Recently fat tweeted about the tech industry’s failure to evaluate computer science students for internships. To summarize: it’s a shitshow. Jacob, better known as fat, is the co-founder of a podcasting app, co-created bootstrap the 2nd most popular open-source project on Github, lead teams at Medium and Twitter, and has spoken at international tech conferences. Jacob recently took an internship test anonymously and failed. If one of the best can’t get into the tech industry? Who can?
As the year comes to a close, I’ve been reflecting a lot on my career, the future, the past, and the present (2016, you’ve been a doozy.) When thinking about companies I’ve had the chance to work with, and the people I’ve met, I always come back to how thankful I am for those who took me under their wing. The people who took a risk hiring me when I was young and inexperienced, the people who supported me taking on more responsibility later in my career, and the people who took the time just to chat. My career exists because of those people.
Over the holiday break I’m going to do my best to pay forward a fraction of the mentorship I’ve received. I’m opening up 8hrs worth of 30 minute slots to chat with people who may be in school, getting into the industry, new to design or engineering, or struggling with their first tech job. I recognize my privilege and would prefer to elevate voices that are diverse around people of color, gender identity, sexuality, and class. All the reasons that make us unique and beautiful ❤.
You can book a slot of my time here (now fully booked, but there are amazing people with eons more experience than I, offering their time below). I won’t pretend to have answers or advice for you, but I will try my hardest to relate, share some of my experiences, and will give you 100% of my attention.
Update: Many amazing people have volunteered their time for holiday office hours. Their calendars are linked below with little snippets describing who they are and their areas of experience. You should read the whole list before choosing a person to chat with, as they are in no particular order, and everyone offers unique and interesting perspectives.
Update 2: If you’re having trouble finding a free calendar slot below, we just launched a new site where you can sign up for future volunteering slots: https://www.outofofficehours.com
David Wright, is a product designer with a background news design, currently working with an early stage startup. He is a former staff designer at Twitter and was the design director at NPR. You can talk to Dave about what its like to work at big and small companies, how to land your first job, and finding great mentors. Schedule your time with Dave here.
Dave Shea most recently spent 4 years as the VP of UX at Mobify, but you might know him best as the creator of the CSS Zen Garden. He’s a designer with almost 20 years of experience in the industry and would be happy to chat with you about almost anything design-related. Ask him about building a great portfolio if you’re stuck for ideas. You can schedule time with him here.
Jasper Hauser, is a mentor, product designer, and a craftsmen. Currently in between things, crony on Darkroom. Formerly product design manager at Facebook where he most notably worked on Events and Pages, and many other products. And previously co-founder of Sofa, where they put together an amazing group of people that built great products. In ancient history was partly responsible for the delicious generation movement, by creating an app that had a smoke emitting window. You can schedule time with Jasper here: https://calendly.com/jasperhauser
Emily Campbell, is a Product Designer and Product Manager, currently at Degreed, formerly at HackerRank, in addition to freelancing for just shy of 10 years. She has worked on consumer and enterprise-level b2b products, and can speak to the opportunities and obstacles associated with both. You can talk to her about working at startups as an early employee and during growth phases, working remotely, product design, design strategy and getting a seat at the table, inclusive design, and being a woman in tech. YOu can schedule time with her here.
Casey Edgeton, was the first designer at Uber, working on pretty much every aspect of the experience. She is now the Design Lead at Forward (health), working on experience, service design, brand, and stumbling through all sorts of unexpected IRL things like uniforms and welcome kits/packaging. Talk to Casey about design, getting your first job, or even just advice / critique on your current project. You can book time with here here.
Mina Jonsson, is a User Experience Lead at Yodle and startup advisor, is here to help NYC-based UX and UI designers with cross-collaboration, design in Agile, effective interviewing, portfolio review, and the practice of UX research, strategy, and design. She has nurtured a hearty number of iPhone/Android apps and websites from concept to launch (productivity, music, finance, lifestyle, shipping, publishing). She is currently fascinated by the technological near-futures painted by Black Mirror and Westworld. You can schedule time with her here.
