Get to Know Joe, Principal Product Designer
What is the best thing about being a Product Designer?
Working with the guests. I like solving problems, but the real fun is seeing the solutions at work. In the app world, that means frequent visits to the store and awkwardly approaching random guests. It’s my favorite type of research.
What is the hardest thing about being a Product Designer?
Bringing groups together to talk about tough situations and solve problems. As a designer, there is a lot of energy put into negotiating across groups.
What is your favorite thing about working at Target?
As a Minnesota native, I have always appreciated and admired Target’s presence in our community. I’m proud to work for an organization that has helped make Minnesota a great place to live and work.
What’s your greatest accomplishment in your career at Target so far?
Being a part of the team that brought the flagship and Cartwheel apps together. It was a great experience to be part of the project from initial discovery, to research, and final roll out. Merging Cartwheel and the flagship app was a huge project, but it felt great to accomplish the goal and – I might be a bit biased – but I think the experience is pretty awesome!
Who should every designer be reading/following right now?
Luke Wroblewski (@lukew) – Product Director at Google – Many designers already follow him or have seen him speak. If you don’t follow him on Twitter, do it now. I appreciate his straight-forward presentation of information.
What was the most exciting thing that happened this month?
For the past month, I’ve been working with my 7-year-old son on his Cub Scout Pinewood Derby car. This will be the 3rd car we’ve done together. Building the car with 100% participation from my little guy has been challenging (ever tried to get a 7-year-old away from his iPad?), but, I persisted, and we have had a lot of fun.
The whole process has a lot of similarities to my role as a designer: We started with his idea and sketched it on paper. The first pass was to cut out large pieces from a block of wood and then we did the refine work. Between multiple coats of paint, we tweaked the wheels to get better movement. Finally, we assembled the car and added weights to get it to exactly 5 ounces.
Up next: Testing his car on the track. Then, race day – to be continued…
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Astronaut, then pilot. I went to Space Camp when I was 10 years old and was in Civil Air Patrol in High School. Total air and space geek. Not sure what happened . . . but life brought me to design/UX.
Best career advice that you’ve received?
It was my first job out of college and I was lacking in confidence. As a result, I went to my supervisor with A LOT of questions. One day she interrupted me and said, “Only come to me with a question, if you have some solutions in mind.”
The idea of always bringing solutions – along with my questions – really stuck with me.
Dogs or cats?
Neither. I grew up with cats and dogs, but as an adult – I have no interest.
What is your superpower?
GSD – I get stuff done. Make that list and systematically check things off. Nothing better than seeing that completed project.
Anything else you want to say?
Keep it simple.