👋 Who we are

Manhattan Hydraulics is a new breed of design studio — we’re not a traditional agency, and we don’t act like one. All contributors are equal, supported and cared for, and empowered with the autonomy they need to do their best creative work.

We work with clients to launch innovative software of world-class quality and creativity. As craftspeople, we lead with care, integrity, and artfulness. We’re excited by transformative technology in personal computing, social equity and justice, web3 and peer-to-peer systems, and sustainability. Our clients include Black Socialists in America, MTTR, Stripe, Etsy, Pinterest, Cocoon, Hudson Carbon, Zapata Computing, and many others.

Learn about our approach and values

Manhattan Hydraulics began as a three-person crew at Sanctuary Computer in December 2020. Today, our little shop has grown to a team of six skilled individuals, each with a unique perspective and background. At heart, we’re just a hard-working group of collaborators who get excited about solving problems with, and for, good people.

Today, our team are Winnie Yoe, Sam Winfield, Sam Taylor, Simone Robert, Devin Halladay, Tim Casasola. Former collaborators include Darin Buzon and Brendon Avalos.

💡 Hydro is part of garden3d — a collective of studios and technology companies — working alongside the lovely human beings at Sanctuary Computer, XXIX, and Index. Together, we’re reimagining how creative studios operate and building a space rooted in growth, trust, and care for each other.

We care deeply about inventing technology for a diverse range of users, and to do that well, we need people who think through a wide lens of different experiences.

Currently, we are holding space for individuals who are underrepresented in our industry. If you feel that’s you, please reach out!

Based on opt-in, anonymous reporting data as of March 2022, garden3D (Hydro, Sanctuary, XXIX, and Index) currently consists of:

  • 56.67% of individuals identifying as white, and 43.33% identifying with a BIPOC group.
  • 70.0% of individuals identifying with at least one cultural background that is not US American.
  • 50% men, 36.67% women, and 13.33% gender-fluid/gender-queer people.
  • 13.33% of individuals identifying as neuro-divergent.

We update these statistics monthly, talk about them openly, and set goals that hold us accountable for improving them.

Your qualifications and contributions

These qualifications are an approximation of our needs. If you’re a talented individual but don’t exactly fit the requirements, we encourage you to apply. However, we expect you to fit within the ballpark of these qualifications.

You’re a confident and technically skilled product designer.

  • 6–10 years of experience as a Product Designer. Relevant experience in team leadership and product ownership.
  • Experience leading multiple projects end-to-end, from early strategy to final production. Confidence in collaborating with other designers, engineers, and strategists.
  • Outstanding ability to articulate design decisions with best practices in craft, outside research, and your unique perspective.
  • Some nice-to-have skills include:
    • Experience planning and conducting user research, including contextual inquiry and usability testing.
    • You are code-literate or a designer-coder and know how to balance design concepts against technology constraints.

You’re a careful, kind, and selfless leader.

  • You’ve acted as a mentor for other designers, helping them achieve their individual goals and develop a unique perspective on their craft.
  • You place a keen focus on the wellness and growth of your team. You lead with a sense of humility, are a positive presence in the room, and empower others to lead.
  • You have a proven track record of listening to, coordinating with, and aligning individuals across multiple teams. You know how to mediate conflict with candor and care. Hydro has no middle management; we make decisions democratically.

You’re a well-rounded creative contributor and learner.

  • You are resourceful and flexible and can come up with your own goals while balancing efficiency with work quality and team wellness.
  • You communicate clearly and transparently and collaborate without ego.
  • You are excited to learn new things, question your assumptions, and grow in new areas.
  • You are a systems thinker who creates clarity for others when faced with ambiguous or complex problems.

👩‍🏭 Our benefits and ways of working

We believe that there’s a better balance between the poles of freelancing & full-time, and for that reason, Hydraulics works differently from most shops.

How we set salaries

Most (normal) companies will offer a potential employee a salary. At Hydraulics, however, we ask that our potential employees offer a salary back to us, using our skill tree — the same system we use to allow individuals to set their own wages through peer reviews. We do this to fight inherent bias and salary discrimination in the tech industry (and you know your own skills a lot better than we do)!

