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What it feels like to present an idea to Investors

Short answer: Nerveracking.

March of 2020 days before the lockdown started in the Philippines we were able to attend an event called “The Pitch”.

Startup companies and Entrepreneurs gathered in the event to present their great ideas. For us, it’s the expansion of the existing company of my mentor and very good friend Roland Opeda. The owner of Hive Manila.

To be honest with you I didn’t talk much. I have a part in the presentation but it was like I talked for about 20 or 40 seconds at max. I’m prepared. That’s what I thought. We didn’t expect the questions of the investors.

They break our guard on the first batch of questions but sir Roland able to defend the idea. It feels like I’m going back to my college days defending my video game thesis. It’s exhausting mentally.

In the end, we did great. We are one of the companies selected by Mark Vernon to move forward with the next step. Yey! But because of Covid, It’s a lost opportunity.

Still, I’m glad to be able to experience this rare opportunity and looking forward to future presentations.

Key takeaways from UX+ Conference 2020

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“The biggest online UX Conference in Asia is back”

-UX+ Conference

Last September, I attended UX+ Conference via live stream with an audience from around the world. It was filled with valuable insights, stories, and advice from amazing speakers.

Here are some key takeaways that I think worth remembering.

1. How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days

One of the key speakers that I’m looking forward to is John Zeratsky. He is the author of the Sprint and Make Time. This is not your typical Sprint from Agile Development. Basically, the goal of Sprint is to solve big problems and test new ideas in just 5 days.

John walks through the process of facilitating a design sprint. You’ll map out the problem, ideate on and choose the best solutions, build a quick prototype of the product, and test the solution to a bunch of customers.

https://www.gv.com/sprint/

For instance, Monday is for mapping out the problem and gather the team to be on the same page. On Tuesday, you’ll come up with solutions. Wednesday is for critique of each solution, and decide which ones have the best chance of achieving your long-term goal. Thursday is for creating a Prototype then on Friday, you interview customers and learn by watching them react to your prototype.

It’s a game changer for some startups implementing the Sprint and one I know is AJ&Smart. They transform their agency to serve the Sprint method and they never looked back.

2.  Avoid Unintended Consequences

“Your scientist were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

-Ian Malcom

Most of the time, we think of creating solutions to a certain problem without considering the unintended consequences or not thinking beyond the thing that we’re making.

Sheryl Cababa framed the consequences by telling the story of Jurassic Park (The first movie) because you know, scientist would like to re-create the dinosaurs in the modern day by using the fossil found in an amber.

Technically the premise is that, scientist asking the question of “can we?” and not the question of “should we?” – and *spoiler*, the movie ended up with dinosaurs destroying the park.

What does this have to do with tech? Sheryl talk about the three principles for avoiding the unintended consequences of our design work.

  1. Acknowledge that your tech is not neutral.
  2. Know your values and stick to them.
  3. Design for outcomes: think beyond the direct benefit of use.
One of Sheryl Cababa’s slide

We shouldn’t just think about the outcome for our business, but we should also think about the outcome for society.

3. Managing Teams

Managing a team is hard. I mean, really hard. I used to manage a development team with different personalities and different skill set. Julie Zhuo talks about the importance of developing trusting relationships between managers and the team.

Trust, Empathy and Open Communication are a few factors of nurturing the team and can help build good relationships.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

-Helen Keller

Julie reminds that you as a manager, your role is to guide the team to see the end goal and what success looks like. Making sure each one of the team member is contributing values to organization or business’ success based on their skills and helping them to leverage their talents. Be willing to listen and to understand.

I remember the article that I read from Medium: I Change Bosses Like I Change Underwear – The article is completely resonate with Zhuo’s talk. Some thoughts that worth mentioning from the article are:

Leaders trust teams because there are more than one leader in the team — nobody is aware of that fact, though. People will do the right thing if you trust them and let them make decisions, while holding them accountable.

“When you’re not trying to be important you behave differently towards others. You go from “how do I make this initiative at work help me look good” to “how do we achieve this initiative.” See the contrast? The need to feel important changes how you act, and therefore, how you achieve outcomes.”

The biggest lesson I ever learned as a leader was to create more leaders. Having more leaders in a team helps you save time. When you need a day off to deal with a massive romantic breakup, the other leaders step in.

I am fortunate that throughout my career, I never had insecure bosses, who want to feel important, always right, and other factors that make a boss – bad.

The bosses that I currently have and the previous ones were full of values, nurturing people, sharing their stories, and serving others – and that, I learned from them.

And That’s it!

UX+ Conference gathered amazing leaders and speakers. I would like to thank Moxie Labs for the opportunity to be part of this event. It is sure worth it.

I became a guest in a podcast twice – what it feels like?

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“If you want to be a leader who attracts quality people, the key is to become a person of quality yourself.”

-Jim Rohn

First of all, I am not a celebrity nor a man with any fame. I’m just a guy who wants to grow personally and professionally. I have a habit of sharing the things that I read, listening, and learning. I can’t help myself. It’s addicting!

You might ask, what it feels like becoming a guest in a podcast and being able to speak publicly? Here’s what I felt.

I feel proud of myself

At first, I feel like I’m an important person who has something important to share and being able to inspire people. It’s a great feeling! And because of that, I’m able to deal with my impostor syndrome. Partially. Because there are times that I’m still not sure if I really know what I’m doing.

I never thought some people see value in every content that I share. Well, it’s not like I’m sharing because I want to build an audience. No, building an audience is not my intention. I’m doing it for myself really.

New website url is https://francepaulpastrana.co

I understand myself more

When in a podcast or doing public speaking, you are always require to tell about your story, your origins and how you’re doing currently.

By telling my story, it reveals who I am and why I’m doing what I’m doing. Describing my reasonings why I got here is improving my self-awareness and becoming clear about the things I want to do moving forward.

