While at Yahoo!
He was instrumental in launching Yahoo's Search Assistant feature, a product that has since changed the way the connected world engages with search. He continued to help drive Design Research at Yahoo! until 2011, during which time his scope of responsibility grew to include multiple business units such as display and text advertising, Mail, Finance, Front Page, and Shopping. His responsibilities also included working and building method proficiency in Yahoo! Design teams across the globe.
Around that time, Prasad began to feel something missing. Supported and joined by his wife Eileen, they decided to move from the heart of Silicon Valley to rural India and see if they could help bring change.
In his first few months in rural Visakhapatnam, he struggled to find his role. Although he had succeeded in Silicon Valley, he felt he was failing. That changed one day when he went to the local school to use the computer. He was approached by two children who enquired if he could teach them how to use a computer too. Within a short time, he had over 160 students.
Learning to teach
Prasad, with no background in education, learned how to teach by partnering with Mr. Raju a phenomenal educator who had come up with his own methodology to teach computers to rural children.
Soon, Prasad partnered with Mr. Raju and started leveraging his design skills to drastically increase classroom performance and attendance. But a recurring problem he encountered was that the students, particularly girls, had difficulty in being able to afford to continue their education past a certain level.
Using design methods, he had the students conduct exercises to solve this problem. The students realized that the things they had learned about computers had created value. So they decided to go into the villages and teach what knew to raise money. By the time they were finished, they had taught over 1,600 people in rural communities across the district. In the process, the students helped themselves and earned the money for their education. They had learned to solve their own problems.
This was a profound moment for Prasad. He realized it wasn’t necessarily what you taught, but how you taught it. The key was to train people how to solve problems.
And design is about solving problems. Prasad decided to create his own design school and studio. One that would utilize the lessons he had learned in rural India to make the best problems solvers in the world. So he partnered with Satyam Kantamneni and founded UXReactor and UX Design Academy to do just that. And three years and many problems solved for clients later, that is what he continues to do.
When Prasad isn't busy training the next generation of problems solvers, or helping solve problems for our clients, he loves spending time with his wife Eileen and their awesome dog Panchi. They enjoy traveling and Panchi especially enjoys eating any leftovers they bring home.