An unlikely journey from basketball scholarship to Silicon Valley entrepreneur
Alfonso de la Nuez is the Co-founder & Chief Visionary Officer of UserZoom, a company pioneering Experience Insights Management (XIM) to help companies leverage experience insights into better digital user experiences and, ultimately, drive business growth. Born in Madrid, Alfonso owes his rise in Silicon Valley to his love of basketball.
Selected by the Real Madrid club for a minor league squad at age 15, Alfonso’s goal was to play professional basketball. Alfonso then took the opportunity to study in California—the home of his beloved Lakers and basketball hero, Magic Johnson.
This led to a pivotal moment in Alfonso’s life. After finding himself in the post-game Lakers locker room, Alfonso met his hero, Magic Johnson. Alfonso said that he played just like Magic, which tickled the Lakers legend, but he meant it. Alfonso was inspired by Magic’s ability to create assists and raise his teammates up to their potential. As Alfonso says, “Magic inspired me then, and he still inspires me now.”
Alfonso earned a basketball scholarship to San Jose State University in 1991, right in the heart of Silicon Valley as it was about to explode. In this setting, Alfonso discovered a new passion–ensuring that user-needs were at the heart of product development in the emerging digital world. Earning a degree in International Business Administration, Alfonso returned to Spain and struck out on a new path—the burgeoning commercialization of the world wide web, where his inspiration from Magic Johnson would continue in assisting users and elevating their experiences to full potential.
In 2007, Alfonso and his team developed a novel software called UserZoom, automating the time-consuming, difficult process of running, managing and scaling UX research. Appreciating that the market was not yet there in Europe, the UserZoom team turned their attention to America and found interest from eBay, Google Yahoo, PayPal, and IBM.
Over the next decade, the team continued adding more functionality and capabilities, eventually creating a unique multi-method UX research solution that included, crucially, a Remote Moderated service so that customers can conduct moderated and unmoderated studies all on the same platform.
And then in 2020, the pandemic hit… Every company in every industry was hit by the unprecedented challenge of a seismic consumer behaviour shift.
UserZoom were perfectly placed to support their customers who could no longer run in-person research, who saw a completely new audience enter their digital front-door, and who didn’t know how to keep up with the pace of change. UserZoom offered a multi-method remote solution for gathering actionable experience insights at every stage of the product development lifecycle, ensuring quick, confident decision-making, from anywhere in the world.
UserZoom’s ability to adapt, survive and drive innovation is thanks to Alfonso’s passion for user insight and its integral role in creating experiences people love. Today, UserZoom boasts 400 employees and $100 million in revenue. Alfonso is still passionate about UX, basketball, and of course Magic Johnson.