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Are you ready to level up your design game with the power of AI? But also, are you a little wary of those robots taking over? Welcome back to the new season of Insights Unlocked. In this episode, user testing CEO, Andy MacMillan talks with Pablo Stanley, a designer who turned his passion into Mucho AI, an AI-powered design plugin for Figma. He gets real about overcoming those we know best blind spots, why user testing is non-negotiable, and the emotional roller coaster of being a design entrepreneur. Get ready to laugh, learn, and maybe rethink how you see AI's role in your future.


Welcome to Insights Unlocked, an original podcast from User Testing, where we bring you candid conversations and stories with the thinkers, doers, and builders behind some of the most successful digital products and experiences in the world, from concept to execution.


Hi, again. Before we get started with this week's episode, I wanted to ask a favor. We're creating a news show segment where we give a shout out to one or more listeners who are finding creative or cool ways to connect and learn from their customers. Heck, we may even ask you to be a guest on the show. If you have an example you think is worth sharing or that other listeners can benefit from, please send me an email with the details. You can send it to podcast@usertesting. Com. Thanks, and on to the show. Welcome to the Insights Unlocked podcast. I'm Nathan Isaacs, Senior Manager for Content Production at User Testing. Joining me today as host is User Testing's CEO, Andy McMillan. Welcome, Andy.


Hey, everyone. How's it going?


Our guest today is Pablo Stanley. Pablo is a Latin designer based in Mexico. He is the founder or co founder of several design brands, most recently, Bueno and the Mucho AI plugin for Figma. Previously, he He was a lead designer at Envision, a staff designer at Lyft. He gives design workshops around the world focused on product design and UI animation. Welcome to the show, Pablo.


Yeah, thanks for having me. This is great. Hi, everyone.


Pablo, I'm excited to have you on the show. You have an absolutely incredible background. It's just a fascinating set of work that you've put together. You're a co founder and founder of several companies. You're an influencer, not not only in design, but I would also in the Latinx community in the tech world. Can you maybe tell us all a little bit about yourself and maybe what's keeping you busy as we head into 2024?


Yeah. I've been a designer for a very long time. It's already, wow, 25 years. I started back in 1998 or '99. I'm realizing that a lot of designers have started doing stuff for either the punk band or whatever their hobbies were when they were teenagers or maybe for, I don't know, back in those days, I also skateboarded. That's really what got me into the sign. But fast forward to now, and now I'm working more on the AI side of stuff. Everyone is, I guess, now. But yeah, I've been doing... Like four or five years ago, I started going into the startup, starting our own startups. And it's been a wild ride. But lately, we've been just experimenting with AI, and it's been a really cool challenge to work with those rebellious little robots.


Why? It is, and you joke about it. It's true. It is very topical. Everybody's talking a lot about AI and what it means, what its impact is. You mentioned your Mucho AI plugin for Figma, which is amazing. I'd like to maybe peel back the AI topic just a little bit. I think a lot of folks, especially in the creative world, are seeing the capabilities of AI, which is exciting. We talk a little bit about that. But I think the underlying discussion that I think is starting to be talked about, but I think is That's really where a lot of the interest is shifting to, is getting our arms around, what does AI actually mean for people in the creative fields? What does it mean for a designer when capabilities like this come into the market? I get I know you asked this by UX researchers as well, but maybe from your perspective, let's start with designers. What is AI going to mean for them? Is it going to make them more productive? Is it going to put them out of work? Is it going to change what they do? How do you see AI changing the role a developer plays in the impact on their actual job?


We started this as a startup because we're all very optimistic about this. As a techno-optimist, I believe in the ability that these tools will have for creative empowerment. I'm a firm believer in the positive impact that technology has. I see AI as this, well, powerful tool to enhance creative capabilities of individuals. Obviously, I see that this is happening at a very fast pace, and it will be very naive to not really see all the challenges that this brings because the pace at which AI is just evolving, it's making traditional systems in industries which are slower to adapt to have almost like a breakdown and maybe an existential crisis, I guess. So I can see that there's going to be a period of transition and where there's going to be a lot of people affected by this shift, and there's going to be a lot of people who might feel displaced. And I can see that happening on the creative side because it's weird, because I suppose I think we always thought that the robots were... That we humans had this unique capability of being creative, and then we realized, Oh, no, the robots can be creative, too.


Actually, they can be very creative, and sometimes even hallucinate stuff. But I suppose that for a lot of people, suddenly getting ChatGPT, it's just like it was a day before and a day after ChatGPT, because it just democratize the capabilities of the AI. Everyone now can see it as like, Oh, wait, hold on. This is actually really good. I can use this, and this could replace Robert, who is doing our copywriting, suddenly, I'm pretty sure that for a lot of people are like, Oh, maybe I don't need an assistant anymore, or I don't need this person. I suppose that for a lot of people-It was It was tangible.


