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Founder/CEO, Behance & VP Products, Adobe Joined over 5 years ago
Indeed, our first creation back in 2006 was a line of paper products designed to help creatives be more productive. Strange roots for a technology company, huh? But for us, it made complete sense. We wanted to build a company that was mission centric and medium agnostic. Behance was founded to help connect and organize the creative world and empower people to make their ideas happen. In the early days, we were willing to create any type of product, service, or experience that helped fulfill this mission, regardless of the medium.
Over the years, as we have focused more on the Behance network (the technology), we have preserved efforts like 99U. Enhancing the prospects of creative careers through Behance can only go so far without educating creative people on how to manage clients and scale themselves as businesses.
No doubt, this was a "long game" in our business plan. Not sure I would recommend it for start-ups. Admittedly, it may have diluted our energy in the early days. But it yielded a better brand and a broader impact that has paid dividends over the years.
My observation is that people have great creative careers when they work in the overlap of their (1) Genuine Interest (2) Skills, and (3) Opportunity that presents itself based on relationships/geography, etc...
So, whatever you do next, you want to make sure that you're working in YOUR overlap.
In addition, focus on who you are working with. Often we get obsessed with role, title, compensation, and culture...and we forget to REALLY do diligence on the management and the team. I think the people you work with are the most important factor of all...so interview them, ask around, and choose a job with good people over a job with more money or prestige! Because, ultimately, you'll hate work and underperform with the wrong people around you.
It enriches the experience and its a small run (and recycled paper). But I hear you. The other thing I notice (at least when I attend conferences with apps), is so many people never bother to download and look through them...
I think balance is achieved over time vs. on a daily basis. The most important thing for me is to be as present as possible wherever I am (and with whoever I'm with). It's hard, I'll admit...because the burden of uncertainty is constantly processing it in your brain. One of the greatest costs of entrepreneurship and leading new things is the commitment to constantly process stuff (and essentially never be fully present). Over time, you can learn to compartmentalize. But it is f'ing hard.
The short answer is, we LOVE the process of developing the 99U identity every year, and there's something special about the smell and feel of beautifully printed conference collateral that we cannot resist. So, I guess it is something we do for ourselves and to enrich the physical experience of 99U for the attendees.
Hi Michael - I wouldn’t compare Behance to Dribbble, since Behance showcases the full “project” (the full context of the work), while Dribbble focuses on small snapshots. No doubt, anyone can make a good drop shadow or remix assets, not many people can do so in the context of a solving a big problem. Snapshots are a great form of getting feedback, but don’t make up a portfolio in my opinion. Dribbble has certainly filled a need, no doubt. But I think the reason traffic is drastically higher on Behance is that a portfolio of projects tells a story that 400px cannot.
The other question is around Exclusivity vs. Meritocracy. I see a lot of sites out there that are paid admission, or nomination by a friend only. At Behance, we’ve always believed that our job is to foster a system where anyone has a chance to showcase their work (regardless of who they know) and great work gets the recognition it deserves. In the modern day web, we should tackle the challenge of surfacing quality through community curation and other methods that foster meritocracy (rather than through exclusivity that gratifies the ego, in my opinion).
I would layer home management into a single interface. The stocking of your kitchen/refrigerator/cabinets, and the services to manage your home - these should all be aggregated and intelligent enough to work together...
Feedback is a form of compensation....so, if you're not getting it, ask for it. And early in your career (or a relationship), candid feedback is gold.
For productivity, I am an avid user of Wunderlist (for task management), Evernote, and, of course, Slack ;-)
I think there is a difference between "relatively good interfaces" and one that is distinguished by ingenuity and constant optimization. Commoditized UI/UX will not make you stand out or enable you to effectively optimize and compete. In the interface layer post, I basically make the case that the success or failure of a product is less about the technology and more the user’s experience of the technology (that's obvious to all of you), and that the most exciting businesses will aggregate and integrate services into common interfaces. The biggest implication of all: Design truly becomes the competitive advantage because the best interface (with the most thoughtful integrations) will win.
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