Making UX Work with Joe Natoli Podcast Artwork Image
Making UX Work with Joe Natoli
Episode 01, Daniel Bosnjak :: Planes, Passion and UX.
November 13, 2017 Joe Natoli / Daniel Bosnjak

My guest Daniel Bosnjak is a multidisciplinary designer from Croatia, focusing on UX Design, Brand Strategy and crafting usable, beautiful digital products. Over the last 15 years he’s applied his design and UX talents to successful websites, web applications and mobile apps of all kinds.

After working in the high-stress environment of Commercial Aviation, Daniel recently struck out on his own as an independent UX Designer, serving clients all over the world.

And as I think you’ll hear, his passionate belief in the value of UX — and in doing things the right way — should carry him through a long, successful career.

Our conversation ranged from his experiences with high-risk UX in the world of aviation, to dealing with disappointment, his graffiti-filled past and his big leap to UX entrepreneur.

Portfolio/Websites: Behance, Dribbble

LinkedIn: danijelbosnjak

Twitter: @aerozg

Episode Transcript

Speaker 1:0:08Hello and welcome to making us work to give you X podcast. I'm your host Jonah Toli and our focus here is on folks like you doing a real often unglamorous work in the real world. You'll hear about their struggles their successes and their journey to and through the trenches of product design development and of course user experience. Today my guest is Daniel Bosniak. Daniel is a multidisciplinary designer who focuses on U.S. design brand strategy and crafting usable beautiful digital products of all kinds. Over the last 15 years he's applied those design in U.S. towns to everything from Web sites to web applications to mobile apps. After working in a high stress environment of commercial aviation Daniel recently struck out on his own as an independent you ex designer. He now serves clients all over the world. And as I think you'll hear his passionate belief in the value of US and in doing things the right way should carry him through a long successful career. Here's my conversation with Daniel Bosniak on making us work.

Speaker 2:1:16So Daniel tell me how are you.

Speaker 3:1:19Ah we better all sit down and take a breath. Take a look.

Speaker 4:1:29Well I'm good.

Speaker 5:1:32The work of work is good. Life is good. It's a sunny day outside and I'm happy to be here and talk to you. Joe how are you.

Speaker 2:1:43I'm doing well. I'm doing well I'm happy to be here as well and the sun is shining where I am also. So maybe that's a good sign. You are a fairly new entrepreneur. Correct.

Speaker 6:1:56Fairly new but I am a freelancer for.

Speaker 7:2:00I was freelancing probably I started back in I think 2001 or maybe 2001 2002 probably around that.

Speaker 8:2:09But yeah as a company yeah I've just started you know in January this year. So yeah fresh.

Speaker 9:2:15Congratulations. Thank you.

Speaker 10:2:18I guess you know people tell me that you know you're going to be entrepreneur that's so hard done do it. Don't ever do it just you know keep your.

Speaker 11:2:27Day job whatever you know work in your cubicle. But you know no.

Speaker 1:2:31So what prompted you to make the leap.

Speaker 4:2:35Well I was unhappy at work really. And it was just becoming a stress brother and then you know it was enjoyable at first I worked as an aircraft engineer and I had an airline our national airline catering for Asia.

Speaker 9:2:52And yeah it was just one of my interests. From an early age you know I want to be a pilot you know watch Top Gun. Tom Cruise. Sure yeah. I cannot go with the you know with the design and you know the programming and this work that I do. I started it.

Speaker 4:3:12Like I said back in 2001 by you know around 2007 2008 it all became just I don't know if it started to look like mass mass production conveyor belt type know work where I was just churning out slicing pieces into e-mail and CSSA and JavaScript and making you know templates and WordPress files and all of that and that was just getting to me.

Speaker 5:3:40And I thought I should probably do something else.

Speaker 2:3:43So it was like sort of turned into like assembly line technical work.

Speaker 4:3:46Yeah basically yeah assembly line it was just a small company and we took you know too much work to survive. If you remember you know 2008 was just the probably the ugliest year of the decade. Yeah.

Speaker 9:4:03You know with the recession with everything so yeah. And about that time you know I decided I should do something and try to do something else not just sit around the computer all day which ironically I ended up doing as well on the new job.

Speaker 2:4:18What kind of things were you working on with your lens. I mean you're talking about interfaces obviously and building. I'm assuming web based products but what were they.

Speaker 9:4:27Yeah. Were we had an in-house CMOs that were we were building. And you know it was basically like you know dashboard kind of designs modules for the Web site for Web sites but also for web applications like you know hotel booking for example. OK. We had you know a background for a hotel booking web application which was an Internet. Actually it had a front end that was public but it was just it was just a part of a huge you know hotel system that you know people come on the website and they make a reservation and then the back and people. Can you know access the reservation and reply to the customer and set us apart. So and also we had one other product that was geared towards real estate.

Speaker 6:5:23And basically it was a data database application for real estate people that take him you know list properties and all that stuff.

Speaker 2:5:34Wow that's a pretty wide swath for I mean were you working directly for the airlines or were you working for an agency that was connected to the airlines.

Speaker 5:5:40The hotel booking and the real estate visa are the jobs.

