When joining Carousell, I have met many new people. I work with more than ten designers which are bigger than the number of designers I had met in the last five years.
But none is like each other. They are all combined to build a diverse team that solves different problems. Each designer has a different approach to design, with different styles. Each of them is a great source that I can learn from.
Darren, the communicator
Darren joined after me three months. He’s younger than me one year but he has just graduated from school. He took couple years for an internship in the US. He took years to play, to find something interesting. School is too boring for him. But finally, he got a diploma. Congrat.
He’s younger than me but what he did is so much better than me.
It’s not fair to compare ourselves with others. But there is one thing he did very well, and I have to learn from him: communication.
I remember the time Carousell hosted a meeting with other design teams from Singapore. In the event, every designer did a retrospective, discussed what they had learned in the past, then shared with other people. It was around 50+ designers.
Darren and I co-host that session, at least, that was the plan. We would hold mics and led the conversation. We discussed, talked about the agenda. In the end, I was so shy to go on the stage with my anxiety in English pronunciation. I gave up later. Only Darren was on the stage and went through the meetup smoothly.
After the meeting, I asked him where he scared or not. He said: “Yes, but I just do it. It will be OK.”
That’s one of many examples to show how confident he is on communication. He reminds me of the song “Que sera, sera. Whatever will be, will be.”
It’s a zen spirit. Everything will be OK. I often think too much and it defeats my spirits. The fear, in reality, is just 3% of our imagination. I always overthink.
Darren teaches me to stay calm, and do it. Take it easy.
Mag, the drawer
There’s always one person in the team that makes you laugh. May is that one in Carousell Product Designer team.
I’m imagining how sad the team would be if she leaves Carousell. And I don’t think she knows how funny she is.
In a serious meeting, when she speaks, things become fun again. She doesn’t mean it, but it comes naturally.
The best thing about her? Drawing. She can sketch anything with her notebook and pen. Her style is very different from the sketches of other people. Her draws are always damn fun.
I want to draw like her. I said that to her. She always replies with the same thing: “Anyone can draw”. Yes, but not many people invest time to practice it. Some people follow it. Few people master it.
There’s a fact that she didn’t know: every product designer and engineers love her. They enjoy talking and working with her.
But Mag, just don’t multitask, don’t work while eating. It’s super harmful.
Aadil, the gentlemen
This guy has just left Carousell for almost 2 months. He shouldn’t be engraved in this article, but some people are still missing him, including me.
He is an awesome member of a “scrub team” of four people: Darren, Mag, Aadil and I. Small chit-chat conversation with those people help me find joy at work.
We talked about boring things, like “Hey, lunch at 1 pm guys?”, “Booking is hiring.”, “inVision is hiring remote designers”.
Or doing some things that I don’t think it makes sense, like going out to eat toast for lunch (the worse ideas ever for lunch), booking a room just to talk and drink wine when all of us feel drained and not be able to work anymore.
He left Carousell, but we missed his sexy voice and the attitude of a real gentleman.
Anh, the kitty
Anh is the first person I talked to when joining Carousell. I even talked to her before joining Cacrousell. That time, I checked Carousell Linkedin and saw one Vietnamese person who was working as a designer. The only Vietnamese designer in the design team. I was curious about Carousell so I asked her some questions. Through that tiny conversation, I felt good about Carousell.
She is based in Vietnam but flies to Singapore very often, once a month.
On my first day at Carousell, I met her during a meeting. Wow, how lucky I was. She goes to Singapore once a month, but I met her on the first day I was in Carousell. I couldn’t wait to say “Chào chị” in Vietnamese to her in front of many surprising eyes. So comfortable.
Anh is the one I shared the most when joining Carousell. Because she is Vietnamese, it’s easier for me to share with her difficulties at work. She was very kind and supportive.
The biggest thing I have learned from her is confidence. Her English isn’t great, but when she presenting, she is very confident and brave. That’s the way she sells her ideas. She inspired me to be more confident at work. When language isn’t the only way to communicate, and we don’t have to be very good at pronunciation and a sexy accent to convince people. Be confident, and honest.
Keith, the young
“Youth isn’t a number, it’s an attitude”, a quote from the book “Icarus depression”, is true for Keith.
He’s older than me more than a “giaps”, but his face and his character and attitudes are younger than me. Maybe it’s the look of typical great designers :)
He always wants to bring fun and comfortable for all meetings. He can “lighten” a serious meeting when he talks.
He said that he is not a person for parties. He doesn’t want to be the center of the crowd. But he organizes many dinners, many activities for us.
Maybe he isn’t an artist on the stage, but he is an indispensable person behind the scene.
He wants people to have fun together, and find joy at work. He believes that if we are not happy at work, we can’t produce good works. That’s what I love from him.
The longer people live, the wiser they are. He always gives wise advice to me, encourages me when I’m upset. That’s all we need from a leader.
Diona, the dino
Maybe she is the best designer at Carousel now. She is so good, sometimes I was jealous because of her excellence. People hate who are better than them. But she has so many things that I can learn from.
She facilitates team, other people, stakeholders very well. In the meeting, she always a person who drives the conversation. If she doesn’t have any opinion, she makes herself important by summarising what other people were discussing.
She communicates so well when presenting ideas. She leads the room to her solution smoothly and seamlessly with strong confidence and always seems to acknowledge feedbacks to encourage people to give more.
And she is damn fun and animated.
Carousell is the first company I work with many designers. Things come very differently when switching from a one-designer-team to a multi-designer-team. We have to work with many people who are better than you. So it’s a chance for you to learn from the others.