For the last couple of months, I've been talking with a lot of companies, founders and design teams about what my next move should be. It's been an amazing process and I've met no small number of passionate people working on really interesting problems. I said this a couple of years ago and I'll say it again now: this process has really reaffirmed my belief that our industry is one of the most interesting ones to work in right now. It's easy to get into the weeds about vapid apps and insane valuations, but there is so much going on that isn't that. There's so much going on that is meaningful and worthwhile. It's an exciting time.
With all that said, I'm joining BuzzFeed as the VP of Design starting tomorrow and I couldn't be more pumped (and nervous). And, for posterity's-sake really, I wanted to write a few notes about what brought me onboard and why I'm so excited about the future of the product.
The Future of Media
If you've been paying attention lately, you've probably heard about pretty badass reporters being brought on to open bureaus in different locales. Their video team is no joke, either, with one of my favorite Internet makers as its president. I think it's pretty easy to write BuzzFeed off as simply "listicals" and quizzes (as my title alludes), but that's a shallow view of what they're doing. Because if anyone is in a position right now to define what a modern media organization looks like, it's them. At different moments, I've spoken to friends in different news and media companies about the role, and every time I get some version of the following from them:
If I was going to leave my job and go work somewhere else in news or media, that's where I'd want to be.
Also, quizzes and lists are pretty awesome. :)
As far as teams go, the Etsy Design team is a pretty tough act to follow. Luckily, I knew a few of the BuzzFeed designers already and had spoken with them about the team in general and what they believe in. As I went through the interview process, I found that, not only was I aligned with the designers I'd spoken with, but also Chris and Dao. As my wife, Kim, would say, they're all Goonies. We're going to have a good time.
The Role and the Fear
Responsibility-wise, this role is going to wind up being a pretty big change for me. From working in media, to being fully responsible for the design org, to managing managers, I'll be doing and learning a lot of new things, which is an exciting prospect, but also one that fills me with a healthy amount of fear. What if I'm not good at this? What if I mess it up? Luckily, I've come to realize that not only are those fears healthy, they're my brain's way of telling me to go for it. The distance between fear and excitement is, it turns out, pretty short.
So, let's rock.