Design Interview at Google, Making Portfolios & Building a Business Case for Design

Instagram live with Hardik Pandya — Product Designer @ Google

In this Episode

Hardik Pandya is a Designer at Google. He is @hvpandya on twitterand instagram.


Sidharth: What’s up? Welcome to today’s live and today we’re going to talk to Hardik Pandya about like all the questions we collected. He’s a product designer at Google.

Me and Hardik worked at Instamojo together there for about a year. Later on, Hardik worked with Ola. And then now he’s working with Google search.

And if you haven’t already, check out interview on my YouTube channel where you can learn about his work, his journey, and his learnings.

And today are going to extend the conversation by taking your questions and the one you sent us already and the ones you’re asking on the chat.

So what’s happening? What’s up?

Hardik Pandya: Good man.

Uh, enjoying the quarantine life basically.

Uh, I was actually planning to take the call from, uh, outdoors and turns out, have you got any?

And when the dog is not as ideal from outside, so finally, happy to have joined.

Sidharth: So I think we’re gonna the first one that, you know, the most common theme of questions is how, uh, were you able to get into Google?

What is Google’s hiring process like, uh, especially for designers and, um, is it, is a portfolio necessary?

And, uh. If I’m looking to get into the, like,

Hardik Pandya: I’ll share a little bit of a history here, right? I think, although I. Actually was realizing that I had master a lot of, a body of work, a healthy bit of work, but I did not really have any record of it. And I didn’t, that was becoming problematic. Not even for Google or anything, just in general. Right?

So I wanted to document all of that and, uh, from all the new works and, uh, all the saved files and marks that I hired, I basically started like. Um, documenting a story.

And at the same time, a friend of ours, uh, had already joined a Google for a while and there was an opening in the Bangalore office and she wanted referred me there.

So I basically took that opportunity as another sort of, uh, et cetera, and for me to finish my portfolio, which was already sort of inflamed. So I spent about four months just, uh, just working on the portfolio, right. And wanting to do it right.

You want to go, like give it the justice that it does operate. Like after all the work that we’ve done, we are done together. It needed to sort of come out as a . I get about how DP had gone, how to get us, we have been and all of that.

So to capture all of that, it took its time.

But, uh, after the photo form of photo for months, I had something that I was satisfied with and doctor started the conversation had Google, right? Even with a referral.

Having a portfolio for an interaction design position or even a visual design if you are going for.

It’s a, it’s a not, it’s a nonstarter for 40 minute conversation with the company if you don’t have a portfolio.

So me having finished that in pain actually was quite helpful and it act, basically what happens is people don’t like to meet you unless they know that they are, they’re going to have a fruitful conversation, especially in a hiring context, right?

So they want to ensure that you meet a certain level of quality buyer before they even engage in a conversation. Because every step of conversation that the company has, which was expensive. Right? Both for them, for you, time wise and money wise.

So, um, so that [portfolio] is a door opener.

Basically having a good portfolio is just how you get in. Um, so yeah, I think it all started the speaking of specifically speaking about the Google recruitment process, uh, it lasted four months.

Um, definitely, uh, more than a month. Um, and I’ve, I’ve, I know of many people who fought for the process lasted for even like over six months. So it, to say that it’s slow. And it’s very purposeful is an understatement, right? It’s, it’s extremely rigorous. Basically test every single aspect you have, and you would have more deeper doubt along the way.

It has about eight or nine rounds of, um, basically writing and every single one of them is meaningfully designed to test. I think gospel being a designer. So it’s just about your course.

It’s about how you, how good of a communicator you are, how good of a collaborator you are, how good do you advertise, right? How well do you empathize with others and other skills and all those jobs and others fields, right? So it puts you through all of that.

I wouldn’t say it’s perfect now having seen the process from the other side of the table, right? Like, I wouldn’t say that it’s perfect, but it definitely. Here’s one of the best in the market market for a reason, right? And, uh, sometimes like you can argue about efficiency versus, um, like speed, right? Like how good you want to be was this owl costume you want to be in hiding?

But, uh, I think. The office is currently at the right side of the equilibrium. Right? Like it does.

You know, I mean, hiding slows never the wrong idea in gender, right? Like in the, in the hindsight, I mean, that’s why it ends up sort of keeping that body heretical. Right?

So that’s basically been my experience. Um, specifically about like the eight or nine rounds. I would say that, uh, there’s a call interview over phone with somebody completely random designer from anybody anywhere in the world. After that, there’s like portfolio screening, uh, portfolio screening happens after that.

There is a design exercise, the design exercises, bacteria and . You sort of. Don’t funnel like from vertical is all about the conversations you have at the people.

So then it’s about five or six rounds of in person interviews with researchers, product managers, um, engineers, right, front end engineers, most the PLMs, other designers, your senior design lead or a design manager.

And then it’s sort of like a collective feedback from all of them that ends up guiding the decision. Right.

So it’s a lot of, a lot of manual work involved. I was lucky enough to have like my five or six interviews scheduled on the same day.

Not easy, but trust me, you want them all done in a day instead of having them spread out over like multiple weeks. Having them in our days. Definitely looking back the record idea between the two, but wouldn’t you

Sidharth: get exhausted by the end? Like on that day


Hardik Pandya:** was, I mean, I even remember, uh, so the, so my interviews were in Bangalore offices and I lived in hitches or layout. Right?

