“You almost have to form your own board of directors, where you have these group of mentors that you can reach out to and update them. I treat my career growth like running a company, where you basically set your own OKR and provide updates for people, because I think your mentors love hearing from you, hear how you’re doing and, and how they can help too.”
In this episode
In episode #46, David Hoang shares how you can develop your own leadership tree and why everyone needs a Hype Doc.
David Hoang is a design leader, educator, and angel investor. David is currently the Product Design Director at Webflow and previously led Product Design and Research at One Medical.
In this episode, we talk about balancing employee happiness while ensuring the greater good of the company… and how career conversations are crucial in hyper-growth organizations.
Tune in to hear all about the different types of management, leader roles, and the difference between managing, coaching, and mentorship.
Like this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the podcast with your colleagues.
Managing with a coaching mindset
Over index on happiness
Impeding on growth vs accelerating growth amongst team members
Career development for people leaders
Mentors as your own Board of Directors
Leadership trees and their branches
Using a Hype Doc to celebrate and remember wins
Your career is a journey
- Read The Score Takes Care Of Itself, by Bill Walsh
- Read Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
- More about the Bill Walsh Coaching Tree
- Subscribe to David’s newsletter, Proof of Concept
- The Leadership Pipeline book
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 01:30
David, welcome to the show.
David Hoang (Webflow) 02:15
Thank you so much for having me.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 02:16
Well, David, really excited to have you on the show. You’ve had a career in leadership that spans a bunch of different companies like HTC, Black Pixel, One Medical, and today, you’re the Director of Product Design at WebFlow. One of the companies that we really like and of course, we had Vlad on the show as well. What I wanted to start with was you know, of all of these different companies that you’ve been at, is there a person that you’ve reported to in your journey or manager that was memorable in some way that you want to talk about now, it could be a good memory, it could be a bad memory, just any memorable boss, first and foremost.
David Hoang (Webflow) 02:59
So many memories with each person who’s been my manager, and it’s really hard to pick one. It’s like asking me like, Who’s your favorite designer or your team, right? Like there’s, there are so many facets and so many reasons that that make those relationships memorable. If I had to pick one, the person who comes to mind to me is Kimber Lockhart. She is the CTO of One Medical. She was the person that hired me, some of the reasons that made it memorable is because I think she was the first leader I’ve had as a manager, who really got me thinking about holistic product development, like engineering, product, and design. I wasn’t just seen as a design manager, but a contributor to her leadership team. And I think I learned a lot around cross-functional leadership, really thinking about your executive presence and just your leadership, like philosophy in general, I think, you know, in many other roles that were kind of focused on like, you know, managing and overseeing things, and I think I really felt she helped activate and helped me kind of emerge as a leader and think about my style. So though many awesome managers in my time past and present Kimber is one who really stands out to me,
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 04:23
Oh, that’s super interesting. I’d love to dive into that a bit more just get more tactical, what are some things that she explicitly did?
David Hoang (Webflow) 04:32
Yeah, she’s a very good coach. So I think she has a great balance of giving direction while giving you that leeway to experiment to make mistakes. So I think she really valued developing people in that way. We kind of had this running joke where we caught Kimber jujitsu because in a lot of one on ones with her, you know, I would kind of ask for advice. And she’d kind of like, throw it back to me. And we kind of solved it together. So I think from being managed by her I think she’s such a tremendous coach and advisor in letting people kind of figure out their own style and be their own approach to doing it. So that was phenomenal.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 05:18
Yeah, that’s super interesting. I like that term, Kimber jujitsu. That’s when you ask a question. And I guess she turned it around and got you to answer your own question.
David Hoang (Webflow) 05:27
Yep. That’s right. She’s such a well-rounded person too. She went to school, as an engineer, of course, a Stanford dropout, as, as many people in Silicon Valley need one Stanford dropout in their, their teams. But then she also really focused on entrepreneurship and, and real growth of the business. So I think, again, it was just something where I think that’s the moment like being managed by her kind of took my lens from management and kind of really focused on leadership and really, really explored what that meant.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 06:02
Yeah. And I’m curious, like, Do you find that some of the lessons that you learned in, say, reporting to her, were those things that you kind of just realized at the time while being on her team, or were these things that you, you know, looking back are now realizing, wow, that was actually the way that she did that was really, really good?
