Carsonified is hiring a Designer – $80K, 4-day week, work from anywhere

Bright Christmas lights

We’re looking for a designer to join Carsonified and work on Treehouse. You’ll need to have …

  1. Visual talent and advanced skill in Photoshop
  2. A passion for front-end dev skills (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, LESS, SCSS, etc)
  3. Web app and UX experience
  4. Believe strongly in our Values

You can work from anywhere and the pay is $80,000 and you only have to work 4-days a week. We’re aiming for you to start in November, or January.

Here’s how to apply …

Design and code a 1-page ‘dashboard’ app for your life. Pretend it’s an app that you view/edit these stats:

  1. Heart rate
  2. Drinks consumed
  3. Food eaten
  4. Hours slept
  5. Highfives received

Please create a logo and name for the app. Note: The app doesn’t need to be functional. Just flat HTML.

Deadline is October 19th at midnight.

Please email a link to the page (or zip it all up) to ryan+ilovedesign@teamtreehouse.com

[Thanks to pagedooley for the beautiful photo.]

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Comments

183 comments on “Carsonified is hiring a Designer – $80K, 4-day week, work from anywhere

  1. *cough* http://antispec.com/ *cough*

    Must visit my Doctor. Anyway, seems a bit backwards to ask for everyone to submit a design in the first place, why not look over peoples previous work then ask those suitable to slap something together?

    • I’m not sure this would fall under spec work as it’s a sample not to be used in a commercial sense, and merely an insight as to how someone interprets a brief I guess.

    • Hey Ben

      I don’t think you understand the AntiSpec movement.

      That’s probably a whole other blog post though.

      The reason we’re asking for a fresh project is this:

      Looking at past work isn’t a good indicator of talent. It’s always unclear which aspects of past projects you were responsible for. Maybe you designed a site but it was coded by a new frontend Dev who created div-itis crap.
      If you think this is spec work then you’ve never had to hire a designer.

      • Agreed. Past work portfolios don’t always show the potential of a designer. Also, it doesn’t show how much originality came from the designer: did the client come up with ideas or not, etc.

      • Your last sentence comes across as ad hominem, was it meant to be?

        Going to the antispec.com site, it says,”Working on spec is when a single designer or agency design for free in the hope of winning a project.” This seems to fit that criterion. The worst form of abuse of course is when an agency uses spec work to get free ideas that they use. I don’t think anyone thinks that that is what you are doing here, (even though you haven’t explicitly stated that.)

        Having said that, the point is that making many people spend many hours (you will get a ton of applicants and you are laying out a 3 week project window to work on an app) is a profligate waste of resources in some people’s opinion.

        Why not tweak the “test” to have applicants create GPL resources, code snippets, plugins, icons or whatever, for the entire Carsonified community, and then take the top few and have them create your life dashboard app? or if you are looking to create value for applicants, why not take every entry (after you review them for the person you want to hire-you get first dibs) and post them all to a site with contact info for the designers? That way someone who has great chops but isn’t a fit for you will get some benefit from the tremendous amount of work you are asking them to undertake.

        Antispec also suggests having people create something for nonprofits, in lieu of creating throwaway spec work, that is another way you could go…Have that be the contest and then judge and pick from that.

        A lot of people are hurting now and you might not be fully aware of how part of your posting comes across. I know you are a good guy and coming from a good place.

        • Why not tweak the “test” to have applicants create GPL resources, code snippets, plugins, icons or whatever, for the entire Carsonified community, and then take the top few and have them create your life dashboard app? or if you are looking to create value for applicants, why not take every entry (after you review them for the person you want to hire-you get first dibs) and post them all to a site with contact info for the designers? That way someone who has great chops but isn’t a fit for you will get some benefit from the tremendous amount of work you are asking them to undertake.

          That’s a great idea. Wish I would’ve thought of that.

          Next time.

  2. It’s clearly spec work. However for such a great position designers
    should consider making an exception in this case, break all the rules and create a UI that breaks the mold. I highly doubt Carsonified are looking for anything run-of-the-mill

    • Yeah, so basically spec work is NOT RIGHT.*

      If it’s for a specific company that you respect it’s okay. Gotcha.

      • By your reasoning, every job interview is ‘spec work’. “Come interview, answer questions, etc and we might pick you…we might not”.

        So is the job interview process flawed? What would you propose as an alternative?

