Employee Spotlight: 12 questions with Product Designer Carl Brunson
Another week, another employee spotlight! Today, we sat down to chat with Carl Brunson, our AMAZING Product Designer. Carl has been hard at work enhancing our existing and future products since his start a few months back, and we thank our lucky stars everyday that we have him on our team!
How long have you worked at Verikai?
I started working at Verikai in January 2021.
Where did you grow up and where are you based now?
I was born in Massapequa, New York. My father worked for a defense contractor as a software engineer, so my family moved around a great deal. I’ve lived in: DC/Virginia; Thousand Oaks, CA; Salt Lake City, UT; Miami & Cape Canaveral, FL; Philadelphia, PA; and NYC. I currently live in Austin, TX.
What brought you to the company?
I feel that businesses succeed when they have a defined problem to solve and intelligent/focused leadership. After meeting and talking with Brett, our CTO and co-founder via our initial Zoom conversation, I saw that Verikai had both. I knew then that joining Verikai would be a fantastic opportunity. Being here has continued to solidify that. I’ve been able to make a significant impact, and the whole team moves quickly.
Can you tell us what your job as a Product Designer consists of and what a day in the life is like?
Mostly, my days are spent looking at functional documents and in turn, white-boarding flows (i.e., the steps a user takes to accomplish a task) and designing layouts inside Figma. Additionally, being part of a small startup team means wearing multiple hats. For instance, I often work with Marketing on other design projects, which at a larger company would typically go to a graphic designer. It’s awesome to be part of a team where everyone is passionate about the product. In my role, I am continually thinking of ways our users can consume and connect with our content from both a form and function perspective.
Is the key to being a great product designer to first be great at Art?
It helps to be great at art, but it’s not crucial. A more critical characteristic is breaking down complex problems into chunks of content that users can find easily consumable. A good design, at its core, presents information in a simplified (linear) way. If the consumer is left frustrated, unable to find what they’re looking for or the process takes too long, your design has failed. It should solve a problem efficiently.
What is the hardest part of your job?
The concepts behind how Verikai uses predictive models to provide such accurate insurance underwriting can be complicated. However, the users of our systems should not feel that way. Everyone should be able to use our tools; you shouldn’t need to be a data scientist to find them intuitive. My biggest challenge has been simplifying these concepts for the user. The result has been an overhaul of our Capture reports and the creation of the Marketplace. With these newly designed tools, I’m convinced that Verikai is set to be the best-in-class within design in our industry.
What are you most looking forward to working on in the next year with Verikai?
I look forward to launching our Marketplace. Feedback on the designs has been fantastic! Future iterations will bring even more improvements. However, the responsibilities don’t stop with just the user’s experience in the Marketplace. I’m equally excited about ensuring we have a cohesive user experience across all the touch-points that a user has with us: from the initial contact, to sign up for access to the system, onboarding, and then using the system.
Now a few fun ones…
What do you like to do in your free time during Covid, and non-Covid?
I’m an abstract painter, and I play musical instruments. I’m working on new music that I plan to finish and put out in the coming months. With Covid lockdown and gyms being closed, I ended up buying a Peloton. Also, I dove into some of my “geeky” pleasures, like watching YouTube Dungeons and Dragons adventures and reading science books.
Tell us something that most people don’t know about you?
Two things.. When I was younger, I went to SpaceCamp because I wanted to be an astronaut. Also, my older brother (who is my only sibling) is a TV personality.
Finish this sentence, “Twenty years from now I will have ….
More wisdom and a beach house with a home gym!
If you had to come back in another life as an animal, which animal would you be and why?
Dolphin, because I’d be able to catch waves and hang out in the ocean all day. Also, dolphins are known to be capable of problem-solving similar to humans.
If you become famous and someone who knew you from high school was interviewed and asked to describe you “back then”, what would they say?
He was quiet, loved to draw and play guitar, and always did his own thing.
If you’d like to learn more about Carl, check him out on LinkedIn!