Kavita Chepovetsky, Senior Product Designer
To showcase our band members, every now and then we put a Spotifier in the limelight. Today's headliner is Kavita Chepovetsky, Senior Product Designer for Freemium in New York. Put on your headphones, hit play, and read along!
Questions & Answers
Why are you a designer?
I love that I get to create things as my job. Growing up, I was always doing creative things, whether that was collaging, doing pottery, or designing and coding my Tumblr blog. I’m also a very logical thinker, and I find so much joy in solving a tough problem. I always looked up to designers and artists but felt like there was nowhere I would fit in that world. Once I discovered product design, I felt like I found the perfect blend of left and right brain where I could thrive. It’s so cool that I get to work with amazing, smart people and figure out how to solve problems and build things together.
I also find so much joy in making users happy. Just last week I was observing a user research session where one of our listeners got super stoked about a feature we’re working on. It made me feel awesome knowing that something I built could make someone smile and get excited about what’s coming at Spotify.
Describe your job at Spotify without using the words "design" or "designer."
My team’s mission is to ensure listeners are getting personalized, relevant and timely messages from Spotify. Whether you’re getting your end of year Wrapped email or a push notification about a new podcast, there are complex internal tools and systems under the surface that power all of these messages. I currently work across both the listener experience and the tools that help Spotifiers create millions of messages efficiently.
Recently, I’ve been working with research and insights to understand messaging’s role in content sharing, and how we can leverage what we know about messaging to improve the connection between listeners, their friends, and Spotify.
Show us a picture of your desk, and explain why it looks how it does.
During Covid I started getting into producing and DJing, so I bought these speakers. I’m not working with a lot of space so my options were limited, but these are pretty powerful for their size (and cute too).
So I can work on my big screen and still face the camera. I recently bought this light, I love it because you can adjust the warmth of it — if you know me you know how much blue, fluorescent light pains me.
I finally ripped the bandaid off and bought an iPad — it’s been great to use for sketching ideas at work, and for personal art projects with Procreate.
I was a big Rookie Magazine fan growing up, and although I’ve outgrown it, the collages and photos in these books are super fun to browse through. They also make great monitor stands.
I’m pretty sure these succulents are dying — I’m not a great plant mom. This planter is also very much my vibe — it’s really hard for me not to buy anything holographic and shiny.
I’m from Toronto, and my apartment has little Canadian clues all around it. This mug is from one of my favorite places to get coffee back home. It’s pretty much always filled with cold brew.
Tell us about a time you beat an intimidating design challenge.
I was a few months into a new job, and I presented a design solution to a team of developers. I got tons of pushback, as the team felt strongly about an alternate solution. I listened to and acknowledged their feedback but left that meeting completely defeated and ready to go back to the drawing board.
I felt stuck and didn’t know what to do. I felt like my design was still the right solution, but I started to second guess myself. Imposter syndrome was super real. I had a candid conversation with my manager at the time about how I was feeling. She encouraged me to be open to their concerns but also stay strong in my design decision if I felt like it was the right thing to do.
Next time I met with the team, I presented them with my rationale, walked through a prototype and referenced audits to drive consensus around my design. It was the quickest "yes — let's ship it" I’ve ever had in a design review.
That experience taught me that the ‘why’ of a design is just as important as the design itself. A lot of product design is logic — things adding up that make sense. If you can’t explain your rationale and why you’ve made the decisions you’ve made, you will have a hard time getting people on board. Also, it taught me to trust my gut and believe in myself a little more.
Name three non-designers you feel inspired by when designing.
Remi Wolf — I love everything about her, her energy, music, style, and the way she embraces her uniqueness and weirdness in everything she does. Everyone needs to see this performance of her on Fallon.
Peggy Gou, among all other female DJs and producers — I recently watched this documentary called Underplayed that’s super eye-opening about issues to do with equal representation in dance music. It made me so inspired to do more in music and to spend more time doing the things that I love.
Mixed media artists like Bisa Butler, Maria Zanelato, or John Turck — I’m slowly finding the courage to share my art with the rest of the world, and turning my Instagram feed into something that motivates me to create more.
What would your self-portrait look like?
Any final shout-outs or things you'd like to share?
Shout out to all the amazing female designers, managers and mentors I’ve been so lucky to work with so far in my career, you inspire me every day.
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