Ladies Who Create

In an enriching conversation with Steph Jeong, a Staff Product Designer at Runway, our latest episode of 'Ladies Who Create' delves into the inspiring journey of a creative trailblazer in the design world. From overcoming mental obstacles and adapting to life changes, Steph's story is a powerful testimony to resilience, passion, and the transformative power of taking chances in life. Steph's insights extend beyond design, touching on the delicate balance between work and life, the importance of mental health awareness, and the invaluable lessons learned from navigating the tech industry's highs and lows. This episode is an uplifting guide for anyone looking to cultivate a creative life that’s true to their aspirations and well-being.

More about Steph:
Steph is a staff product designer at Runway, an applied AI research company shaping the next era of art, entertainment and human creativity. Previously, she was at Twitter working on projects like the edit button and designing for the future of Twitter on the 0-1 Team. Before that, she was at Ueno building product experiences for clients such as Airbnb, Facebook, Reuters, and more. In her free time, she's learning French and looking for cats in cute shops in Paris!


Creators & Guests

Jessica Rosenberg
Co-host of Ladies who Create, Creative Director, Mom
Liz Meyer
Creative Director, Owner of the design studio Datalands, mom
Steph Jeong
Steph is a staff product designer at Runway, an applied AI research company shaping the next era of art, entertainment and human creativity. Previously, she was at Twitter working on projects like the edit button and designing for the future of Twitter on the 0-1 Team. Before that, she was at Ueno building product experiences for clients such as Airbnb, Facebook, Reuters, and more. In her free time, she's learning French and looking for cats in cute shops in Paris!

What is Ladies Who Create?

A podcast highlighting extraordinary women in the design and creative industry. Hosted by Jess Rosenberg and Liz Meyer.

Jess Rosenberg - Intro: Welcome back
to Ladies Who Create, a show where

we'll be interviewing the incredibly
inspiring women who are trailblazing

the design and creative industries.

I'm your co host, Jess Rosenberg,
and I'm a creative director currently

working in the tech industry.

Liz Meyer - Intro: And I'm your
other co host, Liz Meyer, a creative

director and half of the Dataland zero.

In this episode, we're joined by the
talented Steph Young, who is currently

a product designer at Runway and who
previously worked at Twitter and Waynow.

Jess Rosenberg - Intro: In this
episode, we chat with Steph about

how she became a designer, the mental
obstacles she overcame throughout

her career, how she stays on top of
trends, and all things AI and design.

Jess Rosenberg: Steph,
welcome to the podcast.

So excited.


Steph Jeong: Thank You,
I'm so excited to be here.

Jess Rosenberg: we can't wait to
chat with you about so many things.

I think to kick us off, you
know, you've had such an

impressive career journey so far.

We'd love to hear a little bit
more around how you got started,

maybe what your career journey.

Has looked like up until this point,

Steph Jeong: Yeah.

I guess I, when I first started,
thought about my career, I didn't

necessarily think that I was
going to be a product designer.

I, the reason why I got into design
in the first place was because, when

I was choosing where to go for my
college, my parents, uh, were really

adamant that I pick a direction
where I can, um, basically make money

for financial reasons, essentially.

Because, uh, growing up as an
immigrant, um, there was a lot of like

pressure to kind of get to a really
stable place as soon as possible.

So, um, I originally wanted to study
fine arts, but then I thought about,

Oh, how can I kind of make that?

applicable to make money.

And, um, that's how I kind of
found like communication design.

And then, so when I first went in with
that mindset, I, I was like, okay, how

do I actually become like stable and
how do I actually find my career here?

Um, and I started to learn more about
design and then realized actually

it is, it's, a really, really cool
thing, um, to actually work on.

Um, I think even during my college years
where I started to understand, like, what

it means to have, like, graphic design
and understand the history behind it, I

started to realize, like, it is a form
of art, just, like, in a different way

where it's more applicable into the world.

Um, and then I think where I really
felt Like I became super passionate

about design was when I first went
into Uh my agency job at bueno.

, it really helped me to like, uh, see
different people who were genuinely super

passionate about building really great
experiences on the web and people who care

about craft and genuinely You know, feel a
lot of joy in creating something and then

I think that really sparked something in
me to pursue this career and realize that

there is like so much I can do in design.

That's not just about
like financial reasons.

And so now I'm, I'm kind of enjoying
it for You know, the joy of creating.

Um, but essentially, yeah, that's why
I think I ended up staying at an agency

job for a really long time too, cause it
gave me that opportunity to see so many

different parts of design where it wasn't
just like product but I was able to think

about like branding or like communication
or a lot of different aspects when.

When it comes to design.

So that's kind of like how I became
a designer in the first place.

Liz Meyer: Yeah, definitely.

I feel like a lot of the people that we
have spoken to thus far have had a lot of

twists and turns on their career journey.

Have you felt like you're on
that kind of path or do you feel

like it's been pretty linear?

Steph Jeong: Hello,

Twitter when I was at Ueno.

I think that was like, not necessarily a
huge change in my career itself because

I was still a designer, but I think
like, um, many, Maybe a lot of agency

designers, um, can relate to this, but I
think initially I didn't really know what

it meant to like be a designer in house.

Um, and so when our CEO of one, Oh,
first told me like, Hey, I think we're

going to sell the company to Twitter.

I was kind of like, Oh, what's going on.

Um, and I think it was, I
think I was lucky in that.

Like Acquired to a platform that I
actively used and, um, really enjoyed.

So I think that was a good experience.

And then after a lot of things
happened at Twitter, I think I was

at the time, basically I was there at
the time when, , Elon Musk was there

and a lot of people got laid off and
I was part of the layoff as well.

