Design Left Behind Layoffs in Web3 <> Paulo Fonseca

Design Left Behind Layoffs in Web3 <> Paulo Fonseca

Massive layoff in the tech industry

Pricing your work is critical in freelancing, managing expenses, and avoiding debt. Be conservative in your expenses, be flexible with your rates, be transparent in your work, and demo your work. Stock prices have plummeted, causing a massive layoff in the tech industry. Jobs are becoming harder to find, and the market is becoming more competitive—network to build relationships and opportunities, not for jobs. Make friends in the design community. Many things go into whether a collaboration between you and a client works. It would help to learn this as soon as possible to have a successful relationship.


Ivy - 0:00

Hello, my name is Ivy and you are listening to designers, our presenter Dallas, a place where we talk about everything with and design. Hello, always awkwardly started as I have recently rebranded myself to D, I used to go by IV, which my Anton, and I decided to come out, so to speak and use my real identity. So people can know I'm a real person. So that's the random update. And then as always, we have follow. Yes, I'm here. Today, we're going to talk about the elephant in the room, so to speak, which is massive layoffs, and losing your job or becoming underemployed in this market. I honestly I've been affected by it and have some things to share about my journey. And just talk about in general, like how we got here and how to get out of it. I think the first part is just like reporting. So like, I in LinkedIn, I noticed that Coinbase just laid off a bunch of their designers, which is huge for our space. In addition to that, just all most of the fangs have also laid off at least a handful of people. Amazon laid off a few Google layoff a huge amount of people and who else I've seen, and I've just seen, like, even my friends in the industry, like Wayfarer laid off some people, Spotify laid off some people, so we're just seeing huge layoffs across the board and tech. And some people are saying that, you know, the layoffs aren't necessarily necessary. They're just trying to, you know, save money, or, you know, use the market as an excuse to save money. But I think it's kind of a double edged sword, what we saw in the beginning of the COVID was like the great reset the great, you know, reset, so to speak. So during that time, the market was doing great companies are becoming more and more ambitious. And they wanted to attract talent and that competitive space. And so in order to attract talent, salaries got pretty high. And now that the market is lower, some of these companies couldn't sustain those higher salaries. And there also are a few companies who can't afford to keep on people. But given that their stock is going down there kind of pressure to cut costs. I don't know, what do you think about it?

Paulo 2:48

Yeah, I think even Apple is thinking about firing people, which is very rare for them quite a big deal. And, and it's not just a couple of people, it's 1000s and 1000s of people, right? It's impressive to realize that when companies decide almost as a chain reaction to layoff people, they decide to layoff a lot of people at the same time, which is which screws up the job market, because then the competition for people that are looking for a job gets so much higher, and also for companies that for the few companies that are recruiting, it becomes even more complicated to recruit the right person, because now we have so much to offer, let's say that you didn't know what to shoot is right. I'm not sure if this comes as a reaction from the over a hiring of the of the pandemic times. I think there was some over hiring because there was a huge opportunity as well, because since everybody was being remote, the companies that were already more remote native, they saw the opportunity to oh, now that we are truly remote, and people definitely don't want to go back to the office. We can hire them to our companies. Right. And that's kind of our transition into remote work. Probably also made some some people some some some talent. Face work in a different way, let's say. And so yeah, people were working from home, they were getting good salaries, everything was booming in the tech industry, not so much in other industries, but in the tech industry, for sure. I mean, I remember

Ivy - 4:53

was pretty high to people who hadn't shopped online. And before or people who were kinda like store goers like had to be converted to online shoppers. And that also like penetrated the market with a lot more people like just now just getting used to, to ecommerce in a way that was kind of going there but it definitely boomed.

Paulo 5:21

But also I remember like Netflix stuff going through the roof because all of a sudden, everybody was subscribing to Netflix because you know, there was a lot the TV and zoom stock as well going through the roof because the zoom and so in my arrow and so on. So in the digital world, there was a bit of a bubble in the sense that there was provoked by the pandemic. And so companies translated that into hiring more people, because that's the only way they know how to scale and become better. Right. Those kinds of stages. So yeah, I mean, it is tough to be laid off, especially in the way that it has been happened for some people, right, you know, the, the Google case where 12,000 people were

Ivy - 6:14

locked out in the middle of fertile. That's a company all hands before you do it like like NEDA did God dang.

Paulo 6:25

I mean, it's, I saw, I saw that someone else a guy that was working on the, on the server side of Google that basically, he was responsible for Google servers not crashing, basically. And he has, he has been locked out of his account. And he had a pager because the apparently use a pager to, you know, warn each other that the server is down. And the pager was the only way for him to communicate with his colleagues after he was left. I mean, we are in 2023. And the level of dystopia that we have is that people get fired from a multi billion dollar company. And the only way that they have to contact their colleagues is pager device.

Ivy - 7:12

Yeah, also, I saw another brutal one where this lady, she was traveling for work, so she wasn't home, and they cut off all her stuff. And so she couldn't find money to get back home. Um, you know, so she had to, like, protect her, like somebody who was didn't get laid off to like, give her the company card. So she can like, go back home. And I was like, that's crazy, too. So yeah, it's just and also, I will say, in web three, there's just overall tightening, because I don't know if most people know this, most of red three is funded by VCs, unless you're a deck, so you're getting money from, you know, liquidity providers. And I'm seeing a lot of layoffs in web three, or like myself, I've you know, we have made decisions to like, extend our runway and cargo budget. And so because investors are becoming more conservative in this bear market, where three companies that don't have revenue, especially have to be very mindful of their resources, because they don't know when they're gonna be able to run, you know, to raise money again.

