Meet Alejandro, Account Manager, Startups

Alejandro joined AWS in January 2019, and is an Account Manager for Startups based in Iberia. 

HereAtAWS: Hi Alejandro, tell us about your career journey. What brought you to your current role at AWS?

Alejandro: It all started in Quintana, a neighbourhood in Madrid, when my parents decided to bring a 486 computer to our house and install it in my room. That was the catalyst that led me to study computer engineering, spending my first years' researching neural networks at University.

Like many of my colleagues, I decided to jump into consulting, before realising if I wanted to do something life changing I had to take a few more chances.

A new startup knocked on my door, but I had reservations; What is a startup? Will this mobile technology  succeed? Am I going to start developing apps? We started as a few people in a basement in Madrid and ended up being the leading company in the development of mobile applications in Spain. We started developing iOS and Android apps and ended up managing, conceptualising, creating and working with clients who wanted to innovate and evolve their products. If you are involved at a startup in the very beginning you soon become like a Swiss army knife in a couple of years.

In 2011, some colleagues and I set out on a new venture where we designed, developed and carried out mobile projects and new technology strategies for large national customers.  What makes me most proud of those years is the way we created a family that enjoyed working together every day.

However, everything ends, and to tell the truth, I had always dreamed of something else. My goal in life was to play a key part in the evolution of technological products that shape our society. I wanted to learn and apply my experience and grow personally and professionally. So, a colleague, with whom I used to discuss about all kinds of business ideas, called me when he saw the AWS role on LinkedIn, and told me "This opportunity has to be for you, I am sure you will enjoy the experience."

The rest is history.

HereAtAWS:Can you explain, in simple terms, your role, who your customers are, and how you help them?

Alejandro: I am a Startup Account Manager, the main point of contact at AWS for some of the most innovative startups in the country. We support them in adopting AWS technology to evolve their product and reach their goals. In my role, I need to define the best way to grow together, and to achieve that we usually work on the technical development of the product, business development of the company and their marketing strategies.

HereAtAWS: What are the main skills you would need to succeed in an Account Manager role at AWS?

Alejandro: Well, in my case I would say there are two main "skills". The first one would be to listen as much as possible. Not only to customers, but also to your colleagues. You need to know the people you are talking to in order to give the best support and help. In a place such as AWS you soon realise the talent of others and it is essential to include them in your decision-making processes. You also need to work with your customers in the way they can feel that you are part of their team. Fight for them as if you were working in their startup and you will obtain the trust needed to create a long-term journey together.

Understanding development architectures and being familiar with agile processes can be key. I am passionate about these topics and I constantly try to evolve and develop my profile in new technical and innovation areas. You have to adapt your mind to include new concepts every week, with which you can find creative solutions to your day-to-day challenges.

In summary; listening and adaptability to change are the two most important skills!

HereAtAWS: Have you had to learn any specific new skills for your role?

Alejandro: It is essential to be able to learn about the main areas of development of our startups. Knowledge around topics such as big data concepts, containers deployments or machine learning, will allow you to better understand customer needs and help you to find the right solutions.

For someone like me, or perhaps someone reading this, who comes from their own own startup, it was essential to learn the AWS commercial processes, as well as the steps that must be taken if we want to create the best possible scenario for our customers. 

HereAtAWS:How does your work with customers help to make a positive impact on society?

Alejandro:  Working exclusively with startups means that I have the opportunity to interact with some of the most innovative and disruptive products on the technology landscape. And it is great to be able to collaborate knowing the impact it generates in our society. I just started working with a startup focused on remote learning platforms that allow schools to keep working with their students in remote mode.

But the are other examples to highlight, like neo-banks, with which people can acquire greater financial independence, or social networks that allow people to access to daily actions such as finding a flat or a job. If I had to list products that I was able to explore thanks to my position at AWS, I would never end.

HereAtAWS:At work, are you involved in any activities outside of your role?

Alejandro: When I was about 12 years old, someone put a racquet in my hand and I have never let go.  So when I joined AWS I decided to bring together people who shared the same passion. I launched the MAD12 Padel club (currently 70 people!) and we organise tournaments to not only have a great time playing Padel, but also as a way to network and to meet new colleagues in the company.

I am one of those people who love to create content for internal wikis and, if someone gives me the chance, I also like to work on branding and designs for internal projects or initiatives like our latest Inclusion & Diversity Summit.

In addition, I participate in the company's mentoring program, where I support and share knowledge with people who want to start working in a similar role to mine at AWS.

HereAtAWS:What’s the most exciting part of your job?

Alejandro: If you are an entrepreneur and you have an intrinsic need to create and participate in new projects, almost every day you will find a great opportunity to do it at AWS. If you believe in an idea, you can work on it and evaluate it with your team to know what the benefits are for our customers and how you could launch it.

Also, not a day goes by without learning something new from the people that surround me. If they're here at AWS, it's because they are also peculiar. So, learning about project management, sales, marketing, and even design has been one of the best things about my time at AWS.

HereAtAWS: And what’s the most challenging part of your job?

Alejandro: At AWS the pace is high and never stops, and I tell you this after working seven years in my own company. At AWS I have faced challenges that I have never faced before. Learning to adapt your mind is something that takes time in the beginning, but that once you acquire it in your day to day at the office, it becomes a superpower.

HereAtAWS: What advice would you give people joining AWS?

Alejandro: I wish I would have told myself to calm down! At the beginning of your AWS journey you will have time to learn and evolve, you will meet your team and you will learn how to coordinate with them. Be humble and listen to those around you. This will help you grow into your team and be able to offer help to anyone else who needs it in the future!

Don't underestimate yourself (we all do it at the beginning) and do not feel intimidated by the scale of the company. You are where you are because you deserve it, and not only to fill a gap. I am sure that you will be a key piece in the company and you will help other people to grow in AWS.

HereAtAWS:What three words would you use to describe workdays at AWS?

Alejandro: Passion, creativity, and innovation.

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