Speaker 6:5:45I was working for the agencies that I worked for before I jumped into aviation but when I jumped into mediation I still freelance on the side. But the aviation field is really think about you know how much data data and airline generates share of each airplane is you know NASA has millions of parts and you have to follow every critical part the making shifts are done in intervals be it Lee or daily or weekly or monthly or Italy or even multiples of those. And you know you have to have some kind of a system that enables you to track all that data and you know issue work orders to the mechanics that they can you know perform the you know the required checks and inspections and services and stuff and the application that we were using that's called accosts and it's quite you know it is it is a standard.

Speaker 9:6:51I mean there are a lot of a lot of vendors basically that produce and offer these types of sort of ERP systems.

Speaker 12:7:01Sure. But this one particularly is very old and has been on market in a long time.

Speaker 13:7:05So many companies use it but it's just obvious. Hell yeah.

Speaker 9:7:10It's you know it's this olive green colored UI and you know it was designed back in probably 97 when tabs were all the rage. Of course you know it prompted me to you know try and do something about it. And there were few engineers at work that were also you know they're not software engineers that all met all mechanical engineers. As you can imagine they had a knack for solving problems.

Speaker 4:7:37And basically what I tried to do at the airline is to establish a department basically where we can probably assemble a team and try to basically help ourselves and make our lives easier by you know coming up with our own internal tools and solutions that we can use and plug into the existing stocks.

Speaker 5:8:05And this application was just not enough. There are some modules that were missing that the company wouldn't pay for but ours. So we were forced to do you know manually. There were thousands of Excel spreadsheets and Word files and it was just a huge pile of mess and I couldn't believe that the airline a serious company like an airline would do that.

Speaker 4:8:31It was just it gets unbelievable you know and they're limping along with all these disparate sources.

Speaker 11:8:37Yeah but it's not better.

Speaker 4:8:39You think you know other companies like maybe Lufthansa and other companies that I've been in touch with you know also people you know like yeah join the club.

Speaker 2:8:50Yeah and that's I think that's par for the course for I mean it's no it's not manufacturing per se but the time of your manufacturing repair overhaul all that stuff. Yeah my old clients I've seen the same thing. You have these third party systems that are that are created by a handful of vendors. And I don't know if this was your experience but they are closed to some degree. There's only a certain degree of customization that you can achieve without as you said maybe spending additional money on modules or you know just this massive undertaking to try and get a new front in that interfaces with the middle tier and back and stuff that's there. Yeah. Yeah. So sounds like that's where s where you were.

Speaker 4:9:28Yeah I mean we were trying to through our management but were trying to ask the company that you know build this application. They gave us you know Deml database with our own data.

Speaker 13:9:44So you know we have a data set to work with just a database so we can try to build our own front end. But you know the company never took us seriously. Sadly they appreciated our enthusiasm and you know a pat on the back. But you know why do you think that the company this company is. You know they are government owned and people just come at night and they stay up until 5:00 p.m. 6:00 p.m. they just go home and they don't care. No no no ambition no no. Yeah it's fine. You know you want to know do all this by just you know just probably best if you leave it alone and just tag along.

Speaker 2:10:26Sure. Do you think that's because I mean on a personal level these folks see that as sort of an addition to their to their workload or you know something that's going to disrupt their comfort level or they're just so exhausted and beaten down that they just don't want to go there. I mean what do you think is the cause of that.

Speaker 12:10:47Well I think probably you know the they beat down and always stress because the work is very stressful. It's a lot of responsibility. These airplanes are carrying potatoes they're carrying people and you have to make sure that you know everything works and you know all the flight controls are in order and the engines and you know cockpit down all these millions of little parts. So I don't blame anyone they say you know for their lack of an him or maybe I don't know. The thing I've got to say is many many people and we're coming to you know bring their airplanes going to companies for bringing their airplanes for saying to our company.

Speaker 5:11:28And we were talking to all these all these other people from other companies and they have built their own tools in the house. They were able to get support from their you know readership and their management and how well how how well these companies were willing to listen that they were willing to invest money and they were you know they saw this as an opportunity and an investment rather than an expense. Right. This one company from Austria. They built their own web application that enabled them to quickly answer any requests for technical assistance from pilots and copilots and that we usually call them from the cockpit in-flight really and say things.

Speaker 4:12:15Yeah they called me you know. They called they call it 3:00 a.m. and say it all this is flight 4 0 2 9.

Speaker 8:12:23We're having issues with. There is an error error on the screen and watch what do we do. Do we know landing Ciriello or do we divert back to Zagreb and you have to you know make a split decision in five seconds. And you know you have to sift through these manuals that are on your desk that have thousands of pages like you have to know exactly what what is wrong immediately because that decision you make costs the company you know hundreds of thousands of dollars or euros or whatever.

Speaker 14:12:57Yeah and you know because the passengers they are not going to land where they were supposed to land they were going to divert. And you have to feed them you have to give them accommodation and you have to transfer them to their original destination. And that costs a lot of money.

Speaker 4:13:13And if you have 300 people on an airplane you can you know you can imagine how much money that is going to cost you.

Speaker 2:13:19So out of curiosity and I'm not trying to pin you down here. Did you guys ever make that case to your management or you know whoever needed to hear it. Of course that look we're hemorrhaging money in these instances.

Speaker 4:13:33Yes Joe but nobody cares. Nobody cares. It's a government owned company. Fifty one percent. And they. Nobody cares.

Speaker 2:13:41So self-interest it sounds to me like self-interest is trumping the greater rationale.