Noah Stokes, a Senior Product Designer at Creative Market (previously Bold, Apple and Palm) is also going to host Holiday Office Hours. Talk to him about designing at large and small companies, design process, and running an agency. You can schedule a slot with him here.
Jasmine Stoy, is a Product Manager at Facebook as part of their Rotational Product Manager program. She’s a recent grad from UC Berkeley where she studied business and design and co-founded a startup-incubator (companies that went through her incubator have since raised $8M+). She was also a Campus Ambassador for Sequoia Capital. You can talk to Jasmine about Product Management, business, working at large companies, venture firms, and design. You can schedule time with Jasmine here.
Ryan Hoover, is the Founder of Product Hunt. Formerly, Ryan was an Entrepreneur in Residence at TradeCraft, the Director of Product at PlayHaven, and helped write the book Hooked with Nir Eyal. You can talk to Ryan about start ups, Product Design, Product Strategy, launching Products, management, founding companies, and fundraising. Schedule a slot with Ryan here.
Fahd Ananta, a PM at Shopify (previously founded Tab [acquired], Chime [acquired], and worked at McKinsey) is also hosting office hours. Do you want to learn about starting your own business or learn more about Product Management? Schedule a slot with him here.
Jenny Shen, is a UX/UI Consultant and Founder of Ladies that UX Amsterdam. She works remotely with clients across the globe, from startups to brands like eBuddy and Smart Communication. Formerly, she was an Interaction Designer at TravelBird, UX/UI Design Lead at Gimmie.io and Campus Ambassador at IBM. You can talk to Jenny about UX design, user research, remote work, side projects, diversity, freelancing, and building communities. Schedule a slot with Jenny here.
Jared Erondu, is product designer and Design Ambassador at Greylock Partners. Formally, Jared was the Creative Director at Teespring, and has worked with companies like MIT, Omada Health, Treehouse and Y Combinator. You can talk with Jared about many aspects of design, mentorship, networking, and working in the startup world. You can schedule time with Jared here.
Daryl Chymko, a software engineer, social innovator, and long-distance runner is opening up his calendar for office hours. Formerly the Technical Lead At Change Heroes, talk to him about pursuing your dream job and making meaningful impact. Schedule a slot with him here.
Ammaar Reshi is a Product Designer at Palantir Technologies. Prior to Palantir, he co-founded a non-profit with Index Ventures in London called HackCampus, where he built a 10-week paid internship program for students in the UK. Before that he was a Computer Science student at King’s College London. Talk to Ammaar about anything from landing your first tech gig out of college, transitioning from Computer Science to Product Design, the London tech scene, working at Palantir, moving from London to the Bay Area, getting a quick design critique, and anything in between. Book time with him here.
Caylee Betts, creator of Swipies and product designer at DigitalOcean, is available weekdays from 5–6p EST and weekends 11–4. She currently mentors young and mid-level designers prepping for interviews and improving their portfolios, and is also happy to share experience running a few small businesses and successful side projects. You can schedule time with Caylee here.
Jeffrey Kalmikoff, a Staff Designer at Uber, who previously helped start Threadless, and designed at Digg, SimpleGeo, Betable, Blurb, and Jelly Industries, has offered time for holiday office hours. Talk to Jeffrey about building communities, designing at scale, and designing for user-generated content. Schedule a slot with him here.
Ann-Caryn Cleveland, is a designer, founder and a big proponent of making your own path. She co-founded a production company and two software companies and her work has been viewed on Discovery, HBO, Sundance, Tribeca, won awards and been featured in the App Store. She would be honored to talk to you about how to continue to up-level your craft throughout your career, navigating tech as a woman, crafting your design team culture and building your personal grit to overcome barriers. Schedule time with her here.
Matt Spiel, the Director of Design at Treehouse, and a fantastic illustrator is also hosting office hours. Talk to Matt about Product Design, design leadership, design process, failure, healthy living + exercise (he loves to run), and having a career and a family. Schedule a slot with Matt here.
