Meet the Frankie: David Hong, Senior Experience Designer

Tell us about your career journey to date and what led you to FrankieOne.

I began my career as a graphic designer, working with a record label and a studio primarily serving the music and entertainment industry.  I worked on a wide range of projects from designing band posters, DVD covers, festival artwork and branding pieces. I considered myself fortunate to be working in an industry I was passionate about and had the privilege of meeting some remarkable individuals along the way.

About 5.5 years ago I joined Moula. At the time, I was simply curious about how a designer would eventually end up at a company like Spotify or YouTube. So, I decided to challenge myself by joining a tech startup. During my tenure at Moula, I honed my skills in user experience and human-centered design. I was part of a team that heavily relied on data, experimentation, and a strong focus on performance. My journey at Moula eventually led me to a role at Airwallex where I pushed myself to the next level. However, the opportunity to team up with a former colleague and friend presented itself, and that's how I found myself at FrankieOne!

What led you to a role in Design? What does being in your role involve?

One of the things that drew me to design is the balance of creativity and logic. What I particularly enjoy about working in a tech company are the feedback loops that allow for continuous iteration and improvement of a product. With each feedback loop, you get closer to understanding your users and how they think and operate. My day-to-day activities include speaking to customers, analyzing data, wireframing, prototyping, and testing. All of these tasks are essential to ensure that I never lose sight of who I am designing for (the users) and why (the business vision).

What do you love about working at FrankieOne?

It is an exciting time to be part of FrankieOne. The problems we are solving as a team are material for our customers but also for the wider community. I enjoy the challenge of keeping bad actors away and staying one step ahead of fraudulent behaviors. When I engage with customers and hear their positive feedback, it reinforces my belief that we're moving in the right direction as a team and a business.

What are some of your favourite things to do outside of work?

I love to travel and explore this planet. Some of my cherished memories are of me in a new city, immersing myself in an unfamiliar culture and seeing a world in full colour. I am a dedicated Arsenal supporter, and one of my dreams is to attend the North London derby at the Emirates one day. Additionally, I have a passion for collecting records, but these days, I mostly indulge in this hobby during my overseas travels (I make sure record shopping is in my itinerary). I also have a corgi named J.Lo who eats up a lot of my attention and time.

What has been your proudest moment so far at FrankieOne?

My proudest moment at FrankieOne was seeing the transformation in my colleagues' understanding of the importance of design in the product development process. I could see a noticeable difference after their first design share-out session - becoming more actively engaged thereafter and seeing how they’ve contributed to the design.

Initially, at FrankieOne, design was often viewed more as a service rather than an integral part of the team. However, through the implementation of certain rituals and fostering a more collaborative approach, I was able to demonstrate to the team that design isn't just about pixels on a screen.

Do you have any advice for people looking to work at a startup?

Being at a startup is a great experience. It can feel overwhelming at times because there are a thousand things you can do but as a designer, witnessing your work swiftly come to fruition and understanding the impact it has on the business is incredibly rewarding. It can be a bit of a rollercoaster ride so I recommend prioritising ensuring your work aligns to the business’ vision, being customer-focused and open to feedback. This will ensure you do well in a startup environment. 

What was your dream job when you were growing up?

I was one of those people who had a dream job every other week when I was young. It ranged from wanting to be a firefighter to being an F1 car designer or an architect. But if I had to pick one, managing Arsenal would have been the ultimate dream job.

What’s a fun fact that you think people should know?

Steve Jobs initially wasn’t sold on the idea of Apple creating a mobile phone product. In fact, he had a strong dislike for phones. So if it wasn’t for some excellent stakeholder management, the iPhone might not have become a reality