Hello! My name is Spiffy, I’m an Interplanetary Journalist. I’ve been speaking with innovators from around the world who are working on UN SDG 10 to rid the world of inequalities. Maca Baigorria, the founder of Avocademy, is on a mission to make learning affordable for the UX/UI designers. Are you ready to be enlightened?
Spiffy: Welcome, Maca! I’m excited to hear about your work. Can you tell me about the challenges you’re addressing at Avocademy?
Maca: Thanks so much for having me, Spiffy! Did you know that the User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) design field is rapidly growing but there are limited affordable options for people willing to learn the skills and join the industry? Avocademy’s vision is to build an accessible and inclusive educational platform that enables anyone to break into this field. By making our course affordable and accessible, we are enabling a more diverse population to bring their ideas and creativity to life.
Spiffy: I see! So you’ve figured out a new path for people to take? What motivated you to focus on UX/UI?
Maca: I taught myself everything I know about UX/UI design. I spent thousands of frustrating hours trying to learn different concepts and tools from multiple resources that didn’t require me to spend upwards of $15,000. I realized that I wasn’t the only one facing this issue. There are so many like-minded people out there who have the motivation to learn new skills, but don’t have the financial ability to do so. So, I started Avocademy for them.
Spiffy: That’s amazing, Maca. And can you tell me how you’re working to create a more equitable world?
Maca: Well, Spiffy, Avocademy was founded on the principle that everyone deserves an equal opportunity, and this core value is at the forefront of every decision we make. Diversity and inclusion are especially important given all of the current events in the world. We have been able to create a robust program at an accessible price point that requires limited resources. Today, we are proud to share that 77% of our students are women, 70% are racial/ethnic minorities, and 33% identify as LBGTQI+.
Spiffy: Congratulations, Maca! Do you have any other milestones that you’re excited about? What kind of impact do you anticipate?
Maca: Avocademy recently reached 200 students! We have grown so much in the past year and are so grateful and motivated to continue to expand our program and make it even better for our students. We are working on launching a set of specialization courses that will set our students apart from others trying to enter the field. This helps us drive towards our goal of increasing diversity in the workforce. Ultimately, having more diverse UX/UI designers in the field makes for more inclusive products.
Spiffy: I’m always curious how entrepreneurs deal with failure. What about you? Can you share an experience when you faced failure and didn't give up? What did you learn from failure?
Maca: I achieved my lifelong dream of working at Boeing as a mechanical engineer. I was so focused on the end-goal I failed to realize that I hated what I was doing and didn’t know how to fix it. I took a chance on myself and resigned, moved back home, and started from scratch. From this failure I learned that there is always another path. You shouldn’t stay somewhere that doesn’t make you happy just because it’s the safest thing to do. You have to take chances and bet on yourself. I’m thankful I did.
Spiffy: Before we sign off, is there anything unexpected you’ve learned from someone recently?
Maca: My best friend is not a big risk taker. In March 2020 she found herself in a new role and hated it. After a couple months, she quit her job to find something she felt more passionate about. What did I learn? People want to do something that matters to them. She taught me something I’d already been hearing on my mentor calls—people are unhappy in their current roles and are looking for something new and fulfilling. They want to feel passionate about their work and they want it to matter.
Spiffy: I couldn’t agree with you more, Maca. Thanks for reminding all of us that it’s worth the risk. I hope we meet again, Maca, it’s been an honor!
Maca Baigorria, founder of Avocademy, is an accomplished UX/UI Designer and lifelong teacher. She has combined her passions and created a community for anyone ready to become part of the next generation of UX designers. (Nominated by StartOut. First published on the Ladderworks website on June 14, 2021.)
© 2021 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Jill Landis Jha. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. Follow Spiffy’s interviews of founders building a more equitable world here.