  3. Spec or not. I hate people treating design like a singing contest. And coming from one of our own, just isn’t good.

    • When isn’t design a singing contest? Whether it’s a new song or just a demo tape of some old stuff – they’re still hiring you for your ability to sing better than other singers.

      Wait, is this American Idol? Why am I talking about singing? I’m confused. Where am I?

  4. I think this is a fair request by Ryan. I’d love to see the potential of a designer if we were hiring one right now, and this is a great way to do it. It’s not spec work because I doubt Carsonified are going to use the responses in any way other than to compare applicants… and I doubt they’d solely rely on this one piece of design to swing the whole thing.

    If you think this is spec work, then every interview you have is spec work. All the effort and energy you put into it for what? That one coveted position. You’re pitching yourself. If you think this is spec work and you don’t agree, don’t apply for the position.

    If $80k a year sounds like a good salary and you want to work for one of the best-known teams in the UK web community, then give up your ideals and get your head down!

  5. The last job I saw Carsonified post asked people to make a creative video resume or something like that. I don’t remember anyone complaining about that, yet that could easily be classified as a “singing contest” in terms of testing your creativity.

    Moreover, when you spend hours and days perfecting that resume and portfolio, you are already competing in a contest for future jobs against your fellow designers. Carsonified putting a bounding box around how you should spend that time preparing that material for their jobs actually helps, as you can focus on what you know they want, rather than guessing (and hoping) that you will show something they might like.

  6. I think it’s fine. It’s simple and easy to understand, if they need to ask questions, they know who to ask. I’ve seen plenty of designers being asked to work on something as part of the interview process, because that way you’re able to analyse the way they work, their standard of work, time management, etc.

  7. People complaining that this is spec work need to have a re-think. This is a fresh and inspiring approach to apply for a web design job with one of the most innovative UK web firms. As Ryan pointed out, it’s not always clear from portfolio’s what work was actually done by the individual themselves, this is a great way to demonstrate your own talent and put a personal stamp on things.

    Man up.

  8. Sounds like a great challenge. Ideas already whirring. I’ve set employment challenges in the past as well – but it’s always hard to compare people in full time employment vs. unemployed, as available time is massively different. Hopefully it’s the ideas rather than refinement that will count!

  9. We recently advertised for a copywriter and asked them to put together a title, strapline and blurb on a made-up project for an existing client. It’s a common way of testing a potential employee and making sure that they can do the job that they will actually be required to do.

    This is not in any way spec work, it’s a great opportunity.   

  10. I don’t think people understand what spec means. Carsonified is not using this work in a future project or something, it’s just a simple test to see how you think.

    • I don’t think you understand what spec means, whether they use or not, this is speculative work. People are putting time, effort and resources into creating the dashboard with no guarantee of getting the job / any sort of payment.

  11. I’ve known people recruiting for developer positions set a little quiz on a language or ask someone to code something up, I’ve done that for a php job in the past. I’ve worked at a company where they previously hired someone who claimed to be a PHP coder and showed some good examples and live work, when they turned up they knew f*** all.
    This is pretty similar and it avoids being spec work as they aren’t going to use it, it’s no more laborious than some application forms I’ve had to fill in before today.

    I would only be dubious if they’re going to start filtering candidates based on their heart rate, hours of sleep and any other information they might reveal in the mock up!

    • Thanks for “specs” team, there is no mentioning for any urine samples. Mine kinda low on coaguservatical trixonoenzimes due to seasonal change in the Solar thermomagnetic differntualities.

  12. A client asking designers to design something for free, that will make it into the public sphere, is spec work. This is just a clever interview process. Let’s face it, Carsonified is one of the great places to work in our industry, so why wouldn’t Ryan and the team want to weed through the myriad of likely applicants?

    While hundreds of designers are complaining about this ‘spec work’, one lucky designer will be working hard to create something awesome…and will likely get the job.

      • Agreed. This just isn’t spec work. We regularly set test briefs to understand competence. We are not doing it to milk, but to evaluate. For interaction design it’s one of the best tools.

        See the moleskine debate for a better example of spec work.

    • I agree it’s an affective way of weeding out the unqualified and push
      the great designers/developers to excel, but it definitely borderlines
      on spec work.

      Just because Carsonified is regarded as a great place to
      work doesn’t make remove it from that category. I would argue that Nike is a great company to do work for but I wouldn’t do it for free.

      Is the line drawn at client work? Maybe at work that will be public?

      • Ryan isn’t asking designers to redesign the Treehouse UI. That would be spec work because he’s benefiting without proper compensation to the designer.

