Buenos Aires, 8.11.2021
***CLOSED, as of 27.12.2021****
Design R&D jobs, international project in Buenos Aires :
“Women in Digital Nomad Life on the water”
After a few years of quiet preparation that resulted in a technical platform with many benefits for liveaboard cruising, we are now excited to scale up the design side of things: we are hiring 2-3 senior designers / architects / ergonomists in Buenos Aires. You’d join the french/german/argentine R&D team to help nurse the ideas from the current conceptual stage towards a buildable, livable and lovable product. We’re in for a rather feminine take on life aboard for a new generation of users ( 1 ): working couples or young families, typically from EU/US/CA/AUS/SA/NZ .
Our boat is a home, a remote office and a space for education ( 2 ). It is designed to give a lot of autonomy from urban grids, but also to support the interaction with land life and the ties with your loved ones and colleagues around the globe while you’re out there anchored in some quiet bay or river. The boat will usually be owner-operated and owner-maintained. Most movement will be coastal cruising within a few hours: Island hopping, local exploration or just a groceries trip every couple weeks, preferably without too much disruption of daily life. The little ship is also supposed to get you to faraway places safely and efficiently from time to time, think seasonal migrations. Note that such a usage has little to do with transport, vacations, sports, « yachting », showing off in the sunshine or luxury. Our work ahead allows some significant enhancements to the technical platform, but, there again, we won’t be after the next short-lived gadget for the rich : the performance is there to support a very involved lifestyle.
While the vast majority of boats today are still designed for ageing patriarchs or young dynamic sports dudes, the last decade has seen some progress towards gender neutrality on certain segments( 3 ), and signs of a timid corporate sociology shift in the rather conservative leisure marine field. Contrary to the established players’ incremental improvements, our proposition is a clean-sheet design with a single try funded, and we better be bold if we want to see something built. We’ll have zero marketing problems (and a good laugh) if the result scares the boomers and yachties, and the best niche usage bet for our technical platform is young life aboard. We focus squarely on women in their 30s-40s : in the upcoming generation of liveaboard cruisers, they are the most involved proponents of such a drastic change of lifestyle. Cruising women remain rare, if very committed: forums and talk around the entourage show a thorough research and years of preparation, with an acute understanding of the logistics, communication and emotional load they are going to take. Meanwhile, due to childhood imaginary and looser social expectations, men with dreams to sail the world are always plenty – and nobody wants to leave alone. Due to massive shifts in employer demands and university demographics, many of the ladies will also bring in a major chunk of the necessary cash after a successful early career – and carry on under sails. Women remain the most demanding users for living environments : rare exceptions aside, they have been educated to care more. Seeing so many shape their homes and lifestyle with skill and pride, we’d think there is a wonderful base for enjoyable prosumer relations. And trying to fix a few long-neglected design flaws of liveaboard boats through this lens will obviously benefit everybody aboard.
A highly constrained design space
Ambitious usage, self-reliance, constant motion of the living environment, weight sensitivity, small form factor… We’ll face a tight constraint set, which leads to a daunting functional density. Like most homes, these boats will also be long-lived assets that get transformed by their users over the decades ( 4 ) – failing to account for sufficient flexibility and resilience would result in an absurd environmental footprint, all the way up to premature scrapping of the whole boat. Regulation is fairly light in the field, but the specific challenges of the marine environment are manifold and treacherous, and the purchase of a whole new lifestyle is certainly never taken lightly. Our propositions being a significant departure from the usual practice, we’ll need to triple-check a lot of things and explain our work very well.
We’ll also want to match the cost of our user’s urban flats, becoming a more credible alternative than the current offerings. The latter implies making the product and manufacturing efficient, but also keeping the company lean.
Over all, the challenges of such complex developments may come closer to what you could experience within healthcare, transportation, aeronautics, industry or high-tech than what could typically be expected in the field of recreational boat design or most land-based residential architecture. There will be an entrepreneurial vibe to it, and it is certainly beyond what a designer can achieve alone.
Bottom-up agile development in a learning team : Complex challenges are mostly tackled in details that can’t be planned ahead. Improvement is cyclical rather than linear, and wrapping a cycle isn’t just about cramming in the new functionalities we thought about last week – it means finding a new reasonable coherence. On a more individual level these are transformational lead roles in which you can only succeed collectively, through careful integration.
- Much initial digging to understand the users, values, platform, constraints. And your colleagues 🙂
- Years of iterative interdisciplinary development work to help nurse the boat from the current conceptual stage and technical proofs of concept towards a buildable, livable and lovable product.
- A lot of communication load and constant learning to make a somewhat « agile » concurrent engineering / design approach work: We’ll need to keep improving the design on every granularity on a regular basis, from spec to conceptual questions, detailed layout, systems and structural engineering, conformity matters, form and execution. (Be warned that it’s hard. It’s a recipe for quality, not one for our peace of mind.)
- There is enough detail to the vision to get everyone started with a few identifiable challenges. But on a broader scale, the complexity of the project with all these conflicting/evolving requirements and opportunities will remain hard to tame. We’ll soon have to share these responsibilities, in confidence and maturity.
- Completed architecture or design studies. We may also consider engineers with significant design practice.
- A minimum of 5 years of design-related professional experience.
- Having completed at least one major project involving several years of work as the main responsible person (not necessarily in the field: we could also talk about research, arts, education, politics…).
- Willing to focus on a single ambitious project, hands-on, for another 2-3 years.
- Some practical experience with crafts or construction and a « Renaissance » spirit: broad curiosity and a tight link between conceptual research and practical application.
- Self-motivation, autonomy, and a personality that enhances a team of peers.
- Remote collaboration skills to work with the tech colleagues in France and externals.
