5 Takeaways from My First Week at Framer
I got more than a new job in my first few days at Framer. Learn what it‘s like to work for the company driving the future of interactive design.
Framer helps people build great products by making interactive design accessible. It enables anyone to build scalable design systems, model complex user flows, and work with real data they’d use in the wild. Put simply, it lets people design not only the way something looks but the way it feels.
I believe in that mission and the people behind it enough that I bet on a trans-Atlantic move from Boulder, Colorado, USA to join the team here in Amsterdam as the new CRM marketing manager. Everything I experienced during my first week at Framer said that it was the right bet. Here’s why.
1. Be your own customer
You can’t improve a product tomorrow if you don’t understand how it works (or doesn’t work) today. It’s not enough to walk an imaginary mile in someone else’s shoes; you have to spend the time doing the thing yourself.
My assignment for week one at Framer was simple: listen, learn, and build something. I spent most of my time collaborating on a prototype with fellow newbies, engineers Ed and Lennart. Working together meant we got to lean on each other’s strengths and troubleshoot issues together. Added bonus: friends from day one.
Learning to use Framer in a real-world application was a highlight. But the realization that came with it—that Framer was an ideal tool for scaling email design and making my job fundamentally easier—was an absolute delight.
2. Work in different ways
After we shared our week one prototype, founders Koen and Jorn encouraged us to keep going, to use Framer in unexpected ways, to get creative, and to poke holes in things that could improve. Koen and his partner are designing the floor plan for their home in Framer. I‘m planning to ditch the slide deck for my next conference talk to see what I can build in Framer instead.
We don’t just talk about communities of makers here at Framer. We get to be makers too.
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3. Build a community
The Framer team is Dutch, Swedish, Malaysian, American, Italian, Argentinian, and Korean, among others. Operating with so many perspectives enables us to meet many different needs; it’s a major asset in serving a global market of designers, developers, and product teams.
Conversations on cultural differences come up often—always with curiosity, kindness, and a healthy sense of humor. Those have been a highlight. Shared docs like Where to Buy Furniture in NL and Amsterdam Food and Drinks remind me that I have heaps of Framer folks to lean on as I learn to live in a brand new country.
The Framer community isn’t limited to the office, though. Users on Slack, Twitter, Facebook, and Spectrum help us understand what’s working well and what we can do better in the product. Stories from support calls, user testing, and the broad design community are frequent topics of conversation among employees.
Our social media policy starts with, “Support, encourage, and champion the community.” Dig in deeper and you see guiding principles like, “Listen before you talk.” and “If you respond to a problem, own it.” Yes, yes, and yes.
A little more humanness on social media goes a long way in building relationships with your community. (Social media strategy aside, we could all do with a bit more humanness generally, right?)
It’s our job to support designers and developers. We can’t do that job if we haven’t fostered real relationships with them.
From left to right: Framer’s newest team members, Kait Creamer, Lennart Paasse, and Ed Mortlock.
4. Set clear expectations
My Q1 goals map right back to business goals. Marketing metrics extend further than just click or bounce rates. Success here is using data to show that we’re positively impacting our customers—not just arbitrary numbers. Because there’s no ambiguity, I can make better decisions that contribute to long-term success rather than guessing at what actually matters.
For big-picture stuff like the Framer vision, market, and values, I can reference the team Wiki. Framer folks have added helpful reading and references on the design and development communities we serve. For day-to-day things like communication standards, working norms, benefits, and company updates, I’ll go to the HR and Operations Guide.
I don’t subscribe to the belief that everything needs process and documentation. That said, clear is kind. Empowering new hires with documented institutional knowledge and values means they can contribute meaningfully early on.
5. Make haste, slowly
Festina lente —more haste, less speed. I’d heard the phrase prior to joining the Framer team, but I’m not sure I’d ever seen it on a company’s Values page before.
In the tech world, a place traditionally crowded with failing fast, side hustles, and boundless can’t-stop-won’t-stop energy, festina lente is unusual. It’s also incredibly important—particularly in a space as personal and as human as design. Take the time to understand problems and you can iterate on solutions as you work through them. Nothing is ever perfect, but work that is both quick and informed is effective.
Naturally, I’m thrilled to be at Framer because we make a really cool product. Doubly so because of the smart, talented, and compassionate people I get to call my co-workers.
I feel grateful for the chance to contribute to a community that’s shaped my career. I’m excited about what Framer is today and what it will be in the proverbial tomorrow. For now, though, I plan to listen, learn, and make haste in giving back to an industry I believe in.
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