APR 2017 – MAY 2019

CXO at Find Your Grind

I joined FYG as employee #1 to bring the founders' vision to life: a game-changing self- and career-discovery platform.


When I joined Find Your Grind in April 2017, the founders wanted to take Mike Smith's speaking on self- and career-discovery and bottle it up into something to leave behind with eager teachers. Educators were begging Mike for ways to bring the real world into the classroom.

That's where I stepped in: to bring that vision to life.

Initial Research

I interviewed five students and five teachers using Jobs-to-be-done as a rough framework, just poking and prodding around the angst that everyone feels in the "what am I supposed to do with my life" space. For teachers, it was more around "how am I supposed to help these kids figure all this out".

I transcribed each interview and pulled insights into a summary report for the founders, identifying key opportunities I saw in the space. I pulled out choice quotes to support my arguments so they didn't have to read all the transcripts.

Four Forces Diagram - Educator
Four Forces Diagram - Student
The JTBD 'four forces' diagrams from our initial research

Some of the key opportunities I identified for students:

Some of the key opportunities I identified for teachers**:**

Initial Wireframe Prototype

I used the research to inform an initial prototype that I demoed to the team remotely via video. You can watch it below (password fyg) or play with the original Marvel prototype here.

A video walkthrough (password is fyg) of our first wireframe prototype, recorded for our team.

Launching the Website

As a team, we decided to focus first on building a website full of quality career content to establish our credibility in the education space. I made typical startup decisions in choosing our technology, landing on Craft CMS to drive the (largely content-based) website while looking to our e-commerce and e-learning future. I got to work designing and coding after gathering some initial brand direction from the CEO. We were able to get the first version of the website up in a couple months.

Early Find Your Grind Mockup
An early mockup of the website

The Curriculum

We next turned our attention to building a digital curriculum product for high schools. I worked closely with a curriculum writer and the leaders at the company to launch the product over the next few months. We gathered a small group of pilot/beta testers to continuously give feedback on the product and publicly launched in early 2018.

In addition to the customer-facing UX, I built a complex ecommerce solution to handle the complicated purchasing flow that schools go through (requesting quotes, sending POs, mailing checks) as well as user and sub-user licensing.

Find Your Grind Curriculum Screenshot
The Find Your Grind Curriculum Overview
Find Your Grind Curriculum Screenshot
The Find Your Grind Curriculum Lesson Detail

Design System

I developed a design system at Find Your Grind to enable us to move quickly while maintaining design cohesiveness. The entire site was built out of versatile, adaptive, and reusable components documented in a living style guide.

Find Your Grind Design System Components
Components from the Find Your Grind design system
Find Your Grind Style Guide
A snapshot of the living style guide

The Assessment

While the FYG Curriculum utilized several widely available assessments or personality profiles, we knew from the beginning that we wanted to create our own to match people with our Lifestyles. I worked with our curriculum writer to craft an engaging way for our student users to start their journey on Find Your Grind.

In true startup fashion, I also wore a few other hats for Find Your Grind, including being the defacto IT guy (I wrote my first computer security policy!) and sometimes video producer/editor.

Note: I didn't handle the brand for Find Your Grind. Because we were such a small team, our creative-minded CEO took ownership of the brand, logo, and marketing.