"I hate all new Yahoos"
When someone gets hired by Google/Yahoo/Microsoft/Apple it is because they are really a top designer in their field. The interview process is rigorous and, in most cases, the standards are extremely high. The experience is a little like being the smartest senior in your local high school and getting into a great college. You show up to find that everyone is just as smart as you except they've all been there longer.
I watched almost every new designer go through the process of feeling smarter than everyone, like they came to teach the company all about good design, then getting severely beaten down.
It came for me when I was working on a joint project between Yahoo Mobile and Yahoo Local. We were all in a meeting and I was the youngest/newest/least experienced person there. I was telling the room why they should listed to me. The meeting was contentious, and one of the more senior people openly challenged me on something specific to Mobile development*. I said "I know about this because I've done it before. I worked at Vodafone for 3 years, and we always did it this way." His response? "I was head of Mobile at Microsoft for 15 years."
That day I graduated from the hated class of New Yahoos.
Some things I learned from the experience:
- If you have to tell someone about your reputation then it isn't a reputation.
- Years of experience don't mean a thing, especially when the numbers are anywhere close to 3. I feel like it starts to have meaning around 10 years, but I probably think that because I have about 10 years experience.
- Never cite your education when trying to sell your design. You might be talking to a college dropout (like me) or someone who was a professor when you were a student.
- Be prepared to back up every assertion with some sort of data. If you can't back it up, start by saying "I can't back this up, but..."
- Stop arguing the second you know you've lost. Chances are everyone else will know before you, and if you keep selling you're point you'll look like a loser. When bested you should immediately switch to your opponent's side. You can always try to change their mind later on over a game of air hockey.