Nov 2, 2023 · 12 min read
Hey there! So, after a break from work-work this summer, I'm more excited than ever to dive back into startups and pursue something amazing. This post is my way of putting out there what I can do and what I'm looking for next. Here's hoping it connects me to something incredible.
I've always pondered the direction of my career. I work in technology and I truly enjoy the skills I get to pick up, but I've also always felt it's a future-proof and worry-free path (yes, even "now with AI"). The global events of the past 4 years have nudged me to recalibrate and not just look at what's fun to pursue but also to take into account what is critical to work on.
And so ever since I left Sounder in July of 2023 I've taken a step back and wanted to figure out what's next. I took a week of vacation first but found myself back in my office really quickly, and, without the need for deadlines, tried to see where my interests would naturally take me. I've spent the time since then finally reading books and doing courses that I kept putting off because I was always "too busy" to focus on it while at my previous job. I kept ending up in certain areas. I'd attend meetups to learn more, I'd volunteer and attend demonstrations. These areas that kept getting back to me are all related to sustainability, specifically those related to health and/or climate.
Health, in the broadest sense of the word, because I don’t think we’re doing well as a society (here in the Netherlands, but also on a larger scale). While we know that we crave a sense of community and belonging, we end up becoming evermore individualistic and lonely instead; while we're aware of the long-term benefits it gives to eat well, we are eating ourselves to incredibly dangerous proportions (and I don’t think Wegovy/Ozempic is the sane solution to that) and our population is aging faster than our birth rates are rising, meaning none of the genuine good health-care systems we have in place right now, are sure to be there when my -and later- generation(s) need it themselves later on.
Climate, because our planet is past a tipping point and we need to deal with this during our lifetime now, we can't move it further down the road any longer. Our individual efforts are great, but 'just' going vegetarian and simmering down our consumerism isn't going to fix this. We need an industry push to hold corporations accountable for more eco-friendly practices and help small businesses and individuals live more sustainably.
For a long time, I thought that I was only one simple person and there are huge systems in place that should figure these things out, so what can a Designer really do? But, really, the thing that makes me most passionate about my career is that as a digital product designer, we get to single-handedly make it possible to achieve huge shifts in user behavior. Both these fields in sustainability require this and if I can play but a tiny part in that huge shift we’re going to have to make, that feels like something worthwhile to spend my next 10 years or so on.
Marciano has been an invaluable asset to our startup, Sounder, joining us in the early days and helping us scale to the platform we are today. Wearing multiple hats with finesse, he's proven himself as a UX designer and a true team leader. With an unwavering dedication to user experience, Marciano has been integral in developing the identity of Sounder while also expanding simple and intuitive journeys to leverage the platform,
From ideation to execution, Marciano's relentless pursuit of excellence is evident in every pixel of our platform. He's taken the time to deeply understand our users' needs and pain points, resulting in an intuitive and engaging design. His ability to blend creativity with technical know-how has elevated Sounder, and his passion for innovation has left an indelible mark on our product.
Marciano's work ethic and commitment to our startup's success have been inspiring. He's not just a UX designer; he's a problem solver, a strategist, and a driving force behind Sounder's rapid growth. With his exceptional skills and user-centric approach, Marciano has set the bar high for what it means to create an outstanding user experience. Our journey wouldn't have been the same without him, and we're excited to continue building on the solid foundation he's helped us create.
I worked closely with Marciano at Sounder.FM for over two years (when I was the CTO and then the Chief AI Officer). Marciano stands out with his passion for the product, the users, the brand as well as the culture of the company. He doesn’t see those as separate from each other. His unique perspective always helps, especially for startups that need strong experts that can see the full picture and will make sure an important pillar is not broken while focusing on strengthening another part of the product or the company.
Marciano has the right founder and owner mentality required in all teams that put good design as a high priority. He will make sure he understands the customers first then the reasons for the product to be successful. Marciano has a strong curiosity and love for tech, he will not shy away from reading and listening to any material even if they go beyond basics on the technology side. He will strike everyone with his passion for following all things tech and design including deep tech aspects like the improvements on speed and performance or AI Model quality. His affinity and ease with coding helps immensely as he has very strong empathy with the challenges of building certain features. He has very strong relations with engineers.
