Meet Daniel, Account Manager Start-ups

Daniel is an Account Manager Start-ups based in Berlin,Germany. He joined AWS in January, 2019.

HereAtAWS: Tell us about your career journey. What brought you to your current role at AWS?

Daniel: I was working in Berlin for an Operational Venture Capital Company before joining Amazon in June 2016, where I helped in the online marketing department to either build start-ups from scratch or to support existing ones in whom we have invested with their growth. After 2.5years at Amazon in Retail and in Marketplace across two locations in Europe (London Retail, Berlin Marketplace), I found myself wanting to work more with start-ups and helping them grow, but at the same time I enjoyed working at Amazon so much I couldn’t imagine another company. Joining the AWS Start-up team in Berlin has given me the best of both worlds. Today, I also support start-ups that I helped grow back in the days, which is a great feeling and opportunity for me.

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

Daniel: I help B2B start-ups with their development based on the AWS eco-system that we have to offer. The focus is on their technical cloud service setup, but that also includes marketing activities, financing, tips and tricks for HR, go-to-market strategies and how to improve their own B2B sales plays.

HereAtAWS: What technical and/or soft skills do you need to succeed in your role?

Daniel: Probably the most important skill I need to have is to be able to understand every single business I support, what their USP is and what can be done to improve it. I have to be something like an external product manager for every single company I work with. In B2B, you come across every kind of business model (legal tech, hr tech, e-commerce, AI/ML, etc.)

On top of that, I have to have an understanding of the wide range of AWS Services and how/when to use them, as well as the technical knowledge around these services and how tech teams generally operate. This means that I act as the connection between business and tech. Given that these two verticals may have very different personalities, vocabularies and goals, one of the key soft skills to have is to be able to understand and to communicate with a very diverse set of professionals.

HereAtAWS: Have you had to learn any specific new skills (technical or soft) for your role? 

Daniel: I have a background in media management, online marketing and digital communication. I know HTML and CSS, but no actual programming language. So, I had to get my head around the various Cloud Services AWS has to offer. Before joining AWS, I would have never put the word “Data” in front of the word “Lake”. I also needed to understand the language tech teams speak for example CI/CD or ELK. After one and a half years I am finally starting to understand tech jokes, which is a pretty cool milestone for me!

HereAtAWS: How does your work with customers help to make a positive impact on society? (directly or indirectly)

Daniel: In the last one and a half I have worked with more than 100 start-ups. Just to name a few examples, my start-ups help make flights more cost efficient, offer chat bots for customer support, make websites faster, take the difficulty out of tax returns or help travel companies to offer their customers a better overall experience. The solutions offered by the start-ups I work with are as diverse as the people behind these ideas.

Helping these start-ups grow, also helps them to hire new people, enter new markets and thereby create new jobs across countries. It’s maybe just a knock-on effect, but one that makes me really happy.

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

Daniel: I have been a mentor for new hires, I help other Account Managers to learn more about our Edge Services, Services Terms and SLAs. I am also involved in hiring new talents for AWS and my former Marketplace team.

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

Daniel: Brainstorming new ideas together with the start-ups on how they can improve and grow their business.

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

Daniel: Amazon’s CTO Werner Vogels once said that “everything fails, all the time”. So, being able to deliver a constantly good customer experience and helping them to build high performance, resilient and reliable environments is probably the most challenging part of my job. But that’s also the most rewarding aspect!

HereAtAWS: What advice would you give people joining AWS?

Daniel: Learn and be Curious. It does not matter whether you join AWS, Amazon or any other company out there. The constant intrinsic drive to learn and improve is what keeps you excited about a role. Especially at AWS, there is always something new to pick up that helps me get even better in my role.

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

Daniel: Different, Exciting, Roller-coaster!

HereAtAWS: Do you have any needs or commitment that require flexibility in your role?

Daniel: When I started working at Amazon in June 2016, I was in the middle of my part time Master’s degree which I had started in October 2015. On average, I commuted every second week from London to Berlin on a Thursday for weekend classes and then commuted back to London. Especially when you start a new role you want to be on the job five days a week to learn everything as fast as possible. With this M.A. on the side I had to take days off very early on. Amazon knew about this M.A. from the start and was very supportive. Nowadays, I need the flexibility for my sport. CrossFit has become a bit more than just a normal hobby and regular practice is essential. Being able to leave on time when necessary and work afterwards again or put in a training session when needed gives me the flexibility that I need for it.

HereAtAWS: Is there anything else you would like to add about your personal journey?

Daniel: Growing up on a small Island in Germany, I didn’t have many options to purchase music CDs or video games as a kid. Since I was 14 and got to know Amazon, I became a customer and the company impacted my life very positively. Working at Amazon is something I never considered, but now that it happened and I am super proud to work here.

When I started my first full time job, it was right away in the digital industry. Similar to being a chef, who should have worked in various kitchens to increase his/her skill set, I believe that it is important to have done various roles in the digital industry, to increase your skill set as well. Every digital kitchen is different. Originally, I had planned to only stay at Amazon for two years. But Amazon gave me the chance to see three different kitchens in the last four years. Even though the company culture is very much aligned across all teams I worked in, the internal tools and the jobs still differ. I am sure, there are even more kitchens to explore at Amazon.

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