Posted on May 10 2017
Paris-based Julie was our very first Wednesday Woman interview back in September 2014. A digital product designer, currently working with TM— a design and innovation firm, Julie has worked on projects for Product Hunt, Sochat, Daily Motion and Deezer, among others. Julie was also co-founder of mobile app Kimd.
Newnham: Julie, so great to talk to you again. Can you tell us what you have been up to since we last spoke?
Delanoy: Lots has changed. First, I stopped working on Kimd, left my job and started working as an independent product designer. After some time, I joined a design firm, TM which I have been working at since September 2015.
Newnham: How do you think the industry, and your work, has evolved since you started in tech back in 2009?
Delanoy: I don't know if the industry has changed or if my vision of it evolved. In 2009, I didn't know how being a woman in tech would be one of the biggest challenges I could face.
My work itself changed for sure. I added more product skills along the way. When I started, I did only visual design; now I'm more of a generalist product designer from branding, UI, UX to product copywriting.
Newnham: What are the most important lessons you have learned so far from your career and side projects?
Delanoy: You can make mistakes, and you can fail. This isn't the end of the world. To know what you want to do, who you are, you have to test. I believe you should never regret a decision you made as it's impossible to know how things would have been if you didn't take that path. Own everything you do. I also learned that I'm quite good at building products... not that much at dealing with the anxiety that comes with being a CEO (at least for now.)
Newnham: You work in both Paris and SF - how do the startup scenes differ?
Delanoy: From my perspective, the difference between Paris and San Francisco's startup scenes are product-related. In Paris, tech people are more focused on the business side when in SF it's more about building a good product. This is why I'm having difficulties working with French companies at this point in my career. Paris still considers product design as a "feature" you can add to your business idea, but rarely as a foundation for a successful company.
Newnham: What are some of the favourite projects you have worked on and why?
Delanoy: Because I pick my projects, I tend to love them all. The only difference is the people I work with. Sochat, for example, is a product I genuinely liked to work on because the team is passionate about what they are doing. The founder is very smart and knows what he is doing, what he wants. Product Hunt is by far the favorite project I worked on this past year. An impressive team focused on making a useful product for their community. They iterate fast; they know making mistakes is part of building a product.
Newnham: When it comes to design, what/who inspires you?
Delanoy: Design isn't a discipline that should focus on itself but be open to the world. I'm inspired by people. Not necessarily designers but people in general. How they live, what they like, how they think. I read a lot, watch lots of different things from movies, animes to TV shows.
Newnham: If you could recommend one woman for us to interview next, who would it be and why?
Delanoy: I'd love to know more about Tara Mann. She's incredibly funny on Twitter and a very talented designer.