Editor’s Note: This is the seventh in our We are EM (Monkeys Are People Too) series.
Silicon Valley Surprise
Wens Gerdyman still can’t believe he’s working in Silicon Valley. A native of Java, Indonesia, he thought he would return home after receiving his BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin. But, after three years as an operations engineer at Procter & Gamble he went back to school for his MBA at UC Berkeley. A firm believer that one should follow the unknown paths down which life leads, he decided to remain in the Mecca of the technology industry which he liked so much.
A Product Development Consultant
After his MBA, Wens wasn’t sure if he wanted to be more technical or more business oriented, so he decided to straddle the middle ground with product development; the variety of new challenges excites him and he enjoys bridging both worlds. After product management positions at the likes of Optum Software, Escalate, and Yahoo, Wens turned to consulting. He loves devising solutions for different customers and appreciates the diversity of people and aspects of a project that he works with. Nothing brings him more satisfaction than a happy client.
Devising Design Thinking Solutions
One of Wens’s greatest strengths is his ability to think conceptually. He approaches building a product as if creating a play; a solid requirements document (the script) is necessary to outline site maps and workflows, use cases (scenes) define the concept, and users (actors) bring it to life. All three must work well in concert to create a great product. To achieve this, Wens’s work is guided by a commitment to Design Thinking, a framework for devising solutions to real problems that is rooted in empathy for the end user. It’s imperative for a designer to put themselves in the shoes of the customer. He’s also a firm believer that ideas need time and space to germinate, and a full process of prototyping and testing is necessary to deliver the best possible product. His ability to simultaneously understand the business problems in need of solving, and deliver clear requirements that engineers can understand and act upon, make him a valuable asset to any client.
An Athletic and Musical Father
When he’s not working, Wens likes to stay active as much as possible. He’s an avid tennis player (~4 rating) and an enthusiastic skier, and he enjoys taking vacations that provide opportunities for one or the other. Additionally he enjoys honing his guitar skills with his band, Free Beer, and he has a taste for well scripted TV such as Breaking Bad. He’s also a family man who cherishes his down time with his children.