We’re very excited to welcome Adam Lee to the Bear Team. He’s a brilliant product designer with serious design chops and deep vertical expertise, having spent time in Kitchener-Waterloo and San Diego at leading SaaS companies, including KIK and Veyo. Adam brings a holistic approach to building functional and beautiful products.
Let’s get to know him!
What appealed to you most about joining Bear?
The people! After every step of the interview process I came away feeling more and more excited about the prospect of working with this team — everyone was super nice and laughed at my jokes 😂 As much as that might sound like a simple-minded reason to join a company, if I’ve learned anything over my career it’s been that culture fit is major key!
What’s your approach to product design?
#RespectTheProcess. When I first heard that phrase, it was basically a meme (about Philadelphia 76ers coach Sam Hinkie’s extremist approach to rebuilding the team), but as I’ve progressed in my career I’ve come to understand process and its importance in a wider context. At its most basic, “the process” means gathering as much information as possible before making a decision — thereby increasing the likelihood of making the correct decision. And regardless of the outcome, a well-tempered process allows you to have confidence that your decisions were as well informed as possible at the time you made them. Once I understood that, it became something I apply to all facets of my life.
As it relates to product design, this means treating both the UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) of your product with equal and extensive care. If you aren’t able to respect the process on both of those fronts, your design will suffer. A beautiful product with poor UX will always fall short of its potential and the same is true of the inverse. A thorough process will give you the best chance of nailing both.
From a design standpoint, what’s a product that blows you away?
I love the calendar app Fantastical. When I first started using it, it cost $50 on the App Store and I paid that price with no hesitation. For a calendar app. The combination of an incredibly attractive UI with the ability to create calendar events through natural language (e.g. “CommerceBear interview monday from 10–11a”) has made the app extremely satisfying for me to use over the years.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to new product designers?
Always be open to new ideas and willing to learn. This is, again, something that sounds extremely obvious. Maybe I’m an outlier, but I was horrible at actually doing any of this stuff in practice when I started my career.
For me, this has meant trying to be self-aware of my mistakes, and constantly refining my process to try to address them. For others, I’m sure it will mean something else. Regardless, I’m more confident than ever that there will always be something I can improve at or continue learning about in this profession.
“Always be open to new ideas … there will always be something I can improve at.”
What’s your deep cut online shopping channel of choice?
Any of a wide-range of auction sites — the more obscure, the better (read: cheaper). I have an unhealthy obsession with sports memorabilia, so one example is MLSE’s Raptors auction. Products are listed there sporadically with short auction windows and poor advertising, so it’s relatively easy to win auctions without much competition.
What’s your favourite article of furniture?
I really love the Ikea Poäng, or at least my lumbar does. It’s a chair that I’ve wanted to own since elementary school, and was one of the first things I bought when moved into my own place.
What’s your go-to downtime activity?
Sports. Watching sports. Playing sports. Fantasy sports. Sports betting. Reading sports books. Researching sports. You name it, I’m probably doing it for more sports than I can count. It’s actually kind of surprising I find time for anything else in my life.
Welcome to the team, Adam! Go sports!