Jon Lax from Facebook on the Teehan + Lax story, and useful tips for design managers

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Announcements and Sponsors This Week

Join our FREE meetups in San Francisco on August 24th and 25th (2016)!

We’ll be in San Francisco next week and we’ll be hosting two meetups on Wednesday Aug 24th and Thursday Aug 25th. Beers and Pizzas on us!

Wednesday Aug 24th 2016: Our first meetup will be a micro workshop to start off your personal brand. The stuff we’ll talk about is taken from our side project accelerator, This will be a part lecture / part hands-on experience in which we’ll discuss our philosophy of audience-driven product development, the giver vs. taker theory, and the techniques we use to create our content on Hacking UI.
This session will be interactive, and by the end of the night you’ll be on your way and have the tools to publish your first article and build your personal brand as a side project.

Sign up for the Personal Brand meetup here →

Thursday Aug 25th 2016: The second meetup is about Scaling a Design team. If you’ve been listening to this podcast you’re going to want to be part of it! We’re going to go into all the insights that we’ve learned from interviewing the world’s top design leaders, and also talk about what worked for us with our team in Similarweb.

Sign up for the Scaling a Design Team meetup here →

Please support our amazing sponsors

We want to say thanks to LaunchSchool for sponsoring this episode!

LaunchSchool is an online School for Developers. But what makes it special is that they have programs that can be perfect for designers because they take a slow path for serious beginners to be able to master software development in product companies.

By the way, all of their prep courses are free and have great videos, and several books that you can start off with.

Contact us to become a sponsor

Episode #10: Jon Lax

This week we were fortunate enough to meet face to face with Jon Lax, Director of Product Design at Facebook.

Prior to joining Facebook, from 2002 to 2015, Jon was the co-founder and CEO of the legendary Toronto design studio, Teehan+Lax, which has since been acquired by Facebook.

In this insightful and brutally honest conversation, Jon shares the lessons he learned while scaling Teehan+Lax to almost 50 employees. We also talked about his personal story and his partnership with Geoff Teehan. He also shared with us the questions that he asks every designer at Facebook and some tips for aspiring design managers.

The Side Project Accelerator

The program works in batches, with only 3 batches per year. Registration for the next batch of the Side Project Accelerator is now open until November 10th, and there are only 50 seats available. Apply now to reserve your spot.

Apply now for batch #2 →

Key points from this episode:

  • What does it take to not only be a great designer, but how can you create the conditions in which others can do it as well.
  • How do different skill sets help to make a design team work? What is it about the diversity the enables a successful partnership?
  • Why, as a designer, should you change your mindset from thinking you can convince others to believe things the way that you do, to have your belief system.
  • Understand why for Teehan+Lax, trying to compete on quality of design in a client driven environment was actually useless.
  • Corporate values for your business can make a great impact on how you operate your company.
  • What does it mean to grow organically, and find out the different company growth levels that Jon experienced as they were scaling Teehan+Lax.
  • Jon explains some of the pros and cons of flat organizational structures and why not having titles can hinder employees from understanding their personal growth.
  • Learn why it is okay not to manage once you move up the career ladder, and the skill sets you need to develop if management is an option for you.
  • Find out what three questions Jon asks designers when creating products for consumers.
  • Follow

Here are some follow up links from our talk:

If you’d like to read the full transcript of this episode, you can download it.
Download the transcription

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About The Hacking UI Podcast and the Scaling a Design Team series

The Hacking UI podcast is hosted by Sagi Shrieber and David Tintner, a designer and developer who are also both entrepreneurs, bloggers, productivity/time-hacking maniacs, and all around tech geeks.

In season 1, which we’ve called ‘Scaling a Design Team’, we meet with leaders from top notch companies, like Facebook, Apple, Invision, and Intercom, to discuss team structures, responsibilities, and workflows. We’ll also be talking to them about design management, hiring, and culture. This is a chance for us to get an inside look at some of the best design teams out there and to understand how they do what they do in drastically different environments.

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