on a Friday as well.

So as we kind of like go through the
engineers, we'd be like, oh, cool.

Like here's some design work that we've
been doing, here's some, some new icons

that we kind of want to add to the set,
uh, or, you know, here's like some new

ideas for a flow we've been working on.

And so just being able to kind of inject
design back into these other, rituals

and processes, similarly, like with,
um, things like hackathons as well,

the, that generally, you know, very much
like engineers coming up with, ideas

and making them a reality in a few days.

Like, um, I think just kind of getting
involved with those things either

jumping on a team with some engineers
and, helping them build out their, ideas

or just coming up with your own stuff
and trying to find allies and partners

that you can kind of drag in as well as.

Yeah, it starts to build up those
relationships, uh, shows them, what

design can add to that process.

Uh, not just you trying to pull them into
your process and make your job easier.

Christian: Yeah.

You said something key there about seeing
how you can fit into their process.

And I think whenever designers joined
companies, most of the time, they're more

so focused on what's important to them and
what they need to get their best job done,

or yeah, the highest quality of output.

But it's also the other side of the
coin, which is how can I, as a designer

to help you as an engineer or a PM or
a tester or whatever it is, how can

I help you reach your goals and how
can I help you become more productive?

And I think that having those
conversations, whenever you join a

company, the super open and vulnerable
conversations about how do you see my role

as a designer fit into the organization
is just as important as figuring out.

Who who's going to help you around
them, who are going to be your allies

and building those relationships.

I find that to be so important in the
first 2, 3, 4, 6 weeks of you joining

a new company, or so depending on how
big it is, it might not take six weeks.

But, so, so let's talk about that.

What have you generally been doing
whenever you join one of these companies?

What have you been mostly spending
your time on in the beginning?

The first couple of weeks?

Dean: Yeah, I think, you know, at
the beginning, it's just, you really

kind of have to slow things down
a little bit on your own pilot.

I think there's, there's often
like a desire to join a company

and you, you, you feel that you
need to show impact immediately.

You, you kind of got
all these great ideas.

You want to impress people.

You want to hit the ground running
but it's really hard to do that.

There's so much knowledge on the
team that, you know, you haven't

been part of there's problems.

There's so many things that
you just, you're not aware of.


So you, you kind of come in with
these really maybe naive solutions and

they won't work for whatever reason.

Um, and then that can be quite
frustrating and maybe just, Yeah.

Maybe lead to some erosion
of that trust as well.

So I think really just kind of coming in
and just seeing how the team is working,

seeing, like, just trying to understand
like what the different, problems are,

who their users are, like, just really
paying attention to things like design

critiques, and, you know, learning from
your peers and trying to say, okay,

well, how are they approaching this?

Um, what are the things
that are important?

Um, you know, how do they communicate
their ideas are really just kind of

slowing things down and, and kind
of thinking about how you can adapt

your own process and ways of doing
things to the way the company works.

So I think, design, there are kind
of fundamentals, I guess, that you can

kind of take with you and translate
to, to any problem or team, but there's

also a lot of just unique things, that
happened on different teams as well.

You know, like Google there's
different tools and processes for how

we, you know, share and talk about.

Essentially the content might be,
that might be similar to how we did

things in Instagram, but the format
and the style and the way we kind of

present things are very different.

So just kind of slowing down and just
taking notes of, of how people document

share critique work and try to, um,
fit into that system without trying

to change things to radically off of.

Christian: So that's more of
a short-term solution, right?

The first couple of weeks, you know,
you, you take a step back, you get

to know the team, you get to know the
processes, you learn as much as you

can, from whoever you can about the
pronoun that you are going to work on.

When we talk about long-term, when we
talk about six plus months, 12 plus

months, that I find that one of the
better ways, and you will be expected

after that timeframe, you will be
expected to deliver and show some impact.

And I argue that there's no better
way to show impact than moving the

needle, whatever the needle means for
the specific company you're working.

So we love to talk about metrics and
how design can affect the metrics

here and more so how we can talk about
how we affect the metrics, right.

And how we can, we make
design more transparent.

So when it comes to.

To design, effecting these metrics.

I find that when you work on specific
projects that have clear cut metrics,

say an e-commerce website or anything
that has to do with conversion, or

maybe you work in the growth team of
your company, then obviously conversion

or retention, whatever the metric is,
there is a metric linked to the sort

of project you're going to work on.

So it's much easier to
show the impact of that.

However, sometimes there is no metric
attached per se, sometimes a fee

feature trickles from the top or a new
product features trickles from the top.

Someone says, Hey, I think we should
do these based on a loose idea that

I've got from a friend or whatever.

How do you, in that case get
to track the impact of design?

Because an example that I could think
of that maybe is relevant to you is you

you've worked at Google maps for, for EVs
and you have really long release cycles.

So it must be harder to track
the impact of the work there.

So in that case,

Dean: Yeah, it's a good question.

I think just kind of going back to your
original points around like metrics and,

and like how do we shift the needle?

