Tobias van Schneider

German Maker & Designer



Tobias van Schneider@vanschneider · Designer & Maker
Hey everyone! I'm Tobias, so happy to be joining this PH Livechat (my second one actually, so that's pretty cool) - I'm a Designer & Maker, that's the short intro. I used to work for a range of companies throughout the past 10 years (for example Spotify, NASA, Google, Toyota, Sony etc.). But now I focus mostly on my own projects, first and foremost Semplice, a system for designers to build portfolios & case studies. Ask me anything about: 1. Semplice (obviously) 2. Breaking into the design community, or anything about design. 3. Skateboarding (I'm a skateboarder) 4. I live in NYC, so ask me anything about that 5. Ask me anything about building side projects & making things Cheers Tobias
Drew Wilson@drewwilson · I make
Hey homey! What's the end goal for you (ultimate dream)? Wanna always be independent? Wanna run a product company? Wanna ditch design and get into something else one day? TELL TO ME YOUR SOUL!
Tobias van Schneider@vanschneider · Designer & Maker
@drewwilson Hey Drew! Nice seeing you here. I love it, starting with the deep questions right away and triggering my existential crisis here. So I'm going to answer this straight from my heart: 1. I love being independent mostly because I'm just a horrible employee. That doesn't mean I won't end up working in a team, because I think you can still be very independent in the right team. But I just love being on my own, free of any strings and have the ability to work on whatever I want to in this moment. You probably know this feeling very much yourself. I don't like being put in just one category, or pushed down by group dynamics or politics. 2. I love to create products. Not sure I can be as specific as saying I like to run a product company, but yeah, you could say that, especially because thats what I'm doing. I generally just love everything around creating my own product, shipping it and managing the overall brand around it. I think being creative, and creating something out of nothing (a product) is something thats deeply engraved in what I do. 3. YES! I'm thinking about this a lot. I love design, but I also love many other things. Luckily design is so broad that you can't really say that I'm going to ditch design. But, I may be ditching the design as I know it. And I think that's okay. Things change over time, and the things that made you get into design 15 years ago might be not the same things anymore today. I believe I will always work somewhat in the creative industry where it's about ideas and solving problems, but I could definitely see myself doing something completely new. I love being a beginner in something. It's the best time, because you're fresh and the sky is the limit.
Drew Wilson@drewwilson · I make
@vanschneider agree so much with being a beginner. love it! My next move (once i make enough money to do this) is to make movies. Write, act, make. Been a long term goal of mine since i was a kid. Can't wait!
Tobias van Schneider@vanschneider · Designer & Maker
@drewwilson Drew, if you need an actor, you know where to find me. I'm not a good one, but I can be the guy who sits in the background and just acts like he's doing his thing (:
Drew Wilson@drewwilson · I make
@vanschneider hahaha! you got it man! :)
aj@ajlkn · Maker of stuff.
Hey Tobias! HUGE fan of your work. Just a few general questions: 1. How dare you? 2. Who do you think you are? 3. What gives you the right? Thanks!
Tobias van Schneider@vanschneider · Designer & Maker
@ajlkn Yo AJ 1. Ask my mom 2. Tobias, some call me Toby, which I hate, because it's a dogs name. 3. Kmart
aj@ajlkn · Maker of stuff.
Julie Delanoy@syswarren · Design at Product Hunt
@vanschneider @ajlkn Best comment. 🏆
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Tobias! I'm sure you've picked up a few things in your worldwide travels. What are your top 3 favorite apps or products you use when traveling?
Tobias van Schneider@vanschneider · Designer & Maker
@rrhoover RYAN! ('m screaming, so excited) - Good question, made me think a bit: 1. I use Tripit a ton, not sure if thats the app you were looking for, but holy shit I don't even know anymore how to travel without this app. 2. I like apps such as Hotel Tonight, Hitlist and Hopper a lot. Perfect for flight booking and late minute planning. 3. And that is literally it! I use apps mostly for just flight stuff and organizational things, I'm otherwise a very simple traveler, I usually arrive at my destination without any plans, and just start walking. I rarely do any research on neighborhoods or restaurants. I like to take it as it comes.
Amrith Shanbhag@amrith · Community at Product Hunt & Feathrd
Hello Tobias! Been waiting to get a chance to ask you a few questions so thanks a ton for doing this, you're undoubtedly one of the best inspirations a designer could ask for 😻 - Speaking of inspiration, who were the people you were inspired by when you were getting started w/ design? - Where do you see Semplice and yourself in the next five years? - The classic; If you were 18 right now, what would you be working on? - Would you ever shave your beard.
