Ben Blumenfeld is a cofounder and general partner of Designer Fund. Previously, Ben was a design lead at Facebook for over 5 years where he helped build products for nearly a billion people and grow Facebook’s world-class design team. He was also the design director at Varien which he helped build into one of the world’s leading e-commerce firms and a designer at CBS where he designed many of their prime time show web experiences.
Design is all about empathy; about making something that works beautifully, that delights. Having it work is not good enough, it has to make things better
Thoughts on Design – Tel Aviv Edition
I’ve spent the past few weeks traveling and working in Israel. I’ve spoken with students, designers, engineers, entrepreneurs, investors and even dignitaries from Nairobi about the importance of design. Below are some insights and ideas this trip has helped crystalize. I would love for you to build on these ideas and add your comments below.
Entrepreneurs as Politicians
I was lucky enough to meet with two entrepreneurs turned politicians in Israel — the Education Minister, Naftali Bennett, and the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat. Bennett started a security startup that he sold in 2005 and Barkat was a founder of an antivirus software company, as well as a successful angel investor. We spoke about ways the government could bring in design and technology, be data-informed, iterate on what’s working, and even use MOOCs to supplement teaching shortages. We also discussed where the private sector was better suited to tackle problems and how they could best work with the private sector.
What if more politicians had tech/entrepreneurial backgrounds?
Would we have better ways to interact with our government and our cities? Could government be more experimental? Leaner? More progressive? Having recently had a friend elected as a BART Director, I believe more people in tech should consider public service as part of their career path and I’d love to see designers and engineers do more to help them get there.