Design Chats | From Design Tools to User Testing: Humility in Action

Jun 5, 2023Dianne Eberhardt

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify,  Stitcher, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube here.



Dianne: Hello everyone. Welcome to Pixelated Perfect. I am super excited. Today we have a special episode. We have the whole TDP design team here, live in New York to talk about many things, all the things. But one of the main overall topics that I wanna focus on is being humble. This is a big thing at TDP. It's taking away the ego, opening up, getting feedback, working better with customers, always asking questions of how can we improve, how can we get better? And I was gonna start with well first, first I'd love to introduce everyone. So we have, well actually you guys introduce yourselves. Maybe just say who you are, your title, super quick, just so we all get acquainted with the audience. So, Mica, you wanna start? Yeah, sure.

Mica: Hi, I'm Mica. I'm design lead here at TDP and Spain General Manager.

Delfi: Hi y'all. I'm Delfi, I'm product designer at TDP and general manager of the Buenos Aires team.

Luli: I'm Luli, I'm also a product designer at TDP.

Caro: I'm Caro and I'm also a product designer. I work with events and Social Media.

Euge: Sorry, I'm Euge. I'm also a product designer at TDP and also helping out with Pixelated. Perfect. So, yeah.

Dianne: Yeah. So thank you for putting this together. This is all you. So, perfect. So I wanna start by telling a story that kind of humbled me. It wasn't necessarily at the design project, but it's something that helped initiate and start the design project. So when I was working as a product designer for a startup, I was really excited about taking on that step of being the sole product designer. And I had come up with the best process, right? I had focused on, okay, I'm gonna do user testing, I'm gonna do wireframing, prototyping, iterating. I had like the best process ever in my mind. But what ended up happening was that while I was in my own little product designer world, I was completely removed from the business side of the company and the company I was working with was running out of money, and I wasn't aligned on that.

Dianne: And so I was building this whole big process for this really complex product, but really what I should have been focusing on was building something really simple, really easy that could get investors excited so that they could continue to raise money. So by me not aligning and understanding the business needs of the company, that really humbled me because I thought I was on this track, I was doing great. But design is so much more than that, right? Like, it's so much more than just designing in our little silos. We have to understand everything that's going on in the business with our users. And so I, the company, the company ended up running out of money and I lost the job. And so that was a really humble experience because no matter how much I thought I was doing well, I was completely removed from a really big part of the company. So that was kind of, yeah, that was a humbling experience. And also it helped me get better at knowing the business side of the companies that I've worked with and as we work with the design project. So I don't know how we wanna kind of jump in, but I would love to hear other people's stories of how they felt humbled. Maybe at the design project, maybe before the design project, what was a moment in your life that kind of brought you down to the real world?

Euge: I have one. I can start. So basically while starting to work at TDP, I got to know a very important document that's called PRDs. I had no idea what a PRD was before in my life. So for anyone that's new to this world though, it's a product requirements document. And basically I read it as interviews. So I had to do a whole project and a whole platform based on a PRD that I was not reading, that I did not understand. And that kept me very humbled as a designer. Like, I thought that I knew everything and I thought that I was ready to start designing as soon as I was inside TDP. And there's a lot of things I started understanding like new things. And a lot of designers beside me helped me a lot in understanding these things. And understanding like communication between teams also, because perhaps I hadn't worked with a product manager or developers like that closely. So they come to me and say, we need this and give me that document that I never read. Was actually complicated, but it was a super fun experience, like a learning experience.

Dianne: Ew, I have some questions about that. I think all of us, I would love to dive further into that because I was there along the journey with you. So I know it was super complex. I wanna know, when was that moment where you were like, this is something different than what I thought it was.

Euge: I was actually talking with a friend and he said like, today I got a P R D. And I was like, oh, I get those all the time, and I said like, what's that? Like what, why do I use it? And he said like, those are the requirements for the product time building. I was like, what? And we were having a beer or something like that. And it was like a Thursday night, like the next day, first thing in the morning. I was like, oh, no, what have I done? So basically that way, like a friend from university told me what a period was. <Laugh>.