So the interview started at 10. I had horribly miscalculated my traffic and commute. So I was like literally eight Easter, like two minutes before the first interviews, who were supposed to start. Thankfully they had kept a half an hour buffer knowing that you could potentially get late.

So eventually the process started at 10 30 which was good because I needed to calm down. Right.

I didn’t want to go into a frenzy. All of that ended on the same day or. I remember like completely like devoid of any energy left at the end of the day. Basically I was like knocked out. Right.

I remember the ride back home was, uh, I think I just slept off in the, in the gallery back home. I had nothing left in the tank, completely sprint, but I was hopeful. I had a great experience. Um, it was fun.

Had a great lunch with my potential future teammates. Been no, no dark back then. But, uh, um, but yeah, it, it definitely also then depends on like what kind of interview was you get from what region of the word that I use.

Like sometimes you get somebody from Poland, like I did. You have a hard time communicating because they.

Sort of that there’s an accent and Lord, that people in interview styles are different. The communications times are different because sometimes they repeat yourselves.

It all basically is a game of variables. It’s man.

So there’s definitely a little bit of luck in work in life. the situation.

Google tries to sort of a random is enough that that seems to get average total on the length of your individual process. So like if you get like one or two bad experiences that won’t end up defining your outcome.

Sidharth: Right.

And, uh, you know, just to dig a little bit deeper, I want to talk to you more about portfolio as well.

Uh, but before that, like, you know, the question and the conversation you do with it, like similar kind of question that you can get asked in Vanderbilt and then like, it’s the same question, but they dig in deeper the question more like, does it differ a lot or is it just

Hardik Pandya: some of the kinds of questions. Yeah.

So I think the planning committee basically decides, uh, the interviewers, uh, in a list, and they all in short, that can be one of the interviews is about the different teams. So if you, in a conversation, if you are sort of, uh, um.

Basically are trying to like get off the of the trajectory of like the core skills or the questions that they are trying to test. They do keep praying to sort of bring you back on the track. So they always sort of nudge you in the direction where they want you to go and do in order to like clearly, um, set you up for string.

Exactly their question, not something else. So it’s all like, there’s not a lot of. Well between the kind of questions you get asked in the interview. So you may think that six interviews must get repetitive at some point, right? Um, they largely don’t, um, apart from like sauna, colon questions, right? Which is literally like five minutes and a 45 minute conversation.

So although 40 minutes you would end up discussing something very exclusive with that person and to that skill, so that way, like it does remain very.

It comes up, you discuss with the next person. Right?

So for example, as an engineer, you would not talk about stuff that you would talk about with researcher. Like they’re extremely different also with like designer to designer, they will try to test you against different skills, right? Some great names you talk about like managing collaborations. Sometimes you talk about like simply like your execution and like driving things and taking ownership and things like that.

So that’s how like the conversation is before. But a Bernie, I mean, this is also where like it gets tricky, right? Like sometimes a person interviewing you is expecting. Certain things, but like also, um, has a different interview style, which is what I meant when I started. Like personalities mattered a lot.

So, so like if they are expecting X, Y, and Z and you are talking about , then you are slightly off, but they are not allowed to give you a hint, which means like the innovation doesn’t happen. It could factor into this quote that they do it.

So all of those always come into. Play what I mean cause I started like it still tries to do the best it can. The process itself.

Sidharth: Maybe investing, specifically speaking about in a portfolio, you know, like, Oh, where do I start? How many case studies would be for that? Have a, why do we have gland another?

Or maybe a lot of people, maybe even a YouTube library, should briefly touch upon like how many days is that ideal?

What are your thoughts.

Hardik Pandya: Yeah. So I have been doing this 30 minute sessions with a lot of designers by opening the conundrum, right? And most of those sessions end up turning about into like portfolio reviews, basically.

So I’ve done a lot of these and I have like some fresh feedback on top of my head about this.

Um, so basically what I see is a lot of people. Many case studies in their portfolio, they tried to show breadth, right? And which is totally fair.

I think showing breadth is important, but it’s only one of the signals that the recruiters look for.

The other even more important signal that recruiters look for is depth. And people don’t often optimize for depth as much as they do for prep. So having end projects is great. Having five projects with three with very intense deep dose is much better. Right.

And you have to do that self curation, uh, and Rick decide which projects we want to like really dive deep into. If I do have a lot of material and content and pick at least two or three of them that actually go into much more depth that you can have 40, 45 minutes to an hour conversation about, right. You should have that level of material for those two and not just in your head, right?

Like you need to put it out there so that the depth comes across. Um, what Google optimize is for always is, um, not how much work you’ve done, but how are they going to see what and how in depth you have gone in whatever you have done.

You may have only ship a certain screen on a single flow in an app, but if you had been really rigorous, probably that’s what it takes. Right? So that’s something that I learned over time. Also, recruiting and also interviewing for Google, right?

Like when I interview on behalf of Uber and I look at other portfolios, this is what I look for. So I would say about five projects is a really decent, uh, portfolio.

Having two or three of them go into really deep dives. Um, and then specifically speaking about individual projects. I, um, I really get irritated when I see portfolios that have like a homepage with a lot of projects, but no names on the truly see what the project is about. Right. Yeah.

