Xavier Martins

To Stop Being a Designer
SEASON
1
EPISODE
7
ÔÇó
January 25, 2022
Xavier: As a product manager I can create those rituals. I can schedule those work sessions, and I can help everyone to have that impact and also celebrate the winnings when things come out in the world and people love it. Everyone there were responsible, you know? Not only like the designer superhero, cause they're making the great experience. You know? Like, everyone in the team is responsible for that.


[intro music]

Bruno: Hello, everyone. And welcome back to the Design is for Everyone podcast. A project that intends to explore what it means for design to be a tool for all, and how that can apply to our daily lives, making the world a better place.

In this episode, we meet with Xavier Martins. A designer turned project manager, Xavier tell us a little bit about his journey into the world of design and the transition out of it. But also, he focus a lot on how learning the craft affected of the way that he interacts with the world.

This was also the first ever live recording, so I apologize in advance for any audio issues you may face.

Okay then. I guess this is it. We're starting.

Hi everyone, and welcome to the first ever live recording of an episode of Design is for Everyone podcast. Today, I'm here with Xavier Martins, my good old pal. Hi Xavier.

Xavier: Hi Bruno.

Bruno: And I'm going to start like I've been starting with everyone else, which is: Tell us a little bit about your backstory, and how did you got into design. What's your path to here at this point?

Xavier: Yeah. So, first of all... congratulations, Bruno, on this amazing project.

Bruno: Thank you.

Xavier: It's a lovely initiative. And yeah. So basically, I guess everything started when I was young. I know as a child I really had this... this passion for businesses. And I remember selling posters to my family and friends, with pictures of the garden... of my school garden.

And I... And I was trying to sell it like, at a high price. I had, like, high value for those posters. They didn't value that. People bought it just for...

Bruno: Cause you where a kid. And everyone just wanted to make sure that you were happy.

Xavier: Opening my eyes and doing that, like, fluffy face to try to sell those. And it worked very well.

From what I remember, I always liked businesses and brands. And when I was like studying, it was communication, public relations and enterprise communications, at ESCS. And I remember to have two disciplines, one for Photoshop, and one for Illustrator. And at that point, I started to understand that I can create stuff with this. "I can, like, create this brand and try to come up with these concepts, create a pitch deck and do that stuff." And I decided to explore it.

It was the moment where, at that point, I get back to Set├║bal, and I was there with a friend and we tried to start our communication startup. Our... kind of an agency. And... didn't go very well? Like, at all. Because we didn't know how to charge our customers. So no understanding of how business works, how to deal with that. We just loved to make like, communication and brands.

And at that point that I decided: "no, I need to work for a real company, and to learn more. I cannot do this myself for now." And that was the moment I joined Hi Interactive and then OutSystems, and the moment we...

Bruno: Where we met.

Xavier: Yeah.

Bruno: Cool. It's a journey. It's definitely one that I think a lot of people would recognize. Like the moment when you start using that software that tells you, like: "I can do things. Great." For me, it was way too early in my life.

I remember opening Macromedia Flash when I was 10 years old. And like, everyone was still... everyone had like 18 years old back then. They were going to college. So they were taking technology classes for Word, PowerPoint and whatnot. And there was the low level class, and the like, web design class, which was the next level. And I was like, okay. I was thinking the word course and I already knew all of that, with 10 years old, and everyone else in the room was 18.

And then I figured out: "okay, the computers are the same that the others use. There's some cool stuff in here." I found out Macromedia Flash and I started playing around with key frames and animation. I still don't know how I did that. But I did it. And I remember that moment where it like clicked that I could actually build really cool things with computers and technology. But it's interesting.

Xavier: You probably were curious as I was. Cause before that, you were talking in hours actually remembering that... I started to play with Paint.

Bruno: Classic!

