Startup Design Leadership Accelerator

New
·

4 Weeks

·

Cohort-based Course

Increase the value of design at your startup by building stronger founder relationships. 

Previously at

Square
Mutiny
LaunchPad Central
Indiegogo

Course overview

Improve your understanding of founders, not Figma.

CHALLENGE

Joining a startup as the first designer (or design leader) comes with a unique set of challenges. Beyond the standard responsibilities of a product designer (e.g. user research, user experience design, prototyping), you are implicitly expected to teach the founders (and the company) what design means. You need to establish a function they have (likely) not done before. You need to know when it makes sense to push back, and when to bend the knee.


Building trust in a relationship is always hard. Doing so with founders is on another level. But it will be the difference success and failure as a design leader.


APPROACH

There are plenty of courses (and more qualified instructors) to help you with the craft and practice of product design. This is not that course.


Instead, this course will focus on the interpersonal (and often invisible) aspects that hold great designers back. It will help you develop stronger relationships with your founders / partners. It will help you establish a voice for design at your company (or find out they don’t want one).


We will work through the most common challenges early designers face, the root causes behind them, and methods to overcome them.


There will be four sessions, each covering a specific topic.


1. Defining the role of design: Every startup is different. The purpose of design will inherently be different too. It is important to understand the constraints you are operating within. Only then can you frame design in the right way. 


2. Prioritizing the right work: Founders are idea machines. They operate with blinding speed. Sometimes it can feel like Shiny Object Syndrome. Sometimes it feels like you’re taking crazy pills. I will share methods to focus your founders and reduce the thrash. 


3. Advocating for more resources: At some point, you can’t prioritize any better. You simply need to grow the team. We will discuss various ways you could grow the team and how to position yourself in the best way possible. 


4. Deciding to grow or go: I like to focus on things we can control. Eventually, you will reach the limit on how much you can change your environment. What are the signs you have reached that limit? How can you avoid the same mistakes in your next role? How can you better evaluate companies on their understanding of design? Everyone will end the class with a clear perspective on where they can further push, or that it’s time for something new. 


Each session includes three sections designed to help you deeply understand the above topics and apply your learnings in real-time.


1. Feel: I believe we learn (and retain) best from stories. Each session will begin with a real story (or two). They will feel relatable (and maybe a little painful) to hear. Then we will shift into a group discussion to diagnosis the situation.


2. Understand: I believe names are powerful. Once we have diagnosed the problem, I will name it so we can have a shared language. Then we will unpack the root causes and introduce methods for solving them (e.g. founders do not have the language to critique a design, you must give them options to choose from).


3. Apply: I believe teaching is the best way to assess understanding. Students who are currently going through a similar situation will volunteer to share their story. We will use the lesson to diagnosis and develop a plan to resolve it (together). This not only allows us to practice what we are learning, but leverages the rich coaching / support from a group of peers.


Whether this is your first startup experience or you’ve lived through the chaos multiple times, you will build your confidence as an early hire and leader (and have fun doing it!).

Who is this course for

01

Founding designers looking for ways to increase their impact and improve their relationship with founders.

02

Heads of design who are stretched too thin as a player-coach and need to hit reset with your founders.

03

Product/engineering leaders who are responsible for design and want to increase the impact of the function. 

What you’ll get out of this course

How to effectively communicate with founders

The founders often hire the first designer themselves. But they have rarely managed designers before. We will discuss how to act like a partner and executive (regardless of title) instead of viewing founders as your “manager”.

How to establish and grow the design function

It's hard to ask for help. It's hard to give things up. You will be equipped with the signals that you need more designers and how you fit into the picture (spoiler: it may make sense to advocate for a head of design vs becoming that person).

“Real talk” with strong, relevant peers

Being the first designer / design leader is lonely. There is no one in the company who really “gets” you. You have so many questions and concerns, but never know if it’s just you. Through live workshops your cohort will be a tuning fork bring clarity to problems you're facing.

