Season 2 Episode 5: Navigating Product-Centric to Platform-Centric UX Design

Navigating Product-Centric to Platform-Centric UX Design

In Season 2, Episode 5 of UX Leadership By Design, Mark Baldino is joined by Pooja Vijay Kumar from Autodesk to discuss the transformative shift from product-centric to platform-centric design. Pooja shares her journey and the strategic importance of breaking down complex systems into atomic elements for better communication and understanding. The episode highlights Autodesk’s approach to supporting a myriad of products and features while maintaining a cohesive infrastructure. The conversation offers practical advice for designers, product managers, and technologists navigating the evolving landscape of design. Tune in to learn about the future of design and how to thrive in a platform-centric environment.

Key Takeaways

  • Shift to Platform-Centric Design Thinking: The episode underscores the essential transition from product-centric to platform-centric design, emphasizing the need for designers to adopt a mindset focused on creating systems that support multiple products and services. This shift involves breaking down complex systems into atomic elements for clarity and effective communication.
  • The Role of Strategic Questioning and Business Acumen: Designers are encouraged to ask pertinent questions to grasp the business value of their projects fully. Understanding and articulating the business context of design work is highlighted as a crucial skill for influencing decision-making and asserting the strategic importance of design in achieving business objectives.
  • Navigating Organizational Dynamics for Impact: The discussion on entering and exiting “the right rooms” metaphorically speaks to the importance of designers positioning themselves in situations where they can significantly impact and participate in crucial decision-making processes. It’s about finding the balance between contributing value and seeking opportunities for meaningful involvement in strategic discussions.
  • Innovations in Platform Content Design: Pooja Vijay Kumar shares insights into the unique challenges and approaches in platform content design, including crafting language and metaphors that anchor user experiences. This involves a sophisticated understanding of data models, concepts, and the transition from legacy systems to more granular, data-centric approaches.
  • Future Directions in Design: The conversation points towards the future of design, stressing the importance for designers to equip themselves with platform-centric thinking, strategic questioning, and an understanding of business value to navigate the evolving landscape of technology and design effectively.

About Our Guest

Pooja leads a global team of content designers across platform services and emerging technologies at Autodesk. Prior to Autodesk, she served stints at Robinhood, Adobe, Oracle, and a bunch of hyper-growth startups leading remote content design teams.

Pooja brings a rare trifecta of strengths as an engineer, designer, and product manager into her role as a content design leader at Autodesk, where she’s performing mission impossible in transforming the company’s 40-year old business model from a product to a platform-centered company through the lens of language.

When she’s not writing or reading whatever’s within reach, you’ll find her lifting weights and drawing inspiration in everyday life—trying to discover magic in what is apparently mundane.

Resources & Links


00:00 Introduction and Background
06:47 Product-Centric Thinking vs Platform-Centric Thinking
15:51 Asking the Right Questions
28:28 Platform Content Design
35:37 Conclusion and Mentorship


Mark Baldino (00:02.894)
Hello and welcome to UX Leadership by Design. I'm your host, Mark Baldino. I'm also the co -founder of Fuzzy Math. Fuzzy Math is a user experience design consultancy that brings consumer grade UX to business applications for B2B and the enterprise. Today, I have the pleasure of speaking with Pooja Vijay Kumar, who leads a global team of content designers across platform services and emerging technologies at Autodesk. And we talk about this transition or transformation that Autodesk

as a company is undergoing from being product -centric to platform -centric, and how there's this shift in the mindset of the designers and of product and technologists about thinking in terms of one set of users and one set of features, which is product -centric to being platform -centric, where you have to support multiple products, countless features, countless users, and yet still have a shared set of piping or infrastructure to connect them all.

And so Pooja's advice is really, I think, helpful, which is to break things down into its component parts, get down to the atomic and subatomic elements and work through those, work through the language of those, figure out how to define them, how to communicate them, how to describe them to people. I just think it's a fascinating approach. And I just have a hunch in this conversation.

And some of the trends I'm seeing in design right now is that there's a lot of people out there that are designing tools and they think they're products and they have a product -centric mindset, but they actually should be thinking about platform -centric or being platform -centric or that their product is actually on a journey to becoming a platform. And so I just think there's a lot of invaluable advice and learnings from this conversation and I hope you all enjoy it. Thanks.

