Federico is a Principal People Experience Designer at Meta (formerly known as Facebook) currently based in sunny San Jose, California. To chase the “American Dream” Federico moved from Italy to the United States without any friends or family. With a background in telecommunications engineering, he now has 13 years+ of experience in service design, digital strategy, and crafting innovative experiences.
Yes, I will define myself as I’ve been doing on my website —a De·sign·egist. I thought that convey the idea of what I am, part designer and part service designer.
I think it represents the fact that when it comes to design, no one is specifically UX/UI. I’ve always struggled to communicate my value, right? And I think that’s something that people have in common. It (designegist) showcases the idea of creative thinking but also the structured part.
Most people don’t know that I am what I am today and I’m happy to do the work that I love thanks to my professional epiphany during my second year of college. So what happened… I am a telecommunication engineer by trade. Two friends of mine from high school was studying Marketing and Economics. In another city, they were participating in an international challenge by Phillip Morris… The case for the year where I participated was for the challenge to double the revenue for a mobile carrier, mostly using SMS. I’ve always been fascinated by creativity and marketing, it's like free form and fluid. That was fascinating to me.
At this moment, Federico got an opportunity to build and design something for an end-user and he decided he no longer wanted to pursue a career as a coder or engineer once graduated.
Absolutely, yes! I have always been playing volleyball because that’s the only way I can get the competitiveness to get out. I’m just competitive in nature. But during the pandemic year in California, because everything shut down, I started to pick up running for a few months, which I loved. It gave me a lot of interesting thoughts.
Aside from running, the best hobby that Federico shared with us was — virtual fitness! He never imaged ever doing anything in the house with a visor in his face but now he can definitely say it’s one of the most addicting things he’s come across and now practically does it every day.
I am simplifying people’s lives. Especially the employees (at Meta). Those 80,000 people that we have so far, can have an easier and more professional life and focus on their time in what they care more whether it’s like building the metaverse, staying with their families, virtual reality fitness, or whatever they want to do.
It was when I went to move from Italy to here. The transition was not easy… New language, new culture, a new way of doing things, and absolutely no support. On top of that, I took a toll to get here — being demoted in my professional career, I would no longer be in a managerial role. I was in this new country (USA) where everyone was not speaking my language. I was a little bit lost at the beginning.
But then I said, okay let’s roll up my sleeves… I didn’t totally unlearn everything but I did need to unlearn several ways of doing things, for example, the way we talk in the U.S. is very straight to the point. Like if I can use five seconds instead of ten, it’s appreciated. While in Europe, you can write a poem and say things ten times longer — it’s appreciated. At that moment, I decided to just say, “let’s do it”. I accepted that I was going to make errors, that I knew I’d get something wrong. But I’d do it my own way and would not copy anyone because I know I am me. I cannot be like anybody else. Some things you can change and get wrong but you cannot copy from anybody else.
I call it “no B.S. mentorship.” The point is, I know what things I can provide to folks and what things I cannot provide. So there are a ton of people that are much better at providing advice on the creative side because they are way more visual than I am. I have more of a service design mentality. Nevertheless, I am a maker.
Federico believes in this type of mentorship because there’s no fluff and he is straightforward about what companies are looking for — such as how you convey your ideas, your storytelling, the way you talk, and your interpersonal communication skills.
I get a good amount of questions on what a portfolio should look like. And I answer in two ways. First of all, make sure that your CV is even actually better than your portfolio because the CV is the key to the interview, not the portfolio. People will only open your portfolio after it goes through the automated system and screening.
When it comes to the portfolio, I actually don’t advise on the look and feel of the portfolio, I’m not the best person to do that. I always deflect people to other mentors. So, I want to see in a portfolio that they are result-oriented and they can think that way. They are not just designing for the sake of designing. And the other thing I want them to think about is — how to be memorable. A lot of these are cookie-cutter portfolios, I see 1000 of these. If you want to stand out from a crowd, you need to showcase your structure and be memorable. A lot of people never thought about it because they fall into the security blanket of the template of how a case study works.
Key takeaways of creating your portfolio
To summarize everything I’ve said, it will mostly be,“To apply to yourself the same approach that you would when creating something”.
Federico’s one piece of advice is for mentees to be empathetic with themselves. To have a discovery with themselves about who they were, their strengths, and understanding where they want to go. In a lack of better words, UX your life! In a lack of better words, make your life amazing! (Like one of his favorite songs, Amazing by Kanye West).
I hope you all found this interview with our amazing multidisciplinary ADPList mentor insightful. Thank you for reading, and leave a comment below if you found this helpful or something new you learned today. Be sure to follow us on ADPList, to get the latest news from us.