Luke Woods

Head of Product Design, Facebook Joined over 6 years ago

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  • Posted to Ask DN: Would you design at Facebook?, May 06, 2015

    When I joined Facebook back in 2011 I was pretty nervous. At the time I was working at IDEO and I wasn’t sure what it would feel like to work in-house. Would I get bored working on the same thing all the time? Would I get stuck working on small problems like optimizing a button?

    I asked a lot of friends as I was considering the possibility. Most of my designer friends responded, “Facebook? Why would you want to work at Facebook? What are you going to do there — redesign the like button all day?” Interestingly, when I asked by non-designer friends, their response was very different, “Facebook? That’s awesome. Think of the people you can reach. You’ve always wanted to do design that really matters — now’s your chance.” This outsider perspective resonated with me. I was excited about the scale and potential for impact, but still had some lingering reservations. That week I flew to Columbus Ohio, where I grew up and spent time reflecting on what other things I cared about and what I had learned during my time at IDEO. Two more things stood out:

    1. The people I work with matter a lot to me
    2. Trying new things energizes me

    Facebook stacked up well on both dimensions. The people I met in the process — people like Julie Zhuo, Adam Mosseri and Kate Aronowitz — asked great questions, challenged my assumptions and felt like people who would be great to learn from. The role felt like something new and very different from what I was doing before. With excitement, fear and a sense of possibility, I decided to give Facebook a try.

    Today I lead the product design team at Facebook. We’re much larger than we were in 2011, which enables us to work on many more diverse problems than before. Facebook is still a place where individual designers (or any individual for that matter) can make a huge difference. Just last week, one of the designers on my team shipped a donations campaign that raised over $10M for the International Medical Corps relief effort in Nepal from more than half a million donors. We’re also investing more in design than ever before in terms of people, development programs (like iOS training for designers) and tooling (like Origami). That’s not to say there aren’t challenges. Facebook is not the best place for everyone. But if you’re excited about communication apps or business tools and want to wrangle challenging trade-offs, Facebook is one of the best places in the world to make an impact as a designer.

    7 points
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