Rafael Bucker is the Director of Product Design at ALICE, based in Itaocara, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rafael has worked at ALICE for the past five years and has helped grow and lead our Product Design team.
ALICE’s People Team sat down with Rafael to chat with him about what it’s like working with the Product team at ALICE.
What is your role here at ALICE, and what does it entail?
I am the Director of Product Design at ALICE. I oversee the work of a mighty team of Product Designers, and we all work constantly to improve the product, and how we work together as a team. Our main goal is to make sure ALICE is intuitive and easy to use.
What makes ALICE stand out from other companies?
I think it’s the culture. At ALICE, we take work culture seriously, and we make sure the team embodies our cultural values. One good example is our first value: "Be Hospitable." one of the ways ALICE infuses it into the organization is by hiring almost our entire Customer Success team directly from the hospitality sector. It's so great to collaborate with people that know how to welcome others and you can't help but get better at it by osmosis. Creating a strong culture requires bold moves like that. I could mention a lot of examples but, in sum, ALICE walks the walk.
What were you doing before joining the ALICE team?
I was running my design studio in Brazil and ALICE was my last client. After a couple of successful gigs, they offered me a full-time position, and I joined the team.
What is your favorite project that you’ve worked on here at ALICE?
Building our Housekeeping product from scratch has a special place in my heart. We researched very deeply and got to learn from about one hundred users across three continents. I've developed a deep appreciation for all of our ALICE users and customers, especially housekeeping room attendants. They come from diverse backgrounds, with varied technical skills and primary languages. Because of this research, we created a product that relies on well-conceived icons, thoughtful color-coding, big buttons, and very few written words. Because of our design on this product, ALICE’s Product Design team won the prestigious Interaction Design Award (twice!) in 2020.
What is your most important personal attribute that you bring to your job?
I believe I’m good at dealing with complexity. We built a platform of five different products that are highly interconnected and each one can be customized. We also support almost all hospitality roles, therefore we have vastly different personas that we design for. Being able to navigate complexity is crucial at ALICE.
What are your favorite hobbies/activities outside of work?
Well, I’m odd, we recently moved to my hometown which is located in a rural area here in Brazil. We have a huge backyard with a chicken coop and a lot of trees. I have been harvesting blackberries, Brazillian grapefruit, guava, and bananas. The kids love it! I now have over a hundred banana trees. Banana trees are very particular; recently I ran a fun presentation to the company on how to harvest them and it was quite funny, strangely enough, people at ALICE were very interested in this topic!
If you could go anywhere in the world post-COVID where is the first place you would go?
I had a plan to visit one of our clients, a stunning hotel here in Brazil called Hotel das Cataratas that is close to the world's most beautiful waterfall, in my opinion. Pre-pandemic, my wife and I were planning on going there without the kids, so I think that will be our first trip.
What is a cause that you feel passionately about?
To be honest, I'm not super political these days, it became too overwhelming to me. But what I can say is that I do have an urge to make everything that I don’t think is functioning properly, work better. I try to improve everything that I touch, it goes from my refrigerator at home to cross-functional processes at ALICE.
What is the last show that you binge-watched?
I'm not big on TV shows, but I’m an avid reader of fiction. These days, I’ve been reading a number of Russian novels; one that impacted me a lot was Anna Karenina, in which one of the characters goes back to his rural origins and I was inspired to make a similar move in life. I’m now reading another one called Life and Fate by a Russian journalist, Vasily Grossman, and his take on the Second World War from the perspective of the Soviets is incredible. One particular thing in my reading is that the longer the book the better For me, it’s not about checking off a long list of books but letting the story take your eyes through different perspectives for enough time to transform you.