I think it's really important
on any project is just to really

understand what are the goals?

What's the objective?

What are we actually trying to do here?

I think metrics are a great way of
measuring that and being able to show

impact, but it's kind of in service of
what's what are we trying to do here?

There's what's the ultimate objective.

Um, and I think every design
really kind of needs to think

about that from the start.


So whenever we start a project,
we get really clear on, okay,

well, what's the problem.

What's the opportunity here?

What's the actual objective?

What do we think we can do here?

And then what metrics do we think are
going to our support, our theory, right?

the typical kind of like
design hypothesis, right?

If we do this for these users, we expect
to see, uh, this result, um, we'll know,

this is true when we see metrics X, Y,
and Z, uh, change in, in whatever way.


Joel, unlike growth teams and
things like that, maybe your kind

of your work is more tailored
around like moving specific metrics.

But I think, um, in a more sustainable
way, I think metrics really should just

be there in support of the objectives
and the goals of the team or the feature.

And a lot of the companies I've worked
at over the last couple of years the

they're really mission-based right.

So the, the company itself might
have like a, an overarching mission.

And then H uh, sub-team, uh,
we'll have submissions which

are in support of that mission.

And then all the objectives and the
goals of the team driving towards

a role kind of laddering up to
the submission that the team has.

So there's always a really
clear thread around, okay.

Like, why are we doing this?

How is this helping our team
get to that submission goal?

And how is that submission goal
helping the, the company over overall

reach it's overarching mission.

and so I think.

That's a really great system for making
sure that the teams are always pulling

in the same direction and that we're
not just chasing after some of these

metrics, just to, you know, just, just
to always be kind of going after growth,

uh, because sometimes the we'll have kind
of conflicting metrics as well, right?

I mean, you might see, like a growth
metric go up, but it's really going

to negatively affect, uh, another
metric that the team cares about.

And so in those cases if you have like
an overall , goal or objective, you

can kind of balance those things up
against, and you're like, okay, well,

which metric is actually helping us get
closer to our overall objective, right?

And you can start to make decisions and
trade-offs then otherwise you just get

to a point where it's like, oh, we want
this metric to go up, but this other

metric is important to this other team.

And it's like, well, how
do you kind of compromise?

And how do you find out
which thing wins in the end?

So I found that framework has always
been a really great way of, keeping

the team focused on which metrics are
important and what they should go after.

Regarding your second point yet just
around products I've worked on, like on

automotive, where the shipping frameworks
or a really large they can be years long.

It is tricky.

Uh, it's hard to, to measure some of
those things because we're not going

to release for a couple of years,
and it's going to take some time

to kind of get, um, metrics back to
understand how it's going to be used.

Uh, but again, like having really
clear objectives about what

is this product trying to do?

What are these features trying to do?

How does it all kind of fit together
into one cohesive experience?

Like we want to create this
experience for drivers.

Uh, so all these features together
should create, a unified experience and

solution that we all can get behind.

Christian: To your point earlier
about which metrics are important.

And if we affect one, we also affect
the other one, potentially some I've

read about, and we're using it uptime
as all this whole concept of north star.

What is the truly one
metric that we care about?

So whenever we run tests, sometimes
we look at the numbers and we say, not

really short, this has really moved the
needle that much in terms of the metric

that we were actually trying to move.

However, if it, in any way effected the
north star, that is what matters is that,

the, whether it's negative or positive,
that is what's going to make the decision.

So yeah, you can have multiple metrics
that you're trying to effect, but at the

end of the day, the kind of decision-maker
is having affected the north star that

the main metric that we're trying to do.

So that's, uh, that's important, uh,
to have, I think I've also worked

in the past in places, as you were
mentioning, I was, was kind of smiling.

Cause I remembered a few stories
about that exactly happening, where

you affect the metric positively and
then a lot of one, unfortunately,

negatively, and then there's a debate
of, should we release this or should we.

Cancel it then, you know, those
debates, all these, they're

not, they're not very fun.


Dean: and I think on that point
as well, you know, you kind

of sometimes get, um, okay.

Swear, you know, maybe all the
metrics are, are heading in a positive

direction, but when you look at.

Holistically, maybe the actual
experience and the design itself.

Maybe there's, some issues
that are going on there.

So it's sometimes I think, um, you can't
always just look at the metrics, right?

You kind of have to look at things
a little bit more holistically and

just think about the experience
as a whole it's not all about

optimizing these metrics and, and
trying to tweak this and tweak that.

And then the, the overall
experience suffers.

So I think having good design leadership,
who's able to look at those things

from a higher vantage point in that
ensure that we're we're creating.

The right type of product as well.

I think it's really important.

Christian: Yeah.

It's going to be really hard for a
individual contributor on the ground

to, to debate and to say to win a debate
as to what's more important increasing

the conversion rate by 0.5% or users
having a better time, like people at

the top really scared about the number.

And they might not even know about the
fact that making that small change that

increases the conversion rate actually
decreases the quality of the product and

the way people think about the product.

