Full Stack Whatever

Conversations about
the work behind the work
hosted by Maykel Loomans

All Episodes

Episode 049: Brett WesterveltMeasure Twice, Cut Once

Brett Westervelt

Brett Westervelt is currently the Head of Design at Instagram. We spoke about his life and career, from growing up in Oklahoma, tinkering with his grandfather, to taking a course at Stanford, experiencing startup life, and growing as a leader.

This episode has tons of nuggets about how he thinks of building strong teams to create great software, how he thinks about design at scale, and how to keep craft at a high bar.

Episode 048: Andy McMillanIt's About People

Andy McMillan

Andy is a creative director, designer, and event producer. He is most well known for XOXO and Build Conference. He also recently started a non-alcoholic craft brewery called Heck.

We spoke about the events that he's created, and how he went from event production to non-alcoholic beverages. Most notably, Andy's career has run parallel to the evolution of the tech industry in the last 15 years, and he shares some of his perspectives on this.

Episode 047: Gabriel ValdiviaFilling The Design Void

Gabriel Valdivia

Gabriel Valdivia is a product designer, and currently an independent fractional design leader. He partners with founders as their design leadership counterpart while embedding with engineering teams to execute and iterate towards product/market fit.

We talked about the rise of the model of fractional design leadership, the current issues tech teams are facing after bloating their organizations these last few years, and many other takes of various temperatures.

Episode 046: Cat NooneResponsibility to Your Craft

Cat Noone

Cat Noone is a product designer turned founder, and now CEO of Stark, a startup streamlining accessibility compliance for software teams.

We talked about her path from designer to business leader, the mistakes made along the way, and how she keeps a high bar for craft of the product and of decision making.

Episode 045: Aaron CarambulaBreaking Down Barriers

Aaron Carambula

In the inaugural episode of 2024, Aaron and I explore topics around collaboration and career.

First, we discuss the qualities of our most effective cross-functional partners and partnerships. Then, we delve into the significance of designers considering their work in the context it lives in, and focusing on the impact it can have. And finally, we share insights on the most impactful feedback we've received.

Episode 044: Majd Taby and Jasper HauserNo Modes

Majd Taby
Jasper Hauser

Majd and Jasper are the co-founders of Darkroom, a photo and video editor for iPhone, iPad and Mac.

In this episode we go through the whole history of Darkroom, how they think about the product in the context of the competitive landscape, and how they look at evolving the product going forward.

Episode 043: Brian Lovin and Ryan NystromSurrounded by People Doing Interesting Work

Brian Lovin
Ryan Nystrom

Brian Lovin and Ryan Nystrom are the co-founders of Campsite, a tool for product teams to communicate with increased signal, rich institutional knowledge, and reduced noise.

We talked about the lessons they have learned from starting the company, but also about their past lessons and experiences that inform the way they approach building Campsite.

Episode 042: Noah LevinA Tool That Creates Tools

Noah Levin

Noah is a designer and design leader who is currently the VP of Design at Figma. In our conversation, we talked about his path into design from high school, to Carnegie Mellon, to Google, and discovered some great anecdotes and stories along the way.

Beyond that, we talked about his experience at Figma, about hiring and growing teams, and about some of our other favourite parts of design leadership.

Episode 041: Josh HarrisExceeding Expectations in Unexpected Ways

Josh Harris

Josh is the founder of The Bon Vivants and owner of Trick Dog, a legendary bar in San Francisco that has very recently been crowned Industry Icon by Punch.

We talked about the creation of Trick Dog, the context in which Trick Dog was founded, and the lessons from it's first decade. We talked about his 20 year sobriety, how he looks at the low-ABV, non-alcoholic movement, and he also opened up about mental health and some of his recent lessons and realizations.

Episode 040: Chantal JandardUseful and Non-Evil

Chantal Jandard

Chantal is a designer and design leader. She currently leads a part of the design team at Autodesk related to construction products.

We talked about her early years on the internet in her parent’s basement, how she went in to design, and found her role at PlanGrid. We talked about Autodesk’s acquisition of PlanGrid and how they eventually merged their design teams.

