Diving Into Nine Labs

Design Olympians Swim Lanes

Where The Water Is Fine and Designers Are Olympians

When you are a kid, you have to tell everyone what you want to be when you grow up. I always answered with Olympic swimmer. I knew that I could “be anything I wanted” when I grew up since that is what Sesame Street taught (but really, take a look at what those guys were doing for a living), but there was always an underlying question in my mind as to how there could possibly be so many adults in the world not being Olympians, astronauts or presidents. Was it likely that we would all get to be what we wanted on that imminent day that we became a grown up?

Hello, I’m Katherine, and I love statistics and probability. I was never the kid in math class asking “When are we going to need to use this in the real world?” I was the kid calculating the likelihood of someone from my second grade class actually becoming president. So yes, I’m a little off the bell-curve when it comes to passions, and as much as I love talking numbers, I’ll get back to the career discussion. While I am not going to Rio for the Olympics this summer, I am diving head first into work at Nine Labs.

 I walked into the office on the first day ready to do the “amazing adult things” I had dreamt about as a child, but that underlying questioner in me popped up again. My background is colored with marketing, product management and consulting, but I have never worked somewhere where colors are an actual client deliverable. As an engineer (stereotyped in the group of individuals who are too busy building circuit boards to shower), what would it be like to work alongside creative geniuses who talk about kerning and vectorization over coffee?

There was no wading into the shallow end. After introductions, I became part of the team, and was working on projects and getting Basecamp messages like a real Nine Labs UX Designer. It was immediately evident that we do things the right way. Nothing is done half way and corners are not cut. Everyone helps each other and is willing to collaborate on work. There are no office politics, but there are plenty of running inside jokes. Possibly the best part is the waves we are making in each of our projects. We select work based on what is interesting and what has a business initiative that we can get behind wholeheartedly.

So, what’s it like working here? It’s like knowing you have finally found what it is you want to do when you grow up, loving it with the heart of a second grader, and letting your inner child come out at the office a little, too.

I’ll close sharing what J (our CEO) told me the first time we met (because it goes with the theme). He said that we are specialists. We are good at what we do and we stay in our swimlanes to keep being good at what we do. If a project belongs in someone else’s swim lane, that’s where it will go. And I couldn’t be happier to be swimming in the UX lane at Nine Labs.