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Principal Designer at Booking.com Joined over 8 years ago via an invitation from Jared E. Stuart has invited Andy Warburton, Grant McAllister, Lauren McConachie, Andrew Pendrick, Duncan Crozier and 4 others, Krisztian Toth, Qaid Jacobs, Thanos Samarinas, Michel Ferreira
I disagree wholeheartedly with you, and here's why:
Titles (not ranks, that's something different IMO) help the rest of the organisation to establish 'who can I go to for help', 'who can help me become a better designer', 'who is best suited to tackle this particularly complex problem'. A product team of three probably doesn't need this kind of organisational design - but in my organisation, where we have around 90 designers, this becomes a really critical piece in how you organise your teams and people.
Titles are signals of progress - I know we'd all like to believe that we are in a post-hierarchical, sit-in-a-circle-and-tell-me-how-you-feel era of founders in hoodies and unlimited vacations, but in the real world people like recognition, and they like to feel as though they are making professional progress and growing as an individual contributor within an organisation. The recognition that comes with a title is important & undervalued.
Yes, titles can be misused in badly run businesses (Senior Vice President for Toilet Paper Design, LATAM), but in businesses which really think about organisational design, and maintaining a happy & motivated staff, they're a really good tool.
The economics are very different, that's for sure. But there are some definite upsides, including the Dutch Government scheme to give a 30% tax break to skilled migrants, which raises your effective salary quite considerably. Then as a company we reward based on performance, so core salary is one part of that, but bonuses play an important role in total compensation for our high performers.
In terms of it being an expensive city, there's no doubt that is true, but the lifestyle here lends itself to considerably less expenditure in a few key areas in my experience (3.5 years in Amsterdam).
You don't need or want a car here - that's a significant chunk of money saved. You can ride a bike to work in ±20 minutes from most parts of the city. Further than that away you get access to a very good public transport network, and the company pays for your commute.
Inter-continental travel is super cheap - Amsterdam being a hub city for Europe's air & rail networks means getting to the Mediterranean for a beach holiday, or to Scandinavia/Germany for a winter break is really easy, and really inexpensive.
Housing - the rental market is expensive, but having bought a house (easy to do here, amazingly - at least when I compare it to the UK) I now get a really chunky tax rebate on my mortgage, meaning I effectively pay half my rental and own the place I live in.
Hi Tori, we're not hiring for more interns right now - but we do have an intern programme, so keep an eye on workingatbooking.com - there'll be details there as and when the positions open back up.
My name is Stuart Frisby, I'm the Principal Designer at Booking.com and have all the insider information you need my friend :)
What Gives? - Well, in short, we are a very successful, very quickly growing company, and we know and understand that design is central to our continued leadership position in our industry. That means that we are always on the lookout for designers (and developers, and product owners for that matter) to help us to improve our products, create new ones, etc.
Can they just not find who they are looking for or are they just on-boarding tons of new employees? - We've successfully hired a lot of awesome people, I have a list of many of them on twitter: http://bkng.it/1sQrNCq - so yes, we onboard people a lot, but that isn't because we are losing people, our attrition rates are very low, and as I said in #1, it's a consequence of our growing company and evolving product range that is behind our constant hiring efforts.
The job looks sort of appealing but the relocation really doesn't… - We feel very strongly that given the culture of our company, and our working methodologies, having teams working together in the same room is really the most effective way for us. It also just so happens that we have an amazing office in the centre of Amsterdam, one of the worlds great cities - so it's not all bad. I get that it isn't for everyone though, and it's always going to be more of a challenge for a company like ours hiring people to move to Continental Europe than perhaps it is for a company recruiting in the valley. But we like it here a lot.
If you have any more questions, I'm all ears. There's a also a nice short film on youtube about relocating to Amsterdam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsbJs9743Ow
I too feel wholly qualified to offer my completely ignorant opinion on this change.
Thanks Luke - we certainly try :)
I'm the principal designer at Booking.com - I am recruiting top-class design talent from all over the world to join us at our HQ in central Amsterdam to work on the worlds best travel product.
You can contact me via email@example.com for more info.
Once you're sure that you've cut down on excess costs ('liking' your hosting provider is a luxury you can no longer afford if you want this thing to be sustainable), you need to try and find a way to support the site which is in keeping with the editorial standards. To my mind - Fusion/Carbon/The Deck are all tasteful networks of ads which I think fit with your audience nicely, again - feeling that ads are anachronistic is a luxury you can't afford unless you have a better idea.
Here's one thing I know: Hiring iOS developers is hard work, and it costs a shit-load of money. You have a loyal, captive audience of mobile designers & developers - access to whom companies hiring these folks would likely be very willing to pay.
You could go about this a couple of ways:
A jobs board: You charge per post, or you come up with a creative referral system through which candidates successful hired via your site earn you a nice little bump (You could easily cover your costs here with one successful candidate per month - find out what a recruiter earns per candidate in this field, it'll blow your mind).
You approach companies you respect and ask if they'd like to be a 'featured employer'. If you have good traffic, good users and good content - employers will pay to be featured. Give them a month featured prominently on the site, sticking to the pttrns way of displaying apps, but with an inside-line from the company that uses the product to outline why a designer would want to go and work for them. The only stumbling block here is 'companies you respect', because being picky is a luxury you can't afford if you want this thing to be sustainable.
That's my spiel - employment is the angle, you can skin that any way you like, I think it has potential to pay your bills and then some if you get it right.
"You call your assistant and ask her to schedule a quick call to Mandy Moore that you interviewed this morning. As Mandy picks up the phone, you throw your credentials at her and offer her the job at your company."
Sounds like a solid strategy, I can't imagine how anyone could refuse. Here's a novel approach to making a 'millennial' happy, treat them like a fellow human being, don't be a buzzword-spouting idiot and let people do awesome work.
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