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Great Things Come From Great Diverse Teams (with Katie Dill)

Hustle podcast.

August 26

“My role isn’t about seeing every pixel but setting the standard, getting the right people in place, seeing the big picture of where we are going and what we can accomplish.”

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Welcome back to the hustle podcast today. I'm very excited to be here with Katie. Deal, BP, a design at Lift. We've been trying to coordinate this for a long time, and I've just been so excited for this conversation. Hey,


Katie. How's it going? Great. Anthony. So good to be here. So lovely that you're able to chat with us. I know you're busy at home as a new dad. Congrats. And so excited to be chatting with everybody.


Yeah, me too. I know that the last time we tried to do this, it didn't quite work out. But a lot of people have been pinging me asking. When is that? When is that episode gonna be ready? So, uh, I think people are really looking forward to this Nice I have. You know, when I do these episodes of the show, I normally it's usually a casual conversation, but I'm just I'm just so excited to talk with you. I have some prepared questions for you, but before we get going, I thought it would be great if you could just take a moment to introduce yourself to our

Who is Katie Dill?

Based in San Francisco, Katie Dill is the VP of the design team at Lyft. Her team is a part of almost everything that Lyft creates to build a product that is reliably great and enjoyable to use. She learned design later in life, and her expertise evolved as she worked with companies and brands. She previously worked at Airbnb before she joined Lyft about a year ago.

listeners. Cool. Happy, too. Well, hello, everybody. As Anthony said. My name is Cade Ill. And I lead the design team at Lift. I am based here in San Francisco, and our design team is a an awesome group of different disciplines like research design, just you axe you I industrial design illustration and animation design producers and content strategy. Ah, we all work under essentially one roof, minus the fact that we also have folks in New York and probably soon things like Nashville in Seattle. But our group is a part of just about everything that lift creates for our passengers and our drivers.

We try to deliver a great product that's, you know, reliably great and an enjoyable thing to use so that we can have a real impact in this world and improved transportation and cities at large. My background is, you know, in some in many ways similar to other designers where you know, kind of learned about design. Late in life, I went to college and I studied history. And then only after did I learn about design on. I went to school for industrial design, actually. Ah, but still then my kind of design expertise evolved into many different ways, and eventually I was working at a company called Frog Design and then working with feces and startups, helping to build businesses, brand strategies. And then eventually I was at Airbnb doing a job similar to the one I have today overseeing a portion of the design team. I was at Airbnb for about four years before I joined Lift one year ago.


That's awesome. I really appreciate you taking time to be here. When I met, I met you for the first time at EPA currents, and I didn't really know what to expect going into that event. But I was listening to the interviews you're doing, and I thought, Well, I have to have to meet this person. I'm so glad that we've made each other's acquaintance is likewise even, just like the few short times we've talked really inspired by you. And I actually hope that we can sit down and have a glass of wine or a meal someday. I'm curious. Like, what kind of history were you studying? And what kind of history are you interested

What sparked Katie's interest in design?

She was a history major and wanted to know why things are they way they are. It was when she was studying abroad in Italy when she fell in love with architecture, which became the entry to her love for design.

in? Yeah, you know, it stupefied me that, you know, we didn't actually have to specify. I was just a history major notice particular focus, which is crazy to me being how much history there actually is. But, yeah, I studied it. Colgate University in upstate New York, just a small liberal arts college, and history was just something I was very interested in. I just wanted to know why things are the way they are. And so I get up No other reason than that went and majored in history. It wasn't until I was doing a study abroad in Florence,

Italy, that I actually felt started falling in love with architecture, which was kind of like my entry into getting excited about design. And once I was a graduate from Colgate, I was starting out to look around for jobs, and I wanted to get into architecture. And the more architects I talked to, the more I realized it probably wasn't the right thing for me. It was very clear that a lot of folks were frustrated by the timelines that it takes so many years to get something accomplished and highly impatient person that I am like Maybe not that, among other reasons, but, you


know, just kind of It's interesting. It's interesting because I'm I. I studied design, but I'm thinking about going to school, or at least let night classes to study history.


No way


I'm looking for I need some new hobbies and stuff. You know, I love what I do, but, like, I am very passionate about history in general. Anyway, enough about me. Yes, I want I want to know what an average weaker day looks like in your world in your organization. Like, yeah, What's it look like?