        In this case he’s using the design to evaluate a designer’s skillset and compatibility with his company.

    • I agree with you. Being a co-owner of a design studio that’s actively looking for UI Designers, the first thing we need to see is how they solve real design problems. In our world, we usually assign a 1-page project like this for an actual client/project and pay them their hourly rate since in some cases it will reach the client. In this case, Ryan and his team are well within their right to hold this contest. It’s actually astonishing how entitled and unwilling some designers are to step out of their comfort zone and apply a little elbow grease to land an awesome opportunity like this.

      • In addition to that, you’re creating a dashboard about yourself. How on earth could that even be considered spec work? Hell, you don’t get the job, you’ve got a fancy little site about yourself, you can use it elsewhere! No problems there – sell it on Envato as a template. 

        @ryancarson:disqus : I’d like to see one with your info on it. Men who wear fedora’s are typically unusually talented. ;-)

  13. Never mind the spec work/not spec work debate, but I consider this approach flawed from a practical point of view.

    By asking for so much work upfront you’re basically restricting the interview process to A) people who love your company and B) people who are desperate for work. 

    While you’re clearly hoping to target group A rather than B, don’t forget that you’re completely eliminating group C, namely “designers who have enough options that they don’t need to do 10 hours of work just to apply for a job”. 

    • “10 hours of work just to apply for a job”
      You make is sound like 10 hours is a lot of time applying for a job. Well I’m sorry, but I would say for every job I’ve ever gone for I have spent a lot longer than that preparing, whether it be re-writing my CV, researching the company, swatting up in preparation for the interview or doing specific tasks / tests set by the prospective employer.  The higher the level of job the more work you should expect to put in if you want to succeed.  This is just a fact of life. At the end of the day this is an $80k job, and any job at that level I would expect to have to put a LOT of preparation in to stand any chance of being employed.

  14. Won’t you potentially be missing out on a lot of great designers who are simply too busy with client work to set aside what might be a couple of days to create a thoughtful, polished design? 

    The idea that the initial sift of applicants could rule out those who are currently doing paid work or have deadlines/commitments is a little strange. I assume you’ve considered that before posting but I thought I’d ask. 

    J.

      • Absolutely agree.. if a designer can’t be bothered setting aside time to complete the task Carsonified have set – why the hell would the deserve the opportunity? This is a fantastic opportunity for a designer to prove themselves and their talent to a potential employer, they should set aside the time – hands down.

        • I absolutely agree. I am currently working on my application and I actually denied client work for this. A job like this would be a dream, and I’m going to fight for that dream.

  15. Ryan, to be clear, does the phrase “A passion for front-end dev skills” mean actual rock-solid skills in those areas, or an understanding/willingness to learn more?

  16. “Hey I’m not sure how to get from point A to point B, would you mind sketching a quick map for me?” 

    “NO! THAT’S SPEC WORK! HOW DARE YOU?! RABBLERABBLERABBLERABBLE!”

  17. I think the spec work arguments are highly misplaced. Software companies have been vetting potential employees for years now. Whether, it’s building a simple app, parsing JSON or optimizing an algorithm, it’s in an employers best intrest to ‘weed out’ those candidates not right for their company. Facebook does this with everyone of their engineers, why shouldn’t we expect the same of designers?

    Allison and I (and a few others?) applied for the previous Carsonified design job in a similar fashion. Sadly I didn’t win but I can’t blame Ryan for adopting this. Bottom line it’s great exposure and in the end, designers are applying for an awesome job. There’s no reason for the spec work pitch forks.

    I’m more concerned that their are companies who don’t do this.

    P.S. - Ryan it’d be nice to see a showcase of all those who apply.

  18. I’m all in favor of giving applicants a small coding and/or design task as a test – I do this when I hire people. But I would never put out a public post calling for entries in a contest fashion like this. When I ask an applicant for a code or design task, I PAY them for that task even if I don’t end up hiring them. That is how it’s done.

    If you’re looking for quality designers, a public contest isn’t the way to find them. I know you must have plenty of contacts in the industry, not to mention the plethora of high quality recruiters and headhunters that look exclusively for design talent. Why aren’t you using them, rather than a public contest?

    Or, keep your contest but vet each applicant *before* the contest based on their portfolio and CV. Take the top 5 applicants and have them, and only them, submit this design task as a test.

