David Gilbert


Independent product manager/designer from the UK based in Tokyo.

plan, design and help build digital products for big and small companies.

I’ve previously worked with Gengo, CNN, and Sapient. I also write a blog.

What I do


  • Carrying out a product audit to assess gaps & opportunities
  • Helping you prioritise your roadmap for maximum impact
  • Writing user stories and functional specifications


  • Designing mockups and prototypes for your app/service
  • Writing concise copy and coherently organising content
  • Carrying out in-person or remote usability studies


  • Building a lightweight agile process with your team
  • Setting up an onshore or offshore quality assurance team
  • Helping close the gap between business and engineering

Get in touch or connect on LinkedIn


Independent Product Designer for various clients (Tokyo)
2013 & Aug 2016 – Present

I am currently working with a consumer VPN (Virtual Private Network) company to improve the user experience of their products. I have been conducting user research within focused design sprints to find and fix usability issues as well as prototype new services. I am working with their design team to build a new design system.

Product Manager at Gengo (Tokyo)
Jan 2014 – May 2016

Gengo is a people-powered translation platform which allows customers to order via their website or API. I led projects to improve both the customer and translator experience as well as making the platform easier to police. I also restructured the development process and built a QA team to improve service stability.

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Product Manager of CNN Travel at Turner Broadcasting (Hong Kong)
April 2011 – Dec 2012

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 major rebranding project.

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Project Manager at Freeborders (Shenzhen)
Sept 2008 – Jan 2011

Freeborders (now a part of Symbio) is a global digital services company. I managed teams of developers in Shenzhen, China to integrate enterprise applications as well as deliver CMS based websites for clients in various industries.

Co-founder / Product Manager at Uxplore (Shanghai)
Nov 2009 – June 2010

Uxplore was a service for foreigners visiting or living in China to find places/restaurants to visit, plan how to get there, and share their experience. I designed and built a working prototype to validate the idea which was ultimately shelved due to Google leaving China.

Senior Associate at Sapient (London & Beijing)
Sept 2005 – Sept 2008

Sapient is a technology consulting company. I managed a variety of projects in different industries, including the development of an API platform for NHS Choices and the deployment of a project management system for the Royal Mail. I also coordinated teams between the UK, China & India for the roll-out of broadband internet services.

Founder / Writer at Randomwire
Dec 2003 – Present

For over 15 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. Popular articles have been featured on sites including Gizmodo, io9, Web Urbanist, Huff Post and the SCMP.


University of Durham (UK) – BSc (Honours) in Software Engineering
Oct 2002 – June 2005

Completed the 1,400km Shikoku pilgrimage trail on foot.
May – June 2016

Currently studying Japanese and have previously taken courses in Mandarin and Korean.