Awesome People - Ep 64 (website launch!)
product design, product market fit, creator economy, job board
Hi fellow founders and VC Friends!
Each week we deliver one awesome person to your inbox. These are the people you need to know—the marketers, sales gurus, engineers, ops wizzes— who give your startup superpowers 🚀. The best part is, everyone is hireable on a part-time basis.
Please meet Lily (aka Designalily), Your Friendly Product Designer 🥳
Over the course of her career, Lily has worked on many early features with companies such as Twitch, Zendrive (Series B co backed by Signal Fire), and Curtsy (Series A co backed by Index). Most recently, she was featured on Business Insider for her product design work! Lily is also a well-respected content creator. She spends her free time creating social media content and building a product design community. She currently has over 100k followers combined on YouTube, TikTok, and Clubhouse. Fun fact: when Lily isn’t at her desk, she loves playing volleyball 🏐
You can hire her to design friendly B2C products, websites, and mobile experiences. She’s especially passionate about community-driven businesses. You can see her portfolio here.
Lily was gracious enough to share some pro-tips with us here 🤩
Communicate directly and transparently
Sometimes you're working with a designer and your ideas don't click. Disagreements will naturally emerge around design. It’s easy to get bogged down in these discussions. However, it's important to be transparent and direct. To start, get everyone on the same page about the product strategy and vision.
All designs should be connected to a goal. Design is a tool to translate your vision into reality. Open and honest conversations about what’s working and what’s not working will help you get there.
Trying to hire a designer? Here are some hot takes:
People often ask me about the difference between UX and product design. If you’re pre-product-market-fit, you want to hire a strong product designer. They are generalists that can help your company go from 0 to 1. They focus on validating your problem and incorporate product strategy into their work. On the other hand, UX designers often focus more on user experience for startups that have found PMF. See my full explainer video here.
Hiring designers can feel impossible, especially when you don’t know what to look for. Here’s a tip: run your top candidates through a whiteboarding challenge. By doing so, you’ll get to see their process for breaking down problems and designing solutions. This is especially important for early-stage companies that need to design with customer needs in mind. Here’s an example to give you an idea of what to look for.
Your product designer should be obsessed with delivering an experience that fulfills your users’ needs. If your users are saying XYZ, then your designer should integrate that into their designs. Check this out to see how I bring up customer feedback to my team 😉
Leverage influencer and creator networks
I recently worked on a campaign for a product design fellowship. The company was recruiting for a spring cohort and using Facebook ads that cost $2-3 per click. However, they reached out to me because they were having trouble converting on those ads and getting applicants. So we leveraged my product design content and network to source 100 applications in less than 24 hours! The opportunity provided great organic value for my followers too.
People are overloaded with information on a daily basis. The future lies in curators of information — influencers and content creators. Curators cut through the noise for their networks. My partnership with the fellowship was perfect because it served my niche and theirs. It fit right alongside some of my other content, like this video on whiteboarding in product design interviews.
Moral of the story? The creator economy can be a massive tool in your marketing toolkit. Many B2C startups forget to work with influencers and creators to promote their products. But conversion with the creator economy is often very high! Influencers and creators have naturally built trust with their audience. Thus, when companies work with them, their content feels organic in a way that ads don't.
As always, let me know if you have any questions and if you want an intro to any of the folks in this email (including the PS section 🎉).
If you liked this, ❤️ it below. If someone forwarded this to you, sign up here 💌
Big news!! Say hello to the Awesome People Job Board 👋
At some point, all the best communities create a job board… well friends, that time has come! And we’re here for it 🚀
The future of work is flexible. That’s why I’m excited to announce that we’ve officially launched the Awesome People job board. This is the easiest way for venture-backed startups and VCs to find part-time talent - think advisors, freelancers, and part-time hires.
Let us know who you’re looking for by filling out this form and we’ll add your role to the site. From there, we’ll email out all the potential pre-vetted matches in our network and make 🔥 intros!
Have feedback? Copy suggestions? Feature requests? Let me know!!
We’re still working out the kinks, so please keep it on the DL for now 🙏. We’ll likely tweet about it or do something more legit next week 😅.
What is the secret to becoming ‘backable’? 📚
Have you ever noticed that backable people seem to have a natural ability to inspire others? As a founder, it often feels like you either have ‘it’ or you don’t.
My good friend Suneel Gupta (and former boss at Rise!) just released his book Backable to find out whether that ‘it’ can be learned. Spoiler alert: it can. But don’t just take it from us - take it from these 🔥 reviews too:
“Whether you want to get ahead inside a company or build a startup from the ground up, this fascinating book is a must-read.”
—Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn
“This book is truly brave. I felt like I was sitting with Suneel as he unveiled secret steps that anyone can take to stand out and achieve their dreams.”
—Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, bestselling author of Brave Not Perfect
Check out Suneel’s book here if you’re interested in learning more 👀
Most Recent Awesome People 🙏
Eric - Rockstar technical recruiter. Eric is a former VP of Engineering at Sema4 and COTA, Inc. He has a knack for spotting technical talent and now runs his own technical recruiting firm. Eric’s worked with 2 companies in the Awesome People community and is well-loved!
Evan - PR and content pro. Evan is a marketing and comms genius who’s helped his clients land features in TODAY, Reuters, the New York Times, CNN, and more. He’s even worked on viral campaigns with Snoop Dogg, Lady Gaga, and President Obama’s inauguration in the past.
Jeff - ‘Jeff of all trades’ designer. Think of him as the freelance designer who can work closely with your teams when you need an extra expert on hand. Jeff is trusted by Google, REQ, The Knot, Via, Amazon Publishing, PayPal, and more. He once worked on a Google campaign featuring Lizzo!
Want intros to anyone here? Lmk and I’ll connect you!
❤️ ❤️ ❤️