Mark Baldino (00:01.324)
Pooja, welcome to the podcast.

Pooja Vijay Kumar (00:03.747)
Thanks for having me, Mark. We're very happy to be here.

Mark Baldino (00:06.638)
It is absolutely my pleasure. Appreciate your time and looking forward to our conversation. As I do with all of the guests, would love to get into, you know, start with a little bit of your background and how you landed to your kind of current role. I know you have a pretty, I think a pretty interesting sort of series of focuses in your background that got you to kind of into your current position and kind of a UX leadership.

Pooja Vijay Kumar (00:35.683)
Yeah, sure. Well, thank you again for having me. I know that you and I have gone back and forth with our planning, and I'm so glad that you're doing this. So my background, it's been very typically non -linear, going from engineering to product management to design, and then today content within design.

Mark Baldino (00:43.95)

Pooja Vijay Kumar (01:00.707)
I spent the early days of my career in engineering, straddling code, and technical content development, which was almost a given if you were an engineer back then. And then through that role, I developed a deep understanding for products. And my first sort of excursion into management was via product management, where I was doing everything, like soup to nuts product work.

But what I learned a ton about during that time was the ways in which humans interact. I was building roadmaps, unifying different product teams, helping them all rally towards a common mission. And I think that was one of my early simple avenues of influence and decision making, a skill that I continue to learn and continue to teach my teams till this day. But I was always a writer at heart.

As a kid, I grew up in a house filled with books and reading was an indispensable part of my routine. And I think that was somewhere that I had my calling hidden somewhere in that journey. So I asked myself this question back then because I was working on a technology that I was told was going obsolete. And that's not something you want to hear as a brand new engineer out of school.

Um, so I went on just like, I think I was wearing a researcher hat back then before I even knew what research is. And I went and talked to a bunch of people who were stationed beside my desk and asked them, what does a day in their life look like? You know, being a principal engineer or working in this field for over a decade. And I did not get a lot of satisfactory answers. Uh, I think at that point I was asking myself, what do I want to do when I turn 40?

And it was a deep question for me because it's almost like such a long range planning. But for me, it was something that I told myself, what is it that would excite me to be working on? What kind of problem spaces would speak to me? And that's where I think I was gravitating towards language and content systems. And even the kind of questions we pursue as

Pooja Vijay Kumar (03:27.619)
writers like the wise. And I think when you're an engineer, you're always going after the what. Like how you understand the technical constraints, you get it, and now you're in the go mode. You want to just implement it. And you derive a lot of satisfaction from bringing in tangibility from that code to product. So I definitely found that part of the journey exciting. But I think for me, ever since then,

It was a lot of trials and errors. I worked in a bunch of startups, including one year where I quit four jobs with the shortest one being a week long because I was just not happy. And then, and also I think I was very, you know, risk averse and also open to open to dabbling in a few things here and there. So all of those were like good data points for me, but eventually I think I was.

finding a sense of, I won't say groove, but a sense of just that learning journey was interesting to me. I was looking at what were engineers doing, now not being the engineer, and then translating those concepts into tangible documentation. So very quickly, my role almost transitioned into becoming the de facto person for docs and content.

And you see yourself doing a lot of documentation when you're a product manager as well. So there is something to be said about that ability to articulate. Eventually, I joined a few mid -range companies. They voted into retail, worked for a couple years there, and then gradually went to enterprise business applications, which was a whole other world where you're working on this huge scale of things.

and trying to understand how different systems speak to each other. So it was almost like platform design a decade ago, even though now I feel I'm more in the weeds with what it means to be working on something like platform design versus product design. And then also transitioned into consumer -based products at Adobe after my time at Oracle, and then moved into fintech and crypto for a bit.

Mark Baldino (05:39.662)

Pooja Vijay Kumar (05:51.523)
So it's been a lot of exposure to industries, small and large, as well as, you know, different domains. And today at Autodesk, my role, almost, it almost feels like I'm sitting at this central point, witnessing the convergence of industries, industries that are really complicated and sophisticated, like construction, manufacturing, media and entertainment. And trying to ask the same questions but from a very different vantage point because now you're understanding how these systems interlock, how we ensure there is continuity between experiences. So it's extremely rewarding to be part of this journey and learning and as well as experimenting.

