Brought up among the peaceful pastures of Indiana, and now living in the dense and diverse state of New Jersey, you may be able to spot him in the eye-hurting hours of early morning heading towards the beach with his board and riding the waves. During the daytime, Dan Hymson is United Virtualities’ Production Director, leading the efforts on complex UX, design and development projects.
So Dan, have you lived anywhere else in the world?
I lived in France for three years as a kid, and during that time, I had traveled to 11 countries but hardly remember anything because I was just a kid, and only cared about my Game Boy.
What was your first role at UV and what are you doing now?
Well I first joined UV in March of 2017, and during the first week, we actually didn’t even have concrete names for roles, because I joined as we were going through a big rebranding process as a company. So it wasn’t for a few weeks until I officially had the title Production Director.
Do you have a secret behind doing great work?
My number one secret — well, not such a secret because I try to get everyone to do it — is to always have quick access to a task list. Whether it’s a notepad, or Google Keep, or laptop stickies, as soon as you hear of something that you or someone else needs to do, write it down immediately, in the moment. This is my way of never forgetting to do anything. And I actually love it, like at an OCD level checking things off (at least for work). In my personal life, you wouldn’t catch me with a to-do list.
Can you share a tip or trick for getting clients to love working with you?
A big part of my role is working directly with clients. The biggest compliment I can ever hear from a client is “you get it.” When we show clients that we know their business, we understand it, and we understand why their goals are what they are, they put more trust in us, especially when we tell them a different idea from what they came to us with.
My goal is to become as much of an expert in their business as possible, to help them make the right UX/design and technical decisions. So when they say “oh good, you get it,” that means I did my job — well at least part of it. The other part is then getting them to do the project, then making sure we deliver it on time and on budget, and that they stay happy throughout the entire process and want to keep working with us after. So there’s that as well. 🙂
Do you have a non-work passion or obsession?
I’m super passionate about surfing. I don’t get to do it as much anymore, now that I have two kids, but it’s still something that is extremely important to me. Not just from an activity standpoint, but there is also the spiritual nature of it. Being out there on the water. Taking something that nature gives you and seeing what you can do with it. I used to live right on the beach. At 5am, when there’s only a few people out, and it’s still a little chilly and super foggy (we call it dawn patrol): that is probably the best thing ever.
What do you love most about your job?
I really enjoy being part of the production management side of things because it allows me to get involved in every aspect of a project or process. I’m not stuck doing UX or design or code all day. I actually get to be fully involved in every department and delivery throughout the entire lifecycle.
The fact that on one call I could have representatives from different departments, spanning five different countries, is incredible. It really opened my eyes also to how effective working remotely can be — since we have been mostly working remotely even before the Covid-19 pandemic. We have a few offices of course, but having worked at the big NYC agencies that put so much emphasis on being in the office, sitting right next to people, I realized that it just wasn’t true. You don’t need that. All you need is people who know how to communicate and how to get work done using the technology we all have, such as video conferencing, digital whiteboards, Google docs. It’s all there!
Can you share your favorite work-related meme?
Do you have a space where inspiration flows easier?
I actually used to be a musician, so my home office is designed to look and feel more like a music studio. If I hit the wall (thinking wise) it’s easy to just slide back the chair and pick up the guitar for five minutes and reset. Sometimes ideas for work come to me when I simply slide back and stop thinking so hard about it. I also have recently gotten more into yard work, so my garage is becoming more and more a place I like to go to try and make things out of wood from the trees.
Do you have any advice for future UVers who want to work with us?
We want people who are interested in learning more about our clients’ businesses and finding ways, through technology, to improve their business processes and achieve their goals. If you are someone who constantly wants to avoid saying “no” and instead find alternatives that allow us to say “yes” we want to talk to you, then you are the type of person that we go after.
Are you a big social media user?
I’m not really a big fan of social media. I sort of quit it about two years ago and hardly ever check it, let alone post anything. But I use LinkedIn a lot, but mostly for work and connections. You can connect with me on LinkedIn here.