Our UX Podcasts

Explore our interview series! We feature diverse perspectives from Design & Product leaders across an array of industries. Check out our Design Leader Insights and Where Product Meets Design podcast episodes below.

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Podcast Episodes

Ryan Farina on the Mindset of the Designer

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex chats with Ryan Farina, a design leader from Apple, Meta, Snap and more. Ryan reflects on the shifting perceptions of tech and the importance of nurturing creativity beyond the confines of technology. Ryan emphasizes the value of understanding one's strengths and passions in leadership, the importance of process over results, and the need for a supportive creative environment. He offers advice for aspiring designers to stay curious, love the work they do, and focus on continuous learning rather than relying solely on talent.

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Dr. Ari Zelmanow on the Democratization of Research

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex chats with Dr. Ari Zelmanow Head of UX Research, Communications at Twilio. They discuss the five basic research methods every new researcher should master. They also dive into the world of AI, and discuss how how it can level up researchers by allowing them to focus on the more nuanced aspects. They also chat about the democratization of research and how the concept doesn't need to be so polarizing.

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Anukriti Verma on Trust and Safety on Socials

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex chats with Anukriti Verma Product Design Manager at Linkedin. Anukriti shares her experiences transitioning from an designer to managing designers. They chat about how mentorship played a crucial role in her career development. They also discuss how LinkedIn approaches trust and safety in design, especially in the realm of social media platforms. Whether you're a seasoned designer or just starting out, Anukriti's advice on focusing on craft, storytelling, and seeking guidance will inspire you on your own design journey.

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Jean-Baptiste Kaloya on the Value of Design in Banking

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex chats with Jean-Baptiste Kaloya - Head of Product Design at Bpifrance. They discuss Jean-Baptiste's diverse experiences, from disassembling computers as a child to leading design at Bpifrance, a bank dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs. JB shares invaluable insights into the strategic role of design in enhancing user experiences, driving efficiency, and creating impactful solutions, offering a compelling narrative of how design intersects with technology and business to transform industries.

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Sarfraz Nawaz on Leveraging AI and Driving Value in Product Management

Alex chats with Sarfraz Nawaz, Product Executive in Residence at Mighty Capital. They discuss the myths around product management and the impact of newer technologies on team dynamics. They also chat about the importance of design thinking tools for product managers during the lightening round. Sarfraz offers valuable advice for those aspiring to break into the field and provides insights into the future of product management, including managing P&L and leveraging AI for enhanced user experiences.

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Prayag Narula on Human vs AI Bias

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex chats with Prayag Narula, Co-Founder and CEO of Marvin. The discussion extends to the nuanced topic of biases in research, emphasizing the importance of acknowledging biases rather than attempting their eradication. Additionally, Prayag highlights the crucial role of narrative and communication in research, urging aspiring researchers to refine their storytelling skills. Join Alex and Prayag for an insightful dialogue on the future of research, the integration of AI, and more.

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Elizabeth Rankin on Navigating Stakeholder Engagement with Research

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex chats with Elizabeth Rankin UX Research Director @ Cengage. Join us as Elizabeth shares her diverse journey through consumer packaged goods, corporate research, and ed tech, offering invaluable insights into understanding stakeholders, demystifying intimidating titles, and scaling research processes within organizations. Learn practical strategies for effective communication, building trust, and delivering memorable, actionable results that drive business success.

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Allie Vogel on Global Talent and Cultural Localization in UX

Alex chats with Allie Vogel, Founder, CEO Flexxi Design. Allie shares insights on UX design from her diverse experiences, across different cultures and landscapes. They discuss the burgeoning design scene in Buenos Aires and the trend of nearshoring in South and Central America. Discover practical tips for finding and partnering with local talent, drawing from Allie's expertise in cultural understanding and localization. Gain valuable advice on crafting a standout portfolio to impress potential employers, emphasizing the importance of polished visuals.

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Carol Rossi on Meaningful Data Collection

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex chats with Carol Rossi, User Experience Research Leadership Consulting at Carolrossi.com. They discuss tips for new researchers, and how to approach customers with the right questions. Carol Rossi also emphasizes the importance of methodology in ensuring meaningful data collection while advocating for embracing AI tools and becoming mixed methods researchers. Her approach underscores the significance of demonstrating impact not only at a product level but also organizationally, fostering a culture of research-driven decision-making.

