Product Designer at Compound

SJ
Zhang

SJZhang (Product Designer at Compound)

SJ is a designer, developer based in Brooklyn. Before tech, he dabbled in Fashion.

New York, United States • September 5, 2023

What led you into design?

During my second year in college, I co-founded a Fashion Accessory brand and built a website to sell our products. The website was featured as a template example by Squarespace. That coincidentally set me on a path of designing and building websites for other people.

As time went by, there were more and more things I wanted to do so I took up coding at school. During my first year programing, I did a lot of creative coding like p5.js and openFrameworks before properly learning the basic web stack and later teaching myself React to build Form2Shape.

There’s a longer version of the story - another time.

What does a typical day look like?

Everyday starts from pouring a Latte at home. Then I like to try different co-working spaces to spend the day at, and after work, different gym locations in the city.

What's your workstation setup?

Where do you go to get inspired?

I don’t. I realized a few years into my design career that i’m not the most creative person. I excel in execution.

What product have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?

Another cliche answer saying Arc. It is something you have to invest your time and experiencing it fully to know. A investor from one of the biggest VC firms reached out to me trying to understand why Arc users like using Arc that much. It's baffling for an outsider that someone would switch to a new browser (especially made by a startup) from Chrome today.

What pieces of work are you most proud of?

Compound. I’ve been working on Compound for almost three years. Building with smart and passionate people really is special.

If you are not a client already, check out our pitch at withcompound.com/membership or our software at demo.withcompound.com

What design challenges do you face at your company?

Designing for trust is the most important thing at Compound. Airbnb had a similar challenge. There's no secret that I can share on it. It's persistent attention to details and care.

What music do you listen to whilst designing?

Any advice for ambitious designers?

Tinker and launch things. Work on ambitious side projects all by yourself for technical learnings or with others: indefinitely more fun. You are in a very fortunate position where you can create a proof of concept and have connections that can help you create a complete experience.

I know many talented non-technical thinkers spending days pitching technical co-founders. If you can, build that fun idea.