Xavier: Yeah. Like Paint. And I did some cool, like, Photoshop collage with the pictures of friends and try to... but trying to do it like very realistic stuff with that tool. It's very hard to do some good work on paint. But I remember that I was spending hours, like, trying to come up with things on Paint. It was great too. I. I think that moment when you realize that you can come up with, create things in a software, in a piece of software, it's like a very...

Bruno: I think our entire generation hows a lot to paint specifically, if you were in Europe where Windows was king. I wouldn't say the same for the states or other countries where Apple was still the ruler back then, as it is right now. But yeah, Windows computers, and Paint, definitely a lot of lives in Portugal for sure.

And you also touched on a point that I'm pretty sure that a lot of people are going to feel, which is: trying to start an agency...

Xavier: Yeah.

Bruno: ...or the business side of work. And not knowing what to do. I went through that way too late, and I'm still really sorry that I wasted my money on that. But I think that's actually something that you don't really learn in school. Right?

I don't know about your experience, but mine, even in college, no one taught me what it was to be a freelancer. No one taught me what it was to handle clients, and customers. That's a whole different thing that people don't really teach you when when you become a professional designer, right?

Xavier: Yeah. And I think now it's... I think now it's easier because now you have so much information, right? With YouTube and all those great platforms around the internet. So we... I think now people are more empowered to do what they really like, and to try it out faster than we at our time.

And... maybe those things existed at that point, but we were not trained. Our mindset was not like go search in the internet for how to deal with clients. That mindset...

Bruno: No. No. That mindset was let's learn tools. And then that's something like, when you talked about the Photoshop and illustrator, if we look at the way that things were back then, and they are still a lot like that right now. There was an entire conversation this week on Twitter, just because someone said, are you using Figma? Stop? Use Webflow, because that's more close to what you're doing forend products. And the whole conversation around tools is like: when you are learning many times, there's so much focus on tools. But when people are actually entering the world of design, the conversation is also around tools and not about how you do your job to serve the customers.

Xavier: Exactly. How design is very, very tight with business. It's a very close connection. The output of any business is very close to design. And as designers we should try to... try to understand that earlier in our stage. Before.

But I understand where the curiosity comes up. So we start to be curious about the tool, because now we have this super power. We can prototype things. We can come up with stuff and that's, that's very exciting, right?

Bruno: Yeah

Xavier: But there's a whole other side of it. That is very important and... I think that's where education could have a role on that. Right? And I think it's still something that we are missing, right?

Bruno: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. And talking about this. And all of this path that you just talked about. How did this path of you, influenced you in the way that you deal with the job of being a designer? Because. You went through more of a business mindset you went to a school where you actually were studying PR, and more of the business side of the things. Once you went through the world of design, how did that shape you?

Xavier: Yeah, it was. I need to be honest, from a young age, I had this passion for business, but when I was studying PR, and business communication, I wasn't quite feeling the purpose of it. I wasn't seeing, how can I apply those disciplines to my life? I wasn't being trained to have tools to work with. It was too generic, the course was too generic and too open. And I wasn't feeling okay with this.

I can't translate this into a job position or effective work or open a company with this. So, yeah, I just decided to start working. And that's when I decided to open the agency and then I discovered that I didn't know anything, and I decided to jump into a company to understand how actually design could be effective and useful. And also how a company works. And how a company sells products that are designed well, you know? I think that was the moment that I realized: "Okay. So. It will not be this education formula that will work for me." Working. Trying to, you know, skip my way into the business world, by opening an agency or trying out myself. I don't have all the knowledge to do this right now, so I need to jump into the job market.

Bruno: Yeah, the market. Yeah. Just becoming someone that having somewhere to learn... and that's an experience that, I know way too many people that have the same path as me and you. Where... okay. We tried to do things to our friends, then we get out in the real world and it's like:

"Okay. I want to be a designer, in part. I want to be an artist. Because there was a lot of that in the way that we talked about design in Portugal up until very recently. So I'm going to start my own thing and I'm gonna do it, and I'm going to make money. I'm going to be famous. And I'm gonna be okay." And then that falls in, and you don't know how to handle the business. And it's a bitch.