Eso for context. You know, Lift is I'm not sure whether we're smaller Big. It really kind of depends on the way you look at it, but, you know, we're several 1000 people now. I think 4000 people now and we are working on so many different things at once, right? So as you've probably seen in the news, you know where, of course, ride sharing. And we have many different types of vehicles and different bride types. You could ride in, but we also in the last six months have become also a bike and scooter company. Ah,

we're also working on transit integration. Our main goal is to, you know, improve transportation and make it easier to live in cities and make cities about people and not cars. And so that does mean that we have a number of things we have to figure out in terms of making multiple modes of transportation, you know, more enjoyable for folks. And so we've essentially got a lot of Stokes in the fire. And so that means for me, my week is it's pretty busy. I have a team of over 100 folks that are all working on different things at once. And you know, my priority is to make sure that that team is, you know, happy, healthy and productive and,

you know, doing the best work of their lives. Because if they are, that means all sorts of good things for lift and for the world. And so I spent a large portion of my time thinking about you know how our team is situated. How are we working? How are we working with our partners? How are we making sure we're super in touch with our users? How are we growing? Do we have the right people in place? The right leaders are every individual on our team, developing and feeling that growth. And, you know, I absolutely enjoy the work itself and love to see what people are working on and give feedback. But I am by no means that interested in and seeing every pixel we work on.

It's more about kind of setting the standard for our team at large, getting the right people in place and making sure everybody has a clear understanding of where we going. What is our vision? What are we trying to accomplish? What what do we see? A czar kind of principles for how we actually deliver on that work on those things are my responsibility. And so that means I spent a very large portion of my week, admittedly in meetings because a lot of that happens through talking to people and seeing what they're up to in hearing from them. You know, it's a mix of one on ones and, you know, design shares and group meetings on. And then you know, strategic meetings with, you know, my my partners and the members of my team.

So I I do find it quite enjoyable, you know? I know not everybody enjoys spending the majority of their day in meetings, but for me, I do find it energizing and a really productive way to get things moving forward.


That's awesome. I can relate to that. But not at this scale that you're at. Like I'm doing that with about 20 people I can't imagine. You said your design orders about 100 people.


Yeah, that's right.


Yeah. I gotta have a lot of good good captains. Yes, I want to just read it. We said, like, you know, good people doing the best work of the lives and how much of difference that could make If you know, like if it wasn't for companies like lift, my mom, who's blind wouldn't would have a completely different kind of life. You know, she she lives in a rural, not rural, but a a small city that doesn't have any public really have any reliable public transit whatsoever. And she's completely blind. But,

you know, she's able to, like, get around town and it dramatically changed, changed her life, but now she can, like, go to the grocery store and stuff like that. It's really, really amazing. I also want to tell you, since we're talking like I am so impressed with lifts customer support, the I just cannot believe how great. It is like, you know, you know,

things happen. Things go bad. You leave your wallet in the car or something like that and, like lifts Customer support is so on point like it's just like I think that was the first thing that just made me say, OK, this is the company that I'm working but they're just on like it is feels great. And it also I don't think most many people understand that like they may think of, like, you know, the kinds of products that we won't work on it just being the consumer facing like experiences. But there's so many different aspects of, like what makes, ah, service like lift go, including all those things, like what happens when things go wrong? You know it when you have a bad driver, when you have a bad writer or when you there's a payment problem or I really do think there's like some green a lot of really complicated things your teams working on. Is there any one thing Lift is working on that you're may be more excited about, or that really excites you right now.


Picking favorites now, uh, there are a lot there a lot. And and first of all, that's awesome to hear about your mom. I'm so glad to hear that. You know, that's definitely a big priority for us. Is making sure that this is a platform that brings mobility, you know, to where it's not today and whatever form that might be. And I also glad to hear that you've had a good service experience. We do really take pride and getting the details right. And I don't think we want, you know, our primary offering to be like the best support in town. But frankly,

it's definitely got to be. Well, of course, we'd love for it to be the best support in town. We just would love, more importantly for you, not even to have to use support. Uh, but we're very glad to hear that. I think the stuff that I guess I'm super excited about is, you know, as I mentioned, we are now also a bikes scooters company. We have scooters on the ground in Denver, Santa Monica and D C. And we are working now with motivate were acquiring motivate ah,

which is the largest bike share company in the United States. And with that, you know, we of course, you now have a really large, an exciting part of our business, which is about this kind of personal transportation so super efficient and really enjoyable Way to get around. And, you know, if you're living in cities where you might have seen these, you know there's just so much opportunity there, and there's opportunity make it even better so that, you know, bikes and scooters air integrated well into cities and become an asset. And we are really excited about all the aspects of that and in particular personally, as I mentioned by Background is an industrial design and our attention on industrial design and our efforts and industrial design have have increased dramatically as we are investing in the space as well as autonomous. And I'm just so excited to have you know so much work now happening in that space that's just near and dear to my heart and my history.


That's that's awesome. Do you ever find yourself wanting to? I know it's really hard, and sometimes it's often not the right thing for a leader to be, you know, two Hands on because of your two hands on like other things. Other, bigger picture things aren't happening. But do you ever find yourself wanting toe work on any of these? These these cool


projects? That's a good question, I think, you know, probably pretty early on. Actually, I'm a design career. I realized that I get way more joy and fulfillment out of the kind of actions and impact that people around me can have that I can help to make them in a position in tow happen. And so, yeah, I think while I love to be close to it and understand what's going on and have ideas on the table, et cetera, I know a lot of times there are people around me that have even more talent than I D'oh. And I am in a unique position where I can, you know, help position that so that they can leverage those great skills, get something out of that experience and learn from it and grow.