Diana Mounter, is a Product Designer and leads the Design Systems team at Github. Formerly she was a Senior Product Designer at Etsy, Interaction Designer at Snapguide, and UX Designer at Vast.com. You can talk to Diana about design systems, user-centric design, scalable CSS, design facilitation, and team collaboration. You can also hear her speak on the Design Details Podcast. Schedule a slot with her here.
Naisha Mack, is a Solutions Architect TruRating. Formerly she worked as a Senior Advisor with UL’s Transaction Security Division. And previously has worked as a consultant and Subject matter expert in the financial services and payments industry. You can talk to her about payments, tech, navigating as a woman in the industry or just general advice. You can contact her here.
Keegan Jones, a Product Designer, traveler, and photographer has opened up his calendar for office hours. Keegan previously worked at Facebook, The Last Guide Company, Gowalla (rip 🙏), and Firewheel Design. Talk to Keegan about being a self-taught designer, designing at large and small companies, moving from a small city to a large city, and how to craft a healthy work-life balance. Schedule a slot with him here.
Hannah Zachritz, is the Head of Product at Wiivv and an advises education-tech companies. Formally, Hannah was a Product Manager at Chegg, and a Product Manager and Sales Manager at Uversity. You can talk to Hannah about business, strategy, and product management. You can schedule time with Hannah here.
Adam Whitcroft, a Senior Designer at Shopify, icon designer (he has an excellent Skillshare class on the subject), and someone who has already been hosting mentorship slots every Wednesday, is also available for time during the holiday season. Schedule a slot with Adam here.
Mark Payne, an entrepreneur, investor, founder (and someone who took me under his wing years ago) is offering his time for holiday office hours. Mark is the Managing Director and Advisor at GetintheLoop. Talk to Mark about finding product-market fit, management, and business. Schedule a slot with Mark here.
Suhaila, is designer at Dialogue, a healthcare startup in Canada, and previously worked at Kik. She’s hired and mentored design students over the last 3 years. Talk to Suhaila about design, getting your first job, mentorship, and working at a startup. You can schedule time with her here.
Tyler Galpin, a Product Designer and co-founder of RadPad is offering office hours over the holidays. Talk to Tyler about designing for Fortune 500 companies, creative direction, founding companies, and freelancing. You can schedule time with Tyler here.
Shahed Khan, founder of Opentest, and former Analyst at Upfront Ventures, Product Designer at Weebly, and Entrepreneur in Residence at NF(x) Guild is opening up his calendar for holiday office hours. As both a designer and founder, Shahed has insights on business, venture capital and the value of design at companies. You can schedule time with Shahed here.
Chris McPhee, is a Design Lead at Shopify, former freelancer and agency designer. Chris has experience in product design for e-commerce, creating design systems, mobile design, branding and creative direction. You can schedule time with Chris here.
Greg Storey, is an internationally recognized designer, writer, and speaker who joined IBM in 2015. Greg has more than 20 years of experience in digital design, leading teams through full-scale projects in a wide array of industries, including retail, education, law, and gaming. As an entrepreneur, Greg has founded three successful businesses, one of which was ranked in the Inc. 5000, a list of America’s fastest-growing private companies. Greg’s work has been recognized by the The Webbys and W3 Awards and featured in Communication Arts and the Wall Street Journal. Today, Greg leads design for IBM Studios, a new venture building design studios around the world. You can schedule time with Greg here.
ashita achuthan, is an Entrepreneur in Residence at The Angels Forum, co-founder of Women In Product, and former Director of Project Managment at Joyus, Head of Mobile Product at Telenav, and Senior Product Manager 2 at eBay. You can talk to Ashita about many aspects of design, product management, leading teams, and creating communities. You can schedule time with Ashita here.
Andrew Verboncouer, is a Partner and Design Lead at Headway. Andrew also hosts Seaworthy, a podcast about building successful software. You can talk with Andrew to get actionable advice around product validation, execution, promotion, and design. You can schedule time with Andew here.
