Ramy Majouji

Product Designer at Codecademy. Previously at Square and Busbud. This is my home on the Internet. Oh, and it’s pronounced rah•mee.

The importance of selling your vision

Kevin Rose:

As the founder of Digg it was my job to drive the product vision through design, development, and finally into the hands of our customers. As we grew in size (both traffic and headcount) it became harder to get alignment around our (6-month) product roadmap.

Common office chatter: “this isn’t scalable,” “this will take months to build,” “I’m not sure this will work,” “can you cut out this feature to save time?” “have we tested this in a focus group?”

It was my job to counter these doubts by selling the vision. This is something I failed to do. In the end I compromised on functionality, building the easier “me too” features that were standard in the industry, while leaving dozens of deeper features on the cutting room floor.

A team aligned behind a vision will move mountains. Sell them on your roadmap and don’t compromise — care about the details, the fit and finish. Only work with those that have (as Larry Page puts it) “a healthy disregard for the impossible,” and push everyone on your team until it’s uncomfortable.

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.

Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.

— Steve Jobs