Jenna Yim of ProtoPie: “Everybody Wants To Feel Important”

Everybody Wants To Feel Important — We spend at least 8 hours a day at work with our team members. That’s ⅓ of the day! What we often don’t acknowledge is the influence that has on us and the influence we have on each other. As a part of our series about cutting edge technological breakthroughs, I had […]

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Everybody Wants To Feel Important — We spend at least 8 hours a day at work with our team members. That’s ⅓ of the day! What we often don’t acknowledge is the influence that has on us and the influence we have on each other.

As a part of our series about cutting edge technological breakthroughs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jenna Yim.

Jenna Yim is the president and chief strategy officer of ProtoPie, the codeless interactive design tool ProtoPie. Yim has spent 18 years diving deep into digital ecosystems, digital transformation and user experience strategy to bring large and complex digital projects to life. Her global perspective on user experience and digital strategy was forged by working across Asia and North America. In the latter, she spent over 12 years driving digital expertise for creative businesses such as Isobar, Publicis, and No Fixed Address by making her mark as VP, Solutions Strategy and Customer Experience at FCB/Six providing strategic partnership to C-level clients of global brands. Over the course of her career, she has played a pivotal role in creating successful digital & mobile foundations for global brands including LG, Samsung, BMO, WestJet, The Home Depot, and AXA Insurance. Now back in her native South Korea, she is defining the future of digital design as a global business leader and Chief Strategy Officer for ProtoPie.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I speak Korean and English, but my first language is digital. I’ve spent the last 18 years deep-diving into digital ecosystems, from user experience to digital transformations, I’ve loved bringing complex and unique projects to life. I consider myself very fortunate in that I was able to develop a truly global perspective on UX and strategy by working in two very different continents — East Asia and North America.

I spent 15 years in North America working as VP of solutions, strategy, and customer experience, strategically partnering with C-level clients from global brands and guiding an extremely talented team to thrive and deliver results. From LG to Samsung, BMO to Home Depot, I have contributed to creating successful digital and mobile foundations for some of the most recognised brands.

Now back home in South Korea, I’m a global business leader, strategist, maximizer and chief strategy officer of Studio XID, a company that provides the code-less interactive design tool ProtoPi’. I’m responsible for the full operation of the Growth and Customer Success Division. It’s been a journey, but I am very much in love with what I do — the passion, curiosity and tenacity that stems from that really drives me to deliver the best solutions I can.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
This might not be the most interesting story, but it’s definitely the most challenging part of my life and career. In 2017, at the peak of my career, I got a severe concussion from a very unfortunate accident. Overnight I went from a high-functioning, intelligent woman to a person with a two-digit IQ who couldn’t even go outside without physical pain and emotional fear. Since then, it has been a long journey of recovery and adaptation of my “new” limited capabilities. It was a very difficult journey but as a result, I believe I became a better leader who understands the power of caring for others, values empathy at work, and knows how to motivate others and support them to overcome difficulties they encountered.

Can you tell us about the Cutting edge technological breakthroughs that you are working on? How do you think that will help people?
I work on the strategic direction of a product called ProtoPie. ProtoPie is a powerful software used to create interactive prototypes to communicate and demonstrate creative ideas with others. Imagine that you have a mobile app idea that you want to show to your potential investors. It used to take a lot of time and effort to find designers and engineers who could create a functional demo. With ProtoPie, you can create this functional prototype on your own. The tool lets you express your idea without coding. Instead of spending hours on coding, users can focus on articulating their ideas and exploring various options before finding the right solution. I’m currently working on expanding the capabilities of ProtoPie so that users can not only explore their idea but publish it as a final product. From the conception to creation of interactive digital products, ProtoPie will empower users to go through this journey as easy as pie.

How do you think this might change the world?
Just like YouTube influenced everybody to become a content creator, I believe ProtoPie can empower everybody to become creators. One doesn’t have to be a designer or engineer, but anybody with creative ideas can create digital products. Parents can create a mobile app for kids to learn math, an entrepreneur can create a concept product to find potential investors, and a student can create a tablet game he can play with his friends. By eliminating the obstacles of coding, we can change the world of interactive digital products.

Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

Just like the drawbacks of user-generated videos that could be created for abusive and harmful purposes, user-generated digital products could benefit or harm others based on the creator’s intentions. A tool like ProtoPie empowers people to create something, but proper guidance or education is required for all creators about harmful contents and utilities.

Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?

The most meaningful tipping point was actually at the beginning of our journey. Tony, our CEO and co-founder, was questioning how interactive ideas can be expressed without the core message being lost in translation. He was inspired by the simplicity of music notes where beautiful pieces of music can be expressed through a combination of simple symbols. He created a concept model of ProtoPie by defining basic elements of interactions as triggers & responses. By combining 25 triggers and 17 responses, you can pretty much express any interactive ideas. That’s pretty cool, huh?