Anyway, I know way too many stories like this, where we actually go through this stage to actually understand what design is, and what you can do for it.

Xavier: Those experiences kind of helped. At least, I think it helped us, when we get into the market. Because we were doing design. Yes. As uh... beginners, mid level, experts... but we have that knowledge with us. That kind of... street knowledge of starting to deal with the... deal with customers, receive Nos...

Bruno: Design street smarts. That's a great concept.

Xavier: We went through a lot, you know? So that kind of alsohelped us to navigate the corporate kind of environment. And try to push our ideas into the stakeholders, right?

Bruno: Which is a very specific area of design, that me and you were both in it. We met in it, that's the thing. But the fact is, it's an area where people that get into that world, many times are not ready. Because of that! Because they came from schools that taught them how to use tools, how to be creatives. But they didn't taught them out to talk with people.

And this is probably a really bad way of saying it, but that's it. Like, there's a lot of human side to being a designer.

There's a lot of human interaction, before it gets to the human computer interaction, which was like the beginnings of digital design and everything. Like, HCI was where schools started to think about what digital designers or UI designers and UX could be. And there's a lot of people in between, there's a lot of conversation, there's a lot of understanding. And there are a lot of people that don't get that, because they didn't went through this type of hardships as we did. That's that's one for sure.

Xavier: It's very interesting because, design is a lot about selling things. And if you don't know how to sell your own ideas...

Bruno: I would argue that it's not about selling. About servicing actually. In my opinion. It can be used to sell. It can be used to communicate. But at the end of the day, it's always a service to others in my opinion. But it's clearly a tool that can be used for that and much more. And, when in the context of business, design and thinking about experiences in design as a whole, it is core to any business in the process of selling. And in getting to others.

The way that we get into this makes a difference of how we handle this type of thing.

Xavier: Yeah. And how you process it. Like at the beginning, that your perception around what we... what actually the impact you can have, or not, it will also have a lot of influence on that. And I think the... What kind of... made me want to pursue this path, of design, was the true impact on business, from a product point of view, you know?

Cause it's like, you are selling, at least in digital where we are embedded, right? So, in a digital software company the design it's like a core piece of the product, and I think that impact you can have as a designer, or as someone that is involved with the design, it's so meaningful for all those users. All those that are using...

Bruno: The product that you helped to build. Yeah.

Xavier: Yeah. And also one thing that really, really... you know? Like, fascinates me. It's the fact that you are doing products that are not closed. You know? It's not like a physical product. You are designing and after you design it, you ship it, it's that forever. You know? You can improve the next version of that physical product, but it will be...

Bruno: It will be the physical product and in software where basically working in ethereal space.

Xavier: Exactly. You can change it but...

Bruno: It's just something that is there. That's why we have so much difficult to tell our parents what the actual hell we do.

Xavier: That's true. Yeah. But that's very... That never ending cycle of improvements. And you can just iterate forever, and make it better every day. And I think that's one of the things that designers are very good at. It's like improving things. And in that capability on digital you can improve it forever. It's one of the things that most resonate. Yeah.

Bruno: And we're talking about design, and being a designer. But the fact is, right now, you kind of shifted into a role that handles design, but you're not a designer per se. You're now a product manager. How did thathappened?

Xavier: Yeah. So... that was very natural. You know, it's like... as a product designer, nowadays, at a kind of startup, digital software companies. As a product designer, you actually have a big impact on the whole product life cycle.

You are not only designing screens. You are actually discussing functionality. And to do that well, you should think about the other aspects of the product. You cannot be closed on design. You should be thinking about the business. You need to design considering the technology. So all of those responsibilities you have as a product designer, on the current context, in the markets, it's very... the barrier between that in product managers is very close.

Because a product manager is responsible for the strategy. So the business part, the strategy division. But also responsible for the design. Not own, the product manager doesn't own anything, at all. But kind of makes sure that those tracks are going correctly, right? So you make sure that the vision are spot on. You make sure that you have a strategy. You make sure that the design is going in the right direction, and also for the execution. And it was very natural to get into a product manager role where you start to design less and work more on the side.

