Designing the future of Zap: a chat with Charles Solla
Charles Solla is all about adaptability. As ZapLabs’ Director of Product Design, he understands the importance of collaboration and growth—and embracing the changes along the way.
How long have you been with the company?
“On May 24th, it was 14 years!”
Tell me a bit about what you do here.
“I am the Director of Product Design. I oversee our business and consumer products and make sure we have the best user experience for all brokers, agents, and consumers.”
Why do you like what you do?
“I enjoy being creative—that’s my biggest thing,” Charles shared. “It’s awesome knowing that I’m creating an experience for all walks of life—people who are ready to buy a home as well as people who are selling homes.”
Charles’ love for design can be traced back to his high school days. “I wanted to design t-shirts,” he told me. For his senior project, Charles created a line of clothing—“Earthwear”—which was made from recycled goods.
He went on to major in graphic design at Cal Poly Pomona. “Back then, there was just email,” he recalled. “We did a lot of stuff by hand because not everyone had computers—there was a lot of X-ACTO knives and paint brushes and rulers.”
Why do you like working at ZapLabs?
“I wouldn’t be here this long if it didn’t feel like home, like family,” Charles answered.
Charles recalls his first interview, when he said he was a team player. “Now I get to work on a team with people of all different skills and backgrounds, and I learn something new from them every day.” He added with a smile, “And people get my humor.”
What inspires you about Zap?
“Its adaptability,” Charles said. “We took something that was just for ZipRealty and made it available to four of the largest real estate companies.”
What are your hopes for the product in the future?
“That we squash our competitors,” Charles said with determination. “It’s awesome knowing that I could potentially influence a product that is not just available in the United States, but on a global level. If we continue what we’re doing, it’s possible.”
What role does technology play in your life?
Charles uses technology to help with his decisiveness and to connect with others. “It really helps with my decision making—like if I’m planning a trip or I want to eat somewhere nice or look for a point of interest.”
What role does real estate play in your life?
Charles bought his home with ZipRealty. “I started out by looking for a house in the city—this was during the boom—but there were way too many people making bids.” He slowly made his way to the East Bay, where he still happily lives today.
What would your dream home look like?
For Charles, home is wherever his family is. “I love my house because my kids were raised there—it’s full of memories. It’s nice and quiet and is surrounded by lots of wildlife.”
He said his dream home would share the same serenity, but with a different landscape. “My dream home would be right across a lake, with lots of trees and a mini farm. Maybe get some chickens, goats, and sheep.”
What do you do for fun?
Staying active is high on Charles’ priority list. “I like to play sports—lots of basketball when I get the chance, and cross training.” He also enjoys traveling and spending time in Las Vegas—so much so that he and his wife got a timeshare!
What is your favorite quote?
“Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” —Bruce Lee
Christine is a Marketing Copywriter at ZapLabs, focused on creating engaging original content such as Community articles, case studies and email campaigns. Christine also manages Zap and ZapLabs’ social media channels, curating news and tips to a growing agent user base and prospective candidates.