Tim Van Damme, head of design at Abstract, immigrant (born and raised in Belgium), has over a decade of experience designing apps of all kinds and sizes. Worked at Gowalla (shut down by Facebook), Instagram (acquired by Facebook), Dropbox (as it grew from 250 to over 1000 employees), and now back at a small startup building a tool for designers. Throughout all this he’s been helping people find companies and companies find people. Never finished school (even though he tried twice). You can schedule time with Tim Van Damme here.
Gabriel Valdivia, is a VR Designer at Facebook and the former Lead Designer at Automatic (Automatic won the best aftermarket device in the 2013 CNET Car Tech Awards.) You can talk to Gabriel about about diversity, working large vs small companies, and VR. You can schedule time with Gabriel here.
Bryn Jackson, is a Designer / Developer working at Figma, a host of the Design Details Podcast, and co-creator of the podcast network Spec.fm. You can talk with Bryn about many aspects of design and tech, including building communities, design systems, and Product Design. You can schedule time with Bryn here.
Ben Peck, is the Principal Product Designer at Needle, Inc., Co-founder of The Front Product Design Conference and Co-director of Product Design Association of Utah. You can talk to Ben about creating communities, Product Design, design thinking, and shaping company vision. You can schedule time with Ben here.
Sebastiaan de With, is a Product Designer, icon designer, traveler, and photographer. Sebastiaan de With previously designed at Apple, Mozilla, and has designed for companies like Sony, EA, Palm, HP, and Intel. You can talk to Sebastiaan about many aspects of design and freelancing. Schedule time with Sebastiaan de With here.
Jan Crisostomo, manager of technical talent at Bessemer Venture Partners (and former college recruiters at Dropbox and Google), has offered time for holiday office hours. Talk to Jan about career development, what to expect in technical interviews and how to highlight strengths in your interview process, resume formatting, and more. Schedule a slot with her here.
Tim Cheadle, is a Senior Engineer at General Assembly, former SRE at Google, and has held various CTO and lead developer roles. He also owned a software consulting business for the last six years. You can talk to Tim about many aspects of engineering, management, remote work, and working at and for companies of various sizes. You can schedule time with Tim here.
Jeff Morris Jr., is an investor, advisor, and the Director of Product Management–Revenue at Tinder. Formerly, Jeff was a Freelance Product and Growth Consultant and led Growth and User Acquisition at Zaarly. You can talk to Jeff about scaling companies, growth, revenue, product management, and strategy. You can schedule time with Jeff here.
Wes O’Haire, is a Product Designer at Dropbox, former Product Design Lead at Hudl, Lead Designer at Influxis, and Freelance Product and Web Developer. You can talk to Wes about Product Design, freelancing, and working at large companies. You can schedule time with Wes here.
Clément Faydi, a Principle Designer at Adobe, and former Founder at Topik, Head of Discovery and Lead Product Designer at Behance. You can talk to Clément about Product Design, Interaction Design, and working at large companies. You can schedule time with Clément here.
Naz Hamid, is currently working with VSCO on product design and direction. He has operated Weightshift, an SF-based design consultancy since 2000. He has been fortunate to have collaborated with a deep and wide range of companies at all stages including about.me, Adobe, Dropbox, GV, One Medical, Mozilla, Rdio, True Ventures, Twitter and Xero. You can talk with Naz about being a well-rounded product designer, how to think about product vision and direction, and running a design practice. You can schedule time with Naz here.
Mahdi Yusuf, is a system engineer currently leading up engineering at Gyroscope Innovations, former co-founder of Pycoder’s Weekly — As well as a true baller at heart. You can talk to him about python, golang, react native, startups and scaling them. Schedule time with him here.
Maykel Loomans, is a Product Designer on Search at Facebook, and avid photographer of people, places and things. Before, he was one of the first designers at Instagram, and worked with a bunch of startups in the Netherlands. You can talk to him about design (problem solving), photography, leading product teams, career growth and anything you want a common sense, Dutch, opinion on. Schedule time with him here.
