I Changed My Job Title and Won’t Go Back

March 14th, 2012 § 0 comments

It’s been a while since I posted last, and I have to admit – I’ve actually been up to a lot. Switched jobs, went to a couple conferences, did some stuff, whatever.

As a few folks may know by now, I’m not really built for client work. As a “product guy” or “UX guy” working as a consultant I seldom had the opportunity to work with clients post launch, and never had the ownership required to really help take their products to the next level. To state the obvious – creating viable products takes time and focus. In many cases, launching a new product can be the easy part, while figuring out what it takes to make a product into a viable growing business is the real challenge. It just so happens that the latter is the part of what I do that I love the most. So about 6 months ago after much deliberation and a few sleepless nights, I decided to step down from active duty with the AMAZING team at Eastmedia.

NOTE: If you don’t know about Eastmedia, there isn’t a team in New York that I’d recommend more highly. They’re the complete package and worth talking to if you want to know what a small highly-skilled team with chemistry can create. I’m proud to still have a place on their website – http://eastmedia.com/404 🙂

That said, I’m now working as Director of Product Experience at Kohort.

So, WTF is Product Experience?

It’s a job title that I made up to combine what I value most when trying to create great products – Product and Design. It is meant to combine the awesomeness that is Product Management with User Experience Design, while removing the parts that are noxious to me.

Speaking of nauseating, I hate the word “user”. It’s foul, poisonous, and ugly. If you ever have a couple of hours free, let’s go out for some beers or iced coffee and I’ll tell you all about how the word “user” is a contributing factor to tons and tons of bad Design. I have always found it maddening that a group of amazingly talented progressive Designers in UX and IxD, who consider persona creation a core competency, still refer to the people who interact with their products as “users”. I refuse to have that word in my job title or department as I try to make Design a core competency in my new position.

I hate the word “management” when it comes to Product almost as much as I hate the word “user” when it comes to Design. For me, management has a negative connotation, not in the – “we’re the workers and they’re management” – kind of way. More in the – “I am the quarterback trying to lead my team to the endzone, not the team manager making sure the Gatorade bottles are filled and there’s clean towels in the locker room” – kind of way. Management skills are necessary when creating products, but Products should not be managed, they should be grown, changed, pivoted, measured, designed, built, iterated on, owned, etc.

After all of that, I ended up with a new job role – Product Experience, and I just happen to think it kinda kicks ass. Here’s why:

  • Design is a prioritized core competency w/ buy in at the highest level. No Designer or Design in this department will ever be an after thought.
  • Product is about the experiences we create for our customers that add value for them and for our business, not just about short term P&L or customer demands for features.
  • It’s forward thinking and focused on creation of something that’s very human – Experiences. Good and bad, experiences are how we know the product is having an effect.
  • The Product part ensures we think about our business and customers and can make decisions based on them, while the Experience part ensures that we use Design skills to put the knowledge in play.
  • It sounds kind of awesome.
Change your job title. Designers, if you change your title, you won’t have to sell your work upstream anymore b/c you’ll be in the business conversations. Product folks, change your job title so that you can make sure that Design competency is integrated into your product development culture.
Let me know what you think. I’m @joshviney and I use Boxcar to have tweets pushed to me immediately. Hit me up.


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