And so after that, I Took a break.

And, I was like, Oh, I
don't know what to do next.

And so I think that was like my first
time realizing Oh, like I could change

things or like I could look for different
types of work that I've never done before.

And so, yeah, it wasn't a huge
twist and turn, necessarily, but a

little bit of like unique experience
in that I think going into.

Bigger product company from like an
agency was definitely a different

type of experience in terms of
like the work that I have to do.

Liz Meyer: Yes, though.

You're at Ueno, and then all of a sudden
you're at Twitter and then all of a sudden

someone takes over Twitter you're out.

Jess Rosenberg: Should definitely
talk about the Elon Musk invasion,

but I'm also super curious.

, when you went from Ueno to Twitter,
were there parts that you immediately

missed while you were at Twitter from
working in an agency that were different?

Steph Jeong: Yeah, I think I realized,
I mean, there was a ton of things

that were just done differently.

Um, I think I, the things that I've missed
was being able to work in a smaller team.

Uh, I think, uh, at Ueno, even
when we grew pretty big, each

project, Really consist of, of
like very small group of people.

And then when I went to Twitter, a lot
of things were, uh, around, um, like

whatever you're working on, doesn't
necessarily only impact your team,

but it impacts the entire platform.

And so there was a lot of like
communication, um, that just needed

to happen across different teams
and getting to know people, um, you

know, In such a big company was like
a, definitely a big change for me.

I think there's a lot of
things I learned from that.

, but sometimes I did miss like,
Oh, just like being able to,, work

closely with a very small group of
team, a group of team and, uh, figure

out things really fast and move on.

So that was one big thing I missed.

Uh, the, Things that I did enjoy, though,
is being able to, like, kind of understand

very different profiles of people and
kind of understand,, why, like, their

intention or, like, their, their needs
for their team and then being able

to figure out the right solution or,
like, compromising on those things, was

something that was really new to me that I
actually ended up really enjoying as well.

So, um, In that sense, I think
it was, like, good, but also

something I missed, in a way.

Jess Rosenberg: Yeah, for sure.

Things you missed, but you also
learned a ton just by being

Steph Jeong: For sure.

Yeah, exactly.

Jess Rosenberg: What did it
feel like once Elon came in?

I mean, I heard all the stories and
saw from the sidelines where I'm super

curious as someone who was there while
it was all happening, like what was the

team feeling, what were you feeling?

Steph Jeong: A wild time,
now that I look back.

And this was also during a time that I was
working on a very controversial project.

Now that I look back, I felt like it
wasn't, it shouldn't have been that

controversial, but, uh, I was basically
working on this project, for creating

the edit button on Twitter, and it, like,
now I, looking back, it, it wasn't, like,

a huge, uh, It shouldn't have been as
big of a controversy in my opinion, but

it definitely was because we haven't
built it, um, for a really long time.

Um, but yeah, like it was when, when
he started to come in, he started to

also weigh in into these projects to
kind of like tie his identity to it.

And I think a lot of things felt like
Very chaotic in a way, because people

wanted to impress him, or like people
wanted to be part of the conversation.

So, it was definitely a lot to take in at
the moment, um, and then by the time the

layoffs started to happen, I think things
did feel really, uh, hostile in a way.

Um, I think at the time my manager who
was the CEO of Bueno, uh, Hally, did a

lot of things to kind of mentally protect
us, , and try to make sure that we still

have a normal day to day pace, like life.

basically, but I think at the time
like nobody really knew what was

going on and when I woke up one day
and opened my computer and I was

locked out of my computer was like
how I found out I was laid off.

So yeah, it's a wild time.

Liz Meyer: Yeah, that's horrible.

Steph Jeong: Yeah I think, now that
I look back though I don't know,

it when it happened, it felt really
surreal to me and uh I think I was

in a really like like a fortunate
position where I was able to take a

little bit of time off, at the time.

But I think what was really heartbreaking
to see was like, a lot of people

also had visas or um, or other things
that really like, impact their life.

Um, And I think as an immigrant, I
understand what it means to, like,

lose your right to be in a country.

And, uh, I think those were the
moments where people were like, Oh,

this is like, this is really bad.

Liz Meyer: I feel like that was a
mark of the beginning of all the tech

layoffs, like where it kind of gave
people permission to just be like,

Yeah, know, can lay all these people
off and we don't, you know, we don't

really care that they have visas and we
don't really, it's just a heartlessness

that has taken over the tech industry.

I was just gonna say the
layoffs via email are just

Jess Rosenberg: Oh, God.

More than

Liz Meyer: Not okay.

Jess Rosenberg: layoffs via no
communication whatsoever, other than

being locked out of your computer,
is probably the worst possible

way to experience, I would think.

Liz Meyer: Yeah,

Steph Jeong: Yeah, it, it was
pretty wild, to be honest.

Yeah, I think a lot of the things also we
weren't basically being like we didn't get

any communication at the time So that was
just like you were just kind of sitting

in The void at that point or in the chaos

Jess Rosenberg: Wild.

There were a few companies that went
through massive layoffs after that

happened that, you know, obviously
when that happens for anyone

at any company, it's not great.

But I think it was Airbnb that did a
layoff, and I just remember reading

about the way they handled it.

It was so gracious, and at least kinder
than how I, you know, Reddit, you know,

they were happening at other companies.

And so there's obviously no great
way to lay people off, but there are

better ways and the companies that
did it, I think will be remembered for

the ones that, you know, had empathy
and kindness for their people and the

ones that didn't, you know,
will be remembered as the

evil, evil corporations that

let people go and not the great ways, but

Steph Jeong: For sure.