    And lastly, to say “Looking at past work isn’t a good indicator of talent.” is a ridiculous statement. This is what portfolios are, and have always been. A good portfolio will show you everything you need to know, and will tell you precisely which aspects the designers worked on for each piece. I’m a Carsonified fan and have been for a very long time, but this contest isn’t the right approach.

    • Spot on.

      When you go for an interview, in any industry, you may be asked to do a practical exercise to show that you walk your talk. The only difference here is that the practical exercise has been made public.

      This is not spec work.

      • When you go for an interview, in any industry, the amount of candidates has already been whittled down to the ones that have a realistic chance. Opening it to the public means a whole lot of people are going to put time and effort into something they never had a chance of getting. 

        • Thanks for your response @cprowe:disqus :) You raise a good point but, at the same time, that initial phase is testing my ability to write a decent CV and cover letter – which I wouldn’t put any less time and effort into for a job I really wanted. And many of the people who’ve committed time to their CV/cover letter may never have a chance of getting it – esp. due to the fact that their qualifications and experience don’t fit the bill.

          Carsonified have just replaced the skills of writing a CV/cover letter, with a small design exercise – and at least in this instance people who may not have the right qualifications/experience on paper, may display a flair for design that gives them an opportunity that they otherwise would never have been given.

          I still think your point is valid, and many people will waste their time – but I don’t see that as being any different to the normal job application process. If anything, this is just a little more fun! …in fact, to that end, many people who do not get the job may still have some worthwhile design work which they could quite easily use for another purpose – can’t necessarily say that for a cover letter!

          So basically, this is not spec work (unless committing any time to any task in order to gain something is spec work!) and is a nice idea for an application process. I think Carsonified just get tarred with the spec work brush too easily.

          Hopefully @ryancarson:disqus might let us know in a subsequent blog post how things went to see if this approach does indeed result in the designer they seek.

        • Well, if someone is not bright enough and cannot estimate what his or her chances are and engages in application processes he has low chance of succeeding at – is this the company’s problem? It’s like saying we should first have MBA interviews and then write admission essays – because they are too much effort. 

  19. We are interviewing ‘web designers’ at the moment and without test like this is very hard to work out how good they really are as it is so easy for people to patchwork together other peoples work. Its got nothing to do with spec work, its about giving them the option to show off their skills and set them apart from the rest. I’ve worked in development for years and you would never recruit someone for a role of this calibre without testing them thoroughly and asking them to provide code samples for given problems. I’ve never once heard one of them complain over spec work.

    • Chris, surely no one willing to “complain” to u, or anyone else once they hired. Those who rejected u’ll never hear again.

  20. We are interviewing ‘web designers’ at the moment and without test like this is very hard to work out how good they really are as it is so easy for people to patchwork together other peoples work. Its got nothing to do with spec work, its about giving them the option to show off their skills and set them apart from the rest. I’ve worked in development for years and you would never recruit someone for a role of this calibre without testing them thoroughly and asking them to provide code samples for given problems. I’ve never once heard one of them complain over spec work.

    • Chris, surely no one willing to “complain” to u, or anyone else once they hired. Those who rejected u’ll never hear again.

  21. I’m super excited about working with whoever ends up being our next designer. We’ve got a ton of exciting things in store for the future, and it’ll be a blast to build it all together.

  22. I’m super excited about working with whoever ends up being our next designer. We’ve got a ton of exciting things in store for the future, and it’ll be a blast to build it all together.

  23. Smells like spec work to me, but judging who’s behind it, I think it’s totally worth it. I’m gonna give it a shot myself.
    I feel that the challenge is not only exciting but also very constructive, I mean yeah you may not win but really what’s the worst that could happen? simple you don’t get the job yet you certainly had a chance to get out of the daily web design/develop routine and recheck your UX design skills and probably sharpen them a little.

  24. I’ve always against spec work, bu in this case I think this is too different. Carsonified not going to get economic profit by this action.I think this is a way by sift good candidates. And I like this way.

    I believe this a chance to demonstrate my skills to Ryan and Carsonified. This is a chance bring me to make me know by Carsonified.I’m sure I’ll compete in this contest. And I will strive to the fullest to win. If I don’t achieve it, I’m sure it not be in vain.Ryan count me! I will play!!  :D

    Only a question. The position is for London or for USA? An I was understand it was for anywhere.Thanks.

    • This position can work from anywhere. We have an office in Orlando, but the designer is not required to be there. The designer will be working mostly with Alan, who works from his house in South Carolina.

