We’re looking for an experienced product designer to join us in building multiple explanation products, initially for children and eventually for all ages. It's important that you are one part design thinker—who takes a problem and explores the broad space of possible solutions—and one part design executor—you love tweaking the smallest details of a final design. It's important that you like working the visual polish, the animations, and the sound effects until they're just right.
We're tackling some complex user experiences with a fresh perspective to try and find novel solutions. For example, we're re-thinking the video player. Every video player on the web & mobile is basically the same, and we think that's a mistake. The biggest innovation in the last decade is skip forwards or backwards by 15 seconds. The industry has reached a local maximum which is optimized for working pretty well with any kind of video, but it can be a lot better for the kind of narrative media we are creating. Oh, and we're also creating an authoring tool for creating narrative media. There is a lot of complexity we need to make simple.
This is primarily a mobile app experience, so we're exploring a lot of transition animations to make an experience which is very tactile. It's a nice plus, although not required, if you have built highly interactive experiences like this, hopefully using a tool like Origami Studio or Framer. Figma has been our main design tool, but we're experiencing it's limitations for the more interactive experiences that we're exploring.
Also, keep in mind that we're designing an experience for children to use. We actually consider it a good thing if you have not designed for children before. Instead, we're looking for someone who has experience designing for consumers generally, but not necessarily for kids. However, it is a plus if you have experience and interest in children. And, since we're a remote company, you'll need to figure out how to get in-person time with children. You'll need to spend time with 3-year-olds and 9-year-olds to get a sense of the differences between those ages. You'll want to put the latest prototype in front of kids and observe with your own eyes what they struggle with.
You’ll be the first person on the team with the actual title of Product Designer—but you’ll work closely with five builders who all get what it takes to make a great product. Everyone on the team is a previous founder. Our two engineers optimize for building a prototype quickly so we can get something in the hands of real customers to test an idea. On our team we have an expert on explaining things to children, our Founding Explainer. He is a continual advocate for making the user experience simpler and not stopping until customers are wow’d. Our CEO, also an expert on children, is the first person to pick up a pencil to storyboard a possible user flow or kick off a brainstorm with the team for how we might solve a problem. And our founding designer is a generalist who has designed famous brands, fashion, marketing, and experiences. He has some experience in product design and will be a thought partner on the design process, but he's looking to collaborate with a product design expert.
Keith, our CEO
Keith was the co-founder and CEO of Mystery Science which sold to Discovery Education in 2020. Mystery was well known for it’s unique go-to-market strategy that many other edtech companies copied. Prior to this, he was a product manager at Facebook, first leading News Feed and then leading Messenger. Keith is an experienced entrepreneur who has started and had exits for multiple companies. As a colleague, he's an engineer, a designer, a growth hacker, who obsesses over creating great products that customers love. He's also a dad with two boys who will soon be customers.
Anand, our Founding Engineer
Anand is a full-stack product engineer. He was previously at Mystery as the growth lead. There, he was instrumental in developing core aspects of the company’s strategy for acquiring customers which contributed it to becoming the most widely used resource in schools across the country. Prior to Mystery, Anand founded three companies including a consumer app company that acquired 20M users. He's a generalist engineer with a special talent for quick solutions to problems and finding creative ways for a product to spread. He's also a dad with one daughter who loves to test our products.
Nick, our Founding Engineer
Nick is also a full-stack product engineer who specializes on the mobile side. He previously founded a company building a collection of iOS and Android apps which acquired more than a million installs. He was also an early engineer at Brightcove with expertise in video and audio. Nick has a strong product sense and with three young children of his own, he's well calibrated on kids.
Doug, our Founding Explainer
Doug was the co-founder and chief of content at Mystery. With a decade of experience designing curriculum, he is an expert on pedagogy and has developed a unique approach to explaining things to children. He also became a national celebrity with children and elementary teachers, known widely as “Mystery Doug”. On our team he's instrumental in shaping our approach to content, explanations, and for keeping us all calibrated on children.
Luke, our Founding Designer
Luke was previously the Creative Director of DesignStudio, a design and national branding agency known for creating brands that consumers love. He’s a design generalist experienced with brands, marketing, events, and even founded a clothing line early in his career, Percival, which is popular in the United Kingdom.
At The Explanation Company, we are setting out to tackle a challenge of enormous size—we’re building out search for children. Children have been left behind by web browsing and we are going to fix this. By making it possible for children independently look up anything they're curious about, we think this will be one the most important tools ever built. Children have already submitted more than a million questions to us, so we know what they're eager for. We are building creation tools for making narrated visual explanations, and we are recruiting a community of explainers to create explanations for every question.
We're a well funded startup so we have the runway to pull this off, but we're early in building the team. Our culture is fast-paced, focused on getting things done. We make big plans, identify the core assumptions in those plans, and take small steps quickly to try and validate those assumptions. The amount of work we need to get done with the small team we have is a little nuts, so we have to find clever shortcuts to pull this off. If you're looking for work-life balance, this isn't the place. At this early stage you'll have a big scope of responsibility, but it also means that things will come up at odd hours and you'll be the go-to person for those.
Our culture is one where the fun of the work comes from solving hard problems with amazingly talented colleagues. If your core motivation is to "work on something that's good for the world", this is not the place for that. That's not our lens so it would be better to find an education or healthcare startup. We are a proud for-profit company, although with a very-long term mindset. We'll achieve our impact by reaching as many children as we can, while generating a healthy profit in the process.
If you're intrigued by the role and the team, we'd love to hear from you!