The index, all of like the same, like what is judging you on how your portfolio is, they are judging you on your case study is right. So because in both team having a friend title have enough friend one line, two line description of what the project is about so that there is enough room to click on it. Right. And then I go into the detail. And this is, it sounds big, right? But I don’t, not a lot of portfolios. I see follow something like this and I do self curation, right?

Like if you’re 15 projects, don’t put them in a laundry list. Right? Like put, put three or four of them at the top, which are like, Hey, some of my most recent work or some of my most interesting projects and put the other ones. Oh wait, right. Lay on order under different titles, there is no curation. I don’t know which ones are projects that you are sort of advertising on your behalf. I don’t know. Portfolio. So that level of self creation does matter a lot. And then speaking about the specific yesterdays, right? I really like when people Actually start with like a clear problem statement at the top, right? In layman’s terms, right?

What happens is maintenance people work in domains that are not as, um, sort of obvious to other people who are just passes by it, right? Like the passes by, they, they, they just look at the website, they want to like skim to and get like connect videos, what kind of problem you solve.

They don’t know what banking’s are or you walked in, what kind of challenges your banking startups faced, right? So a lot writing layman’s problem statement. Right, so that I can understand, okay, this is the problem you’re trying to solve. Fine. I empathize with that. Let me dive, dive deeper. Right. The simpler language you use, the better it is. Right?

And the motor block watch you use the more block quotes and the more like call out sections you use. They are the only ones that are probably going to read as a, what I’m looking for is like not to read, not read paragraphs, to actually know. How the story is flowing. Like, just give me like this. they’ve got enough for me to get the gist of like the entire story. So like, use your titles smartly. Use your headings smartly. Use your Blackboard smartly.

So like every title, I should have strict food. Go into like a story, defining the problem, understanding the context, open questions, conducting research. Right?

Trying out different variations, user testing, finalizing the marks, shipping or collaborating with the edge. These are like all the titles that I love to read, right? Like we know what I see now.

When you use obscure titles that are not from the industry or that are not widely used, then I have to, nobody has time to sit down and make sense of it. All. Right?

Like they only have about five, 10 minutes per portfolio to make a decision about whether this goes through the funnel or not. So, so in order to like, you’re basically converting, right? Until you basically converting in that five minute window or decision in your favor. So and so like later, like that.

And then the other thing about Marx’s. People like write all kinds of long stories and then don’t end up showing the final comment on, right?

Like why isn’t, why is your story three and a half, four hours long? And then the walks are industrial ain’t got only three or four regional mocks, but under that store them, right?

So, so the smarter way to approach this would be like if you redesigned the whole app. Pick a flow or when you’re writing a case study, you probably don’t need the entire app. You can just define like all your user journeys there to sort of across the app. One or two of them go really deep into one or two of them. Right? This is what I did in the old case study as well, like the, uh, the right booking app or app.

That’s like the 80% of what the driver does on the app. Any of the other journeys and orders and part, right? I mean, they’re important, but they’re not mission critical.

The mission critical is being able to fulfill. So I focus just on that and then that beat is just on that, right?

So that allows me to have a deeper sort of, um. That allows me to go deep on a single tool and show like the depth, right? And then I can have like other flows at the end. But it’s all about like showing that depth part flow. So that’s a one.

That’s one like good way to deal with a try. Like go to deal with, really like to address the concerns of like, Oh, for you regulars.

Well, you leave like the duty, um, new core down, uh, solving the problem in multiple ways and like land on one leg, you can’t do it across like 50 floors that your app is probably going to have. I don’t want to see your settings. Like, I don’t want to see your profile. I don’t want to see a login screens. Like, I don’t understand why people showed up against Guineans. Right.

Unless you really, unless a login is like the product that you are trying to, yeah.

These days, you don’t need to even reinvent any of those flows, right? Like, okay, password flow. Like I don’t want to see those screens. I don’t want to see your settings.

I don’t want to see your account details page. Really show me the, the, the hero funnel. Like where does the Edo flow in your app tag go into depth and that’s about it, right?

So yeah, this is, these are like some of my observations on portfolios,

Sidharth: I think folks, because I keep getting these questions as well. I’m in planning a life portfolio reviews as well. Maybe that’s what we’re going about it twice so far on Instagram live and people here must be like, he never does it, but he’s just been playing different out of our maximum you.

What I’m going to do is send out a movement form on Twitter and then ask you to submit with folio. So maybe me hard they can and some of the designers can get together. And we’ll have a live portfolio review.

Let me know and comment if that is, you know, that is an idea. You would be interested in a, that is a format that I’ve thought on. So if that sounds useful, please let me know.

So, uh, the next thing that keeps coming up, uh, another pattern that I saw is that our design, uh, I don’t folks,

Students who are not thought about design as a career. But I, uh, were not the possibilities. They consider it. Is it right for me?

That seems to be the bigger, you know, the most specific question from there. That is this like for me.

So, um, how did you realize, you know, that this was night for you? You design with my feeling and what kind of signals can people use.

Hardik Pandya: Yeah, I’d say it’s a two part, uh, uh, system, right? Uh, you, you want to sort of, um, start doing something and then you want to see the benefits offered.

You want to see some feedback from, from, from, from the industry or like from the community to know that you are actually doing something good. Right? So, uh, or, or you’re on the right track. So it is.

