Interview with Jasper Aguila

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The Sandman

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The Sandman submitted a new Article:

Interview with Jasper Aguila

Jasper Aguila is a former vBulletin employee who has recently moved on from that position into the social media arena. He is also a recent addition to the TAZ staff.

Our thanks to Jasper for taking the time to participate in this interview and give us the chance to get to know him a little better. :)


=============================================


Note from Jasper: Before I begin this interview, please note that these are my own personal opinions and does not in any way affiliate/reflect with any other individual opinions.


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I'm a 22 year old "social media" computer geek. Born in the Philippines, but raised in the US. I currently live in the best place in the world: Los Angeles, California. Ever since I was a young lad, I've always taken a liking to the internet. I was always getting yelled at by my parents about being on the computer for too long - let's just say they are now proud parents. :)


What is your educational background?

Spent 2 years in Cal State Fullerton going for a computer science/business/marketing degree, but I've currently placed it on hold to focus on new opportunities - there are just too many to pass up. The tech-industry is booming right now and I just want to get into the craze!

Additionally, I felt school is not providing the "education" I actually need to utilize in the real world. I learned more during my first 3 months at vBulletin, than I ever did in 2 years at college. Depending on the field, you should only go to college for learning something new -not to get a degree. Use the other time to actually gain the experience.


What was your job when you were with vBulletin?

I was in charge of expanding vBulletin’s affiliate marketing program through commission junction, helping to build out communication to customers through e-mail, vbulletin.com and other means, assisting in developing video walkthroughs on the product, managing social media presence, and providing general assistance with marketing and communications efforts.


What were the high and low points of that job?

The Highs:
  • The useful experience/knowledge I obtained.
  • My friendly co-workers.
The Lows:
  • Most, if not all development decisions go to upper management (CEO, CMO) - who have no experience with vBulletin.
  • The licensed customer feedback forum is very demeaning to read for a support staff.
  • Support staff...
Read more about this article here...
 
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Shanj

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Very much agree with Jasper's outlook - most formal education is crap especially in terms of the net and its needs. I have my son doing an OU degree but mostly because it means credibility with our clients.

As for Jasper's take on VB I totally agree - but this is only what goes down in almost all companies of any size. Self employment or die say !.
I think Jasper is a little too kind about VB - I just visited his PersonalityCafe and while the conceptualisation of the forums is grand (Jasper's customisation) the VB feels so clunky after operating in XF lately. VB has had it only it takes a while for full collapse to complete. (Mind you I do think XF could be a bit more concise, less splashed out on the page.)

Love Jasper's advice to admins. Spot on. Keep dirty laundry private - but keep consulting with clients too on what they think.
Agree niche is central - money has to be secondary but paradoxically if treated as second it will act well - patience builds success and snippy competitiveness is a waste of time (though check out the plus and minus of rivals to focus ideas).

Checked out Social Engine. Nah. Can't see the advantage over a good forum with plenty of add-ons. But then I'm used to the sleekness and liveliness of XF.
It'll appeal to a certain kind of admin I can see that. Kind of point and click - but that will tend to deceive a new admin into thinking that building a community is just point n click too :( If you spend 3 months or more patiently designing your forum and its add-ons, thinking through thoroughly on the detail, you'll be in the right frame of mind to nurture your people as they arrive.

Merry meet Jasper.
 
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Akela

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I just browsed through a SocialEngine demo. It must be refreshing to represent software like this after vB. :)
 

Joshuad

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Wow, I never imagined Jasper to be so much younger than I, as he is a name I remember through my time as a vB customer. I'm also happy to see he's decided to become a part of TAZ's staff, people with that kind of experience in the community is always welcomed to me.

I just have one question, however, that I didn't really see from the interview. How did you manage to net these high profile (albeit low paying) jobs such as Jelsoft / IB without a degree? You aren't quite old enough to have THAT much experience, perhaps I should have a closer look at your portfolio, that MUST be the deciding factor :p

Either way, it's somewhat inspiring. Good luck with SocialEngine, hope all goes well.
 

LeadCrow

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Was he sought after by SocialEngine or he went with them on his own, whether before or after leaving?
It's not uncommon to either research for new jobs before leaving current ones, or poach employees from each others.
 

JasperAguila

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Oct 14, 2010
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Very candid interview, best of luck with your new endeavors Jasper
Thanks phoenix!

Very much agree with Jasper's outlook - most formal education is crap especially in terms of the net and its needs. I have my son doing an OU degree but mostly because it means credibility with our clients.

