#LifeChangingConnections with Dan Treasure | More than picture perfect design
Something that is very important to us at Hunt & Co. is sharing the career stories and journeys of the life-changing connections our team make every day. After all, no two career paths are ever the same. Welcome to another Hunt & Co.’s #LifeChangingConnections feature with Product Design industry expert, Dan Treasure.
Dan Treasure is a Brisbane based Product Designer (UI & UX) and Design Workshop Facilitator with over 10 years of professional design experience, working in a variety of industries including PropTech, AdTech, Marketing, Gambling & Entertainment, Not-for-profit, Lotteries, Insurance and more.
An industry friend in the digital space, Account Manager (Technology) Carly Shearman reached out to Dan in June with a fantastic opportunity to join a great company in a role that she knew aligned with his career goals. After a quick turn around of 3 days (not including weekends), Dan was in his new office and enjoying all the exciting highs of starting a new role. We wanted to chat with him about his experience working with Hunt & Co., transitioning from corporate to startup land and professional development advice.
Tell us, how did you end up working in this industry (tech / product)?
At the backend of high school I started to explore different creative industries and eventually landed in sign-writing. After a few years working with vinyl graphics and bulky design programs I decided to pivot and study full-time in Electronic Design and Advertising. After graduating I landed a junior role as a web designer & front-end developer where I stayed for a few years developing my technical and soft skills. From there I traveled overseas where I lived in Scotland and worked as a designer in an internal agency within a large organisation. After 3 years living abroad I returned to Australia where I continued my career as a designer & front-end developer working in a mix of industry’s including lotteries, not-for-profit, marketing, start-ups, gambling & entertainment, real-estate (#proptech) and most recently AdTech. Over the years my role transformed from design & dev to team leadership and then a pivot to specialise in Product & UX Design.
How did you end up in your current role?
Back in late 2020 I was introduced to Adam (the CTO of CitrusAd) and we started talking about the opportunity and what that could look like. As with any successful start-up things were moving fast and the team was busy and as a result the opportunity went cold, but we remained in touch throughout the period. I attended a ProductTank hosted by CitrusAd in May; and the spark was reignited.
What is it about your current role that made you transition?
For me it was a combination of learning a new challenging category and getting the opportunity to lead the product design team in a scaling start-up. CitrusAd has had huge success both locally and internationally and I was excited to join the team and be a part of the journey.
How did you enjoy your experience overall working with Hunt & Co.?
I found the team, especially Carly, to be really great to work with. The turn-around time for the opportunity was pretty tight but Carly always made herself available and answered (or got answers) to all of my questions even while she was attending functions!
What is the best career advice you have ever received?
Keep Going! No matter what set-backs you experience or challenges you’re confronted with, or self-doubt you have about your own capabilities – keep going. Keep learning, keep improving, keep refining your skills.
What is one tip or word of advice you would give to someone looking for a new role?
Know what you’re looking for. Invest some time researching companies you like to understand what they are doing, who is on their team and what opportunities they’re currently advertising for. Be proactive – don’t just wait for that opportunity to come to you but also be genuine with how and who you engage and connect with.
What is one thing you wish everyone knew about your role?
‘Product Design’ isn’t just about creating pixel-perfect designs and interactive prototypes. There’s a lot of work that goes into understanding the problem from the user & business perspective. This could include research, conducting user interviews, analysing data & analytics, reading support tickets and watching recordings of users interacting with your product.
Something I think is really awesome about your career is that you have worked for both large organisations like LGAQ, Ladbrokes and CBRE but also had a successful career in startup land at IMANI, Simple and now CitrusAd. What character traits or soft skills do you think someone needs to be able to adapt to those vastly different environments?
Throughout my career I’ve been lucky to have worked in start-ups and more established companies where I’ve had great experiences and challenges in both environments. I think there’s a lot of value in being able to recognise when to move fast – when the feature or product needs to be shipped and out the door – and when to take a bit more time to ensure you’re building the right thing, the right way. Something else I’ve learnt over the years is to ask a lot of questions. As designers, we like to think we can come up with the right solution every time and it can be challenging to put yourself in a vulnerable position by admitting you don’t know all the answers. But by seeking more information from different perspectives you’re going to get a more holistic understanding of the challenge and your solution will be better.
For the Product Designers reading this that want to take the next step in their career – what’s the best professional development advice do you have for them? Is there a specific course, meetup, podcast or mentor you’d recommend?
I have always adopted a continuous learning mindset – if there’s a recommended book, audible or webinar – I’ll read it or watch it. If there’s an opportunity to take a course or complete a certification I’ll do it even if it doesn’t directly relate to my field of expertise. Several years ago I completed a Cert IV in TAE (training and assessment) and a Diploma of Project Management. The TAE helped me develop my soft skills and taught me how to adapt my delivery (training, presentations, facilitation etc.) to my audience and the Diploma of Project Management helped me develop my business skills with the ability to manage expectations and prioritise jobs to be done.
More specifically, one of the best investments I made in my professional development was workshop facilitation. A few years ago I read Sprint by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky which was a concept that I instantly took a liking to. From there I found a podcast featuring Jake Knapp and Jonathan Courtney from AJ&Smart (15% design and 85% gandalf). Which then led me to the content that AJ&Smart have produced for workshop facilitation. For any product designer looking to invest in themselves I would strongly recommend looking up the content and material by AJ&Smart!
Thanks so much to Dan Treasure for chatting to us. This shows such a fantastic insight into the world of Product Design! Don’t forget to connect with Dan on LinkedIn.