Tobias van Schneider@vanschneider · Designer & Maker
@ambonium Hey Amrith! So nic to see you on here, you are a familiar face to me (: Let me get into your questions: 1. The people I looked up the most (design wise) when I just started out were: - Robert Lindström - Gmunk - Wolfgang Bartelme 2. Five years is quite a long time for the times we live in. I hope in 5 years, Semplice will be the design community I ever dreamed off and that we can still (profitable) building products for some of the best designers out there. With Semplice, we never had the goal of growing fast or getting everyone on our platform, but we strive to have the best and most motivated designers on it. 3. Watches. I'd be a watchmaker, or something related to fashion. 4. Absolutely, in case I have to go undercover.
Nataniel Satanowski@nsat · monkey business expert
Hi Tobias! Being German myself I'm interested to hear about cultural differences that you experienced in your work and with clients!
Tobias van Schneider@vanschneider · Designer & Maker
@nsat Hey Nataniel! Guten morgen (: Good question, I've experienced quite a few cultural differences, here are some: 1. I learned that not everyone likes to be on time as much as Germans. Germans seem to be special about this, when say we meet at 5pm, we usually mean it. I learned that in some other countries it seems to be a bit more casual. (and you kinda have to get used to it) 2. When it comes to giving feedback, or voicing your opinion, I used to get told that I seem grumpy or not excited enough. Turns out, as Germans we're just very direct with our opinions, and for some this might seem like we're just a little rude. (true in some cases :P) These are just two examples of course, but I love how these little things influence the way we work together. There is no right or wrong way here to do things, but it's interesting to me to figure out how these differences manifest when interacting with each other.
Noel Emmanuel@noelemmanuel_
How do you get to work with clients such as Google, Red Bull, NASA. What made you so unique that those companies wanted to work with you?
Tobias van Schneider@vanschneider · Designer & Maker
@noelemmanuel_ Hey Noel! Nice to hear from you. Let me keep this short and snappy: 1. Lots of hard work, many nights and just many years of working for the most boring stuff until I had the chance to work for companies like the ones you mentioned. 2. Lots of luck. I think there is always lots of luck involved in these things. Right time at the right moment. (although, you can push yourself into these lucky situations a bit more by being more visible with what you do) 3. Connections. I would have never had the opportunity to work for some of these companies if it wouldn't be for someone who introduced me, believed in my work or someone at these companies who reached out and took a risk. 4. I pitched hard. I'm someone who often reaches out to companies, designs some things for then, or has some ideas, then reaches out and says "Hey, want to work with me?" I'd say these four all combined led me to work with these companies. I hope this roughly answers your question, feel free to follow up with more questions if you have some.
Skyler Hughes@skylerhughes · UX Designer
@noelemmanuel_ @vanschneider Loved this advice
Isaac Almanza@isaac_almanzaj
Heyy Tobias, As maker when do you know is time to give up in some project or when to keep digging?
Tobias van Schneider@vanschneider · Designer & Maker
@isaac_almanzaj Hey Isaac! Thanks so much for your question, this is an easy one: I stop exactly when it stops being fun. I think there is nothing worse than working on something that you don't like and where you have to force yourself. (and I don't mean to stop working on projects just because you hit a hard time, that's different) - But if a project is boring and not fun for a long time, you might want to think about changing it up.
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
Favorite restaurant in NYC?
Tobias van Schneider@vanschneider · Designer & Maker
@andrewett Damnit so hard! I'd vote for Glasserie, in Greenpoint. Israeli food, my favorite.
Stefan Bielau@stefanbielau · Managing Partner, Dynamo Partners
As a German Designer: which Bundesliga club team owns the best designed logo? And why?
Tobias van Schneider@vanschneider · Designer & Maker
@stefanbielau I've always been a Bayern Muenchen fan. But Logo wise, it would be BVB. Maybe not the best, but the boldest. The colors, the letters, I just think it's great and you can see it glowing from far away.
Do you introduce yourself as Tobias "van" [vòn] Schneider OR has it become Tobias "van" [vàn] Schneider meanwhile?
Tobias van Schneider@vanschneider · Designer & Maker
@stockfisch_w Hey Saul, VAN is correct yes (:
Andreas Keller@itsakeller · Software Engineer
Hi Tobias, really love reading your newsletter every week! Impressed by your consistency. Also loving the occasional podcast episodes. Really diverse guests. My all time favorite being the one with Pieter Levels. Any chance of a second episode with him? Or otherwise one with @ajlkn?
Tobias van Schneider@vanschneider · Designer & Maker
@ajlkn @itsakeller Hey Andreas, thank you so much for the kind words. Fun Facts, I did a second episode with Pieter Levels but it never went live, it was like 3 hours of rambling about stuff. I'm still sitting on it and Pieter is probably mad I didn't publish it yet. I stopped with podcasting for a bit right now to focus on other things, but hope to bring it back at some point. Maybe even one with that @ajlkn guy ;p
Sijvert Commandeur@thesijvert · Founder of #JoinMungo👌
👋 Tobias, Really love your designs on Drbbble. It would be awesome if u could answer this short question: For UI designin, do you think I should go to a university or something for design or should I just only start getting experience myself. (I'm 15) Thank you very much and have a nice day! - Sijvert
Tobias van Schneider@vanschneider · Designer & Maker
@thesijvert Hey Sijvert - Thanks a lot for your question! Thats a good one as well and one I get quite a lot. It's a bit hard to answer because this very much depends on your character, but luckily, I wrote an article on this not too long ago, which you can find here - It should answer all of your questions (:
Pregenun@pregenun · Wannabe desinger | I ❤ feedback.
