Some girls seem to have it all, the look, the talent and the business flair. Add to it a cool and relaxed vibe and you get Puno.
Photographer, graphic designer, co-founder of ILoveCreatives and co-founder of Map, Puno shares her journey from creative to entrepreneur, her best online discoveries and explains how she stays focused while juggling multiple projects. Serious girl crush going on here.
When you were growing up what was your dream job ?
Haha, I actually wanted to be a cartoon voice over. When I was in advertising, I casted myself as a squirrel for a Guitar Hero commercial. It was a dream come true.
What was your first job ?
My first job was a barista at Starbucks. It was crazy the different types of orders each person had and the amount of caramel people would add to their drinks.
Can you introduce us “Made with map” ? How did you come up with the idea what is the purpose of the project?
Map is a website that allows you to save and view inspiring photos of places from anywhere in the world. As oppose to ratings or recommendation engines to find places, you can find places through like-minded people starting with their photos. It’s a bit like traveling in that sense. Go where your mouse takes you!
After I quit my job, Daniel and I finally took our honeymoon and ended up backpacking in Thailand for five weeks. Adding photos to a Map isn’t new, but it was during this trip, that the current apps didn’t have the specific workflow or curation we wanted. Map has gone through so many iterations since then. Most of the iterations have been deleted as we always opt for simplifying the interface.
For me, the purpose of Map is to find the most inspiring people that motivate you to find new places and live it. Whether it’s in your own backyard or a city that you’ve always wanted to visit.
Who are the users of Map?
People who seek adventure every day and are eager to share their perspective. I’ve seen a lot of photos of the same place, but I’m always surprised by the different photos and stories that transform a place in unexpected ways.
How do you find the users ? What are the benefits of the users ?
To date, we’ve found all of our users exclusively on Instagram. We’re starting to gain traction on other social networks so we’re experimenting around with that now.
As an organizational tool, Map is great for saving places visually. I’m more of a visual person and when I look at a Map of photos, it’s so much easier for me to recall why I wanted to go there or I what I loved about the place.
As an exploration tool, we’ve curated a really talented community that produces a ton of beautiful images. We’re all about quality over quantity and I think it shows when you look around on Map. Right now, we’re building features that will make it easier to find other people and places. For us, we don’t want you to just search for a location and get everything on Map. We want to show you the best. It’s taking some time to build it that way, but it’ll be worth it.
You are building Map with your husband, how is it to work as a couple? What are the difficulties if any and how do you deal with it?
I’m really really lucky. Daniel is one of the smartest, funniest, most autonomous person I know. I think the main reason why it works so well is because our roles are completely different. Daniel is all tech. Every button you click is a line of code he built. I do everything else, from creating designs to building the community. We have a lot of respect for each other, so it’s easy to trust that the other is working their ass off or figuring out how to make something happen.
The difficulties are like any partnership. This is my first partnership and startup, so we’ve learned a lot about what to do and what not to do. We try not to make assumptions about what the other person is thinking. Most of the time you’re wrong, even if you’ve known each other for ten years.
You also work with Eva on ILoveCreatives, how did you two meet and how did you come up with the idea?
We met at Unique Camp in June 2013. We actually went on a couples date and that’s when our friendship solidified. Ever since Unique Camp, I started meeting a whole new group of freelancers, designers, and small business owners. More and more of our generation are quitting their 9 to 5s and just doing their own thing. Although rewarding, it’s tough cookies! Eva and I would often brainstorm with friends on how we can help them with their business. Most of the problems came down to not being able to access a more curated network with their needs. Whether it was an event you were hosting, a kickstarter, or if you were looking for an intern. So we wanted to build a curated craigslist. We just started it about two months ago and we’re playing around with different ideas on how to make more creative connections happen.
Could you tell us more about that? What are the future plans of growth?
