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AMA: Hi, I'm Marc Hemeon, Founder of Design Inc. Ask me anything.

4 years ago from , Founder Design Inc. Former co-founder North, design at YouTube, Google and Digg. Co-founder Teefury and Designbyhumans

Marc is the Founder and CEO of Design Inc. His career in design began more than 20 years ago and has spanned well known startups and public companies including YouTube, Google, Oakley, Digg and TeeFury. Prior to Design Inc. Marc co-founded incubator North Technologies with Kevin Rose, which merged with popular watch site Hodinkee

Prior to North, Marc co-founded fflick.com, which was acquired by YouTube. While at YouTube, he held roles including leading design on the YouTube Player, YouTube Live, YouTube TV, was key in the first broad redesign of YouTube in 2012 and then again in 2013. While at Google, Marc continued in his product designer role and contributed to Google Analytics and occasionally collaborated with other teams on special projects.

Previously, Marc was the Director of UX for Oakley, under Luxottica. He and his team designed and created the e-commerce platforms and digital marketing for a variety of Luxottica brands including Oakley, Ray-Ban, Arnette and Revo. Prior to Oakley, Marc worked as a lead product designer at Digg and then going even further back, he co-founded TeeFury and DesignByHumans, two popular art driven crowd sourced t-shirt sites.

(switching to first person)

I tweet at @hemeon, write at Medium, and post photos of surfing and life in the OC on Instagram and occasionally paint paintings. I recently started doing a weekly YouTube show at Design Inc. with Joel Beukelman called UNDO, also available as a podcast.

I'll be answering questions from 8am-10am PST on Wednesday October 5th. Ask me anything. ANYTHING.

31 comments

  • Johnson VinoJohnson Vino, 4 years ago

    I am 23 now UI/UX designer, I am planning to start a company like you. Do you suggest me?.

    If you recommend me what are essential points I have to know before start like this?

    5 points
    • Marc HemeonMarc Hemeon, almost 4 years ago

      Hi Johnson,

      I highly recommend the free course - How to Start a Startup by Sam Altman http://startupclass.samaltman.com/

      Two quick points:

      1.Solve a real problem. Better yet, solve a problem you are having and want to see fixed - startups are absolutely brutal and hard. Dont build a solution looking for a problem.

      1. Your cofounder and early team will be the only thing that determines your success or failure - so choose wisely.
      7 points
  • Braden HammBraden Hamm, 4 years ago

    Hey Marc. Long time admirer (by startup community standards). I'm really interesting in the intersection between parenting and being a creative or founder. Brace yourself, I have a few questions coming.

    How did you get started as a designer?

    How do you manage your time between Design Inc and your family?

    I've seen some of your awesome paintings. Outside of work, what are all the other ways you use your creativity?

    What’s a fun creative project you’ve done with your children?

    In what way(s) do you think being a founder help you be a better parent?

    How did having kids change your perspective on what you do?

    Any funny or embarrassing stories, or learning experiences as a founder or designer?

    Thanks for doing this AMA!

    3 points
  • Aaron DavisAaron Davis, almost 4 years ago

    Hey Marc,

    I'm on Design Inc. and love it (thanks for that).

    In your opinion, who are some designers that are doing incredible stuff?

    1 point
  • Joe Baker, almost 4 years ago

    Hey Marc,

    Thank you for doing this AMA. Some great answers!

    1. What are some things you wish you did differently?

    2. Do you believe designers are more successful when they have a recognisable style? I'm very multi-discpline and feel like this is hurting me in some way.

    3. Do you have a work/home balance. When do you stop, if at all?

    0 points
  • Sanket ChaudhariSanket Chaudhari, almost 4 years ago

    Hi Marc, thank you so much for doing this AMA.

    As a self-learning Designer (heck, I don't even think I qualify to be called a Designer yet :P) I am always in this dilemma of whether or not to go to a design school. I know that one can design without having a degree - its just the classic "Fear Of Missing Out".

    So my question is - in your opinion, am I missing something if I haven't attended design school? And what can I do to fix it?

    0 points
  • Duncan GrahamDuncan Graham, almost 4 years ago

    I totally forgot about DesignByHumans. I still have a shirt that I bought ~10 years ago from there-- quality product. excited to see what you get up to with Design Inc!

    0 points
  • Drew McDonaldDrew McDonald, 4 years ago

    Hey Marc,

    Enjoyed your talk with Matt from Emery, glad to see you on here. My question for you would be when you and whoever you involve get started, what's your first steps?

    Specifically for an up and coming small boutique service & product provider (Software and Marketing).

    Thanks,

    Drew

    0 points
  • Emanuel S.Emanuel S., almost 4 years ago

    Hey Marc, do you still design? Preferred software?

