What impact do you want to have on the world and why?
We’ve never had so many resources while being so polarized. As technologists and designers, we are indebted to artifact and execute systems in full cognizance of how we contribute to this polarization. With it, the responsibility of dismantling and rebuilding our systems to serve the masses.
More specifically, I seek to enable opportunity in spaces like the Philippines that have long been polarized by the dishonest misuse of technology. Enabling the future generation’s capacity to innovate with intent and mindfulness at the forefront is key.
From being born in the slums of the Philippines, I understand the need to rebuild the system to work for me (as my story is an exception, not the norm). This requires action at different levels: in infrastructural development to better connectivity, to move development from third-world countries within the hands of developers and designers from the actual region (not non-POC managers moving across APAC as we see today), accessibility in development/creative tools, in legislation and funding, in education access, in corporate structures locally and abroad to give these and in changing the current cultural perception of what technology means in the Philippines.
A simultaneous step to enabling opportunity is ensuring what I create ripples. After ensuring connectivity, making creation as ubiquitous as possible (especially in the non-Silicon Valleys that have long been overlooked) is the next step. Continuing to foster this through community (like the 100,000+ students served at Developh), creator tools, and education is what I want to dedicate my life to––creating radical things for creators and communities, so they may too, unravel what is radical for them.
In short: to create radical things.
Describe your most meaningful experience(s) and why they matter to you.
- Founding Developh, a community in Southeast Asia where we built up infrastructure for the student startup ecosystem that I bootstrapped and engage hours in each day. I’ve met hundreds upon hundreds of students here, with our programs reaching 100,000+ people and our ventures millions. It will be one of the greatest things I’ll ever do.
- Etherest, a fictional world I began as a kid turned into free time fantasy worldbuilding project I’m spinning a novel out of. I’ve filled over 40 notebooks with drawings, maps. sketches, and outlines of little stories and arcs on it. Imagining, thinking, and reflecting in isolated systems has let me develop frameworks and systems for the world at large.
- A post-rock concert (Explosions in the Sky!) at age sixteen at the very front row with my best friend next to me, my hand in hers –– where it felt like everything suddenly made sense. A meaningless moment to anyone outside, but probably one of the only moments where I was in complete bliss; if life could be more moments like this, it would be much better. (This led me to develop a love for music journalism, scouting and hustling my way to more spaces where I could relive moments like this.)
- The first conference I attended with Developh (after 25 or so events) where someone correctly identified me as the founder first, and not any of my male peers volunteering around me. Growth, but also a need to reshape things.
- Every time I teach.
These are some short question answers for the Kleiner Perkins Fellowship, where I’m trying to be a Design Fellow. If you’d like to read my answers from last year, here they are.