As for Jasper's take on VB I totally agree - but this is only what goes down in almost all companies of any size. Self employment or die say !.
I think Jasper is a little too kind about VB - I just visited his PersonalityCafe and while the conceptualisation of the forums is grand (Jasper's customisation) the VB feels so clunky after operating in XF lately. VB has had it only it takes a while for full collapse to complete. (Mind you I do think XF could be a bit more concise, less splashed out on the page.)

Love Jasper's advice to admins. Spot on. Keep dirty laundry private - but keep consulting with clients too on what they think.
Agree niche is central - money has to be secondary but paradoxically if treated as second it will act well - patience builds success and snippy competitiveness is a waste of time (though check out the plus and minus of rivals to focus ideas).

Checked out Social Engine. Nah. Can't see the advantage over a good forum with plenty of add-ons. But then I'm used to the sleekness and liveliness of XF.
It'll appeal to a certain kind of admin I can see that. Kind of point and click - but that will tend to deceive a new admin into thinking that building a community is just point n click too :( If you spend 3 months or more patiently designing your forum and its add-ons, thinking through thoroughly on the detail, you'll be in the right frame of mind to nurture your people as they arrive.

Merry meet Jasper.
Thanks for your wonderful input.

PersonalityCafe does feel a little clunky. It takes a while for 1st time forum users to get used to. I'm looking to make the UI much cleaner for future upgrades.

At SocialEngine, our main goal is to basically provide a software that can be customized to YOUR needs without the burden of difficult upgrades. Our software does have a forum plugin. I will personally work with the engineers in developing a more dynamic feature set for it. Stay tuned! :)

I just browsed through a SocialEngine demo. It must be refreshing to represent software like this after vB. :)
It definitely is.

  • Founders/Bosses are awesome and have a great eye in design both for the front and backend of the software.
  • For fun and free time the engineers like to talk about developing.
  • Some developers are Space Engineers.
  • Everyone is nice.
  • Lots of collaboration.
  • Gets things done.
  • and etc.
I've definitely landed the perfect dream job. :)

Wow, I never imagined Jasper to be so much younger than I, as he is a name I remember through my time as a vB customer. I'm also happy to see he's decided to become a part of TAZ's staff, people with that kind of experience in the community is always welcomed to me.

I just have one question, however, that I didn't really see from the interview. How did you manage to net these high profile (albeit low paying) jobs such as Jelsoft / IB without a degree? You aren't quite old enough to have THAT much experience, perhaps I should have a closer look at your portfolio, that MUST be the deciding factor :p

Either way, it's somewhat inspiring. Good luck with SocialEngine, hope all goes well.
Thanks for your well wishes Joshuad.

Like many in the support team, I was a customer of vBulletin before they hired me - so I knew more about the product than those interviewing me.

The best tips I can provide (in order) regarding getting any job is to:
  1. be prepared
  2. show your enthusiasm
  3. show how you will "execute" your job
  4. have a "Now" plan rather than a "6 months" plan.
  5. ALWAYS bring a visual portfolio during the application/interview process.

Was he sought after by SocialEngine or he went with them on his own, whether before or after leaving?
It's not uncommon to either research for new jobs before leaving current ones, or poach employees from each others.
As I mentioned in the interview, vBulletin was just a job. There was really nothing there to incentivize me to stay. Like many of my former colleagues, I was ready to jump ship.

I've known about SocialEngine for quite a while now. They have a small team and a very awesome working environment. ( When they had an opening for "Community Manager," I immediately jumped at the chance. Due to our passion for community management, the CEO and I instantly clicked during the interview. I was basically hired on the spot.
 

Shanj

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PersonalityCafe does feel a little clunky. It takes a while for 1st time forum users to get used to. I'm looking to make the UI much cleaner for future upgrades.
Sorry I should have been more precise. I like the content and the obvious way you've customised and added in all kinds of cool features. Very powerful.
Just the underlying core forum doesn't zing like I'm used to. 'Like' beats 'Thank' ... my avatar waiting at the bottom all ready for me tojump in ... stuff like that.
But your part of it is great.
 

Adam H

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Jun 22, 2008
Messages
2,046
Great Interview Jasper and congrats on the New position at Social Engine, Ive yet to reach into the the full social networking niche but no doubt ill think of something to use it for in the future.

Good to see some comments about the inner workings of vbulletin too from someone that does see what had gone on over there.
 

steve10

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Aug 13, 2011
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Very nice interview, out of interest what are your thoughts on facebook overall and Xenforo as a competitor to vBulletin?
 

SocialManUK

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Nov 18, 2011
Messages
62
Lovely read/interview I must say, I'm sure your passion is what drives you and will no doubt take you even further in life! Nice to see you are on the team at this amazing place called TAZ which I have only just recently just discovered much to my dismay (joke! very time consuming in my reading here... LOL) I must say.

;)
 
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