So having really good design leadership
at the top to frame design in the right

way and to take those battles, I find that
to be very important and I find that to

be an enabler for people on the ground.

So to speak, uh, to do their, their job.

I also another thing that I to.

I talk about is when someone from the
top says, Hey, let's do this feature

because I think it's going to work.

I find it to be the responsibility of
all the responsibility of the whole

product team, but the responsibility
of designers to say, why, what are

we trying to achieve with this?

Hey, let's add this new feature.


But what, what do you think, what needle
do you think this is going to move?

Or what, what impact do you think this
is going to have on X or Y or is it, and

sometimes when you ask those questions
back, it's going to make the people

coming up with the feature rethink and
sometimes even say, yeah, you're right.

It, this, there's not really a point
to this rather than wasting the

product team's time for two months.

So she per feature that will not
really make any sort of impact.

So asking questions back, I find that
to be a really powerful tool, asking

the right questions, really powerful
tool to make sure that whatever the

product team is working on is a.

Valuable for the end product.

And that probably is a shared
responsibility with the PMs and

generally with the product team,
wider product team, but some teams

don't have a product manager.

So then I find that responsibility of
the designer to ask those questions.

But what'd you think about that?

Dean: Yeah, absolutely.

I think that's why we use things like a
Google, we have a framework, um, okay.

Ours, you know, objectives
and key results.

And I think something like that just,
it really helps the, the team stay

focused on building the right things
and making sure that the right priority

goes, I mean, there could be some really
great ideas that maybe someone has,

um, but they just don't fit into the
strategy for the year or for the future.

So it's like, well, that's great,
but it's not really something that,

uh, we want to prioritize right now.

Like what we're really interested in is
these three or four objectives, right.

That's, what's really important
to the team and for the company

over the next six or 12 months.

Um, so anything outside of that we can
park, but we're not going to get to it.

, you know, so we have objectives,
which obviously like that these

are the kinds of the big themes
that the team wants to go after.

And then they're broken down by the
key results, which are, what are the

smaller, more actionable things that we
can measure that makes sure that we're

kind of heading towards those objectives.

So, yeah, I think it's a really
powerful tool, not just for PMs, but

for designers as well, just to make sure
we're always working on the right thing.

And again, like they can change as well.

It's not like, yeah, you kind of set your
plan for 12, 18 months in the future.

You kind of have to plan to the
best of your ability, but then you

kind of make course corrections
every six months or something

like that to make sure like, yes.

Are they still the objectives that
the team is going after or has

something changed in the product
or in the world that's making us

rethink what these objectives are.

And then now we can, we can
reprioritize, prioritize things.

Um, no that happened pretty
recently on the user-generated

content team that I'm working on.

We had a roadmap, we had a plan, all
these things we thought were going to

do, and then, you know, COVID came up
and it, very quickly, uh, throw a huge

spanner in the works and, and different
things became very immediate priority.

So we had to be able to, to park out older
objectives and then just re-prioritize

and, and pivot the whole team to
solving a whole new set of problems

that were really important and relevant
during the worst time of the pandemic

Christian: to your point earlier about.

Transparency in design
transparency in organizations.

So you have, your team has reached these
KPIs, which just goals has done a couple

of tests over the course of 1, 2, 3,
4 months has reached a specific goal.

How do you then take that knowledge of,
Hey, here's what we've done and share

that with the rest of the organization.

How do we talk about design with the wider
organization to frame it as the really

powerful business function that it is?

Dean: Like we do a lot of that.

We talk amongst the UX teams around.


Like, you know, these are the different
projects we've been working on.

This is the impact we've been having
these, the, the challenges and the

problems that we're looking at this year.

Uh, but I think when we kind of
talk about problems and solutions

out there, kind of, um, broader
cross-functional team level, It's usually

like a more complete story, right?

Where we talk about design and product
management and engineering, it's

kind of like a, a holistic approach
to something it's very rarely like

this is what designers come up with.

Look at the impact design has made and
look at like how fantastic designers.

It's more like, um, this
has been the process.

These are all the kind of the
problems, the opportunities.

This is what research has contributed.

This is , the different explorations
design came up with is that the

engineering experiments, this
is the kind of the result that

we've been able to achieve.

So I think being able to wave that
design story into the rest of the

product, uh, experience is super
important just to show that it's not

this kind of standalone thing that
delivers its own set of results.

It's like contributes to the
overall success of the team.

Christian: I think that's even
more important to do in less

mature designed, organized.

Or less design mature organizations
because Google is very mature.

If Facebook is very mature in, in
terms of that even at last year.

And I know it is so, but, but I assume
when you joined our organization,

you were maybe the first designer
or first couple, you have to do a

lot of that groundwork yourself.

There's no design
leadership in place per se.

There's no design culture there.

Oftentimes design is not even
brought in until the last moment

to kind of Polish, whatever has
been done by the engineering team.

So to get from that to a design driven
or product driven culture, where

design is brought in much earlier
and has much bigger impact for first

of all, that takes a lot of time.