Bruno: Which, and this is where the word design gets other meanings, right?

Xavier: Yes!

Bruno: When you start strategizing and creating strategies. You could be designing strategies. That's the thing when you're in, when you start looking at a product from a holistic point of view. In which you get in that really wide view where, instead of looking at small details, you look at the whole thing, you're still very much part of the design process.

But with the background that you just talked about, and with the background that you have, it becomes a little bit more about the business strategy, mixed up with the way the design works. And it makes perfect sense for you. At least for me, in my opinion.

Xavier: For me to be able to kind of join, and kind of mix my passion for businesses and also my design background. Just the perfect match. And I actually... We need... in this position, as a product manager, I can actually design even more. Because I can actually try to embed design process in the product life cycle.

Bruno: Yeah.

Xavier: So, what I found is: as a product manager, in the organization, you kind of have the role to build... to make sure that some processes are set up. For your execution, for your strategy, and to make sure that the product life cycle is going well.

You have this job function, right? Responsible for the processes. And that's a very good position to be. If you want to make sure that design processes exists. So you are in a position to hire designers. To make sure they have all the tools they need to help other team members to design too. Because this is a... this is a thing that I advocate a lot. It's: everyone working on a product outcome, should be responsible for the design of the product.

Bruno: Yeah. Yeah.

Xavier: So doesn't matter if you are like a data engineer. If you are the back-end, the Java back-end developer, front-end, designer... doesn't matter. Everyone's responsible for the outcome of that feature, that product, or even a portfolio. Everyone that is working on that should be responsible for the conception. For the design.

And in that sense, the original term of design, it's a plan, or a specification of the construction of an object, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So. It's something that is very broad and anyone could benefit from doing design.

If you.... and I actually believe that everyone does design. But some people call it design, other call it other thing. But everyone does it. And... designers, people that are focused on this process, on these tools, they actually develop a bunch of frameworks and ways of thinking that accelerate and can agilize the process of design.

And those tools, and those people working on improving those tools, and those frameworks. They can advocate that in an organization, with people with a lot of different ways of doing things. So they can bring that into the table.

And as a product manager, I find myself in a good position to bring design into the table. And since I have this background is perfect. Um... and I honestly see a big impact, not only on the product outcome, but also in the team productivity and passion for the work.

If you are just doing your things like constructing a product architecture, or coding the entire day. When you launch something you don't have this attachment for the final result or for what that thing actually impacts in the world. You don't get like, the merit of it. It is just like: you are coding, but that could serve something at the end.

And if you bring that guy that is coding, like passing the whole week coding. And you bring that person into the decision table, when you are making the product conception. You are trying to understand how that thing he worked, that functionality, how that functionality will impact someone's life, that brings another dimension to the way they are doing things.

At the end, they will produce better code. They will do it in a way that works better for the outcome. And also this helps a lot... this helps a lot on execution, right? Which is a part of my responsibility. It helps a lot to have people engage with outcome and actually bringing their inputs, into the outcome.

Because design is about diversity, right? It's a lot of diversity of mindsets.

Bruno: Like having a lot of voices in the table, making sure that everyone is being heard. And then at the end of the day, that helps the products serve more than just the single person that thought that, that would work for them.

Xavier: Yeah.

Bruno: At the end of the day, that's the ultimate goal of anyone building products. Like our products should serve all my customers. But then if I can, all my customers is everyone.

Xavier: Yeah. Yeah, that's right.

Bruno: And that's it. And... not just from... well, if you want to talk about design, simplifying things, you could start talking about our accessibility, brings those things into the conversation. Of course, and that can be baked in from the beginning. And it doesn't take that much work.