Dianne: That's a great humbling experience too. It's like something you thought you like, yeah. Like you had it, you knew what it was. And then someone unexpected, it wasn't like I told you as your manager, right? It's like it came from an outside source, which is super interesting.

Euge: Yeah. It was a bit crazy, but we got through it.

Dianne: We did.

Mica: I think there's nothing more humbling for one than when you first start with, with product designer or anything in particular, like, there's some specific words for that. For example, graphic design, product design. And I think that at first, like product managers and everyone like talks as, you know, like you knew those words and you're like, yeah, yeah, I totally get it. But in your, in the top of your mind, you're like, what are you talking about? Because you don't wanna seem like you don't know anything.

Luli: Okay. You just unlocked a very embarrassing moment I had before TDP. I love that. I worked at a company and they asked me, they asked me for something and the product manager was like, Hey, we need BTS content. And I was like, Hmm. BTS content. What did the band do? I was so sure she was talking about the band. And apparently in case I didn't know that maybe some of you don't behind the scenes content. And I was like, Googling bts. Like I, I, I don't listen to bts. So it was like, I was going very deep in Google, like, maybe this is what they wanted nothing, like, absolutely nothing to do. And it was kind of, I was kind of new at the job, so I didn't ask. And no, same cause I felt like it was a very obvious thing and maybe, maybe she thinks, I don't know. Yeah, it was, I was very shy to ask and I should ask.

Caro: But did you deliver something about bts the band, or…

Luli: Thankfully no. Thankfully I was, I was humble enough to ask her eventually just, I should have asked sooner. Because I wasted some time. But I did ask her and it was like, ugh, embarrassing.

Dianne: So I was gonna say, I would love to see the BTS content…

Caro: And see her reaction like, you're fired <laugh>.

Dianne: I think this is an interesting topic about language that we use every day in a specific field. And I think that's also something with our customers too, right? Like our customers aren't necessarily in product space, in the design space. So I think that's something important for us to do, is to make sure we're speaking to our customers in a language that isn't like all of these syllables or acronyms or whatever. Yeah. For these things. It's like, and I think in general, when you talk more accessible, I don't know if that's the right word. But more like, so everyone understands that's really powerful.

Delfi: Yeah. And also like asking if you don't understand, as Lily said, like learning from, from what Lily just said, eh, like asking if the customer has this, eh, their language. Like this kind of words like asking. I think it's great and as I think it's something we encourage at tdp, like I can talk about my experience, but I remember like being at TDP the first weeks, it really shocked me like how open we are and how we are always encouraged to ask for feedback. And I was like in my first design review on Wednesdays that we always have and it was like Dianne said, okay, Delfi, show what you're doing. And at first it was a little bit shocking because I wasn't used to presenting. Like I used to work in these big companies, the PM would show my work and not me. And it was, I really like breaking the ice. And I learned that by being humble, you also get to grow and learn. So I will suggest you always stay humble.

Dianne: Done. No, I think that's interesting. I think it's like, I, I guess a question that I would like to hear from you guys that you, you brought up is like, how have you in the past gotten feedback, given feedback and like for those listeners out there, how do you encourage them to ask or give feedback in a better way?

Delfi: I would say always make it actionable. Like even if it's like, if you know that what the other is doing is not right on the right path, but always have that actionable thing they can take and work towards that.

Luli: Yeah. Like constructive feedback and not just this thing on someone else's work. Yeah. When like, for them to be able to take what you give them and take a step forward and I'll just have to start over because that's usually never the solution, sort of mm-hmm. work on what you already have, but that's giving feedback. So maybe receiving feedback.

Dianne: Well, maybe you guys have a specific example of one of our design reviews where you had to present something and you got feedback and it was something different than you were expecting. Like it changed the trajectory of the project.