David Hoang (Webflow) 06:23
Yeah, I think some things you recognize in the midst of it, and the time it’s happening, I think, though, the majority of the time, it’s when you look back, you look back and you realize, like the things that your manager did, maybe there were things I didn’t agree with that I thought was not kind of where I wanted to go, or in the time, it looks a lot different than it does years later. So I think that’s something that I try to remind myself with people on my team is that like, you know, this could look different years from now, you know, sometimes you don’t want to get too caught up in the day to day because yeah, I think when it’s all said and done, you kind of look back and reflect on how you grew and how you achieved it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be immediate, either. So I would say the majority of the time, it feels more like that. But yeah, there were definitely some things I when I observed her were in a meeting with her, I could see it like right there that moment. It’s like, wow, this is like a really good leader. And then there are other things that years down the road. It’s like, oh, now, uh, now I understand this lesson or this decision, after kind of experiencing it on my own, you know, through my through the similar perspective that she had.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 07:34
Yeah, it’s, it’s really interesting, right? Like, sometimes when you’re leading a team, you might do something that is unpopular, and hope that many years later that people will realize that, you know, the rationale behind taking a certain approach.
David Hoang (Webflow) 07:48
That’s right, or even you hope yourself that many years later, like I hope this is the right call, you know, it’s like you don’t have I think leaders, you have to make the best decision you can at the time, too. So sometimes, you know, the look back is full of like learning and maybe it’s full of regret. Yeah, it’s hard. You can’t be certain, you just want to try your best.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 08:10
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. David, you mentioned the word regret. And I know one of the things that I really wanted to chat with you about was early management mistakes. So I wanted to start by saying When was the first time that you lead a team? And what were some of the things that you did that you learned not to do, you know, ACC and black pixel, I was in a lead role that was more of a player-coach in that regard. So
David Hoang (Webflow) 08:35
I think, you know, one medical is one of the times where I started there as an individual contributor and didn’t think I wanted to go back into management or being responsible for other people. But the opportunity came up, you know, the mistake I made early in my management career, and I think it catches some people off guard. When I say this, I want to preface it is that I think sometimes we as managers, focus too much on making people happy and making your team members happy. And I’m not saying that you shouldn’t make your team members happy and support them. That’s absolutely important. And it’s one of the great signs of someone who’s a really good candidate for leadership because they care about people, right? But I think what happens is sometimes you over-index on making people happy. And there are times where you have to make the call, that someone’s not going to be happy. multiple people might not be happy in that regard. And really the learning for me is that like your responsibilities to manage and lead the entire team. So you need to kind of figure out those moments of like how do I balance the greater decision for the team, the company and you want to bounce to happiness individuals but I think sometimes early in my career got caught in trying to make everyone happy and really make their situations the most ideal as possible where it could come in handy. conflict with, like what we need to do, or conflict with other people’s happiness as well. So I would say that’s the number one mistake, because you want to support people and you want to be happy, make them happy. But you also don’t want to go so far, where it puts the other things you’re responsible for such as, like, design strategy, or such as, like, some of the operational components. You know, you don’t want to compromise that
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 10:25
Is there a story or an example that you remember, or, you know, the moment where you realize that hey, I may be over-indexing on happiness a little bit?
David Hoang (Webflow) 10:35
Yeah, I think the thing, I think the hardest thing as a manager is bouncing, career development conversations, like anywhere you go, you know, I think that that’s the top challenge, because it’s something that really affects people in so many ways. So I think, you know, early on, I really learned that you have to be mindful of being able to give that direct feedback. I mentioned in a previous manager, chat fellow to set, you know, you don’t want people to be surprised in performance management and career leveling. And I think, especially the last two places, I’ve been with one medical and WebFlow, they’ve both kinds of experienced this hyper-growth, meaning that it’s, it’s grown pretty fast within, you know, set amount of time. And I think what’s important is to balance like, you know, career development for people, and also, what’s needed for that said, growth, too. So I think, you know, early on mistakes might have been, like, just really trying to get people there to that while needing to remember that you need to balance, like, you know, where the team is gonna go in that regard, too. So I think that’s probably one of the hardest conversations to have is, you know, talking about where people are in, in their career growth, you know, what they need to do, and also kind of like, where the company is going and growing too, as well, I think that sort of career navigation and the growing, growing company can be challenging, because then the needs constantly change. And I think that you know, those are some things that come to mind is like, you know, really being clear with people. And, you know, and you might have to say things that people aren’t going to be happy about. So you don’t want to over-index on their happiness there. If it’s if things aren’t true.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 12:27
Yeah, so that’s really interesting. So I guess, do I have it correct that so when you’re saying that companies in hyper-growth stage, there’s this concept of, you know, if you’re in hyper-growth, then the assumption is that, you know, either everybody on the team also grows at the rate of the company, or the company grows faster than they do. And I think like, you’re basically referring to just being able to clearly sort of articulate that, and if someone’s not ready for that next stage, or they haven’t been able to keep up with the growth that just having those sorts of tough conversations.
