David Gilbert

David Gilbert is a Product Manager & Designer with over 18 years of experience building consumer software and hardware 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


  • Develop product strategy
  • Conduct market analysis
  • Analyse customer feedback


  • Create mockups and prototypes
  • Write concise and coherent copy
  • In-person or remote user testing


  • Define and prioritise requirements
  • Create a roadmap for development
  • Communicate vision to stakeholders


  • Form lightweight, agile processes
  • Empower and unblock people
  • Monitor performance metrics

Get in touch or connect on LinkedIn


Staff Product Manager at ExpressVPN

Jan 2013 – Dec 2013 & Jan 2017 – Present (Tokyo & Munich)

ExpressVPN is a consumer Virtual Private Network (VPN) provider whose mission is to give people more control over their online experience to protect their privacy and security. I currently lead the development of ExpressVPN’s home Wi-Fi router product (Aircove & Aircove Go) and was previously in charge of browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.

Below is some of the work I am most proud of.

Aircove VPN Routers

Challenge – Home routers are notoriously complex to set up and provide little security and privacy protection. We wanted to design a router for those who want to protect their entire home without needing a degree in network configuration.

Solution – We designed a new router experience that provides zero-configuration VPN protection for all your devices. It includes innovative features to flexibly manage multiple VPN connections and advanced protection settings for individual household members. We introduced a portable version the following year.

Results – Significant uplift in customer lifetime value. Rated 4.4 stars on Amazon. CNET called Aircove “a powerful, intuitive and user friendly piece of hardware that can’t be beat.”

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VPN Browser Extension

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 controlling your VPN connection, provided extra 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 issues with the former 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 implementing the new home screen experience. The final version was A/B tested with new customers to ensure no impact on conversion rates.

Results – Decrease in support tickets, year-over-year increase in Net Promotor Score (NPS), rated as “the best VPN to use to protect your privacy” by The Verge, WIRED, and other publications.

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.

Translator Workbench

Challenge – Our goal was to provide a modern platform for translation that assists 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.

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Automated Validation

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 – To offset some of the risks that this can pose, we designed and built 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).

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Translation Memory

Challenge – Some types of content can include 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 can 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.

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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.

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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 20 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