You’re just go forward. And how I did it was get get really hands on really early, right? People talk about like whether it’s the right thing for me to pursue or not, it all depends on how good you get at your hard skills as early as possible.

Like without the hard skills, there’s no conversation or there is no evidence that you can even make a career. Right? So in order to realize if you can. Make a cadet in here. You really need to get your pants dirty picker tool. Any tool that you like.

Write, sketch Fatemeh what? What is your, uh, what was your jam?

Start like designing, start designing screens. Start designing like interfaces and imagining things in your own vape, right? You’ve done it. You would get feedback.

If they are bad, you would still get feedback. But that feedback you get is valuable in helping you make that decision for yourself because nobody else can. Um, people can only nudge you in that direction, but ultimately your protest later, you really love doing it and whether you are good at it. I took the date basically is, uh, what those things and uh. There.

Lot of times when people ask me this question and they show me that work for is lacking, is the hard skills and which is why it is very hard to, very difficult to judge whether they would, they would be able to like sort of go forward with pursuing their career in design or not. If they are not willing to put the time in getting better at the hearts. It’s all both things, right? Like you would not even have this as an option if you don’t put the time in getting better.

And hence there is no conversation. So it’s like a follow, like there’s lots of tutorials to get better at hearts. Cause the good thing about getting better at heart is dark. The only thing, and I, there is no gatekeeping, there is no sort of, um, uh. Oh, the secret sauce, right?

Like if you put enough time, which is how I did it in probably 13 2014 when I was trying to move and I was picking up sketch and it made things easy for me. I started like making screens and sketch. That’s how I got confidence that yes, I think I can design screens and that’s how I can sort of, now all that was lacking was like everything around it. Right? But if the, if the code isn’t dead and there is nothing wrong, there is nothing wrong with photo.

In order for that to latch on. So, so yeah, that’s, that’s what I would say likes. And the good thing is students really have the luxury to a luxury of time. Which probably you and I didn’t have in an industry that was not even there. Right.

So at the Hector thing, when he was starting out careers, right? So if somebody is like 2223 right now, like it’s a great time to, let’s say spend a year or like the final year of your college, just learning like the design goal and like.

You can get relief faster very quickly. I see a lot of students on our Twitter posting really good videos and blogs and articles and like great work on even on things like dribble or have like solid portfolios even before the age of 25 right?

So it’s all about putting do that, pay that cost. You would realize that, uh, you either don’t getting good at it or you get a great signal that you’re not getting credit, which means probably you need to explore some things.

Sidharth: Right? And just to add on top of that, like we find time to invest that time that you ended up knocking on so that maybe it’s not interesting enough for you to put in the effort, put in the airport, put in the hours to get the basic skill set. And once you start seeing dissolves, you’d automatically see the flute in that direction.

And then the rest of the part becomes easier. And the question, or whether I’m not sure, you know, the motor skills.

Uh, so now coming to the next question, uh, you know, uh, what to the question that I collected. I have them all here.

Uh, how to make sure that, you know, that design, you are executed, uh, study that design you’ve given. It gets on Instagram at least. Uh, I would love.

Hardik Pandya: Yeah. So the, the, there’s a question back to that question, which is, uh, does your, uh, sick can be in the, in the calibration of, uh, um, off your coffee or integrity skills, right?

Like a fidelity scale from like, not that at all to like. Right down to the pixel. Perfect.

Like your well needs to sit somewhere in between, which already means that there is a compromise inward. And I think as as a, you had put a nice piece of that in the last video video. Um, companies are leaky, like all processes are leaky, right?

Every time you pass something on to somebody else, there’s going to be a leak. And Gordon comes off fidelity in terms of, uh, the accuracy of how things get replicated into a different media.

So if you design something in your opinion, in a certain tool. When it is replicated on onto like a browser or like on a mobile screen in court. So it’s everything’s expression, right? So we will exclude a second via you to the filing in sketch was as you were expressing your pool, let’s say a esteemed and CSS on a, on a webpage, that is going to be a certain difference because of the differences in media, right? So if you start acknowledging that you would.

Go ahead.

Immediately start learning about where that value needs to sort of sit right where it needs to be collaborated and it’s on, it’s down to, because you can’t go up above, above a hundred dollars a hundred percent right? So you, you were settled at some something like 85% 90% that’s what it becomes. Your sort of average. And then you as a company need to realize, or you as a team rather, right? Like if it’s a large company, every team is a monoculture. So you as a team need to set up your. You ordered, uh, basically, uh, all of his photo sacrificing for Medicaid, if you want to find it, let’s say 90%, uh, uh, fidelity as an EAM, and that’s Obama.

And everybody in their team collectively puts an effort to a product. But if your team, if you’re, if you are down to 70%. You ought to own, but the bar is at 90%, then it’s your job to bring it to bring it up, right? So you need to put in that effort, which means that there are multiple ways possible. Right?

Um, how you can do is basically, it’s not about just you empathizing with engineers. I think that’s something that everybody loves to say. Like, yes, you can always empathize with. Yeah. Like if everybody was empathetic, you’ll be done in a therapy center, not a company. Right. Um, but I think it, yeah, it basically it down to like, uh, recognizing costs. Right.