Jess Rosenberg: yeah.

Steph Jeong: I think it is really
terrifying to be laid off and to see a

lot of mass layoff happen to know that
like you're now in this pool of like

interviewing with all of these amazing
people who are also now looking for jobs

and we're like all in this together, but
we're also like oh now like there's a lot

more competition that happens and Yeah, so
it It was a very like I think unfortunate

time for a lot of people during,
especially around that time, I guess.

Liz Meyer: Yeah, I think
there is something to that.

Yeah, I think there I mean, it's, it's
still happening basically daily, um,

where all these layoffs are happening
and it's really partially why I am

so dedicated to having my studio.

Cause I'm like, I don't know if what,
what, how do I look up against all

of these amazing, talented people?

I, you know, just finding yourself
in that situation is just horrible,

especially if you have this amazing
job and you're you have an amazing

team and everything's great.


How did you find your way out
of that and find your way, you

know, to your next position?


Steph Jeong: honestly, I think
I was really lucky at the time.

Um, I was really burnt out by the
end of like when layoffs happened.

And I think a lot of us
knew that it was coming.

So I mentally told myself
like, Oh, it's okay.

Like if I can take a little bit of break.

It's okay.

Here and I want to do that and maybe.

Like I can slowly start
to look into things.

So initially when I got laid
off, um, I didn't even start

to look for jobs, to be honest.

Um, and yeah, I was super fortunate
that I was able to do that at the time.

And then I worked with a really
amazing recruiter or an amazing

recruiter, like basically reached out
to me at the time because I think he

was reaching out to a lot of great
people from Twitter who got laid off.

Um, his name is Garrett Fowler
and he's amazing to work with.

Um, if anyone, , wants to, , Work
with an amazing recruiter, but he

essentially reached out to me and
he told me about this opportunity

at runway, , which is an AI company.

, I currently work there now.

Um, but he essentially
put the connection for me.

And then initially I was like, Oh,
I want to take a break a little bit.


Uh, maybe I can just start
the conversation, um, but

I am not actively looking.

, but, and then I met with, uh, the
head of people, um, from Runway

and she is an incredible woman.

, her name is Anna Shallon and I, I
basically talked to her and I was

like, Oh, It's amazing that, like, uh,
you know, she was just such a great

representation of, like, um, how,
, friendly and put together and amazing

and talented, like, Runway was, and I
got more interested into, , Learning

more about the company, essentially.

And so that's how I started to talk
to runway and then, but I still

wanted to take some time for myself.

So I essentially, um, continued
on the conversation for a while

and then started working there
like three, four months later.

Liz Meyer: So you did take that time!

What did you do during that time?

That break?

Steph Jeong: Yeah.

I mean, I.

I was basically really burnt out, uh, by
the end of , when I was getting laid off.

Um, so before I got laid off, I
actually went on a medical leave, , and

took time for myself, which was like
a really difficult journey to take.

Because I think sometimes I am a
workaholic that like, I feel like I

have to constantly work to be able to
like, prove myself and prove that I

am a good designer or like, prove that
I like, uh, I'm still working on or

like I'm actively building my career.

, but then like, by the end of it,
when I came back, I realized that

I wasn't ready to go back to work.

And then I got laid off.

So I was like, Oh, I'll
take off three more months.

Um, and then I think during that time,
I didn't even really do anything.

I, I remember just like sitting
there and I was like, Oh, I have

nothing to do and I like, didn't
really know what to do with myself.

And I think I just did whatever I liked.

I traveled a little bit.

I, uh, I also just like did things
like really small things that I like

to do instead of taking on a hobby
because I was like, Oh, I cannot

take on another hobby right now.

, I just want to lie down and
like binge eat or like binge eat

chips or like I want to sit down
in the sun and like read a book.

Those type of small pleasures.

I just try to enjoy more.

And then I think that was like one
of the best breaks I've ever taken.

I don't know.

Sometimes doing that thing
is really, really great.

Liz Meyer: I love doing nothing.

Steph Jeong: Yeah, absolutely.


Liz Meyer: eating chips

and just binge watching some
really horrible reality show

on like Netflix or something.

I just love it.

Steph Jeong: Yeah.

A hundred percent.

Jess Rosenberg: is

Steph Jeong: my God.

I love Love is Blind.

Jess Rosenberg: cream and onion.


Perfect combination.

Liz Meyer: I watch it as it comes
out, like, the day it comes out, I'm

like, wait, it came out, get alerts.

It's, it's horrible,
but it's, it's so fun.

Jess Rosenberg: Yeah.

It's like junk

food for your body.

It's so necessary.

Liz Meyer: It feeds your soul, you know.

Yeah the theme of taking time off has
come up quite a bit throughout different

women we've been talking to on the
podcast and it sounds like something

many women, folks in general are
doing throughout their careers, and

really coming out the other side of
it feeling rejuvenated, and refreshed

and, and feeling like themselves again.

Is that how you felt

Jess Rosenberg: after
taking this time off?

Steph Jeong: Yeah.

I don't know what it was.

Um, but I think by the time I decided
to take a medical leave, um, I.

I was like mentally really, really
struggling, um, because I think I

was really, really burnt out, but
it was really hard for me to like,

accept that I was burnt out and accept
that like, oh, I need this break.

, and I think that is like something
potentially a lot of women go through

too, because a lot of times like
we were pushing so hard to prove

ourselves to to like, in our jobs
and in a lot of different things.


like, when you say like,
oh, no, like that's it.

Like I cannot do more is it
feels like failure, but then

I realized , actually it.

isn't at all.