  25. it is true that this is spec….and the basic description of the design is left so open as to initiate many concepts and voices for those who will submit work that is not selected is part of the refining process on how to direct the final product for the ap…thus, even the rejected designs have a business value to help direct the design that is fitting for the corporate identity, but none of this work is paid for even though the work that is not selected ultimately serves to generate profits from the app.  

    It is asking for slaves

    there is no reason that a professional person needing professional work would not look through a variety of portfolios to find the designers that could deliver the type of custom work that is desired for the business, but that is not what is done here.  

    A copyright cannot be granted to an idea, only to its execution.  A patent can only be granted to something that is useful and common law ruling has said this means the app must actually work.  

    Posting this idea for an app on the internet is not proof of intellectual property because what is posted is not capable of being granted a copyright.  There is nothing to stop someone from taking the idea for an app that measures heart rate, sleep, drinks consumed, and “high fives”, hugs, kisses, etc, and developing the app themselves which could then legally be granted copyright or patent, and shut down any intention of developing this app with slave labor.  

    But it is wrong not be fair and respectful of the people who labor for you in order that you can gain profits and that is what is being done here.  

    Believing in the “Core Values” of this company is a job requirement.  

    be careful for what you ask for.  

    There is a good reason why it is appropriate to ask for portfolio samples rather than free work.  

    • I agree. Let’s assume 400 applicants compete. 100 make to the finals, and all their works are free for development for the next YEARS to come. Bc smart-ass in-house UI/UX Designer Benni (Justin, Joey, etc.) will be able to tweak but unfortunately not GENERATE an idea. Bc generation of IDEAS is the main factor here.

  26. It is spec work.  Specific work from many designers design research from the company’s point of view to narrow down a hiring decision which is a cost for doing business he is asking others to do for him.  

    He is not evaluating based on portfolios and track record.   and as previously stated, it is a bad business practice that could be a double edged sword for him too.  

  27. It is spec work.  Specific work from many designers design research from the company’s point of view to narrow down a hiring decision which is a cost for doing business he is asking others to do for him.  

    He is not evaluating based on portfolios and track record.   and as previously stated, it is a bad business practice that could be a double edged sword for him too.  

  28. Pitches are spec work whether the potential client uses the work for profit or not. This is a pitch. This is spec work.

    I don’t know why people are wasting time debating whether or not it is, it’s pretty clear. 

    That being said, if you want the job do the work. If you’re so anti-spec you don’t want the job then don’t apply. I see no point in whining about it, this clearly isn’t a case of a client not understanding the industry. Hiring designers sucks; the pitch process takes a lot of the bullshit out of the process.

    Additionally, I think there’s a better way than asking people to create work with no means to an end. You’re calling together some of the best designers from all over the world to do what? Accomplish a project that sounds like something you’d give to a second-year college student? You could easily take this and turn it into “develop a single-page donor site for a local non-profit organization.” One person gets an awesome job, a bunch of non-profits get kick-ass sites, and designers just donated their time to charity. You’d have the winpocalypse on your hands. 

  29. Honestly I wouldn’t expect this from you guys. I think design tasks should only be given in a second stage of the interview. Otherwise it’s basically wasting hundreds of people’s time. You’re doing what small minded companies usually do, ignore the designer’s portfolio which should be enough for an initial selection. 

    This is self destructive for the design industry and it’s a shame there are so many young and desperate designers accepting this kind of treatment. If I wanted to hire a doctor would I ask him to perform surgery for free?

    For all new designers willing to accept this, it might be fun and challenging now but 10 years from now it won’t.

    • Well said. You can guarantee if this was a lesser known company there would be a hell of a lot more negative comments than there is now.

      • Portfolios generally are a high polished pitch of what the candidate wants you to see. They have to be taken with a pinch of salt

        I want to see process, sketching , thinking. This is what matters. The end product is the result of this process which needs to be underpinned with solid foundation. Too easy to create design du jour in order to have a shock and awe effect.

    • Wasting time? I had fun doing it. Finally found something to use canvas for (been wanting a reason for a week). I was up till 4am hashing it out and it sill wasn’t as good as I wanted. But I was able to challenge myself in ways my current job usually doesn’t allow. I learned a lot which is always a good thing. I’m already a winner even if I don’t at least get an email stating “Nice try but we’ve decided to go a different route.”

  30. can you please confirm what you mean by a dashboard app, an application inside a browser? or a are we looking at a mockup of a widget desktop application [i.e ones that run on Adobe air etc?]