And I just find that so much more rewarding. So it's not super hard for me to kind of battle that demon of like, I just want to be in there. I just want to be doing it myself. just because I'm just so, so thrilled by seeing great work around me, you know, I have This really funny thing is I don't think I've ever told anybody this out loud, but, uh, when somebody does something really amazing I have this strange physical want to just like give him a hug like that is amazing. I just so is so excited to see what you can D'oh. Obviously in the workplace I have to hold that back. But it's just I feel it like, quite viscerally that, you know, somebody succeeding somebody. Being excited about what they accomplished just makes my day. It really does.


Yeah, It can almost bring tears to your eyes, right? I think that's so awesome. I don't That's that's awesome that you realize that when you did, I struggled with that. Honestly, I and I think it was kind of a fake assumption, like I felt Oh, yeah, I've been designing for 20 years. And then when I started this company, I found myself designing less and less building teams, designing less and less. And for a while I felt really sad or maybe even depressed that I wasn't supposed to. The work because I assumed Oh, yeah,

like I'm in a different journey. But then when I when I really looked back at say, maybe the last 10 or 15 years, I realized that I really wasn't doing as much of the work as I thought I was. I was surrounding myself with people that we're way better at this stuff than I was. And then I realized, Oh, crap, like building of design teams and all the stuff that is that's a That's a GN awesome designed task. It's not the same as designing a screen, but it's like even more important, right? Yes, which is a good segue way into like this. Next bit, I think what you're saying is perfect.

This quote from you from a fast company article says, When I first learned about design, I immediately thought it meant making something, making a product. But we're not only designing, objects were designing, strategies were designing, teams were designing the way we work. That's where I learned that design is actually something far broader. So that's awesome that the people you work with have a leader like you to work with that like truly and understands and embrace this. So I have a few questions around this. Why do designers choose to go to lift?

What is the one thing that Lyft designers and employees have in common?

Everyone at Lyft has the same passion for their mission. They all want to have a positive impact in the cities and environments around them. Lyft is not just about ride-sharing, but about getting people to use cars less through other ways of transportation, be that bikes, busses, or what have you.

There's no any number of reasons. Of course, that could gonna pull somebody into the particular subject matter that to the team. However, I would say that the one thing that everybody here shares in common is, uh, the same passion for our mission. Everybody here wants to have a positive impact in the places where we live in cities and the environment around us. I definitely a story in your injured my heart as well. When I first started talking to lift as a company to join and, you know, I was very much in the mood like I'm not looking, I don't want to go anywhere. And I had one conversation that, you know, just one enlightened me to what lift was up. Thio,

I think beforehand I thought lift is just ride share, but I didn't recognize that. Well, if you follow that line through and if you imagine more and more people using ride share in all these different modes of transportation, you know at one point you'll have this kind of hyper efficient, connected network and then you don't need quite as many cars on the road. Cars only need to be where they're needed at the time. Today, 96% of the time cars are parked. They're taking up in some cases 50% of the city, you know, cities that already crowded in downtown areas. And if you don't need all that, you only need cars when they're actually in use that that's a huge improvement. If you get more people into fewer cars, you can use obviously less of them.

If you get people into bikes and scooters, you can use even less of them again. You could get people into buses and trains in a way that's actually easy to use. Then you know, all all of these things get better, and you just start to imagine the city where there's not parked cars everywhere, but instead park glitz and parks and people walking around and having a good time and connecting like humans. And that is a area of interest for every single one of us in this building. Every single one of us believes that needs to change. We need to get to that world, and that lift can help to make that happen.


Wow. Yeah, that's awesome. I mean again, like, it's kind of a cent earlier. A lot of a lot of people probably aren't really think of that, right? But you have the ability to transform cities and transform the way people interact with those cities. And also, like, help people that, like my mom, who normally can't get around cities, like, actually be able to get her own cities. And I think when you when you can when you Condoleezza at that level,

like all these things just make life better for everyone. Absolutely. So, uh, you know, you're in San Francisco and you work for lift and, you know, there's a lot of talent in the Bay area. Lift is ah, you know, very popular company. I'm sure you have a lot of Ah, a lot of candidates, A lot of options. How do you guys and gals determine who to look for and like, you know, make sure getting the right sort of skills DNA and and identify whether they're a good fit, and then when you bring them on, how do you onboard them and set them up for success?


