Advice from Halli founder of digital agency ueno

First off thank you so much for doing this short interview Halli. You run the acclaimed digital agency ueno and have worked with some incredible companies such as Google, Reuters, Facebook, Apple, Uber, Medium, Dropbox and Airbnb. A seriously impressive roster of clients and of course high quality work to match. I’m sure many designers and students wonder how does someone successful like yourself operate and what’s the secret sauce if there is any.
 
1. My first question is what is your design process like? How do you go from start to finish on a project?
I can’t say I have a process. I do have a few rules of thumb though: ask a lot of questions, understand the dynamics of the team members, understand what drives people and what they are afraid of, share early and often, start wide and narrow down, over-communicate, work hard, make every project a passion project. 
 
 
2. Is this the same framework and process that all ueno employees use?
We are working on figuring out the best mix between hierarchy on process and on the ground decision making. Not everything works in every case and as long as you have smart people, and we have a lot of those, you want to make sure they are able to make decisions themselves. 
 
 
3. You’ve manage to grow and scale ueno to 4 locations in a few short years. What would you say has been the recipe to your success? 
Luck, hiring great people, hard work, being open minded, great clients. 
 
 
4. What common qualities do you think great designers exhibit? From those who are starting out to even those who have a lot more experience.
A really great designer understands that the most important part of design does not happen at a computer. The relationships and communication between people are what will make a project successful or not. 
 
 
5. Knowing what you know now. What key lessons would you tell your younger self, when you were at the start of your career? 
Try more things, try to understand people, design is about solving a business problem, everything is connected, life goes fast. 
 
6.Any more parting words of wisdom for others looking to achieve what you’ve achieved?
Don’t try and achieve what others have achieved. Do your own thing. 
 
 
Thanks so much for your time Halli. It’s really appreciated man, and I know a lot of people will gain some insight from this.