Silicon Valley exec shares the importance of UX with local business leaders

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Endeavor Philippines welcomed Paolo Malabuyo, Director of User Experience for YouTube Ads at Google, to speak at an Endeavor Exclusive event held in the Google Philippine office. Open only to Endeavor board members, mentors, and entrepreneurs, it was an intimate gathering fostering a comfortable environment for interactive discussion and Q&A.

Malabuyo has over two decades of experience from companies including Netflix, Mercedes Benz, Zynga, Microsoft, IBM, and now YouTube. Born in the Philippines and based in Silicon Valley, Malabuyo was in the country as the keynote speaker in the recently held UX+Conference. Through the Endeavor network, he was able to exchange ideas with local business leaders and entrepreneurs.

Among those inattendance where executives such as Winn Everhart, President of Coca-Cola Philippines, Bobbit Panlilio and Caloy Mendoza, former and current JP Morgan country heads respectively,and Billy Valtos, CEO of ICCP.

What is User Experience?

Malabuyo started by describing User Experience, or UX, as the consumer’s experience with a product, and the intersection between business, tech, and design. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly, good UX must be able to accomplish something. “UX is using technology in interesting ways to solve a problem people may have,” says Malabuyo. “Design is not art. It’s not about self-expression. It’s a mindset—design is about solving problems.”

To help further explain, Malabuyo introduced the method of Design Thinking: to empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test before building and shipping a product. In this way, design is often approached “like a science”. A lot of testing and research is completed before attempting to design a product. “The most expensive way to figure out if a product will be successful is to ship it out,” Malabuyo says, therefore the design thinking process helps businesses test products beforehand to avoid losing money.

UX and Design Thinking, not just for tech startups

Tina Tan, President of the food-distribution company Suy Sing Commercial Corporation, was among the Endeavor mentors in attendance eager to learn from Malabuyo. Sheasked,“For more traditional companies, like food distribution, how do you start this UX mindset?”

Although not often associated with traditional industries, Malabuyo emphasizes,“ one of the things worth remembering is that you don’t need someone with a UX title to start doing UX.” He offered the example of popular food brand Shake Shack, which has a state-of-the-art Innovation Kitchen below a flagship restaurant in New York. In the Innovation Kitchen, Shake Shack applies the design thinking process and is able to repeatedly create, serve, and get instant feedback for new menu items.

Raymund Azurin, Senior Vice President of Zuellig Pharma Asia Pacific, then asked, “Would you advise having an in-house UX team or outsource talent?”. Malabuyo reminded the audience that “building anything in-house is more of a marriage”. It is important to determine whether or not it is a core competency of a company. If it is, it’s more beneficial in the long run to build in-house. Which poses the question –does the Philippines have the right talent for UX?

UX in the Philippines still nascent

Tony Ennis, co-founder of lending service First Circle, shared his experience with building a team.“I’ve noticed that the evolution of the UX community is drastically faster than any of the other disciplines I hire for.” Although, he adds,that while it is developing fast, it is still very nascent; the Philippines is yet to match world-class talent for UX.

On the bright side -there was consensus among the group that Filipinos have a national competitive advantage to developing this talent because of the inherent creativity of its people.Therefore, advised Ennis, the best strategy is to hire motivated recent college graduates and pair them with experienced UX professionals to catalyze their development.

For people aspiring to begin work in UX, Malabuyo simply advises: “Do good work and make sure it’s found. Don’t wait for permission, just do it!”

Endeavor continues to help high-impact entrepreneurs scale up their businesses by providing access to talent, mentors, and capital. Endeavor Exclusive is one such event that brings together their network of mentors and entrepreneurs to exchange ideas and best practices.

Established in 1997, Endeavor is leading the global high-impact entrepreneurship movement to drive economic growth and job creation by selecting, mentoring, and accelerating the best high-impact entrepreneurs around the world. To date, Endeavor has screened more than 70,000 individuals and selected more than 1,800 founders leading over 1,100 scale-up companies. With support from Endeavor’s worldwide mentor network, Endeavor Entrepreneurs have created over 3 million jobs, generate more than $20 billion in revenue each year, and inspire future generations to innovate and take risks, building strong entrepreneurship ecosystems in growth markets. Headquartered in New York City, Endeavor currently operates in 34 growth markets throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America.

Endeavor Philippines support 25 entrepreneurs from 19 companies.

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