Do you use RSS readers? Add Smash Notes to your daily!
Hustle on Smash Notes

What Are You Gonna Say Yes To? (with Joel Beukelman)

Hustle podcast.

September 04

“There’s a consequence to the prioritization of anything. It’s about having a framework for understanding those tradeoffs, and creating a pattern of decision-making so you can have a structure for your priorities.”

download episode



this'd Anthony and welcome back to the hustle podcast. I'm sorry that I hadn't released many of these in a while. I kind of took three or four months off toe focus on being a father. Natalie and I had a baby, but I got a bunch of really cool things lined up. Thanks for thanks for tuning back in today. I'm here with a good friend of mine. He's got a last name that's hard to spell, like mine. He's someone that I don't get to see very often. His name is Job You Coleman, and he's ah, super badass. Joel is a senior interaction designer, Google, where he works on Chrome. Formerly,

he was head of design at Design Inc. Who was formerly a sponsor of the Hustle podcast. Thank you very much. Soul and also previously, Netflix and several other places. He was previously on The Hustle Podcast, way back in 2015 on Episode 21 with Ted Botha, which is called Just Show me the damn thing. Make sure you check that one out. For those of you that don't know too much about Joel, he's got a really popular YouTube channel, which you should definitely check out in a popular vlog where he talks about his career. Pretty openly. Interviews really cool, inspiring people and shares a lot of knowledge with the design community. Joel, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to come to this with me.


Glad to be here, man. A pleasure as always.


All right. Why don't take a moment to just give your own little introduction of yourself from from your words and maybe give the listeners a little bit of inside of what you've been doing.


Yeah, I'm a Southern California boy. Grew up all over Southern California and have stayed here. I'm currently working out of the Google Venice office work on Chrome desktop on that U Ex team. The chrome You X team is about 20 ish, 30 ish people, but there's a chrome os like extension of her team as well. But most of them reside in San Francisco, where a global team in Munich, Paris, London in L. A San Francisco mountain view. So I'm at any given time anywhere in California. I'm hopefully traveling a lot because we have our distribute team. So been there the last two years, almost before that was started. By designing,

like you mentioned and then Netflix Before then, it was a matter of me stumbling through career in print design and in startups, a CZ like the iPhone and Mobile Apps in the response of Web was, you know, the hot topic at the time. But yeah, my dad, I've got three kids. I spend a lot of time thinking about everything outside of design. Whether that's father in our budgeting are becoming a healthier person. I think that I'm in this weird space mentally. We've talked about that offline as well. We conjugate that in this. Yeah, I'm a dad. I'm a designer in California, doing the hustle


a lot of this stuff we're gonna talk about and everyone should definitely subscribe to his YouTube channel. And there's some really interesting, interesting things that Joel talks about. I mean special, that stuff that goes outside of being a designer, which I hope we can impact today before we get really into all of that. I'm curious, like how does how does someone like you that has a very busy job at a very big company with very important deadlines manage to do all of that travel, be a good husband, be a good father to three freaking kids and make all the time to write medium articles and record block of logs and all of that. Like, How do you How do you do all of that?


Yeah, I think so. For a while, I had a podcast called the Balance and I was like, hot on balance when I first got into this space of, like, making content in the context of design and have, like, this, like, deconstructed, pessimistic point of view on balance now, which is kind of funny coming full circle. But I think it's really just this constant evaluation of priority and, like something's going to have to compromise here like there isn't enough time for everything. And so what am I going to make a priority and make time for into the past? Most of that has been like pursuing work,

you know, kicking ass, taking names, getting things done to get the next job or get on the next project. Often a lot of that was hustling and making content and creating podcasts or doing tutorials or making templates like that. That was what the most of my like last 10 years in the career has been focused on. I think now I'm starting to. I'm not doing less of that. Like I still want to make videos and still doing other things that you know, are growing me as a designer is a creative but those things what I would normally wake up at four o'clock in the morning to do. I'm now waking up at four o'clock in the morning to go run, right? And so I am posting this on YouTube and I'm okay with that. And I don't even think it. That's like comes from burnout. Think comes from like a change in priority of the things that I'm trying to change my life,

like I've got my career and a healthy like, developed pattern at this point, you know? Look, I'm not trying to figure things out, and not that is in cruise control. But it's definitely in a more consistent spot, specifically being a Google, not like doing freelancer startup where, like I can say, Hey, look at the the only way I could be a better designer now, as if like I'm healthier and more awake and more on point, and a lot of that comes to like discipline and prioritising other things than work. And so I think I'm still learning how to do that right? But I think often I sacrificed like my own personal health or my own personal piece or some like calm or margin in life in order to do all the things.

And I think that only last so long or becomes like satisfying for so long because I think it's a hustle on its fine. I tell you, it's not fun, and then he resent it that it then you burn out right? Hustles great when you're in it,


man, there's so much to unpack there, and I can definitely relate to that. Like I mentioned earlier before you start recording, I've been in this game for 20 years, maybe a little less. Maybe a little more, I don't know. And yeah, I've been married for almost a decade of that, but pretty much my entire life that I can remember has been focused on one thing. How can I be a successful designer and then maybe in recent years, how can I build a successful studio and take care of these people that work for me and then, you know, at haven't you know, having a baby came in was really like I probably should have realized this years ago. Having a baby can't come into the picture like really gave me a reality check.