David Hoang (Webflow) 13:03
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that that happens at every startup, right? You know, you go from that stage of finding product-market fit, and really just having people who, you know, are there and can do anything and everything. And then all of a sudden, like, now, as you kind of embark on this growth, you need to bring in people with experience, and, and there are certain layers of it that have now changed, right. So like the need of the company has kind of mutated and changed, you know, in addition, so I think a lot of times, you know, I felt this before my career, right? It’s just thinking like, Okay, well, I’ve been here, we’re growing. So I should be the next person in line for this, right. But it turns out, like this whole, you know, a level that’s needed is completely different for the face of the company.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 13:56
So I’m curious. So you mentioned that you’ve experienced that yourself personally. what is a way that you would recommend that people have that kind of conversation? Because I think part of the problem is that until you’ve seen it until you’ve seen, say, what someone operating at the next level can sort of look like, it’s kind of hard to, you know, rationalize, like, why it wouldn’t be you to take that position as an example.
David Hoang (Webflow) 14:24
Yeah. It’s hard, right? Because I think the moment someone comes in as your peer or let’s say, above you, uh, you’re automatically thinking that this person is impeding on your growth because they’re, they’re literally in that position that you want to be in, right. And, and I think what actually happens a lot of times is the person’s going to accelerate your growth in a lot of ways because they know what good looks like. And it’s not to say that like, what you don’t do, what you’re doing isn’t good. Maybe it’s like they show what excellence looks like right? That repeated Excellent have, you know running a team or being able to hire and onboard people, you know, quickly and effectively. So I think that’s something you’re right if you haven’t experienced it before, it can feel really scary because it all of a sudden, it feels like someone’s in here. Like taking the role that you wanted. And you know, and I think the advice I’d give people is like, you know, what’s most important is the outcomes that you experience at the companies, right? So there are going to be opportunities later on whether within the company or as you continue to progress in your career, no one’s gonna stay in the same place forever. It’s very, it’s very rare, right? People move on. So it’s just really thinking about what sort of experience you’re going to gain from that because it happens so much in startups and companies that are starting to grow. It’s like all of a sudden, there’s all these leaders and senior leaders coming in. And I think that’s like, the number one piece of advice I would tell people is that the likelihood is someone’s going to help level you up and help you grow a lot quicker, versus it being like this person is now a blockade from your career development.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 16:09
Yeah, that that makes a lot of sense. So speaking of career development itself, I know one of the things that you’ve thought a lot about is career development for people who are people leaders, you know, obviously, it’s a decision that people need to make, which is like, do I want to be a people leader. So there’s that. But then once you become a people leader, there are also different types of people, leaders, and different levels. And each one means different things so I’d love for you to maybe elaborate or just talk about, you know, some of your thoughts on that.
