CHARMING ROBOT: DAN MACCARONE
Charming Robot helps early- and mid-stage start-ups with the product strategy, user experience and visual designs. The small company hand picks projects that they generally take an equity stake in as well as a project fee.
ABOUT DAN MACCARONE:
Dan is the co-founder of Charming Robot, a product design company based in NYC. For the past twelve years, he has been helping startups and media companies shape their online product strategy, including Foursquare, Rent The Runway, Jetsetter and Savored. His experience also includes television, music and print media, and he has worked with Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Gawker, Saturday Night Live, Universal Music and The Wall Street Journal. One of his most noted projects was creating the original strategy and user experience for Hulu. Prior to Charming Robot, Dan co-founded the design agency Hard Candy Shell. Dan received his Master’s Degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and his Bachelor of Arts from Colby College in English and Performing Arts.
Q&A WITH DAN
WHY ARE YOU AN ENTREPRENEUR?
I’ve always had a passion for making things. Whether it be a product in the digital space or crafting a story in text/stage/film, I thrive on the idea of creating something from nothing and if that something can solve a problem or mean something to other people, all the better. If I had to sit and do only one thing everyday, I would die from boredom.
WHAT CAN A FELLOW LEARN FROM YOU?
I have built my career by listening and learning from others, which in itself is its own skill. Any fellow at Enstitute would spend time at Charming Robot learning the ins and outs of creating products from scratch, focussing on sticking to the strategy around whatever problems we are trying to solve and collaborating with user experience designers, visual designers, developers and founders to create the products that are shaping the future of the digital world. That experience would include understanding how to evolve ideas into tangible experiences, the design process from whiteboarding to wireframing to the actual visuals and how it’s all done as a team. In addition to all that, learning how to manage clients is one of the biggest parts of what we do and any fellow that works with us will learn first hand how we handle the good and the bad.
WHAT WILL YOUR FELLOW BE EXPOSED TO?
We are a very self-driven company where anyone who works with us can be as much a part of projects as they want to. If they want to work with us on business development, brainstorm and whiteboard the flows and details of a product as well as hands on experience creating wireframes and designs.
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT OUT OF A FELLOW?
As I would with any of our team members, I expect fellows to be 100% committed to the projects we have them working on. At Charming Robot, everyone – with no exception – wears multiple hats. Whether it be working to get things delivered to a client on time or helping prepare food/drinks for a party, we all pitch in.
WHAT MAKES YOUR STARTUP UNIQUE?
We help founders realize their dreams. While we are primarily a design/ux shop, we actually work with other startups to get them in a secure place to hire us and their own team. Whether that means helping them raise money, find a development team or just focus their ideas, we are not just about executing on a vision, we’re about realizing that vision at all stops. As such, we take equity in a lot of our clients and act as a serious partner with them even after our work on a project is done.