    0 points
    • Marc HemeonMarc Hemeon, almost 4 years ago

      I do! lets see - open right now is Photoshop, Sketch, Illustrator, Figma (been playing), Google Slides, Keynote and The Noun Project. how about you?

      1 point
  • Adam RasheedAdam Rasheed, 4 years ago

    What the most effective method to improve ones design skills?

    0 points
    • Marc Hemeon, 4 years ago

      If you want to learn to paint, every painting school in the world has you copy the paintings of the old masters and learn their techniques. I believe this is the best way to improve your design skills - to literally see UI you like and then recreate it for yourself.

      Ira Glass talks about The Gap - a void of experience you just have to grind through - check it out here:

      4 points
  • Ray SensebachRay Sensebach, almost 4 years ago

    Hey Marc,

    Excited to watch you all build Design Inc, especially as it grows into more categories such as UX and Product. Hopefully it grows into a network that can help support the #freelance design lifestyle.

    My question is how do you feel about the design culture being so centered in big cities like SF and NY? Sometimes it feels like to get a solid job, you must move there, regardless of how you personally feel about living in a metropolitan area vs the mountains or by the beach.

    Cheers!

    0 points
    • Marc Hemeon, almost 4 years ago

      Ray!

      I think about this question a lot actually - currently there is NO place in the world for tech quite like San Francisco and the Penninsula (Palo Alto, Mountain View, Cupertino etc.) LA, NYC and others have amazing communities - but still nothing quite like the SF area.

      Moving and working for the companies in SF will jump start your career unlike anything else I have seen - I have lived in SF twice (moved up and back from Orange County) - building Design Inc. down here in Orange County has been much harder than if we built up in the bay area - the networks are just not nearly as mature - for example I have been looking for PR and Marketing folks and down here I am finding a real lack in basic tech knowledge - I was in SF yesterday, had a meeting with someone who is great at marketing and we could dive right in talking about the best strategies to move forward because of the base of knowledge they had.

      1 point
    • Marc HemeonMarc Hemeon, almost 4 years ago

      Ray!

      I think about this question a lot actually - currently there is NO place in the world for tech quite like San Francisco and the Peninsula (Palo Alto, Mountain View, Cupertino etc.) LA, NYC and others have amazing communities - but still nothing quite like the SF area.

      Moving and working for the companies in SF will jump start your career unlike anything else I have seen - I have lived in SF twice (moved up and back from Orange County) - building Design Inc. down here in Orange County has been much harder than if we built up in the bay area - the networks are just not nearly as mature - for example I have been looking for PR and Marketing folks and down here I am finding a real lack in basic tech knowledge - I was in SF yesterday, had a meeting with someone who is great at marketing and we could dive right in talking about the best strategies to move forward because of the base of knowledge they had.

      0 points
  • Julian DornJulian Dorn, almost 4 years ago

    Hi Marc!

    What are the three most important things you learned in all of your jobs?

    0 points
    • Marc Hemeon, almost 4 years ago

      Really great question Julian - here are a few things:

      1. never burn a bridge - like ever - even if someone super pisses you off and you hate them and they want to sue you and all the bad things - just walk away - don't go to twitter, don't talk any crap - just walk away

      2. If you have a problem with someone, go to them directly one-on-one and address it - be kind and courteous, but direct - dont try to adjust or sugar coat, but be kind.

      3. You can't build anything without others - so be a good friend. Say yes a lot, dont expect to always get paid or make a ton of money from your efforts, everything will work out in the end.

      7 points
  • Szymon GorskiSzymon Gorski, almost 4 years ago (edited almost 4 years ago )

    Hi Marc! How are you today? :)

    1) After few years in a few agencies I've decided to go on my own - #freelancing ;) I'm pretty multidisciplinary designer - could you give me some advice where/how I should looking for a new friends (clients)?

    2) I know that the good design should be the best ad BUT now it's hard to get in this whole tech business - e.g. when you're not from US (Poland here) and have no options to grab a coffee with someone "famous" after few tweets.

    3) My prices are relative low and I'm really open for new challenges (project) - I used to thought this may sound like "flexible" but now I doubt it and it's wrong when you're not specialist in just one thing... What do you think Marc?

    4) What do you think about that the lost/most of people want to be a "product designer"? I think that people don't want to just do design (anymore) cause they love it - they want just shipping products. I listen lot of podcasts and sometimes people event don't know what "product designer" mean but still try to keep blind and follow trends no matter what instead of doing their things.

    5) Also - referring to previous question - what do you think about VR and AR?

