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In Pitching Projects and Products to Executives, author Dane Howard interviews executives and product managers from renowned design firms and corporations like Google, Apple, and Adobe, who share their insider take on how to effectively move projects and product ideas forward. Video and multimedia producer Richard Koci Hernandez weaves the interviews together into a captivating visual narrative. The soft skills course shows the practical techniques, processes, and communication styles employed to sell to executives more effectively, and to bring ideas to life.
(Music playing.) Dane Howard: There is nothing better than witnessing someone in the room that absolutely believes the material they are talking about. Their sheer conviction and enthusiasm infects those around them. The emotional position, aligned with some compelling arguments, always seems to win the day. If nothing else, your passion is going to be that North Star, and ultimately a blessing for those projects that come along and strike you with that feeling that you just have to do this.
This passion is always going to be the lightning rod for you getting those things done. Michael Gough: Really, really strong designers, and by strong, I mean ones that contribute the most--essentially get the most stuff built--focus mostly on just that: getting something made. When I am trying to decide how to choose a designer, to hire one over another, or to pick one project over another, I am always going to lean towards the people that could not stop doing that work.
They are so obsessed by that. Let's say, here at Adobe, I say that project is not green lighted; it's not going forward. They would still have to do it. They would sneak out and do it. They would do it on their own time. They would conspire against me to get other people to do it. They just feel it in their blood, that it has to be done. I think that can be taught, that kind of obsessive need to imagine and realize-- and realize is really important-- imagine and realize these things, that's what it takes. That's really what it takes.
Rob Girling: So I've got a story about how prototyping was sort of, early in my career, this great sort of way for me to communicate all of my pent-up ambition and sort of desire for change at Microsoft. So in my weekends and late at night, I pulled together a prototype of what I thought to be the future of Office and Windows. The prototype, I showed to my boss. He went down the corridor and showed it to his boss, and he went to Bill Gates and showed it to Bill Gates, and this prototype suddenly got this life of its own.
I was invited immediately to an off site. I was fresh out of college and had no idea of what was going on. I roll up, and there is the entire leadership of Microsoft and me, and I had to do my demo. The next week I was on stage at the company meeting, presenting to the entire company this prototype. It just had a life of its own. It's just sort of a--just this ridiculous story of how just some late nights working on a prototype sort of had a reward that was completely unplanned and unprecedented. And it really became a catalyst for a lot of kind of momentum in the next few feature releases.
So it was a very exciting time. I can imagine a small-town designer sort of thrust into the chaos of Microsoft. It was cool. The output of that prototype was really the sort of fulcrum for change in terms of how design was perceived at Microsoft, and it went from being icons and palette choices to a real sort of force for thinking big about how the products could be.
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