I realized that I had maybe spent too much of my time thinking about I mean, the things that I'm interested in doing work related, maybe even more too much time on my people at work who I love. Verses like investing in my relationship with my wife and and now, like, you know, being a father I used to, like try to find every moment I can, like, write e mails. And now it's like I'm learning that Oh, man, if I find time, if I find time to play with my son is gonna be so much more rewarding into your point, like coming back and being a better person to the people that rely on me at work. But then there's like this other thing that you mentioned,

which is like priorities. Oh, that's a big one to someone that I work with, like drew me this diagram of like like an upward seal and in a valley. And she said, Look, it's not always binary, but sometimes you have to be willing to say You have to decide what you're gonna say yes to what you're gonna say no to, and there's no way you can keep saying yes to everything and do it all really well, not burn out. And so I don't know about you or what kind of tools used to make those decisions. But I'm learning to, you know, and I in the self help thing, I'm there with you to hope we could talk about all this like I'm not. I'm not.

Yeah, I don't take care of myself at all. I don't exercise. Sometimes I forget to brush my teeth like, you know, like

How does fatherhood change your privacy expectations?

Being able to use the bathroom without your kids knocking on the door is a rare occurrence.

I'm just terrible, hard like. And then it's not that's not specific to design, like becoming a parent will make you have to prioritize things right. Like me. Being able to take a shit without a kid knocking on the door is a day in heaven for me, right like that, and that's that's something I don't expect. Like parent people that aren't parents toe have to understand that right, but the different level of, like privacy and like self sacrifice. And But I think like you can be equally that committed in that distracted by work, right? And so this isn't like a parent, non parent thing coming out of a startup and like working your ass off for so many months, like without any really focus outside of making that thing work is a really good contrast to, like,

see a more structure life, like having a regular job, are working for a company like Go. That contrast of working for Starr than going back to Google felt easy, almost like Okay, I can manage this, right? But even with that, there's so much chaos in the fact that, like I'm in many different offices, my wife runs a full time business with, like, six contractors. We've got three kids, and so there's just a lot going on. I think one of the one of the biggest things that of why we can do this is because we have,

like, a ton of support as well, like we have a lot of family and friends, and at any given time there's someone watching her kids and picking them up like there is a big compromise and a big effort there that, like my wife, bears most of that burden. And we understand that, like, the alternative for that is for me to live in one of the offices where chrome is more, you know, dominantly out of which isn't in the books for us now. So, like, we've been able to, like, make those trade offs.

Well, I think the thing that I'm starting to understand is it, like, every every hour spent on designing, isn't it beneficial And the big And this is like through, like, tons of therapy and like me doing a lot of like self discovery. But I always found, like, time that I spent on me as being even like, like, if not selfish, like, at least a waste of time in the sense that, like I could If I'm gonna wake up early, I'm gonna go get more hours and on this or I'm going to stay up late and crunch on this so that I could,

you know, get ahead or whatever. And and now I'm trying to, like, wake up early to take care of myself or do something that I want to dio, and it's still harder for me to do that. And I think I have a lot of like thoughts on why I think that way. Part of it's just wanting to make things. And that's why it's harder for, like, creatives.


Okay, so maybe maybe unpack that like, Why is that hard? And to what do you actually do to invest in yourself?


Yeah, So I think this might be like a little soft and emotional for, like, a practical design pod. Yes, but I think this is like, you know, we're emotional. We're supposed to be a motive in design with empathy and understand these things. So I think self awareness is a topic and very interested in specific ways release to design. But I think that, like there, there's this insecurity that I know that I've dealt with most my life being on the kind of the the edges of culture, whether that's like in music or being a person of faith or just not fit again, right. Like always, being on the edge is growing up in band camp,

right, becoming a designer on being in the art department. There's a certain level of insecurity that comes with that. And I think that in any job where them doing great or bad have like this Loki like base level of I'm gonna get fired tomorrow. And that's that's not usually ever true. I know that I'm in good standing and I'm having good, you know, feedback from my my reports


and whatnot. But so would you say it, just like even more specifically that it means that you have that you feel this sense of needing to be an A player all the time?


I think so. It's it's that it's partly like imposter syndrome, like thinking that you're gonna get found out that someone wanted to be like You. Wait, you're not as smart as good as you are. There's a bunch of like emotions that go into it. But I do think there's this like foundation of like I have to overachieve or continually make people happy or meet people's expectations, because if I don't, then I'm going to fail or not be accepted or loved or whatever, right? Like they think there's this base level. Part of that was like I'd rather be uncomfortable or are not do something I want to do because it's going to keep me safe or keep people and like a good opinion of me. And that's harder that, like for me, that's I don't know if we'll ever get over that or if that's just part of what makes me a good person, maybe even right. But there's there's a certain person that we like,

you know? F you I'm gonna do me. All that matters is me, and they can really be happy and do they're like what they want for them. I'm gonna find that harder for me. And so when that relates to work, it's like, Oh, I could get this to this person faster. I could get this done now. I could overachieve and provide extra documentation in this back, and I'll often do that, and that makes me a good employee. That doesn't always make me a healthy person. Or that makes me a worse dad, right,

cause I'm tired of the state of the night before, Um, I'm impatient now, and so there's a consequence to any prioritization of anything I could completely be focused on my family, be the best data ever was, and I'm probably not going to do is go to work. I'm gonna miss the meetings or I'm gonna be slower on certain items, right? So there's a trade off. I think he's just trying to have a framework of understanding this trade offs and then hopefully creating some sort of pattern of decision making so that you can have some sort of structure to the year priorities to make sense,