From there, we took a deep dive in to talking about managing teams and hiring.

Episode 039: Om MalikThe Joy of the Creative Input

Om Malik

Om is a former journalist, Partner Emeritus at True Ventures, and an avid photographer.

In this second part of our conversation, we talked about some of the challenges we all encounter in the creative process and what he looks for when making photographs. I was especially inspired by Om's approach to thinking about creative inputs vs. creative outputs.

We spoke about dealing with procrastination. And of course there are some hot takes about camera's and camera systems.

Episode 038: Om MalikBumper Sticker Gurus

Om Malik

Om is a former journalist, Partner Emeritus at True Ventures, and—in my words—a true internet OG. He was one of the first serious tech bloggers, and founder of Gigaom.

We spoke about the current state of technology from both of our perspectives, and he shared where he believes the puck is going. We also went deeply into the topic of photography and creativity, which will be shared in next week's episode.

Episode 037: Vicki TanHappy Accidents

Vicki Tan

Vicki is a designer, author and creative. She’s worked at companies like Google, Headspace, Lyft and Spotify, and is now writing and designing an illustrated book with the goal of making people aware of their biases.

We talked about her path from research coordinator to designer, the lessons she learned in her various roles, how she’s managed her career and her creativity, and what excites her about her new book.

Episode 036: Jasper HauserBananas Stuff

Jasper Hauser

Jasper is a designer, entrepreneur and fellow dutchman. He’s most notably known for his roles at Sofa, Facebook and Darkroom.

We talked about how he started with design, the Sofa team being acquired by Facebook, and the growth he experienced at Facebook. We then dug into his time after Facebook, as a co-founder of Darkroom, and various other ventures.

Episode 035: Amy SnookBooks Are Not a Secret

Amy Snook

Amy is the founder of Parea, a startup that is taking a modern approach to book publishing. Before founding Parea, she was various comms, marketing and ops roles at companies like Haus, Glossier and SeatGeek.

We walked through her career, and she shared some fantastic insights around brand, operations, the direct-to-consumer approach, and the publishing industry.

Episode 034: Coleen BaikAsking the Dumb Questions

Coleen Baik

Coleen is a designer and multidisciplinary artist. She is currently the founding designer at Braintrust, a new enterprise-grade stack for building AI products.

We talked about impostor syndrome, the early days of Twitter Design, her experience helping early-stage startups at Sequoia, and what she looks forward to in her new role.

Episode 033: Nathan Sharp and Ryan OlsonA Big, Beautiful Retrospective

Nathan Sharp
Ryan Olson

Nathan and Ryan are the co-founders of Retro, “a friends-only photo journal for moments big and small.

We talked about the origin story of how they met, how they ended up founding their startup together, how they look at the social media landscape, and what they hope to achieve with their company and product.

Episode 032: Behzod SirjaniPersonal Trainer for Your Organization

Behzod Sirjani

Behzod is a researcher, consultant, and advisor who focuses on helping organizations and teams make better decisions.

We talked about his career path from being a TA to his formative roles at Facebook and Slack, and how he’s evolved his consulting practice to support leaders at companies of all sizes. At the end, he shared some of his thoughts on how AI can support the research practice.

Episode 031: Frankie GawFun Little Side Quests

Frankie Gaw

Frankie is a former digital product designer turned food writer and photographer. He’s the author of First Generation: Recipes from My Taiwanese American Home and founder of the food blog Little Fat Boy.

We talked about his path, from studying industrial design to unexpectedly landing a job as a digital product designer, and from there taking a side quest to leave tech and fully focus on food.

Episode 030: Alex Cornell and George Kedenburg IIIZoom in Real Life

Alex Cornell
George Kedenburg III

Alex and George are two very talented designers with very complementary skillsets whose paths intersected at Facebook.

We sat down to talk about design, careers, technology, and all the things.

Episode 029: Annie FrymanI Didn't Sleep Much

Annie Fryman

Annie studied architecture, and after a few years as a practitioner pivoted to tackle the laws that govern our built environment, and the systems that shape it. Most notably, she was a policy staffer for California State Senator Scott Wiener during his first term in office where she was responsible for some of the biggest state housing bills in recent times.