Paulo 8:25

Yeah, and that puts, that puts founders and CEOs of startups into a 3d space and everyone really, in what people call wartime CEO mode, which is basically, which is basically protecting Renault at all costs. Really. I do think that there's a possibility. Maybe I'm being a little bit hopeful and optimistic, maybe. But I think there is a possibility that the battery space starts picking up again, because there was undoubtedly, I think there is a general disillusion, which, and disappointment with the traditional tech space, right? People were fired from Twitter as a dissolving the big vacuum on Twitter, and now Google and Amazon. So there's not really for a bunch of people that were planning on doing a career in tech and working in the in the fangs and so on. There's now I think, a big sentiment of disappointment with it. And crypto and the web three space usually positions itself as the as the antidote to things from a market point of view and from even philosophical point of view. And I think that a lot of those people will start looking at okay, maybe I can get a job in another Fang or another tech company or in a startup with a startup or whatever. But if I'm taking this opportunity to change In my career from being a corporate employee of a big Fang to a more lean startup employee, I might as well choose a startup that is on the bleeding edge of technology. And that's probably Yeah, web three AI and so on. Right. And so I think we will have a bunch of talent coming into the space from Laos, because they probably have an inherent disappointment with the current status quo defense, because they're all doing the same thing. Like there's Yeah.

Ivy - 10:32

About weapons threes, like, being the antithesis of things because like, I have noticed, and as my mini tangent, like a lot of the people who work at things are who are paying network, meaning they have a network of people who also work at fame, they come from certain colleges. I mean, a lot of them make up people in web three and easily transition into web three. And so from a admittedly biased point of view, like if I'm going up against a fan, X fan person, and I've been native web three for the past almost two years, like that person is more likely to get that role, because we value the pedigree of things so much in tech in general. And that, and I hope that we can live in a world eventually, where you don't have to have a pedigree like Twitter, or Google or Amazon, to forward your career. Because I personally, I don't think like you said, the workout things. And Google are not super interesting. And those patterns have already been created in Oregon on like, my new details. And it's just like, we do it because of the career boost, you know, we only just want anybody wants to work in Amazon or Google as for. So they could say in their LinkedIn profile that they used to work at Amazon or dual, you know, like, so I hope with this shift, that we start to value other kinds of work in the market, and not just look to companies as markers of quality, you know? Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Paulo 12:21

No, I think I think that the that will not quite work for those people in this case, because I'm not sure if it is a I don't think it is a question of having a fastener CV or not. I think it's more of a question of is someone that has worked at a corporate environment in a team of 2000 5000 10,000 people adequate to fulfill a role at a startup of five or 10 people? Right? I don't, I don't think it is, I think it is a big transition from someone that has worked at Google, or Facebook, or Twitter or Apple, to now go and start working at a startup of five people were before they were the expert of the one part of the design system for one type of components. Right. And now they have to do the whole thing, and the website and the branding, and right, so I don't think I think that's more of the dividing issue, which is the issue of specialization versus versus generalization. Yeah, people that are generalists, so probably, fare better in crisis like this. So then specialists, because now, I mean, imagine someone that has worked for 10 years in the design system of Twitter, they're screwed, where are they going to find another? That's right. And so, they will have to reinvent themselves, they will have to reinvent themselves. And so they will, they will be at a disadvantage. So now, they could still and they will probably, obviously, use the reputation of being everyone kind of thing to, to, you know, get a match. But honestly, also people that hired based on the on those, those criterias are not doing a good job, because it's much more important to realize, if the candidate that you're looking at this is adequate to your environment, then if they have anything on their resume,

Ivy - 14:23

you would think that right? But in my experience interviewing a lot of times my interviewers have very little knowledge, especially when I'm going to be doing a web three of design. So like, they don't know what they're looking for. A lot of times, or this is like their first or second design hire ever. And so, and a lot of them are highly connected in value, someone who was coming from their network more than someone else out of that network. That's just a bias that you can't overcome. Yeah, but moving on. I think I'm hopeful that we're able to build, you know, everybody's working on reputation and web three. And I'm hopeful that one day that we will come up with a tooling and mechanism, to where we don't have that to where like, it's no longer viable to spend your career on a thing just for the resume boost that you like, cuz I do often see, designers really good designers who have just worked at mid tier companies get overlooked a lot of times because they don't have x on their resume. So hopefully, with this bear market, there's a little bit more decentralization of talent. Because I think that's a good thing in general.

Paulo 15:45

Yeah, it needs to happen, because otherwise we'll get into the same mistake of the big companies or, Oh, we're doing as well, right. I mean, I think I think being web three, there's only a handful of companies that have the size in the corporate structure of things like Coinbase being, but yeah, maybe so so. So I would say, I would probably predict that there'll be a few people that have just been fired from Google, Facebook, and so on Twitter, and they will maybe, probably eventually get hired by Coinbase. Right, because it's a good match in terms of corporate structure, but it's not as if Coinbase is hiring right.

Ivy - 16:33

Now. So designers,

Paulo 16:37

and they had, and they had a huge team and designers, researchers and all that. So huge, by you know, went through ethers. And so that's, that's, that's quite a thing. Right. So, I mean, I do think that for most people, the better option would be to, to try to take advantage of these opportunities to to reinvent themselves a little bit. Yeah. And if that's the positioning to a space, like we're three or AI, or whatever it is, that's cool. And, but also, I think, this should serve as a reminder that when you are an employee, especially of a big company, you're always always always susceptible to be left in the dark, or in the middle of a work trip, or just having a pager to reach your colleagues for getting cut off as cold as it possibly can happen, because

Ivy - 17:36

you're a number to choose the number to them. As part of the reason why I personally, because of my generalist approach to design, didn't never really saw a thing as super appealing to work for. But one thing I want to move on to is, I've noticed, typically, whenever times are rough historically, you can go back to the 19, bubble, and some other bubbles. Design is usually one of the first teams are the team that tends to see the most cuts during times of hardship. And I think companies tend to hold on to their engineers to play they can. And like design takes like a big chunk of the layoffs. And I have some theories as to why that is. But I'm curious to what you think about like the how disciplines get cut in terms of hardships for companies?

