Interview with Ana Bel Campos
29 November 2016
Recently, Justin Carboneau, Happiness Engineer at Exygy, interviewed Ana Bel Campos, Product Manager at Exygy, as part of the Exygy team member interview series.
What was your childhood like?
I grew up in Rio. I was an only child, and my dad lived in Portugal. My mom was very protective of me and I mostly stayed within the confines of my condo building and the surrounding gated area. The city was dangerous – there was a lot of crime – you want to enjoy the city, but you can’t. I got to visit my dad in Portugal during the summers, which was cool.
When are you happiest?
When I’m playing foot volley. I never liked sports, and never used to go to the beach as a kid (even though Rio is known as a beach city), but I discovered foot volley when I was about 28, and I love it.
When I’m learning, taking classes, and improving myself.
When I’m being social with friends. People in Rio are very social, especially with friends. I didn’t really realize that until I came to the U.S. As an only child, I always thought I was happy being by myself – but moving to the U.S. made me realize how much I enjoy being around my friends.
What is your greatest strength?
I’m really good at empathizing – with users when thinking about a product, when listening to friends. Understanding people’s problems and situations, putting myself in their shoes, makes it easy to overcome conflicts.
What is your greatest weakness?
Being forced to be social, networking, talking to strangers, selling, negotiating. It doesn’t come naturally to me. I have to face this when meeting new clients.
What is extremely important to you?
Cultivating relationships and friendships, having supportive people around. I was alone a lot after moving to San Francisco before making friends.
Being true to what I believe, doing work and side projects that are doing good and aligned with what I believe.
I believe in the social good before my own good – everybody should have the same rights and opportunities.
I am super into feminism.
Lately I have become very politically aware and I want to share what I believe in.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
Moving to San Francisco – it has been my dream since I don’t even know when. I’m proud to have come here by myself, even though it was scary.
What kind of person have you dreamed of becoming?
When I was little, I thought I would want to be a really successful business person – work at Google or another big company. Now I just want to be someone that knows what she believes, what’s important, and is politically aware, and in contact with that. I want to be doing something that I feel is helping and true to what I believe, and constantly learning and growing. I don’t always want to be stressed or thinking about making lots of money. Also maybe having a family at some point, having dogs, having a garden.
What’s the earliest job where you used your Product Management skills?
My first job was for a huge media company in Brazil. We had to rethink a recipe website. The idea was to combine user-generated recipes and recipes from TV shows. We had to prepare the vision for the product. My idea was to gamify it. I came up with different badges, and accomplishments for users as they used the site. We pitched the vision to the higher-ups. I really didn’t know what I was doing, but I learned a lot from my team, which was more mature, and the project was a success.
What issues are you most passionate about?
Feminism – Brazil is very sexist.
Civic Tech – how to make cities better and smarter. I co-founded a startup in Rio. One product was a city guide for Rio, aimed at both tourists and people who lived in the city, to help people enjoy and appreciate the city more. I would love to work with Rio’s mayor to use design to help make the city better.
Animals – I used to volunteer at ASPCA. I’m a “vegetarian wannabe” – I try to go for veggie burgers and vegetarian options whenever they are available.
How has your work changed since starting at Exygy?
I’m a lot more organized now. I had to improve my organization and client relationship skills. In Brazil, work is more spontaneous and chaotic. The U.S. is more formal and organized.
Who is one of your heroes?
Don Norman, a designer at IDEO, who was one of the first people to talk about emotional design.
What’s something your teammates at Exygy might not know about you?
I am super keen to create amazing experiences. The future of the web is to rethink experiences – how to design things that put people in flow? How do we thrill people with this product? How do we make it more delightful and playful and fun? When I am managing a product, I am always questioning whether this is the most innovative way.
Justin Carboneau is a Happiness Engineer at Exygy, and Ana Bel Campos is a Product Manager at Exygy. Be sure to check out more in the Exygy team member interview series here.