Insight: KUMU’s Chief Architect Andrew Pineda on Building a Pinoy-Centric Social Media App for Young Creative and Fun-Loving Individuals

May 1, 2020 | 5 mins read

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Architects are defined as designers who supervise the construction of structures from the planning phase to its finishing touches. The same goes for KUMU’s Chief Architect Andrew Pineda only his work entails building a social media app that appeals to creative and fun-loving individuals while devising solutions that can help them and let them enjoy its numerous features.

Building a Pinoy-centric app

In Asia, most countries have their own dedicated social media app outside the big three of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In the Philippines, KUMU takes that role in bringing Pinoys from all over the world into one app that connects them and gives them opportunities to earn and win cash and prizes. “What makes an app great is that it solves a problem for the user,” says Andrew when asked what makes KUMU a good app. “We saw that a lot of countries in Asia had their own social network that was localized for their market and we wanted to take what we learned from what’s going on in the United States and other developed countries, come back to the Philippines and offer an app that prioritizes the voices of Filipinos in the ever-evolving digital ecosystem that is transforming the economy of Southeast Asia” he added.

Thanks to Andrew’s and the entire KUMU team’s foresight, the mobile app has now established itself as the fastest-growing social media app in the country.

Just recently, Andrew and the KUMU team have also managed to raise $5 million in Series A funding to bolster the app’s new features and growing operations highlighted by more than 25,000 livestreams a day.

Teamwork makes the dream work

KUMU’s main goal internally is to keep the entire team cohesive when it comes to product development and engineering. Andrew takes on the coach’s role to set the plays and score big in terms of numbers. “We always ensure that every member knows what the goals are, what the environment is signaling, and what people, time, and money constraints exist,” shared Andrew who recognizes that for most startups, product management means continuously developing strategies that maximize the impact to KUMU’s mission.

“Knowing enough about engineering, UX, data, finance, organizational design, operations, research, marketing, etc. helps your ability to synthesize these inputs more effectively but it is up to the product manager to maximize each person’s individual and collective potentials by aligning everyone on a product strategy and fostering a healthy team dynamic,” he shares.

And Andrew certainly has the chops to be on top of KUMU’s product management with his extensive experience in startup management, app development, digital marketing, and information technology management systems. Like how a trusted architect constructs a structure with all of its elements functioning for the best user satisfaction, so does Andrew ensure that KUMU will be the top choice for its Pinoy market when it comes to enjoying a truly unique digital experience.

What makes a good Pinoy app?

It takes a lot to determine what facets contribute in making KUMU a good social media app for Pinoys. For Andrew and the team, while there may be a few hits and misses during production stages, striking the balance between user-experience and offering worthwhile features came in early thanks to an organized team that’s driven to execute each strategy.

According to Andrew, there are only three things that every team should accomplish when trying to come up with a good app for Pinoys:

  • Find the balance between adding more features whilst simultaneously improving user experience.
  • Focus on customer and business impact, and amplify your colleagues. Great product teams live in the future and work backwards.
  • Drive high-quality decisions, optimize for learning, and strive to execute impeccably.

With great direction from Andrew, KUMU’s product team continues to draw more features that can capture the imagination of users and maximize their own creative capabilities that make the app the preferred platform for all-Pinoy content today. And while your typical architect builds homes, Andrew and team were able to build a social media app in KUMU that make Pinoys very much at home.

Years of product and project management experience at Infinite Nine, where he worked with startups getting their websites and mobile apps launched has prepared Andrew for his ultimate responsibility and life calling: Co-founder of a social media company revolutionizing the Filipino creative playground community.

Andrew began his career in 2005 as a PHP developer at InfoSearch Media, a SEO & content agency based in Los Angeles. He then assumed the role of IT Director at Passages where he maintained the company’s IT infrastructure and internal patient management system.

When BlueGlass was formed in June of 2010, he became product manager of one of its main software platforms CopyPress, which became an entity on its own and split off from BlueGlass into its own company under the direction of SteelCast. Under SteelCast, Andrew then transitioned from CopyPress to Hua Marketing, helping manage the day to day operations for both Hua Marketing and SteelCast.

Andrew left Steelcast to become a co-partner and serve as Product Manager at InfiniteNine, a technical consulting firm based in Los Angeles, with 3 offices in China. He and his team have developed and maintained numerous websites, backend applications and mobile apps servicing startup companies.

Andrew earned his Bachelors of Science degree in Computer Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Original post on Adobo Magazine on April 30,2020—


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