Paulo 18:41

Yeah. I'm not sure if there is a bias against certain disciplines when they're sent to cutting, but I'm pretty sure that engineers are safer than everybody else. Which went away, I don't think it is necessarily good that if a company fires a bunch of people, and you are the engineer, or one of the few engineers that are left and still have your job, I mean, I don't think you necessarily won this, because you're pretty screwed at this point. It could be said that during the sinking ship, and so on and so forth. So if people are in that situation, I think it would be useful to reflect a little bit if there are on the right path or not. Right. But, but I do think that engineers are maybe we leave it safer than everybody else. And mostly because, you know, if the if the site goes down, a designer cannot put it back up again. And an engineer probably can't. And so from a from, from reliability and quality of service point of view. I think engineers are more valuable than than designers or honestly, anybody else really. I do think it is interesting to compare the impact that layoffs have on designers against, for example, salespeople in marketing people, which I think maybe there's not that much of a difference, for example, then then against engineers, I think engineers will always have the safer response.

Ivy - 20:33

Yeah, and I think, however, I think there's a bias, I think, most of the time, when I've experienced cups at a company, design is the one of the first area that they start to cut. And I think, I think it's because design is usually associated with newness and innovation and moving forward. And same thing, recruiting actually, recruiting tends to have a disproportionate amount of cuts, because they're, your whole job is to like, find new people to penetrate organizations. So whenever a company is making cuts, they're making a decision to go in sort of a maintenance mode, and to cut down on new projects and new things. And so whenever they're cutting design, they're probably most likely cutting areas of design that are dedicated to future building. And they are only keeping designers that are needed to maintain whatever they have. And honestly like it. It's kind of fucked up, in a way, especially in web theory, because it's like I, you know, I got hired as a designer, to help build your organization up to this point. And now that we're at this point, and you're facing hardship, you're cutting me that even though like the reason why you're there is because of the work I've done. Which kind of

Paulo 21:53

Yeah, it's, it's quite impaired. But I do even think it's bad. It's a bad strategy. Really, because if you are, if you are on times of crisis, like for example, I think, a good example of, because I think we're mainly talking about if you're a company, and if you have to fire people, who do you choose to fire, right. And it's, and by the way, I've, I've had to fire people in my company, and it's one of the most hard things to do as well. And definitely, we know that the way Google just did, this firings is or, and the stock, and so on. But I do think there's some examples of some good way of doing it. I remember that during, during the beginning of pandemic, Airbnb realized, oh, shit, people are not getting out of the house. Renting Airbnb is right. So our revenue is going to go down. We weren't planning on, on IP owing and all that or, or close to IPO going, what we do, and they fired a bunch of people as well. They eat it in a very thoughtful way, by the way, I think, as much as could possibly be done, I guess. But they kept the people that would allow them to reinvent themselves in this new era, where Airbnb would need to be different, right. And so I think that's the smart move, it's a smart way of doing restructuring of the company, by firing people. Because if you do a restructuring of your company, just to keep your company in maintenance mode, you're very likely just, you know, delaying the inevitable outcome, which is your company is irrelevant and should not exist in this world. Right. So you should keep the people that would allow you to reinvent them, the company and and I think it's even better strategy and better and better decision making to, to find the ones that have the creative power to do that. Make sense?

Ivy - 24:01

Yeah, but the people usually are making these decisions are like executives that only see line items and, you know, cut to cut there. But I do agree, I think that, especially when my work at coordinate, what we're what we're doing, you know, we've done things to extend our Longwear. But we do acknowledge that like, we need to be able to innovate, in order to be look good enough for the next round of investors. You know? We need Adigun web three. Yeah, it would be it would not behoove you to lay off. First of all, most likely companies have maybe one designer, let's just get that straight. Like, you know, it's not like they have room to cut designers because they already have not that many designers unless you are like a coin base or something. But secondly, if you're making cuts design is actually and I've even said this before in other conversations at You're not the right cut, but like you said, design is gonna help you get to the next thing. And if you are putting on your, you know, your eggs, your engineering basket, you know, like engineers, I love them to death, but they're not typically the ones that are a part of the future building, and the strategic part and business development of an app, you know, or, you know, so you need user research, you need designers to help you get closer to market product market fit. And if you're looking to make a cut, design is probably not that that's cut, you know, if anything, you need to invest more in design, and a little bit less on your hands doing things such as engineering.

Paulo 25:48

Yeah. You know, I think that the the Airbnb example, that I just mentioned, during dynamic, I think it is the first time where at that scale, that actually proved right, because I think it is, it is magical. It is impressive, that Airbnb has not gone bankrupt, as it shouldn't be, because it is it is a VC backed startup, it was worth billions of dollars, blah, blah, blah, their revenue turned to zero overnight. And they were able to reinvent themselves fast enough and well enough that they are surviving and thriving now. Right? And they probably already picked up the scale that they had before. And maybe it is a coincidence or not. But the founders of Airbnb started design. So maybe, I think,

Ivy - 26:41

ship or at least design minded or educated is definitely yes, definitely different. And I will say like Airbnb is kind of one of those things that have has had to reinvent itself in order to survive. And I think they are kind of used to it. And they have a culture of it, I think, yeah. Have you heard the Airbnb story of like, they sold like collector's items of cereal boxes, or the Democratic campaign in order to pay off their debt, like, you know, just random stuff like that. So I think we can take a page out of Airbnbs book, and, you know, try to make those tough decisions. Like you said, wartime startup, but no, you know,

Paulo 27:35

but didn't a courageous matter, not defensive, cowardly hiding your tail kind of matter, right? Because, because that's what it is, what they've done, it has been V was pure courage, you know, because if that was then if that would went wrong, if they would actually fail, they would have been failing badly. And everybody would be those stupid founders. Everybody would be fucking murdering them, basically. But they actually took the courageous decision, I guess, I believe, actually. And, and that's, that's really all difference. And in times like this, I mean, I mean, what other time to take a courageous decision in this right? If it was anytime it's now so I think I think it is a great example that should inspire people enter the Inspire leaders of companies to really think about what you're creating, and how as well, because even the way people are putting employees is at Maine to St. Louis.