Many, many good questions packed into their well, I guess, you know, at a high level in terms of what we look for, uh, you know, we have to ask ourselves like, art. Well, what are we trying to do and what is necessary to do this? Uh so when we have a strong belief that great things come from great, diverse teams, so diversity in every way diversity of skill set diversity of thought, diversity of background, you know, gender,

demographic. The works, like people that come from all different walks, are things that we try to build into our team. And that has done well for us in terms of creating products that, you know, we're technically smart, that are, you know, business, smartened, that air doing the right thing for user's. So we have teams that each year led by a kind of, like try force of product management, engineering design, and plus,

on top of that research and data science, et cetera. So the these things are really important to us. And so if those things are so important to us than a critical part of the things that we look for, when people are, you got to be a great collaborator. You got to be a great communicator. You gotta have empathy for those around you. Not just, you know, empathy, of course, for our users. But also empathy for your teammates. You might not be an engineer yourself, but the more that you can respect and seek to understand what an engineer thinks,

Ah, the better you will work together. And so that's an important part of it. So we look for that empathy and the people that we look for. Secondly, we we have a lot we need to get done. There are just so many things that we want to dio and, uh, we see the impact that we can have. But we know that there are many steps that have to be taken toe Get those done. And so we also look for people that are really proactive and are eager to go out and solve the problem, not just the problem right in front of them, but the one around the corner on. And so you know, kind of it just like, you know,

want to problem solve and take action is key. And then lastly, you know, of course. Ah, level of craft that, you know is a meats are very high. Standard is critical as well. We look for people that are going to bring something that amplifies the efforts of others. They've got a, ah, great skill that you know is gonna push forward the overall team in the overall work. And so it might be, You know, you're an amazing illustrator. You might be in an amazing interaction designer,

whatever it might be. But we, you know, seek out those kind of exceptional skills and, you know, enjoy bringing them onto our team because they helped make everybody better. And I guess, to your question about how do you onboard And it worked together, you know, on boarding. You know, I guess you have to look at it in two ways. It's like one. We want you to come and join and be a part of lift. So we obviously need to communicate. You know,

this is what it means to work here, But I also think, and this is something I'm very proud of about lift is that there's nothing about it that we are in a dogmatic about. Like this is lift. And you will do this. You will drink this Kool Aid. And if you don't act this way than you can't be here. Actually, I think lift is really good at embracing the kind of diversity of thought on diversity of perspective and very much want people to come in and help to shape what we do and help to improve what we d'oh. You know, we're by no means have we figured it all out. You know, we have a process that might work today, but as we grow, it might not work anymore. And we need new ideas toe how to improve the way we do things.

Eso I very much hope when VOCs onboard with us, they they take what they can from what we share, which is our core values and, you know, understand the different parts of the business and get you more comfortable with understanding our passengers and our drivers. But then, you know, bring their special sauce, huh? And change it up a little bit with us, too.


That's awesome. Thanks for elaborating there. So you've also said that great design thinks about the business, the planet, the users that are going to be impacted by those decisions to to your earlier point about empathy. I'm curious. How do you get your designers to be thinking about the business? The planet and the users have a lot of. I have a few questions about this, but I'm just curious about how you guys mean. Is that a high level?

How is Lyft conscientious about the environment?

Katie states how it goes back to the team, and that it’s important for people to realize that pixels are merely small parts of the equation when hiring people. She says that the real product and experience is 99% offline. It’s an absolute requirement to hire someone that sees beyond the pixels and thinks about Lyft's overall customer experience.

Well, I think one thing is kind of going back to what? What do we look for in the teams? And it's important for folks you know to realize, especially with a company like Lift, is that you know, we pixels or just a small part of the equation, right? Like we're hiring. Designers were firing interaction designers, visual designers, folks that do both or industrial designers. But the real product, the real experiences, actually, 99% off line. You know,

it's somebody standing on a street corner. It's somebody sitting in the back of a car, the driver with their hands on the wheel picking up a stranger like all of these things, air the actual experience. And so it's not just like a nice tohave. It's an absolutely critical thing that we hire people that think beyond the pixels, thinks, think beyond the atoms and think about what that experience is adding up to. And so that's one. And we look for that in, you know, in their portfolio off work. And they're the way they think about problems in the way they, you know, kind of handle design solutions. But beyond that,

you know, every business is slightly unique, and our business is actually extremely complicated. You know that two sided in some cases, three and four sided market place, and there's a lot of kind of things at play. And then every city that we're in is different. Has different, you know, kind of constraints. Sometimes it's mountains. Sometimes it's government. Sometimes it's whether in whatever it might be. And so there's just a lot. You gotta wrap your head around, and so we also try to make sure that people are on the job learning.

Ah, we want people to get out in the field, experience it, experience it as a driver, experience it as a passenger. Talk to passengers and drivers, uh, worked really closely with data science and PM's, and you kind of learn their language and the things that they're interested in working on. And, you know, I think the more we give those kind of like windows into other ways of thought, you know, kind of helps designers bring that into their thinking, too. It's just gives me so much joy when somebody's pitching a design and they're like And we think this is gonna make a big difference in the city because of this,

this and this Or, you know, I know this is gonna work well versus that because you know, the drivers I've spoken to, etcetera. So we kind of just prioritize gaining insight beyond your own work as a method for getting things done.