Yes, preaching. But well, I mean, I mean first. I think that, like these kinds of conversations, are really important to me. It's like the whole reason for this show is to talk about the people that are behind this stuff. And these are very real things that I think a lot of people deal with in any industry, especially tech and design, where the, you know, the stakes are high and there is a lot of pressure on a lot of competition. I mean, I mean, just for my perspective,

I think that the fact that you actually think about both of those makes you in my in my eyes, like a good person and not a roommate. We have the same conclusion because everyone feels different. But the fact that you actually think about. But the whole scenario makes you at least a very unique person. You're thinking about that because I think it's it's very dangerous to go one way or the other. You could be all work. You could be all mean. But, you know, there's a medium and, yeah, like every single decision you make of impact impact together. But the fact that you even think about that, I think, is what is important.


Yeah, I mean, in the context of check, it's fairly unpopular, right? A lot of tech, the narrative and start ups and bootstrap is, you know, hustle hard, build, break things fast. And and I I agree with that mostly, like that's how I grew my career and learned what I did. But if you look at some of the most successful and like honored people, an industry, a lot of them aren't decent, great at balanced people,

right? I wouldn't say like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs are like people of peace. And like great moral judgment, I'm guessing they're bad people understand. They dumped their work and to hustle. They collected their families and and they made a ton of money and change the world. And I think the longer I get into my career, I care a lot less about changing the world and being known for designer making a lot of money and that maybe that's a losing mentality from entrepreneur standpoint. But the higher epic Google I get, the more responsibility I get. The more millions of people get to design for, the less I'm satisfied or compelled by that impact. I don't get off on the idea of being a director of a big U X organization and if you that's fine, I think there's people that do wonder then that's fine, too. But I think I've gone through a lot to understand, get to that point of knowing more what I want in my career.


I think it's taken me a long time, but I think in my own way I've accepted it. I'm okay with being a B player because life's a B player. Well, because I have a team that I can rely on to do things like instead of like trying to do everything on my A game, like I try to let the people that I trust, like let them run with their game and like because I could have my hands all over everything you know. But the thing that's gonna get me out of here at 55 o'clock or whatever is like giving autonomy to someone else and and maybe, you know, you know, my personal struggle has always been like, Should I be actually hands on versus leading


that just like a level leadership, right?


I don't know. I

What make for a great designer?

Design is a multi-faceted field with many niche aspects and no common language to describe them all. Being able to focus on your own proficiencies is the key to doing great work that makes you happy.

The best way to understand what would make you happy is to try it all. Some might prefer to stay as individual contributors, some would move into management..etc. To each their own, and that's okay.

think I would just say like you can't be and a level I see managing a project and be a level to be micromanaging right? So I think that's I think that's part of the I've been having a lot of these conversations with my new design manager about like we have all these different terms and there's designed Is this, you know, ambiguous concept that many people could participate in and still like. How do we actually know what we're good at? Our who we are as designers, and there's a medium article I'm working on with her that is related to some of the thinking that design does. Internal are Google does internally about design, but it's a more broader, just like design concepts. But it's like this cool image, the school visual map where you can define kind of the competencies you have, and it's very multifaceted. But all across all the things that we do right, and it gives you this nice image that I think you can associate like these. The things I'm really strong on, these things I know how to do but need like,

improvement honor. And these are other aspects of you exercise or our space that like I don't have much experience with. And I don't feel like we have a common language in our industry to, like, talk about those things you say, like I'm a part of designer and me. You excited all these things and people talk about titles all the time. But the reality is is like there's many competencies that exist within our industry, and I think we need a better standard, like engineering has this right. They had the languages they speak, the things they do, and they can talk about proficient Season two tests. There's no reason we can't have some sort of standardized framework for that. And, yeah, I'm interested in talking about that conversation externally. So I think I think it just good cause people as creatives. You need to be self aware to the things that make you happy in the things that you want to make of the things that you don't want to make.


That's the key,


right After you just get thrown into it, you just do all of it, right? And some parts sucking to think. That's what I was saying, Like self awareness in the industry, I think is really important to keep crunching on that, because I don't think we value that enough. Do you like the visuals or the U. X? And it's so much deeper than that.


I don't know how many listeners know this, but I don't actually design. I mean, the only the only thing that I I mean I did for 18 years. But the only thing that I really designed now our designers and I love doing it, it took me forever to let go of it. But I love doing this and and you know, I think everyone on there like that you talk about the hustle like you have to do really good at this. You can go up to this level so you can go up to this levels. You go to this level, and usually those decisions are come across with, like, some concept of title and compensation. But whatever happened to like what we love doing right? Like how many like how many great designers have you seen turn into like manager like poor managers is because, like, that's what they thought their resume needed or the industry expected of them?

Or they needed the money. Like, whatever happened the conversation about What is it you love doing and how do we optimize for that and give you the most career potential doing that? Like, for example, my wife is ah, owner of fun size. She's a design director, but we're currently like having conversations about Will Shoot she just be a nice sea, right? You know, like as an example. I mean, you know, you have to like, I think that designers I mean,

this kind of went on, I didn't expect to talk about this, but I think designers need to be willing to, like, really think about that. What are you gonna say? Yes to what I'm going to say no to, You know, if you if you're going to say yes to management. You're gonna be saying no to design. Is that gonna make you happy? You know, like all of those things. You got to really think about that. I mean, I do think that there are should be opportunities across the spectrum.


