The Ownership Problem

When I was starting out as a designer, I had a pretty big chip on my shoulder about how my job was perceived. At that point in time, the design community was, seemingly as a whole, pushing back on the idea that designers just make things look good. Every other day there'd be a blog post or a …

Management & Power

When I worked at Etsy, our CEO, Chad Dickerson, gave a talk where he described how most companies think about management structures. To most people reading this, the following image will be a familiar concept: Conceptually, the message for how decisions get made is pretty straightforward: The CEO …

The Lie I Tell New Hires

I've written a lot about recruiting on this blog - how to get hired , how to do the hiring and how hard it is to hire . However, I haven't really touched on what happens after that process. You've found a great designer, hired them and they just started today! Hooray! Now what? Well, first you have …

The Right Problems

Over the years, I've noticed a lot of my (and others') frustrations at work come from feeling like the problems I'm solving shouldn't be problems, or that the problems I'm facing are outside of my control. As I've settled more into my management responsibilities, I've found that the biggest bang …

Becoming a Writer

There have been quite a few people over the last few months who've asked for advice on how to start writing. They usually say something like "I don't know how to start" or "I'm not sure what I'd write about" or the dreaded "I'm just not a good writer." So, to all of you out there dealing with those …

Great Teams, Great Products

What makes a great product? We all spend time thinking about this. Whether you're a manager or not, striving to build the best thing we can is the force that drives most of us to come to work every day. We look at products we admire and we wonder: how do they do it? Was it amazing leadership? Are …

Crafting Interviews

Recruiting, like many managerial activities, is somewhere between an art and a science. Getting people in the door is a numbers game in a lot of ways (lots of emails, phone screens and second phone screens that don't work out). But the interview loop and determining whether or not to hire people …

The Manager's Crisis

Not long ago, I met with a designer I previously managed at Etsy to catch up and talk about her new role (she stepped into a management position shortly after I left). We were talking about some of the challenges she's facing currently, and inevitably starting talking about some of the decisions …

Your Org Is a Product

Last week I met a friend of mine for coffee to talk about our jobs (we're both still relatively new at our respective companies), challenges we're facing and to trade advice on how to tackle those challenges. My friend, an experienced and thoughtful product manager, was describing her proposed …

The Sliding Scale of Giving a Fuck

During my first big project at Etsy, completely overhauling our Item Reviews system, I was paired with Andrew Morrison , an incredibly talented engineer (and now a very good friend). Andy cared a lot about not just the code he wrote, but the product itself - how it was designed, how it worked, how …