And everything that I cared about so much,
all of the work that was , so important

to me, actually, like I'm a designer.

And at the end of the day, if
I don't, like, get something

done, nobody is going to die.

Like, that's the reality of it.

Um, and then I realized, , uh, of course,
, making amazing things and making creative

things, like, matter a lot, but if I am
burnt out, , is there anything creative?

left in me and I feel like being
able to take that break like I really

wanted to, I really, I realized like
I really needed this break and I

felt really rejuvenated after, so.

I felt like I, I needed it.


Liz Meyer: Just going to say that
I, um, I really commend you for

talking about the medical leave.

, I, I actually took a
medical leave from college.

, I was really overwhelmed and I just
didn't know where I was going in life

and I didn't know why I was there.

So I took some time off and it really
helped me realize I wanted to go to art

school and I wanted to be a designer.

I was going through like pre med
kind of stuff before, which is

very, very different, but you know,
it just like, That break and being

able to admit that you need a mental
time off and getting the medical

even going through the process.

I know how hard it is to
go through the process.

A lot of paperwork, a lot of evaluation.

Um, but.

Yeah, I really commend you for talking
about it openly, because I do think that

a lot of women don't want to talk about
their mental health struggles, even though

a lot of us have stuff going on, and, you
know, it's, it's really important to speak

it out loud, because it happens to a lot
of people, so, yeah, I just wanted to,

that's great that you're open about it.

And now that I've been open about it, yay!


Jess Rosenberg: Never taken medical leave,
but I probably should have many times

throughout my career, if I'm being honest.

And I agree.

I think this is something that a lot of
women especially don't talk about, but.

You know, so many people are feeling
the feelings of burnout and stress and,

um, even depression and anxiety and feel
like if they talk about it, they are at

risk of looking like a failure or they're
not doing as much as they should be.

And that's not the case.

It's you're you're feeling
that way because you're likely

doing too much or you're.

Working in environments that
aren't conducive to your wellbeing.

Um, and I've, I've found, and I've
experienced this myself too, that a

lot of women place blame on themselves
for feeling the way that they

feel when in reality,
it's not them at all.

It's what's happening around them.

And so there's so much
to unpack there so much.

Um, and I hope it is something that,
that more people, more women can openly

talk about because it's super important.

Steph Jeong: Yeah, and I think that
is something also I was really lucky

in that um, at the time when I was
working at Twitter, we had I was working

really closely with this woman named
Michelle Morrison and uh, she, she um,

Suggested it to me, essentially, and
she was like, Oh, um, I know you're

going through a lot and you, when I talk
to you, I feel like you're not doing

well, uh, there is this option that
you could potentially, uh, look into.

And if there is a, if you need help in
like making this happen, I'm here for you.

And she essentially . Help me
through the entire process.

And I think if Michelle wasn't there,
I probably wouldn't have taken it.

, And so, like, I think for me, it's really
important that, like, if I see somebody

who can, who needs this break and is just
denying it, I also want to kind of be like

Michelle and be that person for them too.

So, I think it's important that we
openly talk about it and talk about

our mental health and make sure
that we're putting that up front

like, for the most important thing.


Jess Rosenberg: That's amazing
that you have Michelle as

your mentor in that process.

I hope this episode can serve as that
for women who might be struggling to,

Steph Jeong: for sure.

Jess Rosenberg: Maybe we can talk
a little bit about , people in

leadership that I think stereotypically
look a certain way in our industry.

, particularly, you know, there's a lot
of men that, Work in our industry.

And there isn't a ton of diversity.

How have you kind of approached
that, , throughout your career?

Steph Jeong: Yeah, that's
a really great question.

Um, I, I think in the beginning of my
career specifically, I didn't have this.

And I remember bringing this up with
my boss then, which is his name's

Halli, , who was the CEO of Ueno.

And I think he basically, realize that
yes, like we lack diversity in our team,

especially like it's hard for our team to
kind of like see themselves in leadership

positions and like essentially like
grow themselves into those positions.

And so he put a lot of effort into
hiring women of, and of different

backgrounds and, , different ethnicity.

And I think I was really fortunate in
that, , I worked under somebody who really

cared about , Their employees growth
and, , cared about their well being.

And yeah, I, I think once that
happened, like he started to hire a

lot of women,, who was essentially
like a role model for me, and they

taught me a lot of great things.

Especially in people skills.

, I think the biggest lessons I've
learned there is that I think all

women actually essentially who like
who I looked up to taught me one

thing, which is that you always think
about, uh, everyone's intention.

in the room, like why they're there
or what they want, uh, or what

they need out of this conversation.

And I feel like that is something that
nobody teaches you unless you actively,

I don't know, like learn it by like
learning, um, by being in the room.

But yeah, it was one of the
biggest lessons they've taught me.

And I'm so grateful that
I, I was able to have that.

Role model and that kind of
like mentorship, essentially.

Liz Meyer: Yeah, I've heard that a lot
about, Ueno and Halli that, um, The, just

the people that have come out of Ueno,
like the, the cohort of designers that

have come out of there all been incredibly
strong and independent designers and

they all have like really unique things
to say and bring to the design world.

I, I'm jealous.

I wish I had gotten to work
there while it was around.

I was really excited about it may be
coming back but I don't think it is.

But yeah, how, you know, now that you
have been through what you've been

through, um, how do you feel you can
advocate for yourself as a designer,

as a woman, as a person of color,
all that, you know, all those things

compounding together, or if you have
any advice for other people listening?

Yeah, um, I.

Steph Jeong: One thing that I've
learned is that you're going to

be the best advocate for yourself.