Yeah, and you have to you have to experience them to understand whether you like them or not. And I think that is I think that's one of the big unfortunate aspects of being independent or working for a smaller organization or working on your own. Is that like you don't have the exposure or the opportunity to, like, dip your toes into different things? Working at a big organization like Google, I could just go. I could just go, like, stumble upon some artificial or autonomous vehicle research or insert myself and be a part of it if I want to learn more about it, right, Like that's just at my fingertips. I can volunteer and do like a global immersion trip to understand emerging market cell phone usage. Right? Like those are things that we d'oh that like our I can say like, Hey,

I wonder would be like toe, you know, being expert in localisation. I can go down that path, and so I think that that's one of things a very fortunate of. I've been able to understand myself more as a designer I've had I've been able to touch operating systems and, you know, Mobile H. I see work and analytics in big data and now, like open Web desktop software. So, like, I think experience is one thing. The second thing is it. I don't I see a big gap in designers being able to explain why they can continue, continue doing.

I see work and providing more impact. I think it's a very delicate thing is like a certain level. You can only have so much impact as an icy. And I think there is room for very senior staff, you know, director level. I see that could have a ton of impact. I don't think there's many people in our industry that air that senior that are still doing. I see work that could explain why that position should exist on why they wouldn't be just his useful under manager, right as a regular a C on. And there are people like this are the likes of like very special teams at Google that are very senior. I sees that work on very high exposure high, you know, impact projects that don't have reports. But those people are very senior, built many products and have a very article way of explaining the things they do in the impact they have on a product.

I think there's a gap between, like an icy and a very senior person that doesn't want to management. And I think part of the reason that gap exists is because we designers have a hard time explaining our value beyond a certain point as an icy, uh, something I'm still trying to figure out as well.


You know, it's also interesting to like I mean, just, you know, for example, because you look at the rest of our industry that they're so obsessed with titles, you know, if you look at goals, LinkedIn profile is website. You know your label yourself as an interaction designer. Why did you call it what you call yourself? An interaction designer versus product


is under just curious. It's just what we use internally Google. There the two tracks. We have a Google or interaction and visual and then we have U ex engineers, which is more of like a prototype being Web,


you experts. Okay, Yeah, I just I was just wondering if that's how you see yourself


as it is. Yeah, No more, More broadly in the industry, I think I would identify as a product designer or a software designer. I prefer, like I've always been very specific in this sense. Like I used to always call myself a mobile designer specifically because I hate designing websites. I've never been good at designing websites I didn't really like, kind of dabbled in building WordPress sites for people always hated responsive Web like not I liked this system part of responsive Web but actually building marking sites like I've never enjoyed. And so I specifically like product design and designing product experiences specifically, usually in a native or like non Web app context. I'd like the constraint of it, like the systematic parts of it media product designer. I do a lot of motion. I do. I'm doing honestly more storytelling in strategic stuff.

Now I do production you x in you. I work, but chrome is a fairly small U X organization for as big as a product is is. And so it's been fun to be ableto be a part of some bigger meetings and work on some larger strategic and, like, hypothetical work on. And I really enjoyed that space a lot.


All right, let's switch gears and talk about that a little bit. So you were part of the team that was working on the big Google chrome. 10 year anniversary designs? Yeah, the big refresh and listeners can read can learn more about that on Joe. Lt's blawg Episode 81. But why don't you talk about that a little bit? Like What was that? What was that experience? Like working on something like a big I mean, chrome is a big part of people's lives, but, you know, in a lot of different spaces and you like the reverse is pretty big. Like, uh, what do you want to share about that goes, go as high level or as deep as you want.


Yeah. I mean, it was interesting for me cause I had only been on the team for about eight months when we started questioning what we wanted to do. Like we knew that we were having a 10 year anniversary. Chrome traditionally ships on a six week schedule, so we're always launching new versions of the software. But this was the 10 year anniversary, and there's like this long history of birthday cakes. Ship browser cakes, I think they call them were like Firefox and chrome send each other cakes on their big releases to kind of celebrate in this, like, you know, growing the Web in general as an open platform.


Does anyone sent a cake to Microsoft?


Uh, you know, I think they've been involved, actually, as well, because we're obviously up in Seattle and Kirkland. But there is this, like the browser. I think if there's a lot of employees that have worked at many different browser companies, but there's this, like we're making the weapon better place in a healthier place. And so there's a camaraderie there, even though we're competing. And so we like. We knew that, like, 10 was gonna be a big birthday thing.

And at the time GM to was being defined that, like this next version and expression of material internally and so they were equally like sharing that speck and talking about kind of the opinion of that updated in an evolving design system. And so, being one of the main, you know, software's of Google, we were thinking like, How much of this do we adapt to? How much of this effects are current design system thinking? Can we actually do this by our deadline? And and from what I understand from like typical like cycles and planning for chrome, this was like a very expedited and very ambitious goal, and it was very fun to be part of it. I was one of the main designers on the desktop side. The two spaces that I mainly focus on currently today and worked on for the 10th anniversary was the Omni box we call it, which is the main search in neural box. And then the new Tad page, which is obviously the page when you created your tab.


Probably the most visited page in a browser.