Mica: I have a fun, fun story. It was not a tv it was like way after, way before. Sorry. I'm sure all of you who like graphic designers can relate. I have a background in marketing and branding. So I was, I've been designing websites when, or like I was designing with Illustrator or Photoshop. Like Figma was not a thing back In the day, right? So it was this project. I was not working directly with the developers. For me that was not a thing. I was much more junior. So I didn't know a lot, a lot of things that have to be done alongside the process. And I remember this time I, Figma was around, I wanted to make an awesome website. So I started thinking about all of these cool graphics and interactions and like the website was all over the place. It was incredible. Like all of the interactions, all of the animations, everything. It was too loud and too out of this world, not in a good way. This world is not in a good way. So it was time to present it to the customer. The customer was like Mica, this is awesome. This is the best website ever. I wanted to know, okay, let's talk to the developer. Hey Dev, here's the website. What can we do, Mica, I cannot do this. And it was me freaking out going to the customer and saying, Hey, I did not respect the developer's process. I did not do a good job here. I'm so sorry, but we cannot do the website. I promise you we would have, it was terrible. It made me super humble and gave me a lot of anxiety. Yeah. But yeah, I learned a lot from that process.

Dianne: That's great. I, okay. I think we've definitely all been there, especially with devs, like learning and how to work with devs. Cuz I think our design creative brains can sometimes go crazy, like in a good way, but we need devs to bring us Yeah. We need Deb to like bring us back down. Yeah. But my question to you, because like how, how did you approach that with the customer and how could we like, give the audience advice on how to approach these situations that have happened where it's like, oh my God, all of this is not possible. Like, what, what happened? Yeah.

Mica: I mean, I think the best thing there is, it's tricky because you are a human being that makes mistakes. So apologizing and really, like owning up to your mistakes is the first step. Eh, but also it's hard because you are a professional. You're being hired to do the best thing for your customer and understanding what they need and what they Yeah. Like what they need and what they can provide for them. So it was very tricky, eh, I, as I said, I had a lot of anxiety, eh, but I think that the best thing as the first thing is we are human beings and everyone makes mistakes. So only enough of your mistakes tell them, hey, like I remember it, I had to redesign all of the website again. So well, not all, but a huge part of it. And I told my customer, Hey, I will give you a discount on this. Eh, I'm so sorry. Like, just meet them halfway. Eh, even though you are a human and you can make mistakes, you're a professional too. So this is something we talked about a lot in the same project. Like we are always customer facing, customer comes first. So give them a middle ground between being a human being and also like giving them what they want and what they need.

Delfi: Yeah. Like being accountable also. Exactly.

Mica: Yeah.

Euge: And also no hate to the dev world, but they are super quick to say no sometimes. So it's like what you said, like meeting them halfway, but also with devs, like trying to convince them that it's possible. And when they say yes, they're like, well, you can back out now. So you try to convince them that it's actually possible.

Dianne: And I think a good way to do that. And this is something we've been talking a lot about. All of us are reading lean UX right now, so like this iterative process in bringing people into the conversations early so that they feel more invested, right? So if you have devs that are in at the beginning of coming up with solutions to the problems we're solving, then that allows them to feel like they're really a part of it and that they're helping to contribute. And then down the line, when you start to build things, they might be more open to trying something new. I'm trying to think of a specific example with one of our customers that we've experienced. I don't know if you guys have any examples of trying to bring the devs in a little earlier.

Euge: No, I'm, I'm right now I'm having an experience of my own, of wanting to bring design earlier because it's missing. So like, a lot of people have to be humble in this project. But yeah, like sometimes like that moment where like devs are alone designing mm, should not be actually possible, but it actually is. So yeah, I have it the other way around.

Delfi: I remember one time that we actually brought the dev team and we made this handoff meeting in wireframes, like in lo fi wireframes, like, so we did the install, the, the typical like user flows, everything. And the dev team, like the customer, wanted to be involved earlier in the process. And that's what, like, I wasn't used to that at that moment. And then I understood, oh, this is great because I'm getting feedback so much earlier which will prevent me from reworking afterwards. So that was a good experience that made me humble as well.

