What is it like for a designer to be an entrepreneur?
When you have this bug of creating something big to help others, and you've got to 'make a dent in the universe', as Steve Jobs would say, there is no escape from it.
Everything in my career was about creating new initiatives and turning them into organizations and companies...
I got sick with it at young age, probably when I realized that I'm a good problem solver, and I have a capacity to simplify and break down complexities into small manageable tasks (I blame Erika Landau's courses for that... ☺)
However, I didn't know how to create a company around my vision, so I started by helping others to create their own.
So I created a services business that specialized in hiring, training, and providing design and development services to the high tech market, called Netica.
We started by designing the GUI, the brands and the sales tools, of Israeli high tech products, and in 2008, when it reached 28 full time employees and over $3M in annual revenues, we sold this business to another company (that wanted its access the high tech market, and its UX design capabilities and work processes).
Selling an Israeli services company is not an easy chore (and I might dedicate one of my future posts to how to create a pricing model for that), but I and my partner, realized ahead that the market will lose its margins once it will start outsourcing the development services (which was the main source of income) to off-shore development services, and being the graduates of the 2,001 fall, we didn't want to go through this process again, and sold it.
I went back to the academy and managed a design department, but after 2 years, in which I felt I spent too much time on politics, and too little on actual management or teaching, I had the craving to create something new again.
So, I started VideoDubber, with my college, Jacob, and together we developed a new platform that enables automatic dubbing of movies to 40+ languages.
During this process, of managing a startup, raising funding, fighting the P&L needs, I realized that I missed the design part of my work, the problem solving tasks I did with some of the brightest minds in the industry, and decided to dedicate some of my time back to UX consulting, as well as giving back to the community, either by teaching, or by organizing industry events, and this is how UXray was born - a new meetup concept I developed with some of my talented UX friends, where we do an expert review of Israeli high tech products, and provide insights and guidance of what could be done to improve those startup's products' experiences over an eventful meetup. Of course, this UX design review is done for free, as a contribution to the Israeli entrepreneurs community launch more successful products, as well as an effort to help design graduates catch-up with cutting-edge practices, and help the Israeli market push the design standards higher.
If you love UX as much as I do, I'll post a link to UXray's next even here soon, and you could attend one of our upcoming events.
On the meantime, if you have a startup and you think you could use the advice we can offer, to improve its UX (either be your product's on-boarding process, converting users from freemium to premium plans, digital marketing effectiveness, etc.), fill-in our short project form, and once our next UXray meetup's theme will cover your need, we'll review your product and try to include it in that UXray event... Interested? Fill in the form >