Spasimir Dinev (’08), Head of UX/UI at Paysafe Group: ‘If you can’t find something – create it’
Meet Spasimir Dinev (’08), Head of UX/UI at Paysafe Group. The alumnus, who studied Journalism and Mass Communication at AUBG, and was part of More Honors, Verve, the Griffins and AUBG Olympics as a student, talks about his career, his education and the power of the university's alumni network.
Tell us a bit about your time right after graduation. What was your first job like?
It all happened very quickly. With graduation fast approaching, a great friend and a fellow [alum] Vasil Petrakov (’08) suggested that Yordan Zhechev (’04), creative director at DDB Sofia ad agency, could interview me for a design position. Five of the best years in my life were spent there, learning and growing among true friends and fabulous mentors.
How did your career progress since then?
Digital kept happening. I spent a couple of years as an art director and then creative director at an agency geared towards web and social. An opportunity then arose to join Infragistics – a U.S. company working on web components – a deep dive into the technical aspect of reusable scalable design. And for the past almost two years, all the knowledge around journalism, communication design, advertising, social media, technical understanding and interaction came together at Paysafe.
What are your responsibilities as Head of UX/UI at Paysafe?
Supporting a team of brilliant UX researchers, product designers and a UX writer to bring the user perspective needs and wants conversations into our product creation cycle.
It’s been an incredible journey – we’ve doubled in the past two years, becoming one of the largest UX teams in Bulgaria, with critically important members from the U.S. and Canada.
Every week we communicate with the CEO, product management, engineering, customer service, marketing to align our efforts – and alignment is a critical element in a company of over 3000 people.
What do you enjoy the most about your current job?
Product design is an intricate job. The science behind the art of creating an application that people love using.
Untangling the complications and finding the unknowns, talking to your users and your stakeholders to understand what moves whom. It’s then also up to us to create an interface that people understand and love toying with. And there’s the layer of mass communication that’s going on at the same time – it’s truly marvelous.
It’s detective work – we are looking at facts and opinions, talking to customers for hours every day to uncover issues and opportunities.
It’s journalism – with tiny mobile screens, you want to quickly relay the most important information in a glance.
It’s scientific art – behind every beautiful design choice we make, there’s a ton of data and rules we take into account.
It’s a party – the connections we’ve established go beyond our working life. Even with the pandemic ongoing, we can’t wait for the Friday home beers time to arrive.
In what ways did AUBG prepare you for life and work?
Learning by doing – all courses were practical and action-oriented – we wrote articles, shot photos and videos and designed our way through AUBG.
If you can’t find something – create it. If there wasn’t a course available for something, there was a student club for that. And when there wasn’t a club - we started the Griffins and the AUBG Olympics.
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far – go with friends. The nights at the JMC lab with fellow Verve folks, the weekends brainstorming, shooting and editing videos with MH, memories (my broken hand) from the AFC Griffin games, summers moving ice in the U.S. to pay tuition. These friendships last forever.
What classes, extracurricular activities or other university experiences had the most impact on you and why?
A combustive cocktail of clubs and extracurricular activities was what kept me going. Creating content for two years at More Honors, learning to run a magazine for two years as an editor-in-chief for Verve (setting up the website, dealing with printing houses, looking for content and designing – mostly in the middle of the night, all in the JMC labs), learning responsibilities as part of the RA team.
Are you still in touch and collaborating with other AUBG alumni and in what ways?
Daily. I have two kids with an alumna to prove it. Life has distanced me from many friends, but whenever we meet, it feels like we were having fun in Underground just last night.
What advice would you give to young graduates on finding personal and professional fulfillment and on being part of the positive change?
Do what you love doing, with the people you love working with. Trust your fellow AUBGers and support them when you can. To date, this is one of the strongest communities I’ve known – let’s keep it so.