Mark Baldino (06:47.342)
That's awesome. Thank you. I want to get into kind of the current group that you run, which I think is fascinating. It's got this thread or maybe full circle to content, you know, as you were talking about being a reader early on and, you know, why writing was important. And now, you know, you run a sort of content group, which I think is fascinating. But I'd love to dive in on this topic of what you mentioned, which is product -centric.

thinking versus platform centric thinking and approach. What does that mean to you? What each of those mean? And like, what has that transition been like for you from a career perspective or maybe just like a, an approach perspective.

Pooja Vijay Kumar (07:32.493)
Excellent question. It might be helpful to just ground both of these concepts. So when we think of platform design, the way I like to frame it is platform design focuses on the design of a specific product. And sorry, I may have misspoken that. Product design focuses on the design of a specific product, such as it could be like a physical object, a software application, or a service.

And then the goal of product design, as we are familiar, is to create a product that meets the needs of the users while also achieving business objectives. That includes profitability, usability, customer satisfaction. And as product designers, our focus tends to be on the design of those individual features and how it fits into the overall user experience of the product. Now, when we think of platform design, it

It's more about how we are looking at the design of a system or a framework that supports multiple products or services. So a platform can be a software platform, such as an operating system or a social media platform or a hardware platform, such as a computer or a smartphone. But the goal for platform design, in my view, is to create a sense of like a robust, flexible system that can support

that variety of products and services while providing a seamless user experience. So it's the same philosophy, but the scale is different. And the goals are much more embedded within the ecosystem as opposed to a cohort of users. So I feel like as platform designers, we focus so much on designing that underlying infrastructure. So my team today, we work on

everything that's on the UI, as well as concepts that live beneath the UI in the form of APIs. And the platform is built on top of those concepts. So it's an interesting challenge. It is also an interesting space to be in because there is a lot of ambiguity. And there is a lot of interworking systems and...

Pooja Vijay Kumar (09:56.203)
Heavier collaboration, so communication is key. How you negotiate ideas, how you narrow down scope is also key. What we work on first, what takes precedence over the others, these are all questions we are asking in our day to day.

Mark Baldino (09:58.606)

Mark Baldino (10:12.558)
Yes. Right. And it's a real challenge from a designer's perspective because of some of those trade -offs, because you're asking them to think maybe a little bit more in the gray or maybe with some unknowns you're planning. When I think of product specific, yes, there's a product roadmap and we're kind of marching towards this. We have a feature set we're designing out. When I'm thinking about a platform, yeah, there's kind of this core underlying architecture.

I like to call it shared piping. It's APIs, it's a shared set of services that everyone's going to kind of utilize. But you're building for maybe a bunch of known knowns, and then you're trying to build for some unknowns as well, right? And I feel like that is a gray area. And maybe I'm speaking from designer's perspective because that's my technical background is design. But I feel like working in that...

Pooja Vijay Kumar (10:44.195)
Mm -hmm.

Mark Baldino (11:11.36)
gray of like, yeah, we this much is kind of baked, but we have some stuff just just ingredients right now and trying to put that together. But do you find that that's a challenge for your team? And if so, how do you help them like navigate through that?

Pooja Vijay Kumar (11:25.219)
That's I love your framing. And I think it's so true as we think of APIs. And there's so much technicality. So as designers, it's almost our responsibility to abstract away some of that noise and present an interface that's clear and that's making the value proposition very evident for.

are users, whether that's developers or whether that's end users like customers. I think at the heart of platform is this notion of the fact that we live and work in a world filled with interlocking systems. And that's where many of the problems that we face today, they are dynamic, they are multifaceted, and they are inherently human. And as you think of those known knowns or those unknown unknowns, there is a lot of...

beauty in making sense of that data that exists today in the form of present signals, right? It's like, what do we know about this? What are the current trends? We rely on research heavily for that. We also do a bunch of industry competitive analysis to understand how are these industries really moving? Like the pandemic accelerated a bunch of trends.

