A little inspiration goes a long way. Anthony Chan, a Product Manager at Towerbabel.com, came to General Assembly Hong Kong to learn more about design. He left with a new perspective, an idea, and an entry into one of the most competitive startup competitions in Hong Kong.
What brought you to General Assembly?
I’d heard about GA for quite some time and reached out to Justin, the contact in Hong Kong. As we talked, he mentioned something about a future UX course, and I was curious about that because as a product manager I always wanted to know more about design.
I ended up taking the class. So inspiring! While studying UX, I realized that a designer isn’t necessarily a fine artist or a graphic artist, but a problem solver. That was so appealing.
You have to understand that even in my college years, I had always focused on making new things, but got a work offer from a bank and stuck with that. Most of my life was in numbers and logic.
You haven’t even graduated from GA, and Gazelle, your final project, is an accepted entry in the very competitive Hong Kong Startup Initiative! How did that happen?
Well, I had joined a venture program in Hong Kong, and three days before the deadline for the HKSI, I applied. In a hurry!
My class project, Gazelle, is a totally new and elegant approach to email. The name was inspired by an image in a book my daughter loved.
I’d been thinking about email for a long time. During my banking career, I used to get a thousand a day. Reading every single one was a definite pain point.
Then after I moved to the startup where I work now and while taking the GA UX class, I started to study the different methodologies of handling emails.
I think that email is beautiful. It’s a great open platform for all people to communicate: no text limitations and you can attach anything.
But it’s been around for forty years and the form just hasn’t changed. I couldn’t find an email client that I loved.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned during this process?
That I can actually design something from scratch!
What would you say to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Look for new things that interest you. And understand that people procrastinate. If you see another way of doing or changing things, squeeze in a little time here and there to make something happen.
Susan Soriano is a Digital Marketing alumni in New York City. She works with the team as an Alumni Lead for success stories.