Yeah, I mean, it's it's a very unique kind of space and has evolved over the years, you know, we're always thinking of what its next purpose should be. We added some civil personalization features to that, and then there's the overall visual you I designed, which was kind of the main task of likely just update the why the browser shaped changed, which is a very big deal. That was a big part of our brand, so we had to negotiate a lot of what that would look like. Most of the interaction of the browser stayed the same we had proposed. There were some flags and some early articles of things that we're experiencing with that we didn't pull the trigger on. So it's really interesting to design for because Ah, lot of visual stuff was somewhat obvious in the sense that we had some guidance from material and the branding teams. But it is such a productivity tool in the sense that many people get their job done in the browser when we are somewhat an invisible frame. And so as soon as you make yourself visible again by change or by doing something different,

there's a huge risk there, opportunity also to make something better. But any changes version, Obviously there's risk, and so everything was done with a lot of consideration. I love the new browser. Like I I've looked at old mocks of old browser. Anytime I see the old browser, it surprises me how old it feels now, but yeah, I mean, designing a browser and, like producing assets and reviewing builds for stuff that is this, like global, I think is probably the biggest release I've done. Any


idea how many people


use chrome? Yeah. Not that I can publicly released. I mean, there's probably a public number out there.


It's a


lot. A lot. Yeah. I'll just give you the appropriate answer Hominy users does. I mean, it's like global on the mobile versus desktop, there's different numbers. Have any usages crime? Half? Yeah. So publicly on venturebeat one billion users. So a lot of people,


I I can't remember who I was talking to. I think I might have been Michael Buzzer. Do you know you might blizzard? Yeah, a swell. He was in Austin a while back, and I was like, What is going on with, like, this Google rounded corner shit? Because this was before GM to


share some assistant and everything.


Yeah, he was like, Don't you worry. You'll figure it out early soon. Now I have to admit, like I think all of the new Google stuff is amazing and so really well executed chrome is awesome, too. Yeah, it's gotta be also work on things like that with I mean I mean, I know that you said earlier that you you're sharing your impact, like your opinions about how you think about yourself, a designer at a company that has that kind of impact. But it's ah, it is kind of kind of crazy to think that that we can make that kind of impact. I don't know, like that scene in that that seemed like a lot of pressure, though. I mean,


I would just say it totally in and Yang because, like theirs in one respect, like I'm making decisions that affect, you know, a 1,000,000,000 people. And there's this weight of like, I get this right But then the the if that's the yang of that is like, yeah, but if we get it wrong, we'll figure it out and then just change it, right? Right, So that there's that. And then there's this. Also, like I'm the designer at Chrome and I was getting mentioned on Twitter was like Good job, Joel,

which is I'm 11 small part of this very big machine. And so there's there's this, like Oh, I'm in charge of this and it's my responsibility. There's also the reality that, like, I could be gone tomorrow. It's all gonna be fine. Someone else is gonna make that decision, right? So it's entirely important. But then in the same breath, entirely. Non existent rights, like everything matters but also like this is just a blip in time. So I think that's understanding both of those crates and balance, Right?


Did you get? Did you get hate tweets?


There's a couple people that were like, Please don't do this which I mean, everyone's gonna hate something. I think the biggest thing is like I I'm so ingrained in material like I have ah men menti that I'm entering right now internally And like she was asking about some of the eight point based grid system in some of the general spacing like strategies within material. And I'm like, Oh, yeah, just this this this and was realizing how, like how ingrained in how blind I am that, like material is just like how I design. I just designed material. Now my personal style is very Google Lee just because I've been designing that way for so long, and that's like a bias that have been acknowledging, like, wanna work on side stuff like trying to get out of that aesthetic. But I think it's assisting the scales. And I've been I just moved back to IOS and like living in the apple ecosystem again for a while.

And there is some into, like the density of Mac products that is nice. Obviously, a lot of material is optimized for all all devices and all screens, so it is more touchable and more physical. And I'm used to that, and I believe in that theology or that that, like philosophy for you, I But it is. It is. I talked to mix Log a lot who works at Apple, and we always go back and forth on Apple and Google, and I think it's fun. I think there's there's two competing movements that are equally useful and intriguing and opinionated, and I think it's I think it's a fine conversation that will be ever present.


Awesome. Thanks for sharing that. So I want to touch on something trying to get caught up in your world. I was listening to some of your recent blog's just to get prepared for this conversation and, yeah, you mentioned something in the most recent one about it was, I don't know if this is a direct quote, but in my notes it says, like Think about chasing a career and then you get you get to where you think that you think you need to be and then you realize, like what the fuck like, what's what's next, like, What's the meaning behind that? Like, Is that something that you're going through? Like or is that like something you just been thinking about? Like what? Do you what he had to say about that?


Yeah, I think there's. I mean, if there's anyone that has has followed my INSTAGRAM or YouTube stuff like the last two years have been a very transformative time in my life. In many ways, more than one Ah lot of should have been in my life in the last two years. One of those was like career stuff coming out of the start up coming back to Google, and a lot of that was okay now, no, I'm a senior. Interaction is under Google. The next thing has become a staff designer of Google, and then that's like that's it right over there's like staff designer to or something like There's this, like, very high level. And so I got to the point where it's like, OK,

I've done this and now, like now what do I want to do? Management and my content Just doing this and my content. Being a designer of Google forever, I think the answer is no. But I found myself in, like a meeting with the new manager, and she's like, What? Like, what do you want next? What's next for your career? I was like, I don't know, like I'm good, right?