One idea came from The Creatives page. When we first started, people wanted to know who was subscribing to our newsletter so we just asked our subscribers to send in their photo. This page ended up being really popular and people asked us if there was more info about each person. So now we have a page called The Members. We’re still figuring out what the right profile looks like and the cost, but the goal is to start getting to a conversation faster by being explicit about what you are looking for and how you can help.
Everyone nowadays is a “slashie” (i.e. photographer/designer/brand strategist), but I think there’s more to that story. People have super niche passions or skills. We’re trying to get to that so you can start doing what you really want to do.
In terms of growth, we’ve been in talks with other creative communities about how we could collaborate. We’re still working out the details of that program, but collaborations are definitely going to be in the mix.
Between photography, design, styling, blogging and Map, how do you keep up with all these projects? What are your time management tools and tips?
Last year, I went a little nuts. I just quit my job and all I wanted to do was play. I took on photography, styling, and blogging. It was super fun, but I’ve put those on the backburner for now so that I could focus on Map, ILC, and freelance design.
My friend, Guillaume, wrote a book called “You are a Circle”. He put it really well.
Introducing the three projects juggle:
- One project that pays the bills.
- One project that pays for the extras (that you can land back on if project one vanishes).
- One exciting personal project that pays nothing now but can have a high impact in the future.
If you learn to juggle these three simultaneously, you’ll always take care of the present and you’ll build a compelling future.
I try to limit my time spent on each project by hours per week and I use Harvest to track my time. Also, people are shortcuts. If you can figure out a way to systemize work and hire help, it’s more efficient than trying to do everything yourself. I’ll often take on more freelance work so I can hire help, which ends up netting to more hours towards a given project.
Where do you hire help and how?
I’ve been lucky to have friends that (1) are awesome and (2) quit their jobs recently. And I also hear from our users on Map.
It’s kind of cheating since we know everyone on ILC, but that’s also been a great resource. Check out Maggie! 🙂
What do you like and dislike about the digital world?
I dislike how hard it is to build the digital world. Photography has taken strides with mobile and DSLRs, but building an app is still super hard. I love the internet so much. It’s not rocket science to manage your internet intake and live in the moment. I think that comes naturally when you start working on projects that you’re passionate about.
What do you think the biggest challenge of your work is?
Doubt and worry. It always stalls momentum. On the flipside, being a little too eager and taking on too many things. Doing your own thing, no matter which stage you’re at, is a combination of ups and downs. Once I realized that, I just stopped worrying that I was in a funk and just said, “It’s OK. You’re funky!”
What is the best and the worst part about your job?
The best part is being able to do whatever you want.
The worst part is not knowing how you’re going to sustain it.
Can you tell us what an average day looks like?
- I attempt to work out in the morning. I started Class Pass which has been fun. You can go around LA and take classes from a variety of different studios.
- Check emails or have a hangout with the badass Map Community team.
- Have lunch with Daniel or go meet someone new.
- Do real work on one of the three “projects”.
- Check emails. I like emails!
- Check out our Map and eat dinner.
- Go and have drinks with someone or there’s some event going on.
- Do some more work.
- Try super hard to go to bed early, but I usually forget till it’s too late.
What have you learned so far about starting your own business ?
That I love it and I want some more of it!
Career wise is there somebody that inspires you the most ?
Why ? What inspires you in her ?
She executes flawlessly and reinvent herself gracefully. I really admire people that can understand their style and then make that into a business. That’s the stuff that makes noise and keeps you in the game longer.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten?
“It’s not as good as you want it to be, but not as bad as you’re making it.”
What are your goals for the future, both work wise and in life?
A 4-hour work week sounds good!
Who do you follow on Instagram ?
On my personal instagram (@punodostres):
Five fun facts about you:
- I’m half Filipino and half Korean.
- Did this
- I really enjoy laughing hard. Where the back of my knees sweat and I can’t breathe.
- I’ll prepare a prank for three months or hide behind doors. My husband is scared of me.
- When I dance, my favorite thing to do is make it unforgettable.