She shared her reflections on her career so far, and her perspectives on housing and politics in California.

Episode 028: Rachel LeeDouble Black Diamond

Rachel Lee

Rachel is a designer and creative who currently works on the ride-hailing experience at Cruise.

We discussed her path from double majoring in Psychology and Sociology to hustling her way into a design career. We covered her experience as a first-generation immigrant and how she deals with her ambition, and the expectations she puts on herself.

Episode 027: Geoff TeehanCanon DocuColor 1632

Geoff Teehan

Geoff is a designer, design leader and was one of the founders and partners at Teehan+Lax.

We talked about his early career, got a glimpse into the founding of Teehan+Lax, and the rationale behind entertaining an acquisition. We spoke about design leadership and the lessons he learned while leading various teams at Facebook, and we sprinkled in many small tangents.

Episode 026: Bryn Jackson and Sarah JacksonRawdogging a Squid

Bryn Jackson
Sarah Jackson

For over a decade, Bryn and Sarah have been entrepreneurs and in creative or operating roles. However, the place where they truly feel at home is around food and building community.

In this conversation we talk about their paths, and we get a candid, personal account of the challenges they’ve faced. We end by learning more about how things are going with their latest endeavor: Cult Flav.

Episode 025: Michelle Morrison and Madelin WoodsCreative Friendship

Michelle Morrison
Madelin Woods

Michelle and Madelin have enjoyed a long creative friendship. They overlapped at various different companies and collaborated on an equal amount of creative ventures.

In this conversation, we talked about their creative connection, we shared our thoughts on strong collaborative relationships and remote work, and we got to hear some interesting stories from their times at Square, Facebook and Dropbox.

Episode 024: Cameron KoczonSpider Man With the Venom Suit

Cameron Koczon

Cameron is the founder and CEO of Fictive Kin, and co-creator of Brooklyn Beta and Kinference.

Cameron has had a significant impact on a pocket of the technology and design industry. We talked about the state of technology, the state of design within those technology businesses, and many more other things.

Episode 023: Maya Gold PattersonFairy God Dad

Maya Gold Patterson

Maya is a digital product designer and design leader. She is currently the VP of Design at Riverside.

We talked about her career path, and dug into the lessons learned from her time at Facebook and Twitter. We spoke about her attraction to the audio medium, and how it is to work remotely across ten timezones.

Episode 022: Joshua DickensBig in Japan

Joshua Dickens

Josh is a digital product designer and prototyper, currently working at Humane.

We talked about a ton of things. We went in depth about his extended periods of time spent at Apple and Instagram. Weaved into this, he shared how he thinks about prototyping, and how he draws the relationship between his acting education and design.

Episode 021: Hans Peter BrøndmoArctic Guerilla Warfare

Hans Peter Brøndmo

Hans Peter is a serial entrepreneur, technologist and photographer. Most recently, he led Everyday Robots at Alphabet.

We talked about the experiences he gained from the companies he founded, his time at Nokia during the rise of the iPhone, and his reflections on leading robotics at Alphabet.

Towards the end of our conversation, we talked about our mutual love for photography and got a little nerdy about Leica and photo management.

Episode 020: Kim BostFinding Our Way

Kim Bost

Kim is a designer and leader with a very colorful track record including past roles at well-known companies like The New York Times, Etsy, and Dropbox. She is currently part of the Experience Design leadership team at Netflix.

We covered a lot of topics, including burn-out, management styles, values alignment with your team and your employer, our shared thoughts on research, as well as her deep interest in food and wine.

Episode 019: Aaron CarambulaReducing Future Trash

Aaron Carambula

Aaron is one of those great individuals who is both a great designer, as well as a fabulous leader. He recently joined eBay as their VP of Design, where he continues his quest to bring re-commerce to the masses.

We talked about his path into design, from his days in service design to realizing he wanted to go in-house, and eventually ending up having a long stint at Facebook, where he most notably was pivotal in the success of Marketplace.