Ivy - 28:41

Yep, it's free. It's pretty tough out there. Um, I guess the next thing I want to talk about is basically speaking into our designers, like if you are a designer who has recently been laid off, or has recently become underemployed like myself, like, what do you do? What have you, you know, things like that. I will say, I'm personally navigating this on my own. And I'm not, I'm not an expert, by any means on how to take your career off. You know, the floor, but I can share some things that I've learned. I don't know if I'll have you had. Have you been in this position before where you've been laid off? And how did you approach it? Yet? Well,

Paulo 29:24

I've been I've been my own boss for a while, because the last time I've been laid off, which I think was like 10 years ago, I got, I got so pissed that I swore I would never work for anybody else again, and I'll become my own boss. So that's kind of one way of doing it. Very painful, very hard way of doing it. Which I don't recommend, but that's what I did. But I do because I do prioritize my, you know, autonomy and independence, let's say. And so I had to become an entrepreneur basically. You which is a totally different skill set from being a designer. And it is not an easy transition. But I think, an easier transition from design to entrepreneur than from maybe engineer to entrepreneur. Because yeah, designers should know how to communicate, designers should know how to sell stuff, even even if they themselves have their services specifically, right. And so we do have the skill set for that. And we should take that to our advantage. And I do think there's a bunch of opportunity for recently laid off designers to start thinking about, okay, maybe I can become a freelancer, maybe I can become a contractor. Or maybe I can become my own boss in some way or another. But it is a big jump from the stability and comfort of a corporate life, of course. And it's not something that everybody's willing or can do, because of you know, family obligations, or whatever it is, right. So I do, I do think that people should take advantage of this, of this moment to at least try something out that is different than you. Because I think we're at a point in the world where, you know, the old recipes don't really work anymore. Yeah, we're kind of we're kind of sensing that in a bunch of ways. And so I mean, really, what are you gonna do? Are you going to apply to another corporate job, and be susceptible to be laid off like this? Again, it's like, Come on, let's try something else.

Ivy - 31:55

Yeah, I think I mean, as a person who's kind of done both. I've been, I kind of like doing both, I'm also a workaholic. So I don't recommend it for everybody. But I have worked freelance while also maintaining my full time job. And my full time job just being like, purposely benign, so that I had, you know, a steady paycheck and time and energy to devote to some of my freelance or I think I have done both. And I will say, freelance does fill you up a lot faster than working at a corporation, I do think having Corporation experience does help your resume. So doing it at least, you know, two or three years in your career, to like, kind of put your time in is a good way to do that. But I have personally scaled up a lot faster in my short time in web three than my four years of being a designer at a company. So I definitely highly suggest at least picking up if you can, if you have time and energy a side job or working at a startup if you can, you know risk it or have a good nest egg in case you know, runway runs out or whatever, because it does allow you to see product creation from end to end. And I think having that experience just generally gives you a leg up at most places. Because you can design things with that knowledge and skills in the way I personally have been navigating. being underemployed, just kind of running experiments like a you know, paying for a boosted you know, it took me years if there's no portfolio basically. And so when I was ready for work, I just started blasting my portfolio everywhere. And it wasn't because I was thinking I was gonna get a job from it. I wanted to study how people were experiencing my work through Google Analytics and things like hot jar. So by you know, pushing traffic to my website by like spammy and on Twitter, or paying for, you know, a boosted promoted ad with my link. And it allowed me to start to see how people were experiencing my work. And now I have I feel like I have enough data to like, revise my case studies to look better from when I'm applying for jobs.

Paulo 34:29

That's a very, that's a very data centric way of doing it. I love it. I think it's awesome. Actually. That's, that's great. Yeah,

Ivy - 34:37

I guess so I can share my findings so far. So what I learned is that my first mistake, were writing my case studies what I wrote them in like a sort of blog format, as if someone was going to read them, unfortunately. And the average time on my website is two minutes and they spend maybe 20 seconds 30 seconds on my case studies and it's So people are really just kind of scanning. And I've you have to balance basically showing your work in pictures, but still showing enough process to kind of let the recruiter or design imagine know that you kind of know what you're doing. And that's been kind of hard for me because there is a sort of theater that happens in portfolios, that is not really how the work actually happens. And I've, I feel like I'm creating a movie, based on a true story of the work that I've done versus the actual work that I did. In order for me to like wrestle, which is like, and

Paulo 35:44

I would add something else on that, which is, you're creating a movie and expecting that the viewer of the movie of the movie would relate to that specific story. And you have no specific story, because the project that you're showing some other project, right, some other Yeah, industry may be some other way of working some other team size, some other management style. And so the viewer has to do this exercise of like, okay, let me imagine if someone that went to this movie in this story, how they would be my story, my movie in itself, kind of a loss of installation moment, right? Where, where everybody's trying to try to figure out if people are a good fit or not. Yeah, you know, I'm one of those douchebags I'd say that has never had a portfolio. And so

Ivy - 36:31

yeah, that's a real flex.

Paulo 36:37

This move, but the thing is that I do. And maybe this is a good strategy for these times, what I do, when I try to get some work, what I do is that I offer some of my time for free to the company. And I work with them and I do you know, either a facilitated workshop or I do something for them that I think I can provide value. And then I got the I get them kind of hooked into working with me, and then they want to work with me. So it's kind of a drug dealer approach. And

Ivy - 37:15

I mean, it's a good strategy is working for you so far?

Paulo 37:17

Well, I think it is a beautiful strategy for Dallas, really, because I think I think they'll suffer from this, maybe too much, because everybody's trying to contribute for free at first eventualities of getting paid, right, which leads to you know, spec work and abuse of some kind and so on, which is not good. But in some days, it's, you know, actually have the money and actually the need design work and so on, you can actually get a lot of lot of things done like this, right, you can, if you invest one or two weeks working at it now that, you know, has the potential to pay you because you know, you go to the notice safe and you see money there. And you see the proposals that they've paid other people for other work, right. And so if you have affiliation already, and if you go to that now and you offer your services, and you actually are valuable to them, and people started to be like, Oh, we would love to be around more, then you can get eventually to the point of you know, getting paid for your own work and making a proposal for that in passing and so on. I think it is a much cooler way to get a job nowadays and then building a portfolio sending the CV to people expecting the reply going through the interview process by the way interview processes right now are huge. I really get get upset

Ivy - 38:36

about do theater though it's all theater like it's just so maddening because like the things that they asked you interviews the people who think that they're looking for it's all just theater Yeah, how the work actually happens it's not a collaboration to others now divine actually happened. And I think there it's more of a honestly a bias. And sometimes we're you know, racially and culturally biased processes like for sure how homogenous Can you appear? To get this job?

