Hi! I’m Aaron Sagray
I love to build things for people. I’ve been a tinkerer since I was a little kid. From taking apart electronics, building structures with Construx, experimenting with magnets or designing bikes, I was always exploring what I could make for others.
Now I work at the intersection of UX design, product management and marketing. I’m best at the big picture, where I uncover new opportunities — but I also like to dive into the details. I love to work with other interesting people to take the kernel of a good idea, then flesh it out and transform it into a well-designed, growth-oriented product.
- Core Tenets
- Current Interests
Great design is about people
Design, when done well, can be a force-multiplier for cultural change. It’s a tool that transcends personal skill and empowers people to reexamine their environments, habits and connections with others. We make our world what it is. To do great work, you must create for others — instead of for yourself.
Great design starts at the top
Successful, well-designed products must start with a mandate from the CEO and Board. I believe that great products are produced by teams in which everyone has a design-oriented mindset. This is the core of User Experience design — where the entire organization carefully weighs the consequences of their decisions, and understand that each person plays a key role in crafting a holistic user experience.
Culture is a catalyst for great products
There’s nothing better than waking up in the morning and feeling like you and your team are going to do something great. I believe this feeling comes from working within an intentionally-crafted culture. Values, goals and personal improvement should be a carefully defined so a clear sense of mission is felt by the team.
Ship early and often
We make a lot of assumptions as we build. It’s essential to get user feedback and course-correct as mistakes are made. Shipping early and often is about risk reduction. It’s a lot easier to gather feedback and make incremental refinements than to flout Gall’s Law.
Wear many hats
My recent experience has been at early-stage startups, where it’s essential to be comfortable taking on multiple roles. Thus, I call myself a “full stack designer,” and I do product/design management, customer discovery, marketing/lead generation, writing interfaces, prototyping flows, visual design and HTML/CSS.
In my spare time, I’m slowly teaching myself more coding skills. I like working on the occasional side project, where I experiment with different animation and design solutions. I’m also a voracious reader.
Finally, mentorship and giving back is important to me, both on a personal and professional level. I enjoy writing about my experiences, building teams and mentoring the next generation of designers.
Hardware & Software Mashups
Now that nearly everyone has a perpetually connected super-computer in their pockets, it’s time to see what we can do with them. As sensors become cheaper, the internet of things combined with the devices in our pockets and on our wrists will begin to “know you before you know you.” That is, they will anticipate our needs, expand our interests and connect us with other interesting people.
Transportation and Automation
The vehicle is the next interface. With the current generation being the last that will need to know how to drive a car, it’s time to re-think “car culture” and how automation will reshape society.
Cordcutting and Content Distribution
Reed Hastings recently stated that after “an amazing 50 year run,” linear TV is in decline. Having cut the cord 7 years ago, I agree. There’s a huge opportunity to disrupt the ownership model and develop new ways to create, consume and distribute content.
Currency, Payments and Wallets
Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Stripe, Bitcoin and Stellar have made interesting forays into currency and payment innovation. But these technologies have only augmented — not disrupted the financial industry. It’s time to revisit how we store and transmit value that removes the need for dangerous, “too big to fail” institutions.
Mobile phones have created a small revolution in the developing world, where it has become essential to communication and financial transactions. Mobile phones are themselves social platforms. Imagine how they are going to change business through relationship-building, globalizing local business and cross-border transactions.
Retirement and Long-Term Saving
The crowd-sourced “hive mind” has been proven to make better decisions than individuals. What would an interconnected and crowd-sourced method of long-term saving look like? Could it outperform the financial markets and ensure that everyone has enough to live happily through their golden years?