- Reasonable peace of mind despite the crisis year, support of your entourage for a major professional commitment, and a healthy lifestyle: We’ll all need to be on top of our attention.
- English is the written language for all documentation in the project, clients/prospects will mostly communicate in English and 90% of the essential info across the internet is only available in English.
- 3D CAD sketching/drafting (2D won’t get us far for this work: boats have rather organic shapes. Rendering/animation skills are *not* relevant at this stage and can easily be externalised. Experience with parametric CAD or drawing for digital manufacturing would be a plus.)
- Some familiarity with cruisers or related lifestyles such as digital nomads, travellers / backpackers / adventurers / tiny house / vanlife folks, would be neat.
- Multi-cultural background would be a big plus.
- Hybrid careers (on multiple subjects) would typically turn out helpful.
- We are NOT interested in « managers », « coordinators », « advisors », « consultants » ( 5 ); we hire people who will think and do the work and handle a bit of coordination, themselves.
- A note since we noticed a bit of an « entitlement gap »: Applications of guys will only be considered if you bring in years of experience with product development for women, gender themes in work or academia, ambitious parenthood, or any other sustained eye-opening experience that could somehow start to make up for the lacking decades of female socialization, and give a few clues about how to deal with the hundreds of little taboos and awkward situations that will hinder your user research. From there we’d expect you to make the team of peers shine, keeping in mind that the ladies are collectively essential to the project, while individually you are rather not. Those ready to contribute positively in such a setting, from day one and without much fuss, would probably have a long story to tell – it is not a fake-it-till-you-make-it situation.
- Anti-Vaxx ? Keep away then please ( 6 ).
- BA-style middle class pay to be discussed. (This is mostly an owner-funded R&D project with years ahead to hit the market, not some fancy corporate thing or Puerto Madero startup. It’s not a temporary state of things either: Making the boats affordable for users who earn their money themselves will mean keeping the company lean. Overall, we launch this design effort in BA because there is a lot of talent, but also to be able to work at a depth that becomes impossible to fund in Europe due to the inflated cost of living.).
- Foreigners welcome in an already international project (hey we especially miss someone to keep an eye on Italy and Netherlands), but see the above and note that our pay will be ok for a relaxed life in Buenos Aires… and typically ridiculous abroad due to the currency rate mess.
- Applications of proven duos or trios are very welcome. But do keep in mind that we need full-time dedication for at least 2-3 years from everyone involved: Due to the complexity of the project and several months of initial learning, this is typically not something that you can run along with other commitments in your existing agency.
- Semi-presential with fairly flexible hours (think a minimum of 2-3 core-days a week to meet the colleagues. Office/studio will be available 24/7 to those who prefer though).
- Plan so far is to start in a coworking in BA, then quickly find an office/atelier together.
- Slightly reduced hours to compensate for a substantial emotional load, and because creativity needs rest & balance.
- We’ll try to adjust to off-phases if someone wants to spend a couple months traveling or on other projects from time to time (but sequentially then please, not in parallel with our work).
- Please apply via the contact form : http://goo.gl/forms/6HUuLvNyGp
- First interview would typically revolve around your former work. Don’t waste your time drawing stuff on purpose or reading up every cliché about boat design – it’s about your multi-year itinerary in a field you know well. Spent most of your adult life improving toothbrushes ? We’ll be happy to learn about that.
- A second one would likely involve more practical situations like a quick constraints research, or sketching around an example problem.
- Job interviews aren’t just about testing you out – it should work both ways.
- Please understand that we’ll have to figure out complementarities within the team rather than « just » picking the most amazing candidates.
- We’d hope to have 2-3 people starting after the navidad/summer vacations in early 2022
- Tech side of the team is also growing slowly in France, and we’ll probably look out for a bit of systems engineering support for the BA team once we get a feel for the skillsets of the designers.
- Current funding is for a design&engineering phase of 2-3 years.
- Future beyond that could be anything between miserable failure with everybody fired and nothing but a few pics left for memories, or building a whole range of designs around the globe, depending on conjuncture and what we’ll have to sell.
DIRECT APPLICATIONS ONLY.
We are NOT interested in any contact with intermediaries like HR agencies at all.
SOLAMENTE SOLICITUDES DIRECTAS POR FAVOR.
NO queremos NINGUN contacto con intermediarios, consultorias de recursos humanos etc.
1 /clientele :
That public has been most eloquently described by adventurer Becca Guillote in this 01/2018 Passagemaker Magazine article « Untie those lines »: https://www.passagemaker.com/lifestyle/untie-those-lines
2 /space for education :
Homeschooling is common among cruising families.
3 /shift away from the guys-designing-for-guys thing :
With some progress towards neutrality and timid advances in corporate sociology notably on the booming 40′ – 50′ multihull segment. But these are hardly affordable to cruisers when new: they are primarily sold to charter companies for vacation use, with a more limited functionality set. And ergonomy matters much more for a permanent home.
4 /boats get modified over time :
Have a look at https://www.youtube.com/sailinguma … or the vanlife and tinyhouse folks around the internet.
5 /management experience :
Nothing wrong with having led teams before of course – but it’s not what we’ll expect you to do within the project.
6 / Anti-Vaxx, keep off :
Yes we’ve heard about the individual risks of any medical treatment, and read that results are a few points less than 100%, as pretty much everybody else has. We also have a basic understanding about statistics. We’ll depend on presential collaboration, and perhaps on travel from time to time. We’ll simply want everyone to protect their coworkers the best they can, just as when handling chemicals or powertools for some model you’d build. We’ll also want to see our staff proactively engaged in the difficult yet broadly consensual social effort of our time, just as we expect you to pay your taxes.
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