But then when you actually start thinking about how people use products, and do I have enough people in the room to know how other people will use products. Or if I don't have those in the room, those voices, how can I get them? That's where it's the game changer for how you build things. That's where...

and this looking at products. I know that when I'm doing this, and I'm talking about the project itself, Design is for Everyone, I know that there are people that are going to be listening to this, and they're going to be young designers focused on other arts. Communication. I don't know, arts, more kind of things, or even fashion. I don't know. I'm trying to get someone from fashion design to talk to the podcast. Let's make sure that that happens.

But if you look, at the end of the day, design applied to product, be it physical or digital, having multiple voices in the room makes a difference in the way that things are built at the end of the day. Gives so much more value to what you do, and we can't really not do that.

Designing in a void and thinking that, and this is something that not just works for designers. And I love, I love a concept that I learned a while ago on a small book about creativity. When designers and creatives are still treated as the genius in the room, and desiging in the pocket of its own that's when the fallacy of saying: "I know what people want." Start to happen.

I love the concept of "Scenius", which is a scene or a group of people, that in a specific moment in time were incredible at creating things. Which would be the... the guy that wrote the book back then, and I still need to find what that book is, and then I'll put the link in the transcript, it says like, if you look at the Renaissance. The Renaissance is the Renaissance not because Michelangelo was there or Leonardo DaVinci was there. Was because all of them were working, and talking, and sharing information and all of them together were pushing each other to the limit and improving things because they were talking for more people. They were trying to push for better things.

I think we are at the stage in the creation of design and products that those things can happen. But now with the connection of a global... Internet and everything. The Scenius is the globe. It's not italy. And I'm going to say this wrong, in the fifteen hundreds. I think. Or 1400, I don't know. I'm really bad at history.

Um, But that's the thing like the being in a position where you can actually give voice to those people and understand: "okay. Design or creation of a product being it, that it is design, even when it is engineering or coding. Knowing that you need those voices in the room, and being there to support them, being that person that is trying to get them a space. That's great. And it's...

Xavier: I love your vision. That's really interesting in a... So when we talk about this transaction for other designers might be interested to go into product management and vice-versa. Product managers wanting to get deep into design. The position, I see the product manager be very helpful into the design it's being in a position to hire designers. To make sure that's part of the process, and also make sure that when you wrote product requirements, when you are taking decisions and moving forward with decisions, you are mixing those expertise. Like you are putting business requirements, design requirements, and technical requirements in the same page.

Bruno: Yeah.

Xavier: And when we talk about design requirements, those. I normally don't like to call it design requirements. I call it experience requirements. And the experience is impacted by a lot of people. Not only the people that is designing like, the prototype or the... the process or whatever. But the experiences, how that will be. How that will resonate in the world. Everyone is responsible for that.

Bruno: Yeah. At the end of the day, the experiences, the result. Design is the process of getting to the result. Right?

Xavier: Exactly. Exactly. That's perfect. Love that. And every part is important, and they should participate. And as a product manager I can create those rituals. I can schedule those work sessions, and I can help everyone to have that impact and also celebrate the winnings when things come out in the world and people love it. Everyone there were responsible, you know? Not only like the designer superhero, cause they're making the great experience. You know? Like, everyone in the team is responsible for that. And they are all together celebrating those winnings and excited to improve that thing. You know, they get everyone excited to improve that thing in continuous build this amazing productwe are building, yeah. Basically, is that.

I think. I now am capable to design a lot. Still design a lot. And also all those design tools that I learned helped me build better roadmaps. Helped me construct better narratives.

Bruno: Yeah. Yeah.

Xavier: Helped me with the vision. Helps me with the communication. So it's great.

So. All of those stools are applicable to any profession, honestly. And I think everyone. Everyone. Yeah, everyone can and should design. Yeah.

Bruno: You're already answering questions ahead of time. Jesus. Hold still. Hold a little bit.

Yeah. But it's interesting to look at those things, in that way. Design, and design in its purest form. There's a lot of communication to it. There's a lot of picking up ideas and making them perceivable to others. And design as a visual tool, which was the beginning of it. Was always, and still is, about deconstructing ideas into concepts that people can easily understand.