David Hoang (Webflow) 16:42
Yeah, it’s, the first thing that comes to mind for me is like, how do you even know that you want to become a people leader? And I say more often than not, they just start doing it in a lot of ways. So I think the best people leaders are the ones who, you know, have kind of really focused on mentorship, really, focusing on cross-functional alignment, they’ve already done it, they’re starting to lead are ready. The thing that I tell people a lot of times too, is there is this myth that people leaders are the most important, you know, role on the team? And that’s absolutely not true. Because I think when you think about impact, I think about principle designers I’ve had on my team, or I’ve had staff, product designers who, like they’re actually doing the work, you know, and they’re actually leading in a lot of ways. So I think people leaders can have this. It’s a specific type of role, right. And it’s a role that serves others. And it’s, it’s, it’s a different type of impact. Because I remember my first week as a people manager, I felt like I didn’t do anything, right. Because I’m no longer designing. I’m no longer doing this. I’m like, I just went to a bunch of meetings, like, what did I even do? You know, this whole week. So I think that’s the first part is making sure like why you want to become a people leader, and you’re going to get fulfillment out of it, too. I think a lot of people in management roles, maybe got forced into it. So start up that’s growing, or opportunities that came up. And I think one thing we often feel is that I think people feel they have to take the opportunity and you and you don’t necessarily. So going back to the other part of the question, which is kind of the different types of roles for, for management and leaders, I think it’s important to know where you feel you’re going to have the most impact too because I think when you talk to design managers, or you talk to people where they want to grow in their career, they all say like, I want to be a VP of design, or I want to be a chief design officer. And it’s like, I understand why people might want that. Because you know, when you look at the career ladder, you’re gonna look at the very top right, and the most motivated people might say, like, whatever is at the very top, I’m gonna climb that mountain. And I want to go there. And I think it’s important to recognize, where your skills and interests really align with the type of roles. So I’ll give you an example is, I’m in a director role now. So the majority of my time I’ve been managing managers, and managing managers is different than managing designers directly. So there was a moment for the last few. For the last few months, I’ve been managing some of the brand designers directly if I’m completely candid with you, I don’t think I was ever the best direct line manager, like with individual contributors because, for me, I feel like my skills are more focused on coaching more on high-level strategy recruiting and hiring. And then when it comes to the kind of help, like coordinate some of the work, I think I can get by but it’s not like my greatest skill. And then I’ve worked with design managers. They’re excellent at that. Like, that’s like where they belong, and they find the most joy out of that. So it’s really important for us as design managers and leaders to identify like, Okay, what are the different levels and roles of management that I really find gratitude from? Because, you know, I’ve never been a VP of design? I don’t know if it’s something I can say that like, yes, that’s the type of, you know, work I want to be doing every day. Like, there’s probably some things I want from that. But are there things where, you know, the role director is more interesting, the same way for some people with the role of like, directly, managing individual contributors, and really, being a lot closer to the work might find them a lot of joy?
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 20:45
Yeah, that’s, that’s super interesting. So I’m going to challenge you on that just a little bit, which is, how would you have known that you would have liked being a design director as much as you do if you had not basically gotten there? So how do you know, for example, that you won’t love being a VP or chief design officer afterward?
David Hoang (Webflow) 21:06
I guess one part is you don’t, right, as you have to know, that you kind of have to experience it to, but then I think, you know, if you go to another place, later on, you might, you might have that realization that you want to get closer to the work a bit. But I think one thing I really recommend with people’s life when you think about mentorship, and people you can talk to, like, find mentors who are at that next level, so you can hear from their experience what that’s like, you know, but I think, you know, if there is a case, where, yeah, part of it is you do have to get into that, that role to know what it’s like. And I think, you know, one thing that I share with people, it’s like, you know, really do ask yourself, like what aspects of it make you happy, you know, because it is something where each role is not just like a more senior version of it, it’s different, it’s, it’s a different role, different responsibilities that you need to focus on. So, you know, for example, like, I meet with the IC designers, every other month, so I try to, I want to foster like a close relationship with them. But it’s a different cadence than having weekly one on ones with them with, you know, as they would with their direct line manager. So it’s, it’s, it’s a different type of relationship in the organization that you have to think about, as a VP, or like a Cheif Design Officer, that relationship likely can be even furthermore removed, you know, in that regard. So, you know, it’s just really thinking about the things that, bring you that joy and make sure that you have time to be doing that.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 22:48
Yeah, no, that’s super interesting. And I think like, one of the things that you said is, is being on, which is you basically have to talk to people who are already in that role, it reminds me of this, this great book called Stumbling Upon Happiness, I don’t know if you’ve read it, but it’s, it’s one of those things, which is like humans are incredibly bad at predicting how happy they will be under certain circumstances. And the only way turns out is the best way, it turns out that you can actually figure out how happy you will be or how you will perceive that is by talking to someone who’s experiencing it at that moment. Not a lot later, but like, who’s experiencing it right then in there? So yeah, that’s a very interesting thing. Do you have mentors that you talk to today about, you know, your growth? Or like, how do you invest in your own growth?
