Today I’m thrilled to announce that Paul Adams has joined Intercom as Head of Product Design.
You’ll find lots about his background elsewhere, but in summary: He helped design Dyson vacuums. He helped design Gmail, YouTube, Google+ and so many other Google properties—his name is on the patents behind the Circles concepts. At Facebook, he has helped their very biggest customers, like Nike and Procter & Gamble, design experiences to help them connect with their customers on the Facebook platform. He is the author of a very famous presentation that foretold much of the social innovations we’re only seeing come to fruition today, and of bestseller Grouped. From my perspective, he’s the leading name in Social Design, a still-emerging field that is fundamentally relevant to the Intercom challenge. Because ultimately our job is helping our customers connect with theirs.
When Des and I first met Paul about 5 years ago in San Francisco, we knew we wanted to work with him. Hiring him was a laughable idea back then when we were running our tiny consulting firm Contrast—but I still suggested to Des that we might try. (I never actually had the balls to.) Paul has been a hero of both of ours for many, many years. Some people make you comfortable enough to openly dream about the future and will share and then expand upon those dreams. Others are smart enough to synthesize those ideas and execute on them to turn them into reality. Paul is both of these people in one.
I’ve always felt that the best way to build a great team, is to build a great team. Great people want to work with great people. You can pay over the odds, motivate people around an ambitious mission, and give them interesting problems to solve. But in the technology industry, there are many companies offering these things. However, your people will always be unique. Not copyable. Proprietary, if you will. Personal relationships bind teams together through thick and thin. They are something real to invest in that everyone has an inherent sense will be valued until the day they die—and certainly much longer than the timeframe our industry usually operates in where companies are founded, funded, folded or acquired in a blink of an eye.
Making your great team greater requires you pull in some truly special individuals from time to time. And sometimes that takes 5 years. As Head of Product Design, Paul’s job will be to build one of the greatest software design teams in the world, and with them to bring the Intercom dream to reality. Welcome, Paul!