Dianne: I love that. I feel it's like, it's not like us first them, it's not like designers first developers. It's like we all wanna come together to build a great product. So like, figuring out better ways to work with them, I think, is powerful and humble for everyone, for devs, for designers, for product teams, for companies, all the things. I wanted to kind of change the topic a little because Mica, you brought up something. You, you talked about Figma, like one of your first times working in Figma doing all these cool things. I know that Figma is constantly changing and that's something we are always talking about is like our hard skills in Figma. And I think listeners out there are very curious about learning more about Figma. So like where, what is a humbling experience you guys have experienced with Figma and like hard skills and something that was like a lightning bolt moment of, oh my gosh, this by learning this I saved so much time.

Caro: No, I had a project at university and it was my first time working with Figma and they told us to, to design a full eh, mo mobile app and about typography and don't know typography on those things. And they were expecting some highlight screens, like you, you don't, don't have to design everything. And I designed everything, every screen and I learned to prototype and I prototype it completely, like everything. And I also had to learn to do components and they weren't necessary. I mean, and I was like two weeks doing that and it was so stupid, like no one used the app and then I was like, go, I wish someone would teach me this before.

Dianne: But you probably learned a lot.

Caro: Yes, yes. But now I'm, I have like a trauma prototyping. It's like, no, I don't want to prototype. Yes.

Dianne: That's funny. I, I hear you. I, yeah, figma trauma. I think that should be like a trend trauma. What about anyone else?

Delfi: I think components in general, like I used to think I'm, come from graphic design background and components were not a thing actually in university. And then, well, when I encountered product design, I realized that with components I could save so much time. Like specifically with a customer that has a white label product, I was like, no, I don't need components for this. And then, then it was like, ah, but I need to change it here and in this brand and this brand. And it was like, even the screens need to be components. So yeah, I guess components are the main challenge that I found.

Dianne: I think components make us all humble. It's like there's always something more to learn that we don't know. I feel like it's like infinite new tips and tricks. No one can ever know all.

Luli: I was gonna say something to myself there. I don't know if it's a specific thing about something that humbled me with Figma, but it's like, you need to stay on track. Like if you fall asleep for six months and don't refresh, the whole interface may have changed or you may be doing something so easy the hard way. So I guess like it's always trying to stay on top. I know it's just a tool and as designers we need to be separated from the tool, but it's the tool we're using right now and it's a tool that saves you a lot of time. And I would have to say shortcuts like, oh, is something that when you find and you say, oh, I was so dumb, like, why didn't I like to pay attention to the little letter that's under the thing that would save me this much time?

Euge: Something with shortcuts going from Illustrator to Figma just breaks your brain away, right?

Luli: Yeah.

Euge: The shortcuts are so different. I can't, I mean, why don't they do them like universal or something like that. It's super complicated. Like going from different tools.

Luli: Yeah. Or Mac and Windows, right?

Caro: Yes. That's terrible.

Luli: I had windows and my, I had a Mac and then now I had a Mac again. So it was like my fingers were trained and great. Great.

Caro: Well, the other day, no, I mean I work with Mac and university things. I used Windows the other day, I had a friend at the house that was using my Windows computer and I tried to do something quick in her assignment, and I accidentally closed it without saving it because I used wrong comments. Ah. It was because I was thinking about mug comments and I feel so bad.

Dianne: Maybe that's a product idea, like making sure all shortcuts are more universal.

Euge: Please someone out there, do it for us.

Dianne: I like what you said Luli about like Figma is the tool we're using now. And like I'm, I love Figma, so I'm always like, Figma, Figma, Figma. Yes, of course. But we do need to separate ourselves from the program and the platform. And one episode of this podcast that I had I talked to this guy who was like, you have to know the skill set outside of Figma. That's what makes you great. Like sketching, collaborating, and thinking. That's what designing is. It's not just about Figma.

Luli: So that kind sparked that in me because if not you, if the tool is gone, suddenly something more popular comes in five, 10 years, then are you just obsolete? No, you're not just an operator of the tool, you're a designer and that there's a difference. Even though it took me so long to get the hang of Illustrator, I also used to be a graphic designer. So Yes, but I love Figma.

Dianne: Yes, yes. We're pretty big Figma fans.

Mica: For our listeners Luli is the Figma guru.

Dianne: She is our Figma guru.

Luli: Alright, stop I know you can see that.

Dianne: I would like to be the conversation to user testing. So this is something we have been pushing to do more with our customers. But I would love to know a humbling user testing scenario that any of us have had.

Euge: I can go with one before TDP  where people that are not even like in the product world start criticizing, like criticizing like the visuals. I was like, I have to hear to it and I have to like be, I don't know, like I'm, I don't know if the world is thankful, but I have to like pay attention to what they're saying, but also like, don't really like get it and apply it to it sound like it was like a weird position where I was like, I'm getting like critique on my work by someone that doesn't really do this. So I was like, I don't really know how to deal with this. So I was like, they're sitting like, oh yes, okay, okay. You don't like purple. I don't know, like, and those things were like, I like you have to be humble because yeah, I, I mean I could go into that, into a long discussion about that, but it was not the time, the moment, the place, the nothing. So that kept us humble and listening to the comments.

Caro: Yeah, well this brings us back to a topic of given feedback. Yeah, that makes sense. Like, I'm not going to say this purple doesn't work because it's purple and I don't like purple. I mean, it has to make sense.

Dianne: Yeah. And I think it's also with user testing, you have to set up the person to give you the feedback that you're expecting. Right. And that's humbling because like, yeah, they could spend all the time talking about the color, color purple, but that's not even what you're trying to focus on. And so it's like, how can you set up? And I think we've all been there with user testing, like we're like keeping it too broad sometimes. Like, Hey, just give us your feedback. How do you use this? But really we should be like, Hey, how would you do this task? Show me. And I think that's hard and that's part of user testing.

Mica: Yeah. Something very important that we and Euge have been struggling with, maybe with some customers, is that it's so important to do usability testing or user testing with actual users. If you're sending it to your granny, like she's not the target, even if it's a product for your granny, awesome. But regularly it's not. So we have to keep that in mind. Like, it's so important to have usability testing or user testing will actual users because the results would not be accurate and you're wasting your time basically.

Delfi: Yes. And I, I like what you said about having target users, because this makes me think of a product I'm working on at this moment that the users are like not tech savvy at all. And I was, I can run a quick user testing between us, like an internal user testing between designers here at tdp and the customer said, yeah, well our users are not that tech savvy. And I was like, that's true. Humbled again. So it's important I think about what you said about having target users.

Dianne: Yeah. And as we try to do more of this and as listeners out there like trying to do user testing, what would be tips to help overcome some of these feelings as you're trying to learn about user testing? Like any advice…

Euge: Set expectations correctly, not just for you, but for the rest of them and the people doing the user testing. It's super important to be super clear. Like you don't have to assume anything from anyone. If you give them the space critic, the color purple, they will do it. So basically don't give that space. Like, but not because you're limiting, but because you're looking for specific things or specific findings, specific feedback. So limiting it a bit is not bad. It's a good thing.

Mica: Yeah. The more specific your general questions, the better results you will have. Also, like what we always do here at TDP is we don't, we take those fundings and it's not like we leave them there. We have this process where we take those funding findings, we analyze the pain points that users are having, and then we create opportunities. So I think that process is really powerful and really valuable for us and for our customers because sometimes u usability testing can be just that. Like, hey, let's run a quick user testing and see, and it's so important to make it actionable in some sense.

Dianne: Okay, I'm gonna keep switching. Switching to more humble topics. I wanna talk about how to communicate with customers, how to be external. I think that there are a lot of challenges and I think all of us, like the TDP team, we're constantly trying to come up with new, better ways to communicate. But I know some of us have, have some stories with customers, but like, what is a humbling experience that any of you guys have had.

