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Jake Knapp is... BACK!

Ola Nilsson

Yes – it's true – for the first time in the history of the conference the same speaker joins the lineup two years in a row! We simply cannot get enough of Jake Knapp. However... This time he has a completely different story to tell.

Every designer secretly wants to be the boss, but the sad truth is that designers are rarely in charge. So, how can you lead your CEO even if you don't have any authority?

Over his twenty-year career, Jake Knapp has managed to get into meetings with over a hundred CEOs including Bill Gates, 23&me's Ann Wojcicki, Slack's Stewart Butterfield, and Oracle's Larry Page. He has been ignored, yelled at, and frequently made an ass of himself. But also, occasionally, he got his way.

In his talk at FBTB2020, Jake will tell stories and share practical advice for influencing executives and boosting self-confidence in high-stakes meetings. Or, at the very least, he'll make an ass of himself one more time.

Jake Knapp is the inventor of the Design Sprint and a New York Times bestselling author. He’s coached teams at places like Google, Slack, LEGO, IDEO, and NASA on design strategy and time management. Previously, Jake helped build products like Gmail, Google Hangouts, and Microsoft Encarta. He is currently among the world’s tallest designers.

Tickets, here! 

Please welcome, speaker #6, Margot Bloomstein!

Ola Nilsson

Margot Bloomstein is the author of Content Strategy at Work, producer of BrandSort, and principal of brand and content strategy consultancy Appropriate, Inc. Over the past 20 years, Margot has helped clarify content strategy for e.g. Al Jazeera America, Harvard University, Fidelity, Lindt & Sprüngli, Lovehoney, Sallie Mae, and Timberland.

Mass media and our most cynical memes say we live in a post-fact era. So who can we trust? Expert opinions are a thing of the past; we favor user reviews from “people like us” whether we're planning a meal or prioritizing a newsfeed. But as our filter bubbles burst, consumers and citizens alike turn inward for the truth. By designing for empowerment, the smartest organizations meet them there. Please welcome, speaker #6, Margot Bloomstein!

 

Tickets, here! 

Happy Holidays!

Ola Nilsson

We wish you all Happy Holidays! Have some time off, and spend days and evenings with your loved ones. See you in January!

Now, the people at inUse have some time off. Some of us will work a little between Christmas and New Year, but back at full strength at the offices – we won't be until the 7th of January.

This year we are supporting an important organization, instead of giving stuff, as Christmas presents to our customers and friends. We are supporting ECPAT, the children's rights organization that works against the sexual exploitation of children.

 

See you in January!

Interview: Netflix Lead Product Designer, Ghaida Zahran

Ola Nilsson

Ghaida is a lead product designer at Netflix with over 12 years of experience in design at e.g., Change.org and ZURB. And she is one of the speakers at From Business to Buttons 2020! We had a chat with her.

I get the impression that Netflix is extremely data-driven in how you approach design. It feels almost like the algorithms are part of the design team, what're your thoughts about that? How would you say that differs from organizations that don't have access to that amount of user data?

 – I can't speak to the content decisions since that's not my area of expertise, but on the product design side, there are many data sources that factor into our decision-making. Data is informative, but it's one part of the picture. As a design team, we're passionate about understanding and advocating for our members, and in the Growth team's case, the non-members. We partner very closely with the Consumer Insights team, to come up with questions we'd like to answer together through quantitative and qualitative research studies so that we can better understand the customer. 

– I would also say that we're more data-informed than data-driven. For example, after the results of an A/B test are analyzed, the project team gets together to discuss the data and our next steps. In my experience, productization is never 100 percent straightforward, and there are almost always tradeoffs to make when interpreting data. The team that discusses those tradeoffs is cross-functional, with engineers, researchers, designers, and product managers all weighing in with different perspectives. I would encourage organizations that don't have access to data or A/B testing infrastructure to expand their definition of data. For example, conducting a qualitative study with eight participants yields data that can inform design decisions; the key is to approach design as a vehicle to ask questions, and sometimes that question can be answered by a few people trying a scrappy prototype.

 UX is a foundation for Netflix, is the impression for many. Is it obvious for every part of the company, or is it sometimes a struggle like in other companies?

 – UX is understood to be a valuable component of our business. I've found that once I've engaged with an internal stakeholder on a project, they're open to collaboration, and they get the value of design. Where there might be challenges is keeping that collaboration door open, and we recognize this challenge and are constantly working to figure out ways to address it. For example, we have a weekly design show where designers are encouraged to show their work no matter how early or late in the design process they may be. That design show is held out in the open so passersby can stop and see what we're up to.

 And you are global. 158 million subscribers in more than 190 countries and territories around the world! How do you work with cultural differences?

 – This is one of the main challenges and joys of working at Netflix, and it feels like we're approaching this challenge the right way, with humility and an open mind. We let our curiosity and lead the way, and we understand that one size does not fit all.

You are also into Girls Develop it – what's the story about that?

 – Girl Develop It is a non-profit focused on empowering women through affordable classes and workshops on coding and design. I got involved with the organization in 2014 when I was speaking at a conference in Baltimore that was partly sponsored by Girls Develop it, and I got to learn about their mission from one of their instructors who was also speaking at the event. When I realized they did not have a San Jose chapter, I founded it and co-led the chapter for three years. I stepped down from leading the chapter after I moved to Oakland, about 50 miles away, and having grown the chapter to about 1500 members, I felt like it was in a good place for new leadership. I passed on the torch of leadership to a student who had become one of our instructors.

But you are still up to lots of things, in your work of course, and you sail, and you play the drums, I have seen on a picture of you after a Google search... How do you manage it all?

 – Well, I don't know about my drumming skills now – the last I played was in 2015, but yes, I do sail. I've always wanted to learn how to sail, and when I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2012, it seemed like the perfect place to learn. In 2018, the timing was finally right, and I started taking sailing lessons. I'm now certified to charter boats of any size anywhere around the world, and I often take my friends out for day sails around the bay during the summer.

Thank you, Ghaida! We're very much looking forward to having you as our guest in May!

– Thank you! I've heard great things about From Business to Buttons, and I'm looking forward to coming!

Get tickets here – buy now to save €100 (before December 20th).