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Christopher Nguyen on the Shortcomings of UX Education

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex chats with Christopher Nguyen, Founder of UX Playbook. They discuss the shortcomings of current UX education, emphasizing the need for practical, real-world experience and soft skills development. Christopher explains his initiative to make UX education more accessible through playbooks, courses, and coaching. Join the conversation as Christopher and host Alex Smith delve into the challenges of UX education.

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Kyle LeBlanc on Advocating for the Designer

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex Smith sits down with Kyle LeBlanc, VP of Design at Teradata. Kyle shares his evolution from graphic and web design to leadership roles, emphasizing his passion for advocating for design as more than just aesthetics but as a critical component of problem-solving and user experience. He discusses the challenges of transitioning from an individual contributor to leading teams, emphasizing the importance of trust, delegation, and allowing space for growth through making mistakes.

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Su Milazzo on Driving Impact with Design Ops

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex chats with Su Milazzo, Sr Manager of Design and Product Operations. Su shares insights of her journey to Design Ops, highlighting pivotal moments and challenges along the way. She discusses the evolution of her role, emphasizing the importance of addressing communication gaps and streamlining processes within design teams. Su provides valuable advice for individuals aspiring to enter design ops, stressing the significance of understanding change management and fostering empathy towards team members.

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Louis Rosenfeld on UX Publishing

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex chats with Louis Rosenfeld, Publisher and Founder at Rosenfeld Media. The conversation delves into Rosenfeld's journey into publishing and the emphasis on publishing books on user experience design. They discuss how to successfully structure a conference environment, and what the next big UX book to hit the shelves should be about.

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Sam Horner on Fostering Creativity in UX Teams

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Sam Horner, Head of Apps UX at Google Play, takes us on a journey through his extensive career in design, from his beginnings at the BBC to his current role at Google. Sam shares insights on fostering creativity in UX design teams, emphasizing the importance of finding moments of creative peace and empowerment. He discusses the evolution of mobile devices and the future of user interfaces, highlighting the need for technology to adapt to users' specific needs. Sam also offers valuable advice for both new designers and managers.

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Farid Sabitov on Breaking Down Silos Across Ops

On this Design Leader Insights episode, Alex Smith chats with Farid Sabitov, DesignOps Consultant at EPAM Systems. Over the past couple of years, Farid has focused on design operations, particularly in areas like content design, product design, and design systems. His expertise lies in evolving practices and defining metrics to communicate value within large organizations. The discussion touches on the importance of strategic metrics, particularly in the context of design system adoption. Farid advocates for breaking down silos between design ops, product ops, and dev ops, highlighting the need for collaboration and visualizing the product development lifecycle.

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Ridhima Gupta on Complex Design Systems

In this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex Smith interviews Ridhima Gupta, Lead Product Designer at Databricks. Ridhima shares her journey in UX, starting as an architecture student and transitioning into digital design during the rise of mobile apps. She emphasizes the importance of understanding the product, domain, and users when designing in complex spaces. They discuss the challenges of catering to diverse user personas in the ML field and she advocates for designers to diversify their skill sets, including coding and technical aspects, to enhance collaboration with engineers and product teams.

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Tommy Geoco on Taking the Content Creator Leap

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex chats with Tommy Geoco, Owner and Educator at UX Tools. In April 2022, he embraced education for design, founding uxtools.co in 2024. Alex and Tommy discuss the changes to the freelance industry, and hustle culture. He advises new designers to gain experience, and encourages content creation as a powerful tool for personal and professional growth. Tommy also shares insights on starting a business, differentiating between performance and value activities, and avoiding burnout.

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Jason Giles on the Wild West of AI in UX

Alex chats Jason Giles, VP of Product Design at UserTesting, about his early days at Microsoft working on iconic products like Office 365 and Xbox, to leading design teams at DirectTV and Ticketmaster in the consumer entertainment space. Jason also shares his experiences from the last four years at UserTesting, where he manages a dynamic team within the product organization, focusing on removing friction from businesses by connecting them directly with customers. The conversation covers the evolving role of design teams in talking to customers effectively, the impact of AI and ML on UX design in 2024, and Jason's unique experience as a digital nomad in Scotland.