Um, taking something from 70% to 90% is going to incur certain amount of costs. Now, the challenges. The team is doing is used to doing things a certain way, uh, because they’ve always done something. They’ve always done everything at 70%.

That means that all is fine with just being that amount of costs and then estimates. Yeah, that’s the, does the estimate, they had them calibrating everything to like hit the sticks this much amount of time. Hence 70% is every group take it. Your job is to basically realize how much further you can push it. Right?

And factors, how large the team is or how big of a player in their team. So once you establish credibility, once you establish enough credibility in their team, this one happened on Deva. Once you establish enough credibility in the team, you start to sort of own that cloud to be able to put that cost up. Right Bush justify that additional cost for the benefits in quality that you get so far.

For example, you ever find that non-living Eric, you’re like, Hey, if you only pay, let’s go a week extra. What of any resources on this?

We can actually push from 70 to 95% and that’s what we leave it. And this is dependent on every project. Is it dependent on people? Right? But once you get that math rate, many times you would understand it. Probably the cost is not worth paying.

Or many times you will be able to make a case study that the cost is or nobody not to pay. Right?

Because the benefit you gain, not just in terms of aesthetics, I think aesthetics is one of them, but also like the fidelity, the, the, the, the feelings from the user.

I like the way the, the product works and feels, gets that much better for just a week’s worth of additional effort. And I think that’s, that is a conversation starter startup, right? You already start like putting it into. That kind of a framework.

And I usually take everything in goes costs like the, the reason why they’re pushing back is not because they don’t like beautiful things. Engineers love group designed, beautiful thing, right? It’s not that they’re, they don’t have the, I mean, sometimes they don’t have the eye, but like most of the time they also recognize a beautiful product when they see one. Right?

So it’s about them and you having that conversation about what is acceptable. And what is value? You want to keep that bar as a team, not as you like you.

You probably, you might be heartedly, often your sort of guesstimation where the team is somewhere.

There is a certain level that the team already has. When you find a new team, it’s about you thinking whether your industry demands a higher level than dark. Odd.

Is that like the bond that is acceptable in anything, any equals that you can be before the raise? That bar is always a losing equation. He’s always right there in that case. Fine.

I mean, there is no point in like for the like keeping, you know, like you know your guards up and just going out and diminishing

I mean, I was in enterprise design right before joining a search. I was in a cloud and I was designing for apps and the entire equation of how your product went to market and how the product was sold to the customers was very different.

It was all about feature parity. It was all about winning that checkbox. When your sales guy goes to the customer and sends a software. Having that feature was, is Microsoft’s product suite basically made the difference.

Doesn’t matter if the product feature works better than Microsoft’s or not. It’s all the modeling. How much am I paying? What am I getting for it? It’s very transaction.

So at that time, the equation is very black and white, right? Like you, you pay that money, you get these features in return.

All we need to ensure is that the feature ships on time so that the sales guy can put, put it on their expense expense table, and then building for, right? So it’s not about quality, it’s the decision maker in a company is not the guy who has the most technical sense for the software.

Sidharth: you never know

Hardik Pandya: if it’s the CIO or the head administrator or like the, the, the head of the admin team that is making the decision and hence it all they care for is how to minimize the costs and how, how, what is the cost of, let’s say, onboarding the team and what is the cost of switching that’s all there, like sort of optimizing for, so product quality’s probably not even in the top 10 things that they care for. So there is, there definitely. Oh, hard parked a certain percentage in that kind of a product kind of vitamins, let’s say consumer products. Everybody decides it just product every now and then. The cost of switching isn’t as high, so you really have to capture the user and keep them it, so individuals. So yeah. Right,

And then you got to give more value and it just can’t be, that’s what we are talking about, like optimizing user experience because you don’t want that.

That’s more to go as you would want to get more reasons for the game then that’s coming to the next gaming or customers into constant consumer apps. Right.

Every app that they are on their phone is taking attention away from your app or writing the use case that you want to have versus an enterprise. It’s probably all it knows.

They’re not going to run Microsoft office on the side as a, as well as G suite, right?

It’s a zero sum game.

Do they have the contact when you don’t? So it takes like once you’ve got them, you’ve got them for a considerable amount of time, so you work what yourself that runway, but with the customer, right? Like.

They don’t give you a second chances with consumers. So it’s a very different thinking that’s required.

Sidharth: Right?

And all those things is the kind of metrics you have somebody that price customers, at least one kind of workflow happens to you. Excuse me.

It wasn’t many other customer, let’s say consumer, like you have Netflix, Amazon prime as well, and then these companies are not talking about how many users they have. They have, but you mentioned in talking about how much time share they get out of a user’s day because.

Up at a point, you know, there’s that tradition and everybody has all that sorts of stuff, so that I’ve seen that addiction come into a different trajectory. Uh, and that sort of leads us to the kind of questions that we want as well.

Uh, you know, straight quarters in Western design, especially this person was asked this question is one design that influenced that is where the question comes from. Like, how do I convince.

Hardik Pandya: Yeah, I mean, a one, it’s hard, right? Um, what I always recommend, uh, really young designers who are just starting out is dark.

Although it may sound like a great opportunity to join of one person does, I know the company that you would be the only designer. He’d almost always turns out to be, um, a losing equation because what, what happens is.

