In a series of interviews, we want to capture the energy of the moment as we shift to a Virtual First world. We had a chat with Wes to learn how he’s staying creative and navigating the current work–life landscape. Here’s what he had to say:

What do you do?

I'm a product designer, which means I solve problems for people through our product. It happens to be a really fun way to help a lot of people at scale.

I like to consider myself a "pragmatic creative", which is why I chose design. For me, there needs to be a constant back and forth between thinking about constraints but also thinking about new opportunity. If I find myself in one of those modes for too long, I know it's time to switch.

How do you feel right now?

Hopeful for the year! 2020 was obviously a rough one for most of us, but 2021 should definitely be brighter. I’m excited to get back to having lunch with friends and traveling.

In a time of crisis, how do you maintain your creative practice?

A lot of intention. Building great morning and evening routines that are focused on what you need most are key. For me, that means getting some quiet time in the morning, sneaking in a workout, and reviewing my day before I start.

Wes walking with his kids and dog

How has quarantine changed your approach?

To be fair, it hasn't been a foundational change for me because I had been working remotely for about 6 months before quarantine.

What do you think the future of work looks like?

I think it will have to become much more flexible. As we get a more diverse set of people into tech (ethnicity, age, parents, geography) that will inevitable mean that we'll need more and more flexible ways of working together.

Who inspires you right now?

Time with my family (my wife and two kids). Doing walks with them every morning really grounds me and inspires me to push further.

Wes O’Haire family portrait
Wes O’Haire and his family - family portrait by Irene Salgado

Have you found any special moments of humanity during this time of crisis?

I've had a lot more friends and colleagues reach out to just ask how I'm doing. Although we're all socially distanced, in some ways we're more connected. We're no longer taking relationships for granted. This gives me a lot of hope for how life looks like after the pandemic.

What are you listening to or watching?

Recently I've been dusting off the vinyl collection. I've been revisiting the Soulquarian albums, so I'm currently listening to Common's "Like Water for Chocolate". My wife gave me a few Tom Misch albums for Christmas, so those have also been on repeat. As for what I'm watching; it's usually some mix of The Office, horrible TLC reality shows, and Youtube videos about cycling or woodworking.

Wes Vinyl Beat Tape

What is your apartment/workspace like?

We've converted a spare bedroom into a workspace. I've setup my standing desk in one corner, and created a reading/listening nook on the opposite side of the room. I've hung up my shelving unit and that's where I keep all of my books, vinyl, and knick knacks.

Wes O’Haire's Workspace
Image of three books: The Decision Book. The Communication Book. The Question Book.

Have you given yourself a haircut yet?

Yep :) I've shaved my head for a while, so there hasn't been much disruption there.

What local businesses are you supporting?

I'm making sure to order from small mom and pop restaurants when we get food. We need to find ways to support as many of them as we can.

What’s your hope for the future?

My hope is that we all work towards a future where we genuinely try to understand people that don't come from the backgrounds that we come from. This tends to be the root cause of a lot of division. We'll get there, we're just on a long arc.

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