What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?

The most challenging part of ProtoPie’s adoption is that people simply don’t know they can create something without code or coding experience. We recently released a voice prototyping feature where users can demonstrate a voice-activated experience, similar to Siri or Alexa, through the prototype. However, most people will assume that they will need an engineer’s help to create this experience. Breaking the current perception of technical limitations; that is our challenge.

What have you been doing to publicize this idea? Have you been using any innovative marketing strategies?

Because ProtoPie is very innovative, we decided to use a more traditional method of marketing to break the perception. We created a beautiful 3D animation video to tell the story of a creator’s journey. We delivered the message very beautifully without an overwhelming use of technical jargon or flashy marketing copies. We just wanted to deliver the message that “an idea stuck in your head is just an idea. Free your idea with ProtoPie.”

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There are way too many people who helped me in my journey, so I found this question particularly hard. If I really had to name one person, then I would have to say Lori Ralko, who was my psychotherapist. She helped me understand my inner strengths and made me believe I am much stronger than how I see myself. Especially during my recovery from the accident and concussion, there was a moment when I thought I would never be able to be back to who I was again. Then, with her help, I was able to realize that I don’t need to go back to who I was. I have power to create a “New Me” who will be even stronger and wiser than before.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I know there are many intelligent and great leaders (and potential leaders) out there. But I also know that even those who we think are the greatest, have their own doubts, insecurities and fears. I try to be very open and honest about the struggles I had along the way, rather than emphasizing the shiny and glamorous parts. Even if there are only one or two people who may be experiencing similar challenges, I think it is still worth letting them know that they are not alone.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Everybody Wants To Feel Important — We spend at least 8 hours a day at work with our team members. That’s ⅓ of the day! What we often don’t acknowledge is the influence that has on us and the influence we have on each other. As a leader, you have to remember that one careless word can really ruin someone’s whole day. When we wake up in the morning and go to work, there isn’t a single person who thinks, “I want to have the most meaningless day.” Everybody wants to be recognized, appreciated, and believe that they contributed to something that matters. If we remember this then the way we treat each other will be better and we will all have a more meaningful ⅓ of a day, every day.
  2. Your Energy Is Your Leadership — When I think of the great leaders I have met in my life, they always had a smile on their faces and positive energy shining through regardless of the time of day or mood they were in. Great leaders know how to bring positive energy to the room and deliver it to people around them.
  3. Define Your Goals Based On Intrinsic Values, Not Extrinsic Values — When I see a team member’s career development plan, I often notice that their career goal is to be promoted or to get a salary raise. The thing is that promotions and salary increases are the outcomes of the evaluation. Basically, it is a KPI of your performance, not something you can decide or control. Create your career goals based on the capabilities you want to gain, skills you want to improve, and growth you want to achieve. Then, sooner than later, you’ll be able to achieve the outcome as a result.
  4. Success Is Achieved By Developing Your Strengths, Not Eliminating Your Weaknesses — What are your top strengths? This is a simple question and so often asked during an interview. You may answer this well during the interview, but once you start the job, quickly you start feeling insecure and thinking about all the things you may not be good at. Be confident. Be aware of your own talents and strengths. Focus on excelling at what you are good at and find a partner who can compliment your weakness, rather than trying to be good at everything. You’ll soon realize that you are not only more successful but also happier in life.
  5. Bring Solutions, Not Complaints — This is very simple but often gets forgotten. Many people easily can find something they don’t like or they have trouble with. However, not many people see it as an opportunity to come up with solutions to make the situation better. Just a simple attitude change will bring drastic improvements to your relationships, communications and performances at work.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Respect for Diversity — We are all different human beings with different personalities, perspectives, lifestyles, languages, races, gender, and so on. We all need to stop expecting others to be the same as we are and learn how to respect and embrace differences. I believe the world will be a better place if we all try to understand these differences because they really are our biggest strength.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I love who I’ve been, but I really love who I’m becoming.” — Dulce Ruby
Even when I thought I had rock bottom, when I was going through illnesses or difficulties, I was learning and growing. I truly believe that I became a better person as a result. This quote inspires me not to be afraid of the unknown future because I now know that the future me will always be the better version of me.

Some very well known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
#Design #No-Code #Productivity #EnterpriseSaaS #Innovation
ProtoPie has the full potential in this up-and-coming market and growing user demands. Contact us! 😉

How can our readers follow you on social media?

LinkedIN: @jenna_yim

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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