Which scares me. The idea of like not having something to chase for is a scary thing. And I think I've been slowly learning that, like, the next thing isn't career oriented, right? Like the next thing is me. And I talked about that in the video, but, uh


okay, so here's what it is. It's like it's like tell me if I'm saying this right. Like in this This thought that you have the work. Joe Buchanan is persistent, but what becomes evolved is the you Jobe.


I think so, Yeah, I think the next growth is me not so much me that creative. And I think the creative will benefit by me, that not everything else gets better. I think I'll become a better creative. I saw a little clip that Dan Petty posted. He's doing that video or that video series, whatever's working on. And there's a clip of him with Maddy Smith and Mats like Yes, fit is hell and running and working at every morning. And he was saying that like my body is healthy and my mind is clear that like, I'm going to design better.


And he's saying like it's important to set that example. His hits,


right? Yeah, yeah, and that's That's only that I've never worked out. I've never been active person. I've always loved camping and snowboarding and being outside and like, I've been going to therapy for the last year. And my therapist is like No drill. I don't think you depress. I just think you're tired. She's like what? Like what gives you energy? What makes you excited? Like I like going outside. Do that like don't skip a meal and go outside and sleep and see how you feel. And so it's like those those things like taking care of myself that I've been tryingto learn more about when things that I've neglected and not made a priority because design was the only thing


I cared about. All right, So, like, who are you as a person and like what? What is what are you like when you're not working if or if you, you know and you're doing something else. We all talk about design stuff all the time. You talk about this stuff, we all define ourselves by our tunnels. But, like, who are you as a person? Like what? What are your other interests? Like, what are the one of the things that other things that really are important?


So for formally, like the most other important thing my life is Jacuzzis. Actually, you're at. So I have I have a low key second instagram account called Jacuzzi Joel, and it actually started at Monty's in Tahoe at hypocrites.


I must have missed


that. No, I was I was a couple of bourbons in, and everyone was downstairs, like networking and talking about design, and I came down in my epic shirt with a roban. I was like, We're going to the Jacuzzi and there was this big Jacuzzi party. And Charlie wait was like Jacuzzi Joel coming out strong. And ever since then I've always been big on. Like I pick my hotels. I always travel with the trunks like I'm a big, like lover of steam baths and saunas Jacuzzis.




I'm a sonic. Yes, so that's not a big joke of saying like I love like, warm waters and like, I'll kill a spot any day


you have. You have a Jacuzzi in your house.


I We're remodeling our back this


year. That's all


right. Plans. Yeah, So that is part of like the treat yourself, like every night, have a little Jacuzzi. So before bed. But in all like it all, really, I do love to, like, disconnected. Relax. I used to never do that. Like my wife taught me how to enjoy sitting by a pool in reality, like, I think my favorite thing to do in the world.

Snowboarding, like I love being outside of the mountains, hiking, being being outside. So that's one of things I've been trying to do is I just don't even love running or exercising. I have a really hard time going to a gym. But one of the things that I've been doing is like waking up early, driving to the beach. There's only like four miles for me running to the pier and back of them jumping in the ocean and like something as simple as that, like, that's not necessarily a hobby. But that gives me some sort of like, This is for me. This is something that's that's specifically only to like bring joy to me and make me a healthier Betty Pert better person, a ce faras like things I care about and like doing obviously like spending time with my family. I truly do love traveling,

which sounds like a B s like dating site thing to say. But like if I did have free time was like Let's just go, Let's go, you know, let's go flat in Mexico Let's go, let's go to Canada or whatever outside of that, Like I you know, if I had a free day, I'd see like what bands were playing. I'd go to a show, you know, like it's it's it's all still very related to my life. It's just things that I don't normally get to do because you know my kids pissing the bed of five in the morning or I've got to stay home with my wife is in Palm Springs on a wedding. You know, it's not that have lost my identity. It's like often would. You're devoting yourself to a career and a family. You kind of lose your identity. They have been watching that f is for family. Everything that show it's Ah,


no is awesome.


Yeah, What's his name? Young's TC. Carl. What's his name? The comedian? The bald guy?


Bill Burr. Gilbert


Builder. Yes, yes, I know. But there's like this sad, like, reflective cultural narrative in that show about like this dilapidated dad who's lost his identity, hates his job, is annoyed by his wife and has screwed up kids. Right? And life is like this stow peon like very sad, like dark humor to that show. But I do think it's very easy, and this this is like giving the tone of our culture. That's a very bad time to talk about, like how sad for the poor white man that's married with a, you know,

privileged White House to say, like, so sad for him that like he's lost his identity because obviously there's a There's a ton of privilege in that statement. But I do think there is this level of, like, just a personal identity and hope that people have to have it. I think it's very easy to focus on a lot of other things and to lose that regardless of who you are and what you're into.


I mean, uh, I understand what you're saying about the sort of privilege thing, but every child grows up with a hope and dream about what they want to be, and it's no like, I mean, okay, sure, it happens. But very few kids are like saying I wanna design software, right? Right. They're saying like I want to be an astronaut would be a fireman like something like that. I want to be a you know, like whatever, like they're dreaming, right?

And it's you know, no one, no one would ever say like, Oh, I want to do this very particular meticulous thing we find are ways to these into these past, and then it starts to find us. But there's often these other parts of us that we never got to explore like, for example, I always wanted to be an archaeologist if I'm not designing where I mean Well, I don't design if I'm not working, I'm usually at home, like reading about archaeology. I've thought about going back to college to study archaeology, which is rather if you were to go back to college. And it's like if you were just a race who you are right now. Well, maybe I don't know if that's important to race, but like, if you if you had the opportunity to go back to university and pick a major in a minor, what would you do?


