Ana Peralta’s extensive career in tech led her to found a company that helps small businesses.
By Tess Harmon, Photo courtesy of Ana Peralta
With more than 10 years of experience in tech, Ana Peralta has worked across several industries as a user experience (UX) designer, with a specialty in customer engagement and usability success for web development.
So, when she noticed she had difficulties reconnecting with mobile vendors after meeting them at pop-ups, she knew she had the tech background to help communities better follow and support their local businesses. In the fall, Peralta plans to launch FLIT, an online platform designed to connect Austinites and small nomadic businesses through publicizing vendors’ events on an active map.
Peralta has learned much from both her career in the tech field, as well as her experience as the founder of a small business. She offers advice for young women who are interested in creating something of their own in the tech space.
Define your true north.
I think it’s easy to get scatterbrained, especially when some of these projects are not overnight executions. But the proposition of any idea should be the foundation and the first thing you figure out. Once you’ve defined your product, it really helps you save time and money down the road. When you define your true north, and you stick to it throughout the process, it really will help you become a better creator. It helps you sell; it helps you pitch what you’re making; it helps your product’s message. And that helps your end user buy in, adapt to your idea and helps them understand how it differentiates you and your product from anything else.
Learn to speak other disciplines’ languages.
In tech, there are many roles involved in creating one thing. You can have a designer, product manager, developer, software engineer. I think it’s very smart to learn even a little bit about how other people speak and how their roles operate. This improves the dynamic of your team and improves the dynamic when you hire or oversee freelance workers. When you understand other disciplines’ languages, it makes you a stronger communicator. You get your point across because you speak in terms they will understand, and then there’s less confusion later. I think it makes you a better decision-maker. All these new skills that you acquire will eventually be integral to your business growth.
Think like your consumer, and put yourself in their shoes.
It’s very important to be able to empathize so well with your end users, to the point where you think like them. This takes time, but with enough research and interviews directly with your end audience, you’ll be able to gather the information you need to understand what you’re creating. I would really choose authenticity in what you’re making because it really does speak volumes when someone understands where you’re coming from. It’s important to ask well-rounded questions: How do your users define quality? How do your users define success? What will they be relieved from by using your product? What will they gain? Thinking of those crucial points is where I think a digital experience usually becomes most successful.
Bumps in the road are just checkpoints.
Hitting a snag can actually help you reassess, regroup, reevaluate and plan the next move. I think when you take breaks and you hit those bumps in the road, you realize that what you’re making could be better, and you can find a strategy that’s more on point than the original plan. It’s not unheard of in tech that you have to fail quickly and recover quickly. That’s really what keeps the momentum in innovation and iteration. Starting over isn’t always a bad thing. Because you don’t start from scratch, you really start from experience. But perseverance is what makes you cross the finish line. I think those who are committed are the real winners, the ones who don’t give up.
Network and make connections.
I’ve had to learn this the hard way. Putting yourself out there is a very fruitful, advantageous thing to do. I think it’s really great when you can share what you’re making with others [and]open up about your struggles. When I have done so, I’ve met someone with the answer that I was looking for, or they knew of a connection that they could direct me to. Once I got over being shy and keeping all my ideas close to my chest, folks have offered questions and opportunities and even ideas that I couldn’t have thought of by myself. Networking and making connections has really built a support group that has helped me in areas where I’m outside of my skill set.