Snowplow Spotlight: Mike Jongbloet
Mike Jongbloet – Product Designer
How would you describe what you do in a nutshell?
Broadly speaking, my role is to shape and better understand the problem(s) we’re solving for our customers, to work with the wider team to create and design solutions to those problems, and then to work with engineering to deliver those solutions. In reality this is a combination of many things like running customer research, workshopping ideas with other teams, thinking through user journeys, designing screens and flows, usability testing and working with engineers during development.
What does an average day look like for you?
Every day is a little bit different! Some days are focused on learning and gathering information to help shape problems with internal stakeholders and customers, others can be a few hours of getting my head down to solve problems, and other can be about perfecting the design of screens and user flows ready for development. That’s part of the thing I love about my job is how wide-ranging it is and how different it can be day to day and week to week.
How did you get to do what you are doing?
I started my career in a designer/developer role at an agency. I then moved to a large healthcare device manufacturer, where I was a user experience & design team of one in an organization of over 7,000 – it was pretty daunting but taught me a lot! I then went back to the agency world where I helped grow the user experience function and ended up leading the design team and holding a leadership role for the agency – this was also a real learning opportunity as I wasn’t solely focused on design, but also in the day-to-day running and expansion of a successful, growing business. And then I landed at Snowplow!
One of the most interesting things for me when I look back over ten years is the variety of what I’ve been involved in. Everything from writing code to running strategic blueprinting sessions with leadership teams, and from building design systems to pitching for new projects. That broad experience has given me a lot of flexibility and skills that I might not otherwise have gained.
How does working for Snowplow compare to previous roles?
In terms of the experience of working for the company it compares very well! In my last company I was lucky to be able to help shape the culture to make it a great company to work for and I built a lot of great friendships there. So I was really pleased to discover that Snowplow is just as great of a place to work; from the autonomy and trust I’m given to execute in my role, to the great people that I get to work and engage with.
Personally, from a role perspective I’ve made an interesting career move where I’ve stepped back from a leadership and management role to being an individual contributor, and honestly I’ve loved it. I’m still able to have the impact I want to have, but I spend the majority of my time focused on doing the things I love doing. And as Snowplow is fairly flat in the decision-making hierarchy I still get to discuss and help shape a lot of the strategic decisions we’re making in Product so it’s the best of both worlds.
What has kept you motivated throughout the pandemic and lockdown?
As well as dealing with the pandemic, the last year has been pretty tough for a number of personal reasons so I’ve had to work hard to stay motivated and keep my spirits up (it’s worth noting that Snowplow has been extremely supportive throughout!). Fortunately, we had our first child in December 2019 so seeing Amelie grow over the first 12-months of her life has brought plenty of positivity and happiness and kept me very motivated!
Aside from that I’m a big sports fan so I’m pleased that sports like football, american football and baseball are all still being played (even with empty stadiums) as that keeps me entertained and is something to look forward to week-to-week. And I spent the summer lockdown period building things in my spare time for my daughter to enjoy next year like a sandpit, outdoor kitchen and water wall!
How do you make the most out of remote working?
Remote working, combined with the autonomy in the job and the trust we’re given just offers a lot of flexibility when it’s needed. If I’m stuck or struggling with a hard problem, sometimes I’ll just take ten minutes and go and do a chore or sit in the garden or play with Amelie and it’ll help me come back refreshed. It also means I get an hour back in the day where I might otherwise have been commuting which is invaluable!
What are you most looking forward to this year?
From a work perspective we’re working on some really exciting initiatives and I’m looking forward to seeing how they land and then iterating on them as we learn more! Perhaps in Autumn we’ll even be able to have an in-person away week again – that would be amazing as so many people have joined since the last away week I attended in May 2019!
From a personal perspective I’m hoping the world can get back to some form of normality, I think we all need it, I know I do! I’m looking forward to being back in the stands at a football match, spending an afternoon in a beer garden with mates, and being able to see family freely without restrictions!
If you could see yourself working alongside Mike in the Product Team, head over to our careers page and get in touch today.