Agatha Tutia
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MHCI+D: Winter Quarter Post-Mortem

One must die to be reborn. Overdramatic? Certainly, but that is the metaphor which most perfectly describes me enduring Winter Quarter of the MHCI+D program. Put in another way, my confidence as a designer and entrepreneur completely shattered. Anxiety ripped me from security and confidence. Doubt mocked my certainty and aspirations. The hopeful woman who ended her first quarter on a high note died.

I took three courses: User Interface Software and Technology, Prototyping Studio, and Entrepreneurship. The latter crushed me. I could delve deep into this life altering dark hole, but I rather discuss the real life lessons I learned.

  1. Never be emotionally attached to an idea. This was my biggest struggle because I honestly believed my idea for a web-based bachelorette experience planner (think The Knot, but for bachelorettes) was obviously awesome. When we had to pivot the idea because our teachers thought it couldn't make millions of dollars, I was crushed. But immediately afterwards, a huge weight lifted. I cared way too deeply and I forgot to keep an objective relationship. Which leads to...
  2. Ideas are cheap. They come and go, they warp and flip, they are relevant then obsolete. Never invest in just an idea...
  3. Invest in your team. Work with people you actually like. If you want to enjoy your work life, surround yourself with people that you can socialize, empathize, and collaborate with. Teams that are the most memorable to me are family. Highly productive family.
  4. Designing for a startup is intense. You don't get 3 months to research. At least in this classroom setting, "research" was get an interview, make those insights (uh, more like assumptions), and wireframe that bad boy. Repeat if necessary. And finally...
  5. Businesses don't appreciate design. The salaries of a startup never included a designer. Which is dumbfounding to me considering how much interaction experience in itself is a key contributor to the success of a company. If design isn't an early foundation for a company, how is it expected to truly understand the needs and desires of their stakeholders?

I've been jaded, burnt to a crisp by capitalism. But despite the egotism and implicit sexism, I can't help, but still be drawn to creating something important from the ground up. Last quarter, I died. But I think who I am now is ready to kick ass. I'm reborn, baby.