Speaker 4:13:46Yeah I was at the meetings where people were literally you know yelling at each other. People were concerned yeah how is this possible that are we you know in the business of making money or losing money you know and it's just insane.

Speaker 8:14:01So yeah basically and that's the reason I decided to move on. And that's not the place for me to try and build a career. I was offered other positions in other companies you know not in Croatia not being bought. You know this is a time when I was not able to move so easily moved to maybe Germany or Ireland or USA. Even so.

Speaker 2:14:22Well the scenario you just described to me I mean the stress sounds absolutely enormous.

Speaker 4:14:28Yeah. Do you know maybe you've seen the National Geographic documentary series Cold air crash investigation. No I haven't.

Speaker 8:14:37It's a series of documentaries where you know when a plane crashes what happens after you know and then there is a lot of talk about aircraft maintenance.

Speaker 15:14:46And actually we were shown that these documents while in Kuwait while I was at the university actually while I was studying they were showing us you know how important it is to really be diligent with your work and you know what it actually takes to you know keep airplanes flying safely.

Speaker 2:15:07And yeah I can only imagine so when you jump when you said OK I'm going to strike out on my own. You sort of invite a new set of challenges right. So does your stress level go down significantly. Did it change was it different.

Speaker 4:15:21Well it it went down significantly because you know I knew what it was going to be hard. I knew some people that are left behind.

Speaker 11:15:31They were actually envious because I already had another career before that you know because I was 27 when I entered university and just started later in life as opposed to you know all my you know colleagues and peers and friends from high school. I didn't go to I didn't go to college right after high school. I was working. I want to you know I wanted money.

Speaker 16:15:57It was 2001 2002. I was working freelance and I was doing everything myself. If you can remember you could one person can do everything you know there was no U.S. designers copy writers as it were.

Speaker 9:16:13No programmer was back and forth and I just opened up notepad and coded a web page.

Speaker 10:16:19Yeah it was more like. Who knows how to do this. You ok it you know. Yes.

Speaker 17:16:28There's no work experience in basically a whole career before I've even entered aviation.

Speaker 15:16:33And so when I got out you know I knew what what to do. I was able to thankfully you know hit the ground running and just you know take it from there and I have been doing well. But I probably want to make some changes and maybe it's not about money for me. Now it's more like you know I want to be doing something that you know is of value to someone in charge. The money still but you know. Not necessarily and just be like like kind of assembly line like you said and just you know churning out whatever it is that it needs to be done.

Speaker 2:17:10And I think that's that's a commonality across every person who does any kind of. I mean I think that's you X people. I think it's in any area of information architects designers even developers a lot of the folks that I've met I think the one commonality that I see over and over and over again that industry tends to ignore. Still even in 2017 is that feeling like you're contributing something of value is probably the biggest motivation for people doing this work.

Speaker 4:17:39Well for me it is isn't it for you.

Speaker 2:17:41Of course of course it's the only thing that matters and when you've done anything good come free.

Speaker 4:17:47Yeah good for free you know. I don't care.

Speaker 2:17:50And I think most of us are like that. I really do. And I think that's why folks you know like in a situation you just described I think that's the motivation more than the frustration more than the day to day issues and aggravations. It's more about man. There's all these things that we could do to make this easier better to solve these problems to make these people's notional states better. And I just can't do it. You feel like your hands are tied. And after a certain point you say OK I can't bank my my heart because that's really what it is against this wall anymore. You think that's accurate.

Speaker 5:18:26I mean what is your experience. You know what has your experience been. You've done a lot of obviously great work.

Speaker 17:18:33And you know I look up to you as someone that you know has done a lot of great work in the industry that you know I probably want to be like Hugh when I grew up with because you know I'm interested in you know this field of systems and web applications that are you know closed that are not mainstream mainstream you know commercial stuff that you see you know outside. So what is your experience. You know how do you feel about all this.

Speaker 2:19:06Well here's the thing. OK. If you do anything long enough and I've said this before you see a lot of successes of course but you also see a lot of failures. And the one thing that nobody talks enough about myself probably included is that it can come with a lot of heartache and it really can. These are difficult situations as much as everybody gives lip service to X and design and has no case since 2001 2000 when the tech bubble sort of reached its apex for as much as it's talked about. It is very difficult to implement or it is very difficult to change organizations culture especially if it's a large organization. So what happens is like your scenario OK where a group of you get together and say okay let's try to do this because we think it's important because we see evidence that it's going to make a difference and you push and you push and you push and it either works to some small degree and you get a little success.

Speaker 2:20:06And that's what convinces people higher up the chain to say all right. They're on something here or you just can't get through the walls and the bureaucracy and the red tape and everything else. And you say well we've got to move on. So what I think is that. Well I think there's two parts to this and you probably know this because you've heard me talk a lot. You've read the articles in the videos and all that kind of stuff. My thing is I am not a believer in formal strict processes. OK there's a lot of stuff about you ex out there that's very formalized very structured blah blah you know to the steps and magic will happen. I don't believe that what I think is that you have to be incredibly creative and agile and lay on your feet. Whether it's a client or you're working inside an organization you have to find a way to implement this stuff in small ways in line with the things that the organization is already doing right. Right. You can't say it has to be like this we have to do this we have to our user research process has to look like this.