Renato Valdés Olmos, is the Head of Design at @Honor, and former CEO & Co-founder of @Human (acquired by Mapbox). You can talk to him about brand & product design, leadership, mentorship, and everything in between. Schedule time with him here.
Jean-Marc Denis, is a Product Design Manager at Facebook Messenger. Formerly JMD was a designer in the Google VR team where he worked on Daydream. He was lead design for Inbox by Gmail and Sparrow. You can talk to him about product design, immersive design, being self-taught, mentorship, big companies vs startups, getting acquired and video games. Schedule time with him here.
John Menard, is a UX Lead at Y Media Labs. In the past he’s built teams and designed products at Apple, IBM, HUGE, Eloqua and other various startups. You can talk to him about building design teams, lean UX methodologies, designing in agile environments, designing for IoT and frustrations / challenges you’re currently facing at your organization. Schedule time with him here.
Harold Emsheimer, is a designer and founder at Overcommitted, a mobile development consultancy. You can talk to him about mobile product design, running a design/dev shop, client services and how to stay sane between work and family life. Schedule time with him here.
Ian Silber, a Product Designer at Instagram for the last 3 ½ years, previously at Groupon. You can talk with Ian about mobile design, prototyping, design management, teaching yourself design/programming, or how to stay motivated when you just want to play guitar. Schedule a slot with him here.
Stan Rapp, is the Product Design Lead at Matic Insurance, former Product Design Lead at HealthJoy. Former freelancer. Champion in failures. Maybe the only one from the list, who lives in Ukraine. You can talk to him about product design, being a first product designer in a startup, building a design department. Or about self-education and different design events. You can schedule time with Stan here.
Justin Graham, is a Product Designer, Artist, Photographer and former Architect. He’s been freelancing for 4 years, and over the last 2 years he co-founded the app Wander. While freelancing, he’s worked with companies from large to small on their mobile and desktop products. You can talk to him about making the leap from full-time to freelance, healthy work-life balance, transitioning from another career field, and what it’s like to self-fund your own venture. Schedule time with him here.
Noah Levin, leads the product design team at ClassPass and is an advisor at FramerJs. Before recently moving to New York, he spent 5 years in San Francisco designing at Google, and before that at NASA. Talk to Noah about anything from large companies vs start ups, resumes and portfolios, prototyping, or building design teams. You can schedule a slot with Noah here.
Daniel Pearson, is an investor, marketer, and the CEO of Bamboo, a mobile advertising agency in San Francisco. Formerly, Daniel worked in marketing and product at various mobile startups. You can talk to him about growth marketing, analytics, and the mobile startup ecosystem. Schedule time with him here.
isaacw, is a Product Designer, most recently a design lead for uberCOMMUTE — Uber’s first attempt at true peer-to-peer car sharing in the U.S. — and before that, he was at Amazon, designing their at-home shopping device, Amazon Dash. He’s self-taught, with 15+ years of experience, ranging from independent consulting, design firms, non-profits, early & late stage startups, all the way to fortune 500 companies. On the side he volunteers as a mentor at Framer JS Seattle and a teaches at SVC Seattle. You can talk to Isaac about career development, practicing design, startups, IoT, and motion design. You can schedule time with Isaac here.
Devin Mancuso, is a Product Designer working on Android at Google and is ready to kick-back and chat over the holiday break. You can talk to him about design process and expectations at big and small companies, leaving Australia to come work in California, being a self-taught designer with a technical background, tips for career growth and anything you think would be interesting. Schedule a slot with him here.
When I was thinking about writing this post, I wondered if we could make a hundred hours of conversations to happen over the 2016 holidays? Perhaps you are successfully working in tech and are where you are thanks to mentorship. If you’re willing to give some time to others over the holiday season hit me up here or on twitter and I’ll add your name to this post. I know people would appreciate it.