Episode 018: Didier HilhorstMediocre at Best

Didier Hilhorst

Didier studied to be an economist before making a pivot into design. Since then, he has been a design lead at Flipboard and led a large part of the Uber design team. Most recently, he co-founded a fintech company in Paris called Bloks.

We spoke about the genesis of his career path and the big lessons that he’s learned along the way. Some of the notable topics we dug in to were: working on mobile apps in the early 2010s, how to deal with working at a company that is experiencing major adversity, and the challenges of getting off the hamster wheel to take a long sabbatical, and figuring out what to do afterwards.

Episode 017: Mia BlumeGoofy-looking Cacti

Mia Blume

Mia Blume is an entrepreneur, design leader, and leadership coach. She is the founder and CEO of DesignDept, and the founder and host of the design leadership conference Within.

First, we discussed her career and how she went from service design to in-house design leadership. From there, we spoke about how she ended up starting her companies, and more specifically about how she guides and supports design leaders through her workshops and coaching practices.

Towards the end, we dug a bit deeper into some of the most common areas where she gives guidance, including the importance for design leaders to gain business acumen.

Episode 016: Jessica HischeFeeding the Beast

Jessica Hische

Jessica is a lettering artist and author who has created custom lettering artwork for established brands, films, classic books, postage stamps, and so much more. She’s traveled the world speaking at creative conferences and colleges and has befriended innumerable internet strangers while navigating the depths of social media.

Most recently, she wrote and illustrated her latest children’s book: “Who Will U Be?”. We talked a bit about her career and the meaningful moments within it. And we chatted about befriending tons of people by being extremely online and the differences in connecting with people nowadays versus the past decade and a half.

Episode 015: Michael SharonCreative Monkeys

Michael Sharon

Michael is an entrepreneur, investor, and product person. He is currently the co-founder and CEO at Taika, making beverages that fuel creativity. He was Facebook's first mobile product hire and subsequently led their mobile product development and strategy—including the company's pivot to mobile—for more than five years.

We talked about his path from South Africa to the US, his career-defining role at Facebook, and his path since.

Episode 014: Matthew BuchananGrowing Slowly

Matthew Buchanan

Matthew is a designer, entrepreneur and a co-founder of Letterboxd, a social media site for film discussion and discovery.

We talked about his path, how he bootstrapped and incubated Letterboxd, and how he has approached leading the company, and evolving the product, in the decade-plus that it has been around.

Episode 013: Haraldur ThorleifssonLive at Kinference

Haraldur Thorleifsson

Halli is an entrepreneur, creative, design leader and musician from Reykjavik, Iceland. He previously founded and led UENO. Currently, he is building 1000 ramps in Iceland, releasing music under the name Önnu Jónu Son and just launched his restaurant, bar, and mini theater Anna Jóna.

We spoke for a short period of time during the happy hour of the first day of Kinference in Brooklyn. We talked about his experience being a recovering alcoholic, cover some meaningful stories about what drives him, and what projects he is focusing on next.

Episode 012: Hazel JenningsTools, Not Rules

Hazel Jennings

Hazel is a writer and designer who works on design systems and product architecture. Right now, she’s building the design systems practice at Duolingo. She was the founding member of Instagram’s first content design team, and later, their first design systems team.

Our conversation covers where her career started, and how she found her passion in a life-defining role starting Instagram’s design system. We also chat about some of her best practices for building design systems, and her thoughts on taking agency over your career.

Episode 011: Andrea MignoloThe Winding Path

Andrea Mignolo

Andrea is a designer, leader, and executive coach working with unconventional leaders and teams.

She has a compelling story about her winding career, from various startup roles, to finding her way to Interaction Design and executive leadership. Throughout our conversation we reflect on the industry, and the relationship between design and coaching.

Episode 010: Dan RubinSketching in Public

Dan Rubin

Dan is a designer, creative director and photographer based in London. He has had a fascinating story so far, from the early days of the world wide web, to being part of the early blogging scene, to becoming a prolific photographer.

We talked about his path towards design and the creative field, how he found his way onto the internet, and how he always gravitates towards writing and teaching as a means to clarify his thinking.