Speaker 18:21:05Burai doesn't work it doesn't really right. I mean has that been your experience as well so fast. I just you know I probably wish that the management of the online here with us right now.

Speaker 10:21:17So I think tell them Listen to this.

Speaker 11:21:22This is you know because trying to you know prove my value and say you know who works probably you know I'm not the designer probably a thinker has been the hardest part of any engagement that I've had so far as you know working on a project. Sure it's in a sense it's like with the job. And before that even because you know us design it's a buzzword right now and you know you'll see all these job ads. Everybody now wants to have a US designer on their team. It's something that Facebook does or Apple does or you know something that Google does and we should probably you know do it as well. But nobody really nobody really cares.

Speaker 19:22:05Nobody cares. People tell me you know. Can you just quickly mock up this process for us. Can you send us some PMG files some wire frames. And I said no I will send you a list of 50 questions maybe 100 questions. I will not open Photoshop or ennobles amik or actioner or invasion or anything like that until I ask you. You know it all starts with a conversation first and then we drill into the problem. And you know for me as a freelancer or independent contractor I try to become a part of your team and I have to become you and I have to learn your product and your customers and our market. And then I can probably you know start thinking about how to best serve you and what value to you or not. You know often I will say there's probably nothing I can do to help you. Know you should probably talk to a copywriter.

Speaker 2:23:03Yeah. Those are all the rage. Those are all the right answers.

Speaker 19:23:06I was working with a client recently and they sent me these you know existing web site templates and they wanted to you know redesign their website. And I started designing. You know I started playing with colors and concepts and I laid out a few comps. I tried to establish a look and feel and that type of thing. But then they hire a copywriter and this copywriter changed all the text and then I said you know the copy needs to be ready before I even opened Photoshop because the text is actually a shape of course because when you open up a page you first see the text as a shape and then you comprehend the actual sentence when you read it and it starts right. So yeah it's really hard. Nobody cares nobody cares about you know you said no. A lot of heartache. It's a lot of heartache because you have to.

Speaker 2:24:01And the thing is I do think there are a lot of people who don't care. I also think that sometimes the things that they do care about are really the same things that we care about. But there's a disconnect in how they understand how to get there. And in some cases you know how we talk about it everything you've just described to me ok that you know you say to this like no I'm not doing that. Here is how this needs to work. That is unfortunately in a lot of cases what you have to do. And then you have to explain to them why it is that you don't want to do these things. And sometimes they'll hear it and sometimes they won't. And you know you alluded to me in my career I will tell you that for every yes OK and every success in every long term gig.

Speaker 2:24:50You know a relationship that I have with the client. There are 20 more that never went beyond the first engagement I I'd have to say five or 10 20 20 probably exaggerating a little bit but I'm not too far off. There are a lot of dead ends until you get to the point where and I'm lucky OK. Please understand I'm very very lucky where you can get to the point where things come along and you just say Nope sorry not interested and I can take on the things that I want to take on and I can say no to the things that I don't comment. Yeah but I believe I really believe Daniel that the only way to that level would have been to call it is by doing exactly what you're doing.

Speaker 11:25:33It's such an uphill battle all the time. You know it just takes so much effort that I try to read so many books and your Utomi course has been just you know I keep going back to it actually read your book. You know think first.

Speaker 19:25:48It's it's I think it's the best title of any new book spoke for. You know I think first things first because you know if we just start sketching on 10 pencil and paper. No. Please think first. Please do the thinking for us in our mind. And then you know you can produce something you know an artifact wireframe you know whatever. But you know it's a battle you have to justify your existence. Every day I am a designer. I know I'm here to help deal. But yeah this constant learning actually and we mold me personally.

Speaker 14:26:23I still have a lot to learn and try to find the way to look at all this through you know my clients eyes and maybe try to find a way to surface the pain points in the friction points and how they perceive it rather than how I perceive it.

Speaker 4:26:41And you know rather than me just pushing my designer agenda where I just want to have fun building stuff you know actually solving a business problem it's in the end it's all about money and making money.

Speaker 2:26:54So how do you think you do that. I mean how do you get them. How do you get a client whether there a prospect or a current client. How do you get them to see themselves in what you're describing or in other words that you know how did they get them to say yes she says that's exactly my problem. Now I'm listening.

Speaker 9:27:10It's super hard because every client is different in every type of business is different for and you have to first learn everything that you can about their type of business.

Speaker 8:27:19And you know try wearing their shoes and you know their customers and their users and clients and their market and I have to understand that the bigger picture and you have to really think hard about that. Then you can you know you can talk about their issues and their problems on their level. But I think the greatest skill that you can have for me personally as a one man band you know is to listen.

Speaker 20:27:47And listen carefully and what they have to say. Amen amen. Yeah. And and it took me a long time to learn that because I was always you know in a rush and you know deadlines and have milestones that we reject cetera et cetera.

Speaker 12:28:02But you know if you're going to rush through things what quality level are you going to achieve. You know is it worth reaching a milestone if you are not getting your desired goals in terms of what you want the end product to be then you can turn on your inner US designer self and you can start applying what you know.

Speaker 2:28:27Yeah. Have you had situations where especially now as an entrepreneur freelancer have you had situations where a client has come to you for one thing they say we need to redesign this and in the process of conversation you start to get the sense that there is something else happening here that may be part of what they need is not a redesign it's there's a deeper problem. Oh yeah. Have you had those experiences.