I kind of learned this in an
interesting way too, also at Ueno

and that I, there were times like I
asked for raises or promotions and, I

was like really apologetic about it.

I was like, oh, I understand.

I'm really grateful for the fact
that I get to work here and uh, for

this money and all of these things.

Uh, and I remember like, I was like,
oh, I, I, and I, Basically was telling

Holly like I really wanted to be
promoted or what are the things like

I can do better and he told me he was
like, yeah, you should get promoted.

He basically was like,
yeah, here's the race.

Here's the promotion.

And then he taught me one thing,
which was like, oh, you should

never be apologetic for fighting for
the things you think you deserve.

You probably know
yourself the best and 99.

9 out of the times like you
probably already deserve it.

And so, , there's no reason why you
should say, , You should express

such , I don't know, like be like,
so apologetic as you are right now,

just like ask for the things you need.

And if it, if you feel like you deserve
it, it's probably true and nobody else is

going to fight for you as hard as you do.

So like, you have to be
able to do that the best.

And I think that really
stuck with me, um, in a way.

Um, I feel like now, like, I,
I mean, that doesn't mean that

like I can go out of my way.

out of my ways and be like extra, extra
confident or like extra, I don't know,

over the top and think that like I can
do more than what I actually can do.

But I think in general, like you have
to believe in yourself and you have

to be strong and be more confident in
the things that you ask for, because

you probably worked really hard for
it, especially like women, I think a

lot of times we gaslight ourselves and
think like, Oh, I don't deserve this

or like, Oh, but there's these people
who are like a lot better than me.

And Yes, some of them will be actually
a lot better than you, and that's okay.

Um, but you also have to
fight for the things that you

deserve, and that's also okay.

Jess Rosenberg: I've received similar
feedback throughout my career and

I have once had a manager tell me,
like, think of all the people and,

you know, Senior leadership roles that
you might know that you don't think

deserve to be there, but somehow they're
there because of their confidence.

And that always keeps my imposter
syndrome in check at times too.

I'm like, Oh wait, well,
that person's in that role.

Like, are they qualified for that?

I don't know, but somehow
they managed to get there.

And, um, that alone is impressive.


Liz Meyer: Yeah, it's

like a level of steam rolling
your way through life that

you just have to be okay with.

Steph Jeong: Like, if you're going to
gaslight yourself in one way, I think

it's like, to gaslight yourself in that
way where like, yes, I can do this.

Liz Meyer: Yeah, operate with the
confidence of a man who should

totally not be where they are.

Jess Rosenberg: oh yeah.

Liz Meyer: walk in, be
like, I am the greatest.

This is my story.

I am the main character.

Jess Rosenberg: It's
the Taylor Swift song.

If I was a man, I'd be the man.

I mean, it's

Liz Meyer: Yeah.

So I, I was also, um, I guess this
doesn't quite piggyback off the, the

last question, but I'm very curious on
how you stay up to date on the latest

digital culture, um, like, especially
being at runway where you're learning

so much and being part of emerging tech.

Um, yeah, just how,
how are you finding it?

Like being part of this
new industry, basically.

Steph Jeong: Okay.

Yeah I mean, it's quite wild.

I feel like AI right now is so crazy.

Um, but yeah, like like I guess the way
I stay on top of it I mean in general,

I feel like I do a lot of research on
existing or like up and coming new

technologies around around like AI.

And even if it's not AI, if
it's any type of new technology,

I at least take a look at it.

I also just Download a lot of different
things just to like try things out as like

apps or whatever um, but I also like end
up always going back to like old things

to like normal things day to day things
that are just like cool or like History

that's really cool or old graphic poster
designs that's really cool because I think

even though there is like new technologies
that happen, um, like things have been

used or like we like there's like so
much history around like how people have

been living and how people have been
designing and that like a lot of times

like a lot of those solutions can work
for the work that I do, even if it's like

new technology, it's just like seeing.

different ways of how we can
make something that is so

new happen into our present.

And so I feel like that's kind
of how I stay on top of things.

Although I don't know if I am
like always on top of things.

Uh, I feel like AI is so fast, like
everything is happening so fast

that I sometimes , I'm also just
like, Oh my God, what is that new

thing that just happened overnight?

Liz Meyer: Yeah, I, I
download every program.


I'm like very fascinated,
fascinated by the video programs

in particular right now.

Just, it's crazy

Steph Jeong: It is.

Jess Rosenberg: So fun to play with.

I've been tinkering on my phone a
bit, just like bringing that journey

renders into runway and bringing
those to motion, even in like the most

basic ways, and then seeing what other
people create, it's just blows my mind.

What's possible now.

Steph Jeong: Yeah.

it's crazy.

Liz Meyer: I am so grateful for
the community pages where there's

like the feed of community work,
um, without that I wouldn't, I

would have no idea where to start.

It's the, the technology is so new
that my brain can't quite wrap itself

around the concept of like, okay, so
you take this image, and then you throw

it into runway, and then it moves.

Like, okay, but how does it move?

What can you do?

I do not understand.

And then, so, yeah, the
community pages are wonderful.

Steph Jeong: Yeah, actually,
that's a really, really big,

I guess, design question, uh,
for probably any AI companies.

Like, how do we make
this, , comprehensible?

How do we make this, , not so scary?

Like, because, , if we didn't know
anything about AI, , I mean, when

I first found out about AI, too,
I was like, Oh, that is scary.


I think basically, there is always that
big design question in AI where, "How

do we demystify AI and how do we make
it actually usable so that people don't

have to understand the rocket science
behind it but just understand it,

so that understand the basics of it so
that they can make something that they

want and they can actually apply it in

Steph Jeong: their day to day life.

