AI Means More Fun
Impressions from Figma's AI event
On February 1st, 2024, I had a unique opportunity to see what builders are cooking up with AI at the Figma HQ in NYC. The event was hosted by a trio of legends from Figma: Mihika Kapoor, Jordan Singer, and Michael Bullington. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to follow them.
But First Books
It was my first time visiting the Figma NYC Headquarters and I was early. Oh yes, it’s as colorful as you’d expect. Upon checking in, I spotted their curated bookshelves and immediately hurried over to scope the selection. That’s when I saw it. A vintage copy of The Elements of Color: A Treatise on the Color System of Johannes Itten. I’ve been meaning to get a copy. It’s a must-have for us color fanatics.
One special detail about the books at Figma is their library check-out sheet located at the end of the book. I love details like this.
AI Fireside Chat
The night was kicked off with an insightful fireside chat between Mihika Kapoor and the VP of Marketing and Design at Replit David Hoang. David shared his thoughts on a wide range of topics spanning from his experience building at Replit to what he looks for when investing in startups. And yes, you bet I took notes. My main takeaway was to go out and play with products and explore what AI can do. Adapt and know that code is the primary material for building the future.
After the event, I had a chance to quickly chat 1:1 with David. I wanted to say hello and express my gratitude for giving a great talk. It was a pleasant surprise to learn that he came from a painting and fine arts background. We talked about the distinction between hand-made and the alternative and his views on how this may lead to what he called boutique software.
Time To Build
Needless to say, the energy and creativity I witnessed in the demos I saw that night at the Figma AI Event have made a huge impact on me. As I sat there taking notes and watching people demo their work, I couldn’t help but think my god all this creativity is insane. If you’re daring enough to imagine, AI is the partner ready to get up and help you build it. In other words, we’ve all got a genius on call waiting for instructions.
The whole night was a reminder of why I moved to New York City. This city is bustling with extraordinary people following their curiosity. Recently, I came across a quote from the TV show Mad Men that perfectly summarizes the thing that distinguishes people who come to New York City. For scene context, Peggy Olsen, a budding copywriter from Brooklyn is about to leave a dinner date that has been ruined by a tasteless remark.
"Those people in Manhattan? They are better than us. Because they want things they haven't seen.”
And that’s the thing. People who build are insanely curious and they build the future because they want things they haven’t seen. Which is what distinguishes us from those who are content with sitting idly by. You know, I believe that night was a reminder for all of us to continue in our pursuit. It was an invitation to go out and play. To revisit what it means to be a designer in the Age of AI. After all, massive paradigm shifts like these, whether we like it or not, have huge ripple effects and those effects can be seen through negative or positive lenses. Always has been this way. So the question is do we belong to the group mourning how things used to be or the set of explorers entering the new portal that’s now opened up? The choice is ours. What future do we wish to see?
Thank you for reading Still Life and I hope you enjoyed it.
Questions for you:
What are your thoughts?
What are your feelings toward new technology?
What is exciting you these days?