Billy Carlson has 20 years of experience in UX design, and he is currently a Product Designer and Design Educator at Balsamiq, a software company with a market-leading wireframing tool that enables ideation-phase and early-stage individuals and companies to create websites and software that are easier to use.
Carlson creates educational content and teaches design best practices to people who are building digital products. He also does freelance work in the same vein, and is writing a book on UX design for businesses.
Being in a leadership position within his daily role, Carlson says “Leadership is something, you can’t really go to school and learn. You have to experience it.” Transitioning into a leadership role changed Carlson as a tech and product person. This change shifted his perspective on the whole process, and he started approaching problems more holistically as compared to an individual contributor.
Carlson helps companies to set up how their design teams should work in the product development life cycle. One of the more challenging parts of Carlson’s role is that every customer has a different culture, working environment, and capabilities, so equipping these teams with the knowledge and structure necessary to collaborate, be productive, and ultimately drive value for their customers is an exciting leadership challenge.
As someone with an entrepreneurial mindset, Carlson enjoys learning and trying new things. “I like being challenged and I like new things. I love trying to understand and work with the new products and technology that are always coming out. That’s one of the best parts about being in tech is that everything changes every few years.” While some people may find this rapid change daunting or difficult to deal with, it’s the opposite for Carlson; the constant change keeps him inspired and motivated. “I'm a creative person and I don't like doing the same things repeatedly. The change helps me stay engaged.”
When asked about the value of a place like Hub101, Carlson says, “What I like most about Hub101 is that there are a lot of people to meet with and talk to from different backgrounds.” This collaborative work environment that a shared space like Hub101 provides enables people to come together, collaborate, overcome obstacles, and celebrate successes. Carlson emphasizes, “I’m surrounded by different people from different areas, but within similar tech worlds, so it's nice to be around those types of things because we can all learn from each other and help each other. I also really like the programming, the events that they put on, and hearing from industry professionals.”
The entrepreneurial journey can be challenging, so it’s important that entrepreneurs surround themselves with people who can motivate them and support them. Carlson’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is ,“You don't need to have all the answers to move forward. Just keep working, and do not let yourself stop.”