Speaker 8:28:51Yeah I was I was going to say every project is like that but it's not. Sometimes people really they know their business better than you do and you know it's sometimes best. Like I said just listen to them and you know try to you know understand what they want to achieve. But sometimes the client really you know they want to do one thing but actually they have a much bigger problem on their hands that they are not aware of and you shouldn't be afraid to raise them the issue and raise will raise some questions and try to you know make them aware of that even at the cost of the engagement and you know losing a client over this.

Speaker 2:29:30Yeah I think that's right. You have to be willing to say you know look we can do this work as you're describing it. But I think there's a bigger problem here. Right and it's true. And you know as well as I do it's usually money related. And if we don't address that you're going to spend this money and I'm happy to you know take your IP to take your money and do whatever you want but understand that after this is over on the day that we launch it three months after six months after 12 months after you're gone have the same problem.

Speaker 4:30:01Exactly. Yeah you're going to have the same problem and you're going to call me and you're going to.

Speaker 2:30:07So I think as long as there's an understanding that it's not going away and look for survival sometimes you take the job anyway. You know I've certainly I keep telling you I'm lucky that I'm not doing this this long but I've certainly found myself in numerous positions where I just had to shut up and do the work because it wasn't gonna go that way and bills need to be paid. That's how it is even you. Yeah that was you know in the early stages of my career especially you know I ran my own firm for almost 10 years and at the beginning OK. Like back in me think I don't know like ninety five ninety six maybe eight. There was a lot of. OK and then in 2000 right around 2000 when the whole dot com the tech bubble really started to build Yeah. You were getting offers for unbelievable amounts of money. OK. And nobody cared about success. Companies were being valued on their burn rate how fast they could burn through their venture capital.

Speaker 2:31:10All right your valuation would actually go up as organization if you were looking to get but based on how much money we're spending so people would come to us and say you know can you build this and do this and do this. And of course we said yeah and a lot of cases because the money was tremendous and I had a business I had six employees to support Yeah. And there were a lot of things that I couldn't afford to say no to. Even though in some cases I did you know you feel like conflict where it's like OK we're going to do this but I don't know if it's going to work.

Speaker 3:31:42Yeah but they didn't care. Probably most of the time they didn't.

Speaker 2:31:46But then the bubble burst in a lot of those companies died horrible deaths.

Speaker 11:31:50So yeah I remember that yeah I was just starting and I read about it I didn't know actually you know I was 20 at the time and I just started working.

Speaker 21:32:00I didn't know you know dotcom bubble what is that. I remember reading about this and you know I remember all this all this news about 50 companies you know close their doors and laid off people and I remember that it was awfully it was really ugly.

Speaker 2:32:14You know that was the birth that was the birth of Fast Company. For example in a magazine that was at birth there's a magazine called Business 2.0 that was you came out at that time it was all really interesting stuff. You know I was sort of absorbing all this. It was really exciting at the same time all these outlets and the media was complicit as well. Were saying You know the old ways of doing everything are dead or dead it's a new era. And here we are 17 almost 18 years later and they're not dead. I mean it depends of what constitutes value you know and what people are willing to pay for and why hasn't really changed at all.

Speaker 4:32:56It's always offline.

Speaker 2:32:58So I'm interested again because you're sort of out there on your own. Do you feel like there's a disconnect between all the stuff that you see online read online about right everybody's posts in case studies and all kinds of stuff about how they're leveraging you X or design or design thinking or you know one of those things. Do you find a disconnect in the work that you're doing between Dad and all the stuff that you hear about read about online.

Speaker 21:33:22Well honestly I try to obviously I follow you. I follow you know other people as well and try to you know stay or stay in the know and you know follow the news about what's going on in the world of US design. But definitely there is a disconnect.

Speaker 4:33:38Because people are posting these you know as you said studies and how they were able to you know achieve all these great results and increase sales or whatever. But I don't think every company can afford that and they don't necessarily have the conditions to practice us that way because all these you know studies and these posts that I read on medium are those that are ideal and are almost ideal perfect conditions sure for you know where everybody is on board.

Speaker 22:34:14You know I am a U.S. designer on a company's team and it's not just something that I do in my own cubicle or in my own office.

Speaker 4:34:24And you know I emerge back you know after a few weeks and say you know here it is. I just saw that victory. Yeah you know rather it's a team effort.

Speaker 5:34:35And you know from the CEO down to the last employee in the company you know everybody has to be on board and know what's going on because you design impacts the bottom line and they're trying to increase sales and you're trying to build up a sales funnel on a Web site you have to you know track data and see where your colleagues are going.

Speaker 4:34:59There are many ways of doing that. Heat maps and whatever but you know everyone has to be on board and everybody everyone has to know why they are doing this and why you know this is the best way to solve a problem. It's not just something that you do on your own and try to you know fight them one and you have to convince everyone that it's something that they should do.

Speaker 2:35:27Probably you know it's a team effort and that's always my fear. When I read a lot of this stuff I sort of have this underlying concern that all this creates sort of a rockstar culture right where the myth becomes because you do this type of work. You are going to walk into any organization and write command change command respect.

Speaker 10:35:48Like I I've come down from the mountain with the gospel and everybody going to go wow I never thought of that.