So when you learn that for your job. In practice, it kind of works for everything else. And that's why frameworks like Design Thinking end up working. Because, you're basically giving people the tools that the designer needs to use to do some problem solving, very naturally. And... a person that wants to become a professional designer is most likely someone that does this by nature, and doesn't even realize it.

Because that's it. Like if you want to be a pro designer, in software design, in physical design, communication design, whatever. Most likely you already have a mindset of problem solving that works in your mind, but does the job for you that helps you get there, and you're not even aware that that's not something that everyone has.

Xavier: Yeah. Ah, yes, that's a very interesting and I would say that a really good tip for beginner, product designers, or designers at all, would be using the power of prototyping. Because it's a super power. Dealing with these tools, and starting with this visual concept. And have this mindset. Allows you to create prototypes, physical or digitally, and those prototypes are the best risk mitigation tool for a company.

So I'm talking about using prototype as a ways for the business to predict the future.

Bruno: Yeah.

Xavier: You prototype a thing in like, one, two weeks. And you are... you can actually test that, instead of like losing months of development or...

Bruno: I would even say that nowadays it's: you prototype things in a couple of hours.

Xavier: Yeah. It is, and that is an amazing superpower that a designer can bring into the table. Like, that's business value right away. A designer with... basically... a short experience in the market, someone that could grab a conversation, understand what is being said in the table, you know?

Doesn't need to talk much, just grab all of that. Prototype something. Doesn't need to be perfect, just need to be an enabler of a discussion to improve that, and then get it to the customers. The customers will say if they love it or not. So, as you said, like in hours of prototyping, one or two days with experiments, you can actually save a lot of money, and a lot of time, to a business.

Any young designer, if... I would love to know that when I started, you know? That is like very valuable for a company. Someone that can just do that. Bring that into the table. It doesn't need to talk that much, even if it's not the main responsibility of the designer, they do that like in just like one hour in free time. And then tomorrow they bring that to the manager or whoever is responsible for that, and kind of iterates that prototype with that person and then ship that to experiment it would be like a major, major value to the company. And it's like a tool that all those companies now are using like design sprints.

Bruno: It's norm. It went from being something that Google invented, to becoming the norm. And it became also a baseline for other people to start thinking: " do we have, or can we create design frameworks?"

If you look at the way that things are right now, especially in the space of product design and digital design, frameworks were a thing that was created because people felt the necessity of transmitting their ideas into paper, so that others could take advantage of them. They wanted to communicate those things better.

Before those frameworks. And as I said, were very natural to some professional designers. Now they are shared with the larger community, and people can be part of that process. Design Sprints and Design Thinking that type of frameworks are catalyzers for change and innovation. Because they give other people the tools that these guys have naturally been using for years.

The only difference now is, these people are not just seen as creatives or designers, they are seen as thinkers and problem solvers, because design wasn't always seen as problem solving, right?

Xavier: Yeah. This is like a designer grabbing a way of design work and redesigning it to ship it to more people.

Bruno: Yeah! Kind of reverse engineering it in a way that other people could understand, and also give it more structure. Because creative processes started by being something very messy, or always start making something very messy. And many, many people have already created frameworks, along the lifetime of what design is.

From ad agencies in the fifties and the sixties in the states. To, nowadays, every software company. Each one of the steps from there to now, from the age of industrial design, went from people that had ideas to then trying to figure out how to make those ideas fit into boxes so that other people could also use those ideas.

But, now information is free. Shareable really fast. Companies are open sourcing their information to the world too. And that helps others also think about that. Like, I started in design. Dude, it's now 11 years that I'm into it. Yeah, 11 years, I think that's it. When I started no one could ever have told me that: "oh, you're not just designing a poster. You're actually thinking of how these people are gonna create a product that saves them X amount of time during the day." And the fact that the way that we were doing those products, that even if it was for communication design, they were trying to: "okay. What's the objective?" Sell more tickets. "Okay. Then you need to think about the frameworks of how you got there. Not just being an artist and creating a poster and being visually creative. Nowadays I don't think like that anymore, because of that information. Of people that have created those frameworks, that share those frameworks, that change the way that I see design, and that changed the way the world sees design.

Because design, is not the same now, as it was 10 years ago. As it was 20 years ago. As it was 50 years ago. It's one of the fastest evolving professions in the world, and it has redefined itself by the day, because it always has a role in every little new thing that exists.

Xavier: Yeah. And I... that's, that's super interesting. And I actually suffered a bit of that. So I think this is, generally speaking, people still associate design to the aesthetics, only. And sometimes I see myself kind of changing nomenclature to kind of fit some sessions, or fit some work, because at the end of the day, what impacts is the outcome. And I don't care if we call it design, if you call it the other thing. I want to put those guys.

Bruno: Language is... Languages are really a key player in everything that we need to do about design.

Xavier: And sometimes the word design kind of gets seen as "in my way" to do some work, because people still associate design to ahestetics, and those creative moments, and brainstormings and all of that. There's a lot of... You still feel the presence of that, in some organizations. I would say like...

Bruno: Generally speaking, we are in a very small group of organizations. A very small group of people in the world that see this type of things as valuable through their business. When we talk about companies like Facebook, or companies like Google, that are giants in tech. Although they are giants, they are still just the 1%. Because of that. They've been thinking about this in this way for years now. And that makes a difference.

Xavier: It makes a difference. Yeah. And I think we need to change that. What I typically, and I'm used to work like in very technical environments. Like engineering driven companies. And... What I tried to do to kind of like, do design and make people process it. I just changed the name. And then when they see the value, they don't care... they don't care about what you call it. But I know when I'm writing that session, I don't put like a design sprint type, I put something like conception session, you know? And in some environments I think it works better.

But getting back to what you were saying. Those frameworks help a lot some companies to also embed those processes in their team. " So Google is using this amazing framework, design sprints." Look at their results. You know? So now you can sell that internally in a different way.

Bruno: Yeah.

Xavier: So I really appreciate and value those initiatives, and also initiatives like this one, you are doing, you know? This podcast. It's this kind of open source community that is allowing to not only evolve the field, but also to democratize it. It was one of the things that this podcast...

Bruno: Wants to do. For sure.

Xavier: And then I think it's a very good mission.

Bruno: And actually, listening to you talk about frameworks, but then talking about how you change language to better explain business concepts or help people understand better.... better explain design concepts, actually.How you talked about prototyping and all of these little things, and I can pick up things from other episodes.

Like I talked with Jordan Singer about the way that he built tools based on AI, or design tools overall. Part of the, what he was trying out with AI was language. So that people would understand through natural language, what designers understand in our own language, in the way that we think of things, right? So you would look at the screen and we know how to pick up a tool. Design, a square design, a couple squares. Move things around and we define what a UI is. Okay. That person can now look at the tool and say: "draw me this, this, and this."

In their language, that's what UI is, which is very different from us, clicking in a couple of buttons and generating a layout or something. And those frameworks based on language are really, really the key to then expand what design is for others?

If you're doing this, and I was listening to you, in my head I could only hear this design by any name is design. Because it is. You can give it the name that you want, but if the process is a process of design, it is design. But then if it helps other people call it other things why should we be afraid of it?

Xavier: Yeah.

Bruno: Of course at the end of the day, we're going to be telling: "yeah. You know that thing we called that? That's actually design." "Oh, really?" And that changes the conversation. I find that super interesting. It's a framework on itself.

Xavier: Oh, that's really cool. Yeah.

Bruno: Look. We're almost getting to the end of our interview. I'm going to shift a little bit, the conversation now and go a little bit more personal again. And talk to you and ask: being all of this that you already talked about. And I think we got a lot of that from the way that you talked about the design in your life. Design in the product manager role, design in everything that you've been doing up to this point.

