My journey to solve problems with creative solutions began when I was a young kid. When I was 9, my school decided we all needed to learn how to code. I remembered that it was the first time I tried to type on a keyboard, moving the cursor around by a programming language called Lingo. “Left 2, Right 3, Forward 4, Back 2”; it was fun! I instantly hooked, and I couldn’t stop playing with it to draw something on the screen. Every day, I would tell my mom to let me spend the rest of my day after school in the computer lab to learn tricks and create things.
Fast forward a couple of years, I got my first computer when I was around 13 years old. It was 1995. I didn’t grow up in a wealthy family, and a computer at that time was equivalent to a brand new car. I spent a lot of pocket money on computer magazines, getting information on all the latest gadgets like the PowerPC 850, Intel 386/486, what was Windows? And how was it different from a Macintosh?
One day, I told my mom that I wanted a computer. She worked hard, and she raised us as a single mother of three. A desktop computer would cost her a significant amount of money that she could use to invest in her business, which my dad had left us. But she decided to take a loan, and I got my very first computer. I remembered an Intel 486, 66Mhz, 4MB RAM, which might be with a 512MB of hard drive storage and a 3.5″ floppy drive. It was running DOS and Windows 3.1.
I will forever be grateful for the opportunity my mom had decided to give me. And that began my journey to think about how technology could enrich people’s life.
My mom’s business was a laundry shop, and it was one of those old school businesses that had a lot of written receipts. My mom would spend overnight once a week to do the accounting, to make sure everything was recorded correctly for tax filing.
Looking at my computer and my printer, I thought maybe I could use them to make her life easier. I began to learn how Microsoft Office work and how I could create a formula in Excel. Then I started to create a template and learn how to create a form with Access. I told my mom that I had an idea to make you save time so that you could rest over the weekend.
I put together the setup at the shop and started to observe how the workers used the system. I also tried to understand how the workers interacted with the customers during the day. I made some modifications to the setup and moved a few things around in the reception counter.
The workers started to pick up entering information in the system without knowing how a computer works. Since the solution had simplified the manual work, they had more time to interact with the customers. Hence, better customer experience.
Back to the main pain point, the idea was to save my mom time and record all the receipts digitally and accurately. It worked! My mom no longer needed to stay overnight and had more time to spend with us – and that gave us a better parental experience.
Looking back, who knew that would become my daily job. Helping people focus on what matters the most to them and getting them excited about what they love to do the most.
Since then, I have helped businesses to explore what’s possible in the digital world. I have helped to shape the customer experience in the world’s most profitable Apple Stores. I also worked on the world’s biggest online learning revolution with EF Education First for their online learning platform – Englishtown. And now, I am helping people get jobs. Lately, I have engaged in a social impact project to connect people and create a marketplace where people can contribute and exchange their efforts with incentives.
I could proudly say that the work I do every day is also a hobby that I love the most. I get to play with the latest technologies and solve problems that could enrich people’s lives. Connecting all the dots, now I see the path that I have walked. And I am ready to create pathways that who knows one day would lead me to something new and exciting.