Live from the Startup Mixology Conference – The Importance of Design

June 16, 2011

10:18 am

As President, COO, and CoFounder of data visualization/creative agency JESS3, Leslie Bradshaw has been described as the “operational energy” behind JESS3’s explosive growth and international success. The Wall Street Journal recognized her as a Top Woman in Tech Under 30 and the “brains” driving the company forward.  Her speech was short, to the point, and critically important for any startup, as the focus is so often on the technical.

Leslie talked about the 4 things startups need to know about design and working with designers.

1. A designer needs to be employee #2, not 10.  Design needs to be part of leadership and the early strategy, because retrofitting doesn’t work.

2. Make your choice when you pick your designer.  You need to find the right person/team, and to do that, don’t just judge their portfolio.  You’ll need to get quality consistently from them, and they have to be able to work with the team.   Then put your trust in them completely.  Learn how to speak their language.  Make them feel that they are supported, and let them see that you actually do supprot them.  Understand their process and what motivates them and why.  Defend their POV and timeline at all costs with investors, coworkers, and clients.

3. Don’t be bound by geography to hire designers.  There are great designers all around the country and world.  Find them online.

4. Establish a culture of precision, excellence, and execution.

Finally: Don’t compromise on excellence!

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Monika Jansen is a writer and editor who is happiest pounding out blog posts, newsletters, website content, and other materials. Follow her at: @monikacjansen

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