Inside Ople – Tamar Wenocur
AI should be ubiquitous, meaning anyone can use it to their benefit and not be hindered by unnecessary complexity and confusion. Here at Ople, we welcome users of all job types and from any industry to have a convenient and easy-to-use experience. Tamar Wenocur plays a major role in making this happen. Our talented Lead UX Designer is always on the move, often joining and setting up meetings, asking questions or for feedback and going on walks to get her creative juices flowing.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I was initially on track to become either a veterinarian or doctor. However, everything got turned around when I got exposed to design. I took my first graphic design class in high school and really fell in love with it. It was mid-high school when I realized that not only did I have this passion for graphic design, but it was actually something I could make a living doing. I ended up graduating from UC Davis in 2016 with a degree in design and a math minor.
From there, I did a few internships pushing pixels around, which is what you do for a lot of graphic design internships, and came to the conclusion that I wanted something more interdisciplinary. I literally Google-searched one day for design fields related to graphic design and stumbled across UX. At the time, there weren't a lot of resources for people starting out in UX online, but there were a lot of resources for people that had been in the field for many years. Therefore, it was very difficult to figure out what I needed to know at the time and it really was a lot of luck in terms of choosing my classes. After my second half of college, I managed to acquire the right knowledge for the field.
How did you get into AI and data science?
For many years, people have asked me why I took a math minor in college. People who are design majors aren’t necessarily so interested in doing things that involve numbers. I wouldn't say that I sought out data science itself, per se, but I've always looked for the intersection of my math skills and design. Data science happens to combine the two very well, in my opinion.
What attracted you to Ople?
The culture and the honesty within the culture. I think everyone wants to say that they're very honest and open in business, and are able to offer each other difficult feedback or pushback. At Ople, however, this is actually true. We are all working towards making a really great product and don’t let ego or personal affront get in the way. In addition, it is really easy to detect when people say they're honest, versus when they are actually being honest. The people at Ople are always the latter in my experience. We are very up front and not afraid to share ideas and make our opinions heard. Honestly, it’s really empowering to have that creative liberty and it is allowing us to make something amazing.
How has Ople’s culture impacted you as a designer?
I am learning something new, both design- and not design-related every day at Ople. This stems from my co-workers’ willingness to not hold back. If there is something deemed problematic or challenging, we address it right then and there and figure out a solution. Going off that, I always learn why something would need to be improved upon or explored further. In design, people always talk about being able to ask the question ‘why’ five different times in sequence to get to a problem’s root cause. If you can get down to that fifth level, then you really understand what you're talking about.
Especially as a sole designer, it could be very easy to only consider what’s best design-wise with my work. However, it’s the differing opinions and strong team dynamic that keeps me honest and accountable as a designer.
Tell me more about your role as Lead UX Designer.
I work with development, product requirements, on-the-ground work developing features and design layout, as well as design strategy. In general, I try to pick up anything that’s needed both on the high and low level. It can be tricky at times, but really rewarding to see what's happening both presently, as well as in the future, with where we're going as a company with our design strategy. My role is also very cross functional. I'm working with engineering, product and marketing, so that's a ton of places to have your feet in. As a result, I always have a good sense of what's going on across the company and that’s actually my favorite part of my job. I love being able to see different parts of the business, know what's happening on the strategic level and on the implementation level. I am able to appreciate the struggles and importance of everyone's role within the company.
In your opinion, what does the future of AI look like?
I believe it is in line with Pedro’s vision and is going to impact everybody. AI has to be a tool that everyone can use and it can't just be specialized for people that know how to use it. I think that the ubiquity of AI across the business is going to be what makes it the powerful tool that everyone is predicting it to become.
Who motivates you?
Strictly design-speaking, I’ve always looked up to the Nielsen Norman Group, who have been around forever. Also, Jared Spool has an incredible UX mind. He runs design strategy workshops and is a great teacher.
Within the company, Sheri (VP of Marketing) is really amazing. If I could be half as good at what I do as she is now, I would consider myself extremely accomplished. Also, Henry (Marketing Manager) is so multi-disciplinary, which is something I am striving to be.
What do you like to do for fun?
I have been ice skating for as long as I can remember and go to the rink every morning before work. One of these days, I do want to get into competing. It keeps me disciplined and is really motivating.
Favorite TV show, movie or book you’re loving at the moment?
I do love Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for TV. In terms of books, probably Steve Berry’s The Templar Legacy as of late.
A good falafel, and not one where they cheat and put flour in it.
"I attribute my success to this: — I never gave or took an excuse”