We have witnessed momentous and pivotal elevations and hires this year, but kumu’s Chief Product Officer Crystal Widjaja ultimately comes out as our Industry Leader of The Year

The homegrown and now leading live streaming platform in the Philippines unveiled ex-GoJek Widjaja as an addition to the team in June 2021. Widjaja is a fixture in business and tech, where in GoJek, she took on roles in business intelligence and growth. At kumu, Widjaja is charged to strengthen the platform’s overall product strategy and leverage her extensive experience in helping startups in growth, data, and strategy. 

The Filipino platform has earned supercharged traction over the course of the pandemic, becoming the go-to destination for creators and audiences; today, kumu fully realizes its leadership, becoming the partner of Pinoy Big Brother, one of the top reality TV shows in the country.

Here’s our exclusive conversation with Widjaja who shared with us her biggest challenge in the role, the new experiences they’re looking to build, and her forecast into content creation in 2022 – one she sees as authentic and ‘perfectly imperfect’ content making the biggest impact.

Stepping into the role of chief product officer, what has been the biggest challenge for you?

Like everyone else this year, working with a remote team in the middle of a global pandemic! Building and showing empathy to a team who has never seen you in person is challenging, but what’s more is that everyone is going through exceptional hardship. From a pure product standpoint, I think the challenge for newer businesses will be differentiating ‘pulled forward’ covid-era user behaviors from sustainable growth — and knowing which ones are opportunities vs dead ends.

What new products can we expect from the platform?

We’re excited to continue building exceptional consumer experiences as the best place for filipino-friendly creators, aspiring PBB housemates, artists, musicians, magicians, BPO communities… our ‘kumuverse’ is filled with so many creative groups. We plan on building stronger Trust & Safety tools to keep our safe, authentic community healthy as well as new features that help friendships grow. You never know who you’ll meet on kumu!

The platform has been recently hinting on its international expansion, how does this affect your current product development?

The Philippines has often been the testing ground for companies looking to go international. This time, kumu has the homegrown advantage – building in the Philippines for the Philippines gives us the upper hand. 

What do you think are the new trends and opportunities in the live streaming space as we approach 2022?

The past few years gave the world an opportunity to see how quick and talented a creative content creator could be with viral trends! I’m encouraged by the democratization of content creation in this semi-crowdsourced format. In the next year, however, I want to pay special attention to the content creators that embrace the ‘build in public’ ethos. 

I think there’s a lot less appeal in the overly-manicured, picture-perfect social media – much of it isn’t representative, authentic, nor relatable. And after what a horrible year we’ve all had, it’s rather disingenuous. The beauty of live streaming is seeing it happen for real – building in public – even if that means ‘failing’ in public. 

You might see this manifest in broken soldering attempts in a live mechanical keyboard build, an eyeliner that’s out of ink during a makeup tutorial, or a meringue that just won’t look like the recipe book (disclaimer: I’ve absolutely done all three of these in the last year). I look forward to embracing the perfectly imperfect in each and every individual creator out there.

This recognition is based on the results of Google Analytics on the most-read stories of 2021 with editorial validation on the significance of a leader’s contribution, campaigns results, and overall impact.