Mar 27, 2009

Hot’s CEO and Founder Speaks on Work, Family, and the Economy

The satisfying opportunities found in running a premier design studio, as well as the challenges of being a working mother and steering a company through a rough economy, are among the topics Hot Studio CEO Maria Giudice commented on recently in the media.

As a guest on NPR’s popular daytime show “Talk of the Nation,” Maria was asked if furloughs were a better way of handling hard times than layoffs. Indeed, they are. “We employ the top talent in the industry,” she said, “and you work really hard to get that talent in the first place, so you want to keep them in place because things will eventually turn around.” Companies need to be prepared for the worst, and furloughs are a type of sacrifice that might be necessary to head off catastrophe.

On the Forte Foundation’s website, Virtual Campus, Maria recorded a video clip in which she talks about balancing a career with motherhood. “Before I even come to work people don’t realize I’ve already worked a full day, in my view,” she says. In the morning, her job is tending to her children. “It’s feeding them, getting their lunches ready, getting them dressed, getting them ready for school, all of that stuff… I have to do before I even get to work. So there’s a whole job in the morning, and it’s a big, big job.”

Maria picks up that thread in her one-on-one interview with, part of a feature on Hot Studio produced by the digital-education website for its “Creative Inspirations” series. “We have a lot of mom and dads who work at Hot Studio because they really appreciate the live-work balance,” she says, “so our culture is very much welcoming for kids. You spend so much time at work, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of your life.” Nor should it be at the expense of your values. Hot Studio, she said, is “at a certain place where we can donate part of our time to do things that are important to us. Having a business now is really not about the bottom line, it’s really about making the most out of your life while you’re here on this planet.”

A concrete example of Hot putting its values into action is its work for the Open Architecture Network. A discussion about the extensive research, strategizing, and labor that went into the project is featured in’s “Start to Finish” series. Maria volunteered Hot Studio to help create a website that would fulfill TED Prize-winner Cameron Sinclair’s “wish”: “to create a community that actively embraces open source design to generate innovative and sustainable living standards for all.” The installment, as summarizes it, goes into how “Maria Giudice accepts the challenge at the TED conference and takes it from the floor of a post–Hurricane Katrina church in Biloxi, Mississippi, to online participation by over 13,000 people in 200 countries—with a lot of collaboration with partners Sun Microsystems, Architecture For Humanity, and her San Francisco studio in between.”

Both programs are available for viewing by going to and signing up for a 24-hour free trial.