But second of all, it also takes a lot of.

and if it comes down to transparency and
talking about design and the impact we're

having as designers, until people at
that level start to understand, oh, okay.

Now I get a design.

It's not just a function of making
our product looks, look better, but

it's a function of moving all these
metrics and it can really help the

business grow more so than, um, than we

Dean: thought.


And I think, you know, from that
kind of perspective, I think it's

just all about starting small, right.

Demonstrating impact and value
at a, at a really small scale.

, like I mentioned before, you know, like
jumping out on a hackathon or working

with an engineer on, on a feature that
they're doing and just kind of showing

them how you can make their job easier,
how you can make the product better.

Uh, and then being able to kind of
tell that more complete story where

it's like, Hey, look, you know,
like we worked on this together

and look how great this has been.

Look at the results that
we've been getting here.

Um, and then kind of.

Building that trust getting the ball
rolling, getting people kind of to,

to understand through, you know,
small wins across the board that like,

oh, like design can add this value.

I didn't know that they could
get involved at this point.

I, you know, like kind of educating
them about some, how you can add

value to the process and where you
should be engaged and how you can

work together to really build better
products unless about kind of coming

in, I guess, and demanding that state
of the table right from the beginning.


And, you know, we want to set the
product vision and the strategy.

It's like, well, you
kind of have to own that.


It's um, it's hard for them to just give
you the case, the cost Lumbee like, yep.

Go ahead and define out our vision
for the next five years, without

having established that trust and
getting that respect on the team

Christian: and that takes time.

It's not something you
going to do straight away.

And I think it's.

Point that maybe getting ignored or
not discussed enough when designers

are working for some of these smaller
companies and they're asking, well,

why am I not really allowed to make
this impact that I want to make?

Why am I not brought in early?

What all these questions?

Well, of course you're not, you're
a new function in this company.

You've got to prove that, that
your skillset, um, as a person,

but also what you can do as a, you
know, as, as a design function.

Deserves that seat at the table.

It's not something that's
just being given for free.

So I find those points
to be really important.

It's something you've
got to work on over time.

And I think that if you're not willing
to put in that groundwork, then you

maybe shouldn't go and take a role
as the first designer in a company or

have, because that might not be for you.

You might work better in a company
where design is already established

and you can just come in and
deliver and you can come in.

And you, you already, that framework
has been set and you, you are allowed

to just do the work that you want to do.

So off the back of that, off the
back of talking where people fit

best and what type of role you've
been around for a very long time.

And my assumption is that at
this point you could easily

choose to go and manage a team.

Maybe even be your head
of design somewhere.

You've chosen to stay more or less as
an individual contributor, obviously

with a few other responsibilities
on the side, but 20 years in,

and you're still pushing pixels.

And some people choose at that point
to go into management, manage people.

How have you made that decision of
staying as an individual contributor

and aren't you tempted to make
that lateral move into managing.

Dean: Yeah.

It's um, it's a good question.

That's something I've had to
think about over the years, right?

I think like, especially as some of
these bigger tech companies, they

have these parallel tracks, right?

Once you get to a certain level, the
job ladder branches, and you can go down

the management track or you can go down
the IC or individual contributor track,

and it's definitely something I've, I've
consciously made that decision about

wanting to stay on that IC track because
I, I really just love the craft of

design and I love being involved in the
execution and working with other designers

and, and creating amazing products.

That's something I really, really enjoy.

and I think as well, Design
leadership and design management

are two different things.

I think it's one thing to, to manage
the team and be responsible for, you

know, the whole people side of things.

I mean, it's not
something I will never do.

It's just something I'm
not doing right now.

Uh, I see my role now on, on the team
or it's like design leadership, right.

I, I kind of really helped to kind of
shape the strategy and, and, think

about craft and, and make sure that
there's like standards and, help

mentor other designers on the team.

So I think even though, yeah, I'm
still kind of on the tools most days.

Um, it's not what my job is only about
it's also about kind of just helping

other designers get to that next level and
ensuring that they're really consistent

and high quality experience on the team.

Um, at some point that might
change, you know, um, I think.

I think that definitely more
leadership opportunities starts

to open up once you get to that.

Um, if you cross over to the
management side, but at the moment,

I'm just really, I'm really enjoying
my role too much to kind of really

think about making that switch.

I think it's maybe something
that will come in time, but for

now I'm quite enjoying myself.

Christian: Yeah.

And I think it's so important.

What to just sit there.

You are really enjoying, still doing
the work of a contributor and I've

read just, I think a couple of days
ago, it's funny, we're talking about

this now I've read some tweet that
said that moving into management.

So you're a senior designer and then you
move into a management is not a promotion.

It's a lateral move.

And I think for many years we thought of
it as, oh, now I move into management.

Therefore it's a promotion.

And I guess in some other industries,
it is, but in design, it's not because

if, if what you're really good at.

Doing design gets taken away from you
for other responsibilities, managing

people, you know, maybe a bit of design
ops, whatever it may be in the company.

