Awesome People List - Ep #19

Design, 100s of FT gems, and fun ✨

Hi Founders and Fellow VC Friends!

We are rockin 'and rollin (and doing our best to stay sane)! You know the drill, people give companies superpowers. Each week we deliver one awesome person to your inbox. There are the people you need to know. The best part is, everyone is hirable on a part-time basis. 

In today’s digest: 

  • Meet Taylor, your freelance designer 🌈

  • Tips for effective design 🤓

  • 100s (yes 100s!) of FT gems 😍

  • P.S. fun quarantine activities 🎉


Please meet Taylor, your talented freelance web, brand, and product designer 🌈

Taylor was recommended by Vlad, the CEO of Webflow, as “one of the best designers on this planet IMO.” You can check out her portfolio here, Dribbble here, and Twitter here. Most recently she worked on a brand refresh for NPR’s podcast, Invisibilia. She also did the art direction and event design for NPR’s ‘How I Built This’ Summit and The New York Times Higher Ed Leaders Forum. She’s super compassionate and intentionally partners with worthy causes to help them leverage design 🙏. For fun, Taylor teaches anatomy and partners with fitness companies to host interactive workshops. 

She’s currently spending her free time volunteering with Masks for Docs, a grassroots COVID-19 non-profit distributing supplies to doctors in need. If you want to help (from the comfort of your home and Slack), you can sign up here.

She's trusted by Webflow, Fictiv (manufacturing co that’s raised $58M), The Athletic (sports platform that’s raised $139M), and more. 

You can hire her for strategic design audits, brand refreshes, web design, and pitch deck design. 

If you want an intro to Taylor, please respond to this email and I’ll connect you.


She was gracious enough to share three design tips with us here 🤓 

Don’t start with visuals.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to focus on what you’re trying to solve, then on how to solve it. The pretty solution in your head might not be the deliverable that you really need. Are you trying to increase revenue? Engagement? Conversion rate? Brand awareness? Pretty pixels don’t matter if they don’t drive results. Similar to product development, always start with the why. 

Successful design requires successful communication.

Communication is king. Clear communication builds trust. If there’s tension between design and the rest of your team, 90% of the time, it can be solved with improved communication. Here are the most common communication mistakes I see: 

  1. Founders and stakeholders don’t document what they’re looking for upfront (think goals, deliverables, aesthetics, and timeline) - and equally important, they don’t document what they’re NOT looking for. 

  2. The timelines and processes aren’t clear, so people feel left in the dark or unsure whether or not appropriate progress is being made. 

  3. People don’t give honest feedback. When stakeholders don’t give feedback, designers can’t make adjustments. This leads to pent up frustration and a sub-par product. 

Know your control factor.

With design projects, there’s always at least one control factor: timeline, budget, or scope. You need to be explicit about the control factor with your team so you can agree on priorities and tradeoffs. There’s always more to do. It’s important to make things bite-sized. Simplify, simplify, simplify 😀. 


Full-Time Gems - 100s of them 😍

It’s heartbreaking to see founders and friends impacted by COVID-19 layoffs. Honestly, it’s been a tough week. We started a spreadsheet to help people laid off due to COVID-19 and support the startups still hiring. You can find 100s of full-time gems here. Pro-tips:

  • Check out the talent tab AND the companies with layoffs tab. On the companies with layoffs tab, click the talent links highlighted in yellow. And yes, even engineers and data scientists were impacted 😳.  

  • If your friends were laid off from startups, please share this form with them. Hopefully, we can help them find new jobs soon 🙏. 

  • If your startup is still hiring (woot woot!), add your company to the “companies still hiring” tab using this form 🚀.

On the bright side, there’s now lots of top talent on the market. Time to build your dream team!


Want an intro to Taylor or have questions about the spreadsheet above? Email me 🤩.

Stay healthy, safe, sane, AND awesome! 

Julia Lipton

Founder of Awesome People List

Founder of Awesome People Ventures

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P.S. Fun Quarantine Activities 🎉

To continue the tradition of spreading good cheer in the P.S. section, I listed my favorite things to do online here 🥳. Don’t judge 😂.

What are your go-to quarantine activities? Go to town (virtually!) and add your favorites to the doc. I’m excited to see your recommendations 🔥!