by Ryan Spencer | Mar 3

As mentioned in my article last year, I joined YML in its first version (1.0).

At that time, creating mobile apps was our only priority. Since then the company has made many strides (maybe none bigger than Steve Jobs shouting out YML), gaining customer focus, becoming more strategic, and in turn creating exceptional multi-touchpoint experiences. 

When I look back at my career trajectory and personal growth at YML, the decision to leave could not be harder. Every year I look back astonished at all I was able to complete the previous year. In 2019, I worked on a wellness e-commerce website, a robotic surgery experience design (coming 2021), a financial tool for high net worth individuals, as well as a mobile design refresh with a major medical provider (you'll know it when you see it!).

All of this while somehow adding a newborn baby girl to my family. 

YML's co-founder and CTO, Sumit Mehra, meets Ryan's baby at YML's 10 year anniversary celebration.

Every year is a similar story, and as I move into my new product design role at Uber I’ll take with me the diverse challenges and remarkable design opportunities I experienced at YML. Here are a few:

Breadth – Experience design across industries

Working at an agency can be many things, but it certainly is never boring. It’s frenetic and wild a lot of the time, and embedded in that energy is the freedom to grow and master new skills.

At YML in particular I had the opportunity to jump in the ring and say, “Hey, I might be able to figure that out.” YML was my first position immediately post-college, and since then I’ve touched some 100 products in some way.

From finance with PayPal, to retail with The Home Depot, to healthcare with Research Kit, we’ve been able to dig deep into some tough customer and business problems and create some award-winning and industry-defining solutions together.

The people and the work

When interviewing candidates for a position at YML, many of them ask me “What do you love about working here?” and “What keeps you motivated every day?”, and I always had the same answer: the people and the work

From the design team to project management, engineering and executive teams, I can attest to the fact that every person here at YML has been hand-selected due to their talent, perspective, growth-mindset, and ultimately their drive to push us collectively forward. It’s truly a team that supports collaboration, putting the product at the center of their focus rather than internal politics or ego.

Depth – Focus and amplify experience 

I’ve decided to take a position at the largest mobility company that is consistently producing incredible products. My goal is to learn from and work with people who ship some of the most polished products on the market today.

I’m especially eager to hone in on the depths of product iteration cycles, become more intimate with data, and bring new products to life with the amazing talent on their team.

Having been part of a company that’s grown so quickly, it’s hard to say “my work here is done” as there are always new exciting opportunities just around the corner.

But as it’s time to move on, I wanted to pass on some of my personal values that guided me through work at YML and that I’ll bring to my next chapter of professional life.

  • Set the bar high for each other and for yourself. Believe in the power of rapid iteration to push yourself until that art-board feels just right.
  • Be curious. Know that there’s always more to learn about users, business, or technology. Constant curiosity can turn your passive questions into active ideas.
  • Be proactive. Seek out your next project, goal, or opportunity. Don’t wait for it to appear. 
  • Be available. For your team when they need your attention and need time to collaborate. But also to yourself when you need to recharge your creative batteries.
  • Be positive. Through difficult projects or client relationships, we all need to be the light, to take a step back see all deflated, down moments as an opportunity to re-organize and ideate. 
  • Be organized. No one wants to see group 219 in the layers panel. Make the work predictable for yourself and for developers and continue to work smart. 

Thanks to Ashish and Sumit for taking a chance a young guy with no previous experience who was just eager to learn.  

I am excited to see from the sidelines the heights YML reaches — it will always be a big part of who I am and I truly appreciate everyone who’s helped me through this journey.