And that also was fodder to some of this platform centric thinking for us at Autodesk. But I feel like in that pursuit of figuring out, okay, what, like I was going back to that notion of what is your MVP when you have such a wide problem space, right? So it begins with a closer understanding of digging deep, at least for us on content design, we care about.

the semantic parts of a system. So by that I mean, do we have well -defined terms? Do we have well -framed ideas? Do we have well -articulated problem statements? And if we do not have clarity into those, it's hard for us to come up with a straw man or an outline of what an experience might look like, let alone design a whole ecosystem. So.

Pooja Vijay Kumar (13:46.947)
This is what I usually frame as first principles thinking. So in first principles thinking, it's really about breaking down complicated problems into basic elements and then reassembling them from the ground up. So I see that in my early reviews of a design mock. It is very natural to scrutinize flows, entry points, transitions, hierarchy, labeling.

CDAs and other semantic elements of language that are potentially making up that interface. But sometimes we also need to think about why are we building this thing? What are the underlying assumptions before we can even get granular about the specific UIs? And why does this product exist? What is the business model that's making sense for these use cases? So there are a lot of those.

high level questions that also come to the fore, especially as you're looking at things holistically versus going deeper into a specific workflow.

Mark Baldino (14:53.198)
What's your advice for a designer, maybe somebody who's listening, who doesn't have you as their manager or their leader, who's willing to take the time, energy, and effort to break things down into their component parts, to ask questions around business value, to figure out why we're doing this project and how it fits into the broader direction or trajectory of the company, and instead are being asked, hey, we're doing a platform.

Pooja Vijay Kumar (15:00.387)
Ha ha ha.

Mark Baldino (15:21.902)
We're in the platform design mode. The first thing they're saying is, let's build the dashboard. What is this dashboard going to look like? So you're able to step back in your environment and tell your team, slow down, let's figure out these component parts and then try to put them back together to figure out the semantic structure. What's your advice for somebody who isn't on your team basically and wants to do that, but maybe feels like they don't have the runway or the clearance to do it?

Pooja Vijay Kumar (15:50.499)
I will say it has been equally hard even applying this in my own teams. There is a tool that I introduced years ago. I call that the Tiny Product Brief. What I try to do with that tool, it's really a one -pager with three to five questions, which starts with...

And maybe I should unpack the backstory of this. So our teams, we found ourselves in conversations where it felt like we were being brought in pretty late in the process. Very familiar story for us as designers. And it is challenging when you are being given all that clarity in a haste. You have to make sense of all that information. And then you're lost and sometimes even overwhelmed.

trying to question like, hey, what am I supposed to do here? And often I've seen a lot of folks jump to the conclusion that, oh, we are being asked to just throw in the words on this UI. So that's where this tool that I introduced on my team was really a one -pager, which was supposed to be filled out by a content designer. And it had like, I think, five questions beginning with,

What is the purpose of this product in one to three sentences? Can I articulate in simple terms what this product is trying to do? If I am not able to do that, that's a signal for me not getting it and going back and having a conversation with my product manager. Heck, does my product manager get it? Can they articulate the value in the shortest term, almost like an elevator pitch?

And that gives you a good framing for, OK, now I get this. I see what's going on here. What is the business need? You might see some gaps in that thinking where you're still questioning which persona is this, who is the audience. So that's a good starting point for that conversation. But also some other tactical questions. What are the constraints in this project?

Pooja Vijay Kumar (17:59.363)
What decisions have we made so far? What's pending? So that you know that even if you're coming in, let's say midway or late in the cycle, you are going in with that information around what you can influence and what can be changed. And after that, there's another one, I think, tactical question of when you need this project by. And that just frames some of the urgent immediate needs that we need to know, especially as we think of re -prioritizing our work.

or even having a better appreciation for this urgent task that came our way. So I think tools like that are handy in having conversations with enough agency. I think what designers often get nervous about is losing that sense of agency and ownership in conversations and being delegated things with enough prescription that almost steals away the joy.

of being a designer on that team. So I would say it's always helpful to start small. Ask the most foundational questions about a project or a product. And I think it's also OK to be asking some of those questions around business models, as long as you can make sense of that data and make meaning of that data. I went to design.

a design MBA program, you know, almost, I think, eight years ago now. And one of the things that I learned in that program was this exact question, like, how do we demonstrate our value as designers to our C team, to our business partners? And I think there is so much value in being a designer and understanding the mechanics of how...

a business works to have that empathy and to also speak the language that your partners get. And I think that's the through line for me, I feel in my career where, you know, going from engineering to product management, I think now when I see myself in rooms having conversations with engineers or even leaders, I'm really trying to understand how are, where are they coming from, you know, and what makes sense to them? Can I articulate?