Actionable frameworks for evaluating startups

Startups are the most expensive investment you will make with your time. We will build a personalized framework (based on your current situation) to evaluate different opportunities — including whether to stay in your current role. 

This course includes

4 interactive live sessions

Lifetime access to course materials

11 in-depth lessons

Direct access to instructor

Projects to apply learnings

Guided feedback & reflection

Private community of peers

Course certificate upon completion

Maven Satisfaction Guarantee

This course is backed by Maven’s guarantee. You can receive a full refund within 14 days after the course ends, provided you meet the completion criteria in our refund policy.

Course syllabus

Expand all modules
  • Week 1

    Aug 14—Aug 18

    Week dates are set to instructor's time zone

    Events

    • Aug

      14

      Session 1

      Wed, Aug 14, 10:00 PM - 11:30 PM UTC

    • Aug

      16

      Session 2

      Fri, Aug 16, 10:00 PM - 11:30 PM UTC

    Modules

    • The shapes of design

    • Effective prioritization

  • Week 2

    Aug 19—Aug 25

    Week dates are set to instructor's time zone

    Events

    • Aug

      21

      Session 3

      Wed, Aug 21, 10:00 PM - 11:30 PM UTC

    • Aug

      23

      Session 4

      Fri, Aug 23, 10:00 PM - 11:30 PM UTC

    Modules

    • Growing the function

    • Evaluating opportunities

  • Week 3

    Aug 26—Sep 1

    Week dates are set to instructor's time zone

    Nothing scheduled for this week.

  • Week 4

    Sep 2—Sep 6

    Week dates are set to instructor's time zone

    Nothing scheduled for this week.

What people are saying

        Kevin has amassed some unique insights from his time at Block, Mutiny, and helping several startups. Designers love him. So, if you’re a designer at the intersection of startups and leadership, share your burning questions with him. He’s building a dream course to help you increase your chances of success.
Aman Manik

Aman Manik

Product Designer, CO2 AI (former PM at Square)
        Kevin was the best mentor I could have hoped for when at the earliest stages of my business...He is incredible, take every chance you can to talk through your approach with him. His perspective is always nuanced and thoughtful and you'll leave those conversations learning more than you thought you were asking for.
Samantha Lee

Samantha Lee

CEO and Co-Founder at Meili Technologies

Meet your instructor

Kevin Yien

Kevin Yien

Head of Product, Merchant Experiences — Stripe

I like building great products with great people. And I've had the fortune to do so at both startups (including my own) and larger companies (such as Square and Stripe). A common thread I’ve witnessed and experienced throughout my career is the importance of building high-trust relationships. I believe understanding the psychology and perspectives of those you work with is one of the most impactful levers anyone can pull.


Stories are my currency for life. And I love sharing the ones I’ve collected to help pay it forward.


I live near Austin, TX with my wife, three daughters, and two dogs. I like to work on old Jeeps and make a lot ice cream — new flavor recommendations are always welcomed ✌️🍦.

A pattern of wavy dots
Join an upcoming cohort

Startup Design Leadership Accelerator

Cohort Ample Hills

$500

Dates

Aug 14—Sep 7, 2024

Payment Deadline

Aug 20, 2024
|

Bulk purchases

Learning is better with cohorts

Learning is better with cohorts

Active hands-on learning

This course builds on live workshops and hands-on projects

Interactive and project-based

You’ll be interacting with other learners through breakout rooms and project teams

Learn with a cohort of peers

Join a community of like-minded people who want to learn and grow alongside you

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I can’t make a live session?
I work full-time, what is the expected time commitment?
What’s the refund policy?
A pattern of wavy dots
Join an upcoming cohort

Startup Design Leadership Accelerator

Cohort Ample Hills

$500

Dates

Aug 14—Sep 7, 2024

Payment Deadline

Aug 20, 2024
|

Bulk purchases

$500

4 Weeks