Category Archives: Design

Episode 21: The Roller Coaster Ride to 40 Million Monthly Users



An honest discussion of the realities of a journey of a of a 5 time successful entrepreneur whose company – Ranker – now reaches 40 million people monthly and is solidly profitable with over 60 employees. Benson will take us through his self-funded beginnings to early angel rounds (partly secured in Pasadena), and funding from “name” VCs like Lowercase, Draper, and Wavemaker, and will discuss not just the success but also the many pitfalls even an experienced entrepreneur faced.

With all his prior success, Benson still did plenty of things wrong in the process of starting Ranker and had to work with less than ideal resources to survive, and eventually thrive. Benson will discuss the challenges of the tech world where massive changes are happening year-over-year and how even disruptive businesses can find themselves quickly disrupted. He will explain how to navigate hype vs reality with investors, and the Silicon Valley investor mentality vs everywhere else, among other topics.

 

Bio:

Clark Benson is the founder and CEO of Ranker, the leading digital media company for opinion-based, crowd-sourced rankings on just about everything. Launched in 2009, Ranker is Benson’s fifth startup. Ranker creates editorial lists to vote on about virtually every topic, and the 40 million+ monthly audience’s opinions shape the rankings. Prior to Ranker, Benson’s company, eCrush, an early social network for teens, was bought by Hearst Corporation in 2006. Benson lives in the Hollywood Hills with his wife and young twins.


Episode 17: Going Global: Localizing a Localization Startup



As a copywriting and translation agency, Supertext has helped many startups go global by localizing websites, software, apps, and more. A decade after starting up in Europe, it decided to eat its own dog food – Supertext USA, Inc. launched in Silicon Valley in 2016. Kristy Sakai, CEO, talks about the challenges companies face when expanding internationally. What does it mean to have a global strategy? What should drive expansion and growth? How do you remain true to your brand or product when adapting to markets? Find out about the hard lessons learnt and why it’s still worth it.

Bio:

Kristy Sakai is CEO of Supertext USA, Inc. Born to Japanese parents, she spent her early childhood in the sunny state of California, had a few testing years in Japan before surviving adolescence in England. After graduating from the London School of Economics with a BSc in Management, she moved to Berlin. There, she honed her entrepreneurial skills as a freelance copywriter and translator, subsequently joining ADAPT, a copywriting & design agency for international markets. As Head of English and East Asian Languages, she was key to establishing the agency in the advertising industry through marketing, account management and project management. 10 years later, she joined Supertext in Zurich in its early startup stage. Founded as the first web-based copywriting service, Supertext shook up the industry with the digitalization and automation of workflows way back when projects were still being managed by email. Today, it offers copywriting, translating, localizing, editing and proofreading services in more than 30 languages for all industries. Kristy is now back full circle in Los Angeles to head up Supertext’s US expansion. Wherever she is, she remains true to her mission: to rid the world of bad copy. Because she believes the pen is mightier than the sword.

 

Twitter: @kristysakai

Email: kristy@supertext.com


Episode 14: Why Good UX Design is Smart Business



Erik Wingren and Petra Wennberg Cesario, partners and co-founders of Interactivism, will present and discuss the value of user-centered design, focusing on critical questions:

-What is real UX?

-How does UX fit into the development process?

-Why is it critical to engage design early on, and how do you do that?

-How do UX designers understand the user?

-How does UX increase engineering output?

-How does UX attract and retain users?

– What is the ROI of embracing the UX design process?

Bios:

Erik Wingren brings 15+ years of experience designing and shipping digital products and services, allowing him to add unique value to every aspect and stage of the product design process. With a degree in anthropology, and graduate studies in creative business management and organizational development, Erik started his career in Design Research, but has expanded his toolbox over the years to span the full width of User Experience Design. Before founding Interactivism in 2012, Erik worked with companies like Idealab, Iconmobile, Sony Design Center, Myspace, and Science. As a consultant, Erik help clients develop brand- & product propositions that are informed and inspired by real people’s needs, behaviors and motivations.

Petra Wennberg Cesario is a Visual / UX Designer with over 15+ years of experience designing effective brands and digital products for Startups to Fortune 500 companies. Born in Sweden, studying communication design at Art Center College of Design (Europe) in Switzerland, then completing her BA in Graphic Design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Petra is the co-founder of the North East LA based UX Meetup NELAUX that focuses in fostering a thriving community of designer and engineers in the NELA area. She is also a founding Executive Board Member at Innovate Pasadena, and organization with a mission to create a vibrant ecosystem of technology and design innovation in the greater Pasadena area that supports sustainable economic growth.