Yoel Sumitro

Can product growth and ethical design coexist?

Key Learnings

  • Various wealthy prospectors (global tech companies) arrive from all over
  • They analyze the environment (the market) with a focus on maximizing how much of that resource (users) they can extract for themselves
  • They report back to their bosses (investors) about the abundance of riches (short term value extracted from the users) to be had

When global tech companies enter the Southeast Asian market, the metric they most often use to measure their success is growth… and ONLY growth! This is tracked by asking such superficial questions as: How many new users have we acquired? How many monthly active users must we maintain? How many inactive users must we resurrect?
Metrics that can lead to long term customer loyalty, a healthy and vibrant marketplace, and the overall prosperity of the people within that marketplace are often thrown by the wayside, or at best an afterthought. These include: the well-being of all the various stakeholders and users, the behavioral impacts of design choices on various user groups, and the long term effects of design decisions on society and how we interact with one another as humans. These are questions of ethical design.

The effect of this hyper focus on growth at the expense of ethical design often resembles the discovery of a valuable but limited resource:

  1. Various wealthy prospectors (global tech companies) arrive from all over
  2. They analyze the environment (the market) with a focus on maximizing how much of that resource (users) they can extract for themselves
  3. They report back to their bosses (investors) about the abundance of riches (short term value extracted from the users) to be had
  4. And finally, they set about capturing as much of that resource as they can (designed a product to capture as much of the market as possible) with little regard for the collateral damage caused

We often hear about users’ privacy, accessibility, the excess of behavior change, and users’ security, but these important ethical aspects of product design seem to be luxuries often only available to Western European and North American users. For us in the SEA market, only our total population number – 674,351,868 – matters for the growth reports that drive business decisions in the region. It can often seem that — to some investors, venture capitalists, government officials, and company executives — users from the SEA market are mere numbers, devoid of all humanity.

 

In this talk, I will explore several cases that support this claim of “abuse” of the SEA market for the sake of growth, the effect this has on society and humanity at large, and what we can all do about it to rebalance the scales and create a better future for everyone, including the investors and company executives!


Date: Wednesday, October 13th
Time: 11:15 - 12:00
Location: HALL 1b

Speaker

Yoel Sumitro

SVP of Product Design, tiket.com

Originally from Indonesia, Yoel Sumitro left for Seattle to get a degree in UX from the University of Washington. He has been globetrotting: first, he worked as a UX Designer in Apptio in Seattle, followed by Mobilewalla in Singapore, and then he was at Adidas Group in Germany. He also worked as a Senior UX researcher at Uber before finally, in 2018, he decided to go back to Indonesia and is working at Bukalapak, one of the 4 Indonesian Unicorns, as their VP of Product Design, leading 140+ strong design talents. Now he is helping tiket.com to design the most consumer-centric online travel agent by simplifying the way people travel the world.

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.