Getting from point A to point A+

Not to belabor the point of my insatiable quest for the ideal long-term career, but I can’t help but find my desire to use technology to build products that help people is only getting stronger over the years. Marketing is a great tool to have, and one that I’m happy to hone at this point in my career as I still have a lot to learn, but I can’t see myself 10 years from now working in marketing. I’m not sure what the right role is for me, but ultimately marketing is too far outside the product and even product marketing doesn’t have enough say in the details of how the product works and what the user experience is like.

My friend recently wrote on Facebook that he’s “convinced that being a good designer and making products means being like a teenager: impatient and always a little bit annoyed.”

That sums up my persona perfectly, as terrible as it sounds. I’m annoyed by poor user experiences. I’m impatient because I hate seeing time wasted on poor solutions when there (at least in my head) is a much better way to solve a problem. Not that I’m always right — there’s a lot I need to learn regarding how to test and iterate instead of being stubborn about one solution, but I’m confident I have good intuition with interaction design, I can easily put myself into someone else’s shoes (as an actor or director) and think through their entire story in my head, how they would use a product, and where the experience is broken.

So, yes, I’m often annoyed, and impatient, over poor design. I’m not sure I could handle a career there because it requires the ability to be able to compromise with people who probably don’t know any better than you do, but who have more power in their managerial roles. Unless I build a product from scratch and manage the entire thing myself, it’s tough to have enough power to be a designer or design-thinking manager that people trust.

But then there’s my life, which is flying by quickly, and everyday filling with new experiences that may or may not get me to where I want to be. I’m ok with waiting until I’m 31 (3 years from now) to make any major changes, but I’m also worried how that aligns with the same year I plan to try to have kids. How can I plan to go to grad school and have children in the same year? Talk about going into massive debt… but I don’t want to be a straight up marketer for my entire life, I want to be a product/interaction designer, or maybe a hands on entrepreneur, but I want control over the product experience, not just how it’s hung like a carrot in front of prospective purchasers in order to get them to buy.

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