It, it surely is a lateral move.

It's not a promotion and it's a whole
set of skills that is required for that.

And that I think it was a
Twitter thread actually.

And further down the thread, someone
said the way you'd know whether

you want to move into management or
not, is to think about it like this.

If you enjoy pushing pixels all day
and being in Figma all day, you should

stay as an individual contributor.

If you enjoy sitting in meetings all
day, you should move into management.

And I know it's a bit fuzzy and
it's not really that clear cut,

but that's kind of the idea.

Isn't it.

As soon as you move into management,
you're going to let go of some of

the design work, if not most of
the design work, and you're going

to think more of helping to grow
and then a bit more management type

Dean: responsible.

Yeah, for sure.

And, um, I think, companies like
Google, you know, there's a really

clearly defined, uh, job ladder as well.


So as you kind of move up the levels,
whether it's the management track or

the IC track, you, you can kind of
understand, okay, well what's expected

of me at this level and what are the
things that I need to start doing?

And as you move even higher up the
IC track, it becomes less about

just this small individual piece of
the product that you're working on.

And it's more about the horizontal impact
you can have as a, as an IC, right.

So how can you connect the dots
with, different projects that are

happening across the organization?

How can you facilitate collaboration
between the different teams?

How can you scale the impact of your
own work beyond just the feature

or the scope that you sit within?

Making those relationships, um, being
able to see those connections and, and

helping the team to, to really just
expand beyond their current scope,

is starting to become more important.

Christian: And that's where parallel.

Become really handy.

They're quite a recent thing where
when you're a senior designer, the only

way to go in some companies, it is to
actually go into management and let go.

Of some of that individual contributor
work well, some companies having that

parallel track where you can still grow,
but not necessarily go into management.

So whether you become a leader
or a principal or whatever the

track is called, but I find that
to be a really good evolution of

the design ladder, if you will.

So talking about design letters and teams
and building teams and all of that, I

know you've done a lot of hiring at all
of these companies, a lot of interviews.

And I'd like to talk about that a little,
because it is still, it's something, we

talk about a lot in the industry, but
it's something people still struggle with.

whether that's portfolios, whether
that's, how to put your best

foot forward interviews, whether
that's , what questions do you

need to ask in an interview?

All of that.

So I think we should tackle the
bit of a bit, the topic of hiring.

So let's start pretty simple.

Let's start with portfolios because
everyone loves that and they can be

some very practical tips from here.

So what stands out for you
when you look at a portfolio?

Dean: Yeah, I think, um, it's interesting.

Cause I think again, you have to kind of
go back to goals and objectives, right?

So like what is a portfolio for, and I
think a lot of designers of fall into a

trap where they think that the portfolio
basically has to do too much, right.

It has to kind of tell the story
of who they are as a designer

and what their journey has been.

And then we have to have these huge
thousand words, case studies in there

with the whole design process outlined.

It's kind of too much, I think
for, for what the portfolio is for

that, the portfolio is really a
tool to help you get to that next

step, which is that the interview.

Um, so I think.

Being clear around slack, you know?


Like, what is this for?

This is for a hiring manager or
for a recruiter, someone that has

that they have a lot of different
portfolios to review there's that,

um, they, they don't have time to
read this huge case studies right now.

There's not the, um, it's
not really what it's for.

Like, you want to kind of show just
enough that people are interested in the

work that you've done and they can kind
of say, okay, I want to learn more.


And then when you go into the presentation
round, that's what you have the

opportunity to go really into the details.

Talk about your process, talk
about all the different iterations

and the things that you tried.

Um, and maybe not trying to document
that on a website and expect

people to rate four or five case
studies to get you in the door to

talk about the same stuff again.

Um, yeah, I see that.

Christian: I think there's also a pressure
that comes from the industry that says

you have to show the process of your work.

So then, then you sit there and
you think, well, that means that

I have to show the whole process.

And, um, as you say, that might not
necessarily be, I've already said

the job of a portfolio is to get you
the interview now to get you the job,

you get the job at the interview.

So you've got to think of that in you.

You also made another good point there,
which is you have to think of who

is the audience for this portfolio?

Well, it's someone who has maybe
15, 20 seconds for each portfolio.

That's it?

They, they, unless you catch
their attention, they're not

going to spend any more than that.

So you've got to think, well, how
can I catch a hiring manager's

attention in 15 to 20 seconds?

And the way I like to recommend if
possible, also depends on the work you're

doing, obviously, but I like to start
portfolio study cases with achievements.

I have.

Move this needle in the company,
I've saved this company X amount

of money over for, with this
little project, I've increased the

speed of whatever it is, right.

If, if there is a metric there
linked to your project, start

with that, because then I, as a
hiring manager, might look at that.

Oh that's actually the type
of work we need done here.

Let's see.

And then you've you've caught me.

That was the hook you've caught me now.

I need to know, I want to read a bit
more and that will peak my interest.

Any additives for that.