So, I feel like that is, like, the
essential user question always.

Liz Meyer: Yeah, so your role at runway,
can you, can you explain a little

bit about what you do day to day?

And like, what is a normal
day look like for you?

Steph Jeong: Yeah, so right now
my role is my title is Staff

Product Designer at Runway,

which, I guess my day-to-day basis,
well it always changes a lot, because

everything changes so fast uh, in AI
space, but on my day to day, uh, I.

I work on my own projects as an
IC, but also I oversee all of the

product design projects at Runway.

So I work really, really closely
with other designers to help them set

the directions for the projects that
they're working on, and then give them

feedback, uh, on a weekly basis, , and
make sure that like, design projects

run smoothly, , as much as possible.

, and then, yeah, that's, that's
essentially kind of what I do.

Um, I think the part that I enjoy the
most is like, kind of seeing how much we

can accomplish and how fast we move to
like, um, build stuff into the product.


Liz Meyer: Yeah.

With, with your current role, um, do
you find a lot of work in like user

research and, you know, figuring out
like, Different onboarding flows and

figuring, you know, just explaining
the product because it is so new.

And so I don't know if AI is advanced
in that way, but it's just some

people might not understand any of it.

So it, yeah, like finding the balance
between pandering to someone's

under non understanding and, you
know, making it not as accessible.

Steph Jeong: yeah.

Um, I think actually a lot of designing
for AI is like designing for the newbies.


I think there's obviously experts
in AI and I think as AI grows,

uh, as an industry will probably
become more and more complicated

and more and more, uh, pro based.

Uh, but I think still right now
there's a lot of like new users.

That are coming in or trying out AI on
a daily basis so that like basically we

have to make the product as simple as
possible for the new users to come in

and not not see like some crazy dashboard
and think like, Oh, my God, how am I

supposed to make a video out of this?

Or Oh, my God, how am I?

Going to generate an image out of it.

Um, and so a lot of it is like
making it as simple as possible.

Um, because I think when we first get
like the initial prototype from our

researchers, there's a ton of things
that you can actually do or you have

to think about and so essentially
you're thinking like, what is that

one action, um, that our users can do?

What are the things that we can automate
or like basically set to a specific

standard and then make it super easy.

So that like, all they have to
do is like put in one input or

like click on this one thing.

And so like a lot of times, like,
we're thinking about what's that

one action and like, how do we make
this complicated process, right?

Simple, how can we kind of like
write a one sentence thing so

that people know what's happening?

Because like most of the
times people also don't read.

So, um, there's that.


Jess Rosenberg: Do you work with
content designers on your team as well?

Steph Jeong: So right now we don't
have content designers, uh, although

I think that is something that we,
we will probably continue, like start

to look into, um, as our team grows.

Um, but we do have a, Brand and,
uh, brand team, uh, and our creative

director or head of creative, uh, he
is, he comes from like a, um, writer

background, writing background.

So, uh, a lot of our tone of
voice or things like that, um,

basically come from him and yeah.

Like a lot of our creative team is from
different kinds of creative, um, both

from writing world, um, video world,
art world, a lot of different places

Liz Meyer: We know that
you just moved to Paris.

Um, can you tell us a little
bit about that and what made you

move and all that good stuff?

Steph Jeong: Yeah.

Um, I moved to Paris because I always
had this dream of living in some

part of Europe, , for a little bit.

I think , I, I, I have a international
background as well, where like I

was born and raised in Seoul, uh,
Korea, and then I moved to the U.


when I was like 11, and I moved different
cities, to different cities within the U.

S., and I think my personality is kind
of like, I have to be in different

places and try things out, and then
after a while, I kind of Kind of

get sick of the city and then I have
to move around a little bit again.

, and so once I like felt like I kind
of went to a couple big cities in the

US, I felt like I had to kind of change
continents and see what's out here.

And I think wanting to move to
Europe, uh, also comes from the

influence that I had went over.

Like I work with a lot of Europeans.

Um, And so I was just hoping that I could,
um, move to some part of here one day.

And then now, um, my partner is French.

And so we ended up having the
conversation and I was like, Oh, I think

now is a good time to move to Paris.

Because I love Paris.

I love food.

I love, like, the culture here.

And so that's kind of how I ended up here.

I don't know how long I'll stay,
but uh, for now I'm loving it.

Jess Rosenberg: How long
have you been there so far?

Steph Jeong: Uh, it's only been like,
it's been, well, I moved here last

July, so yeah, like nine months.

Jess Rosenberg: Yeah.


What an inspiring city for a
creative to be living in too.

What are some of your, do you
have like specific spots in Paris

that you go to, to get inspired?

Steph Jeong: I, I mean, Paris is like such
an amazing city for inspiration, I think.

I think, One thing that shocked me as,
like, a person who came from the U.


is that, or even Korea, is how, how
much history is built into the city,

and I think, , just seeing, , how people
build on top of the history rather than

rebuild everything, , shows a lot of
different ways on how, , They purposely

designed something to continue using
that and I think in that sense like

Paris actually is like a living example
of how design develops over time.

And so I think the city itself is
like really inspiring in that sense.

And then there's obviously
all these amazing museums that.

I can just go to and see beautiful stuff.

Uh, I love Musee d'Orsay, um, just because
the building itself is so beautiful.

, But yeah, I, I don't know.

I feel like something about Paris
that I really love is also like,

maybe Parisians won't agree with this,
but I think coming from New York,

I feel like Paris is a slower pace.

Like people take time.

Uh, to eat their lunch.