@thesijvert @vanschneider thanks 👌 only one thing, the link to your Twitter account below the article shows your old account. Above all, it's a great read 😃
Noel Emmanuel@noelemmanuel_
Hey Tobias, I'm planning to purchase Wordpress (personal) and Semplice and start my website from there. So if it is built and hosted on Wordpress, then Semplice will work? or do I need other hosting services?
Tobias van Schneider@vanschneider · Designer & Maker
@noelemmanuel_ Hey Noel! That is correct, it runs on top of Wordpress. So as long as you have WordPress installed on your webhosting service, you're good (: But please do feel free to write any other questions you might have to and we are going to help you out.
Yasha Prikhodko@yashafromrussia · CTO @ Zambah,
Hey Tobias, if you can recall, after which point did you start getting recognized as a designer? How did you get noticed? Just wondering if you can maybe talk about some growth hacking here. Thanks!
Tobias van Schneider@vanschneider · Designer & Maker
@yashafromrussia Hey Yasha I never really thought about that, but I think it got more traction when I started writing and putting myself out there much more. There was a clear difference between me as just designing, vs. me sharing my experience and my opinion. This is when I noticed it change. Obviously, this is just me speculating, but it would make sense that "putting yourself out there more" would lead to such a result.
Michael Demarais@mikedemarais · engineer / designer. nyc.
hey what are your favorite resources/publications for following fashion?
Tobias van Schneider@vanschneider · Designer & Maker
@mikedemarais Tons of Tumblr blogs mostly, no specific blog or anything. I should maybe compile a list one day and write a blog post about it if you like. I also love following tons of Fashion people on Instagram such as HBX, Offwhite or simply following people like Nick Wooster.
Spencer Hiltbrand@spencerhilt · Freelance designer for startups.
Where do you answer these questions?
Nick Abouzeid@nickabouzeid · Words at Product Hunt ✌️
@spencerhilt He is in the office today 😻
FEAST@fea5t · Your product is bad
What is your number one design tool? How do you find flaws in your own work? What is the most important design philosophy you stand by?
Tobias van Schneider@vanschneider · Designer & Maker
@fea5t Hey Feast! 1. I love working with Photoshop the most. Followed by Illustrator, then InDesign. But I don't care about tools, use whatever gets the job done. (I used to design a lot in Apple Keynote, YES, thats a fact) 2. I find it all the time. I'd say not even 70% of all the work I do ever sees the light of the day. I already killed it way before that. And if I spot a flaw, someone else will most likely tell me pretty quickly. 3. That's a good one! I'd say my philosophy is: "No one knows what they're doing, we're all just making it up on the go, and the person who's most convincing wins.". My point here probably us: Never ever, take yourself too seriously. Makes you a good designer (I guess) but even more so, a happy person.
Dainis Kanopa@dainiskanopa · Helping to launch
Tobias, how much time of your day takes you to manage all social accounts, publish content which people will like, etc.?
Tobias van Schneider@vanschneider · Designer & Maker
@dainiskanopa Hey Dainis! Way too much time, I've been trying to cut down a lot lately on those things. I'd say right now it takes about 30% of my time to manage various social networks, answer questions there and publish content.
pedro henrique@droods21 · Founder of Urban Roosters
Hey Tobias, I'm a huuge fan of your work and newsletter 😁 so, whats your workflow designing new products, do you use any agile methodology, have your own workflow? All the best!!! Cheers Pedro
Tobias van Schneider@vanschneider · Designer & Maker
@droods21 Hey Pedro! Yay thank you, nice to see one of the email readers on here. If I'd tell you how I really work you would probably think I'm crazy. I don't follow any methodology really. I'm all over the place and mostly go with my gut. I work on things that are stupid, because I think stupid often turns into great. I even wrote an article about this here which explains my whole thinking about it: So in terms of workflow, I keep it simple and stupid. With that, I can guarantee that I won't have too many roadblocks and I can start working right away and keep the momentum going. The more planning and details are involved, the more I will block myself and lose exactly that momentum. That might all sound a bit chaotic to you, but it actually works pretty well for most projects. Let me know if this helped you answer your question (:
pedro henrique@droods21 · Founder of Urban Roosters
@vanschneider great to know I'm not the only one working with the gut and less systematic!!! Totally agree with you, it all about keeping the momentum going. thanks for your time (: