About this episode
In this episode, we’ll dive into Josh's non-traditional path and pivot from civil engineering to web design and community was influenced his design thinking and passion for architecting experiences, and why it's important to take a chance on yourself.
Matthew Munger: Why don't we start by you telling us a little bit about your role and what you do?
Josh Loh: I am the Head of Community and Content at Relume. Right now, mainly just hosting the weekly YouTube livestreams. We're bringing top designers from the community, just talking about design. We're also covering some business tips and advice on agency work, and recently playing with this Relume Design League, which is kind of an eSports platform that’s recently been taking off. So that's been really fun.
Matthew Munger: I wonder, could you have imagined this is what you would be doing now?
Josh Loh: To give context, my background: I have seven years of civil engineering consulting work, and then four years ago I took a break and switched into tech. Of those seven years, four years in the mining industry and three years in the high rise residential construction industry. So a very technical background. Playing with Excel a lot.
In my mining years I did a lot of traveling, remote traveling. Lived off in a drilling rig. Lived on a barge doing hydrology studies. Playing in the dirt, all sorts of stuff. It was a good variety of different field work.
And for the residential construction, I was doing mostly plumbing and mechanical design. So a very analytical approach in my thinking. It was pretty dry, and my only creative outlet was to do videography. I was doing wedding videos or corporate videos. That was kind of like me in a nutshell.
Matthew Munger: How did you get from there to today?
Josh Loh: Good question. I was kind of burnt out, so I took about six months to a year off, and then I heard about digital marketing and I looked into it. I found a bootcamp and they offered UX design, and I didn't know anything about it. But when I read more about it, I just fell in love with it. It was the perfect blend of the analytical, systematic approach and the creative expression. I'm like, “This is it.” Right away I just jumped into the bootcamp, and that was basically me going two feet into the whole tech industry.
Matthew Munger: So you're jumping in?
Josh Loh: Yeah. I just left engineering. It was a huge risk. I was 32. It was a little scary, but I just saw the potential. I did a lot of research on the industry, and I wanted to transition to do something more towards my passion, even though I didn't develop my skill set in that space yet.
Matthew Munger: That's a little bit about what you do and how you got there. Let's switch it up a little bit. Can you describe your workspace? What’s the environment around you day to day?
Josh Loh: I just moved into a new place. It's a basement room where my office space is. I live in Vancouver, there's a lot of nice trees out. There are these three windows that allow some natural light in. So that's pretty nice.
Matthew Munger: Is it morning light? Afternoon?
Josh Loh: Natural afternoon light. And then four walls. But now I'm really excited because I get to really improve my new stream set. I'm playing with the lights and all these RGB hues and all that stuff. I have multiple screens. I'm really trying to find a way to optimize even for the RDL stream. Casting on the big screen and then having another screen with all my stream controls and things like that.
Matthew Munger: The whole streaming lab setup.
Josh Loh: Yeah. Which I never thought would be...
Matthew Munger: A streamer?
Josh Loh: My wife's like, “So you're a YouTuber now?” Never thought I'd be here.
Matthew Munger: Is this a real thing? It’s like, are you really getting paid to do this? So you're getting to completely design this space, just from scratch?
Josh Loh: Yeah, and that's kind of my passion, actually. Even before going into engineering or creating videos, I love designing environments. In engineering, it's the physical build space, or if it's in Webflow, it's the digital space. But it's the environment.
It's those common elements of interactivity, of even my wedding. I was so into the planning because I was trying to figure out the flow of the people and the guests arriving at the registration table. From there, do they go on to the cocktail tables? So architecting the experience of people interacting and having a good time. I would say that would be the common thing that threads all my different areas.
Matthew Munger: Like architecting the experience, setting up those paths to guide people. Do you listen to any music while you work?
Josh Loh: Low- fi is my default, but recently I've just been not listening to anything, just the silence. And that's really helped me really hone in and focus on what I need to do.
Matthew Munger: When you get up in the day, what motivates you? What gets you excited?
Josh Loh: Right now, it's really fun and exciting because I have so many ideas. Even the Relume Design League alone and this eSports format. I’ve been sharing with people that I want to experiment with different things like two versus two. That's never been done at all. I was even joking and asking Aaron Korenbilt and Connor Finlayson... they're not designers at all. I was like, “Guys, you need to come and just battle it on there. You guys just trash talk each other.” And they're like, “You guys aren't designers, but it'll just be fun.” So just thinking of different ways to bring entertainment, bring fun to education.
Matthew Munger: What are your aspirations? Where are you hoping to go from here?
Josh Loh: My big goal is this whole idea. Even me reaching out and being in Relume, it was born from the pandemic. I was seeing everyone losing jobs, and I just wanted to do something. I just wanted to help people.
I actually did attempt a few community initiatives, creating a Discord community and just reaching out, saying, "Hey you know, there are local businesses who are struggling and everyone's going digital. If you don't set up your business going digital, You're not gonna survive." So just helping people, really. As cliché as it sounds, having that superpower. Like we've talked about in the recent keynote, to help people and contribute.
What really motivates me is creating this platform, or this way to empower people to help others. And I think that's one of Webflow's values, right? It's an empowering tool. So yeah, I would say that's one of my aspirations. That's my general goal.
Matthew Munger: Yeah, it's helping others find their superpowers. Unlock their potential.
Josh Loh: Even my journey of discovering this from engineering and now having a platform, having a community, having a space to creatively express yourself. And have that be celebrated by others while inspiring others to do the same. That's amazing. I'm very thankful and grateful for where I'm at.
Matthew Munger: Speaking of inspiration, you wanna inspire others, but who inspires you?
Josh Loh: Yeah. When I got into the space, Chris Do and The Future, I was soaking up all his content. And it was just anyone I could find on YouTube, so Ran Segall, Flux Academy. He was actually the guy that got me into Webflow, just watching a video. Those were my two early inspirations.
Matthew Munger: How about somebody who's looking to make a big transition in their career like you did? What advice would you give to them?
Josh Loh: I would say just give it a shot. Whatever you want to do and any ideas that you have, go for it. Try it out and reach out to people who can bring you there, especially on Twitter. That's the magical place, it's wild. It was because of twitter. I only joined six months ago for the first time. That's how I got into Relume, because I reached out to them.
I always call myself a no-code, nobody. And I came from nowhere because I really was not related to the industry. Adam posted "I'm looking for a product design lead" and I had no proper credentials to flex or prove that I was right for the role. But I just reached out. I sent him a video Loom. I took some initiatives.
So I would say that's the advice, just give it a shot. Don't doubt yourself. Give yourself a chance. That, “You never know” mentality. “Let's just see.” Lucky enough, Adam responded and then I pitched him some ideas that I had. So if you have an idea, go for it. Chase it.
Matthew Munger: You never know what'll happen.
Josh Loh: And now I'm here sitting in front of you in the Webflow studio. It's just crazy. So that's my advice.
Matthew Munger: Believe in yourself. Take a chance on yourself. Go for it.
Matthew Munger: Well, Josh, thank you for chatting with me today. It’s been a pleasure. If anyone wants to connect with you, how can they do that?
Josh Loh: Hit me up on Twitter @thejoshloh and I'd love to connect with you.