David Gilbert is a Product Manager & Designer with over 17 years of experience building consumer products with startups and large companies around the world.
What I believe
I serve engineers and designers to ship quality products that feel familiar, natural, and human. I listen to and stand up for the interests of the people using our products. I believe in good over perfect. I am data-informed, not data-driven. I build for the long term but remain nimble. I am never satisfied with the status quo.
What I do
- Brainstorm product ideas
- Carry out competitor analysis
- Run design sprints
- Create mockups and prototypes
- Write concise and coherent copy
- In-person or remote usability studies
- Project planning and management
- Roadmap and backlog prioritisation
- Write user stories and specifications
- Form lightweight agile processes
- Close the gap between teams
- Release management
Senior Product Manager at ExpressVPN
2013 & Jan 2017 – Present (remote)
ExpressVPN is a consumer Virtual Private Network (VPN) provider whose mission is to give people more control over their online experience and protect their privacy and security. I currently lead the development of ExpressVPN’s home wi-fi router product and was previously in charge of browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
Challenge – Home routers are notoriously complex to set up and use. We wanted to design replacement firmware for popular hardware (Linksys, Netgear, Asus…) for those wanting to protect their entire home without needing a degree in network configuration.
Solution – After surveying the competitive landscape and speaking with our customers we designed a new mobile-first experience that takes the hassle out of configuring your router to use a VPN. After the initial rollout, we prioritised advanced features (such as port forwarding) based on customer demand.
Results – Customers using a router had 30% higher retention rates than any of our other apps.
Challenge – The web browser is where people spend most of their time when using a computer. We wanted to make sure that ExpressVPN was close at hand to protect them and prevent their browser from leaking personal information.
Solution – We built a browser extension that, in addition to being able to control your VPN connection, also provided additional privacy and security features to prevent your location from leaking and upgrade insecure connections to HTTPS.
Results – The extension gained 1.3 million users over three years with an average app store rating of 4.6/5.
VPN App Redesign
Challenge – Resolve current issues with the app and make the home screen self-explanatory for core user personas—prove this with data from usability testing. Update the design language for a more fresh and modern look without losing familiarity with previous versions.
Solution – Three one-week design sprints were carried out to validate solutions to different usability issues. Prototypes were tested with customers to the point where we felt confident to implement the new home screen experience. The final version was A/B tested with new customers to ensure no impact on conversion rates.
Product Manager at Gengo
Jan 2014 – May 2016 (Tokyo)
Gengo is a people-powered translation platform that allows customers to order via their website or API. I led projects to improve both the customer and translator experience as well as make the platform easier to police. I also restructured the development process and built a QA team to improve service stability.
Challenge – Our goal was to provide a modern platform for translation that gives assistance when wanted, but otherwise gets out of the way. It should work equally as well for novices as for seasoned professionals.
Solution – Nine months of research, prototyping, and development led to a web-based editor which puts translators in control. They have access to configurable views, job filters, commenting, and automated validation. Autosave prevents accidental loss of work and keyboard shortcuts speed up the workflow for advanced users.
Results – Faster turnaround times for customers and increased translator satisfaction.
Challenge – When translating things like product descriptions, accuracy is key in ensuring the translation faithfully represents what’s being sold. Mistranslating a dress as being size 2 instead of 12 could spell disaster. We wanted to decrease the number of accuracy errors.
Solution – In order to offset some of the risks that this can pose we designed and built a number of validation checks which operate in the background to find and highlight potential issues between the source and target text while the translator works (similar to spell check).
Results – Drop in revision requests and increase in quality scores. Caught those abusing the system (e.g. by using machine translation).
Challenge – Some types of content can include a lot of repetitive words, sentences, and paragraphs. It’s a waste of time and money to translate multiple times and can lead to inconsistencies.
Solution – We developed a translation memory (TM) system to segment and store previously translated content in a database. Translators were able to reuse partial or complete matches in real-time and downvote poor translations.
Results – Clients looking for cost efficiency gains were won and retained. Translators were able to share knowledge and self-police the system.
Product Manager at CNN Travel
April 2011 – Dec 2012 (Hong Kong)
CNN Travel (formerly CNNGo) is CNN’s travel and lifestyle site, providing news and destination guides for curious travellers. I led projects to implement their responsive website and native mobile apps. I also worked with partners to integrate third-party services and facilitated a rebranding project.
Challenge – Showcase the content created by CNN’s writers, photographers, and videographers around the world on mobile devices. Secondarily, provide destination guides which a person could dip into before, during, and after their trip (where to visit, eat, sleep etc).
Solution – We designed and built a newsreader app for iPhone and Android which attempted to provide the premium feel of a glossy travel and lifestyle magazine that readers would enjoy coming back to during their downtime.
Results – The launch of the app was handled by the marketing team who lined up online, print, and tv ad campaigns. The app was downloaded over 600,000 times, with people spending 6 minutes reading 2 articles on average per session.
Project Manager at Freeborders
Sept 2008 – Jan 2011 (Shenzhen)
Freeborders (now Symbio) is a global digital services company. I managed teams of developers in Shenzhen, China to integrate enterprise applications as well as deliver CMS solutions for clients.
Senior Associate at Sapient
Sept 2005 – Sept 2008 (London & Beijing)
Sapient (now Publicis Sapient) is a technology consulting company. I managed a variety of projects for clients in different industries, including the NHS, Royal Mail, and O2.
Founder / Writer at Randomwire
Dec 2003 – Present
For over 19 years I have been writing articles relating to my passions for travel and technology. I have built an audience of over 100,000 unique visitors per month and 1,500 subscribers.
University of Durham (UK) – BSc (Honours) in Software Engineering
Oct 2002 – June 2005
Shikoku Pilgrimage – completed the 1,400 km historic trail on foot.
May – June 2016