    Thanks, S

    0 points
    • Marc HemeonMarc Hemeon, almost 4 years ago

      Hey Szymon! great questions! Lets dive in:

      Where to find clients? For me, I started hitting up every family member I knew and asked if I could help them with all things design - sometimes this was a logo, or a presentation, or a one page website, or a business card, I just did whatever I could and and as much as I could. I reached out to companies and people I wanted to work with and offered my services for free so I could build up my portfolio and broaden my network. Most work comes from refferals. I think another tactic that may work is just head to search.twitter.com and search for "I need a designer" or "Know any good product designers?" or another search term that may fit your skills and just start talking with folks!

      How do I price my work? For me, pricing is one of those things that is always changing. I would charge what you're worth - and you're worth whatever someone will pay you - so if you can charge someone $10,000 for a logo and someone will pay you $10,000 for a logo then by all means charge $10k - I have done logos for free, for $100, for food, for $1k for $5k and for $15k - each circumstance was a bit different - People want VALUE - not necessarily a cheap price - they want to get a lot of value for the price they pay - when I create a logo for someone I give them tons and tons of assets for social media and marketing, a brand guide, define everything for them their typography, colors, usage etc. and frankly I work really hard to create a mark that is original and will elevate their product or service.

      Why do people want to be Product Designers? I can't speak for others, but for me, there is nothing more cool than dreaming up and app or service and launching that into the world and watching people use it - you kinda get that with communication and graphic design and logos - but man, when I worked at YouTube, there was such an incredible feeling everytime we shipped a new version of the YouTube player and then seeing hundreds of millions of people enjoying that product - it's really an addictive kind of thing.

      What do you think about VR and AR? Ready Player One is one of my favorite books, and so for me, I can't wait for VR to become more mainstream - so excited for gaming and VR - Augmented Reality for me is a little meh - I haven't seen a killer app for AR (Pokemon was NOT a killer AR app btw, it was a beloved game with 2 decades of history that had brilliant execution on mobile with location services).

      3 points
  • Max LindMax Lind, 4 years ago

    Hey Marc!…thanks for joining us.

    • How does the pairing work?… if a company wanted a designer who’s previously worked on projects involved with X, can they specify that in the “checkout” process?
    • How many designers are currently on the platform? (not sure if it’s something you can share :)
    • Do you envision the you’ll expand the Design Inc categories beyond Logo, Brand & Visual Identity and Design Critique?
    • What’s been the feedback thus far from both designers using the system, and clients receiving work?
    • UNDO is two episodes in (kudos!)… keep up the good work!
    0 points
    • Marc Hemeon, 4 years ago

      Maxwell! Thanks for the questions :) You're a great moderator

      Pairing right now is still fairly simple, we try to ensure variety in price and location. We currently give 5 designers on pairing - we will certainly be doing much more work here to make this smarter.

      We have had thousands apply and we are adding more designers everyday.

      We are plan to be regularly launching new design services as we develop out our platform. For us each design service has to be clear, actionable and understandable - so we are very careful in choosing our services - but very excited for the next two!

      The biggest feedback we keep getting over and over from the designers and users is frankly how painless and easy booking a design service is on Design Inc. - like, both designers and users traditionally have a lot of friction in working with each other, have to have a meeting, then do a proposal, then haggle over a contract and price - where we have truly tried to just simplify all of this - and make the experience of working with a designer and users very nice and simple.

      2 points
  • Marcin B, almost 4 years ago

    if you were a dinosaur what would your name be? and one more—study or not to study UX/UI design? I think uni is killing designers creativity (unless is a super good school).

    and one more, why not! Do you think international experience is valuable?

    Have a great day Marc!

    0 points
    • Marc HemeonMarc Hemeon, almost 4 years ago

      Hemosaur - and I would want to be flying dinosaur :)

      I would have loved the change to do UX and UI in school - I think its just as important to have a strong foundation in communication and graphic design - I do think too many UX folks lack visual design skills now and thats a really bummer - I LOVE international experience - nothing like trying to design and interface in German or Russian! Thanks for the questions!

      1 point
  • Kieran RheaumeKieran Rheaume, almost 4 years ago

    What's your favourite music to design to?

    You the man Marc.

    0 points
  • Freckley FrecklesonFreckley Freckleson, almost 4 years ago

    What would you say your average week is like as a product designer? I say "week" because I know the role is so varied and I want to know all of the different tasks your job may entail.

    0 points
    • Marc HemeonMarc Hemeon, almost 4 years ago

      When I was at YouTube and Google it was either hanging out in a meeting trying to sell a design, or talk about what we were going to design or pairing with an engineer to tweak the coded design to match the original thought.

      I wrote down a bunch a basic product design method here which highlights a bunch of different tasks a designer does

      1 point