Design Driven NYC


New York City is full of events on digital design and UX. What is unique about this event is how a university accepted members of the business community like First Mark Capital into the mix. There was a time shortly after the recession when The New School, the university with the highest number of US Communist Party members, would not tolerate venture capital in conjunction with university activities. As the economy improved the open-minded nature of the university has prevailed.Learn how a public company, a start-up, and a fashion ecommerce brand are driven by design. Get insight into the new model behind a design studio.


USA TODAY Resdesign

Work w Fantasy Interactive
A separate code base for each platform
  - only the homepage is responsive

  - gave a preview of their yet to debut mobile platforms



A digital product studio
     - we measure ourselves by the work we put in the world
     - We don't do ads we don't do campaigns
Google Android watch
Google Cardboard
Monument Valley
  - created in Unity
  - could not be created in a traditional game studio
   - the brief was not to make money, it was to become the Apple mobile game of the year
   - ~ 6 game concepts were put up
   - prototyped to Monument Valley
8 person team, 10-12 mo, $ 800,000-1M, $10M sales

[everyone is] Focused on unicorns
Designers' delusion - because we're designers we believe we can disrupt industries
    -  Our approach and strategy is to find allies that know the industry

The opportunity -
    - seen management consultancies acquire design studios, (McKinzee, Accenture, ...even TD Bank)
   - Facebook acquired Hot Studio
We feel this is a threat to the design industry
The talent is being pulled into large institutions, large tech companies

We started by borrowing 5,000£ to start UsTwo
Ship of Thesus - Plutarch
    - expects a resurgence in independent studios
   - it's hard to maintain what you started when you sell
   - the end of the consultancy ...were not facing the end of the consultancy were facing consolidation ... Consultancies are hedging risk. 

The UsTwo model by co-founder  Jules Ehrhardt

The UsTwo model by co-founder Jules Ehrhardt

The opportunities
  Amazing times
  Tragedy that extremely talented people spend time making things that don't matter ...that don't help people
Don't build a bigger hamster a rocket ship.🚀
If you do consultancy right
You earn enough money to build your own stuff (IP)
The real real real opportunity is around venture

Us As designers sand engineers - a really fine set of skills - trade this ability, not necessarily to get paid, not necessarily to build your own stuff but for equity. Do deals in return for equity by launching other people's companies to market

Change the game people are playing  
You need to build enough capital for venture work

Learn more about UsTwo in this Creative Mornings studio tour.


Jack Threads

On UX for ecommerce some simple, commonplace rules
Cropping models heads' off makes the image more mysterious and higher click thru
Full modal overlay for email sign up makes people think that they have to sign up to access the site

Good, simple new thoughts in moving from a flash sale site model to a brand site such as "two way responsive (w and h), "elastic scroll"

Design Driven NYC

Tuesday, Oct 20 | 6:00 pm–9:00 pm

The Auditorium at 66 W. 12th Street, Ground floor

Parsons School of Design is proud to partner with FirstMark, an early-stage venture capital firm, for four exciting events during the Fall 2015 semester. 

Design Driven is the largest design community in NYC offering monthly events with talks from top-tier creative leaders from emerging and established companies. 

This month's speakers are:

  • Talia Fisher and Ben Gelinas, Lead UX Designer and Creative Director at JackThreads (formerly part of Thrillist Media Group) 
  • Scott Stein, VP of Product at USA Today
  • Rohun Gholkar, VP of Product at NewsCred 
  • Jules Ehrhardt, Head of Studio at Ustwo

Notes taken on a mobile device. Pardon any auto-corrections or incorrection.