And, um, I don't know, people are, I
think, better at waiting here than,

more so than in Korea or New York,
um, so a lot of those moments, I, I

feel like it actually does inspire me
to, like, Take a little bit of time.

Think about things a little bit more.

Enjoy the things, uh, that
are, you know, kind of like

day to day basis kind of thing.

And so, yeah.

Jess Rosenberg: Yeah, slowing
down so you can speed up..

Steph Jeong: Yeah.

Jess Rosenberg: thinking that when
I went to Paris most recently too,

especially in the middle of the day, like
business people, just taking like two

hour lunches in the middle of the day.


I was like, that is amazing.

We're just not used to doing that here.

Like I used to live in New York too.

And if anything, I'd run out across
the street, get a salad and bring

it back to my desk, you know?

Liz Meyer: Yeah.

I'm like a, I'm like a eating a slice
of pizza as I walk or sitting in my car.

I've never lost.

I'm from Long Island.

So that like, it's like ingrained
in my My DNA that you eat as you

do something you do not stop.

You can't stop.

I don't even sit down
when I eat, like, dinner.


Jess Rosenberg: that's
like the multi tasker too.

I think that's a lot of part of a lot
of New York hustle culture, whereas

in Europe and in France and in Paris,
like people are very intentional with

how they spend their time and how they
show up with different activities,

which I love, such a good reminder.

Liz Meyer: Yeah,

that is a good reminder.

It's much more healthy.

And you can eat a chocolate
croissant, pain au chocolat,

you know, as you're walking.

Or whatever.

But, like, you can, like, at least,
like, walk to the park and then sit down

Jess Rosenberg: Or the grapes
rolled up in the cone with the paper

cone from the side of the street.


so good.

Steph Jeong: so good.

Liz Meyer: So jealous right now.

Jess Rosenberg: Or the crepes with
like the, the fried egg in the middle.

Steph Jeong: Oh my god, yes.

Jess Rosenberg: oh, so good.

Oh my gosh.

I can talk all day about French food.

It could be a separate


Liz Meyer: I mean, just in
general, like what, what, are

your hobbies besides design?

Because We know you like to eat French
food, and you like to take that time for,

you know, rejuvenation, but like, when
you close your computer, what do you do?

Steph Jeong: Yeah, um, recently I'm
really, really occupied with learning

French for survival reasons and also
to because I actually really enjoy,

um, like learning a new language.

Um, I think.

Learning French has taught me so many
different things because, as you both

know, like, French as a language is so
complicated, um, and there's so many

different rules around things, uh,
but also, like, it's so interesting

to me that even if I don't fully speak
French, there's, like, a lot of things

that I can understand contextually,
or, like, things that are so similar to

English, Sometimes, but I'm just like
really baffled by but recently, yeah,

I'm like, really, really into learning
French and being able to like, practice

it sometimes, I tried to practice
with my partner as much as possible.

And I feel like when I say a
sentence, it takes like five minutes.

And so I'll like say something
and then he'll just be like, oui,

and it'll be more like a yes or no
question, but I'm getting there.


Liz Meyer: That's nice though,

like at least I have the support, you
know, I mean, like, can I just use you

as a sounding board for my accent or
the sentence that I just learned, or

do you use like, um, do you use like an
app or do you use, do you go to like a,

an actual class or something like that?

Steph Jeong: yeah.

I started going to this school
called Alliance Francaise, and

then the reason why I decided to
do an in person class is because

I, like, I work remotely full time.

Um, And so I have like no
routine, um, to go outside.

And so I decided like, well, I want to.

Like leave my house and meet people
outside of like, just like online

conversation and, and be able to do that.

So I did that for a while.

Um, it was really hard to do on
top of like my full time work.

So, uh, what I'm trying to do is like
one month I'm going to go in person and

then one month I'm going to do online
classes and see, but both of those classes

I'm taking, um, like from the school.


Liz Meyer: always felt, especially
when your teacher is just fluent

and then just only speaks French
at you for an hour and a half, and

your brain is like short circuiting,

Steph Jeong: Oh my god, absolutely.

Jess Rosenberg: Actually

have, I'm curious, especially like
for me now, I'm in a period where

I'm taking a break and I'm very
much exploring and recovering from

burnout and thinking what I want next.


curious after you were done with your
break and moving into your new role

at Runway, were there any learnings
or things that you did differently

in your new role that, um, You

brought with you to kind
of avoid future burnout?

Steph Jeong: I think one thing that I did,
I don't know if this is actually a good

recommendation, but to be honest, like,
uh, one thing I did was I was really open

about my recent burnout to my current
boss, um, Alejandro, and he is an amazing

boss, uh, but I let him know, like, what I
went through in terms of, like, Uh, how I

am a type of person who can, who tends to
be workaholic, um, who tends to like not

be able to find the balance really well.

And, um, that essentially, I think letting
him know that and him realizing that also

like often puts me in check too, because
sometimes he'll be like, Hey, I think it's

about time you take some time off or like,
Hey, I think it's okay that if you today,

like, Like you have other things to do.

It's okay to like take
some time for yourself.

And I think that was like a
really healthy thing for me to

like communicate that to my boss.

Um, and so that like somebody
else also puts me in check.

And then, I mean, I'm also actively
trying to like, find other things to do,

like learning French or moving to Paris
was like a big decision that I did for

myself that's not so career oriented.

Um, I think like essentially I was
like, Oh, I, This is like a one time

thing that I can do for myself and it
has nothing to do with, like, my work.

It's purely out of joy of, like,
wanting to live in Europe and

wanting to enjoy another city,
wanting to learn another language.

So, I think just, like, being able
to make that decision was something

that I couldn't have possibly done
if I didn't take this time off and

realize like work is work and life
is life and I need to be able to

make choices for my life before work.

