about

cole derochie, the human

Welcome and thanks for stopping by my little digital garden.


A little about me...

I grew up in Ontario, was educated in Ottawa and cut my teeth in Vancouver. I joined Unbounce in 2013 as the second Product Designer and over the next 5 years got to learn a ton about technology, digital marketing, Saas, machine learning and my two disciplines: design and product management.

In addition to Unbounce, I took on the occasional freelance project to help pay for things like world-travel and student loans.

Post-Unbounce, I've gotten to work on some personal projects while also helping local startups build and validate their businesses. One of them has grown to over 10,000 users with plans to expand across Canada in the next year. More importantly though, I've been working on my health. TL;DR: I'm fine now!

Aside from my 9-5s, I've started a few businesses that have helped me understand and experience firsthand the types of problems business owners and teams endure. They've not all been successful, but they've provided a ton of learning that I pull from to help solve problems and forecast future roadblocks. The greatest edge that entrepreneurship has given me is the ability to see things more holistically. I don't think about how a problem impacts just the product, but also the sales, marketing, business and support sides of things. This means I'm hella "T-shaped".


My approach

I believe in taking an iterative approach to building. That means we start small and grow as needed to save from building unnecessary bloat. Think: skateboard ⟹ bike ⟹ car.

Products, like design, should be intentional with their offering to help give customers the confidence they are looking for when adopting a new solution.

I like to start by understanding and defining the core problem that needs solving so that we can move forward together with a shared agreement of what the priorities are. I've found this exercise works really well for staying focussed throughout a project's development.


How I can help

I can get down and dirty in any phase of a business' development, but I thrive in the early stages.

Whether you're looking to supplement your existing design team or start from the ground up, I can help with identity, website or digital product design. Aside from that, I'm experienced in other forms of digital design including motion, 3D and illustration. But just because I can do it doesn't mean I always should. I've got a list of people I trust to bring in when needed.

Maybe your stuck on strategy and need to validate an idea or understand your customer base better. I approach product management with design-like focus on the end user. I'm very comfortable calling customers and asking "why?" 5 times. In addition to identifying opportunities, I can help get solutions built. I love working across departments to bring home that sweet, sweet customer value.

When it comes to building, I've done the 20-person dev team thing before, but I find I work best with smaller groups: 2-4 developers and 1-2 designers with support from product marketing, data and user research. That's my sweet spot.


Interested in working together?

Let's have a chat! You can either email me ↗ or schedule something in my calendar ↗


Want to know more?

I've provided some less formal bullet-point information about me in the unordered lists below ↴

  • Project management
  • Wireframing
  • UI Design
  • User Research
  • Prototyping
  • Motion Design
  • Illustration
  • Writing
  • Public speaking
  • Product strategy
  • Adobe CC
  • Sketch / Figma
  • HTML
  • CSS / SASS
  • JS
  • SQL
  • Shopify / Liquid
  • More here ⟶

What some friends have said

Chris Brownlee

I thoroughly enjoy working with Cole. He is a gem with so many admirable qualities: an excellent sense of humour, work hard ethic, a pool of insights, warmth, wit, and professionalism. I look forward to working with Cole again in the future.

Partho Ghosh

Cole is an excellent and thoughtful Product Manager. With his entrepreneurial spirit and UX background, Cole makes for an excellent Product Manager on customer-focused products. Cole was always immensely customer-centric but ensured that ROI and large business-value was top-priority. He did this successfully and had to make hard key decisions when doing so.

Gary Allen

Cole is a strong communicator with an eye for detail and great project management skills. An open, honest collaborator he worked to ensure we succeeded together throughout the project. What I valued most about working with Cole was his ability to manage many moving pieces, his dedication to the task at hand, and his ability to absorb many differing inputs to produce a cohesive plan of action that everyone could get behind. I’d love to work with Cole again and recommend him in a heartbeat.

Arthur Gonigberg

Cole and I collaborated on the same team, in a designer-developer capacity. He is thoughtful and practical, while coming up with creative and beautiful interactions. He communicates his ideas clearly and his easy-going nature creates a comfortable working relationship across teams. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Cole and wouldn't hesitate in adding him to any project I was working on.

Tia Fomenoff

In the workplace, Cole is an engaging mix of professional and personable. He's able to offer up creative solutions to complex design problems—and can clearly communicate both his thought process and recommendations even to non-designers. He'll stick strong to his opinions but also welcomes constructive criticism of his own work and is always open to debate. Cole can take on a leadership role while remaining likeable—not always easy to accomplish.