Euge: No. well, once again, I have one, but perhaps something I, something I actually, it was not that long ago. Having many simultaneous projects inside one big project was a bit complicated. So communicating that you're basically dying or trying to, that's something like, I mean, you have to step back, be honest, know where you don't like, have enough power in yourself basically to keep on going. Also, something I think it's a bit like humbling is to know that there are some things you don't know as designers and as people, humans basically in general, like sometimes we assume we need to know everything. And no, like the other day I had a class with one of my customers, literally . Like they gave me a class on what they're doing and their like specialty and everything. And I didn't know anything and I, and it was not that common, like I couldn't Google it. So just know when you don't know things and ask for help.

Mica: Shout out to David Energy here in New York.

Euge: Yeah. They gave me an energy class.

Luli: I know this is not exactly like that, I wanna say something that is hard for me to keep humble about. Maybe it's a little bit off topic, but what with customers, what really makes it hard for me to stay humble sometimes, like they, they usually, I have sometimes like, to be honest about what I'm lacking is maybe you deliver something and then you have rounds of feedback and you do v1, v2 v Imagine you're in V seven and what is really hard for me is when you're in V seven and say, oh, but can we try? Yeah, we're gonna go with what you did in v1, but without saying that they say like, oh, I can move that. And I, in my mind I say, oh, that was version one. And it's so hard for me to point that out. But you have to like to be no, you know, be professional. So that's hard for me sometimes.

Dianne: So as in you, in your mind you wished you could say, I did that in V1 and waste the time, like, childish… What have you done to me? Why did you do this?

Luli: Yes. Like that is childish. So it's hard for me to stay humble and say no, they're also people they also like and grow up a little bit and say, this is part of the process and not, not think about all of the weeks you, you spent our time spent. And that's super humbling. Like, I did all of this and maybe this is, they needed to see all of this and that is also fine. But that's the challenge for me sometimes.

Mica: Yeah. Some customers need to know, need to see what they don't like in order to see, to get in their minds what they do.

Luli: Yes.

Dianne: And this reminds me of something else we do with our customers a lot is retros. So once the project's over, so say you had this customer, you ended up going with V1 and you were in V seven, it would be like, Hey, customer, what could we have done better? What could we learn from this experience and do better next time? And this I think opens up that conversation of maybe you could figure out how to express, or maybe it's like you show multiple versions at one time really quickly and then you guys like to align on one and they feel like they have more input versus like doing one round and two rounds and turns. Yeah. That's just an example. But yeah, like I think going back and helping customers see that there is a better way, or for us too, maybe there's something their customer says that they're like, oh, this wasn't great. And we're like, oh, okay, well this, we can definitely fix this. How can we fix this? So I think that's powerful.

Delfi: Yeah. Also, I think, eh, sometimes our customers don't, don't understand and they have like, they don't have to understand what impact does their feedback have on us. So maybe it's a matter of also communicating, eh, I don't know, like being clear on the goal. And also I feel maybe sometimes we are so stacked and focused in our processes that maybe the user, like the customer, doesn't know the value. It gets to us that we are going through that and we need to overly communicate that. Yeah, for sure. I've been struggling with this, so that's why I say it.

Luli: Yeah, I think that it's also, it also has to do with putting the UX side of this was the first thing I did and it was the one that should have been, and that's one you chose like that that has nothing to do with it. And if the customer needed to go through all that to get the best option, like putting the UX aside that you had already done, like you can do it again and do it better also.

Dianne: totally. I think that's great, I think that's great learning. I think that definitely keeps us humble. It's like through all the iterations, all the steps, like seeing where you end up versus where you started Yeah. Is always really interesting.

Caro: Yeah. I think that many times this is like in a lot of things and going back to the first eh version happens because sometimes the customer or the person you are working with doesn't know what he's looking for. So I mean, that's important and that's, that's part of the process to like talking and trying to figure out yes. And, and know exactly what they are looking for. I know this is hard because I think no one knows from the very beginning exactly what we are looking for. But yes, I mean, well this comes back again to the thing of talking, being communicative and Well, the feedback helps a lot too.