David Hoang (Webflow) 23:39
I have a couple of mentors. And the thing that I feel and often share with people is that your mentor doesn’t have to be one person, you can have mentors who help you navigate certain things. So you know, when I think about innovation, are really trying to focus on that, you know, I have a mentor who is an ex-Apple engineer, and he and I really have a lot of conversations around that. I have other mentors who’ve been VPS of design before. So you almost kind of form your own, like a board of directors in a lot of ways where you have these group of mentors that you can reach out to, and, and update them. And it’s really good to do that on a quarterly basis. So, you know, I treat my career growth, like running a company where you basically have like, set your own, like OKRs. And you and you provide updates on a quarterly for people because I think your mentors love hearing from you and just kind of hear how you’re doing and, and how they can help too. But I think that’s one way I invest in my personal growth is like, you know, I, I have, you know, current managers and current leaders that helped me invest in my growth, but I think there’s also the value to have your own external mentors so people who know you really well and also people you’ve connected with kind of help build your work on your blind spots and gaps. So you can like, start thinking about your own career development. Because I think for leaders, we often don’t have time to think about it because we’re focused on the career growth of others and the work that we’re doing. So it’s, it’s good to invest in the time to step back and reflect.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 25:19
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David Hoang (Webflow) 26:54
I get asked this all the time. And I think in life in general, the best relationships, like form organically, and, and for me, a lot of these conversations with people who I consider my mentor today, it wasn’t like, I sent a cold email and was like, Hey, would you be my mentor? You know, but I think it can, it did come from cold emails, because it was something where I realized, like, this person can help me with these things. And I think the thing that’s important is, you know when you reach out to people be respectful of their time. And you know, and I always try to preface that’s, like, you know, just appreciate their time even reading the email. And I don’t expect any answers back. And I think the other thing is, then having a clear ask of what you’re looking for, I tried to be as specific as possible, like, don’t say, like, Hey, can we get coffee sometime? Or could we do a Zoom like, these people are so busy, but you could be like, Hey, I’m trying to focus on like, getting better recruiting or hiring, or I’m hiring for this role? And so wondering if, you know, I could get some advice from that. And I think when you’re more specific people are more inclined to, to reply back. And then I think from that, there’s like, follow-ups and times that I’ll continue to just basically continue the conversation, a great mentor, the relationship is when the conversation organically continues.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 28:23
Yeah, I love that concept of just being very, very specific. And it sounds like you’ve thought about this because you recognize like, different people are good at different things. And so you probably go to different mentors for different things that you want to get better at.
David Hoang (Webflow) 28:40
Yeah. And it’s funny too because I think like, it sounds like my system is very extravagant and complex, but it’s pretty simple. It’s like a, you know, it’s like a markdown file with like, Okay, this one I want to try and achieve this quarter. So it’s just like making sure, you have girth indicators for yourself. But yeah, I think when there are certain people that I’ll seek out for specific things, because I know they’re either really known for that, or I know can really help me in that area. And you know, there may be some mentors who are more generalist to like the same way. There are various shapes of designers, you might be able to have a mentor who is good at a lot of things and you could go to one person,
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 29:25
Yeah, that’s super helpful. David, also have speaking of like, mentorship and, and teaching, you have your own newsletter called Proof of Concept. And you share a lot of things, obviously, it’s, it’s a design-oriented newsletter, but also there’s a lot of leadership and management advice, you know, baked in, and one of the concepts that you’ve talked about was this concept of a leadership tree. I’d love for you to talk about what is a leadership tree?