Speaker 3:35:56Please lead us to mediate. It just happens that way. Exactly. I saw something recently where you commented on the article on medium and the author said to you when are you going to write.

Speaker 10:36:12An honest to God.

Speaker 2:36:13I thought to myself that I know you know he probably really should write a book. Me Yeah. All right. The cuttings understand all the stuff that we're talking about here. You've experienced OK you've experienced and that experience is remarkable.

Speaker 9:36:27Yeah but I don't I don't really think that I have much to say and probably just be two paragraphs and you know at least articles maybe yeah maybe but I'll tell you why I continue.

Speaker 2:36:40And it's part of my own motivation. I don't know that I always succeed. But this is sort of always my goal I feel like I really want there to be a voice you know mine and I want there to be other voices in particular who are sort of telling the truth about the reality of some of these situations. It's not all glamorous and perfect. And as you said it's situations where everybody is on board and rowing in the same direction. I really think that everybody should hear more about the situations where it's difficult where it is imperfect and how you found ways to make it work in those instances. I think there's not enough really.

Speaker 15:37:19Well I think I agree. I don't find many articles Exactly. You know as you describe that you know explain the problem here is why it is a problem. And here is how we are able rather to solve it and overcome it.

Speaker 4:37:35You know I would love to have yet to find a book that takes you to a real world problem that was solved in a company that shows exactly not just the steps that were taken but the amount of effort and you know the significance actually also why US design is subjective is valuable and what is it that makes people companies you know try to think that way. You know since January this year I think they probably purchased around 20 25 books in us. Do they leave you feeling like you're looking for something that's not there. Yeah. EMBREY book I read. You know I just it's just a pile of papers you know get trees right.

Speaker 21:38:21I already know all that stuff you know where's you know where's the good stuff where you know obviously there are great books but the majority of those books that stuff you can find on the Web. That's why I asked you to write the you know enterprise you X book because you have all this real world experience that you know it shows through your talks.

Speaker 4:38:44And you know of course says your books and your blog posts. Very very different than most of other influencers. I would say there's not a single wasted sentence in any of your posts in your book. Wow. I don't know why people think you know really because it's all you know. It all makes sense and it's all.

Speaker 7:39:06Very coherent and all comes together and it's very readable and it's just on point. You all are very focused.

Speaker 16:39:16And I just learned so much from you and I'm just so happy to be a friend and have this conversation actually with you right now. Thank you. Yeah the little from you and it's all you know it's all applicable in real world and it helps it helps immensely.

Speaker 2:39:31And so why doesn't everybody talk about it. I mean here's the here's my I ask myself this possibly why doesn't anybody talk about this stuff. What is it. Yeah I don't know. You know I mean when you were with for instance when you were at the airline and you're trying to roll this huge rock up a mountain did you feel for lack of a better word. I mean did you feel alone.

Speaker 13:39:50Oh man not alone. I was like an alien on a different planet. That's how I felt as if everybody was looking at me. You know what. What. Why would you do that.

Speaker 7:40:01You know I've had friends and colleagues of these engineers a few of them that were curious and you know they wanted to do something more but it was just a few of us where the majority of people were just you know happy to luncheon at 9:00 and punch out a you know 5:00 p.m. and just go home you know.

Speaker 4:40:20Yeah I mean I have a kid and I have a family and a mortgage and whatever but there's more to life than just watching TV in the afternoon.

Speaker 2:40:30And I think one of the things I think this is human right. When you find yourself in a situation one of the first things especially now in the age of the Internet one of the first things that you do is you sort of you go looking for something that speaks to your situation in a way you're looking for an answer right. How do I deal with this. Who else you know has got to be somebody else is going through the same thing. Yeah. How do I deal just like for instance I have always I grew up working on cars and houses and all sorts of things my father taught me a lot of that stuff. All nice and now OK. Cars have changed a lot. They're very complicated. You look under the hood in this everything is sort of jammed together and he looks alien to some degree and one of the first things I do when I encounter something is sort of beyond my knowledge is I go to YouTube because there are all these amazing videos people have posted.

Speaker 2:41:17Ok here is how you do that. Yeah. And it's incredible. And it's just very gratifying experience. It's like OK awesome 14 other people have experienced the same problem or if I have something wrong with my computer right. And get online. And I hear OK there's there's 40 people who've had the same experience and here's how they fixed it. Now I feel like increasingly that's the component that's sort of lacking in a lot of areas of this discipline whether you're talking you Exar or design or even development to some degree. I feel like there's an element of reality that's sort of missing to feel that way.

Speaker 4:41:52Yeah exactly like you described. Yeah I think I was thinking about starting a you know me a YouTube channel or maybe a just start posting on Twitter and trying to maybe create a brand that you know talks about the reality of just practicing USX design and you know in the real world and I'm still trying to figure out the best way to do it. And you know I have a few topics that I'm interested in and it was probably no want to write about you should I should really. You should maybe maybe I will yeah maybe maybe I don't know if I have enough experience or enough expertise or you know anything valuable. I think it's just a selfish Nady sometimes for me to own thoughts and it's just you know one man's point of view that's a minus.