      • Thanks for the response Ryan, i understand the requirements i.e it being a plain html/css website but is this to look like say an iPad app. Just want to be clear on the presentation. Can this just look like a normal website?

  31. can you please confirm what you mean by a dashboard app, an application inside a browser? or a are we looking at a mockup of a widget desktop application [i.e ones that run on Adobe air etc?]

  32. I want a perfect world, where a company can put up a job posting listing the necessary skills, salary requirements and values that they want in an employee and where they will only receive resumes and portfolios from qualified people.

    I want a perfect industry, where after every project that a professional completes they sit down and do a case study. This case study would lay out the intended user experience and business goals for their designs as well as notes on how they approached and achieved these goals. This case study then gets added to their portfolio and no one else would scrape the content and add it to their portfolio.

    When we have both of those, there won’t be a need for approaches like this. However, in the interest of time and sanity, we still do need approaches like this. If this listing was just posted openly, it would attract thousands of applicants, many of which won’t match the skills and values clearly listed. The small team behind Carsonified could spend well over a month reviewing portfolios, verifying if people really did the work, reviewing them and interviewing them.

    Or, they could ask people to create a custom resume for them. It falls completely inline with their values of being passionate, proactive and personal.

    So, if you’re offended by this request, you’re not a fit for them and that’s ok. You saved yourself the time of sending them your portfolio and them the time of reviewing it. You’re both the better for it.

    To the rest of you who are working on your “life app”, knock it out of the park and I look forward to see who joins the team.

  33. I want a perfect world, where a company can put up a job posting listing the necessary skills, salary requirements and values that they want in an employee and where they will only receive resumes and portfolios from qualified people.

    I want a perfect industry, where after every project that a professional completes they sit down and do a case study. This case study would lay out the intended user experience and business goals for their designs as well as notes on how they approached and achieved these goals. This case study then gets added to their portfolio and no one else would scrape the content and add it to their portfolio.

    When we have both of those, there won’t be a need for approaches like this. However, in the interest of time and sanity, we still do need approaches like this. If this listing was just posted openly, it would attract thousands of applicants, many of which won’t match the skills and values clearly listed. The small team behind Carsonified could spend well over a month reviewing portfolios, verifying if people really did the work, reviewing them and interviewing them.

    Or, they could ask people to create a custom resume for them. It falls completely inline with their values of being passionate, proactive and personal.

    So, if you’re offended by this request, you’re not a fit for them and that’s ok. You saved yourself the time of sending them your portfolio and them the time of reviewing it. You’re both the better for it.

    To the rest of you who are working on your “life app”, knock it out of the park and I look forward to see who joins the team.

  34. You know, I am a strong supporter of not doing spec work, maybe the strongest I know personally. I have been burned by it in the past, particularly in my early days.

    However, the question of whether or not this was spec work did not even cross my mind. As a matter of fact, here is a pretty accurate approximation of what I DID think:

    “WOW! I want that job! What a great chance for me to show my skills, and it’s awesome that it will be a level playing field!” (Immediately flipped over to Illustrator, grabbed my wireframe kit, and got to work… true story.)

    If you genuinely feel that way about this opportunity, then you are missing both the point and a great opportunity.

  35. Ryan, can we specify what browser you should view it in or does it need to be cross browser compatible?

  36. When you say “The app doesn’t need to be functional. Just flat HTML.” – Is that a “Please don’t overdo it, we know you’re all busy” or is it more like “We’re going to cull everyone who uses jquery to add effects to their submission”?

    I was kinda curious about the life-and-death thing. Thanks.

  37. I had mixed feelings about this. At first I got excited. But as my (presentation-writing) obligations crowded out room for even working on my own site’s redesign, I thought, what is the point? I haven’t been a finalist in a contest for years. Obviously someone will do something that I can’t top. Why spend my time on a known loss? 

    But at the same time, I’m one of those sad people who has a sparse portfolio. Obviously this is a great setup for me to show my talent. I could even use what I make to bolster my thin body of work! (And I would make this argument to those saying that portfolios should do the talking–not all of us are blessed with the kind of portfolios we wish we had but know we are capable of.)

    Alas! Not much time left!

  38. i think you should see the portfolio of the applicant because by following this way, you will get alot of resumes but you won’t be able to work with a guy who really can create big code but doesn’t have time to create your demo project and apply here http://trymetaburn.com/

  39. Hello Ryan

    I can understand the nature of this and do believe ‘if you don’t like it, don’t do it’ basically. If anyone has heard of DeviantArt which holds contests in different areas of art and expertise where the winner and runner ups can win prizes, recognition etc and those who do not qualify then keep their artwork as an extension to their portfolio as an entry into a contest.