David Hoang (Webflow) 29:56
A leadership tree, it came from this country. Except in American football, there’s this head coach named Bill Walsh, who is like a Hall of Fame coach for the San Francisco 49 or so as you know, he has this great book called The score takes care of itself, which talks a lot about leadership and excellence. He’s the one not he didn’t coin this, but people coined it, because of him called the Bill Walsh coaching tree. And that’s kind of talking about like his protegees. And people who’ve been part of his coaching staff who’ve now developed like their own trees, as well, too. So yeah, if you, if you search bill was coaching tree, you’ll see like a visualization of that I kind of did my own leadership tree, I use it as like n inspiration and a reflection tool to kind of connect who’ve been managers, you know, that I’ve really respected in the past, like Kimber, you know, like and thinking about, like, okay, what’s that, like, the greater part of this leadership tree that I’m a part of, and I think one thing that helps me recognize is being able to identify like people I can talk to and connect with. And then the other thing, I think that is a motivator for me, it’s thinking about how do I start developing my own tree? Not in a selfish way, but in a way that like, how do I ensure people are growing? So you know, I get asked a lot. How do I define success as a manager, and I think it goes beyond the current role, you want to be invested in people’s careers. So you know, once in a while, I kind of I map this tree out. And I think about like, okay, these are people who used to be designers on my team, you know, have they grown as their own managers? Have they grown as their own directors, or started their own companies, whatever their career goal is, like, how are they doing with that? So it’s a nice like, it’s almost like a visual mood board the Helfman kind of put that together. And it helps me remind me that I’m, I’m just a tiny speck in this whole, like leadership group, you know, whether it’s like, you’re looking upwards in terms of like, the connections I’ve had, or downwards with, like, you know, downstream with, like, the people on my team, it helps me kind of think about like, okay, like, how’s this person doing? So I think, you know, for example, one of my, one of the designers, I had the pleasure managing at one medical she’s she was I hired her as a senior designer, and she’s a product design manager now. So I think it’s something that, you know, I, it was like, the best news, I’ve heard all year, just kind of hearing that that promotion happened, even though I’m no longer there. So I kind of update the tree in that way, just to be like, okay, you know, and these are the great leaders that are gonna emerge from her leadership style, too.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 32:42
Yeah, that’s amazing. Should you so you must keep in touch with all the people that you’ve loved in the past, the majority of them Yeah, well, no, that that that’s super awesome. And, you know, it reminds me of something that you said earlier on in the conversation. I’ve certainly been there too, which is like when you start, you know, when you first start managing a team, one of the things that you might think about is like, oh, what did I actually get done this week? Right. I was in meetings all week. What did I actually do? But it but it’s actually interesting, it’s something shifts, right. You’re almost more about the productivity of the team as a whole. And it sounds like what you’re talking about now is also just the success and continued growth of the career of the people who have been on your team.
David Hoang (Webflow) 33:28
Yeah. And I think one thing that I’ve learned is it’s sometimes six years to see the outcomes a, as a leader. And I think, you know, when I was an individual contributor, it was so much more tangible, and in a way that’s like, Hey, I did this design, we delivered it, and we shipped it. And you know, when it comes to management, you may be focusing on like, Hey, I’m trying to, like set this in motion, and it could take quarters, it could take years for you to see that impact later on.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 34:02
Yeah, that, that’s very interesting. And so in terms of conversations that you have with your team, is this like a thing that you do once a quarter twice a year, to really, like figure that out and invest in their growth? Or is it you know, more frequent than that?
David Hoang (Webflow) 34:20
We’re trying to do it more frequently than I think it really should be. You know, it should be happening all the time. And I think sometimes when you’re growing so fast, as a startup, I think one thing you need to remember is focusing on making sure there’s enough attention with each person, right? Because if you go from a team of like 12 to 30 some people might feel like left behind, right or maybe they’re like the fifth team member and all of a sudden there’s so much focus on hiring and, and bringing new people on, I think it’s important to have this conversation. So I think that’s something Like we’ve been really wanting to work on with my team web flows is the feedback and recognition to make sure that we have that time to have those conversations, both their managers and I to do that. So, you know, I think, you know, honestly, it’s something we need to continue to, to improve on and make sure that we, we invest in it because of our ambitious goals. It’s something it’s hard to kind of it could be easy to put aside because of like all the other things we need to get done. So you know, we do try to do more rituals on a quarterly and monthly basis to make sure that we are covering that.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 35:41
Yeah, that makes sense. And so you mentioned the word recognition. And there was this other topic that you also talked about in one of your newsletters, which is a Hype Doc, has a really cool name.
