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Fireside chat with Blake Folgado

Who is Blake?

I’d call myself a designer and someone who’s always been passionate about working on something from nothing and for it to be helpful for someone. Interested in people, why things are the way they are and learning something new. Mostly fascinated by everything and can easily get caught in a rabbit hole of learning. My experience started in toy design and more recently left an insurance company where I led product. Love talking a walk to lower stress and not get caught up but have the proper time to think about problems.

Tell us more about your role in Outside

Where we’re a team of two my role has to be a bunch. From designer, researcher and to anything to help our users have a great experience. This is where versatility matters a lot and connecting the dots to figure out where we can find improvements in the user experience. I focus my time mostly on either learning from our users and designing the product experience for them. The other parts get a lot easier if the results of the first two do well.

Our mission is to help people always have a friend to be with in person which is incredibly motivating as we’re in a time where people feel more isolated than ever and it’s become normal to not leave the house and instead feel stuck scrolling. This is where my role always leads to talking about this problem more and how we’re trying to help change this to something more positive.

What is the most difficult part of your job? But the most rewarding one?

There’s a tough balance to getting feedback from people and that’s that can make it difficult. You don’t want to message too much or be intrusive but finding the right ways to communicate lead to incredibly useful insights. Undoubtedly the most rewarding thing is hearing good feedback from someone that has found themselves with friends more than they usually would be.

Is there anything that you would change about your professional path?

Luckily not I’d say 🙂

What’s your key strategy for the development of your company?

To focus on how we can iterate fast as a result of learning fast. Our success will be a result of the rate at which we can learn from users and the feedback we can get.

What do you think about the next period of time, keeping in mind the pandemic and the new business climate? How will your industry be affected?

I think people will look for alternatives to be with their friends and meet new people. They may not want to spend as much money going out but instead have a few friends over for dinner. Generally with the economic climate I think it will focus products and services to not lower their bar for great customer experience as people will rely on this in times of stress.

Please name a few technologies which have the greatest impact on your business

  • Modern design tools like Figma
  • Being able to use third party tooling to allow us to focus on what makes us unique
  • Internet speeds getting faster

What books do you have on your nightstand?

  • Zero to one
  • Made to stick
  • The Cold Start Problem
  • Grinding it out
  • Shoe dog
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