A goal with the hope of learning a lot, right? Which typically doesn’t happen if you have good design pills, right? And good support, even within your own domain. And this is why my advice is always to join a startup where you at least have three, four other designers who are more senior than you are, and then you’ll go there and you learn stuff while still having enough room in your company to grow.

Onto do bigger responsibilities. So you do, you get the best of both.

I do get direct mentorship and you have the right career opportunities within the same company.

The problem with a single person company is that it, everything’s on you, right? Like first of all, you have to, you basically have to fill the entire gap off. A complete top to the complete bottom. Uh, I mean, you all levels, so you are all sort of replying to your CEO’s requests for random walks because they have a, uh, investor presentation tomorrow and you’re also struggling to be strategic.

You are also struggling to be tactical and like give your engineer the marks that they need to start execution. Right.

And at the same time, the engineers are very something and you are supposed to do the work, your honor, because you’re the only designer, right? So it’s a very, very tough space to be in. Uh, and what ends up happening is you deciding how much you want to take up. Right?

Like, how would you, I think the people who go into that kind of a job need to have an honest conversation about how much they can do and how much they won’t be doing. Right.

Because it’s just not possible.

Spread yourself thin, doing everything. It’s just not humanly possible.

So I would say you either have that conversation with whoever is managing you. Probably somebody like a senior product manager would be managing you. And that time I had to have an honest conversation about like, Hey, what is expected out of you is, are you really going to be expected to have like a lot of designer opinions and like how like seed at the senior tables with like having conversations about why if the product is knowing that our direction or not.

Or are you just a pure executer. And they hired you because they want them to do that, Dave, on that, after we designed out the product we designed, that’s all they need.

They have those . Right? So once you know that, you will be able to focus on the right things. Right? And then just like, just worry about those. Right. And looking at Gilbert goes.

So I would not say that it’s fair to assume that you’re supposed to cover everything.

I think you can have that conversation and exactly know what is expected off of you.

It’s just fine in the early stages of your career. Um, because we want that to be covered in order to be appreciated in the company for what you bring to the table and then put it on both sides.

A few percentages of quarter over quarter, right? So if you are supposed to do X amount of work, do X plus 5% left and expert plus 5% on the rate.

Basically those show some leadership, show some hands on ownership and spread on both sides, and then progressively you can expand your role to address those larger questions about like how my company sees design.

I don’t think it’s a question. I don’t think that’s a concern from day one or even let’s say for six months show value.

So would that be a useful show that do bring thinking and then if you are in a good company around good people, they would start the recognizing what you bring to the table and it’s sort of what they are, right? It’s as much about what you push in is as much about homelessness as well.

And I think it’s done where there was a clear example for a lot of folks back then, right? If you already take ownership.

You, it almost falls to you, things almost lard to you because, Hey, I think you are leading. There’s no reason to stop you from not leading, right?

Like you’re already, you just need to ensure that you are not blindsided by access to information.

So even if somebody junior, but good leaders see that they are leading, they’d give that junior person the right amount of information so that the junior person can type. Right? Right.

So it’s about like having the right mindset and just taking whatever ownership you have and doing Right. Right.

And the other bigger question, did you. It’ll come with that. They come with their own due time. Right.

And you will be better equipped to answer those once you understand the company better.

And once the company respects you and you sort of also stand up to the. Incremental opportunity gains every step of the way.

Sidharth: And I don’t think I’d be using it to you. Me being a solo designer has taken the sold out of him and he agrees with you that it’s, maybe it’s like the loose bachelors and then a lot of chaos and, uh, with him that, but he’s saying that’s life, bro. On.

Hardik Pandya: It’s not only good career advice, right? It says, good life advice. Pick a big pixel battles, pick your battles and decide which ones are you or do you actually want to win? Basically, you only have a certain amount of energy and attention and you would not be winning everything, every battle that you pick, right? So once you start picking fewer back to this and you’ll start optimizing for like if I’m picking three out of 10 battles, I really want to win those three. Hmm. So, so you only put your energy otherwise it’s a waste of time and leads to frustration. Yeah.

Sidharth: And adding to wait what you’re talking about and when you’re coming into that project wasn’t about me being an invisible and I’m getting into a place where we can start. And that’s been another thing you want to just before you, I think you guys, one of them is a part of it, so it wasn’t like it wasn’t ever about being the I think that sort of is important. If you haven’t had that conversation with the senior PM, the

Hardik Pandya: Yeah, I’m actually, um, I was collecting the list. I saw the question yesterday on instead, like, uh, what I’ll do is I’ll send a tweet out. I don’t have a list, but any, can I bring that up? Um, I haven’t been able to do a lot of reading because of, uh, uh, everything that’s what happening going on in like right now, as soon as the dog. But, uh, I, I do have a list, so I have to share their own photo. Uh, and, uh.

I would go with that as well. Yeah, those are great link. Recently, not recently. I think a while ago.

Last year sometime last year I found about the design books that are not about designer clothes and I am really getting into that fringe content load recently. That is not about. Um, design it all.

I centered retold like four months ago about reading a lot of research papers that go into the early days of interaction design and how some of them actually came to be. All right.

Yeah, they’re not, they’re not graded research papers on how dragon drop was invented or let’s say how swipe was invented or like how old, let’s say the apples interactions or like collecting the outs and moving them across screens.