Yeah, I that this stuff is big. You know, every designer, every team is is different. But I There's been a lot of, ah, conversations and articles and Twitter back in force about things like this that I've been really thinking about lately, like the question of like, Are we truly being empathetic to the people we're designing for? Are we like in the bubble and, like designing for other people like us, you know, like the way someone thinks about calling a car in Austin, Texas, or in San Francisco, it's gonna be different,

completely different, the way like someone thinks about this, unlike Rule or America or, say, like countries where, like cars can't even get into, like, big, complicated, like Mark market centers and stuff like that. Like I it's like it's a big thing. Like I think, you know, like, you know, some companies have the money and the ammunition,

the power to sort of really poor, you know, poor effort into, you know, traveling to lose locations and doing proper research and all that. And some companies don't you know, like I know for a fact that at the at the consultancy level, you want to be empathetic and you want to get out And you really want to, like, see, you know, like how people are really using this in the environments that they're really using it sometimes, like you can't do it because there's no budget, right? It's like, How do you get over that heartbreak?

How does Yeah, it's it's It's tough. I'm curious how you guys do that, like, how does lift design for these like very different cities?


Great question. I think it's you know you're right. There definitely are real limitations to budget, and money doesn't grow on trees, and it can be tough to get out across the world and all the time. But I do think there are tons of hacks. And I bet you know, if you just even like tweeted a quick question or just like, hey, how do you gain broader user insight? Ah, cheap budget. Be a 1,000,000 ideas. You know, I think there are things that you can do digitally, and there's so many different kind of platforms nowadays. User testing dot com You could,

of course, do things in like Facebook and Twitter, and you could just get out there digitally would be a thing. You can, of course, even just you know what is in your vicinity. That might be different than your immediate area. So for us here in San Francisco, you know what's happening in Fresno. What's happening in Sacramento? What's happening? You know, Santa Clara or Santa Cruz like these are, you know you can drive to them in an afternoon and gain insight that would be different than you know across your neighbor's yard. So there's definitely cheaper fixes. I recognize that sometimes not the same as jumping on a plane and getting there. I absolutely would prioritize being on the ground in the place where you're trying to build for, but I wouldn't discourage anyone. I hope no one's discouraged by the limitations to give up like there's just you gotta kind of start getting crafty, I guess,


Yeah, I think what you're saying, what you're saying is, just just do something. You know you could do, you could do nothing or you could do something. And you know something? I mean, like, you know, we live in a very connected world, weaken. We can connect with people globally. We can use tools like Skype or Google hangouts, or or even like what's happened phone and the Internet, right? We have.

You know, I think sometimes people get get overwhelmed by these things and it starts to in sort of hinder them. But, like, really, there's a lot of different ways to do this. If you if you really want to know, there's there's


ways to find out. Yes, well, set. Just do something through something. Exactly. Yeah. I think the first thing is that, like, you know, the first thing is a mindset is that you just have to recognize that you know when you're making assumptions and, you know, just start right off the bat to, you know, kind of push those assumptions aside and know that you know, you just don't know until you know the way a city might be is just It's so hard to see that doing research from afar. And,

you know, when you get out there or start talking to people that live there, you start to learn things that you know, it might be really telling about the differences. In New York, we got skyscrapers. It makes actually GPS much harder in Colorado. The same thing. You know, we lose connectivity more often than we otherwise, and so product features that you may have designed, assuming perfect connectivity. It is, I mean, frankly, just unrealistic anywhere.

But in those places, it's exasperated on, so it's really important to get that insight. You know, funny thing with scooters were learning. In every city, it's different as well, and some they require that you ride on the sidewalk and some they require. You do not ride on the sidewalk. So you know you have todo dig in and find that out before you, you know, ship hunt, 500 scooters to somewhere and and learned the hard way. So we send people out. We get, you know,

folks that live there. We get the questions answered. We talked to cities and policy and, you know, the police officers. And we try to learn as much about the situation before we go


in there. That's awesome. Just to kind of kind of a side note on that. Like I was, I was driving to like, a happy hour after work one day, and I saw, too. They looked like middle schoolers, maybe, maybe high schoolers on scooters, some other companies scooters. And they were. They were doing a like a left turn on a red light and I and in for a month, I start asked myself,


like, Do you need a driver's license who ride these things?


Like I was thinking about that I don't know, I guess every you know, like different you. That's maybe an example where, you know, states have different laws,


right? Yeah, yeah, yes, yes, there are. And I think every state there are at least everyone that we've been kind of thus far, there are minimum age requirements. Um, and driver's license is required but in different states, it may be different as we go, but yeah, it is an interesting thing. And it can be tough, of course, like for the user experience, Especially when you're designing a platform that works for people that travel,

you know, recognizing the fact that you might be in Austin and then you come and visit me, and we're gonna go out for a glass of wine and you come to San Francisco. And now the laws are different here, and so we also have to try to ease that for people that are in a moving through the platform and make it easier for folks.