Yeah, I I think about this actually pretty a lot. Like I I always wonder because I didn't plan on to being a designer. I was I was going to do music. I was gonna be a drummer, is going to be a studio session drummer with the band And, like, just do that. Or be a professional like drumming, core drum and bugle corps player. So I always thought that, like, what would it look like to go to, like a legit, you know, music school? Get my degree.

How good of a dreamer could have I been, I think, without a lot of about, like going back to school for music or learning music outside of that man. I don't know. Like, I think I'm pretty well suited for the design career. Like there. There's there's little interest of other things that want to do professionally. That would be like legit jobs, like I've fantasized all the time, but like living in the mountains and being a snowboard instructor in this and the winner and like a rafting guide in the summer. I fantasized


about that all the time, right? Oh,


that's what I'd rather d'oh Yeah, I know, but like, that's that is like, That's the old soul that I am like before. I, like fell in love and, like, started a family. My plan was to like graduate college, moved to Boulder and teach and snowboard like that was those were my ambitions. So, like, I'm very much like a black sheep in the way, even in tech, in the sense that, like I'm not that much of a nerd like I grew up playing some video games like I don't like World's award craft like I don't like coding,

I don't I don't resonate with a lot of like what tech and nerd and and like the entrepreneurial startup crew, like demons, like cultural things that they care about. I'm I'm somewhat of a hippie in a way, and, uh and so, yeah, when I think about other careers, other things, it's less like what other profession? What I want. It's like, What if I wasn't a professional? I think that's more compelling to me of like I could live off the grid like I've spent hours of, like YouTube watching on Bush craft like I'm nerd ing out on living in the woods with a hatchet in some


pear record. You could, uh, you could design Jacuzzis


do I mean, I do follow a couple because the instagrams, but that's another story. That's another podcast for another day.


Do you think that the places that you and I live in are similar, right? Like we're in smaller cities that are far further away from the big mecca of tech craziness, and we both are actually kind of doing the same thing to like we're both in smaller markets working in the Bay Area, basically like




You think that has an impact on the earlier conversation about this feeling like they're not gonna. That cultural mindset isn't gonna line with your cultural mindset and in Or do you think that that really hasn't been an issue at all? I


haven't seen the cultural bit be different. I don't think that's like perceived that way of, like, Joel is not a part of this, and I think that has less to do, really, Even with where I live, I think there's this natural like creative in me and this natural like person that enjoys everything outside that is opposite of what I'm doing right now, right, like it's not digital, it's not an office that is the other person that I am and that like I want to be. And that's what I'm trying. I'm trying to be healthier and, like, like nod to that side of me of like just jumping in the ocean like the wild in the the excitement in that I do think that like being remote and outside of the bustle of Silicon Valley, there's got to be disadvantages, right,

Like I I had the opportunity to lead the Netflix mobile team or to be one of the main leads on that team, which probably would have became me being manager of the team when it was like two of us. Right? And I didn't take that job when I went to Google and moved to Irvine. So, like, did that affect my career? Probably. You know, Dantley Davis is a V P at Facebook right now, and I was working with him. Who knows where and my career would have been if I would have stayed in Netflix and Road that originals train to where it was, you know, a year ago. But I like, I don't I've never given that thought of like did I make a mistake?

So yeah, the reasons And that's I think that was like the wife first started prioritizing my career differently was like I could stay up here. I could have joined, you know, nest and been a part of the nest exit with Ted. I could have joined Instagram. I could have done lots of things. This isn't like bragging. This is just like when you work in a big company. You get to know everyone and everyone's glad to work with you. And so when I when I was making decisions with my wife of where I wanted to go next. It was strictly related around, like how much my mom was gonna know my kids before she dies. That's why I moved to Irvine, because I was like, She's got,

you know, who knows 10 20 years. But like the you know, my kids were 01 and three the time or something like that. And so I was like, you know, before my kids were in junior high might they could hypothetically not know my mom if I don't move right and the fact that I could work for Google and live closer to my parents and my in laws and let them have, like, thriving relationships when they're young with their grand parents and also make my Google salary and travel on Google's dollars like, Yeah, I'll do that, you know, And it's it's not common, like I had to work my ass off and convince the V P. That was a good idea. And,

you know, I had to do it like under review for three months to make sure the relationship worked, and you know there's a cost to it. But from first. For me, it for sure is the best. Like having my cake and eating it too.


I can relate to that as well. I mean, I we moved from New York City to Austin for the same reasons. Like we No, we want to be clear. We we wanted to optimized for family interaction, you know? And that was this what was important


to us. Did you feel like it is your competitive edge? Like when you were moving from L. A toe Austin And then like having a New York pace and perspective? Did that give you, like, an advantage in, like, Atlanta Market? Do you think?


Okay, I'll try to answer. This is honestly and humbly as I can. Yes, it did. It gave me It gave us clout when we came here for sure. But even


work ethic, like people just bust their ass in New York,


right? Yeah. Well, okay, that's okay. I'll try. I'll try to impact both of those on the one hand. Like we we felt like big fish in a small pond because, you know, I'd always worked for small studios, but like the really popular ones. And Natalie, Natalie was was designing for mobile devices, like back during deep at days, right? Like she was an expert, right?

