Morgan: Why I joined Bigeye
In this series, we interview members of Bigeye about why they joined the team. Here, we talk to brand designer Morgan.
In this series, we interview members of the Bigeye team about their careers and why they've landed at Bigeye. This time around, we spoke with senior brand designer Morgan McCarty.
Q. What is your educational background?
I studied art history as undergrad in Chicago with a focus in photography. I really thought I wanted to be a fashion photographer. After interning with someone I greatly admired and seeing the creative team behind the shoots and on the editorial side, I learned that I was much more excited by that side of the production.
I'm a self-taught designer. As I explored the adjacent fields of photography and creative production, I began to cobble together design skills through various courses and programs. I wanted to go back to school for a design degree, but couldn’t afford to, so instead I scraped all of the syllabi from the colleges I would have loved to attend (SCAD, MCAD, Art College). I put together my own version of a design degree, mimicking course structures as closely as I could with Coursera, Skillshare, Udacity, etc. I also used the local university and public library for books. I’m really lucky in that my mom is a stellar marketer and brand strategist, with an incredible network of creatives from her range of agency experience. When I was studying, she was working with a team of creatives at a highly-regarded Southern California agency. A couple of art directors kindly offered to semi-mentor me, provide feedback on some early projects, and answer questions. That's something I really love about the design community. Everyone helps each other out, offers their time (especially to younger designers), refers projects and people, and finds ways to continue learning. It’s a curious and supportive community, and I’ve found that generosity doesn’t stop at any level or on any team. It's very much the case here with the Bigeye design team and how we learn from each other and support each other's work.
Q. What were some of your jobs before Bigeye?
I was a brand designer at Stack Overflow prior to coming here. That was a great experience; it's a wonderful work environment, with a storied brand and website and a team of legends.
Prior to Stack, I worked for a range of freelance clients. I co-founded a small branding agency working with mainly small to mid-sized businesses. I took on a range of brand buildout projects. I also worked as a marketing design manager for an international nonprofit, as well as for Photobucket, an image and video hosting website.
Q. Do you prefer working for a startup or would you prefer a more corporate environment?
I like working in a startup environment. To be fair, I've never been fully corporate, and I'm sure it has its own set of challenges and opportunities. I just really enjoy the energy of a startup, plus the opportunity to see the direct impact of your work.
In a startup, you have to go with the flow, be intentional with your work, and be good with change. I enjoy the challenges that constantly come my way. I feel like I can grow at a fast pace here and I love that.
Q. What have you learned since joining Bigeye?
That there’s so much that I want to do. It’s a good problem to have. We are building a brand from the ground up. There’s a huge opportunity for to make that brand impactful, and in a way that makes waves across the space. I think we’re fully capable of doing that.
I’ve also learned how to be better with change and an evolving product strategy. In previous roles, the strategy was slow or pretty concrete. Learning to pivot and evolve in real-time has been incredibly fulfilling.
I've also learned a lot about data observability and reliability. It's pretty cool to have a team of literal experts in the field, plus some concrete real-world examples of high customer impact. I was a little nervous coming in as a newbie to the space. But by the end of the first week, I had a list of recommendations for blog posts, podcasts, and interviews to lay the educational groundwork, and that supportive culture hasn't stopped.
Q. How would you describe Bigeye’s culture?
Exceptional people. A group of highly intelligent, empathetic and motivated folks. Every single person is very good at what they do, and that makes it easy for me to do my job.
I get to focus on what I can do well, and I trust that others are going to do their job well too, so we can succeed together. There’s a goofy, nerdy side to Bigeye that’s really enjoyable, and I love that there are different hobby channels on Slack to chat about things outside of work. We can share pictures of our dogs, show the finished results of recently-devised recipes, or something fun we got up to over the weekend.
I sit with one foot in marketing and one foot in design, and on both sides it’s a group of highly motivated, collaborative folks. I particularly really love seeing how a design team and practice is built. I’ve not been part of a team from so early on.
As the third designer to join the company, it’s been instructive to see our Director of Design, Jacob Esparza, take strategic steps to build out a highly skilled and multi-disciplinary team of designers. He encourages an environment in which we can trust each other, learn from each other’s strengths and previous experiences, and grow together. We have weekly critiques, plus opportunities to pair and jam on solutions.
More broadly speaking, the culture here is quite egalitarian and flat. There’s a transparency from leadership that permeates across the company and creates a very honest and open space. I really appreciate the open-door attitude of our co-founders. Both Egor and Kyle are always up to chat through an idea or project, offer their thoughts on something, or help protect time and goals.
We have semi-regular meetups as well, as individual teams and the company at large. The marketing team recently met up in Boston for a couple of days of reflection, workshopping, and planning. We also made time to explore a few different neighborhoods of the city, enjoyed a number of wonderful meals, played darts (or at least attempted to!), and got to know each other better. Bigeye is really good at fostering a remote culture through asynchronous communication and project management (Slack, Linear, Miro, Figma, etc), while encouraging work/life boundary-setting with a highly empathetic support system. Meetups provide the opportunity to further team collaboration opportunities and get to know each other better (and of course finally learn each other’s true heights!).
Q. What is different about Bigeye when compared to other companies?
I interviewed with another Series B company around the same time I was interviewing with Bigeye. That recruiting process was so different. They treated their recruits and prospects as cookie-cutter people to slot into cookie-cutter roles. It was very impersonal, cold, and I essentially got bad vibes from it all. Then I came and talked to Bigeye. It felt honest, real, and personal. I got the feeling that they really wanted me to succeed. And that experience has fully continued through working here. What you see is what you get.
Q. Would you recommend Bigeye as a place to work for future prospects?
Yes! If you’re looking for a challenge, a space to grow, and learn about yourself and your discipline - this is the place for you. There’s something that should be said about work-life balance and respecting boundaries of work. That can be rare for a startup. Usually you’re giving most of your life but work intentionally, work hard when you are working but work supports life.
Schema change detection