Dean: Yeah.

And I think that's spot on, I
think, you know, it's outcomes,

it's really what matters, right?

Like that's what the
design process is for.

It's not about generating a bunch
of sticky notes and sketches

and all that kind of stuff.

They're just, tools that get
you towards those outcomes.


I think that is something you see a lot
as well, people to spend so much time

and energy on the case studies outlining
at this really linear process where, they

created personas and then they created
a user journey and they did this and

they did like a workshop and that's all.

Um, but it's kind of almost
table stakes at this point.

It's like, yeah.

We kind of expect that
you have a design process.

we don't need to go into
the granular detail of that.

Maybe at this point, maybe that's
something you can go into in, in

the interview, but in the portfolio.


Like, just talk about the things
that are really important.

Like what are the outcomes that
you drove with this design?

Um, what are some of the, um, different
explorations that you took to get there?

What are some key insights that
maybe came out of user research

study, which helped inform your
final design, things like that?

you don't have to tell the
whole story on the website.

It's more just like, okay, how
can you kind of grab my attention?

Maybe it was something
like metrics or outcomes.

how can you kind of highlight
the work that you did?

Clearly showing that the visuals and
the actual final designs, and then once

you get to that next stage, that's where
you can break the story down a little

bit and get more into those states.

Christian: So, okay.

You've done that.

You get to an interview now and the
interview is structured like this.

First of all, you've got some time to
talk about your work a bit more in detail.

So let's talk about how you can
put your best foot forward there.

And the second part of the interview is
you might have to do a white boarding

challenge or some sort of challenge
together with the team that you're

going to work on some, how are you going
to put your best foot forward there?

So let's talk about the first one.

How do you talk about your work you have
30 minutes or whatever it is you have?

Dean: Yeah, I think, um again,
it's like, think about the context

that you're going to be in.

You've got to be presenting
to probably a group of people.

You're either going to be sharing
your screen over like a video chat or

you're going to be there in person.

Um, so make sure you have the
right tools for that job, right?

So like create a presentation,
uh, that is going to be formatted

for that, that writes, um, context.

I see a lot of designers that, have their
website, which they have, shared with

the recruiter to get to the interview.

And then at the interview, they might
just open up that same website and just

kind of like go scrolling through the same
portfolio, the same case studies again.

Um, you got to think about the
context and the medium that you're in.


So, um, really clean, simple slides,
you know, with, with large images, not

full of texts, it's a presentation,
you're there to add that context.

You don't need to kind of have every
piece of information on the screen.

we want to hear from you, right?

We want to like, hear how you can talk
about your work, what your communication

skills are like how you describe the
different decisions that you've made.

So I think making sure you have
that story and that narrative

of, of the, the case study down
really taught before you get there.

It really helps.

So, I mean, it's not to say that
you have to have a script that

you read from, but I think.

Before you put the case studies together.

Think about the story that
you're trying to tell.

What was the problem?

How did you know that was a problem?

what were the next steps that you
took to try and solve that and then,

you know, making sure you also really
highlight the finished work as well.

Again, I think there's, there's
too much focus on process.

I see in a lot of presentations, which
is interesting, but I think, again

it's the outcomes that really matter.

It's like, what did you actually build?

What did you ship?

What were the, did you meet your goals?

how did you meet them?

And some of the other stuff is
not as, as interesting, I think.

but there seems to be a lot
more emphasis placed on that.

Christian: All right.

So that's the presentation part?

How about the white boarding challenge
or whatever challenge it may be

working together with the team?

Dean: Yeah it's a tricky one.

I think this is one that you see a
lot of people, um, struggle with.

I think it's, again, it's.

The nerves and the anxiety of
having to like design in public.


I think, you know, people, um, seem
to stress out about that quite a bit.

And I mean, it is daunting, you know,
you kind of come into a company with,

you know, maybe you're really excited
about joining and you struggle with

thoughts of like, am I good enough?

Or I really don't want to mess this up.

So it's a really stressful
situation to be in.

And I think it just needs to kind of
make sure that you can just try and calm

yourself down a little bit first and
just really think about, the problem that

the interviewer is asking you to solve.


So it's not supposed to be like a, a
trick where it's like, oh, let's see

how ma how hard we can make this foyer.

And we want you to fail and then struggle.

It's really just to get an idea about
like, how do you break a problem down?

How do you approach it?

It's not about the final solution, right?

It's not about like, oh, did you
solve this problem in 30 minutes?

It's more about how did you.

Uh, approach the problem.

what were the questions that you
asked, how quickly did you get

to a solution and then just kind
of like laser focus on that.

Did you go really broad and you
explored a bunch of different ideas at

the beginning, collaboration as well.

Like, did you just basically
put your blinkers on and just,

uh, attack the problem yourself?

Or are you trying to involve the other
person in the room with you as well?

Whether that's by asking the questions
or, inviting that, their feedback

along the way it's supposed to
be like a collaborative exercise.

It's not just like a, a
critique of your final

Christian: solution.

