"Hire your friends". – An interview with Anthony and Natalie Armendariz, partners at Funsize



learners

At Junto Studio, we had the chance to talk to Funsize partners Natalie and Anthony Armendariz. Funsize is a product design studio that crafts beautiful products for all major mobile platforms. Talking with authentic entrepreneurs about how to create a culture of learning and fun was eye-opening in so many ways. Here we share a few of them.

How Funsize created a culture where everyone loves to work

Anthony is an eloquent speaker, a digital product designer, and an innate strategist. Natalie is a self-taught designer, a life-long learner, and a creative soul.

Both agree that there are no secret recipes for success [except for learning, practice, and fun]. For them, having a team of people that strive for meaningful work is just as important as having the right set of skills onboard. Anthony and Natalie made clear that most of the time, they don’t even know what they are doing. But by working hard, collaborating, and walking the extra mile, they’ve created not only a culture that works, but a business that matters.

But how exactly did they accomplished this? This is what they said:

  1. Value trust and autonomy
  2. Create a culture of individuals who care about how their peers are doing
  3. Hire people that first become your friends, and only later, your colleagues
  4. The more you can support each other, the more you build the individual characteristics of a strong team
  5. Learn, practice, and have fun

… and a culture where everyone haves fun

Asked about what is fun, Anthony answered with one word: collaboration.

“The collaboration factor is the main thing we want to promote”, – he said. “Celebrate all your wins together”.

Also, they began taking small steps to improve their project management workflow. Fist, they stopped tracking time. They set aside the fixed deliverables and deadlines, and focused instead on project sprints. Breaking things into smaller tasks allowed them to keep a good pace and manage the work smartly.

Oh, and they don’t work on Fridays.

funsize

Delivering trust

The team at Funsize has a lot of autonomy in topics such as their sprints criteria (how long will it take them to finish a project), their time management (how long will it take them to complete a task), and their learning experiences (each one is in charge of what they want to learn).

Funsize also values the diversity in their team. They know that there’s people with holistic product thinking, others with conceptual thinking, and even others with production design thinking, but every single person on their team does every single part of that job. In other words, Funsize is the result of a mix of skills in project management, which is another way to describe strategy and product thinking. Which leads us to the next point…

Overspecialization is overrated

Anthony mentioned that with overspecialization comes less collaboration. (It also means having to hire more people).

“I’ve already had like 12 different job titles” -said Anthony –"[…] at the pace that things are moving, every two years people’s jobs are going to radically change".

What does this means for our current jobs? Our future expectations? Our ongoing learnings…?

Lessons learned

Funsize is not only changing the way that mobile and user experiences works, but also the way in which successful companies are built. Reimagining your day-to-day experiences by working at a place you love, with people you trust, in an environment where you never stop learning, should not be the exception, but the rule. And Funsize is proof of that.

If you’d like to know more about how they do it:

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