Like she worked on some of the most earliest native stuff. Like for big brands. Yeah, really were coming into this a smaller, smaller market. And so, people, that was helpful to us, too, you know, to establish our place here and why, Why other designers should follow us and create this business and why people should hire us and also how we could get our cake and eat it too. Like how we could attract very clients to hire us and trust us knowing that we are optimizing for lifestyle, you know, because the people that want to work at fun size asked questions about like, Well,

how much time I'm gonna have to ride my bike versus, like, what is my What is my accelerated career path projector trajectory here or something like that? You know, it did kind of help in the long run. Has it really, really make that big of a difference? I don't think so. It probably helped us established our roots here and get the business going and all that and I think and a lot of ways where we are, we are eating. That meant metaphorical cake because I think the people in the Bay Area that hire us, which is where most of our business comes from, they know that our priorities are different.


Yeah, I don't think just like just even working in tech and having like your existence on a computer. There's There's a certain anytime I engage with people that aren't in our industry, even friends that are creative, like photographers, other people. There's this certain level of like, I don't know, everything is just slower, like people are something simple is a slack channel and being a slack user, There's an immediacy and inefficiency that becomes normal part of your day. And when you engage people that don't have that level of efficiency and, like literacy digitally is like, Oh my gosh, like, what world are you living in? Ludlow? Get after it spent Oppa Doc, send me a reminder invite.


Let's get It was really hard for the first few months for us, were really difficult because I have always been like before. Before I ran fun size, I was a small business owner and freelancer. Most that was my identity, like I've always been a smalltime entrepreneur ran coming here. I was like, Let's get to it like Let's get going Let's like Let's do this shit People always like when we get Thio you know, like I don't know, like I gotta go to yoga or whatever and let's talk about let's let's


do this Let's go.


Like absolutely Uh, yes, I was. That was a little challenging at first, but I think now we've kind of we you know, the Austin culture is definitely our pace of life, you know, like I love like having a mix of that like I love there is still nothing more exhilarating sometimes than going on a business trip to the Bay Area, and getting a taste of that high energy


is the best part. Just tripping,


eating, believing and then leaving that Yeah, that's the yes, that's it.


Absolutely. That's half of it. And I think that's that's my that is my we talked about, like making those priorities like trade offs and trying to create good habits like I essentially have three different types of day like I have my family day, which is the day that like I wake up, I spend my morning with my kids, I make breakfast, I help everyone of the door. I drop the kids off at school with my wife, and then I get into the office by between nine. And 10. Right? I have the day that I'm in l. A which is like my commuting day. I'm a bit four in the office by five. You know, I leave the office again in,

like, three, some home by five for dinner, right? Says a 12 hour day, but three hours on the road. And then I have my travel days when I'm out of a in San Francisco by 10. I'm there for, you know, for eight hours and home by 10 the next day. So those are like the days that I have structure that worked for my family and for the needs for the job. Right now I'm trying to figure Okay, So on each of those days, when do I get time for B? What time I gotta set aside so that I can go for a writer that I can meditate? Or that I can go get a coffee with a friend?

Those things all sound very simple and stupid, but like I've never made it a priority to schedule those things in. And so, like, that's kind of framework I'm working with and it seems to be working. But it's, you know, it's a process


that's awesome. I really appreciate that you are willing to go outside of your comfort zone and and share your emotions in your opinion, so honestly, with the public that you know as you d'oh, I think that it's really cool that you do that.


It's weird. I think I don't know why I share like it. Zip it. And I think the I've been sharing a lot less just because I have been doing a lot more like introspection. I think the I think everyone should share more thing. People learn from it. I definitely I always get weird about it because I don't want to feel like I'm providing answers or telling people how they should think. I think for me it's a way of processing thoughts and in general I think it's beneficial toe toe learn from each other, and I think that's like the part of designed Twitter, part of the dribble community part of our design culture that's changed and that, like everyone did share a lot like people would live streaming, just hang out and work. Things were very open. And, you know, there's a lot of relationships people, that unknown industry because of that.

And so it feels just natural to do now, even though I think things air obviously a lot different in larger. But it has a bit me in the butt yet, like I haven't got fired for saying something I shouldn't or being too honest. So I'll keep doing it until I get my hands. Laughter. It affects me negatively.


Thanks for what you do. I don't know if you'll be there, but I hope to snowboard with you at


Occurrence. Yes, I mean, we're gonna be that I'm not going to this last one on It sounds like they're keeping it going under a different frame, so hopefully we'll end up on the hill some time together.


Well, it's not snowboarding, but maybe you'll join us for method for one of our method. Things coming up this year at you stay on the phone after we hang up, I'll tell you about it and then sneak peek. Yeah. All right. Uh, Joel, thank you so much for taking time out of Daito. Stop by. Thanks, everyone, for listening in the hostel podcast. Joel, how can people connect with you? I


mean, I'm kind of everywhere. As as Anthony said, My last name is Bugle Men, which it took the valves out of which is B k l m in. And I'm at that almost everywhere. Underscore Bugle men on Twitter If you just go to be kl dot m in you can find everything.


Tenneco Joel Got a shit.


Thanks for having man.


Keep listening. The hustle podcast. We'll


see you later. Hustles Brought to you by fun side additional service and product design agency that works inspiring teams to uncover opportunity of all popular products. Bring new businesses to market to prepare for the future. Learn more at fun sized up. Theo. I'm Deena Brock, designer at fund.

share this