Speaker 2:42:50So as much as my point of view Ok if you've had any experiences which you have yeah there's value there. Okay you're human. You experience some things you learned. You had successes you had failures and they're valuable. And in any of those situations I promise you if you were feeling a certain way about them. There are hundreds if not thousands of people out there in similar situations feeling the same thing. OK. There's no accumulation of time or experiences or there's no bar that you have to hit to say OK now it's OK for me to talk about what I've experienced. There's there's no permission that you have to get. OK. It's it's really more a matter of letting yourself off the hook combating the imposter syndrome that we all deal with and saying this is valuable I promise you Daniel.

Speaker 23:43:44It is valuable. Yeah but it's know public and you know it's scary. I'm an introvert. You know if you're familiar with the Myers Briggs type indicator I am an INFP and you know very you know reserved introvert really for the last 15 minutes I don't know if I agree with that because you know working in the aviation you know it's a very non INFP not introverted welcoming environment. I had to you know do certain things to survive you know becoming more extroverted. And now it's not something I feel sorry about but deep down really high and you know and enjoy it. And this is why you know I had so many great ideas about pumps and things I wanted to write about.

Speaker 4:44:37But you know I just put them off and I shouldn't do that.

Speaker 2:44:42I'm not sure I understand. I did that for a long time.

Speaker 4:44:45Really. Oh yeah you absolutely. Jonah totally did absolutely me.

Speaker 2:44:49And finally at the end of the day finally you just you have to take the leap.

Speaker 17:44:54So let me do take the leap. What did you find. You know the courage or you know the permission or I think what happened.

Speaker 2:45:02I think what happened is it just sort of naturally evolved in the work I was doing with clients. What started happening is that I noticed that they started seeing more value and were more attentive and more interested and more willing to pay me quite frankly. In the instances where in the instances where I was teaching them something or it was that it was a room full of people and white board and we were working through stuff right and I was asking them questions and trying to uncover what was going on and people sort of sat up and took notice. In those instances and it just started to become this thing where word gets around and that's what people want from you. And it started to become obvious that that's at least to them where my value was. Now I'm very hard on myself to this day and at the time I sort of didn't believe it either but I thought wow this is going somewhere so maybe I should follow it.

Speaker 2:46:03Now later on in life I was fortunate enough to meet my wife. And when that happened this all really took off to a different level because here was someone whose opinion and acumen and expertise I really respected and she said you gotta do this stuff because you have to really forcefully put yourself out there more than you are people will react to and nice and she was right about that. Well you are a lucky man. Yeah. Very very. I am ridiculously fortunate. So at some point you just have to do it. And you also have to deal with the fact that along with the positive feedback you get you're also going to get negative feedback. OK I get comments on everything that I do privately and publicly that are there personal attacks that are unkind there and I don't really know where they're coming from.

Speaker 6:46:54All I know trolls.

Speaker 2:46:57You have to just shrug it off. Because for every one of those people there's a 100 people who e-mail you that say you have no idea how much I needed this today. OK. And when that happens man I mean that's the reason to keep doing it like a really is. Yeah and I guarantee you that if you get to the point where you just put some stuff out there you'll likely experience the same thing. OK. Human experience is human experience there's commonality there. And I think the stories that we all have to tell are more valuable than we realize.

Speaker 12:47:29Well if you were to ask me right now what I would say totally no something opposite you know I'd say probably I should you know shut up and just you know do my work.

Speaker 3:47:40You know don't rock the boat. Just do your work and go home.

Speaker 2:47:45I can tell I can tell from the things that you write your comments in this conversation. You are much more than that my friend. Thanks Joe. So let me we're sort of getting to the end here so I want to hit you with some quick hotseat questions. What are you. Not very good at many things actually.

Speaker 4:48:03If you can believe that or not I'm trying to become more you know articulate and assertive when I'm in a meeting for example. I struggle to explain my ideas and convey the solution to the problem that you know a company is having. You know I'm just trying to achieve a certain level of you know vocabulary and you them all the whole business lingo so I can you know better communicate. And I don't think I'm really good at that at least not at the level that you know. I think I should be.

Speaker 2:48:45So sometimes you have to let it be ugly. OK. When it comes out you know and you sort of have to work through it anyway and it works itself out. Tell me something that you think is true about you X or design or development that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Speaker 4:49:02Well I recently had an argument about the very thing we were discussing you know where the US designers should you know lead the charge rather than just be an order taker you know you should actually try to get everyone on board. And this friend of mine was like No you should me. You shouldn't get aggressive. Just quietly you know offer your opinions and just try to show them the way and see they see they take it where I thought you know you should probably take a more aggressive stance. People you know don't understand what the U.S. design is and you should take ownership and responsibility try to educate people maybe you know shed some light on how the whole process works. And my friend he disagrees. He just thinks that you should probably you know just do your part and not rock the boat and just flat fold your hands be quiet.

Speaker 3:50:07Yeah. What does he think is going to happen.

Speaker 5:50:11I don't know.

Speaker 12:50:11Maybe he's afraid of you know losing a client and you know not having enough money to pay the bills and eat food or just you know just march on and try to bring the best of value that I think I can. So you know if if if it doesn't work it doesn't work if it works great.

Speaker 2:50:33Right. And I think that's a challenge. Working through fear is probably the most important skill that any of us can develop.

Speaker 18:50:40Yeah. Working through it it doesn't stop. It's tough. You don't know that to different degrees throughout your entire life. And it doesn't stop. Never.

