V-Insider: Carve Your Own Role In The Creative Industry
The creative industry is evolving all the time. Finding your place in this fluid world is a challenge, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity to realise your strengths and carve your own role.
We speak to Emma Hernández Bryden, a Vidsy veteran who puts the ‘pro’ in product manager, about how she established herself in creative tech, and why it works for her…
What attracted you to creative tech?
I like structured creativity. At school, we had departments for design engineering, where I was able to design physical things that worked. I knew that I wanted to do something creative with my career, but I also liked that design involved problem solving. There was a purpose to it, rather than just self-expression.
I didn’t know about creative tech when I was getting started. I enjoyed building things that worked, but it wasn’t until later that I thought about my passion in terms of technology. I worked as a graphic designer for about ten months after finishing uni, but I wanted something with more creative freedom. I liked the idea of going to a startup, where I could run with my ideas. I worked with the community at Vidsy, and the opportunity to move into the product team kind of fell into my lap. I started identifying problems we could fix with technology, and the founders said, “that’s product”. And I said, “sweet, I’d like to do that”.
There are so many new avenues, jobs and industries coming up all the time, and because of technology there is so much you can do. You don’t need to fit into certain boxes anymore, you can really harness your own creativity.
How do you manage your mental wellbeing?
I went to quite an academic school, so I was used to working hard and really pushing myself. I put a lot of pressure on myself, and even though I like working last minute, I would get quite overwhelmed sometimes.
At university, a lot of people were very competitive. It’s cool to have conversations and vibe off each other, but you can also find yourself thinking ahh, that person’s doing really well and I’m not. With my final project, I worked at home because I felt that people were continually looking over each other’s shoulders. I was confident in what I was doing, and I didn’t show it off until it was ready.
I learned that I’m a thinker. I like to get my ideas out and think things through on my own, then sit down and discuss with other people. That’s how I manage my wellbeing. It’s nice to have your own safe space where you can work on things and experiment.
What influence did your wellbeing have on your career path?
When I first started my career as a designer, I found the environment I was working in very difficult. One minute, management would love something, the next it was the worst thing they had ever seen. That’s because a lot of creative things are endless, you can just keep going because the finish line is so subjective.
What drew me to product, is that you have this opportunity to be creative, but there’s also a problem to solve. You can say something is done when it’s solved. That’s why product is a good place for me to be. I can be really, really creative and come up with loads of answers, but the one that answers the problem best is the one you go with. “You solved the problem and you’re done!”
Any advice for people starting out in creative tech?
Social media is such a massive thing that previous generations haven’t had to deal with. You can have an onslaught of creative media coming at you every day. It can be another, ahh, that person’s doing really well and I’m not, but if you can remove yourself from the comparison and be happy for people, social media can be really inspiring.
It’s interesting, because you’ve got your Instagram feeds that are very crafted, and then you’ve got Instagram stories, which end so quickly that people are much less precious about them. They’ll put out fun, little things. I love to watch stories of artists, and see behind the scenes, like where they get their ideas from and what they’re playing around with.
I’m also not afraid to unfollow. As soon as you see something that doesn’t make you feel good, go for it.
Looking for more insights into building a career in the creative industry?