Fashion, Design & Software

Below is an email I sent to all Benefitfocus associates

Just a quick note to encourage you all to check out Fashion Week in Charleston. It is going on all of this week. We have joined with the Charleston Fashion Week producers and become a corporate sponsor. This is our first year and plan to build our presence in fashion. There are some amazing new designers from the East Coast and Charleston is building a great reputation in the industry. I am sure many of you take in some shopping on King Street and see the ever growing presence of top stores and labels. H&M is building a huge store, coming soon.

The inspiration for great design comes from a lot of places: music, architecture, painting, sculpture, auto design, aircraft design, all sorts of industrial design. There may be no better parallel to software than fashion. The style, pace of change, presentation, brand loyalty (Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Jimmy Choo, and so many more), are so similar to software. The excitement of the new "release", the rapid replacement of the last season, it is all a parallel. 

We are all designers at Benefitfocus. We design our welcome to the building, we design our work area, we design our meetings, our handouts, our demos, our speeches, our release processes, our QA methods, our User Experience. Everyone is designing for our label. 

You are designing for our label.

Therefore, be inspired. And also realize that this business requires a pace. Some people get frustrated by the never ending pace, but when you realize it is just part of the industry, the one we have chosen to participate in, then you can enjoy it. The cycle is hard, no doubt. But the buzz, the presentation, the wow factor- that is awesome. People are intrigued by Benefitfocus. They want something special, and that is what we strive so hard to give them.

Fashion is obviously not exactly the same as software, but as a designer you can take inspiration from it. Go check out what is new at Urban Outfitters, or visit the Apple Store (as much fashion as all the boutiques around it). Have fun listening to music and let your mind go. Check out some new fashions and see how it influences your thinking and design. I am sure you will see the connection and see how looking at things differently, and looking at different things, will unlock your design creativity.