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Design for growth (help wanted)

Updated on January 11, 2013

Design matters more than they think it does

It's possible that this is the job you've always wanted, and also possible that no one has ever offered you this job before. If that's true, help us find you, hire you, and put you to work.

I'm defining design as something significantly more broad than pretty pictures, clever typefaces or something that reminds your clients of the Swiss. Design for growth includes the UI, the stories that we come away with, the economics and the ergonomics of sharing and game theory of how it all fits together. Design is a process, one that involves a ton of failure and a little bit of success, something where testing alone cannot replace intuition, but where intuition without testing is useless.

We're hiring someone who knows how to see, who can lead internal and external teams and can find metrics and exceed them.

There isn't even a word for this role. It's not the talented design on the bottom of the totem pole, sketching wildly and being ignored. And it's not the fancy marketing chief with her Powerpoints and three-hour long meetings.

It's UX with a focus on yield, and it's work done quickly and well and tested and measured and repeated.

It's someone with a passion for how things look and work, for users and their goals, and for creating interactions that lead to growth.

If that's you, take some time to read this and then let us know you're out there. We'd love to talk.

A more formal job description

Squidoo is hiring someone to lead our work in look-and-feel, conversion, yield, interaction design and social theory. This person will work closely with engineering and project management to create, test, tweak and launch new ways for our users to interact with us and with each other.

Squidoo is one of the fifty largest websites in the United States, with a tiny, dedicated team supporting more than 3 million registered users. We're profitable, growing and consistently raising the bar.

If you like corporate doublespeak, here's what a similar job at Microsoft sounds like, "As the UX Manager for the ...team you will be responsible for the information architecture of our user experience and responsible for driving the medium to long-term product strategy for our user experience and research team. Ideally you will have a deep design background coupled with proven technical aptitude who can prioritize efficiently to ensure we engineer and launch all products with the highest UX quality and customer feedback and input. This role leads our UX design and research team working closely with Program Management & Development teams, internal Microsoft publishers, agencies, advertisers and consumers."

Like that but without the junk, doublespeak, wasted meetings and bureaucracy...

The job will involve managing outside firms as well as clearly and patiently articulating a vision for how our platform develops.

This is a full-time position, either open-ended or contract. It requires significant (perhaps full-) time in our New York and Virginia offices. Excellent pay, benefits and work environment.

When you apply, tell us who referred you. If you get the job, we'll pay that person $5000.

How to apply - (and why)

First, please set aside the, "how do I get this job?" instinct and take a few minutes to think hard about the application. It's a little time consuming and deliberately pushes you beyond, "can you draw the dog on this matchbook cover". If we wanted a logo designer, we'd freelance it out.

This job isn't for everyone, and we beg your patience with us as we work to find someone with a very particular set of skills and goals, not to mention an attitude that matches our idiosyncratic little company.

Squidoo is one of the largest independent websites in the world, and yet we have far less than a dozen full-time employees. Many of us have been here since the company was founded seven years ago, and we all work with goals, independence and very little oversight. We push people to make big promises and then to keep them. If you're coming at this role with the traditional mindset of this-is-work-let's-do-less, you'll be frustrated. This is a platform, a place where you can do your art, and we'll give you plenty of room to run with that if it matches your mission.

After reviewing the questions below, put together your best effort in a four page PDF document and email it to designgrowth@squidoo.com. That's the only way to apply--please respect the boundary! Deadline for applications is noon on January 15, 2013. One application per person, get it right the first time!

Questions you might answer

Don't answer them all, but help us understand where your skills lie, how you see, what you do and why.

Point to your personal website

Show us some of the projects you've led that have shipped and made an impact

Show us work you've done on the clock, and how you made it work

Are you restless? What do you make or do in your spare time that leaves a trail and makes an impact?

Four book covers you think are both effective and beautiful

Find a particularly lame example of UX on the web and fix it into something better than good

What's the best lesson you've learned from Steve Krug or Steve McConnell?

Point to a blog post that changed the way you think about connecting with people online (not by Seth!)

Show us a Squidoo lens that you've built

Have you created anything worth watching on Vimeo or YouTube?

In four bullet points, tell us how you'd change the Surface (or some website) to make it spread virally

Whose picture is on top of this lens? How did you find out? Why does she matter?

Show us a Squidoo postcard worth sharing

Where do you work now? What's great about it?

And be sure to share your salary needs and geography as well.

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