    It makes for good learning and good promotion.

    I do have to say I was confused by the term ‘dashboard’ app as what came to mind with a 1-page dashboard app was either a mac dashboard app, a desktop app or an ipad / iphone app but I believe this qualifys as a web app.

    As a web developer I also do not believe in a LESS as it is to me just not necessary as either is SCSS but if that is something you demand then I can appreciate that and will include this if I plan to enter.

    In this case $80.000 sounds great, does this come with the free ipad, chair and starbucks discounts. :D haha Just one thing, it’s paid in Dollars but I thought Carsonified was based in the UK.

    • I’ve actually participated in some of those Deviant Art challenges. They are lots of fun, and I think the extra exposure from being featured in the contest’s listing is nice. But the best part is that you get to see what others have done with the same problem.

      Some may disagree with me, but nothing would please me more than seeing everyone’s entries when the game is over ;)

      • I agree. Can we see peoples efforts after this is over. Maybe your top ten favorites etc. :)

  40. If I build it in express with jade, would you be okay with that? I know that you would mean you would need to have node and npm on your machine. If not I will build it in straight html.

  41. Ever heard of the phrase…

    “If you’ve nothing nice to say, don’t say it”?

    Honestly, if it makes some of you feel better to just ponder negative thoughts and criticize the approach TreeHouse have taken to find their new designer then just give up now please.

  42. Boo. My design skills are way up to par for this. Not my coding. I have taken to doing mostly design and handing off to devs who are more experienced than I. I know I could rock the design part of this though.

    And this isn’t close to Spec work. Lay off folks…

  43. Boo. My design skills are way up to par for this. Not my coding. I have taken to doing mostly design and handing off to devs who are more experienced than I. I know I could rock the design part of this though.

    And this isn’t close to Spec work. Lay off folks…

  44. With the job market as it is today, If I had the skills I’d do it. Instead, I am taking my bare minimum skills to anything I can find whether it be for a small payout or any extra work. Plus whoever gets this job at 80K is my hero. I’ve never made more than 30K in a year and that would be like winning the lotto. It’s all about perspective. And to me, having a job and working for a great living and being given the opportunity to showcase your talents is worth a little extra work up front. I had to do it for my job…my $9.50 an hour job. I say appreciate the opportunity and offer up your best work.  Jason VanLue was right–one lucky person is out there working really hard right now…and they will get this job.

  45. Wow.

    This is not about doing something for free to win a project.

    This is about doing something fun that might win you one of the best design-positions in the world. And one of the most humane ones. 4 days a week? Doesn’t that say it all? Carsonified are the good guys!

    It just amazes me how people just love to twist words…

  46. Listen fact is this is a great way to recruit new people. If you want the job you’ll put the work in. Where’s the problem? If spec work is a problem for you, its probably because you’re not good enough for the cut yourself or really can’t be bothered. Get over it and let creatives be creatives with their own time.

  47. Damn deadline is tonight. I wish I had seen this post earlier! 

    Based on the project description, I wouldn’t say this is spec work so much as just an “assignment” like you would receive in school. It’s vague enough that it could be anything and I’m sure Ryan and his team just want to get an accurate measure of creativity. I think it’s a great idea.

  48. Damn deadline is tonight. I wish I had seen this post earlier! 

    Based on the project description, I wouldn’t say this is spec work so much as just an “assignment” like you would receive in school. It’s vague enough that it could be anything and I’m sure Ryan and his team just want to get an accurate measure of creativity. I think it’s a great idea.

  49. 1) Is there a timeframe when they will announce who they chose or if they chose no one?
    2) If there weren’t too many submissions could we get a light critique on our work..? That would be awesome

  50. Please give us few days more I saw this job later and unfortunately wasn’t able to finished my project by 19th :( 

  51. To me the whole argument about this being “spec work” is ridiculous. This project is your resume and cover letter. To get a *great* job, you have to prepare, and do some serious work: you are marketing yourself. Anyone that thinks they can get a great job by “just emailing my resume” doesn’t understand how hiring works.

  52. Uggg…. Good luck to everyone who got an entry in. I was all psyched to take a stab at this, then had some clients come in right at deadline time.

  53. Uggg…. Good luck to everyone who got an entry in. I was all psyched to take a stab at this, then had some clients come in right at deadline time.