I agree with that. It was very tangible. All of a sudden, it was a thing. You could see it and interact with it. I agree.


It was just like from one day to another, it was like, Oh, okay. I suppose for business owners or for people who are on the other side hiring people, I'm pretty sure that they got, Oh, okay, maybe we can reduce our staff because this thing, one person can do the job of three. I see all of this more as something that has to, that we to go through, this adaptation that we have to go through. It's going to affect more some than others. We were also thinking that we were imagining AI more as robots, they just like arms and just like the blue-collar jobs were going to be replaced. But we realized that it's like, Oh, no, it's actually the intelligence part is what this thing is really good at. Yeah, thisDesign is one of those, right? Designers, right now, I can see that they need to adapt. But at the same time, I see suddenly designers not being just one specialty because I see it as the creative output that these tools have are democratizing creativity. The creative output will no longer be an exclusive domain of those with formal training or access to expensive resources.


I can also tell you from the other side, as us building the tools for the doDesign, a comforting thought is that the robots are not very good at design. Not yet. At least, we're working on making them get better, by the way. But so far, they're good at replicating stuff that is already there, and they're good at just templates or you just type something in all the demos that you see on Twitter and stuff. They're really good at just making stuff on components that already exist, like a tailwind HTML, like a Tell When website. It's really good at doing that stuff because Tell When, all the components already exist, so it's good at just putting them together. But actually coding them or actually creating layout and creating compositions, I suppose that since all these models are trained on all the data that exists, well, most of the web and most of the stuff that is out there is not very good. So the output is usually not great.


It's inherently derivative to your point, right? It's based on what everybody's been doing before. I think when we talk to U. S. Researchers, one of these we talk a lot about is the cost curve shifting and making this a lot cheaper, but it's still very valuable. I think we see, I don't know, in our day-to-day lives, I don't think I walk around this world and think, Oh, it's overly designed. Everything is really well-designed at this point, or everything's really usable at this point. A vast majority of things are not getting the high-end design and feedback loop that is probably needed. I think if we step back, we're like, How big is the surface area for creating much better experiences? I think it's probably 100X what we're able to execute on today. I've been telling folks in our little community, If AI could make you 10 times more productive, we probably still need to hire 10 times as many researchers because that's the size of the surface areas. I feel that way about design as well. I've never worked in a company where I thought to myself, We just have too many designers. The problem set is so big that I could always use more.


I think that's my mindset on the AI as if we can really help shift that cost curve, I think it would apply design principles and better design to just a lot more stuff versus go like, Well, I'm really glad we don't have to have as many thoughts about design anymore. Maybe that's what this will end up being, is a big unlock for how much we can invest in this area.


Yeah, I think there's definitely a shift in how we see the role of the designer and research. I see that a lot of the things that are... I mean, even without AI, we have already seen a change in design systems and a lot of tools that have been getting better and better, just reducing all the repetitive tasks and all those things that are not really designed, that are just putting blocks together. All of those things Things are almost going away. With AI, all of those things are just even easier to get rid of from your task list of what you need to do. So pixel perfection is not... There shouldn't be a design that is not pixel perfect anymore because this thing just can take all of those little tasks and do them for you. I can see that as a designer, you can focus in other areas, and you can use this little robot set to assist you on creating more the things that you wanted to create, but just didn't have the time before. Or maybe, like me, you were a little bit lazy.


And laziness is the secret to all innovation, right? Somebody deciding, I don't want to spend my time doing this.So I agree with that.Exactly. Maybe tell our listeners a little bit about the plugin. I think we mentioned it, and I don't know that I'd ever directly ask, Hey, tell everybody what the plugin does. I know that Figma's footprint in the design world is just massive. I doubt anybody listening is not at least adjacently working with Figma in some way, and it's a great product. Maybe describe how the plugin works and what it does?


Of course. Yeah. So the Mucho AI plugin, it's really simple. It's just a little text input where you just ask it something and then it will output something. So it's very similar to other creative tools out there in that aspect. But right now, we started with one simple goal in the beginning, where it was, Hey, let's just do landing pages. It's not very original, but it was also intentionally not original because there's so much information about landing pages, so we can easily train a model or a little robot to do landing pages. That way we learn and we get something out there. We put something together that just created really nice landing pages, and it did everything with all the out-to-layout, the stuff that as a professional designer, you would expect from a landing page where it's responsive, you can make it smaller, you can make it bigger. It does all of that and it does it with really nice images. It follows your prompt. It's very accurate with what you do. Also, it creates images, sorry, and the copy. It's great at that. Now we're working on expanding on that initial idea. It's just like it's very limited to just do landing pages.


