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Design Better Newsletter #1
Welcome to our new monthly newsletter!
Happy Friday, and welcome to the first of our monthly Design Better Newsletters. Each month, we’ll be sharing a few things we learned from our recent episodes of the Design Better Podcast, excerpts from our post-interview show, and job openings for designers, design leaders, and product people.
We’ll be adding more useful features along the way, so feel free to shoot us a message if there is something that would be particularly interesting or valuable for you.
In this first issue, we’ll cover:
Paradoxes relating to the development of AI that we learned from WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg. 🧐
Our post-show discussion of John Maeda’s interview, along with an experimental rendering of Aarron and Eli as cartoon characters. ✍️
Job openings and tips for working with recruiters from April Luelling, former Senior Product Design Recruiter and Program Manager at Meta. 🙌
Some interesting links and reading for the long weekend. 📖
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Matt Mullenweg: Moravec and Polyani’s paradoxes
Many of us have been astounded by the recent progress of generative artificial intelligence and large language models, so it was exciting to talk with Matt about the topic, as he’s clearly been thinking deeply about it. Along the way, he taught us a few interesting paradoxes:
One of the surprising things about recent developments in AI is how quickly it has made progress in creative realms that many people believed would be the last to fall to machine intelligence—think ChatGPT writing (often not very good) poetry, or paintings and photographs created in Midjourney winning art competitions.
Matt spoke about two related paradoxes. The first, Moravec’s Paradox, is the observation that tasks that are easy for humans to perform, such as recognizing faces or walking, are often difficult for computers to do, while tasks that are difficult for humans, such as complex mathematical calculations, are often easy for computers to do. This paradox was named after Hans Moravec, a computer scientist who first described it in the 1980s.
Polyani’s Paradox is a concept named after the Hungarian-British scientist Michael Polanyi, who argued that "we can know more than we can tell." The paradox refers to the fact that humans are capable of performing certain tasks or skills, such as recognizing faces, playing a musical instrument, or riding a bike, without being able to explain how we do it in precise terms.
Together, these paradoxes point to key reasons why some of the things we thought might be easier to accomplish with AI—self-driving cars for example—are turning out to be much more difficult than expected.
John Maeda: post-show discussion
One of the things we've been experimenting with on Design Better is a post-show discussion about the episode between the hosts. We've also been playing with ways to make an animated version of these segments (these are experimental for now, but we may explore other ways to make them more engaging with custom illustrations, music, etc.)
Here’s a sample from our post-show discussion in John Maeda’s episode:
You can also hear the full discussion below, or on the episode page.
This month, we also have a guest post from April Luelling, who comes our way via friend-of-the-podcast Meredith Black. April will be writing about design roles that she has found recently, as well as a few tips from a recruiter’s perspective.
April was most recently a Senior Product Design Recruiter and Program Manager at Meta. She’s currently open to new opportunities, and her skills don’t stop at just recruiting: she does a lot more than fill roles and build teams.
Over the last two years, she’s been flexing her muscles within the DesignOps space. She would love a much broader role where she can really sink her teeth into solving big problems. She thrives in having an impact on recruiting operations and strategy as well as program management, creating programs for design teams, implementing new processes, and removing any and all hurdles that may arise.
Okay April, take it away!
Hi y’all! I’m April Luelling and I like to say I am a Lead Product Design Recruiter with DesignOps tendencies. This month, I’m sharing some job hunt tips from a recruiter's perspective, as well as some opportunities I’ve come across during my own search.
May Job Highlight:
Intuit is looking for an end-to-end Principal Mobile Product Designer to join their TurboTax Online team! This Principal Designer will deliver high-level strategy and solve complex design problems, flexing on both web and mobile. The team is looking for someone with strong interaction design skills, native mobile thinking, solid business acumen, end-to-end design problem solving, design thinking as well as holistic design rationale. The ideal Principal Designer for this team will have a people/customer-first mentality and strong storytelling backed by data. You should be courageous in your decision-making, thinking outside of the box, and always considering the impact for all cross-functional teams - closely collaborating with XFN partners.
If you’re interested, please reach out to the team’s Product Design Recruiter, Jessica Cates!
More amazing Design positions available:
Priscilla Osredkar, Director of Product Design, Content & Discovery at LTK, is hiring for a Sr. Product Designer, Content + Discovery (and many more critical roles for LTK!)
Application for LTK's Sr. Product Designer | Search & Content Discovery Role
Andrew Brownell, Game Director at Netflix Games R&D, is hiring a Senior Level Designer on the internal game studio! Application for Netflix's Sr. Designer on Internal Game Studio Team
Mercury is hiring a Design Ops Manager! Application for Design Operations Manager, San Francisco, CA, New York, NY, Portland, OR, or Remote within United States.
Tips for working with recruiters:
When it comes to working with a recruiter, there are many do’s and don’ts designers should take into account, and most of these hold true for whatever type of role you’re looking for. Here are a few very important Golden Rules to remember:
Communication is key: The more you communicate, the better your recruiter will understand you and be able to help you, even if it’s a difficult conversation you don’t want to have…have the tough conversations, I promise you it will pay off.
Be honest and real: Don’t over-inflate your experience but don’t undersell yourself either. And be prepared to speak in depth about your total breadth of work.
Be confident: Be confident in what you’re looking for, be confident when you’re talking about compensation, and be confident in your skills. If you’re wishy-washy, you won’t get what you want.
Be prepared to talk about compensation: Do NOT give vague answers. The more transparent you are about your desired compensation and other offers, the better. Avoiding these conversations or giving vague answers will only stall the process and your recruiter will not be able to go to bat for you.
Be transparent in every step: Bring your recruiter along with you on this journey. Tell them about other interviews and offers, what your priorities are, and your concerns. The more transparent you are, the more armed your recruiter will be and can get you what you’re looking for.
A few interesting things we discovered this month
We’ll wrap things up with a few things of interest we found this month with an AI theme 🤖, from new 3D design tools to summer reading:
Spline.design, a place to design and collaborate in 3D (via John Maeda).
Train your own ChatBot with BotSonic.
Rebooting AI by Gary Marcus and Ernest Davis (theme of the book: our AI overlords aren’t arriving anytime soon).
Human Compatible by Stuart Russel (ethics and philosophy of AI design).
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