Whitespace: Product Design Apprenticeship

over 6 years ago from , Director of design at 8VC

I'm putting together a product design apprenticeship program. The designers in the program would divide their time working at a startup and learning in a studio environment. Got a landing page up to gauge general interest. Any feedback there would be appreciated:


Some topics for discussion: Is education and experience enough compensation? Should participating startups be able to select from the pool of vetted applicants? Know a designer that would benefit from a program like this?

Thanks! D E N Y


  • Sean LesterSean Lester, 6 years ago

    I would be interested in this - I'm at a level where an internship makes little sense for me, but I yearn for self-improvement and I feel kind of stuck where I am. I spend a lot of my work time reading DN articles and other forms of learning, but I really feel I need a mentor or at least to be in an environment where people understand and utilize the techniques I want to learn, like user testing and validating your design decisions through data analysis. Working in a startup environment means: cool projects working with passionate people who aren't afraid to experiment and try new things or at the very least keep up with trends - however in most cases (in my experience - and also in Dallas, not Silicon Valley) working at a startup means being a design team of one. What you're seemingly offering is that kind of learning, in the best environment, with actual apprenticeship under people who would seemingly be qualified to mentor me.

    1 point
    • , 6 years ago

      You're spot on with most startups having a design team of one—this is where the mentor and community aspects of the program are a value add.

      We're looking at applicants now. Send me a link to your portfolio hello [at] whitespacecrew

      0 points
  • Sean GeraghtySean Geraghty, 6 years ago

    Would love something like this in the UK. So many design possibilties in the US a shame there aren't as many here. Time for a change!

    1 point
    • Sean LesterSean Lester, 6 years ago

      Have you considered just winning Big Brother? That's what I would do if I lived in the UK.

      0 points
  • Zaina NatourZaina Natour, 6 years ago

    As someone who taught herself how to design, I'd love to do this. The education and experience it provides is invaluable, but it'd be hard to do this in Silicon Valley without any kind of income. I think a small stipend or maybe free housing would be nice, albeit a little difficult to pull off.

    As for your other concern, you could have a matching system where applicants list their top choices from the list of startups and vice versa.

    Looking forward to hearing more about this!

    0 points
  • Eric PanEric Pan, 6 years ago

    Hi Deny! This is awesome! If I were freelancing I might want to participate.

    0 points
    • Deny Khoung, 6 years ago

      Eric! When the class starts, would love to have you swing by a studio session.

      1 point