Episode 009: Everett KatigbakPounding the Pavement

Everett Katigbak

Everett is a multi-talented creative who is currently on the publishing team at Stripe as the executive producer of films and brand content for Stripe Press and Works in Progress.

We talked about his path from East LA to the Bay Area and spoke about some of our shared formative experiences from reflections on our time at Facebook in the early 2010s. We dug into his perspectives as a generalist vs. being a specialist, and what the next creative challenges are that he wants to take on.

Episode 008: Linda EliasenBricks and Mortar

Linda Eliasen

Linda is a designer, creative director, and as her website says: 'Your friend in design.'

Her story starts in small-town Georgia, and since she has had an illustrious career, from being a designer at companies like Mailchimp and Dropbox, to her time as an Art Director at UENO, and most recently leadership roles at Help Scout and Mux.

Linda shared some of her most meaningful lessons, and how they have affected both her leadership style, and her personal approach to life.

Episode 007: VikaTwelve Dropdowns in a Row

Vika

Vika is a designer and co-founder of Super. In our conversation, we talked about the challenges and lessons from her early career, and some of her values and wisdom she likes to share with others now.

Most notably, we covered her experience as one of the foundational Product Designers in Facebook's New York office, and how she and her co-founder Lindsay approach building, growing and leading Super.

Episode 006: Pete HuntThe No-Fun Rule

Pete Hunt

Pete is a software engineer, startup founder, and one of the creators of React. He is currently CEO at Elementl.

We talked through his career, from Facebook, to Instagram, to starting his company Smyte, their acquisition by Twitter, and now his new role at Elementl. You'll find a ton of never previously shared stories and tidbits in this one.

Episode 005: Michelle MederosYou Wanna Design Toilets?

Michelle Mederos

Michelle is a design leader who currently leads Airbnb’s Trust & Safety, Tooling, and Support design teams and one of my absolute favourite humans.

In our episode, we talked about how she found her way into the field of design, some of the important people and moments on her path, her fascination with human connection, and how she coaches herself and others.

Episode 004: Rasmus AnderssonA Computer as a Paintbrush

Rasmus Andersson

Rasmus is a Swedish designer and software engineer. He was on the founding team at Spotify, created the typeface Inter, and had stints at well known companies like Facebook, Dropbox and Figma.

We talked about a plethora of things and went on a few tangents, ranging from stories about his career, how we build things now versus the past, and how he expresses himself through software.

Episode 003: Dan MallCreating Opportunities

Dan Mall

Dan is a husband, dad, teacher, creative director, designer, founder, and entrepreneur from Philadelphia. During the start of his career, Dan found himself amongst the people at the forefront of the web standards movement.

In our conversation we talked about his career, the people who influenced him, the various eras of his design firm SuperFriendly, and his personal mission to create better opportunities for those who wouldn't have them otherwise.

Episode 002: Kathy ZhengA Caretaker of Ideas

Kathy Zheng

Kathy is a multi-talented creative who works as a digital product designer by day, and pursues various creative endeavors outside of work, including her ceramics project prettygoodclub.

In our conversation we covered her various perspectives on careers, and some of the biggest lessons she learned at GitHub.

Episode 001: Brian LovinIt’s All About Having Fun

Brian Lovin

Brian is a designer, podcaster, writer, and software tinkerer. He is currently building Campsite, a tool that helps software teams share and organize work-in-progress.

We talked about his path so far, what drives him, and why he started building Campsite. I hope you enjoy this pilot episode.

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About

Full Stack Whatever is a series of conversations with creatives and technologists about the work behind the work.

Technology, design, and art are all subjects powered by an immeasurable amount of time invested by humans. And too often, we find ourselves only talking about the superficial aspects; job titles, launches, campaigns, etc.

With these conversations, I want to dig deeper and uncover the lessons, insights, and motivations of some of the best and brightest in our industries. I hope to illustrate that the journey is the reward, and that the stories shared will resonate and support some of you.

Let's see where the story goes, shall we?

Cheers,
— Maykel