Katie Dill from Airbnb on managing designers as a design experiment

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Episode #9: Katie Dill

This week on the podcast we had a great discussion with Katie Dill, the director of experience design at Airbnb, one of the few companies in the world that’s truly disrupting an industry.

In this conversation we discuss managing designers as a design experiment, how craft and hustle go together, and why the user experience should be important to every employee.

Noam Liss joined us as a guest host on this episode and had some great questions for Katie.

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Key points from this episode:

  • Learn how Katie went from studying history to finding her dream job of product design
    through a show about reinventing the shopping cart.
  • Katie gives some insight on how rapidly things change in the startup world, and how two
    years is like seven years in Airbnb days.
  • Understand what goest into designing for differences from city to city as a global company,
    and how to identify and work with those “universals”.
  • What does it mean to be “a startup in big company’s clothing”, and how can you continue to
    have an entrepreneurial spirit to carve new ground every day?
  • Learn how to keep your team motivated, especially with long term projects and how seeing
    the purpose and the power of their work connects them back to the larger vision.
  • Keeping a team in the loop and communicating is definitely more of a challenge as it grows.
    Understand how the tools, the method, and the culture can keep them connected.
  • Katie shares the high level principles that guide the team at Airbnb in their decision making
    and even hiring process — high level of craft, humility, and hustle.
  • How can a team with different individual “super powers” help to bring balance and diversity for
    a better overall composition in the end?
  • Learn how understanding the “why” behind large quantities of user data can help your teams
    innovate through an on-going process of learning.

Here are some follow up links from our talk:

Want to read the transcript of this episode?

You can download the full transcript

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About The Hacking UI Podcast, Season 1 – Scaling a Design Team

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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