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J.B. Chaykowsky on Embracing the High Minimum in Design

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex chats with J.B. Chaykowsky, Global Design Leader at Intuit. They discuss the transformative impact of AI on the design landscape. J.B. Chaykowsky emphasizes the need for designers to navigate the evolving role of AI carefully, ensuring that they continue to add value in a world where AI democratizes design creation. He also provides valuable advice for designers entering the field today, encouraging them to embrace the 'high minimum' and focus on continuous improvement in their field.

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Glen Lipka on Career Growth, Education, and Building Better Products

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex chats with Glen Lipka, VP, Product Design at CrowdStrike. Glen Lipka advocates for improving design education to equip young designers with practical skills and a deeper understanding of the industry. Additionally, Lipka delves into the concept of design fundamentals, using examples from Salesforce and Excel to illustrate the importance of designing for functionality rather than just aesthetics. He encourages designers to envision a better future and leverage their superpower of imagining and illustrating a compelling vision.

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Calvin Robertson on Intentional Experience Design

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex chats with Calvin Robertson, Sr Director, Experience Design - Best Buy. Calvin delves into the nuanced challenges of balancing digital and human interactions, especially at a retail giant like Best Buy. The conversation with Alex Smith covers the importance of understanding customers' diverse behaviors and needs while embracing both DIY and assisted shopping experiences. Calvin also shares valuable leadership insights, emphasizing the need for design leaders to empower their teams and delegate effectively.

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Amy Mitchell on Adding Value as a Product Manager

On this episode of Where Product Meets Design, Amy Mitchell, Product Director at Dell, shares insights into her journey in the product management field. She discusses the common myth that product managers are merely a barrier between engineering and sales, emphasizing the value they bring in consolidating requirements and facilitating communication. Amy also highlights the importance of providing hope and optimism as a product manager. She advocates for embracing conflict and forming a personal point of view.

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Michael Riddering on Navigating Startups, Launch Days, and the Future of UX

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex Smith chats with Michael Riddering, creator of Dive Club and Founding Designer for Maven. Michael shares his journey from founder to designer and back, highlighting the pivotal role of design in startup culture. Michael offers advice for founders and aspiring designers, emphasizing the importance of tackling the right problems and showcasing hands-on experience with launch days. Explore Michael's perspective on the evolving role of designers in startups, the value of competitive research, and the necessity for designers to contribute to higher-level product strategy decisions.

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Rafa Flores on Post-Launch Strategies for Product Managers

On this episode of Where Product Meets Design, Alex speaks with Rafa Flores, who works at 6sense. Rafa provides advice for those entering product management, suggesting mentorship during market booms and strategic analysis of product lifecycles in uncertain economic times. When discussing successful product launches, he introduces a pragmatic 30-60-90-day roadmap, stressing the post-launch phase's critical role. Additionally, Rafa highlights the necessity of early collaboration with UX teams to avoid late-stage conflicts, emphasizing consistent teamwork throughout the product development cycle.

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Abbey Smalley on Mastering Cross-Functional Collaboration in Design

In this episode of Design Leader Insights, Abbey Smalley, UX Design Leader, shares key tips for effective cross-functional collaboration in design teams. Abbey highlights the importance of understanding and respecting team members' roles, fostering open communication, and creating a collaborative gray space. She emphasizes the significance of aligned and outcome-based goals, as well as the need for just enough process to ensure quality and efficiency. The conversation provides practical insights for designers and underscores the crucial role of communication and shared goals in achieving success.

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Tim Flood on Analyzing More than Just Data

On this episode of Where Product Meets Design, Alex chats with Tim Flood, Sr. Product Manager, about articulating your value and measuring it, common myths of product management, and his advice for new Product Managers entering the field.

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Basel Fakhoury on Co-Founding User Interviews

In this Design Leader Insights episode, Alex Smith interviews Basel Fakhoury, Co-founder of User Interviews. Basel shares the founding journey of User Interviews, and the pivotal moment when they discovered the importance of user research. He explains the platform's two main products, Recruit and Research Hub, emphasizing their role in participant recruitment and user research management. Basel discusses the growth trajectory, user demographics, and the concept of democratizing research, allowing non-research professionals to engage in user studies. The conversation touches on the future of research, addressing concerns about AI replacing human participants. Basel concludes with valuable advice for entrepreneurs, emphasizing the significance of iterative validation and the journey of building a venture.

