Now DigitalOcean

Previous SCAD
Selbert Perkins

 howrey’s to-do list
  • Amplify the Echoes of Personalization
  • Transform Technology
  • Paint a Canvas of Interactions
  • Ensure Resonance Beyond Function
  • Marry Precision with Passion
  • Craft Memorable Experiences
  • Give Voice to Design
  • Look Beyond the Click
  • Embrace the Extraordinary
  • Feel and Foster Impact

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Thoughts on Design Leadership
Bio and Resume
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design as experimentationdesigning for growth

Revolutionizing DigitalOcean's growth strategy through a refined design practice, blending modern design with a user-centered approach in a traditionally engineering-focused group.

Introduced a dynamic, experimental design methodology to DigitalOcean’s growth team, fostering a culture where innovation is driven by deep collaboration across design, product management, and engineering.

Implemented a structured yet flexible process framework that emphasizes alignment, documentation, and rapid iteration, addressing the critical challenge of accelerating user acquisition and improving customer retention.

My role transcended traditional design boundaries, advocating for strategic design thinking and its potential to significantly impact business outcomes through improved user experiences and system efficiencies.

Upon joining DigitalOcean, I was thrust into an environment ripe for transformation where the potential for design to drive growth was untapped. During an early off-site that marked the inauguration of this focused group, I introduced a bold narrative about the transformative power of design. This was not just about aesthetics; it was about embedding design thinking deep into the fabric of our growth strategy. My approach was to position design not merely as a service to engineering but as a pivotal component of a tripartite alliance with product management and engineering, each holding equal sway in decision-making processes.

The challenge was clear: integrate a modern, user-centered design mindset into a group that had traditionally been engineering-focused. This integration was facilitated through continuous dialogue about process and practice, which I led with the aim of expanding the team’s understanding of what design could do beyond mere visuals—how it could be instrumental in solving complex problems and enhancing user engagement.

A significant outcome of this initiative was the establishment of a clear, replicable process for the Growth Phase 1: The Initializer. This phase was critical as it dealt with the intake and alignment of new ideas—ensuring that every concept, whether it originated from a junior developer or a senior executive, was given due consideration. The process was meticulously designed to avoid 'too many cooks in the kitchen' while ensuring total transparency and alignment across all levels of the organization.

This new framework was not just about processing ideas but about cultivating an environment where experimentation was encouraged, and failures were seen as stepping stones to innovation. The iterative process I championed allowed for rapid prototyping and testing, significantly reducing the time from ideation to realization. By documenting every step and keeping nothing hidden, the team was always aligned, and everyone—regardless of their role—was empowered to contribute to the project's success.

The impact of these changes was profound. By integrating design more deeply into the growth team's workflow, we not only enhanced our capability to innovate but also improved our agility in responding to market demands. This led to improved metrics across user acquisition and retention, validating the strategic inclusion of design in the growth equation.

Client: DigitalOcean
Sector: Technology, Cloud Computing
Discipline: Design Strategy, User Experience Design
Collaborators: Product Designers, Product Management, Engineering 
Keywords: User-Centered Design, Collaboration, Innovation, Process Improvement