Paulo 39:12

It is it is it is a compliance check. It is what it is, yeah, interviewers are basically checking if you will be compliant enough in their culture. And because the last thing they want is to hire something that is going to you know, rock, rock the boat too much, right? I mean, which makes sense because they want to protect the world because they're already right. You want to see drowning, basically metaphor. And so the they're very they're doing a compliance check on if you should join them or not. But But I mean, even if you look at it logically, for you to get employed in a company, you have to spend at least for one company only two weeks of interview process in the best in the best of scenarios right. Doing designers stages, bullshit design exercises, if you're getting interviewed by 456 people, right in five, six different locations, and you have to go to this maddening interview process that will take a long time as well. And you're applying for a company that you not really, you know, very inclined to work at. It's just because it maybe pays well, and they're hiring right now, it's not really a passion to work in the FinTech industry, or whatever it is, or insurance, tech, or whatever. And so you will lose your time either way. So you might as well just contribute to something that you're passionate about. And I'm sure you can find it now that you're passionate about what they're trying to do, and relate to you and cause you to contribute to that mission. And if they have funds, and they like your work, you have high chances of getting paid. And so you can make your own job nowadays much more easily than you could in the past, specifically in the web world. And you'd be on the theoretically the cutting edge of, of the tech scene, right, which is crypto and web three, and so on. And so I think it is a valuable approach. And I think people should at least try it out. Especially if they're disappointed with the current status quo of traditional corporate recruiting. And

Ivy - 41:21

I say do it all because as a person who's like, counting our pennies and stacking the nickels right now, it's like, you know, when you're in that position, where your backs against the wall financially, you just start to do you know, you're like, you're we're I think we've kind of been conditioned to just like, let me just apply to everything and like, see what happens. And like, it's all a numbers game. And I do think there's a better strategy. And I'm kind of personally I'm doing it all, I'm putting in benign applications to places I probably don't really want to work at. I'm networking and talking to people in my network and making connections like that. And I am, you know, looking for potential dowels or any other like web three projects that I'm interested in and seeing if they're confused. If they're, you know, looking for work. So I think I'm, I'm of the mindset, like it's all a numbers game. And if you have the energy, just do it all, honestly. And if you feel like you're not getting far and your search, like maybe you know, you can go come into the telegram designer dial chat, or I do think it's valuable to have another designer and maybe someone who's hired before, look at your resume and look at your portfolio and see if there's anything that stands out in terms of like revision or anything like that. I'm personally at that phase where I'm looking to revise my portfolio. Because I am doing the traditional applied applicant putting in applications, unfortunately,

Paulo 42:56

I think it's very useful. I've been I've been mentoring some designers in there in their search for new jobs. And, and it, I think it is, I think they would say maybe probably, I hope that it is it is helpful to have another set of eyes, looking at your portfolio and also cover letter because I think sometimes in the cases that require a couple interaction, it makes a lot of difference, especially from someone that has hired before. And I do think that in times like this, where everybody's applying to a bunch of things, because a lot of people were let go, all of the strategies that you can think about as a designer to distinguish yourself from the competition, really, other designers are, are good ideas invested. Because you know, there's, there's, there's a bunch of people doing kind of same thing. And if you can, either because you network your way in or because you actually design your applications application experience in this particular way. Or because you know, you you actually did something in real life where you met someone from the company and and you help them with something and they want to retribute the favor by giving you an intro or something, whatever it is. I think that the non traditional artists, no, no, no, no two or three of us watching will probably get better results in terms like this than the than the normal way of doing it. Because it just it just in the fourth way that everybody's doing. And I think it would, it would be useful to take a little bit of time to reflect and try to figure out okay, for this specific company, in this specific industry for my specific style and my specific type of work that I do, what would be the most adequate way to apply to this job right? because it probably isn't, just send my default portfolio metaphor, the weapon of metaphor, but now it's on. I'm in my, you know, Freelancer days, I've done all websites just to apply to a company, you know, super custom to this specific company, where I've done usability testing sessions with people on their website, and I found bugs, and they documented it, you know, this kind of thing, super custom, super specific to their company, and they look at it, they're like, oh, fuck, this guy already did a bunch of work, we should make that right. So I think that, in terms like this, all the strategies you could do to differentiate yourself from the other applicants would be super valuable. So

Ivy - 45:44

I'm not above like LinkedIn stalking, meaning the companies that do want to work for, I tend to go on LinkedIn, and follow all the designers and follow all the people in the industry that I'm interested in. Because sometimes, you know, like, I think I feel like us, as designers, especially our people in tech, we like to think of ourselves especially we have a fine resume as like many celebrities, which is kind of weird. But I think a lot of times, they'll post on LinkedIn, and you'll probably be one of the maybe 510 people that they see. And so you know, replying to their posts, or even commenting or things like that will like add more visibility to who you are. And like, you know, whenever you do apply to that job, they can be like, Oh, I saw that person somewhere. Like, I remember talking to that person, you know, on the chat. So that's also another good strategy. In terms of like job search, especially if you're focusing on job search, like you're saying, which is like doing spec work for potential clients. Yeah. And I want to ask you about that, like, as a person who never had to do a portfolio, and if you're trying to transition, because you've been laid off from corporate lives and to Freelancer live, so to where you never need to put an application? How would you, you know, recommend going about that transition.