We’re seeking candidates in the Senior through Lead skills range for this role. Based on our assumptions about where candidates will land on the skill tree, our estimated base salary range is $99,750.00–$120,750.00. This base range is supplemented by our profit share program, which allows all employees to share in company profits.


  • Profit Sharing: Every 12 months, we put aside a portion of profit earned throughout the year to be distributed to every member, through a simple calculation based on the overall team efficiency throughout the year, and the time that each team member has been with garden3d.
  • 100% Healthcare, Dental & Vision: Unlike most US companies, we offer at least one of our four healthcare plans at 100% employer coverage (no cost to the employee). This usually means saving $3–6k USD a year for the individual!
  • Freedom Fridays: In the spirit of Yvon Chouinard’s “Let My People Go Surfing”, the last Friday of every month is a day off. We think that well-rested, calm and thoughtful team members make far better decisions, and 12 extra long weekends each year helps everyone stay focused.
  • A TON of Time Off: We take 15 days PTO, 7 days sick leave, all major US holidays, the last Friday of every month, and we close between Christmas & New Year, making for 40+ paid days off each year.
  • **150% Carbon Negative:** Our studio offsets 150% of the carbon we use to do business each year, dating back to our founding in 2015. We turn down work that is not in line with our morals, and we encourage our peers to do the same. We were certified climate-neutral earlier this year.
  • Strong Morals: Last year we turned down somewhere between $200k – $300k of work that didn’t meet our moral standards. (Most of that was DTC brands that can’t show a valid sustainability initiative).
  • Generous Parental Leave Policy: We give new parents 4 months of paid leave, and make no distinction between primary and secondary caregivers.
  • Async & Decentralized: We use tools optimized for calm, thoughtful communication, and opt for async whenever possible. We fight hard to maintain our focus time.
  • Choose your own Timezone & Work Hours: We don’t mind where or when you work. Just look out for your team, get your work done, and make your meetings. Ideally, your time zone should overlap at least 2 hours with US Eastern Time.
  • Remote Friendly: In the wake of COVID-19, our company has transitioned to remote working, and has evolved to make our workplace more decentralized, and democratized.
  • Optional 401k: Our payroll provider integrations with Slavic401k to provide garden3d employees a way to save for retirement, without all that tax.
  • Optional 4-Day Employment: Prefer to work 4 day weeks? Op-in at 80% of our salary and benefits.
  • **Transparency & Ownership:** We release our Profit & Loss statements to the community each year, open source our best ideas, and talk business & money with everyone in the company. We’re proud to run our business with integrity, and for that reason we share everything with our team & community.
  • Ideas & Products: In our spare studio time, we work to build our own open source or internal products to diversify & bolster our income. We create fantastic technology products for our clients, so why not for the studio?

💡 Read more on our Substack or our Medium.

💌 How to apply

We’re excited to hear from you! Please apply by emailing us at hello+hiring@hydraulics.nyc with the subject line Product Design Lead. Please include the following information in your application:

  • A resume and portfolio link 💅
  • What excites you about our studio and this role 🤩
  • Something you’ve recently learned, unrelated to design 🤔

📌 While we strive to meet as many applicants as possible, we may be unable to reply to everyone due to the volume of responses we receive.

💫 Our interview process

Our interview process is transparent, straightforward, and fun! You’ll meet a few members of our team so that you can get a feel for our culture and vibes.

  • Apply for the role after reading this job description.
  • Intro Call (30 mins) — We’ll learn more about you, introduce our team, and hold space for you to ask questions about the role.
  • Portfolio Review (60 mins) — Share one project representing your skillset, design sensibilities, and relevant experience.
  • Collaborative Exercise (90–120 mins) — A fun, collaborative workshop to get a feel for how we’d work together, and demonstrate your skills in a practical setting.
  • Reference Call — If we decide to extend an offer to join our team, we’ll ask to speak with a reference to learn more about your experience and past collaborations.
  • Get an offer — If you ace the review and exercise, and we are both excited to move forward, we will formally extend an invitation to join our team.
  • **Skill Tree Review (60–90 mins)** — We will each evaluate your skills on our Skill Tree, and you’ll propose a starting salary based on your assessment. If there’s disagreement on the numbers, this is also space for you to advocate for yourself.
  • Join the crew! — Once you’ve accepted the offer, you’re officially a Hydro! We’re stoked to bring you into the fold and get you up to speed.