And you said something there that
I want to highlight, you said,

or, or I'm going to build upon.

It is nobody in these challenges is there.

Nobody wants to see you fail.

These challenges are
there to see you succeed.

These people want to see us succeed
so they can hire you so you can

come and do some great work.

So it's not the.

That nobody's trying to trick you
into any, if they are, I don't know.

I probably shouldn't say what I want to
say, but technically nobody or ideally,

nobody's trying to trick you into failing.

They just want to see how you
would approach a problem provided

you were joined the company.


Dean: And, and it's usually only just like
one dimension of that interview as well.


There's obviously the presentation
there might be some other one-on-one

interviews as well where the whiteboard
exercises is just one dimension.

So yeah, maybe you do really poorly
on that, but you absolutely knock it

out of the park on the other ones.

And then it's just like a conversation
at the end to think about, okay, well,

like maybe this person just had a
bad day or maybe, something happens

here, but you know, they were actually
really strong in this other area or

maybe the team is looking for someone,
you know, like maybe the, the, um,

the skills that you demonstrated
in the white boarding exercise.

Aren't really what they're looking for.

Maybe they're looking for someone
that's really strong in visual design

or, the execution side of things.

So that's okay.

Maybe they can.

Uh, overlook that and it's, so
it's not like if you fail that

one round that's it for you.

I think it's just about just keeping
calm and trying to, do the best you can

Christian: interviewing is
a two way street though.

So, okay.

That's that's on one side, that's
on the side of the company.

How about on the side of you as
someone who tries to get hired, what

are the questions you are asking?

What are the things you're looking
for to make sure this is the type of

company you actually want to work for?

Dean: Yeah, I think really just trying
to identify areas that you interested in.

I think my whole career it's always
been about following my own interests,

whether that's, you know, like to wanting
to work in mobile, wanting to work in

consumer products, things like that.

So, uh, whenever I've kind of made moves,
I guess in the past, it's always been kind

of like looking at, you know, the company
and trying to determine like, is this

the kind of work that I want to be doing?

Does this align with my interests?

And it doesn't have to be like the
particular, um, uh, sphere itself.

it doesn't have to be like, oh, I
really want to work on a, um, Uh, like

a football, apple something, right.

Because I'm interested in football,
it's more just around like, um, is

the kind of work that I'll be doing
at this company, the kind of work

that I'd want to build my career on.

Because the work that you do is the
kind of more of the kind of work that

you're going to get in the future.

So being really thoughtful about, um,
that, that type of work that you'll

be doing, I think is important.

And also just thinking about the, the
people as well, because I mean, that's

going to be a really cool part of, of
what your experience is going to be like.

So if you can do any kind of research
around volt who are the other people on

this team, whether that's on LinkedIn,
just trying to have a bit of a poke around

and see like, well, what other designers
are on the team?, who else, from product

management or whatever else, like just
trying to get a bit of an understanding

about like who the people that you'll be
working with are, and if they're the type

of people that you'd be excited to come
to work every day and build things to.

Christian: One of the questions that I
like to ask is how will I be measured

in the first 90 days, 180 days, six
months while while I get measured on.

And that can tell you a lot about what
you're going to come into and heartbeat

also how mature the organization is.

Because if someone says, well, in the
first month, we expect you to deliver

this and deliver that, that back to the
conversation that we had earlier, it

might not be a, you might not have time
to do all of that relationship building

and stepping back and taking it slowly.

So you, and that's fine for some people,
but maybe some people prefer to do it.

So I think asking questions is
also important when you are getting

interviewed, because it can give
you more details about the role

you're actually going to come in.

Dean: Yeah.

And not even just in the interview, it's
like also after you've been hired, right?

Like when you, when you first joined the
company, having that conversation with

your manager around what a success look
like for this role, like, what are your

expectations three in the first, 20,
40, 60 days, things like that, right.

Just so you know, do I have, that time
to, to be able to kind of sit back and

really understand, or am I expected
to kind of hit the ground running and

start shipping things right away.

Christian: One question that I wanted
to ask one, the topic of portfolios,

which I know we've passed by already,
but I'm going to take it back a little.

Sometimes I say, don't show necessarily
your best work show, the work you

want to do more of because when
someone, I mean, obviously there has

to be a balance there and everything.

There's some nuance to everything.

The idea is the more work show that you
want to do more of the more likely you

are to get more work like that, because
someone's going to look at your portfolio.

And as I said earlier, we'll say, oh,
Dean has done, five projects similar

to the tackling similar challenges that
we're struggling with at the moment,

rather than this person has done five
projects in all in different areas.

And we can't really put a finger
on where he is really shining.

What'd you think about that?

Dean: Yeah, no, I agree.

I think, uh, it's probably harder at the
beginning of your career where you don't

have like a broad range of case studies
or projects that you can draw upon.

Um, I know, like when I first
started riding, it was like, I

was working in print design, so
it was very hard to then create a

portfolio of, of web design projects
to get that first web design role.

