10 Questions with Rohan Walsh, Head of Design

BY Kenneth Chew 3 Dec, "14


From Suresh to Gherry, you've got to know Geckos from every department and team to date, bar one. But look, the beacons of Minas Tirith! The beacons are lit! Gondor calls for aid! And Rohan will answer.

It's time to meet TradeGecko's resident creative guru, Rohan Walsh - who leads our growing Design department.

Sorry for the (inevitable) Lord of the Rings references. So here's your chance, tell us - who is the real Rohan?

Er, It’s not the first time.

Usually I either get “Ro Ro Ro yer boat”, or some variation of “The Riders of Rohan”. The Lord of the Rings reference is winning comfortably thanks to Peter Jackson. Big fan myself, so it’s all good.

About me... I’m a Designer. Although I’m originally South African, I have a lot of family in Europe, and spent nearly 10 years living in London prior to making the move to Singapore.

Outside of work I’m a try-hard photographer, traveler, and husband.

So how did a Zimbabwean-born, SA-raised, British designer land up in a tech startup halfway across the world in sunny Singapore?

Whilst in London I met my lovely wife, who is Australian. We wanted to find a more central spot to settle down, and as it happens Singapore is almost equidistant between London, South Africa, and the east coast of Australia.

My wife was offered an internal transfer by her company, and two months later we’d packed up our house and swapped an English winter for monsoon season in South East Asia.

As to how I ended up with TradeGecko: During my last seven years in London I ran a small digital agency, where we built a bespoke CMS and e-Commerce platform. Our clients required a robust Inventory Management solution, and so naturally we integrated our platform with TradeGecko’s.

After discovering that TradeGecko was based in Singapore, I popped in to meet Cameron and the team. I guess things went well, because I would eventually end up joining the company.

What is your definition of ‘design’?

user interface - joke

To me, ‘design’ is all about championing the user.

To be able to identify with their pain points, and to solve problems before they even know they have them - that's all part and parcel of design.

There’s an excellent saying by Aza Raskin: “To the user, the interface is the product”.

And for a platform like TradeGecko which is used on a daily basis by a lot of people, that resonates deeply.

If you had to describe your life in 20 words or less, what would you say?

MOVIE TRAILER VOICE: Young man, thrust into the hard African wild, finds and tames a stray laptop, only to become the world’s greatest Designer.

If you could go back in time and change history, what would you change and why?

It would be to eradicate Comic Sans, and it’s inventor.

Or maybe, design Helvetica and bask in my everlasting glory.

macgyverWho would win in a fight between MacGyver and Chuck Norris?

MacGyver. All day.

Have you seen what the man can do with a pen knife?

He’s a bit like Batman: coming out in front is his superpower.

Would you accept a $100k/week job offer where you get paid to sit in a pitch black room, and do nothing for eight hours a day?

No. I’m terrible at doing nothing for anything longer than 20 seconds.

My thought process is too… erratic.

I typically ramble on far too much to be able to sit alone by myself, and meditate for eight hours a day in a dark room.

No amount of money is worth that.

How would you spend the perfect rainy day?

Some combination of books, movies, and cats on Reddit.

Is the glass half-full, or half-empty?

Always half-empty, every single time.

I guess that's the problem with being a details guy, that sometimes it's very easy to get bogged down in the microcosm, completely ignoring the big picture.


What are you watching right now?

Parks & Recreation. I missed out when it was first released, so I’m just jumping on that bandwagon now. Season 2 is hilarious, and worth getting through the first season for. With Chris Pratt becoming the next big thing, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before the show is elevated to cult status.

pop_cultureWhat are you listening to right now?

This second? "My Mayhem" by Mid Ayr. Also Manchester Orchestra (just been to a gig), and Tenacious D (about to go to a gig).

What are you reading right now?

I’m really enjoying “The Girl who Saved the King of Sweden”. It’s Swedish author Jonas Jonasson’s follow-up by to his best-selling debut “The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared”, which was stellar. Huge props to anyone who can combine that much dry humour with actual real-world history.

A die-hard Comic Sans fan? Have a Chuck Norris fun fact (or 1,000) for Rohan? Pick his brains, and drop him a note at

See also:

10 questions with Clara Lu, Content Marketeer

10 Questions with Jed Cipriano, General Manager (Philippines)

10 questions with Meghna Chand, Global Account Manager

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