David Hoang (Webflow) 35:54
What is it? So hype talk is, as the name alludes to document for you to kind of capture these, these moments and wins. And that was something that Sarah and Molly on when I joined WebFlow, two managers who joined me at that same time, came up with it’s not a resume, right, it’s not a CV, I think is making sure you capture those moments that are memorable and important. So for example, when, when Preethi got promoted to product design manager at one medical, it’s not something I put on my resume, right. But it’s something that I want to remember to be like, you know, that’s a great moment with celebrating, though there are other managers who helped her get there, like, I got to contribute to that. So it helps kind of bring kind of context and moments that are important for you to remember throughout your career. Because I think often when you look back, even when you do like performance reviews, right? If you don’t document things, usually people what they do with performance reviews, they’ll look at their calendar, right? Like, what meetings did I go to what things did I do, and that is not impact. I think, by having that hype doc, you’re working on it together with your team members to make sure that, hey, we’re recognizing these moments. You know, and for some, some people I think a lot of reactions you get is they’re like, I completely forgot that I did this, this was a great moment to celebrate. So it’s a great way to celebrate together. And it’s also a great document to bring into your performance reviews to share like, you know, remind each other like these, these are the moments to celebrate, but I think I’ve only started this since I was at WebFlow. I’m finding myself retroactively trying to go back and say like, Okay, what were those memorable moments that at one medical or black pixel and like those human moments, right? Like, maybe it’s, you know, that time, I worked with a designer and really helped ship this, like this amazing outcome that we’re really proud of, or help coach someone out of a hard situation. Like that’s kind of all the things that go into the hype duck. So it’s kind of like your highlight reel that’s kind of focused on like, more on the human perspective, and more on the moment.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 38:11
Yeah, I love that. That’s a super cool concept. And it makes a lot of sense. And I totally agree that if you don’t have rituals like this, yeah. When it comes to performance review time, you will be struggling.
David Hoang (Webflow) 38:24
Yeah, you’re just gonna have, you’re gonna have a blank document. And you don’t want that.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 38:29
Yeah, that’s what we always heard. David, we’re just coming up on time here. So I did want to ask you that two things. One was for all the people who want to subscribe to your newsletter, how do they find it? Oh, yeah.
David Hoang (Webflow) 38:45
So it’s called proof of concept. So the URL is David Hahn, my name.substack.com. I try to write on a weekly basis. And as you mentioned, the topics vary. So you know, sometimes it’s more direct about here’s a certain framework, sometimes it’s more abstract about conversations, but I think it’s kind of general reflections of things that times past and present that I like to write about. So I tried to I try to send it out every Sunday, every Sunday morning. And so far, I think I’ve done it for the last 29 weeks in a row. So it’s it’s trying to build consistency there. But we would definitely appreciate it if you know if people are interested to subscribe.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 39:26
Yeah, that’s a good streak. You can’t let it go now.
David Hoang (Webflow) 39:29
Yeah, gotta keep going.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 39:30
And then, of course, the final question is and we asked is from all of our guests, for all those managers and leaders looking to continue to get better at their craft of leading teams, what parting advice tips or tricks or words of wisdom would you leave them with?
David Hoang (Webflow) 39:46
Yeah, it’s a great question. The number one thing I say to people and this is probably the biggest piece of advice I would give is that your career is not this linear path. It’s a journey. And things can change. And things sometimes happen in ways you don’t expect it both like, maybe in a way, that’s disappointing, but also like exciting too, because if something happens, and you don’t get like a certain promotion, or you don’t get the sort of incentive to happen, it can open pathways to like other places that you may not have known about. Right. And I think this is kind of how we started the conversation were like, by going to one medical and like working with Kimber and also Wes, who’s my other manager, during my four years there, you know, it kind of unlocks this path of like, oh, like, I want to focus on like product development leadership, not just like, not just designed in that way. So sometimes, like the paths, the path looks different, than you might think. So I think sometimes people try to kind of map out like, this is my exact 10-year plan, I think what’s important is mapping out some of the outcomes you want to achieve, or the things you’d really be proud of. And it’s recognizing it along the way, as you’re kind of going through it. And then as far as resources, I think I always recommend the book, the leadership pipeline.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 41:11
Oh, I haven’t.
David Hoang (Webflow) 41:12
And it’s a great one, I think it’s a little bit older these days. But it’s a great book, kind of talking about these different levels of management leadership. And you know, from that, you know, seek out seek out mentors. And I think for me, it’s like seeking out like people who are doing it, it’s probably the best resource. So if you have a clear intention, and you value people’s time, they’re likely going to respond or are connected to others. So that’d be kind of my recommendation is like, one, like really mapping out the outcomes and what you want to achieve in your career versus like the exact steps to it. And then like, start started reflecting, you know, every so often is like, what are you doing to continue to start kind of building towards that path now. And you might be surprised that in your current job or something you do on the side, as a passion project, that you’re building up those skills and those experiences to get you there, like already right now?
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 42:06
Yeah. And that’s a great place to end it, David, thanks for doing this.
David Hoang (Webflow) 42:10
Yeah, thank you so much for having me.