So it is definitely a challenge.

I think, as you kind of get further
along in your career, you can , maybe

cherry pick or you can like tailor
your case studies to, to that, that new

role that there's, um, maybe different
aspects you can kind of pull out and

really highlight to be kind of, even
though like the projects might be

totally different, you can be like,
oh, well, you know, I, I did this task

or we have this challenge, which is
analogous to what's happening over here.

Um, so it definitely gets easier as you,
as you build up that Corpus of work, but

earlier on it, it can be a challenge.

So I think that's why, you see people
doing a lot of just self-initiated

projects or they have like a side
project, which is more tailored

to their passions or around the
type of work that they want to do.

And I think that's, that's
always great to see as well.

you don't want to just show that.

I think it's, you know, if you've got a
port and let's just straight out of school

and you don't have, um, any kind of real.

you really want to have a mix of
like, okay, like this is work that

I've done, which can demonstrate,
you know, my skill as a designer I

was working within these constraints.

We have this real world income art
outcomes, but maybe this is also what

I'm capable as well capable of as well.

it's good to have a balance.

Christian: So talk about people
at the beginning of their careers.

What has someone that you've had
in an interview impressed you with,

other than their work, right in the
beginning, the work will necessarily

be, what's gonna impress you more.

It might be some soft skills.

It might be anything on that side.

So any experience there with, with
what what's really impressed you

with someone who's starting up?

Dean: Yeah.

I think just being able to address.

Talk about their work in
a really complete way.

I think you see with a lot of more junior
designers they focus more on the execution

and the craft and it's I did this thing.

Um, but being able to kind of like zoom
out a little bit and, and talk again about

why was this important to the company?

what was the problem that
you were trying to solve?

Um, what impact did you have maybe
beyond just the scope of the project?


It was like, this feature, but I
also had to work within the broader

design system or we created these
new components, which we then used in

this other part of the the product.

So being able to really look at your work
from, a more zoomed out perspective, and

think about all the different things that
it's impacted beyond just the pixels,

Christian: then we're at the one hour
mark, so we'll go straight to the

and the podcast questions first one
is what is one soft skill that you

wish more designers would possess?

Dean: Um, yeah, I think just kind of back
to what we were just talking about around

slight communication and being able to
talk about their designs both in, verbal

communication and written communication.

I think you see a lot of designers, they
might be really great like talking about

their work to other designers, right.

They might be in a design critique
and they can talk about the decisions

they've made and, you know, they don't
have to really talk too much about the

business context or anything like that.

It's more just around like, oh,
let's like talk about the pixels.

But then they might really struggle when
they have to then try and present that

work to a leadership team or to another
business function that isn't design.

And so they maybe try and talk
about it in the same way, but it's

just not really resonating or,
it's kind of missing the point.

So being able to reframe Your
communication to that specific

audience and with the outcome that
you have in mind, like, are you trying

to convince people that this is the
right solution and they should kind of

Greenlight it for engineering to build?

Or are you, sharing it with other
designers to debate whether you

should go with this direction
or that direction being able to

be effective in those different
situations, I think is super important.

Christian: And what's one piece
of advice that has changed

your career for the better?

Dean: Um, yeah, that's a tricky one.

I was thinking about this earlier
and I don't know if there's like

one piece of advice around weight.

That's really stuck with
me and I'm like, yep.

I've, I've learned a lot from that.

Uh, throughout my career, there's
just been different people.

and styles of working.

I think that I've, I've always just tried
to, to, to learn from, whether that's

someone that, you know, is really great
at giving a presentation or something.


So thinking about what made it
great, like how can I break that

down and, and learn from them.

Maybe I can talk to them before I give
my next presentation, and run through

what I put together and get their advice.

Um, or maybe there's some of that's really
great on the execution side of things.

Like how can I break down into like
the different decisions that they've

made and really learn from them?

yeah, it's less about advice and more
just kind of just really having a

curiosity and like a growth mindset in,
in any role that you're in and trying

to learn from all the people around you,
I think is, has really served me well.

Christian: Awesome.

Then where can people find out more
about you get in touch with you?

Any of that?

Dean: Yeah, you can find me
on Twitter at Dean Hudson.

I've pretty much done that same
username on all the different socials.

Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, probably
the best place to reach out to me.


Christian: We'll make it
easy for people to find you.

Thank you very much for being part
of the design, this business journey.

It's been a really awesome conversation
at the time has just flown by.

And, uh, I, I hope people have
learned something from this.

So thanks a lot for being

Dean: part of this.

No, thanks for having me.

You can our show up today.

Thanks Christian.


Christian: That's so wrapped for today.

I hope you found this episode useful and
that you've learned something that you're

ready to implement the work tomorrow.

If you've enjoyed this as always,
it would mean the world to me.

If you'd share it with your
community, if you'd leave a review.

And of course, if you'd remember
to tune in for the next one, peace.

Google’s Dean Hudson on Making Design More Transparent and Putting Your Best Foot Forward in Your Job Search
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