Chris Abad

Chris Abad

Principal Design Architect at Salesforce

San Francisco Bay Area

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Chris Abad's Overview


500+ connections


Chris Abad's Summary

I'm a designer, developer, and serial Internet entrepreneur. I have a driving passion for creating beautiful, innovative products that customers love. I build high-performing, autonomous teams that excel at applying user-centered and evidence-driven techniques to user experience design, product management, user growth, and software engineering.

I have experience working with very small startups, as well as large enterprises. These diverse experiences give me the ability to form both a strategy, as well as a set of tactics, that are uniquely appropriate for almost any situation.

I insist on working with exceptionally talented, passionate individuals in environments where people are valued, respected, and trusted. I look to foster a strong team culture, and a consistent focus on personal growth, giving the people I lead the opportunity to do the best work of their careers.

I look to have the most profound impact, at the largest possible scale, through my own actions as well as the actions of the people I influence.

Chris Abad's Experience

Principal Design Architect, Inc.

Public Company; 10,001+ employees; CRM; Internet industry

January 2014Present (9 months) San Francisco, CA

I lead small teams of forward-thinking designers, prototypers, and user researchers. We experiment with an enterprise-scale product design process that elegantly combines design thinking with a scientific method. We run rapid, iterative experiments and evolve product experiences based on qualitative and quantitative evidence directly from our customers.

We point ourselves at problems that are high-risk with many unknowns. Through rigorous testing, our job is to discover product solutions that are not just beautiful, but also desirable by our customers, feasible to build, and valuable to our corporate strategy.

VP Product & User Experience,, Inc.

Public Company; 10,001+ employees; CRM; Internet industry

September 2011January 2014 (2 years 5 months) San Francisco, CA

After the acquisition of Assistly be Salesforce, the product was re-branded as but much of the product and operational structure remained intact. With, I was responsible for scaling out a strong group of product and UX leaders, setting the product strategy, and crafting a lean process that allowed us to quickly discover the right products to build for our customers while minimizing risk and uncertainty.

During this time, my team more than tripled in size while our customer based exploded well beyond 10x. I established well-defined roles and processes for both product management and UX, and fostered an environment where both roles worked in close collaboration with each other to create valuable and beautiful products. This was made possible by teaching best practices which valued design thinking, experimentation, evidence-led decision making, and direct customer interaction above everything else. The output of my team resulted in measurable improvement to customer acquisition, engagement, conversion, and overall satisfaction. The products were recognized as innovative by our customers, our colleagues, and our peers.

I recruited key talent and formed the front-end engineering group as a separate and distinct practice outside of the general engineering organization. This ultimately led to higher quality code, and a much closer collaboration with the UX group, which in turn led to a dramatic improvement in the quality of the product's user experience. While leading this group, we set forth a technology strategy that led to a significant reinvention of our entire product suite.

I was also a driving force behind the adoption of Agile software development methodologies. This helped to increase the speed and consistency of our engineering practices without losing the agility inherent in our startup roots.

VP Product & User Experience

Assistly, Inc.

Public Company; 51-200 employees; Internet industry

February 2011September 2011 (8 months) San Francisco, CA

I joined Assistly in its early stages, when there were only 20 people in the company. I was responsible for building out the initial systems and practices around product management and UX design roles. I owned the product roadmap and worked closely with both designers and engineers to ship key initiatives including the integration of a freemium pricing model, gamification, and virtual currency concepts into our pricing strategy and onboarding process. The introduction of these elements were unique for our industry at the time and not only drove exposure, but explosive user growth leading up to an acquisition by Salesforce.

I brought a user-centric perspective to the product culture where high quality user experiences were valued, and techniques commonly found in outside industries such as consumer Internet, social networking, and social gaming, were skillfully applied.

Studio Director

Meta+Level Games

Public Company; 1-10 employees; Computer Games industry

April 2010February 2011 (11 months) San Francisco, CA

Meta+Level Games was a News Corp. company dedicated to developing fun, engaging and unique online social games. We were a small team with a passion for the web, technology, gaming and most importantly: fun.

CEO & Founder

iList, Inc.