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Casey Hudetz on Integrating New Generative AI Models

In this Design Leader Insights episode, Alex Smith interviews Casey Hudetz, Senior Product Design Manager at DocuSign, exploring Casey's decade-long journey in design. Casey delves into the transformative impact of AI on the design process, highlighting the integration of generative AI models like GPT into tasks such as information architecture audits, survey creation, and design thinking workshops. He discusses the evolving UX of AI, emphasizing its integration into everyday tools and predicts the emergence of hyper-specialized AI models for specific domains. Casey offers advice for new designers, emphasizing the importance of human-centric skills and a deep understanding of design tools to stand out in the industry.

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Gretchen Kambe Gelke on Product-Led Growth in UX

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex chats with Gretchen Kambe Gelke, VP of UX at JumpCloud, about her journey in UX and UX research, highlighting her transition from academia to government and eventually to the industry, where she gained experience in various areas such as B2B, consumer, software, and hardware.

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Femke van Schoonhoven on Product Strategy

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex chats with Femke van Schoonhoven, Head of Design, Members at Gusto and founder of www.femke.design, about her journey in the design world and her insights on product strategy for designers. Femke's career started at a small startup, and she later went on to work at Uber and a Canadian FinTech company. She also ventured into sharing her design journey through blogging, newsletters, and YouTube videos. Recently, Femke launched a course on product strategy for designers. Join us as she shares her experiences and advice for designers looking to excel in the field.

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Dan Winer's Approach to Effective Communication in the Workplace

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex chats with Dan Winer, Head of Design at Smile.io, about providing context to get helpful feedback, how to be a successful manager, what mindset to have to truly enjoy your role.

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Sam Anderson on Customer Centric Designs

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex chats with Sam Anderson, Director of Design at Intuit, about bringing prosperity for both consumers and small business owners, integrating AI, and how it is all about the customers.

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Omar Javier Lyles on Realizing the Potential of your Impact in Business

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex chats with Omar Javier Lyles, Vice President, Head of Small & Mid-market Business Design at Capital One, about customer needs versus the business objectives, measuring your impact, and finding what fuels you.

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Donnie D'Amato on Config and Design System Updates

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex chats with Donnie D'Amato, Principal, UX Platform - GoDaddy, about new changes in Figma as seen at Config, where the design industry is heading, and his design system advice.

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Alex Wilson on Successful Design Systems

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex chats with Alex Wilson, AVP, Design System Engineering Lead at T. Rowe Price, about empowering designers to use design systems, collaborating in teams, and the future of design systems.

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Subhasree Chatterjee on Designer and Data Analytics Partnership

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex chats with Subhasree Chatterjee, Lead Data Analyst at LexisNexis, about eliminating a transactional relationship between designers and data analysts, tips for designers on how to approach data analytics, and more.

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Teresa Cain on the Many Roles of a Product Manager

On this episode of Where Product Meets Design, Alex chats with Teresa Cain, Director of Product Management UX and Design at TreviPay, about how to take critical feedback on your product, building a structure to support the different areas of product, and advice for PMs.

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Ryan Leffel on UX in the Travel Industry

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex chats with Ryan Leffel, Head of Design at Priceline, about design nuances in the travel industry, advice for new designers, and what he has learned from starting a business from the ground up.

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James Jordan on the Evolution of the Product Manager

On this episode of Where Product Meets Design, Alex chats with James Jordan, Founder of Producto, about the current state of the product market, how to successfully collaborate between product and design, and key attributes product managers need to lead a team successfully.

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Kevin Hawkins on Design at a Global Scale

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex chats with Kevin Hawkins, Global UX Director at Glovo, about applying research to a global audience, collaborating at a large scale company, and how to get and keep a job in UX today.

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Jim Morris on Exponential Growth with Product Management

On this episode of Where Product Meets Design, Alex chats with Jim Morris, Founder, Product Discovery Group, about the importance of talking directly to users, fitting product into user lives, and the balance between collaboration and decision making.

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Bob Baxley on the Medium of Software

On this episode of Design Leader Insights, Alex chats with Bob Baxley, SVP of Design at Thoughtspot, about reengaging in your work, what his advice would be to new designers today, and more insights about the medium of software.

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Brian Peterson on Meeting Customer Demand in Product

On this first episode of Where Product Meets Design, Alex chats with Brian Peterson, VP of Product, about the importance of communicating with the customer, how there is no product without design, and where the two cross paths in his industry.

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