Traveler. Researcher. Ambivert

CRAIG STRAUSS

 

ALWAYS HUNGRY FOR MORE

The minute you stop learning is the minute you give up on the future.

I've taken an unconventional route to becoming a user researcher at Venmo. I always want to learn more about research and human computer interaction and the ways to hack it. As a committed life long learner I'm always experimenting. My work helps build the next generation of mobile payments and makes physical money obsolete, which is pretty cool.

 
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MY BACKGROUND

As a founder of the user researcher program at Venmo I help anchor multiple teams across the business to consider the user 24/7. I collaborate with designers on feature discoverability and usability, concept work, and answering their big questions. I also work across the product team in building the Venmo of tomorrow.

I've helped place user research at the center of the Venmo product; working with partners to build a system and cadence of reliable testing that was previously nonexistent. 


Whether leading through contextual inquiry, in-lab studies, survey creation, remote user interviews, and guerrilla research, the team has come to value my input and findings as the voice of the Venmo customer.

 

MY JOURNEY

Work Experience

 

USER RESEARCHER, VENMO

October 2016 - Present

You name it and chances are I've probably been the sole person at Venmo to do it. As the founder of the research program I built every piece from scratch. In my time I ha experienced it all. Whether that's been coordinating users, run and manage testing, and create findings' reports across multiple teams. I'm an advocate of always learning more, I'm adding a quantitative skill set to match my qualitative side. Throw in some self-taught Javascript, and boom, you have me! It's an interesting journey but that means new challenges and opportunities along the way!

FINANCE OPERATIONS, VENMO

January 2015 - December 2015

Using my project management skills, I was brought on board to sort and bring order to Venmo's internal budgets. Helping to establish controls and insight into where our money was spent. Good thing I had that sorted when user research came calling. Sure I had to wear a lot of hats, but I quickly took to it becoming an invaluable part of the team.

RESEARCH OPERATIONS LEAD, VENMO

January 2016 - October 2016

Working with our database, I quickly learned SQL to pull the right user set and run analytics for research sessions. Using the right set of cohorts, I helped recruit, manage, and track all user testing conducted by Venmo in North America

PROJECT MANAGER, DEUTSCHE BANK

November 2014 - January 2015

My first foray into the consultant world proved it wasn't for me. Sure there was working for the big banks, but the business suits got too stuffy and stiffled my creativity. I used this opportunity to pick up the skills necessary to become a part of something I cared about and made the switch to Venmo.

Market Analysis

DATA ANALYTICS

Working with the Venmo data team, I've been brushing up on the latest tools such as Amplitude and Looker to have data lead the story of user research. It's then my job to go an fill in the chapters with UX.

Programming Console

IOS DEVELOPMENT

Though it's been a while, I spent many long nights learning Apple's Swift language in an effort to build a new skill set and learn how to help my colleagues in the challenges of redesigning Venmo.

Designer

USER RESEARCH DESIGN

As a part of the design team at Venmo, I work across the organization on initiatives and products that touch every facet of the company. That does not mean I'm done learning. I'm constantly reading up on design interaction and UI best practice to ensure I can speak the same language as my team.

 

EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE

What I’ve Learned

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Sept 2016 - October 2016

USER EXPERIENCE RESEARCH + DESIGN, GENERAL ASSEMBLY

A crash course in how to to update skills in the real world. I focused on design interaction and how to create a better user experience. Wire frames, prototype explorations, iterative testing, all combined into one invaluable course.

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2007 - 2011

BACHELOR OF ARTS, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, BOSTON UNIVERSITY

International relations was my first true love. We keep in touch on a daily basis thanks to Twitter.

 

MY PROJECTS

RESEARCH CASE STUDY: TESLA TELEPORTATION

In February 2020, I took some time to explore a fun, out-of-the-box concept of teleportation for Tesla. How might researchers tackle such a big question or innovation? Check inside to see my initial approach for a new transportation method that would revolutionize and change our world.

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INVESTING WITH VENMO

A proof of concept that demonstrates how Venmo customers might one day invest, manage, and transfer funds to build wealth.

PREDICTIVE MODELING RETRO:  THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

An exploration with regressions, hard data, and Tableau visuals. My goal was to see how accurate I could recap and examine the outcomes of the 2016 Presidential Election.

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PAY WITH VENMO CONCEPT DEBRIEF

A sample debrief of my findings that explored a concept for Pay with Venmo in July 2019.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY FINAL PROJECT: FANTIME

My final project created for the General Assembly User Experience Research & Design capstone in Autumn 2016.

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VENMO BUSINESS PROFILES

This proof of concept was developed during the Venmo Hackweek 2018. This prototype demonstrates how Venmo might digitize the word of mouth experience to small businesses seeking to expand their presence and increase revenue.

 
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"Great things never came from comfort zones"