Paulo 47:09

I think the position is much more about your, your life outside of design than about your life in design. That's, that's, I think, the first thing that people I guess, should be aware of, because another thing that I'll say is that I don't recommend this to most people, because it is a way of living where you know that okay, all of you have no job security as a freelancer basically, right. So you can get fired at any moment, really. And so with no safety net, basically, or virtually no safety net. And so it's it is risky, and it's not as comfortable as a corporate life. But I think it can be potentially more rewarding, because you do have the autonomy to decide on what you work. And sometimes you don't have that autonomy, because you really need money. So you just work on or whatever. And, you know, everybody goes through the those kind of phases. But I just think that the more you. So basically, the thing is, if someone is working in a particular job, because they like the money, and that's their main motivation, they will only be able to do a level of work with a level of quality that is kind of capped, somehow, the quality will only go higher, the higher their salary will go, because that's right. And we can can sense that that level of quality is kept at some level somewhere. Now, if you're working at a job that you really love, even if you're going to if you are going to be you know, paid below average, but you really want to be ready because you really like what you're doing, your level of quality is not really kept. Meaning that the motivation with which you're doing that job will translate in a much better output, because you're doing it not for the money, because because you're intrinsically motivated to do it because you like what you're doing. And so it is a cliche, advisor issue. Like your work, you don't work the annual efforts. And so if you optimize for that, I think that as an additional benefit, you'll get the benefit of the quality of your work will definitely increase because now it is not kept by the financial motivation that you had before. And for designers specifically, that's super motivating, right? Yeah, when you're designing and you're doing great work and you're proud of your work. If you feel competent in your work, and you feel like Yeah, fuck I'm doing, I'm doing great, even though my finances are not that good, and I couldn't be any more somewhere else, right? Because it's usually rapids, even then you feel confident, and that confidence will translate in better opportunities right? Later, I hope in most of times he does. And so I would, I would advise people to just optimize for doing what they feel passionate about. To the expense of, well, there might be some months in the coming months, where I'm going to be struggling financial is as and and it's just what it is, right. And, again, one way of looking at it is like, talking about it and be like, Oh, that's right. Or another way of looking at it is like, I now have this opportunity to redefine myself. And to redesign myself, which is something that designers are really bad at. Designers are good at designing other things and other organizations and things beside themselves. But when it comes to designing themselves, it's like, I don't really feel like

Ivy - 51:18

me, I'm definitely in that camp. I feel like, whenever I'm designing for myself, I'm very like, just just, I'm not I just think in black and white, I'm just like, Okay, this, this thing is the simplest thing to do, honestly, like, what's the simplest thing to do? And I've always, like, bode well, but it's just like, you know, after you spend your days designing for other people, it's just like, you know, it's hard to get that energy for yourself.

Paulo 51:46

Yeah. It has basically became a meme at this point, which is like, yeah, designers have done their, you know, 40th version of their portfolio or something because they can kind of decide on one or something.

Ivy - 51:59

I have considered pants on design my small time. I like if I ever have any extra money, I've left believe I will be doing that next time because I just like, you know, Arthur to shatter something for sure. But

Paulo 52:15

yeah. And I think it's gonna do all this, by the way. So that's really, that's really cool.

Ivy - 52:23

Yeah, I think someone said on Twitter, like, we need a dour organization dedicated to designing websites for design.

Paulo 52:33

market opportunity right there.

Ivy - 52:35

If someone wants to do that, and designer Tao for free, um, but I will say, Okay, there's a couple of things that I think that you didn't touch on. And I think it's not your fault, I think you have a bias because you have been a freelancer for such a long time that you might have forgotten. But the hardest part of going from corporate to Freelancer is one having a strong enough network to get an instant client base, you know, from the get go. So if you're going from corporate to freelance, but you don't have a strong network of people that can vouch for your work and refer work to you, I think that's going to be hard. And I think you might have to have a job in between while you do the work to build your network up. I think secondly, the thing that was hard for me going from corporate to freelance was honestly all the logistics shit, like I had to hire an accountant, I had to make an LLC, I had to have a bookkeeper. And I had like, all this stuff. And the person was pretty severe ADHD, it was overwhelming. And it still is sometimes like I gotta call the IRS right now for something that I haven't done. And if you're not that, if you're not that person who wants to dedicate like 10 hours a week to just maintaining the logistics of your business, be prepared to either a hire out for it and price your work accordingly to afford that or be be prepared to like, um, you know, become your own accountant and bookkeeper and all these things. Yep. And read up on him and be prepared for that. Your quarterly taxes, all that great stuff.

Paulo 54:19

I'm talking, I'm talking, I'm talking to you from a room where I'm surrounded by receipts, and you have no idea what's going on in here. But it's basically exactly as you described. There's there's all this overhead of running your own business that I mean, people kindly ignore it for the most part, and no one talks about it that much, but it is really a pain. It is really several hours a

Ivy - 54:48

week is a job within a job. And

Paulo 54:52

it's the type of work that most designers are really, really hate. And so yeah, I think you should price it and and, and realize that it's not, it's not just so straightforward as it might look. But again, it's also a good learning opportunity. And it's also an opportunity for you to be on top of your personal biases as well, because we're kind of forced to report on your taxes and get fined, and you know, all that good stuff. And

Ivy - 55:26

honestly, if I could go back in time and speak to myself, before I went freelance, I would say something along the lines of, yeah, make control your expenses do not do not, because you want to be you want your base expenses to be cheap. Like, if you have a lot of debt, if you have a lot of bills in general, and your expenses are generally high, it's going to be hard to be a freelancer, because then you're gonna be hustling to meet that number every month. And if that number is pretty high, that means you got to work a lot more. And I had made the misfortune of mistake of not doing that. And now I am and I'm not bad, but I'm not good. I can punch myself in the face for like raising my expenses up when I had no business doing that. So I would I would to be very careful if any loans you take on have any, if any financial obligations and just be very conservative, because you just never know if you're gonna have a down month. Because, yeah,

Paulo 56:32

but but to be honest, I would say that you're now better prepared for that. Then the 12,000 people that were fired from Google, and they were spending, they were spending 1000s a month, they were spending several 1000 10s of 1000s a month with their salaries, and now they get zero. And now they're like, oh, shit, I'm gonna lose my car. I'm gonna lose my house. I mean, yeah. So they are in that situation right now. So even them are now realizing that they are not immune to that, because even working for the biggest, baddest company in the world, who will place them in the same situation as any freelancer and so, overnight, with a three year

Ivy - 57:15

so in general, yeah.

Paulo 57:17

So they also they also can suffer the same fate. And I think it is more it is less stressful to suffer that fate from your own demise than from somebody else's. And so, I would prefer to, you know, have autonomy over my own work and over my own life, then giving that autonomy to a corporation that sees me as number.