Pooja Vijay Kumar (20:22.243)
the value of content or an idea in their currency, right? Like, can I speak to them in terms of maybe engineering productivity or how this is helping us cut down the task completion time by half? Or what are the other mediums in which they will have an appreciation for some of the proposals that I'm making? And I feel it's always a trial and error.

Mark Baldino (20:28.43)
and we'll speak to that.

Pooja Vijay Kumar (20:48.941)
with each stakeholder, but if you can have those tools in your toolkit, it is very empowering.

Mark Baldino (20:55.616)
Yeah, I think it's great advice. I love the idea of backing up and going simple. And I just had a conversation with a designer on my team and they weren't sure if they should have the conversation, if it was appropriate to have a conversation with the stakeholder. And I think that's a comfort level, right? Like, am I staying in my lane? Is this my purview to talk to business stakeholders about business? And my advice was,

it's always appropriate to ask the question, right? We should be asking questions. And what I like about your one -pager example is if I can't write this down, it's a good signal. I need to go talk to someone and I need to ask those questions and get that filled out. And maybe first it's going to the product manager you're working with, but then maybe it's leveling up and getting into some more business conversations. And then...

It's about asking the right questions and getting the data you need. And I think that that works, it's bi -directional, right? It gives the designer the opportunity to speak to business, to learn business value. As I said, my key for 2024 for everyone I talk to is design needs to understand the business value and be able to speak in the language of business. Or we're going to continue to see large design teams get...

shrunk and decimated. And that's a whole other side topic we could talk about. But like, if you're going to learn one skill this year as a designer, I think it's understanding the business. And so it puts designers in a better spot. And the reverse, the other direction is it increases your perceived value from leadership and from business. Oh, design cares about how we make money. Yes, design does, but we don't always talk about it. And I think like it...

It goes both ways. I think it increases the value and the strategic nature of the design work we do. I think to your point, it puts designers in a spot where they're doing something that they feel ownership of and feel comfortable of and don't feel like they're being dictated to. So it's a very simple thing. And for some folks early in their career, I think it is like building the muscle memory of asking these questions and understanding that it is appropriate. And to anyone who's listening to this, who's saying, I did that and I got shut down.

Mark Baldino (23:18.188)
You know, like there are times when people aren't receptive to it and maybe you need to find another stakeholder. Listen, if the whole business is like that, maybe it's time to look for another place to work. But there are plenty of leaders out there outside of design who are hungry to have people understanding value from a leadership perspective and a business perspective. And I think the more designers can participate in those conversations, the absolutely better the design output is and the product output was.

Pooja Vijay Kumar (23:46.211)
I couldn't agree more. I feel that there are a lot of designers I see leaning into that strength too, just out of curiosity. And I think being curious is probably the answer to this. Not a lot of designers go to business schools or have that kind of exposure to product management tools. But I think if you can come in as a lay person and ask,

those questions to your leadership, to your peers around, hey, what does this mean in the context of so -and -so user or in the context of a task? And make it more tangible, then that's going to open up a whole new plethora of solutions as well as ideas that you can noddle on. So you're so right about, one, having a voice and, two, also being heard. And I think one of the common frustrations I've heard,

from designers and also I think engineers alike is that they are not in the room when important decisions are being made. And they don't understand the company's decisions and or have the important context that seems to be missing or ignored. And to me, I feel like sometimes it's a double -edged sword, right? So I think what people miss in that is that there is no single quote unquote room to enter.