Dianne: Yeah. I think that's like an instance of our customers being humbled, right? If we think about it in reverse, it's like they've done so we've done so many iterations, they've seen so many different things and then they end up going back to the first one. I feel like that's probably a point where they're like, oh wow, like that's interesting. Maybe I should trust the designer more, try to understand more of their process so that I feel like I'm not wasting time.

Delfi: But also I'm sure maybe you can confirm Luli, but I'm sure that from B one to B seven something also changed.

Luli: Yes, definitely.

Delfi: Maybe there was that little thing that you said like that was the thing that I told you…

Luli: See that feeling. But of course it's an improved version of B one. It's never a B one. Exactly. Never. Yes. That's good, it's like B one reloaded and maybe, yeah, maybe I was exaggerating. Maybe it was like b too. That's good. But I think that I, in our, in our industry and I'm sure like in a lot of other industries, the thing, going back to what Erica said about the color purple, like people, eh, all of us are users. We are UX UI experts.

Dianne: Yes we are. We can do this because we wanna be humble.

Luli: Yes, we want to, we are humble. So, we are also users and all of our customers are also users. So when they speak to us, it's not from me, I don't know anything about this because they actually do know. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that sometimes the feedback or when you're working with people, you need to also understand that they come from a place where they are also users, even though they're not the target users, even though they don't necessarily have all of the, all of the information about it, someone is always going to have something to say because nowadays all of us are users on digital products. So even if it's the color, like yeah.

Mica: And collaboration is always a plus. And it's something we really encourage at TDP also. So yeah.

Dianne: Great. Think of it, I used to say this as a graphic designer, like, or brand language some of your graphic designers have, have a branding background, the worst thing from my experience is when a customer has no direction, that's way worse than them being specific, right? They're like, I don't know what I want, but I want you to design this logo for a table. And it's like, okay, what does this table look like? I don't know, <laugh>. Like what colors do you like? Like what are, what's the feeling? What's the vibe? I don't know. You come up with it like, that is the ultimate worst experience in my opinion.

Delfi: Too much freedom.

Dianne: Right? Too much freedom. It's like how can you come up with a collaborative solution if there's no collaboration? Cuz there's no direction.

Mica: I had, as I've been working in, in branding and I have a branding background, I came up with a solution. When you, I think that when you have a business perspective and a clear objective and you think about what you are serving users and what are you serving for, I think that, that you can show that to the customer and it narrows your possibilities. Like, Hey, I know you like, like purple rainbows are purple everyone, but I know you like, like browning a rainbow. And that is not for your users. Like ground them, right? Yes. Like us, I know what's best for you. And when you use strategy as a…

Luli: Like a weapon shield.

Mica: Like a shield you can maybe redirect them.

Delfi: Yeah. And you made your customers also humble. Yes. Like you are humble, but also you make them humble. Yes.

Mica: I like that.

Dianne: I do too. Okay, I have like a round, a quick round of maybe finishing up this conversation for everyone and this is gonna humble us all. So I want all of us to say something that we know we're not good at and that we would like to be better at. Whoever wants to go, I don't wanna pick anyone.

Luli: I’ll go first. I guess what's hard for me is to not take things personally. Like if you criticize my work, you're criticizing me myself, my identity, my everything. So of course I'm exaggerating, but it used to be worse and I'm getting better at it. But like separating and that what I, what I said about the customer, like also being a user that was a whole process in my mind to understand where feedback comes from and of course what to do with that feedback and to always separate it from you. Like, you can have worse days, you can have great days, and it doesn't reflect on you as a person. And you just need to be the best you can be professionally. And yeah, separating that and not taking things personally was super humbling to me every day.

Dianne: Yeah. That's great. I mean, I think of us as human beings, like that's just, there's always this level and we, that's always something we always have to be working on with ourselves. Yeah. I don't know a single person that's just like, that's just who they are. They just like, don't, they're completely humbled in that way. I feel like that's not how humans work.

Mica: I can go next. For me it's hard to set boundaries and say no, which is super funny because as a design lead, I will chop everyone, every customer's head off if they get with my design with the designers. But for me it's like, okay, yeah, I, I'll do everything. Don't worry. So that's that, that's me.

