Millennial Perspective: Billy Sweetman
Thursday, July 14, 2016 - Joe Kiedinger
Earlier this month we kicked-off our Millennial spotlight by featuring a Q&A with Katie Braun. Katie is an Account Executive at Element Creative who offered her perspective and insight into what it means to be a Millennial in a professional work environment. If you missed it, be sure to check it out!
This time around we’ve connected with Billy Sweetman of Zymo Interactive. Billy has been working in creative technology for more than 8 years. He started as a game artist / designer at Frozen Codebase and now is a product designer at Zymo Interactive. He enjoys spending time with his wife, being outdoors, and exploring new design and interactive ideas using mobile technology in his free time. Here is what he had to say:
Q: What has been your most satisfying professional experience thus far, why?
A: Working at Zymo Interactive. I’ve been in a lot of different creative tech roles but here I’m really allowed to explore design ideas and push myself to go beyond the norm. The team here is amazing, everyone is super cool and eager to make amazing interactive technology like mobile apps or cool custom solutions – we even have some guys messing around with VR stuff in their free time. I think the culture at the company really makes it a rewarding place to be and our awesome clients who are willing to try out new approaches and really explore the options we have together.
Q: A common stereotype is that Millennials are “easily sidetracked by technology“. Yet, you have built a career with technology, creating solutions for businesses. Have you perpetuated or debunked the stereotype with your career?
A: Oh that’s a hard one, I’d lean on the debunked side, hopefully. I’m on my phone a lot but it’s really to keep up to date with current design trends and keep in touch with communities and other designers we’d never get to talk to in the greater Green Bay area. Twitter, Instagram, and things like Slack really opens up the communication lines to some of the most talented designers and developers out there and they’re willing to take a look at your work and offer some great feedback. Things like Medium and Dribbble allow you to stay on top of new trends or up and coming trends. I mean, technology changes so incredibly fast and I try to stay on top of what’s current and what’s trending because you can really start to understand people better and what they want out of software and then start to apply that to what we’re building.
Q: What percentage of the employees at Zymo are Millennials. What advantages does this give your company?
A: I’d say about 50% – ish. We’re still a very young group and we’ve hired some brilliant interns who just graduated college and high school. I think this keeps us a bit more relaxed when it comes to our day to day but still feel like we need to prove ourselves as a group. We’re a younger group of developers and we’re a newer development studio in the area. We really want to show people that we can make them great mobile apps or custom technology solutions and we really focus on their users, customers and business. Not just a spec sheet. I think this unique approach is inherent with millennials and starting to become the norm for all development studios which is good for everyone.
Q: What’s your advice to other Millennials who are looking to make a difference in the workplace?
A: Keep hustling! The stereotypes are out there but for the most part they’re not true and that will need to be proven. Find what you really care about in every project and make it the best it possibly can be. Don’t ever stop being curious and have a ton of fun side projects going. These allow you to expand your horizons and will really show your passion and make you a better designer and developer. Also don’t forget to recharge. I know we can tend to be 100% heads down all the time. Take a break once in awhile and get outside and spend time with family and friends, you’ll be amazed at what can inspire you.
We greatly appreciate Billy’s willingness to humor us as we continue our Millennial journey. Watch for another Millennial interview soon!