Q&A: Meet Ryan Gachet, Zipwhip’s Director of Product Design

We’re delighted to announce the addition of Ryan Gachet to Zipwhip’s product design team.

Ryan brings years of experience in UX design from major companies, like Liberty Mutual and Vertafore, to oversee the development of Zipwhip’s user experience. His team ensures that the Zipwhip product provides meaningful and relevant experiences to all of our customers across every industry.

Let’s get to know Ryan, including his goals for Zipwhip, what he’s been reading lately and his many cool hobbies outside of work.

Q: Tell us a little bit about your background and what you were doing before you came to Zipwhip.

A: I’ve always been passionate about solving problems and this thread has followed me as I became a designer. I started as a knowledge manager focused on providing information across the organization in a useable way then transitioned into UX design as a consultant, eventually starting a mobile development practice for the consultancy I was working for. Recently, I was working in the insurance vertical for many years. First on the software side at Vertafore as a UX designer and UX director and then on the carrier side as the director of UX for Safeco/Liberty Mutual.

Q: What drew you to product design?

A: Most designers I know want to help people. I wanted to be an EMT or a nurse originally. This is true for me, but it took me a while to find product design as my ultimate career. Once I found my calling in UX design, I realized that I could help people in a different way. Product design was the next evolution. This allowed me to not only help people but help my company by tying together user value and business value.

Q: Why did you decide to join Zipwhip?

A: As a growing company, Zipwhip was a very exciting opportunity for me. I’m passionate about helping companies embrace human centered design and creating design practices. Zipwhip presented a great opportunity to do both. From a product perspective, B2C texting—especially driven by changes in behavior due to the pandemic—felt like an endless set of opportunities to help users solve key problems in many industries.

Q: What are some of your goals for the product design team in 2021?

A: When I started at Zipwhip, one of the things I noticed is that we didn’t have a solid set of goals for design that could help the company change the way we design our products. As such, I put in these core goals:

  • Get close to the customer
  • Foster a learning and iterative mindset
  • Increase confidence by embracing ambiguity

By embracing these core goals, product design will be able to create truly valuable solutions for our customers rapidly.

Q: What are some of the challenges Zipwhip faces that you hope to address?

A: Because we serve all types of businesses, it is challenging to really focus on creating a great experience that works for everyone. To shift this, we need to focus on a smaller subset of users and industries. Why? Because if you have focus and can truly “delight” a core set of users or industries, the solution will be great for everyone else. It is a hard choice to make, but I truly believe that this will help us create outstanding products.

Q: What unique value does Zipwhip offer its customers?

A: Simply, we enable our customers to have meaningful interactions with their customers via text.

Q: How would you describe your leadership style?

A: My philosophy has always been about setting goals and empowering my people to figure out how to get there. I’ve never found it valuable to restrict people or give too much guidance. As long as they know what “good looks like” in the end, this allows them to grow, stumble and come up with alternatives.

Q: What are some of your passions outside of work?

A: I have a lot of hobbies. 😊 I’m very passionate about cooking and often cook elaborate meals for friends and family. I’ve been making beer for years and used to own a brewery. My family and I paddleboard. I play ice hockey and have been on the same team for 15 years. I also coach my kids during their season. I’m an avid reader of science fiction. I’m training for distance cycling and recently completed my first 40K ride. Finally, I’m teaching myself guitar and jam out with my kids who play drums and keytar.

Q: Have you read any good books recently?

A: I’ve been continuing my studies in black history and recently read both “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America” and “Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019.” Both are amazing reads and I highly recommend them. On the sci-fi front, I recently read the latest Wayfarers book by Becky Chambers. If you are into Joycore, her books are great. I’m currently re-reading the Murderbot Diaries series, which is a personal favorite. Also, I just finished “Project Hail Mary” by Andy Weir. If you loved “The Martian,” you’ll love this one too!

Q: What was your first cell phone?

A: My first phone as a Nokia 3310.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

A: Go Kraken!

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