Yeah, it's, but it's so awesome when you think about like, the this age that we live in. I mean, you and I, we grew up like we didn't have this stuff. Like when I when I lived in New York City. I mean, there wasn't even There was no uber. There was no lift. There was no like there was yellow cabs. And in the black cabs and the black cabs, you had to call and negotiate a price with, like, Oh, you know how much to get to this neighborhood and you have to negotiate with them on the street.

Or, you know, like, uh, it's so awesome to think about. Like how, How, man, How awesome it would be to be a kid again and be able to just be able to hop into, ah, lift or hop on a scooter and get around town. Just just amazing world that we live in right now. Yeah, all right, a few more questions for you. I mean,

the audience that we have is is, you know, there's a big good mix of designers, people that are freelancers, people working in house at tech companies. I have a couple questions for you because I think these air some questions. I get asked a lot. So if you know mine, Oh, shoot those at you. Yeah. What do you think that in general Internal, you know, designers and internal teams do better than the other agencies or freelancers struggle with. And also, what do you think agencies, air consultants or freelancers do that internal teams sometimes struggle with


such a good question? I feel like I have maybe three or four drafts of an article that I wanted to write on this forever, and I've just never done anything with it because it's such a good question. It comes up all the time. And I remember when I was in design school and you're in graduation, the topic. Did yours always like, Are you gonna go in house or agency as if they were literally only two options, which I guess in some ways there are. It's Frankly, there's a lot of positives and negatives on both sides, and they probably equal out to, you know, it's just what's best for you. Let's see. So for agencies, you know,

I think some of the benefits are, You know, you get to work on a lot of different things. Oftentimes you're surrounded by a disproportionate number of people that may be in the creative space as well, so I'll use the example. I worked at Frog Design for five years, and they're you know, most of the people that work at Frog are creatives designers. So are designed technologists and then strategists and, you know, kind of designed producers, et cetera. And so you're You feel very much among your own kind of people, in many ways quote unquote, and you get to work on just so many different types of things. And a lot of times,

companies hire agencies to take on kind of this, like edge work the blue sky. Help us understand if this is an opportunity type of thing over here over there. So you get the benefit. Sometimes. If this is the type of thing you're interested in, you get the benefit of this like blues guy exploratory work. But the negatives of these things is of course, you know, you're always a little bit removed from that company that you're working with. And sometimes that means that you're not able to really understand the implications of the ideas that you're proposing. You maybe not unable to even to actually share as many good ideas as you possibly could, because you just don't know what that company is capable of. You don't know as much about it. Eso Sometimes your ideas are just a little bit more wrong. You're also not able to see things through.

You know, a lot of times you're coming up with these brilliant ideas you're so excited about and they're like, awesome. Thank you so much. They take the work and then You know, two months later, something happens and they find out that that idea won't work quite as it had been articulated or something changes for them, and they're not able to actually see that idea. And then you wonder, why didn't it ever ship? And it's like, Well, if you had been there, perhaps you could have tweet, didn't evolved into to make it go forward. But you weren't because you were,

you know, on the outside. And I do think there's also some negatives about, like, switching around from project to Project. Is that you? You don't get to again see through and developing expertise and so that the flip side of all of that, of course, is if you worked in house and you could see things through, you know the company inside. And now you know the opportunities, uh, the negatives of it might be is that you don't get to, you know, play with the fuzzy stuff on the blue skies quite as much, But frankly,

you should be pushing to make that happen and make sure it's happening somewhere in your company. And, you know, if you bring a kind of consultant mindset to your company. Sometimes you get almost couldn't pull the best of both worlds. And, you know, I think that's for me. Something that I have have felt I have gotten a chance to do. My five years at Frog was almost like a design education. It was incredible. But then I could bring that kind of skill set into my work in house at Airbnb and and now Lift. And I feel like I in many ways get the best of both worlds. It's great.


I'm also trying to do best of both worlds thing to maybe a little bit selfishly. But you know, like I've been around for a while, too, and I think there's no doubt about it, like there are plenty of opportunities for both in housework and agency work. I I know a lot of people that are owners of of agencies, but the problem is that there they're worried so much about things going in house that they see it as like a like a diminishing of like the role of the agency and in today's world, I don't see it that way at all. Like I think that any any company that spinning you know significant amount of time and energy on investing into design and building in house teams like it means they take this seriously and it and it means that they, you know, while they're growing or or maybe even all the time, like they're gonna need. You know, teams need to rely on a combination of both in house and outhouse partnerships. Now, the role of the agency,

in my opinion, has dramatically changed. Right, I I don't know if you would agree with this or not, but I don't I think the age of like, you know, definitely without a doubt, the age of an agency, being, you know, having better ideas, or smarter or whatever. And lobbying things over the fence has gone long time ago, right? Like that's just that that ship has sailed if you wanna work, cos there's a way to do it.

