👋 Hi Roger, tell us about your role at Convex and prior experience.
I’m the Head of Design, and my domain cuts across both brand and product. So every day I’m leading our small but mighty design team to create marketing materials and design new features for our software product, Atlas.
For most of my career, I worked in agencies, with a few in-house stints at Apple and TrueCar. Before joining Convex, I owned and ran a small digital design agency where my designers and I created brand identities, marketing collateral, and websites and did product design for B2B startups. That’s actually how my relationship with Convex started.
What drew you to join Convex? And looking ahead, what are you most excited about?
I've been around the block a few times and have encountered many styles of leaders, especially in the tech industry. Charlie (CEO) and Blake (CPO) are two of the most thoughtful founders I've ever met. I really trust them and the way they're running the business.
We’re still at the beginning of building our product. To use a construction analogy, we have the foundation poured and maybe even some of the framing done, but there’s still a lot of house to build. I’m super excited to be part of building that.
What would you say to design folks considering early-stage companies as a next move?
Do it if you want a lot of ownership and responsibility! At Convex, we see our impact on the product and business. Something we design today will get built, and our customers will use it.
How does Design at Convex differ from your other experiences?
I’ve worked for a few companies where design is an afterthought. But at Convex, the role of design is respected and is integral to how we build our product.
At a 30,000-foot level, the design process has been the same at every job I’ve had, which is research, ideate, and iterate. At Convex it’s no different. But what is a bit different is the emphasis on designing and building the right thing. We are constantly talking to our customer success and sales teams to better understand our users’ problems and will vet a lot of our ideas with them. Then we’ll design and build the MVP version to see if we get traction, learn from it, and then improve upon it. We understand that if we spend months designing an ideal state of a feature, it probably won’t ever ship.
What's one cool thing you've done since joining Convex? And what's something you've learned?
I'm really proud of the Atlas overview video. Yes, it's all stock, but it gets the job done. The one thing I really learned—well, I'd say the skill that I got to hone—is my product management brain. I'd always done it in some form or another, but here, I really get to use that muscle, even though I'm officially a designer.
What do designers at Convex need to succeed? (PS: the Design team is hiring…)
To succeed at Convex as a product designer—or any employee for that matter—you have to:
✨ Be a great communicator
✨ Be excellent at your craft
✨ Be nimble and quick
✨ Be a product owner
That last point is the most important. Everyone in the company has a stake in our flagship product. It’s not like my team designs it, the engineers build it, and the sales team sells it. All teams have to be proud of what we’re shipping.
How would you describe your management style?
As a manager, I try to be as helpful and supportive as I can to my employees. For me, it’s all about unblocking them so they can do their work. But quality is still important to me since I came up through agencies. So I’ll always have something to say about the execution.
Enough work talk. What do you like to do for fun?
When I'm not working, I enjoy movies, TV shows, cooking, and TV shows about cooking. During the pandemic and being stuck at home, I needed a creative outlet. I started a design-focused email newsletter, bought some new camera gear, and learned about videography. When I was at Apple, I used to do motion graphics, so I picked up Cinema 4D again. I made some art for the 2020 election and have continued learning the software and making 3D art. Yeah, I’ve been busy!
For readers interested in working with Roger, check out his Senior Product Designer role!
Originally published on June 9, 2021Updated on June 14, 2021