Something as simple as Eric was in your intro guide, the megaphone apps have in the modern world, in the post iPhone world. Like how that to be so interesting. Like going back to the first principles of, um, like, uh, like, why is it chip. Like a shape or like a check.

Why’s that radio button, radio button, right? Like what does that sense between a checkbox and a switch? Like very basic things like that in there from two to, uh, that opens up like your thinking to a very different ed. Alvin.

Like these interactions with Nordic exist and they had to borrow like physical work.

Sidharth: Some very interesting question, but before we get to the question in the chat, there’s this one question. It comes from Rahul — Everyone knows what’s wrong in the product, but still they will live with it. And you know, made for somebody else to prioritize it.

And unless it really hampers the business, it’s not going to get a battery. And sometimes we already have this ready.

You know, I have a bro, I have spent my personal time more that, uh, but, uh, it will still not be picked up.

They will still not win. What is your take on that? How do you convince the stakeholders?

Hardik Pandya: Yeah. Yeah. So I, um, I faced that at Ola. I faced, uh, doctor, uh, our previous, uh, my previous Tinder, Google write-ups, UX. I was basically something as simple as our designing a spec for, uh, enterprise stables.

Now, the table, the table component that we hired in, uh, in a Google’s admin console that you see today, uh, if you go to like a Everyday will used to be different and that they will hire all of those tables that had like different features and different, um, sort of functionalities in very consistent ways. Right.

Um, what ended up happening was a collection of two things. One was the replicating.

Uh, they basically, sorry, not replicating, but identifying like how much time it took us to maintain those tables, uh, and the discrepancies data and to actually, uh, how much time was actually spent in like maintaining different backend APS and how the representation was different in the front end for each one of those.

And how much of that could be saved by just investing at a rough time in making the spec the same. Right?

So I spend a lot of time in meeting all the designers and goes individual parts of the product that they, they’ve worked on and identify like what the gaps with it, right?

Like how different is it from white liquid, we want our tables picked to be. So there was a lot of my work and then I collated all of that. Did you did like a much better spec a spec like I think three and a half, four months later, right.

Like I collected every feature requirement that each one of the individual teams had made a list of time and when we let them in like you, the better spec. Then I collaborated with my engineer, good case study for why we needed to do this.

So it wasn’t about just like user experience that you put out to the user. It’s also about how much you will save, how much time and money you save in. Right.

In maintaining the different code bases in the fragmented core basin. And what you do is by making it all the same, making it all consistent and like something that sells multiple requirements across multiple parts of the product, you actually create a much better case study for multiplying the effort you’re putting in today.

For many months to come, right?

So if you have a better table spec, let’s say six months down the line, you invest six months worth of one inch effort on it, you are probably going to save, let’s say three years of maintenance time, three years off, and then you’re also going to get a lot of time back that you would’ve spent in maintaining fragmented a core basis when you launch a new feature. So time to market decreases for each one of those products, right? So.

It’s about creating that case study, right? That worked for me in my salary.

Now this could be very different in Lexia, different app or different people, right?

So I think one thing that helped me make peace with this, and I can’t change things, is to lung vibe. The things are the way they are, so that I learn and like calibrate myself. Well when things are not changeable, right? Right.

When they aren’t changeable, you need to identify what are going to take to change them. But when they are not changeable, you need to make sure via, they are not changeable, so that you learn to analyze the opportunities differently in future. Right?

So you’ve got an agenda, but for somebody who has, let’s say the engine manager doesn’t just agree tonight, then you know it. So it’s already. Individual.

Uh, it’s an individual supposition that prevents you from making that cheese. What’s this? Let’s say the company’s just not willing to pay the cost that it would demand in order to fix something.

What makes something better then? You know, it’s a company’s position and, and you, you can try to change it. If you’re , you wouldn’t know Hamas cost. Couple changer.

If if, if you can try to change it and fail, you know that probably you have no idea how much cost it requires, right? So in that case, you can either grow to learn to appreciate what costs go into changing that.

Like how many people’s minds you would have could change. How many people do you have to convince how many, how much better does the solution that you have needs to be. What does that Delta, right, like what does that gain data that it needs to be in order for somebody to be convinced about implementing it? So it’s, it’s, it’s all dark, right?

Like you would either come out victorious by paying the cost or you would basically realize that there is no equation. There is no.

Exchange possible, there is no purchase, it’s possible. And then you would say, okay, fine, let’s move on. Right?

It’s a lost battle. It’s odd. It’s about battle that you don’t want to get into it anymore. So that’s always a year. And I’m pretty sure that even any company you will, maybe not all battles are lost, right? There are definitely by tens. You can start.

If finning meets then don’t speak to you for solutions. I saw that happening at Ola has been great. And uh, what happens is like you start with. They’ll come in record basis, played like a really quickly written code that doesn’t support a lot.

That’s not Mariton taking a lot of future proofness into account and all of that. Right.

So you’re echoing a lot of batteries. Well.

And then at sometime, at some point you basically are left with something that just is not extensible for the, for like making like that step, step, function level advancements in your experience. Right.

So yeah, accord is just not able to support it. Right.

So how many ways can you speak in your story into justifying why that step function in chroma is needed.

Is it real? Is it going to open up new business opportunities? Is it going to open like basically in your face to like create new use cases that are not possible today? Right.