Delfi: I feel my biggest challenge is being flexible enough to move things around, like regarding processes. Like I know what worked in the past, so why do ABC and maybe I realized in the middle the customer needed C B A,  and it's hard for me to reload in a way, so I'm learning that.

Mica: That's a  good one.

Caro: Yes. I think my biggest challenge is getting the emotions separated from work. Like maybe if I'm angry with a customer, because sometimes you get really angry, it's like, eh, the, the intrusive thought of shouting at him and, and you can do that, but maybe instead you put a bad face and it's something really hard, like putting emotions in the aside and still working and trying to do your best, but you are like, Ugh, I hate you.

Dianne: That's a good one. I feel like it's almost, I think Mica, you and I have chatted about this quite a bit. It's like killing them with kindness. It's like, it's almost like manipulating them. It's like you put a smile on your face and you have all these thoughts and then you're like, okay, I'm gonna do it the right way and convince them otherwise, but they don't even know they're being convinced. So there's like a whole thought process yelling in your head, of all that.

Euge: I want to apply myself to everyone, like all you guys said. I completely agree with that. Something a bit more perhaps like superficial I'm not good at and I need help with is graphic design. I'm not a graphic designer. I'm not a graphic designer. Like I'm the only one I think outside of that world with Mica in it. So sometimes I like coming up with pretty things rather than functional things. That's my, that's my bad spot. I don't know what to call it. Weak spot that will so that, that's my my No, I think you're humbling yourself right now because you design I swear right now I think I swear. No, you have to, you have to see the amount of time I waste picking colors. You have to see that.

Caro: That's the reason because we work so well together. It's like Euge, it's the brain and I just move the ideas of Euge to the table.

Euge: I bring ideas, I talk with Caro, we like, we create this big thing and then Caro just like hold on. And she changes everything to look nice.

Caro: Yes, I can go with this as well.

Dianne: I mean that's good collaboration but also I hear that it's humbling and I think something that's powerful is like you have some really great graphic designers that came from a graphic design background and so I think that's like a great way for, I think this is interesting because I haven't heard this from you specifically so live here everyone. But I think you have these awesome graphic designers that can help you with some of the skill sets to feel more confident. Cuz like you said, you come up with great ideas at the end, but they don't know the struggle for you getting there.

Euge: No, no, no. But like the amount of color palettes, I looked in Pinterest, you have no idea. Like it's, no, I hate that part.

Dianne: Yeah. So me, I think that something I'm working on constantly and something I'm not great at is delegation. I think the design project was like building it up and I just wanted to be involved in everything. But as we're growing and as we have like this amazing team and all of you guys do so many other things besides just design, like it's amazing and it's humbling because sometimes I'm like, oh, I just wanna hold onto that. But I have such a great team and I know they can do it. So it's not the fact that they can't do it, it's just that ownership and wanting is really hard for me. So I'm always working on that. But I think the more amazing our team gets and how everyone here likes trusting us all and all of us have like our specialties that we hope…

Caro: Yeah. But it's something in general super difficult. Like saying, okay, do this and you don't want to be there watching, but is, I mean you have to trust and it's super difficult. Then they do it and they do it great. Right. They do it. But the fact of not being there.

Dianne: Exactly. And everyone does it in a different way than I would, which is awesome because if I was doing it then I would be in my own brain, but then I'm like, oh my God, that's such an amazing idea that never popped in my head. And that's the beauty of collaboration.

Mica: And also TDP is like your baby. So it totally makes sense.

Dianne: Yes, yes. But I'm working on it and I think you guys are helping me a lot. So Awesome. Does anyone have any last little tidbits for the audience on being humble? I feel like we covered a lot. A lot. A lot. A lot. We got deep. We got deep. Well awesome. Well thank you guys so much for being in New York and to have this amazing podcast and talk about being humble. And yeah, we will continue our week of adventures and we'll keep everyone updated on all things you're doing. So thank you everyone. Thank you.

Dianne Eberhardt

Dianne Eberhardt

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