Hi, I’m Leo! My web development journey began in my high school computer class where we learned to code websites the “old school” way with just Notepad. Before that, I wanted to be a chef and take up culinary arts, but since I had to put myself through school, that was too expensive for me. I decided that, since I already had coding experience, I would be able to get and maintain a scholarship in IT.
When I entered the real world, I realized almost everything I learned in college was already obsolete. I had a hard time finding work at first: I watched my batchmates get their first jobs one by one while I sent out my resume and hopped from one interview to another. I couldn’t find a job that felt right for me. I was one of the last in my batch to get a job, which was as a junior PHP developer. The catch was that I didn’t know how to work with PHP back then. It was a “fake it til you make it” situation. But in web dev, as long as you can understand the logic behind a programming language, you can learn how to work with it. Same thing happened with my next job as a WordPress developer. I went from not knowing anything about it to creating 80-100 sites in a month. Although I got good at WordPress, what I really wanted to do was to be part of the core team in that company. So I started helping out with their projects even if I wasn’t part of the main team yet.
Over time, I gained the skills to be promoted as the lead of Research and Development. Much of what I learned there served as the foundation for how I run the tech team here at Growth Rocket, as the Head of Technology. I’m continuously learning and pushing myself to understand every single technology cropping up from every corner of the globe.
When I’m not working, I am at the gym, boxing, or biking. I also run a healthy meal planning business based in Valenzuela City with my partners.
A battle-hardened marketing veteran, Villar wants you to practice constraint.
“Relationships escalate one step at a time. Selling without a story is like asking someone to marry you on a first date,” he told the dozen startup employees at Saola, an accelerator program run by 500 Startups.
The entrepreneurs come from a handful of early-stage companies; their biographies are combinations of data scientist, Silicon Valley veteran, Ivy League graduate, programmer, competitive gamer, mathematical physicist, computational biologist, 3x founder, and defecting corporate lifer. To some of them, ‘sales’ is a dirty word, an oil slick contaminating the purity of science.
That’s why 500 summoned Villar: a storyteller who’s obsessed with “putting narrative to data.” Villar said f– you to sales (as we know it) a long time ago. He levitates above the content scrap yard. He’s seen the matrix of advertising and he doesn’t want you to flush that precious venture capital down the toilet by buying tone-deaf Facebook ads.