So it was like, okay, we learned that. Now, can we do it all? So now we're working on that. But I would say that it's It's something that happened that is really cool. Once we asked ourselves like, oh, okay, now it made landing pages. Can it do it all? It's going to be easy, right? And I suppose there was some Donning Kruger effect in beginning, but still going where you think that... Just knowing just this little, you think that you know it all, and you feel very confident about what you're doing. I don't know if you ever heard about the Dunning-Kroger effect, where the least you know, the more confident you feel. But also there's this thing called Mount Stupid, where there's even a graphic about the Donnie Kruger effect. The more confident, but the less you know, it's also called the peak of Mount Stupid. We were at the peak of Mount Steeple where we decided, Okay, let's do it all. We could do it. Then we started, Okay, let's try doing this, and let's try do social media, and they started doing graphic design. And then we realized, Oh, okay, this thing is actually harder than we thought.


But it's been a really nice challenge to have, just understanding how... I like to call them little robots, but it's just like large language models and it's machine learning and all these things that are behind. But I imagine them as little robots. And now we're teaching little robots to do very different things because We really realized that if you just give the role of the designer to one single robot, then it's slow, it costs a lot, and it's not very accurate. It would just at some point, it would just break down. So we decided to start doing little assistants that are really specialized in different skills, which is weird because then we realized, Oh, we're creating a design team here. In the back, there's actually an agency or a design team with different robots. There's the illustrator, there's the one that is really good with typography and it's really good at doing font combinations. There's another one that is just really good at color, and the one that is the copywriter. Then you as the client, let's see, or we call the designer, in this case, we call them the user, we call them the creative director.


The creative director is interfacing with one manager, let's call them the project manager on the other side. And then this project manager is like, Okay, you need this. Okay, cool. Don't worry. And then goes to the back and then it's like, Hey, I need an illustrator. I need a photographer. Hey, I need a copywriter for this little thing that Andy and Nathan needs. And then it goes and does those things, and they create a team for a specific task. And I don't know, that has unlocked a lot of the different things that we can do with it, because now, instead of trying to teach it all, we just go in different, very specific a task for it to do. And now it's doing social media stuff, and now we're teaching it to do any UI, which is good, but at the same time, sometimes it doesn't understand. So I don't know, it's just It's really cool. But that's on the experimental mode. We call it experimental mode because it can really do anything. But we have been training it for three months, this model, for it to do anything. But to be honest, we haven't released it, and we still call it beta, alpha, because what it does is still not at that level that we wanted to.


But it just gets a little bit better and better.


It's super fascinating. It's like an organizing principle. I love the idea of the robots having little areas of expertise. That makes a ton of sense. But I really think the landing page concept scaled is also super interesting. Imagine at your fingertips being able to have this skillset of how to design something really important to you, like a landing page, which, again, you're right, is maybe a great example of a Dunning-Kroger effect. It first up, how hard can it be to design a landing page? They're all over the Internet. But then you get down to optimizing your landing page is such a needle mover for a business. One % conversion could be the difference between your business making it or not. It's really interesting to think about specialization in that world as well. I think we always think of large language models as this amazing generalist, but specialization is really fascinating as well. That's definitely something people that are listening should go check out. It's a really cool area. I do want to shift gears because I also think you have an amazing background, and a lot of our listeners ask us about the people that are on the show are interesting.


How did they get to that point? While we try to get the knowledge, I also want to dive in a little bit to what advice you'd give to people. If our listeners are a staff designer or early in their career and they're thinking about following an entrepreneurial path like yours, which I think is just fascinating, and it is exciting to see you talk about the stuff that you all are building, what advice would you give to them about heading down the entrepreneurial path?


Oh, man. Thank you for asking that question because I'm on the other side, and well, I'm still going through this, I like to call it roller coaster. You think that you're at the end of the roller coaster, and then you realize there's another peak and there's another freefall waiting for you. But I would say that it's embrace that roller coaster because it's an roller coaster and really prepare your sofa that emotional journey because there's going to be a lot of tests. Those tests come from very unexpected places. Sometimes they come from your family and your friends and from the people close to you. It comes from a place of love and it comes from a place of worry where it's like, Hey, you're going through that thing that It feels like it's just draining you. For them, on their side, it looks like it's maybe just taking all of your time. You're not seeing your family or friends as much as you did before, before you went into that route. So for them, it's like, what is the change? What is the shift? And they worry for you. But it's also maybe they're also afraid of that change, and they're not ready for that.