While being a strong leader, he is a maker first and foremost. His thinking and ideas took all of our products further and motivated the team to reach for building products users would love and associate themselves with.
Marciano simply put is a deeply empathetic, driven person who happens to express him through product design. He innately carries himself like a founder on any idea or project, thinking throughly not just the experience but also the business and technology implications.
While working with him I’ve seen him consistently raise the level of effectiveness of everyone he interacts with. He does this all with the humility and passion of someone who is continually growing and learning in his craft.
We began working together four years ago. Marciano held the position of Senior UI/UX Designer and took me under his mentorship wing, and over time we became friends. One of Marciano's standout qualities is his straightforward honesty and excellent communication skills. I've always been amazed by how quickly his mind works, generating ideas on the spot and posing thoughtful questions. Professionally, he uses his UX skills to predict user needs and understand business implications. He's determined to advocate for the customer's best interests, never just following tasks blindly but using his knowledge, experience, and critical thinking.
Working and conversing with Marciano has been a pleasure. He's always asking "why," examining designs, and suggesting different viewpoints or fresh ideas. He's also easy to talk to and has great humor (we used to laugh for 15 min on our weekly sink) I can say he is a good human and everybody likes him here. I gained a lot from his mentorship. Marciano is very talented, and I appreciate the valuable lessons he taught me.
Marciano genuinely cares for the product and the user experience. Whatever the project may be, however big or small, he will pour his heart and soul into it. He will reach out to users, talk to them, and try to understand them. The level of dedication and attention to detail he shows is rare.
Marciano genuinely cares for his fellow engineer. He will listen, experiment, adapt and do everything he can to make the experience of working with him better. He is always open to feedback and actively seeks it out. Lots of people like to say that about themselves, but Marciano is actually legit.
Working with Marciano makes you a better professional. In collaborating with him for 2+ years, I became a better communicator, improved my eye for design, and shipped some seriously awesome websites and products.
Marciano takes deep pride in his work and there is no pixel he will not ensure appears perfectly on screen. He stays up-to-date with new trends and designs, allowing your organization to always put its best foot forward. I'm eager to work together with him on a new project sometime soon.
The strongest skills I have are my work ethic and curiosity for things I have no idea about. I think of myself as a generalist in all facets that touch digital product design but with a specialization in user experience. Specifically, I excel at getting into the mindset of the user and staying one step ahead. This ensures what is good for the user ultimately benefits the business as well. Additionally, I am happy to dabble in front-end code, marketing, and business thinking.
I'm also best suited to work at early-stage startups. They tend to let you wear multiple hats (even though that's out of necessity) which lets me thrive. I deeply prefer working with a small group of as-passionate people who are all driven by the mission and are able to boost each other. I truly enjoy the experience of being *so* focused on a thing, trying things out and pivoting to the next thing when it doesn't have the intended results.
Ultimately, I find it very important to not be bothered by hierarchy within teams and to always be able to pitch in my thoughts where applicable (you can ignore those if they are dumb). I've found that only early stage businesses really let you do this, however, if the perfect role comes along at a bigger stage company where I have these freedoms, I'll be fine too!
As I consider myself a lifelong student, I'm currently geeking out on AR/VR technologies in my free time in anticipation of all the awesome experiences Vision Pro can bring (especially in health care, architecture, and construction). If your company is exploring these technologies as well, that would be a huge bonus!
Thank you for getting all the way here. I hope I was able to convey who I am and what I am looking for. I'm looking to start a new role from January 2024 (in-person or remote — and I don't mind extended travel periods to make it work!), But I have wiggle room if the right opportunity comes along.
I'll be available for freelance gigs and consulting while I'll be building my own silly ideas in the meantime. If you have the golden tip that leads me to my next venture, I'll gladly donate $100 to a charity of your choice.
Thanks for getting all this way! I'll update my portfolio soon with more projects, case studies and (hopefully) will start writing out my thoughts related to product design, technology and business. If you'd like to stay updated on this then please leave your email below. If you want to reach me directly I'm always happy to connect via Email, Twitter (Nay, X), LinkedIn (blergh) or you can schedule a call.