How did you feel that learning design, and being a designer, and working in design changed the way that you view the world around you?

Xavier: Okay. I think that the main. The main thing was about process. You know?

I can apply this. I apply design every day in my life. It goes like: when I look at something that I will do, if I'm doing my... you know, I'm cleaning my house. I actually design. I make a process for that. I have a process for that, actually design a process for that to be efficient. Cause I don't want to waste my time doing it, more than I need to do.

So I, what I think it's that, what changed, it's the mindset of start small. Try it, before you go big. You know, like prototype your shits, you know? Don't jump into a thing that you don't know that will work or not. So try it, iterate. And that's applied to life too. And I think it changed my mindset in a way I look at the world in that sense. Because. When I'm doing my personal things I always use those frameworks and mindsets and I apply them. And that actually makes my life easier, in general.

Bruno: A hundred percent agree. Yeah. I don't think I ever opened the door the same way. I don't think I ever looked at like, streets the same way. Sometimes, I feel like I should be an architect... like a landscape architecture guy, not a designer, because of the way that design changed the way that I see things. And I feel like that's not practical. That garbage can shouldn't be there, should be somewhere else. Yeah, I can see the way that my house is built on it. And my house is built to the millimeter because I have to fit everything in a really tiny house.

So, yeah, but having that framework of design makes you think of things before you actually do them a lot more, and then prototyping. I don't think I've ever prototyped that much in my life for things that I've have for the day-to-day.

Xavier: So in some environments I see a lot of problems getting into the discussion, problems that you don't know if they are there. If they they will exist, you know? And that gets stuck into the discussion. So sometimes we try to predict too far, you know? Sometimes you just need to build up something, try it out, see if those problems actually exists, and normally those are not the problems that exist. There are other problems. And... the thing that you aimed for doesn't work.

Bruno: If you've ever seen a meme about QA engineers, it's that! Everyone goes like: " oh, engineer pushes the product to the limit. Like, someone is testing out, I don't know, a room engineer goes and opens and closes all the doors, engineer goes and doesn't leave the room, and enters through the window. Goes out to the window or something like that. And then, and there's the customer and the customer sets the room on fire, and the engineer wasn't ready for that.

The QA wasn't ready for that. Because we don't really do that if we don't test it, if we don't put it out there. We don't know if people are gonna really use the things that we build, right?

Xavier: I can give you a good example on that, on that prototyping thing. Or how that prototyping mindset can be applied into your life. So let's say you are working in a new office, and you decided it would be great to commute by bicycle. You don't jump into buying a bicycle. You rent a bicycle for a couple of weeks, and you see if it makes sense. And then you buy a bicycle.

So that's prototyping mindset. And, and there's that... I think that's a good example that you can apply prototyping in. Your day-to-day life. Go small. Try it. If it's worth and then get into the bike. And then if it makes sense, buy accessories for your bike...

Bruno: And starting getting into that really "cool" club that exists in every big major city, which is the bike nerds. They exist. We know they exist. I have some in the office. I love them. They are great, but I would never go to that length to have my bike as amped up as they have.

But that's great. That's great. I have a last question that I usually ask, but you already answered it. But I'm gonna do it anyways. Which is, do you believe that design is for everyone? And if so, in what way?

Xavier: Yeah. I think, as I said, everyone does design. Or they don't know they are doing it and you have people doing it better, others doing it less better. But everyone is doing it, even if they know they are doing it or not. So we can call it whatever we want, but I think it's better for us to understand the value and improve it. We'll improve our design. I think everyone can benefit for that. Yeah.

Bruno: Okay. Well, Xavi thank you very much.

Xavier: Thank you so much, Bruno.

Bruno: Thank you for being open. Thank you for this conversation. Glad to be here with you. We now go to dinner. And everyone else at home. See you all next week for another episode of Design is for Everyone podcast. Thank you.

Xavier: Bye-bye guys.

Bruno: Bye.


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