    • Hello,

      Ryan tweeted that he shortlisted the applicants from 179 to 23. He said he’s going to reply yes/no in the “next few weeks”. :) My friend keeps joking that the email will look like this:

      From: Ryan Carson
      Subject: No
      Message:
      Hi Mary,

      No.

      - Ryan Carson

      Haha! But I think they’re just all really busy. So let’s wait and offer sacrifices to our Temple of preference.

      BWT, the traffic stats in my application indicate zero, nada # of visits. So I guess I wasn’t shortlisted. Which was too bad. I’m really hoping someone would comment on my ideas. It was really fun making it. :(

      If you’re curious what I passed, here’s the link: http://marymacapagal.com/oughtapilot

      I’ve been able to stalk 3-5 of them because they tweeted Ryan so if you’re up for some stalking, you can check them out too! :P

      • Oops. I meant, I was able to track down 3-5 other applicants by checking which people mentioned Ryan, Treehouse, Thinkvitamin in their tweets. :D

      • Thanks for posting your work Mary. We all worked fast on the project so would be a nice reward to see what others thought. Whether we are short listed or not we should all give each other some feedback as that is the best type of reward for any work done. If you guys want to do that just reply to this post with your url.

    • Hello,

      Ryan tweeted that he shortlisted the applicants from 179 to 23. He said he’s going to reply yes/no in the “next few weeks”. :) My friend keeps joking that the email will look like this:

      From: Ryan Carson
      Subject: No
      Message:
      Hi Mary,

      No.

      - Ryan Carson

      Haha! But I think they’re just all really busy. So let’s wait and offer sacrifices to our Temple of preference.

      BWT, the traffic stats in my application indicate zero, nada # of visits. So I guess I wasn’t shortlisted. Which was too bad. I’m really hoping someone would comment on my ideas. It was really fun making it. :(

      If you’re curious what I passed, here’s the link: http://marymacapagal.com/oughtapilot

      I’ve been able to stalk 3-5 of them because they tweeted Ryan so if you’re up for some stalking, you can check them out too! :P

  54. Thanks for posting your work Mary. We all worked fast on the project so would be a nice reward to see what others thought. Whether we are short listed or not we should all give each other some feedback as that is the best type of reward for any work done. If you guys want to do that just reply to this post with your url.

    • http://marymacapagal.com/oughtapilot

      You had to have seen the email I submitted but I’ll keep that a secret between me and the TV team. :|

      I also hate having something that doesn’t do anything so I’ll probably keep Oughtapilot and just turn it into a personal project: have better form handling, generate actual content, prettify it etc. :D

      Feel free to email me if you had fun/laughed at the app!

  55. I agree it’s an affective way of weeding out the unqualified and push
    the great designers/developers to excel, but it definitely borderlines
    on spec work.

    Just because Carsonified is regarded as a great place to
    work doesn’t make remove it from that category. I would argue that Nike is a great company to do work for but I wouldn’t do it for free.

    Is the line drawn at client work? Maybe at work that will be public?

  56. By your reasoning, every job interview is ‘spec work’. “Come interview, answer questions, etc and we might pick you…we might not”.

    So is the job interview process flawed? What would you propose as an alternative?

  57. Spot on.

    When you go for an interview, in any industry, you may be asked to do a practical exercise to show that you walk your talk. The only difference here is that the practical exercise has been made public.

    This is not spec work.

  58. When isn’t design a singing contest? Whether it’s a new song or just a demo tape of some old stuff – they’re still hiring you for your ability to sing better than other singers.

    Wait, is this American Idol? Why am I talking about singing? I’m confused. Where am I?

  59. I don’t think you understand what spec means, whether they use or not, this is speculative work. People are putting time, effort and resources into creating the dashboard with no guarantee of getting the job / any sort of payment.

  60. I’ve actually participated in some of those Deviant Art challenges. They are lots of fun, and I think the extra exposure from being featured in the contest’s listing is nice. But the best part is that you get to see what others have done with the same problem.

    Some may disagree with me, but nothing would please me more than seeing everyone’s entries when the game is over ;)

  61. Are you being serious with that question or are you on a wind up? I want to curl up and cry after reading that.

  62. Portfolios generally are a high polished pitch of what the candidate wants you to see. They have to be taken with a pinch of salt

    I want to see process, sketching , thinking. This is what matters. The end product is the result of this process which needs to be underpinned with solid foundation. Too easy to create design du jour in order to have a shock and awe effect.