rku@ac4d.com

Faculty

Ruby Ku

Ruby is the Director of Product and Customer Experience at Aunt Bertha. Previously, she co-founded HourSchool, a social enterprise born out of her research project from Austin Center for Design. In the past 10 years, Ruby took on numerous roles in interaction design, software development, and product management. She is most passionate about working at start-ups, where she gets to drive initial concepts all the way to market launches and into the users’ hands. She has launched dozens of products and services, in sectors ranging from education, health care, to human services.

Born in Hong Kong, grew up in Canada, and now an Austinite, Ruby graduated from the first class of Austin Center for Design. Before that, she studied Science and Business at the University of Waterloo.

 

Recent blog posts

Founder Thoughts

Alex and I always talk about how we need to write more, do some writing first thing in the morning before diving into emails, get things out of our heads onto something tangible. Yet, it still doesn’t happen as often as we would like. But here’s a start, some raw thoughts from the week. On…

A letter to AC4D

Dear AC4D, Recent events left me feeling a mix of thoughts and emotions so I decided to write you a letter. You are an 8-month graduate program, but you’re also a solid community. You are great mentors, but you are also all makers. The group of people coming in and out all day provide constant…

Some feedback and observations from Q1 presentations

I took notes last night so thought I’d share them here. They’re raw and not complete, but hope they would be somewhat helpful. On design research: Need to explain more why design research is different and valuable especially to non-designers. Design research is not supposed to be easy, it’s going to take lots of time,…

Reflections and Lessons Learned from SDNC11

I gave my very first talk at the Service Design Conference 11 in San Francisco last week. It was a really good experience and I wanted to share some of my reflections and lessons learned. 1. Biggest takeaway from the conference This is my first exposure to the “service designers”, and it’s very different than…

This time this year: some summer reflections

Around this time last year, I was getting ready to leave Toronto to begin this new journey at AC4D. This time this year, I can definitively say that it was the best decision I’ve made. Over the last few months, I’ve gotten emails from prospective students asking what it’s like at AC4D. I’ve tried my…

Interaction Designer and Social Entrepreneur are like Ice Cream and Oreo

So the school part of AC4D is over. But I think all of us recognize that this journey has just begun and I hope to continue to use this as a platform to articulate our thoughts, state our opinion, and design publicly. Coming into AC4D with some socent knowledge and having immersed myself in the…

Learn to build an airplane in hours because that's the only way you'll be able to build one. When do we ever learn the lesson?

I thought I understood think/make. But I didn’t really understand think/make. For the last few weeks, we have been working on marketing plan, crunching financial spreadsheets, moving pixels, and entering the matrix doing a lot of git push heroku. You know, the nuts and bolts of starting a business and building a product. The things…

Design Synthesis is a process to Be Intentional

I’ve always stated my love of being in design synthesis land. It’s also where some of the most defining moments of HourSchool occurred. Back in January, we were still thinking that there would be two types of audience using our site: the student and the teacher. We wanted to understand what the student and the…

Questions to think about when developing your startup pitch

I was at the RISE conference tonight for the Social Entrepreneurship Keynote and Non-Profit Fast Pitch. 15 non-profits from Austin were selected to pitch to a panel of judges for 1.5 minute + Q&A session. Congrats to @LemonadeDayATX for winning, and congrats to everyone else for doing a phenomenon job. As we’ve experienced at AC4D,…

Second peer-led class, plus some think/make

Sunday. We had our rescheduled boxing conditioning class by the Auditorium Shores. Beautiful weather, fun company, awesome tacos for lunch = great time. Until we all woke up sore this morning. Thank Phill for a great class – we shall do it again! Thinking and Making In last week’s studio class, we were pushed to think…

AC4D Presenting at ARCH: When It's About Them

On Feb 1, AC4D was invited to present our research findings at the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless’s All Staff Meeting. We truly appreciated the opportunity to be the catalyst for a rich discussion. For those who couldn’t be there, here’s what I found to be the most memorable: From what we heard, it…

The one thing I took away

Last week was full of inspirations and reflections. We’ve heard and spoken with individuals that continue to shape our thinking around our approach, attitude, and actions. If there was one thing I took away from each person, here they are: “You gotta get good at the banal so you know what to do when something…

An update after some shifting and zooming from biased perspectives: our process, our finding, and our plan

Photo credit: by Alex Pappas, at Art From the Streets, on Jan 25 2011 When we were two weeks into our research on homelessness last quarter, it began to occur to us that the Maslow hierarchy might be in the wrong shape. Our hypothesis was that people need their emotional needs fulfilled at the same time…

What happens when lens shift

On Aug 27, 2009, CNN wrote this article about Zipcar: Just a few years ago the notion that you could persuade upwardly mobile professionals to share cars would have seemed as far-fetched as being able to unlock a car with a telephone. But what started as a counterculture movement in places like Cambridge and Portland,…

2 weeks into research on homelessness, have some thoughts, no answers yet, and lots of questions still

On “people are people” Alex and I spent a Sunday morning filming at Church under the Bridge. Inspired by Fifty People One Question, we thought it’d be an interesting way to learn more about the people that are experiencing homelessness. So we put up a sign and asked, “What would you like to have happened by…

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