Brainfood, Events, Random Musings

Redefining Design with Tristan Walker

A few of us Cutliners recently had the opportunity to hear Tristan Walker, founder and CEO of Walker & Company Brands, speak at an event put on by The Commonwealth Club. The session, Redefining Design, was moderated by John Maeda, global head of computational design and inclusion at Automattic, and provided a fun and lively discussion around how brands are making products that are both visually appealing and highly effective available to all.

As always, The Commonwealth Club delivered! Tristan and John’s discussion was not only incredibly inspiring, but provided a number of valuable, actionable takeaways. Here is a snapshot of what we learned.

This was one of the best talks I’ve attended in recent months -- thank you, Cutline! I think, above all else, my biggest takeaway was related to empathy. More specifically, how critical it is to design empathetic products and hire or partner with truly empathetic people. It’s what makes us human after all. I’m also certain it’s one of the many reasons both Tristan and Walker & Company’s brand are so beloved. It underlines everything they do and stand for -- talk about inspiring!  -- Rachel

Tristan said something during his talk that has honestly changed my perspective. He was discussing when he first started Walker & Company, and how he had these ideas for the products he would sell. First, if you’re not familiar with Bevel razors, you NEED to check them out. Life changer. Although his ideas were truly innovative within the beauty market, particularly for people of color, many investors were hesitant to back his vision. Tristan said, “It was at that time that I realized, folks on the other side of the table might not be smarter than me, they just might not have the context I have.” This has made me really believe in myself, and given me a deeper understanding for others’ viewpoints. -- Shaq

What really stuck with me was Tristan’s philosophy around the phrase “culture fit” and the role a company’s core values can play in reducing individual bias. One of the first things he did when he started Walker & Company Brands was determine the six values he wanted to guide his company: courage, inspiration, respect, judgement, wellness and loyalty. During interviews, candidates are measured against each value; the same goes for performance reviews. In fact, everything Walker & Company does centers back to the values they have at the company. I love this philosophy and it’s an interesting approach to building and maintaining an inclusive company culture. I also am inspired to create my own list of personal guiding values to live my life by. -- Esther

Missed the event? You can check out the full conversation on YouTube. Enjoy!

Esther
Published: Sep 21, 2016

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