But you like to your point, like you has to be different. You have to you have to collaborate more, and I don't I don't know, like, I'm also glad that I came from like traditional agency background as well, because I learned certain tactics were doing design that I think sometimes Sometimes internal teams, designers and internal teams don't know, like how to do, like a certain kind of mood boarding exercise. They're selling design because, like in an agency about you're selling design constantly. Yeah, I think there there, you know, it means like breaking down those barriers.

I'm trying. We're trying to get the best of all for worlds here. It fun sized by by making by trying to find a way to to do what you were just saying is a problem like being around long term. It is very hard. Thio take responsibility for the design decisions you make if you're just doing a project and you're gone. But if you could be around for a year or two or longer and you could be like a part of that design team, I think I think you can start your not a W two employees. But I think if you're around like that amount of time, you can you know what's going on. You can be more impactful.


Oh, totally. Yeah. You know, I think it used to be like when I was talking about leaving design school. Ah, lot of the in house cos quote unquote in house Cos they didn't have design on staff. And so a lot of times that it did feel like you were the only designer if you joined. But now designers Aaron, these companies like there's designers at Intel and IBM and Citrix and the companies that you hadn't thought of them there before. And so when you know, working with an agency, the dynamic has changed greatly because it's much more of a partnership as you're describing on. And so I think there's benefits all around in this regard. That design has a new seat at the table within these companies, and so it's It's more enjoyable place to work if you want to be in house. But it also means if you're working at an agency and a consultant role, you also you almost have like an army on the ground inside. And so you have a lot better chance of, you know, having a little longer oven and the lasting impact.


Yeah, it's just it's just a different world, and I think if people could realize this, if they really, truly understand the way that the industry is going and you use that to your advantage, it could be really awesome. I mean, I mean, I'm just being completely humble here, like the number one issue that companies of all sizes face right now is hiring. That's it, right? Your startup, you're trying to figure out When can we hire our first like designer or design team, right to to do this stuff on our own and autonomously to, you know, enterprises that are,

you know, on boarding 10 designers a week. I mean, it's it's the number one problem. You'd just be humble enoughto to realize that I

What is Funsize?

It’s a female-owned company where there is about 60% female in totality. Almost all of the applicants are women.

think it's a great problem.

What is Funsize?

It’s a female-owned company where there is about 60% female in totality. Almost all of the applicants are women.

A few of fun sized members wanted me to talk to you about this nest. Next topic. Fun size is where a female own company were. Most everyone, the team is a minority, and we're about 60% female in totality, almost all over. Applicants are women and at the forefront of looking at, you know, doing per portfolio reviews like they're just significant. Like almost everyone is female these days and like theirs, I you know, like I read articles about how that you know, the design industry is lacking female representation. I just don't see that because maybe I'm just you know I'm in a very different environment. I'm working, you know,

mostly with with feet, strong females. But I'm curious like what your thought on this is. And I'm also want to know, Like, what? Your advice. What advice you'd have for female designers and leaders out there. Just in general, if there's anything we


share, my letter is awesome. By the way, love to hear that about fun size. Totally. I'm such a big fan of the company. And you know, you all have such great talent, whatever gender they may be. But it's awesome to hear that. It's, you know, part of that success is that strong diversity and care for, you know, people that just do great work. So kudos, geology.

Yeah, and you know, for us, it's kind of same. We care deeply about this, and I'm very proud of our team that, you know, we have strong diversity. I feel like we could, especially as we grow and we get into more and more areas and more more places. You know, this is never a done thing, and so we're continuing to invest in ah, the team inclusivity and increasing the diversity of our team I think you know, for folks in general and just you know how we could see this. You continue to improve across the industry.

I am heartwarming to see that there are just so many exceptional women out there. People of color people of you know, all different types of backgrounds. LGBT Q. I think there's just their brilliant people everywhere and awesome to see that, especially over the last couple of years, the limelight has been shifting more and more to highlight these people that have been doing great work all along that just were somehow not getting as celebrated as they should have been. But I just don't think we're there yet fully. You know, there's still just a gap on Dhe. I think it's a it's a matter of time. I think the right things are in place for sure, but I do think we all have to take apart and kind of holding the door open for each other. And so you know, women out there, you know,

we we know what you know. It may be it has taken to get us into the positions were in like for example, you know, I definitely feel overjoyed that I get to, you know, sit in this leadership position working with these exceptional people. And I know that I, you know, I couldn't have gotten here without great support from others. And so I want to kind of pay that forward as well on. I think that means in some cases, you know, investing your time and getting out there being a mentor, participating in talks like this and being seen, You know, not every one of us wants to sit behind a microphone or sit on stage.