Speaker 2:50:49What word or phrase do you say way too much like you know all the time people say you say that all the time.

Speaker 13:50:56I say all the time I'm afraid. You know when I listen to this podcast later I'm just going to probably just delete it and not listen to it so yeah.

Speaker 2:51:08No I think you'll be pleased I say two words constantly I say OK yeah all the time like this. OK. OK.

Speaker 6:51:16Or I say right. Right.

Speaker 2:51:18Ah right I was like that. Right. And back to it. You think OK is there anything between all these OK's and right.

Speaker 10:51:27Exactly what the hell yeah that's the same with me and my cousin.

Speaker 3:51:32And yeah yeah I'm probably and so so so so.

Speaker 2:51:39So that's our little idiosyncrasies. What is one thing that you do that nobody knows about a skill that you have a talent you have what's something that they don't know about but maybe probably should.

Speaker 7:51:53Well I I can draw really. Yeah I've posted a few images recently on my facebook but I've been drawing since I was little kid and I love concept art you know for games and film and I actually was looking to enroll in a drawing course the advanced training course where you learn how to use techniques like Grosh and watercolor. It's helped me immensely you know with the new design sketching that sort of stuff.

Speaker 2:52:28It always looks you know I try to make it look neat crafts and yes that's correct. Do you try to make try to carve out time for purely fine art pursuing or drawing sketching things like that.

Speaker 4:52:40Yeah I try to do you know every Saturday night. I try to I used to draw maybe three or four times a week. I have what Carlaw an hour in the evening to just you know take my paper and pen and charcoal and sketch on paper. But I've been shot a lot of work to do so. OK. Not just you know sentence but yeah I did back in the 90s 90s when I was a teenager. I actually I did a lot of Rififi. Wow great cool. Yeah it was some of these people are actually in museums right now. My God like you know world famous artists and. Yeah we bombed know building strain's towers bridges. We had our own magazine event. Really. Yeah really. That's awesome. Yeah I've found why I found the copy from. I think it's 94 95 when I was like you know 15 and I've had a few pieces of my own published in them as well. And I think they still have my sketchbook somewhere that drive that drive and motivation that need design. Yeah.

Speaker 2:53:58And it is very very important. Nancy I'm I'm like you. I've been drawing ever since I could hold a pencil or crayon in my hand. Oh really. Oh yeah. Oh yeah I was I was a fine artist before I was anything. Really. Oh yeah.

Speaker 3:54:14And I had all that portfolio Joe and a lot of my drawings on deviant art and art icon.

Speaker 2:54:24All that stuff is still out there I think and nice. It's honestly something that I really want to get back to because I just don't do it often enough. And I really truly enjoy it. So it's good for me and it's motivating for me to hear that you know you really try to carve out time to do that because I think it's important. It's who you are it's not what you do it's who you are.

Speaker 4:54:46Yeah I just I just get so lost in it you know. You know you snap your fingers and bam two hours have passed right where you know how I probably will try to do some more graffiti sketches. I missed that time that this probably explains my love off topography of course.

Speaker 2:55:05Absolutely should. I've been a follower of street art and graffiti art all my life really. I agree with you in the typographic stuff in particular. It is always what floored me to think.

Speaker 19:55:14I love the most is when you have to have a sketch on the piece of paper and you have to transfer it to a huge surface a wall on the side of a building and you have to get older you know proportions correct and ratios between you know the size of the letters and I'm just I have so much fun with it.

Speaker 2:55:38To me it's a very imprecise instrument. You know it was breaking.

Speaker 10:55:42Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 2:55:47You know and I've never done it I've never done it. And because to me that's intimidating.

Speaker 4:55:51Oh man it was so intimidating. You know we we we would come up to these meets and you know crowd would form up behind us. And sometimes you know even these all these world famous graffiti writers that we looked up to and they would watch us live. No pressure. Yeah.

Speaker 17:56:14So nerve racking you know sometimes even here and there a cop would show up and you know they wouldn't give us any hard time they would just let us do because all these walls were legal and you know if they caught us you know doing graffiti on trains we would probably get in trouble.

Speaker 2:56:34Right. So here's so here's a good example right. You're in a situation where there's a lot of pressure. Everybody's watching.

Speaker 18:56:40Oh man I remember that like it was you know yesterday you worked through it. Right. Yeah yeah. So what does that tell you.

Speaker 10:56:48We can do it. That's absolutely right.

Speaker 2:56:52Daniel It has been an absolute pleasure talking with you. Thanks Joe.

Speaker 5:56:55Thank you for your time and thank you for inviting me. And thank you for doing all this. I wish everyone you know. Happy Friday Madhan. Have a great weekend.

Speaker 2:57:05And don't forget to give go do X so I will keep an eye out for articles and videos and other things from you very soon. Take care my friend Jake.

Speaker 6:57:14John thanks.

Speaker 1:57:16That wraps up this edition of making us work. Thanks for listening and I hope hearing these stories provides some useful perspective and encouragement along with a reminder that you're not alone out there. Before I go I want you to know that you can find shows and links to the things mentioned during our conversation by visiting give good you slash podcast. You'll also find links to more U.S. resources on the web and social media along with ways to contact me if you're interested in sharing your own story here.

Speaker 24:57:46Until next time this is Jonah totally reminding you that it's people like you who make us work.

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