Getting into the right room isn't also a one -time challenge to be faced. Entering rooms will be an ongoing iterative career challenge. That means it's worth getting good at. For example, like early in my career, it was like sprint planning meetings with a tech lead or a PM. And eventually as you get senior, you will find yourself in meetings which are like quarterly planning meetings.

architectural review meetings, or even now, performance calibration meetings, or leadership exec meetings, there will always be that other room to enter. But you have to be effective at not only entering, but also staying in these rooms of power. So just like you said, Mark, what is that value exchange you're having when you're in those rooms? And it's also important to remember that while there are all these...

Mark Baldino (25:51.234)
Thank you.

Pooja Vijay Kumar (26:11.841)
infinite rooms to be in, there's also, there's no room where the work actually happens. So you'll be most impactful if you're selective on which rooms to stay in. And while I've met so many folks who resent not being allowed entry into some room that they are fixated on, I've never met anyone who regrets leaving a room too soon. So.

Mark Baldino (26:17.262)

It's a good reminder.

Pooja Vijay Kumar (26:40.227)
If any given room doesn't feel useful, just exit the room. And while exiting, make sure you sponsor someone else into that opportunity you're leaving behind. I think that's where I see myself, serving so many reminders to my team around, hey, I was not pulled into this meeting, or I don't have context. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise. And maybe you want to protect your time and re -channel that energy in a different way. So it goes both ways.

Mark Baldino (27:08.814)
I think that is such a simple, impactful piece of advice, which is this doesn't feel like the right room for a number of reasons. One, you're not getting value out of it. You're not providing value. Get out of the room, but find somebody who can grab that seat and get value and provide value. Because I think people... I don't want to overdo the room metaphor, but people get into the room and then they want to find another room they want to get. They collect rooms over time. And at times, that's not the best use of...

of your time. So I really, I appreciate that because there is a lot of talk of like, design needs to see at the table, design needs to be in the room for decisions. But it's not just a simple on -off, it's not just one room. It's a series of them and I think you're, it's an ongoing battle as you said, and you're going to continue to be aligning yourself with the right rooms as you kind of move around your career. I want to, I would be remiss if we didn't talk about,

some more specifics of the group that you lead because it is truly a fascinating one. You covered it a little bit in kind of how you approach and you mentioned content a few times over the course of our conversation, but give everybody a sense of like what your design team does because I think it's really, really unique in the industry and I think it's absolutely fascinating.

Pooja Vijay Kumar (28:27.491)
Of course, thank you for asking that. I feel like platform content design is not like a novel concept. We've been doing that in different ways. But I think if I were to really make this discipline tangible, it's really about understanding how do we craft the language and how do we craft the metaphors behind these designs so that they serve as anchors, right, in an experience.

It starts with unpacking an idea most of the times. We have a bunch of data models that we are working on. Now these data models are concepts where think of like Autodesk. We've been traditionally a very file -based system. What we are doing now in transitioning our business model from a product.

centered company to a platform centered company is to break away those file based systems and focus on data granularity. And that's where we have a bunch of new concepts and even technology pieces coming to the fore in the form of data exchange connectors, data models, and also things that focus on data interoperability. So when you think of a customer who's

working on AutoCAD and wants to go into Revit, we want to make it a seamless experience where they can focus on their business and forget the tooling, like forget the mechanics of what's going under the hood, right? And that's the beauty of working in the design space with something as complicated as this, because guess what? There's a lot of legacy code. There is a lot of...

legacy ways of thinking and mental models. And it's very hard to really challenge those because our audiences or our users are also sometimes that aging group who are probably, you know, in that last decade or the marginal decade we call of their career. And they might be a little hesitant to be more experimental with tooling. So how do we take all these

Pooja Vijay Kumar (30:45.533)
pieces of data and apply them into concrete terms or concepts. So even now we are doing a bunch of terminology projects where we are questioning what does this terminology mean? What are the connotations? How does this apply in one industry? How does this apply in one product? And how can we make sure that we keep them consistent? So a lot of things that we are doing today is more like...

stripping away interaction navigation and looking at those reusable parts, like parts that are interchangeable within different systems. And then we take those atomic pieces of design and look at how can we make this more cohesive through the lens of real world objects. So we have things like tutorials.

Mark Baldino (31:17.152)
Thank you.