I get that. And, you know, sometimes it's, you know, I've always been out spoken, I'd say, but still, it's sometimes hard to have the courage to do it. But honestly, it's just a reminder to myself of like, Well, you know, if I do it, am I, you know,

maybe gonna help to inspire somebody that looks a little like me or, you know, was not courageous. Themselves and Salome be courageous with that help. And so I do think of it, you know, in that regard that just getting out there even though it might not be your preference, it may help others. Uh, so hopefully you know, that's just a thing that over time more and more happens. And then, you know, next thing you know, it's more of a regular occurrence that the limelight is equally shown on all


Yes, toe all that. Yeah. I mean, you know, you have to hire you have to hire great people. I don't know, like, I guess, I don't know, like maybe maybe we attract a lot of diversity because we, you know, we talk about it like we understand that good design is table stakes. But we actually over here, we if we had to choose, we were gonna choose people over skills because we feel like we have the right team and learning environment for to teach some of some skills and to grow that but like the like, Wait earlier,

this conversation, you're talking about how have all having people of all these different backgrounds and, you know, industry experience and all kinds of different levels of diversity, like, brings a lot to table. And that's what we're trying to. Maybe we're tracking that, but yeah, I think it's I think it's I think it's awesome.


Yeah, that is great. Yeah, absolutely. And I think That's an important thing for every team to think about. It's like especially it. You know, people ask about how do you ensure that you have, you know, truly inclusive process for hiring. And I think number one thing to do is Thio, you know, understand what you're looking for. What are the things that you are must haves for the individuals that you're gonna hire into the team? And what are things that, like you talked about, couldn't be coached and learned on the job?

And if you get real clear about that and the people that are participating in the hiring process are all clear on that, you're going to a much better job of finding people in a fair way. And, you know, bringing on some folks that maybe you, you know, could surprise yourself of like, Oh, I wouldn't have looked at that company to find somebody to work on our team. But they actually meet all the things that we're looking for, as opposed to starting with, you know, some sort of like picture in your mind about like what? Cos somebody comes from or what background they come from or where they live. It's got to be about. The skills were about the things that you, you know, CIA's must have qualities for. You know, the folks under team.


I want to be respectful of your time. So I'm just gonna ask you one more question, because I know that you were busy. Much higher level question. What would you consider success in your tenure at lift? And what kind of legacy would you like to leave behind as a designer, as a design leader?

What is the legacy you hope to leave behind as a design leader?

Ultimately, Katie hopes to leave a positive impact for people during her time at Lyft. She hopes that the people she encounters will enjoy what she’s helped do and has benefited from it. She strongly believes that Lyft will create positive impacts in the world due to the type of people the company hires. If she helps these people amplify their talents, then nothing can hold the company back.

Who What great, big hard question to end us with my own mind. My legacy. I The first thing that comes to my mind as you say that is that I just I wanna have a positive impact on people. I would love that. You know, at the end of the day, at the end of my life, whatever it might be under time, someone worked with me that they you know, they enjoyed it and they thought they got something out of it. Uh, that would be huge. And frankly, if that were the work, if that, you know at my time at lift had a positive impact on the people around here and that they felt that working with me helped them.

Then I have all the you know, feeling and confidence in the world. That lift will have a really great impact in this world, not because I'm you know, anything special or superhero, but like there's just so much great talent here. And if I can just, like help in any way to amplify that talent or, you know, just help people come together in a way that's more productive, then Holy crap. Nothing can hold us back because there's some really incredible people here, and it's literally just about like helping Thio get things out of their way and lift them up to do what they do


so well, that's that's so awesome. I The more I talk to you them, you know, the more I get inspired. I feel like you and I have so much in common, and that's such, and I'm so, so amazing. That's so incredible. And I think you're doing that like, you know, the one time I met you. I mean, it's hard to say, like we don't know each other well, but like the one time I was in your office and I saw the way he interacted with your team in the way they interact with you and,

you know, smiling faces only. I think it's like it's just so apparent that that's what's where your heart is. But I think it's so amazing that you look at that. You look at things this way, and I'm It's been such a pleasure to speak with


you today. Thank you so much for your kind words, Anthony. I really appreciate that. And I totally agree. I think we have a lot in common. I love the way that you talk about your team and what you've built you and your wife have. Bill. It's awesome. You're great leaders in a fantastic company that you have there. Thank you. Thanks for doing this. Thanks for inviting me on.


Yeah, next time we're in town, we'll have to get a meal or something. Or at least have Ah, you know, maybe we can share war stories another way until we meet. Just Ah, don't be a stranger. And for people that are listening today, how can they connect with you or lift


design? Absolutely. We lift designed. We have a blogger on mediums you could just look up with design. We are also you can find us on Twitter me on Twitter. I think I'm at little underscored ill. But I think if you just search my name, you could probably find me. Yeah. Always happy to continue this conversation. Thanks.


Awesome. Thanks for making time. Thank you. Thanks, everyone, for tuning into the hustle podcast and we'll see you next time.


Actors take care for a bite. Hustles brought to you by


fun size That digital service in product design agency that works with inspiring teams Uncover opportunities of all popular products, Bring new businesses to market and prepare for the future. Learn more at sun sized dot CEO. I'm Natalie, a partner design director at fun size and thanks for tuning in.

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