Stanley Vaganov is the founder of BeCurious Studio and is a seasoned veteran in design and experience strategies.
At BeCurious, Stanley has an extensive portfolio. He’s worked with Marina Bulgari, United Nations, Harris Poll, McGill University and many others… Let’s chat more with Stanley about work life in this #DesignwithDot interview!
Meet stanley vaganov: strategic ux designer and founder of becurious studio
Stanley has worked in some of the biggest agencies around, from TBWA\Chiat & Day to True[X] & Blue Label Labs in his 15+ years of being a strategic & UX designer. He has launched startups and helped small businesses grow.
At BeCurious, Stanley is not only a founder and creative director but he is a strategic partner and creative lead. It’s such a pleasure to have you on the #DESIGNWITHDOT blog Stanley!
1. Tell us your story behind BeCurious studio and how you founded it?
BeCurious was in the making for over a decade, you can say. I’ve always had an adventurous spirit of entrepreneurship within me. This is not my first business either as a matter of fact. I’ve had an agency before (well more like a 2-men shop operations but we were young). We did not know what we were doing, but we had fun.
I’ve also had few other startups, which didn’t scale. I guess I just needed a bit of life experience to make it work right. Knowing design unfortunately does not mean knowing business management. It took a while. It took failure and hard lessons and more importantly experience working with other teams and companies to get this right. After finally climbing all the way to Head of Product at my previous job is when I really felt that I was ready. So in 2018 I left my last 9-5 and dove right in.
This is my baby, my space and my fortress of solitude because I get to decide who I surround myself with, from clients to team members. It is exhilarating and always has been! There is no better high than the hustle and the bustle of working on your own dreams.
2. Tell us about your goals for 2021?
I will film and release the most epic master class (documentary style), that helps creatives and business owners alike be relevant, fulfilled, happy and profitable.
3. What’s your dream? (Where do you want to see your life and the world in 10 years? Year 2031!?
Still fighting and advocating the importance of design in business, while aging gracefully. Hopefully, still get to design, solve problems and work on some cool projects! I love that shit. Have my own design focused restaurant that I will co-found with my wife. Also I want to help grow opportunities for entrepreneurs in other countries like Cameroon, Haiti, Russia. Anywhere, where creativity is embraced.
MyVictory is an on demand, live stream exercise platform for cancer survivors and supporters, and with the help of our clients ideas and their trust we were able to launch something that does something good for the people.
4. You’ve worked with so many amazing people and projects. What has been your favorite experience in your career so far?
I really did enjoy working at the offices of Bloomberg, on their app redesign. It was a fun, brainstorming environment and I met some amazing folks there, who are still, to this day my friends.
But the most rewarding experience was probably working on MyVictory project, which we did last year. It was the first major project we worked on that was meaningful and had a great cause as its main driver that was done under the BeCurious name. It made me really want to embrace ethics over profit mindset, than ever before. MyVictory is an on demand, live stream exercise platform for cancer survivors and supporters, and with the help of our clients ideas and their trust we were able to launch something that does something good for the people.
5. What advice would you give to your younger self 10 years ago?
Oh god! Don’t be so doubtful and know your own value. You know more than you think you do.
6. What are your thoughts on social media? Hate it? Can’t live with out it? Give us your best social media tip or insight!
I hate it! It is like an insulin for a diabetic. You need it to function and strive, but you hate it. I just want to build cool things and design amazing projects but in order to do that, you have to utilize social media.
On a more serious note, I understand its importance and it definitely does help the growth and provides you with opportunities that may otherwise never be available to you.
Pro tip: Be consistent. Something that I should be doing a little better myself.
Be kind to the people on your way to the top because you will meet them again on your way down.
7. What is your philosophy about life? Or a mantra, quote or proverb you want to share with us?
Be kind to the people on your way to the top because you will meet them again on your way down. Not sure who said that.
8. What’s your dream travel destination or the next place you want to visit? #TravelWithDot
My fiancé and I are planning to travel and live in Portugal as soon as this lockdown craziness is over. I’ve always wanted to spend time in Kathmandu, Nepal; Live with the locals and spend time at the base of the Everest.
9. What’s your favorite food experience you would take me to in your city, and what would we eat? #EatWithDot
You already know this, as we have spoken about it few times Dot. The best experience in my city is our dining room table, because both my fiancé and I are lovers of good food and have been known to whip up some 5-star dishes. Plus unlike in any restaurant you get to play with an adorable doggy and a fat fluffy cat. Beat that In n Out burger (haha)!
10. Who has been a mentor or someone you have looked up to for advice and inspiration? How do they help or how have they helped you?
I do not have mentors, I have people whom I admire. Not admire, wholeheartedly and follow blindly. Let’s just say there are people that have done some things that I found inspiring. In 2021 you have to be careful and separate person from accomplishments. Thanks PC cancel culture!
I admire (in no particular order) Massimo Vignelli, Michael Jordan, Elon Musk, Katherine Johnson, Robert Lindström, Platon, and few others.
They all have taught me and shown me a power of will, determination, creativity, challenging the nature and the culture, and never giving up.
11. Dragon or Unicorn? Why?
You show me a unicorn and I will show you a dragon that can torch it.
12. How important is design for small business?
Dare I say, it is the most important part of a successful business? Because I believe it is.
How you design the experience your customers have with your brand will last much longer than the actual business or other expenses you may incur.
13. What do you do as a design sprint facilitator?
I streamline the process of ideation and productivity. If the price tags of the potential failures or the potential successes are high, I help you level the playing field and give you the advantage of looking into the future to see if your idea or plan will work out.
14. What are you working on right now, what gets you excited?
We are in pre-production and filming of a masterclass series I am doing with the amazing folks from @sixcinquieme agency. Unlike any other learning experience you have ever seen. Scheduled for release late 2021. I am stoked about this currently.
Also working on a project that will disrupt how architects and interior designers work and track their progress. 😛
The Fast 5
1) Your favorite Instagram feed right now:
@wrightkitchen pleases me visually
@jill.greenberg i love her work
2. What is the Best Life advice (or lesson learned in business) you ever received:
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” — Benjamin Franklin I live and preach this quote. Always strive to be the best version of yourself, strive to deliver greatness.
3) Best website/destination you go to for inspiration:
4) The App you can’t live without?
Now, thanks to you, Notion.
5) Book we should all read?
I am a book addict so I can give a long list here but I’ll share just one of my favorites. You will feel like you just had a beer with one of the most interesting minds ever.
“Surely you’re joking Mr. Feynman” by Richard Feynman