Square with Zach Grosser (3/31/2017)
By: Tabby Miller
Zach Grosser, Communications Design Lead for Square, joined TU-AMA over video chat to talk to students about design and his journey that lead him to his role at Square, a company dedicated to making commerce easier and more accessible for consumers. Grosser has been working with the San Francisco based tech company for four years. Upon his graduation from Alfred University in 2011, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. He ended up moving to the west coast to stay with his brother in California. After applying to over 900 jobs, he started working at an Apple store where he taught customers how to use Apple’s software. His senior manager at Apple left the company to work at Square, and a few months later, he asked Grosser to join him. Grosser left Apple to take an entry level job at Square. He worked with food distribution at Square, but what he wanted was to work with design and communications. He used his entry level position as an opportunity to show his skills and initiative by going beyond what was expected of him, doing tasks such as redesigning the menu. When a position in presentation designed opened up at Square, Grosser was hired.
Grosser worked on a joint team between marketing and communications called the brand team. The marketing team focused on acquiring new customers by using methods like commercials on direct television, flyers, and storytelling. The communications team focused on telling Square’s story to reporters in order to reach potential investors, shareholders, and also new customers. After a reorganization at Square, the two teams split, and Grosser went to work with on the communications team. The two teams still work together heavily. At his current position, Grosser is glad that he gets the opportunity to work with every team at square. He’s the only designer on the communications team and enjoys working with people who are knowledgeable in other fields.
Grosser says, “design is problem solving.” Although designers use different tools that most problem solvers, their end goal is to solve the problem of the client. Grosser believes that design should be taught as a part of marketing and product development curriculums because of its importance as a business tool. He advises students to familiarize themselves with design tools, especially Figma, a web-based design tool, similar to Sketch, that allows for collaboration between team members.
Something important that Grosser learned from his experience, and suggests that students consider, is that it’s important to focus on the company you want to work for rather than the role you want to have. Knowing you want to work for a certain company makes it easier to believe in the mission statement of that company and work towards achieving it. Once you have a position in your desired company, you can use networking and your job experience to work towards moving into a role that you want to work in.