Sidebench Talent Spotlight: Jeremy Nolan-Cherry
Where did you grow up and what was it like?
I grew up in a little town in North Carolina called Winston-Salem (home to RJ Reynolds Tobacco and Wake Forest University). Growing up there was pretty chill for the most part. I would always hang out with my core set of friends and we’d either skate or kick it at each other’s houses. Since Winston was pretty centrally located, it was easy to travel to the beach and the mountains depending on the season. When I was younger, our family beach trip to Emerald Isle was always something I looked forward to, after school, during the summer.
Outside of work, what are you irrationally passionate about?
Exploring new towns and neighborhoods between OC and San Diego.
We talk a lot about our jobs being the opportunity to imagine the future and then make it real. What vision do you have for the future and want to make real?
I’ve always wanted to create my own app from the ground up. Not just design it for clout — but truly create something that I believe in and will use. I’ve always told myself not to force it, and to just let the idea come organically. In that vein, I know that whatever comes would be genuine in spirit and effortless in practice.
Not everything we do works and that’s okay. We learn from those things. What is the least successful product or project you’ve contributed to and what did you learn? (No need to mention real names if it’s an issue)
Without getting too specific I remember working on a project that should have lasted a couple months, but was dragged out for roughly half a year. We had all the necessary strategy, wireframes, and sign off from DEV, but the project still kept bloating as time went on. Eventually, we had to bring in an outside party to help realign the MVP and strategy so that we could drag what was left of the project to the finish line (which we did…as painful as it was).
Of all the things that I learned from that experience the most notable was the need to have a clearly defined roadmap/understanding BEFORE we get into any form of hi-fi. If we would’ve had this understanding in the beginning, then we wouldn’t have gone through so many diverging rewrites and iterations towards the end.
How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?” (Borrowed from Tim Ferris’ “Tribe of Mentors”)
I think its given me another lens to view what does and doesn’t work for me as I grow. When I fail, I try to understand the origin of that failure and what lead it to snowball into a full-on L.
As of now I can’t think of a failure from the past that truly shook me to the core. Looking back, I’ll say one thing though — my failures (both big and small) have certainly molded me into a more wellrounded human being and designer.
What’s been the most exciting part about joining Sidebench so far?
Hands-down it would have to be the level of creativity and open-mindedness this place exudes. One might assume that the industries they serve would produce dull work, but you’d be sorely mistaken. I’m continually impressed by the level at which they push creative experimentation, and equally impressed with the clients that are open to the unconventional and unique.
We love to find people that ADD to our culture vs fit into our existing culture. What cultural aspects have you experienced that you hope to bring with you?
First I’d like to state that the people here, and the culture they’ve built so far, are both super rad. If I were to add anything it would be to build upon the community aspect, but at a more granular level. I’m sure as I spend additional time getting to know our true culture I’ll have more to bring to the table.
Describe your superpower or describe what unique skill/perspective you bring to the team here.
I’ve been told that I give well-defined and thorough feedback. I think people generally like to come to me for that kinda stuff because they know I wont beat around the bush and they’ll get my undivided attention.
What skill, practice, behavior, hobby or habits are you currently working on?
Letting go is definitely near the top of my list. I’m very passionate when it comes to things that either I directly, or indirectly design. I’m learning that not everything is going to be in my control, and that’s okay.
Bonus Question: What book, publication, or podcast have you most recommended lately and why?
I couldn’t tell you the last book I traditionally read until recently. The title of said book was The First 90 Days, and it came highly recommended (for good reason). I learned so much about what you should be doing and how you should frame your mind when transitioning between jobs. At the time, I didn’t realize how much weight my recommendation would hold until some of my former coworkers told me that they scooped it as well — you’re welcome Michael Watkins.