Or is it basically like a zero to one and torment that you’re talking about? Or is it about like taking something from one to 1.15.

One to one is a whole, another conversation was zero to one.

Like, Hey, I’m actually opening up like something completely different, right? Like with the whole lot, what we did was like ride sharing, uh, as a, as a floor deck we built in there, you can see on my portfolio V part about like revamping the entire app so that we could support ride sharing as a whole, another Avenue for the business.

Right. And there was a lot of conversation already, so we didn’t, Meg, we facilitated that design.

So it was a big history into like, how. When you redesign an app, you could support new businesses that are not possible food.

And by doing so, you can justify the additional costs that be required, required to pay, uh, in order to make that happen, right? So it’s all about that. Right?

And I know like this is not like a specific, uh, uh, binary. And so, uh, it’s an, it really is like that in my eyes, or I like it. It’s not binary.

I, at the end of the day, it’s all about. Circumstances are, and uh, uh, what specifically is happening in your company. Like

Sidharth: using is using those to build the case using other people. Running Google evidences, scalability as an issue. You know how much time you’re already spending maintaining, and you know how much it’s costing. Gathering that sort of Awesome. But also like, I know, like

Hardik Pandya: I’m not doing anything new, right? But what I’ve realized is, um, across comp, right? Even in a company like Google, the problems you solve don’t really change. They’re the same problems. It’s just like, it’s just the people you sold them do it. Change. People change. The circumstances change. The market changes a little bit. Your users change, but the internal organizational problems, I’m okay. K my nobody listens to the designer or like nobody, nobody pays attention to like this great solution that I have, right? Everybody has great solutions. Like probably if you talk to the PM PM the apartment is probably has like five different ideas in their head. They’re not able to execute. Yeah.

Sidharth: Absolutely.

Hardik Pandya: Yeah. People are not blogged on ideas. People are blocked on conversations, right? So if you have conversations, you realize that your ideas have been tried before, or your ideas have been explored before, it’s just start. They probably would not. Right. Not the right idea at that time. Your job is to bring those up again and see if now is the now is a better time, but no is emotional devil time to bring them out and then now is the theme. But changing people and changing priorities probably is a better time to execute them. Not what says if somebody doesn’t work great, you can show that and say, let me revisit this idea in six months and I’ll probably see if it’s a matter of time then if it’s still not a better time in six months.

Sidharth: Right. And that almost being this too, we have six minutes left, so we’ll be going to be pretty quickly.

Then I’ll take a photo with my iPad though. Meanwhile, if any of you have a rapid fire questions. Okay.

So, uh, uh, we have a lot more questions than we could during this time. There’s any little questions which I would love to talk about, but all of them would go fast.

So it’s kind of forgotten how to, you want it?

How do I sell my design without sounding like a sales man?

Hardik Pandya: ah, yeah, I don’t think there’s a, there’s a gender Lancer to that.

Yeah, I mean, I think, yeah, I think they’re really building a case or like a, in my example, what I’ve done is, uh, bring a user code right. People love to producers those, and like if your companies is, I light on those.

Um, are you an interaction on a slide and next to that interaction or next to that Mark, if you show, like what, how users reacted to it in your, like a Is is, is it that I get most and most like a collapse on? Because that’s, that’s the perspective nobody else most likely is able to bring into the company.

BM is not going to go talk to the users. Only you have that advantage. So I think that’s one way.

I have like had a , but I should we do this, I mean, you see how users reacted to it, right?

So it’s a no brainer tacky court indoors. I mean, I’m all really generalizing, but largely. That’s

Sidharth: .. I think I’m going to, I’m going to send you something. Some of that is, well, that really brings us to the last, last few questions. What is the best,

Hardik Pandya: the best, the best. You can have right now are the ones you have at home. So stock up, don’t hold stock

Sidharth: up. Don’t hold a stay at home. Stay safe.

And I see a lot more questions coming in. We’re going to probably do another live next week or whenever they get signed for the next 10 days. And then we can follow up with all these questionings and let us know in the comments,

Hardik Pandya: what do you

Sidharth: think about his life and do check out heartaches newsletter. It’s unsub stack and you can follow him on

Hardik Pandya: Instagram and

Sidharth: to move on to him. He’s very active and was that, it was amazing. You should check it out if you haven’t already. And what is the URL of your portfolio

Hardik Pandya: design.

Sidharth: So don’t design, don’t not design is hard to export. Folio. I love that URL. And uh, thank you so much for joining in folks once again, and we going to do more of this and we probably will, uh, again, like DMV, uh, right away, if you think, if you guys want to participate, just the EMEA

Hardik Pandya: portfolio

Sidharth: review, let’s set it up as soon as possible and we’ll go live on YouTube. Where we can, uh, you know, publish it screen and one after the other.

Hardik Pandya: I’ll give you a view of your portfolio.

Sidharth: There’ll be Manila benchmark. We’ll keep, uh, you know, for the Florida keys

Hardik Pandya: so

Sidharth: everybody can benefit from, you know, what examples, bad examples. So it’ll be curated, but at least

Hardik Pandya: folios.

Sidharth: And thank you so much again, once again and have a good night.

Hardik Pandya: See your folks.

About Sidharth  ·  Listen to the Podcast  ·  Talks

Weekly Conversations about Design, Product & Startups