Shalin Pei

Shalin Pei

Product Designer at Facebook

Product Designer @ Facebook. Co-founder of Women of Facebook Design. Mentor with XX+UX. Design sprintmaster.

12 action items

Non-design degrees that can benefit you as a designer

    • There's enough resources out there that you can learn design & execution skills on your own. Take advantage of having a teacher and classmates to learn about subjective topics that are best debated between people with differing perspectives. Learn about humanity, so you'll be equipped to make responsible design decisions.

    • Psychology

      To understand humans: how we learn, how habits form, how to make/break addictions, how we bond, what emotional effects our products create, etc. (I was a Psychobiology B.S. with a Specialization in Computing. I still use much of the background today.)... See more

    • Philosophy / Ethics

      I believe Design Ethicists are on the rise, and the same skills we use to pitch our products will soon be used to speculate best/worst case scenarios to help our teams make more ethical and long-term decisions

    • Communication

      This will always come in handy whether you're designing a social product (person:person), you're creating the tone and voice of your product (product:customer), or you're just learning to work better with your team (you:colleagues).

    • Math / Statistics / Logic

      Data-informed design, understanding experiment results, and system design

    • Political Science

      The speed and scale of the internet means a tiny design decision can have huge impacts globally. Learn what considerations are debated when policies are created

    • History & World Cultures

      More often than not, you're not "normal" and it's important to have understanding and empathy for diverse cultures, especially if you plan to scale globally. Basic examples: (1) "thumbs up" is an insult in the Middle East - yet is treated as a universal symbol for "Like" on Facebook, (2) red means "danger" in the US - but means "happiness" in China... See more

    • Sociology / Social Psychology

      To understand groups of humans, especially for any social products or products you plan to scale globally. A lot of the recent problems in social media (i.e. filter bubbles) aren't new concepts to social psychologists. However, the internet made them occur faster in succession, and forced simmering issues to a boiling point which captured the general public's attention. Learn the mechanics so you can identify these early.... See more

Know when it’s time to leave your company

    • Every time I change teams or companies, I ask myself these 4 questions. If any of them are unmet, I evaluate if it's something I can change. If I've done everything I can do and the path forward doesn't look promising, then I start to look for an opportunity that will meet these needs.

    • Do you believe in the mission?

      Does the project align with your personal values? Is this a space you care deeply about, can empathize with, and have an opinion on? Will you be proud to tell your friends and family about what you do?

    • Do you like the people?

      Do you like your teammates and can imagine spending 40+ hours a week with them? Do you trust your manager to understand you and have your back? Do you trust leadership and how decisions are made?

    • Do you get to exercise your strengths?

      Do you get to do things that you enjoy? Do you get to do things that you excel at? What do you uniquely bring to the team? Do you know your superpower?

    • Do you have room to grow?

      Are you learning something new - that you want to learn? Will you be rewarded for your hard work? What does personal success look like a year from now?

Calculate your freelance rate

    • "Keep raising until they wince"

      I once met a contracts lawyer turned freelance designer. At design conferences, she would casually mention her rate when she met a new designer, raising the quote each time. When a peer looked surprised or winced, she knew she was starting to overstep a boundary. Her strategy helped her realize what she's worth, and kept her in the top percentile of what she considered a fair range.... See more