Expressing Gratitude

It’s not always that I’m getting this kind of opportunity to share my story and to inspire. I’m thankful to those people who give trust and see my potential, seeing the value, and give importance to me as a creative.

Thank you guys!

And That’s it!

I would like to say thanks to Jaychrist Teves and Ken-ken Somera! Hope we can catch up soon. Cheers!

I love observing people

When you are talking to someone, is there any chance that you see yourself in a third-person view? I mean, do you aware of your body language, how you talk, and how the person reacts to every word you speak?

I love observing people. I have this instinct of when I see how the person do his/her body language, how they speak, or how they express themselves, I can already see what kind of person he/she is.

It’s not a guarantee though. I can be wrong 100% or I can be right. But those first impressions really last to me.

Why I love the Akimbo podcast

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In my spare time, I’m listening to podcasts during my workout almost every day. My day is not complete without a podcast.

One of my most favorite is the Akimbo from Seth Godin. One thing that makes it different from the others is that every idea is tied up with a story.

Seth really take advantage the use of storytelling to capture the attention and engage the listeners.

There’s a saying that “Stories are more likely to be remembered than information”. And I think Akimbo podcast is on point.

How to become a more interesting person

It’s almost midnight, someone messaged me on LinkedIn asking if I’m exploring new job opportunities. I’m getting the same messages from recruiters multiple times a week wanting to know if I’m interested to join their team/organization.

But this one is different – she caught my attention.

Her message starts with “I love your blog” and she described what part of my blog she read, elaborate her favorite post – then she goes for the “ask” (asking if I’m exploring new opportunities)

Although I’m not currently looking, she got my interest to know more about her and the company she’s working for.

I can now prove the saying “If You Want to Be Interesting, You Have to Be Interested”.

I am fortunate to have good bosses

Best article I read today.

I Change Bosses Like I Change Underwear

I am fortunate that throughout my career, I never had insecure bosses, who want to feel important, always right, and other factors that make a boss – bad.

The bosses that I had were full of values, nurturing people, sharing their stories, and serving others – and that, I learned from them.

Hot shower boost my productivity

I know, strange isn’t it?

I remember reading a Medium blog post about how he achieving the “Flow” state of mind while doing his thing. He mentioned one factor is having a hot shower to prepare his body to relax.

Actually, I’m experiencing the same thing. Before I work, I always go for a hot shower for like 5 to 10 mins. Ideas are flowing in and I get motivated by those ideas.

If I’m stuck with a code problem, I usually move away from my computer and either go for a walk or hot shower. Helps me think about the solution.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the “flow” but it is a moment where you are immersed with what you are doing and you don’t get distracted. You actually not noticing the time already passed by.

Scientifically, a hot shower relieves muscle tension and helps us feel better about ourselves. It’s also a great way to reduce daily anxiety and make us feel good all around.

Of course, I’m not saying that if I’m not able to have a hot shower, I’m not productive. The point is, it helps me relax physically that I’m able to think better.

Growing up

It was a weekend movie night with the family and we watched “The little prince”. As the movie ended, I’m about to explain to my eldest daughter the importance of growing up mentally and emotionally. She is 4 years old by the way.

“Yuna, when you grow up…” I said.

While looking into her eyes, I began weeping. I don’t know, maybe because I remembered all the things that I’m not able to do growing up because of the responsibility that I have since when I was a little kid.

I grow up with thoughts of “I want to give a better life to this family and I want to be successful” because my parents are earning minimum wage back then and we were in debt.

I used to sell used things when I was in high school. Excelled in my studies when I’m in college to “have a good job”. But I ended up dropping out of my bachelor’s degree to support my younger brother who will go to college. Then I became a father at the age of 22.

Well, I don’t have any regrets at all. It’s just that, I’m not sure if I enjoyed my teenage life and early adulthood.

After pulling myself together, I continue explaining to her that “growing up is not about work. You need to enjoy every single moment of your time growing up, do the things you love, expand yourself, learn things you need to learn, and always push forward.”

Writing Procrastination

“Writer’s Block is just an excuse by people who don’t write for not writing.”

Giando Sigurani 

It’s been weeks since my last article. I’m not in the mood to write and I don’t have “writer’s block”. It’s just that, I’ve been busy these past few weeks. (Hey, I’m not considering myself a writer)

Actually, I have a list of topics that I would like to document. In my mind, I want to check each of those so I can move on to the next.

Lack of motivation

Not sure why I’m not motivated to publish something these past few days. It’s good to see my visitors increasing their time spent reading some of what I wrote but the numbers itself do not motivate me.

But hey, looking at the brightside, I think I did well with my previous published post.

Anyhow, I think sometimes it’s good to just go with the flow and not forcing myself to do something productive. It’s okay to be lazy from time to time….. I think.

Super busy with work

These past few weeks we – the team are working on an exciting project. Even though I’m working extended hours and working over the weekends, I think it’s all worth it.

The goal is to make the client happy and I’m proud to be part of the project. We are nearing the end of the finish line. We actually had a “soft launch”. Still, there’s more work ahead of us.

That also means less time to write and publish a new blog. Well, It’s okay. Work is top priority.

I started playing video games again

To tell you the truth, I can’t even play more than an hour these days. My PS4 is collecting dust in the corner. Adulting sucks right?

Well, that is totally okay. I need to make sacrifices for the greater good. Playing after work is what I’m doing recently. You know, just to disconnect from long hours of work. Sometimes it’s good to have a “Me” time.

And That’s it!

If you feel the same way, the feeling of not wanting to do something productive for yourself, I think it’s okay. The absence of urgency is one of the peaceful moments in our life. Of course, there are always drawbacks so enjoy it while it last!