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Dylan Field live at Config: Intuition, simplicity, and the future of design

Dylan Field live at Config: Intuition, simplicity, and the future of design


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Dylan Field is the co-founder and CEO of Figma, the collaborative design platform that has revolutionized how product teams work. In my first-ever live podcast, recorded at Figma Config, Dylan and I dig into:

  • How intuition and product taste drive Dylan’s decision-making

  • The challenge of keeping things simple

  • Dylan’s thoughts on the future of product management

  • Lessons from Figma’s early days

  • How Figma built their initial user base

  • Dylan’s journey from intern to CEO of a 1,000+-person company

  • The future of design tools and AI

Listen now on Apple, Spotify, and YouTube.

Find the transcript at: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/dylan-field-live-at-config

Some takeaways:

  1. Figma took 3.5 years to launch their initial product, and despite their success, Dylan says this was “way too long. Don’t do that.” He recommends following the common advice to ship and get feedback quickly and says there are three things that you get to pick two of: quality, features, and deadline.

  2. Intuition should play a significant role in product development, but it should be viewed as a hypothesis generator rather than the final word. Treat intuitions like ideas: discuss and test them with data, then refine them into solid plans that everyone agrees on. This way, you can make better decisions and move ahead confidently.

  3. The best product managers deliver outcomes and “bring everyone along with them.” They put everyone in a shared headspace around what they’re doing and create an environment where people are happy after hitting milestones. Product management falls down when it’s too focused on process, at the expense of focus on the problems a team is solving.

  4. Aim for a “minimally awesome product” when launching new features or products. This means balancing feature completeness with a high enough quality to meet user expectations.

Where to find Dylan Field:

• X: https://x.com/zoink

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dylanfield/

Where to find Lenny:

• Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

• X: https://twitter.com/lennysan

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/

In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) Introduction

(01:11) Welcoming Dylan Field

(02:36) Highlights and surprises from Config

(06:58) The philosophy of design

(08:01) Raccoon feet and muffin hands

(09:57) Building and refining intuition and product taste

(12:50) How to influence leadership

(16:14) The role of product managers

(21:12) The future of product management

(22:20) The importance of simplicity in design

(26:10) The long road to Figma’s launch

(27:44) Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs

(29:07) Knowing when it’s time to ship

(30:39) Early user acquisition strategies

(35:50) Spotting trends and future innovations

(39:20) Reflections on leadership and growth

(43:16) Lightning round


• Mihika Kapoor on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mihikakapoor/

• Rick Rubin on the Creative Act—60 Minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sE1teB5bN-w

• Figma pages: https://help.figma.com/hc/en-us/articles/360038511293-Create-and-manage-pages

• Leading through uncertainty: A design-led company—Brian Chesky (Config 2023): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dkfijg7s76o

• An inside look at how Figma builds product | Yuhki Yamashita (CPO of Figma): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/an-inside-look-at-how-figma-builds

• Vision, conviction, and hype: How to build 0 to 1 inside a company | Mihika Kapoor (Product at Figma): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/vision-conviction-hype-mihika-kapoor

• An inside look at Figma’s unique GTM motion | Claire Butler (first GTM hire): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/an-inside-look-at-figmas-unique-bottom

• Zigging vs. zagging: How HubSpot built a $30B company | Dharmesh Shah (co-founder/CTO): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/lessons-from-30-years-of-building

• Nadia Singer on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nadiasinger/

• Sho Kuwamoto on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shokuwamoto/

• FigJam: https://www.figma.com/figjam/

• Tim Van Damme on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tim-van-damme-maxvoltar/

• Coda: https://coda.io/

• Shishir Mehrotra on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shishirmehrotra/

• Websim: https://websim.ai/

• eToys.com commercial (from Dylan’s childhood acting career): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3Y92aCmmbU

Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.

Lenny may be an investor in the companies discussed.

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