Um, so essentially, yeah, that
has been a big thing for me.

Jess Rosenberg: That's amazing.

And for what it's worth, I think
that is a fantastic suggestion

in telling that to your manager.

Um, and just being vulnerable and
honest, you know, sets such a great

precedent for the relationship too.


Steph Jeong: Yeah, for sure.

Liz Meyer: When I was a manager
of, um, I had product designers and

brand designer under me and Yeah, I
felt like a lot of the time, people

wouldn't be super honest when they were
feeling bad, like having a bad day,

or feeling sick, and you could tell.

You can tell when someone's sick,
like when you're talking to them,

and you're like, Are you okay?

What's going on?

Are you?

Like, please, just take some time off.

Like, what's the point of being at work?

Like giving half of yourself if, you know,
if you could just go take a nap, would

you come back feeling better to help you?



Then just do it.

Just don't, you know, don't worry so much.


I mean, there's a lot of power
in being a manager and there's

a lot of power in being like a
leader and a lot of people don't.

Realize how much they can affect
a designer or, you know, someone

that's an IC, like just do better as
a manager and take care of people.

Um, but yeah, there's also that
side of like, you gotta say, you

gotta say what you need sometimes.

Jess Rosenberg: Yeah.

Liz Meyer: Especially
in like remote culture.

You can't really, I will
look for something wrong.

I'll be like, are you okay?

What's going on?

A lot of people won't,

Jess Rosenberg: There was something we did
on my team at Webflow that I really love.

And I try and bring this into every
new team that I go into, but we

created user guides for ourselves.


so whenever someone new joined the
company, we had a template, we built

them in Webflow just because that made
sense to do that with the product.

But it was a user guide that kind of, you
would create and it would outline, you

know, what you're like, like what your
preferences are and how you collaborate.

What your growth areas are like, this is
what it might feel like to work with me.

Here's what, here's what some of
my past blind spots have been.

And it's such a great way to kind of
like manage up and across both your

manager with like your collaborators.

And, um, everyone would kind of like
pin that into their Slack profiles.

It was always readily available for
other people to see, but I always thought

that was lovely and such a great way
for folks to kind of set a precedent.

And so what it would be
like to work with you

Steph Jeong: Yeah.

That sounds really amazing and
something that Potentially I

could also bring to Runway.

Um, I think like, uh, to Liz's point,
like the big difference now I have in my

role at Runway versus like what it was
at Twitter or Ueno is that now that I am

like also leading a lot of the projects
at Runway, there are moments where I

see like, uh, you know, the team like
not feeling at their best self or like,

um, you know, like when I know that
they're struggling with certain things,

like, I feel like I try to bring that
empathy as much as possible, , there

too, and try to, look out for things,
, like you said, because I feel like a

lot of times people are not honest.


Jess Rosenberg: and you

actually have that, your, your history
and experiencing that yourself as an

advantage, because now you can more easily
point that out and other people help them.

Steph Jeong: yeah, for sure.

Liz Meyer: yeah, there's, there's a
lot of power in just like recognizing

something is wrong or off in someone else.

And it's.

You know, like what you
were saying about that.

The woman that you worked with
at Twitter that helped you

with taking your medical leave.

I mean, that, that one act of
kindness, it probably felt so normal

to her just be like, Hey, just by
the way, don't, don't worry about it.

But to you, it meant so much and
it allowed you to take another path

with your whole life and your career.

So yeah, I think like just
continuing that chain of empathy

and giving a little grace to people.

I don't know, but then again,
as someone who's like, I like

to think I'm an optimist.

I know I'm not.

So it's just very fun.


Jess Rosenberg: just, I think, but
that's, that's the New Yorker in me.


Liz Meyer: a natural pessimist because I
know everything is going to just go wrong.

But you know what?

I like to just at least pretend for
as long as I can to be happy about it.

Jess Rosenberg: what cynicism is, right?

You're like kind of a pessimist.

Maybe there's a good glimmer of
false optimism sprinkled in there.

Liz Meyer: Maybe.

Jess Rosenberg: Things are funny,
but they're actually really sad.

Liz Meyer: Yeah, yes, yes.

You have to find humor in
the, in the depression.

That's like the Long Island motto.

Jess Rosenberg: survival trick.


Steph Jeong: you're smiling on the
outside, but crying on the inside.

Liz Meyer: Oh, with the sunglasses?

Steph Jeong: Yes.

Liz Meyer: Yeah, I love
that one because that's,

that's me all the time.

Steph Jeong: That's me.

Liz Meyer: I love that.

Um, but yeah, I, I feel like, um,
I feel like I know you so well now.

Steph Jeong: Yes.

Liz Meyer: And, um, Yeah, we want
to be conscious of your time because

we are at, we are over actually.

Um, but

Jess Rosenberg: Talk to you all day.

This is great.

Liz Meyer: yes, absolutely.

And we definitely want to come visit you.

I think

that could be like a, an offsite,
like you see create offsite.

Jess Rosenberg: Yes.

That would be amazing.

And take us to all

your favorite croissant shops.

Steph Jeong: Yeah.

Please visit Paris and definitely
let me know when you guys are

here, so that I can take you to
all the cute little spots of Paris.

Watch people.

Jess Rosenberg: So much, Steph.

It was such a joy.

Speaking with you today and thanks
so much for taking the time.

We appreciate it.

Steph Jeong: Yeah, thank
you so much for having me.

This was like such a
fun moment for me too.

So, uh, really great that I got
to meet both of you and really

excited to, um, hear all the other
podcasts that you guys create