What I learned from US Digital

Yesterday was my last day at US Digital, and the good will I felt from all of my co-workers there was wonderful. I arrived at my office to find it decorated in a matter only Dwight Schrute could have orchestrated:

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Sitting on my desk (between the drab brown and gray balloons) was a box full of maple bars. Over the course of the day I would shake more hands and receive more kind words than I ever could have hoped for. Their graciousness has been overwhelming.

As I enter this new chapter in my continuing relationship with interaction design, I’d be remiss not to reflect on a few of the lessons I learned while working for this remarkable company.

  • Really get to know your co-workers. Regardless of how your personalities click or don’t click, talking with someone on a human level will increase your understanding of one-another and ultimately improve your communication skills.
  • Talk to other departments. In hindsight, I would have loved to work more closely with customer service to educate both of our departments as to how our web properties might impact work flow.
  • Standardize your department’s service requests. We all want to be everyone’s buddy, but if we attend to every knock on the door with equal priority, no truly urgent tasks will ever be completed. A set-in-stone way of submitting requests will not only improve your team’s productivity, but ultimately give your colleagues a more reliable turn-around time.
  • Ask questions. Seriously. A lot of questions. I’m still a little fuzzy on how encoders and inclinometers function, but I asked enough questions to empower myself and my team to market them in an aesthetically-pleasing and relevant way.
  • Always ask “why,” and don’t take “I don’t know” for an answer. This occasionally-irritating bit of inquisitiveness can save entire projects from developmental purgatory.
  • Get away from the glowing box every so often. I know from experience that a game of air hockey away from your desk can go a long way.
  • Present with conviction. Your opinions will come across much more accurately if you communicate in an articulate and compelling way.
  • Practice the fine art of compromise. Argumentation has it’s own virtues, but allowing yourself an amount of flexibility will result in budgetary and time constraints impacting you much less severely.
  • Be passionate in all that you do. Apathy is contagious, and enthusiasm is a choice. Every project benefits from minds actively engaged in the task at hand.
  • Keep your higher purpose in sight. What are your goals beyond this job? Find them out, and work toward them in your day-to-day tasks; you’ll see the difference in the quality of your output.
I’m sure those are only a handful of the lessons I’ll take with me, but it will have to do for the time-being. I want to thank everyone I worked with at US Digital for the opportunity, and especially my design cohorts Peter Wooley and Erik Jung. You are so immensely talented—it was an honor to have worked with you.

Responses

Joshua Barton says

It was fantastic working with you these last couple of months. You are passionate about design and branding. Keep the creative juices flowing and always remember to take the jewels and throw out the trash from those you interact with. We can always learn new things. You will be missed here at US Digital.

Responded

matt says

I do not disagree with any of those. Fine lessons, all. I think “Present with conviction,” and “Be passionate in all that you do,” are my favorites, and great advice to anyone just getting into the industry especially.

Responded

matt says

Also, I just realized that your unordered list bullet points are word bubbles, which is sweet.

Responded

Tyler Sticka says

Ha, that bullet is the only image I kept from my old design without any change whatsoever.

Responded

Sandi Wooley says

I miss you Tyler! I always looked forward to seeing you & getting your ‘mom’ hug! I know good things are ahead for you & I’m looking forward to more of these ‘posts’!

My ‘Wooley’ best wishes to you (& hugs, too!)

Peter’s mom

Responded

Noah Murphy says

Content is your game and thanks for the good good conversations. I hope and pray that the new gig will be not just good but GREAT.

Responded

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