Free Fridays: Josué Rivera Evolves CockroachDB’s User Experience

Over the next few months, we plan to share with you what some of our Roachers are working on for their Free Friday projects. Our Fridays are given to employees as a day to self manage, where they can decide to come into the office or WFH and to focus on work priorities or a side project. We hope this helps explain the bigger picture of one of our company values: Establish Balance.

-Chelsea Lee, Culture and Office Experience Manager
Josué-Rivera-Headshot

Josué Rivera, Senior Product Designer



What is your role at Cockroach Labs?

At Cockroach Labs, I am the Senior Product Designer for the Web UI team. By closely collaborating with three incredibly talented teammates (two software engineers and one PM) I’m influencing the evolution of web-based software that enables our users to monitor and troubleshoot their CockroachDB cluster.

Every day at work is an invaluable learning experience that I truly cherish. Not coming from a database or engineering background, it’s humbling and exciting taking such a complex topic and creating simple, intuitive, and impactful user experiences.

What do you do day to day at Cockroach Labs?

I split my days between the time I use to research, brainstorm, create, and manage projects in our product roadmap. Each day is time blocked to allow ample time for each of the processes I mentioned and to help me focus on particular tasks without much context switching. My work is highly collaborative, so I try to structure my day to be flexible and include enough time for spontaneous discussions with my teammates, as I’ve found these conversations spark incredible ideas and strengthen my design output.

What does Free Friday mean to you?

To me, Free Friday means being trusted by the people with whom I work to utilise my time how I find most useful and will create the most impact for my self, my team, and the company as a whole. It’s a lot like a ”choose your own adventure game” where I can change up my daily routine and let go of the issues that occupy my mind Monday through Thursday. It’s also a great time to experiment with new ideas to help improve our product, internal collaboration, processes, and much more.

What is your current Free Friday project?

At the moment I’m working on restructuring the information architecture for the Web UI and the overall vision for how we’d like to evolve the user experience. It’s a project I’ve wanted to get started for some time, and it’s exciting seeing it progress so quickly. Our UI team meets up for a few hours on Fridays to discuss critical problems our users face and brainstorm creative ways to empower and supercharge their workflows.

What else have you done on a Free Friday?

Some Fridays I like to learn something new or reboot and spend time on personal things that help reorient my emotional well-being. I’ve taken classes in prototyping, public speaking, improv, pottery, flower arranging, and free diving while also dedicating time for creative work like painting, sculpture or music. Fridays are also a great time to relax with my wife by going for walks, biking, or having brunch.

Describe a typical Free Friday.

My Friday mornings are calm. After meditating and stretching, I’ll recap my week over coffee and finish any small tasks that need my attention before the weekend. The rest of the day is very flexible. On most Fridays, I dedicated the early afternoons to my Free Friday project or any project related work that I wasn’t able to complete throughout the week. I tend to finish my day early to spend the later part of the afternoon on my personal growth.

How does Free Friday support your long-term goals?

With Free Fridays, I’m enabled to push the boundaries of my day to day responsibilities by having the time to explore new ideas, experiment or tune out and enjoy life. Having Free Fridays is crucial in developing new skills for my career growth and in creating the right balance between work and life.

Illustration by Quentin Vijoux

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