Over the years, I’ve been hit up by several product/UX designer friends joining startups with questions about their equity arrangement. Designers are generally not familiar with equity or general business minutiae because it isn’t part of design curriculums. As a result, I feel like designers are often disadvantaged in compensation negotiations and can potentially screw themselves over without fully understanding what all this means.

I want to help demystify the subject to the best of my ability, or at minimum, highlight that this subject can be really complicated and encourage people to do more research. …


The market for interface design tools is long overdue for consolidation.

I would like to start out here by emphatically stating that I’m not out to bash the team at Framer. I think they’ve built a totally awesome product and are clear leaders in the prototyping tool space.

That said, I was initially a little underwhelmed with the recent update that effectively created a simplified version of Sketch inside of Framer. Quite a bit of hype surrounded the announcement so I thought it might be something to drastically flatten out the learning curve for people that don’t have front end dev chops. Or new responsive layout features in the vein of…


A long, slow decline awaits Spotify unless they follow Netflix’s lead and go all in creating their own content.

In 2011, my brother, a friend and I tried to build an on-demand music streaming service. We raised some seed money and quickly attracted senior executives from UMG, Sony and the RIAA to be on our advisory board. We got some great advice. So great, in fact, that we decided to get the hell out of streaming music!

We acknowledged that we would have trouble raising the necessary capital to license the content. But we also realized––more importantly––that the unit economics of streaming music are comically upside down, and it boils down to one simple economic convention: substitute goods.

Here’s…


Design exercises are a great way for teams to get inspired, foster collaboration, and acquire new skills.

UX design in large, established, B2B enterprises often carries with it more constraints than what you see in Fast Company Design articles or InVision’s Design Disruptors documentary. It’s common to get insight into the design processes at companies like AirBnB, Facebook, and Lyft, but far less common to see what the General Electrics of the world are up to.

As a result, I think it’s common for enterprise designers to feel like they’re not keeping pace with industry change. Of course, a lot of this depends on company design culture, but these are broad themes I’ve picked up on from…

Scott A. Johnson

PMM, designer, drummer, bike racer, tech enthusiast, startup nerd, et al.

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