May 20, 2019 Interview with New Design Copilot, vlack

1. Please tell me a few things about your background and where you are from.

I’m from Venezuela and live in Mexico. I’m a Mechanical Engineer but have spent all my professional career working in the tech sector in different roles.

2. I know the first time we met at TCO16 your wife Linda (ArteVisual) was the one competing at the event, but you were working elsewhere. What attracted you to become a designer?

I’ve been working on design-related things and using digital design tools as a hobby for a lot of years now. I just ran and put on my design hat on in full as soon as the opportunity came. Good design is about solving problems and that is what I love to do.

3. Did you and Linda ever compete on the same challenges? How was it?

We did a couple of times and it was really fun. At the end, when we saw our final solutions it was pretty interesting to see how we arrived at totally different designs starting from the exact same information. That type of experience is one of the cool things when working as a copilot, you get the opportunity to see many different solutions for the same problem.

From left to right: vlack, ArteVisual, mahestro, chekspir

4. As a designer, what type of challenges do you like to compete on most and why?

I prefer design explorations and anything that gives you the freedom to go beyond. I love when you are encouraged to go and dig deeper on the research about the industry, the client and problem to create a unique solution. It’s a great opportunity to expand your horizons and learn a lot of new things.

5. You recently became a copilot and ran your first challenge for Jessie, the new Topcoder T-shirt design one, and you handled that project very well. What was your first impression of copiloting based on that challenge; the managing part, the results, etc.?

The challenge went great. Like I said before, it’s pretty cool to see how different designers arrive at unique solutions based on the same information, and seeing how they think about a challenge through the questions they ask in the forums is very interesting to me. In this particular case, the community really unleashed their full creativity and delivered strong designs. In the end, all the stakeholders were happy with the results. It was amazing.

6. What hobbies do you practice in your free time?

It varies a lot. Lately, many amateur table tennis matches. But mainly read, explore the city, and working out outdoors.

7. How do you push yourself to become a better designer?

Trying new things all the time (methodologies, tools, etc.) and getting inspired with all the great designers out there, and for that Topcoder is a gem.

8. What is one of the best memories you have with the TC community?

There are many, but the most important ones are always related to experiences and conversations with other members of the community. And also add to that, the thrill of challenge placement, and other day to day stuff that all of us can relate to.

9. What’s your next dream on Topcoder?

To be a household name as a Copilot.


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