Ivy - 57:48

Yeah, I will, I will say that this is a book I highly recommend, I just read, it's a really quick read, I just want to, I listened to it on Audible in like two days. It's called the psychology of money. Anybody who's down on their luck right now and really looking at their finances, I highly suggest you read or listen to that book. Because it definitely opened my eyes in terms of learning about how to build wealth and also learning about all the things mentally that we do with money that puts us in these like downfalls. So, yeah, definitely recommend that book. So I think, um, I would also have to say, I think being a freelancer, definitely, oh, actually, let me go back. One thing that I have learned as Currently I'm a freelancer is my clients right now, especially in the bear market are looking for savings, they're looking for reliability, and I've had to actually be really flexible on my rights and my approach in this market in order to you know, keep the clients that I have, and a lot of them are tend to be more open to a set rate for your work versus hourly or variable. So that's one thing I've noticed. So if you are working freelance or looking to work freelance like pricing your work out in terms of like, on a project basis, it's good for them because they know that the project can be a set amount of money so they can like budget better and it's good for you because you know, you're gonna you're guaranteed a certain amount of income. So I've actually moved a little bit further away from hourly and gone to more set rates because of that. And also, I've negotiated scope a lot a lot of times, especially in bear markets, clients want the most for the least, unfortunately, and and when the markets competitive they're like, I'll just find No one else that's gonna do all this work for nothing. Um, and I think you might have to, you know, sell yourself a little bit more in terms of like, hey, like, I know that other designers, you know, looking to do all this work for less money, but like, here's my track worker, and here's my level of professional, you know, and you're just gonna have to sell yourself a little bit more and sell the quality of your work more cut, and, you know, reassure the client that like, yes, my rate is competitive, it's in the middle, but I deliver such high quality work that you're not gonna, you know, need to come back to this work, you're gonna, you know, whatever, it's gonna be worth the price. So there's gonna be a little bit more as as a freelancer prepared just to do a little bit more selling and convincing. Then in other markets, when people have money to just like, cut, you use check.

Paulo 1:00:57

But I would also add that there's a I mean, again, the druggie would approach which is to which, by the way, it's something that can sound a little bit bad because it is basically indulging in spec work, right? But I don't do it. I do it very, very seldom, but like, very rarely do I do that. But, but, but I do think that we need to realize as designers that basically, if we're talking with a founder or business owner, and we're saying, A, you have some problems that I think I can solve with my skill set, you probably have never worked with a designer before, you probably don't even know what design can do. So if that's the case, I'm basically trying to preach him an offering that it doesn't he never saw it working right it for him. For him, it looks like either sounds like a miracle, or it sounds like something that's not possible. So basically, you're probably bullshitting him, right? That's what it sounds to them. And so, you know, seeing is believing, and so sometimes it is worth to go, the extra effort of okay, let me demonstrate it to you. And then just a tiny bit. And really to just demonstrate the, you know, the advantage of having a design mindset trying to tackle a problem, right? And see if you can convince them better that way. Because, for us, as designers, when we need to sell more our service and need to sell better our services, whatever, which sell designs and just, you know, demonstrate a little bit, especially for people that have very little context of, you know, how it works. And I've never, you know, last time they worked with a designer was to do some illustrations or something. Right. So it's a different thing. Right. So I think it is worth the effort. And I think it is also a bit of our responsibility as designers to educate a little bit the clients in the public, in that sense, and so if we can leave a good impression like that in a good example, and demonstrate what design can do, maybe they would be more inclined to dresses. Yeah, and also

Ivy - 1:03:20

a loose benchmark, if you can't, if you just simply can't afford to do spec work, because I have been in areas of my life where I literally just cannot afford to do spec work. I am also inclined for like discounted trial runs, if that makes sense. So like, you know, telling a client, I'm willing to work with you for like a week or two for like half my typical rate, to like, get things started and see how it is. And I think a lot of clients are open to that. Because, like, again, like I said, interviewing is not the same as working. And, you know, there's a lot of factors that go into whether you're a good fit, or the collaboration works. And it's best for you and the client to learn that as soon as possible. Before diving in. Because if you aren't freelancing, you could choose to be like, You know what, this was a great, no, but you know, this isn't that for me and move on to the next. You know,

Paulo 1:04:11

this was an opportunity. That's also that's also kind of a competitive advantage because, especially for juicy clients for clients that people know they pay. Well. A lot of the a lot of the other designers that are maybe bidding for something as you are, they will go like for the the big bytes, right? They will go like, Oh yes, I can do the whole project. And I can work for you this whole time and I can do everything for you and I charge a big price, right? And so that's one way of doing it. The other way of doing it is okay, I'm not sure if we're going to work well together. But let's try for a couple of weeks at this rate and see if it works and then if it works, we can renew for a longer time. And now we have we are more confident that the relationship works. So the rates make sense, the full rate make sense? And so on. So often they're offering them kind of a trial like that is a good strategy, especially for juicy clients that pay a little bit above, above average, because everybody else is pitching them, like the full service full price, because, right, so you can also get some differentiation.

Ivy - 1:05:25

Yeah, I actually learned that lesson early in my freelance career, there was a, there was a client that ended up I mean, we still have good relationship, but ended up passing on me because I did the whole package approach and like, you know, you know, and I feel like, now that I know what I know, I'm like, I probably could have landed that client by offering like more Lower Lift, or, you know, beginner kind of easing them into it, versus like, asking them to make a huge investment upfront. And that goes into my design grifter talk that we're sorry next episode, we're gonna talk a little bit more about design Grifters. And I feel like, the reason why I made that mistake is because a lot of Grifters will say, Oh, you need to sell yourself and you need to price yourself high and all this other stuff. And it's just not how it really works. Unless you're like a huge studio, and you have a you know, a huge reputation. And maybe that's the style or approach works. But for most everybody and their business, it doesn't really work for them. And I will say a lot of design Grifters are so far off in their, in their career, that they don't actually know what it's like anymore to be mid or beginning. And so all their bias is based off of their personal bias and their long standing career of being in this, you know, kind of upward position, you know,