Pooja Vijay Kumar (31:41.059)
or use cases that sometimes aid in that education. And also sometimes certain actions like search, filter, comparisons, how's the checkout experience. We look at all those things from both the traditional actions as well as the actions that will help our users jump straight into the flows and interactions and features. So there's a lot of good.

design challenge for us ahead as we move into the platform thinking space. But also I feel there is a very real human element in all of this, which is how do we bring teams along? There is also a lot of strong opinions on a lot of teams internally as well, let alone customers and their mental model. So how do we...

Mark Baldino (32:26.862)
Peace out.

Pooja Vijay Kumar (32:36.575)
develop a strong rationale and invite input so that there is enough consensus for us to have forward progress in our design reviews. So it's an exciting space. It's a very fun time to be working at Autodesk, especially on teams that are interfacing so directly with the platform use cases. And also to realize that you can be so wrong.

Mark Baldino (32:52.398)
It's really cool.

Pooja Vijay Kumar (33:04.679)
You can be so wrong about your assumptions and the things that you're walking in with. So it needs a lot of open -mindedness and also a high tolerance, like I said, for ambiguity because we are all figuring this out together. There are a lot of things that are fragmented and even broken. So can you come in and be that champion who enjoys navigating these treacherous waters of...

unknowns, and really apply creative thinking. So we do a bunch of jamming. Mural is our staple. And we also invest heavily in research and strategic foresight. So yeah, lots of fun stuff for content designers.

Mark Baldino (33:37.358)
Thank you.

Mark Baldino (33:50.478)
Awesome. That's awesome.

Pooja Vijay Kumar (33:58.371)
But I also feel like it's huge for us because it's a massive responsibility that we have on our shoulders with bringing our users along. There is a huge risk of people not getting them. And I think that's why content plays a very unique role in this journey that the company is undertaking. So I'm really, really happy and honored to be on this journey.

And also, I see a lot of things coming full circle as we are going through this together. So.

Mark Baldino (34:35.662)
Well, you are the right person to be leading this team both in leadership style and background. I think it's such a, as you said, it's a massive undertaking for a company that has a long legacy of software product that are all incredibly technical in nature. And the fact that, you know, you've signed up for this task of breaking these things down into their component parts or atomic elements and

focusing on the language and the communication. And then as you said, the challenges, how do we not pull, like yank everybody, but how do we lead everybody through this internally and externally? Because as you said, there's a lot of legacy ideas and thoughts and opinions. And I'm sure your team is faced with a tremendous amount of challenges, but it's got to be a content.

designer is like absolutely dream job if I had to guess.

Pooja Vijay Kumar (35:36.547)
This is very much, I think, what is really thrilling and also challenges us to no extent, but that's how we learn and grow. So really grateful for that.

Mark Baldino (35:49.838)
Well, on that note, I want to say thank you so much for your time. This has been a fantastic conversation. Getting to know you and your background and your role and talking about product to platform thinking and being more platform -centric, I think it's a skill that if people don't know that they need, they're going to need in the future, so highly valuable. I will include a link to your LinkedIn profile.

Any other places people can find you, anything else you're up to, should we send them all to LinkedIn?

Pooja Vijay Kumar (36:23.075)
Thank you, Mark. I also hold weekly coaching hours with a bunch of designers and design leaders on ADPList. Everything from navigating imposter syndrome to scaling design teams, portfolio reviews, or even tackling GUI subjects. More recently, people are coming to these conversations with like, I'm lost in my career. So come find me there. I'm also, like you said, active on LinkedIn a little too much than I'd like.

But if you're listening to this podcast and connecting with me, I would appreciate sharing that context and the connection request for folks.

Mark Baldino (36:57.55)
You bet. Well, thank you for the offer. Thank you for the mentorship you're doing and the offer to mentor folks. Invaluable that you're giving back to the design community in that way. So we'll make sure we include a link to LinkedIn and ADP list as well. And just want to say thank you again for your time and for the conversation today.

Pooja Vijay Kumar (37:13.923)
Thank you, this was a blast.

Mark Baldino (37:15.862)
Agreed. Take care.

Pooja Vijay Kumar (37:17.923)
Take care.

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Work with Fuzzy Math
Small teams of passionate people working towards a shared vision.