May 2008April 2010 (2 years) San Francisco, CA

iList, Inc. was originally founded as a social online classifieds company. Under this original vision I was able to secure seed funding from angel investors, and later a Series A from Draper Fisher Jurvetson in August of 2008 for $1.5M, to execute on the idea. I drove the launch of a full, social-integrated classifieds site, as well as an innovative Twitter-specific marketplace. Among other things, iList was an early pioneer in the application of game mechanics outside of a game context as a means of influencing behavior and increasing user engagement. This strategy is now referred to as gamification.

I later recognized a growing opportunity in the social gaming space, and made a decision to repurpose our technology and resources towards that industry. Shortly thereafter, I successfully negotiated a six-figure, non-exclusive licensing deal with Tribune Corporation for our online classifieds platform. I then led the execution and launch of Spymaster, best known as the first and largest social game on Twitter.

I was responsible for the overall corporate strategy, product innovation and execution, and daily operations of the company as we continued our focus on the social gaming space. I also maintained a hands-on approach with all our products as our lead front-end engineer.

With both iList and Spymaster, our team explored unorthodox tactics for driving growth. We tapped into Craigslist's large community to fuel early customer acquisition for our online classifieds product. We were among the first to exploit Twitter's trending topics, direct message, and mentioning systems to create a fast growing, highly engaging social game. Today, these sort of tactics are known as growth hacking, and represent a modern replacement to traditional marketing.
iList, Inc. was acquired by News Corporation in April 2010.

Public Company; 1-10 employees; Internet industry

2004May 2008 (4 years) San Diego, CA

Integral Impressions was an interactive advertising firm, specializing in social media integrations through web applications and creative campaigns. We provided creative and development services to small and medium-sized advertising agencies. I was responsible for corporate strategy and direction, partner relations, finances, and general daily operations of the company. This included both executing and overseeing creative quality and technical innovation. During my time there, I was responsible for scaling the team to 10+ people, maintaining profitability, and driving the direction of the company away from consulting services, towards a subscription-based software model. I led the strategy, execution, and growth of several business-oriented web applications, three of which were later sold to other companies.

Client Development Specialist


Privately Held; 51-200 employees; Internet industry

20012005 (4 years) San Diego, CA

Z57, Inc. is San Diego’s largest, and fastest growing web development and Internet marketing services company. I was a high-performing leader on the inside sales team. I later took a position as a Client Development Specialist, which involved R&D of new products and services for the customer service department. This included the successful planning, launch, and ongoing management of several products and services which resulted in more than $1M in annual sales for the company.

Chris Abad's Courses

  • Principal Design Architect, Inc.

    • Duarte Visual Storytelling

Chris Abad's Volunteer Experience & Causes

  • Volunteer Experience

    • Design Sprint Facilitator Foundation
      May 2014 May 2014 (1 month)
  • Volunteer Interests

    • Causes I care about:

      • Animal Welfare
      • Children
      • Education
      • Health
      • Science and Technology

Chris Abad's Skills & Expertise

  1. User Interface Design
  2. User Experience
  3. Product Management
  4. Start-ups
  5. Social Media
  6. Creative Direction
  7. Growth Hacking
  8. Gamification
  9. JavaScript
  10. Web Development
  11. Information Architecture
  12. Web Design
  13. Mobile Applications
  14. Business Development
  15. Ruby on Rails
  16. Web Applications
  17. Leadership
  18. Mobile Devices
  19. User Interface
  20. User Experience Design
  21. Agile Methodologies
  22. E-commerce
  23. Usability
  24. Digital Strategy
  25. Game Development
  26. Management
  27. HTML 5
  28. Online Marketing
  29. Visual Design
  30. SaaS
  31. Social Games
  32. Digital Media
  33. Graphic Design
  34. Online Advertising
  35. Social Networking
  36. Interaction Design
  37. User-centered Design
  38. Rapid Prototyping
  39. Strategic Partnerships
  40. User Research
  41. Web Analytics
  42. Email Marketing
  43. Mobile Design
  44. jQuery
  45. Digital Marketing
  46. Consumer Internet
  47. Business Strategy
  48. CSS
  49. Google Analytics
  50. Team Leadership

View All (50) Skills View Fewer Skills

Chris Abad's Education

San Diego State University-California State University

BA, Art, Emphasis in Graphic Design


Graduated with honors

Activities and Societies: Alpha Psi Rho

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