Jason Putorti on Why Design Matters [VIDEO]

November 24, 2015

10:00 am

Jason Putorti is a designer (Mint, Causes.com, Bessemer Venture Partners) and entrepreneur (Brigade Media, elegant.ly) who for the last several years has called San Francisco home (however I have to give a shout out to his Pittsburgh roots after I realized we have the same alma mater-the University of Pittsburgh).

He was one of the speakers at Celebrate 2015 where he waxed poetic on the importance of design and how the value of your company can be dependent on it.

Why Does Good Design Matter?

This question may seem to have an obvious answer, but Putorti gets into it on a deeper level. Design is not just about the visual, it is about the business and building value. Also, in order to have good, appropriate design, you need to know the intent of your company and render the design in accordance with the intent.

“What does your team really intend to do? So for example, you’re going to find the intent through activities like user research. Basically listening to your customers and figuring out what they have to say. Or market opportunity. You’re going to enter the market that’s this size and where’s the opportunity, and where’s it right for disruption, and how can you make it better?”

Where Should You Focus the Design?

Putorti argues that design becomes most important once you enter a market where a technology already exists but you’re trying to make it better. He gave the example of the evolution of the mobile phone. When mobile phones first came out, the technology itself was the most important. However, as more competitors entered the market, the number of features became a deciding factor. When the first iPhone came out, there were other phones that offered the same features, if not more features, but the design and user experience of the iPhone is what set it apart.

“You need to figure out what is the core thing that is the most useful, the most interesting, solves most of the problems for people, and start slimming down.”

What Makes for a Great Design Process?

Putorti believes that that every design should start with a great story. In order to best tell your story, you need to know who your customers are by having conversations with them. From these conversations you can determine their needs, their pain points, and their behaviors.

“The most important thing is, who is your customer? You have to start here. And you figure this out having open end conversations to develop it. That’s very important. Surveys are not that useful. You need to just go and talk to people, and listen to them. Building empathy is key and the only way to build empathy is through having conversations, one-on-one, don’t bring your phone, take notes, and have that real conversation.”

To hear more of what Jason Putorti has to say about design, watch the entire video here.


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Kristin is an aspiring entrepreneur who is enthusiastically navigating her way through the DC startup space. She has an unending passion for learning and is never satisfied with the status quo. During the day she is an ops, biz dev, and marketing maven for Fission Strategy

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