Paulo 1:06:55

and privilege most of the times,

Ivy - 1:06:58

yeah, privilege behind the scenes, like mommy and daddy are like, you know, or like, you know, funding and investor that they don't talk about and things like that. Which as a person who did not have that at all, and still doesn't is a part that I actually got was very confused about early in my career was like the like, Okay, why is people making it seem like this thing is so much easier than it is. And I'm happy but I'm having so much trouble. You know,

Paulo 1:07:30

they they trying to sell me something maybe

Ivy - 1:07:32

Yeah, yeah, exactly. Maybe they're, like, if you made a designer and their whole design business is them talking about design, I feel like that's a red flag will go in more detail now in our next episode. Um, I guess, um, ya know, the last part I have about on this subject is like, you know, a lot of designers if you're facing a lot of rejection right now, you know, it can be, you know, where are you and get kind of disheartening. And I think, just remember that this is a competitive market. And it might not even be anything to do with you. In particular, it's just that like, you're going up against a bunch of other very talented designers. And they might have a network connection they might have, you know, something that you don't, and then this only make you a less of a designer, you know, it just means that it's just not the right fit, or they're not looking for the things that you're offering. And if you are starting to get into a stalemate, in your job shirts, we're getting tons of rejection, no leads, in my, you know, behoove you to like look at the analytics of your portfolio, look at your resume and like ask for, you know, someone to review it or help. And I would ask someone who has hired before, or even a potentially a recruiter, because more often than not the person looking at your portfolio resume to like, give you the green door is not the same person that you're gonna be working with, unfortunately, and you want to optimize your resume and LinkedIn and portfolio for the screeners, not the designers, because if your designers, they're not going to be the one looking at your portfolio, they're going to want to talk to you and interview about your work. So definitely ask for advice from people who have made a career scanning and filtering out candidates because they're the person who had the most experience with it.

Paulo 1:09:39

Yeah, I think it's great advice. And I think that this is these are also the times where at least on you know, tech, LinkedIn, people make themselves available for call with, with people just been laid off. And I think people that are in a situation that they're getting rejection after rejection, they're trying to look for a job, they feel down a bit, it doesn't hurt to talk with somebody else. And so if that's kind of a mentor kind of type, if that's, you know, someone who could give you some advice in terms of applying for a job and recruitment, or whatever it is, I would urge people to take, take people that are offering their time, take them on their offer, and book a call with someone that can help you to, you know, improve your process, your portfolio, your presentation, your, you know, your whole pitch. Because, I mean, what, what else? What, what, where could it come from that right? You will only get, get good information to try to get better. And I think you'll you'll, you'll feel also better because you're just setting the space to, to be heard by somebody else that understands you maybe has gone through the same thing before. And so this kind of times are a good time still look for mentors, look for advisors, look for people that can support you. And hopefully, there are still a lot of people that put their time available for that. And, and so take them on their offers.

Ivy - 1:11:20

Yeah, definitely, I think, right now, more than ever, ever to build. And I actually, I think we should have an episode on networking too. Because I do think how networking is marketed versus how you actually do it is two different things. And I've learned some things around the way to teach me that. But in lieu of that episode is a mini part like, in this market, you want to network, not for jobs, because people can kind of smell that they can smell desperation, they can smell oh, you want only reason you're talking to me is because you want me to hook you up with a job. Honestly, I would start talking to other designers, including other designers who've been laid off and reaching out and if they're posting on LinkedIn, and you know, maybe that's an opening and be like, oh, man, that sucks, like, do you want to talk or like, you know, just just build a community of designers, because honestly, those are the connections that and in my, with my front end engineers, that has led to more work more than any other person or our position in my network, like executives, if you happen to have one in your network, like a lot of them, you know, their time or press that, you know, they get approached for that all the time. And they often don't even have the, you know, the lower level connections to even get you you know, actual foot in the door. And then like, even like mid to junior designers, they are they work with senior designers, they are in community with senior designers. So like I wouldn't discriminate on experience level, or anything just meet as much as other designers in the space that you want to work or space it you want to work are currently working. And that can definitely lead to opportunities and come at it with the lens of like, I want to I just want to make a new, you know, industry friend to talk about industry stuff with them and to build rapport. And you may even build a friendship with versus approach it from, I just want to talk to this person because it can give me a job. So that's just one small tip in lieu of a potential networking episode that we're going to do. Yeah, I think that's a my final thoughts on it. Yeah.

Paulo 1:13:41

Yeah, I, I also want to remind people that we're doing this podcast because we think designers should express themselves more and support each other more. And there's a telegram chat for design a dowel that people could join. And what are time to do this now, right? Because now is the time people need some support and designers or people would say, oh, we should do that. And so that's, that's kind of the I hope that's gonna be the vibe of this. I don't know. And I think and I think we could, we could do good stuff in there.

Ivy - 1:14:20

Yeah, I'm definitely looking to either a start a GitHub, I may get coin grant system so we can get some funds to like support members and stuff and also look like yeah, we have the telegram chat. I do my best to help any designer that comes in there. I'm definitely always open to talk or take a meeting with any designers who are open to it. And yeah, we're just kind of, you know, this is what we're here for. So if you find yourself laid off or if you find you need help or support, feel free to come into telegram chat and we'll do our best to connect you with any resources. We have

Paulo 1:15:01

Yeah. And then also to just listen to you and just just vibe with you. Yeah. If that's what you

Ivy - 1:15:10

desire to. Honestly, like the reason why I started designer dance like I need to be able to rant about things I see in my industry.

Paulo 1:15:21

Yeah, we all need that. Yes.

Ivy - 1:15:24

All right, cool. Until next time, whenever next time is actually in the future. I'm gonna be committing to at least doing two podcast episodes a month before I got a little too ambitious and thought I could do four but with my work and everything, it's a little harder to keep up so I'll commit to episode every other Wednesday twice a month, if Paulo can also

Paulo 1:15:48

keep that Yes. Let's try that.

Ivy - 1:15:51

Yeah, in the new year will be more consistent. And if anyone is open to volunteering with like editing episodes or wanting to be on an episode, feel free to jump in the desire down telegram chat, or tweet us at on Twitter and I will surely be open to help or anything like that.

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