And you have to make a decision and say, Hey, I know this is tough for you, too, but I have to go do this. And it's a very lonely road, too, where you don't know who to talk. Once you're in there, you don't know who to talk to about these things because you realize that not a lot of people go into this route. You have to, I suppose, create a support system, just like, A, surround yourself with other like-minded individuals that have gone through this, maybe get an advisor or other founders. I also advise not going just by yourself, get a co founder, because if you just go by yourself, it's going to be really tough. And if you get a co founder, then you can share all the responsibility, of course, and all the work and all that stuff, but also, again, all the emotional stress and having someone with whom you can talk about the ideas, but also talk about the things that go wrong is good. I can go on, but one thing is also building this resilience that goes to the first point, rejection. I don't know, at least if you're going to be raising money, if it's not bootstrapped, and if you're going to be for VC capital or something, you're going to get a lot of nos.


Most people are going to say no to you, and it's going to feel very personal. It's going to feel like crap because it's your idea. Because this idea, they're saying no, then they're saying no to me, and your self-worth goes down. But But that's just in the beginning, and I would just recommend seeing each no as a step closer to the yes. To that first yes. Usually, you just need one person to believe in you. I have a conspiracy theory, and I think all VCs and all angel investors have a WhatsApp group, and they talk between each other. You just need one yes from one of those people, and then everybody else is going to get FOMO, and then everybody is going to jump in, and then maybe you're going to get oversubscribed.


It's also to your point, it is one of these processes where you do just need one yes. Once the funding goes into your bank account, it doesn't really matter how many people said no. It's not like a vote. You don't have to get a majority of VCs to say yes. I used to joke when I worked at Oracle, I would sometimes submit stuff multiple times into the process that I needed to run through because it didn't matter how many times somebody in the back office said no. I just needed one yes. So I would just keep going. I think that's the right approach. I really like your point, too, about having cofounders. I think one of the things I've heard a lot of folks tell me who go through the entrepreneurial journey is there's a advice bias as well. Everybody wants to go find a highly successful founder to give them advice. Part of the challenge in doing that is, to your point, the math is that most of these don't make it. So going with selection bias to somebody who maybe didn't run into the same challenges you might hit and having them not be able to relate to that isn't very helpful either.


You need some people either who are currently in that stage or have been through the rough spots to really help go, Yeah, we got to the other side of that. I think that's really solid advice. I want to maybe last thing I'll ask, which is an important one. I also get asked by people who listen to our show, How do I follow up? How do I follow these folks? How do I learn more about what they're doing? You have a ton of great things going on so many amazing initiatives. I'm sure people want to learn and follow you, but also you have your Mucho AI, you have Bueno, Blush, a whole bunch of creative initiatives that you're part of. What do our listeners do if they want to engage and follow you or connect to some of your projects?


Well, I would encourage everyone to go and try and test Mucho AI. We're in the early stages of it and really we're learning. We need all that feedback right now on this tool that we're building. That will be really helpful for us. Going to Mucho AI, and I think it's on Twitter.


User feedback is something we're big on in this podcast. So two big thumbs up for me on the idea of how people try it and give you feedback.


Yeah, it's Mucho AI on Twitter. If you follow us there, and I think it's also on LinkedIn, we just do weekly updates and we do weekly user tests, and that has helped us a lot. And more on that, going back to the Dunning-Kroger effect, too. Well, it was really once we started testing it with users, it was like, Oh, of course they need that. Of course, they will be looking at a text input, and they will just ask for a million things. It's weird because when you're... Obviously, you're working on something, you're building in this little island with your thoughts and all your biases. You think that everyone is going to need the perfect little, very niche product that you created, and then you put in the hands of users. They're like, No, you're doing it wrong. Don't ask it that. Don't ask the robot to do that. It's like, Oh, okay, well, we need to work on that.


We get a lot of... We never thought somebody would ask it to do that. We never imagined it. It's It's fascinating what people do when you hand them stuff for sure.


Yeah, it's user testing for sure is something that has helped us a lot. So highly recommend it. And just. And well, myself, I'm a spammer. So I don't know if people want to follow me, but I'm Pablo Stanley, and I'm a spammer. I just keep updating people on all the crap that we find.


You have amazing content. I think you're being gracious of that. So I would definitely recommend people follow your content.


Thank you. Thank you, Andy.


This was great. I know you're busy and you have a lot going on, so I really appreciate you spending some time with us. Thank you for joining us, sharing your knowledge, talking about AI and the things you have going on and your experience as an entrepreneur. I really appreciate. I know our audience will get a lot out of it.


Thank you. Andy, Nathan, thank you for the opportunity for talking about this thing that I don't get to talk a lot, the behind the scenes.


Well, it was great.


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