Here we are! In this section, I would like to tell you about my professional development, not economic, as today I earn less than I did a few years ago, but the quality of life has improved and I also do what I love.

But let’s start with the first real job I learned (I’ll skip the waiter, bartender and pizzaman who taught me a lot anyway), which unexpectedly came in handy, both in life and in work:

The Carpenter
At the time, my father owned a carpentry; he was always recognized for his creativity, speed and precision, in fact his production was very niche and with a very sought-after style. However, paying attention in class during my journey towards the diploma in Electronics and Telecommunications; I had a lot of free time in the afternoon. My father, working alone, always had a lot to do, and he used to ask me for help. During the adolescent period, therefore, I went to his workshop with the task of taking the pieces of wood that came out of the thicknesser and ordering them on stands; I learned to build furniture, starting from disordered and deformed pieces of wood. Unfortunately for my father, despite it being a very rewarding job, as you can really appreciate the transformation of raw material that from an insignificant piece of wood becomes a work of art; after finishing my studies, I decided to take the path of the electronics technician and started my first real paid job.

The Electronics Technician / Electrician
Initially, once graduated, I wanted to pursue university studies. Unfortunately, I was blinded by economic independence and this led me to accept the offer from my neighbor, who at the time the company he worked for was looking for electronics graduates. Here I put into practice what I had studied in school and it was very satisfying. I tested and repaired smoke, gas and movement detectors. I prepared shipments and took care of processing orders. Sometimes I also went out to install detectors, including those for alarms, with central control for various sensors. It was very fun for a while, but once I learned all the devices, it became a bit repetitive and boring. One day I became interested in the work of a colleague who was in charge of programming the central systems. As a job, it was very dynamic and depended on the customer’s needs, obviously I had no idea of programming and so it would be a bit difficult to propose myself to help in that role. So I decided to buy my first book on C++, study it, and start having software developer interviews. Of course, it was not so easy, and I must say that in this period the determination to want to be a software developer accompanied by a brazen face in saying “YES” when it would be “NO” (and also to the luck of being liked by the one who decided to give me an opportunity), I managed to pass a selection and that’s how my new career began.

Software Developer
It all began with the development of modules and modifications on a management software developed in C++. Being a management software, I had to learn everything about billing, accounts payable and receivable, inventory, the production cycle with orders and lists, and at the same time I was learning to program in C++, which is not exactly easy for someone who had never programmed before. Moreover, as all the customers were different (ranging from the tire dealer who wanted the license plate number of his customers’ vehicles, to multinational companies that produced excavators and wanted their entire production process integrated into the management software), I really saw everything and developed the most absurd procedures. Once I even interfaced a board (and I have to say that my experience as a woodworker and electronic technician was very useful), to make conveyor belts move in a production chain that had to: read a barcode to identify the product, weigh it, create the label and label it. All of this process had to be guided by a management software that I had modified, interfaced to this clean contact board that I had: purchased, adapted in a handmade case made by me, installed, and programmed to control scanners, conveyor belts, scales, and printers. I must say that that job was the absolute best experience, as it allowed me to take advantage of all the manual skills I had acquired while working with my father, all the experience as an electrician / electronic technician from my first job, and finally the computing experience I was making grow at the time.

The role as a developer is what I have pursued the most, as it was impossible to get bored, in fact sometimes it was even too challenging, because there was always something new to learn, a language, a database, an operating system, a development methodology, a framework, etc. So challenging that at one point it led me to take the next step in my professional career.

Freelance / Entrepreneur
This period began as a freelance software developer. I worked with companies that had contracts with banks and insurance companies and therefore there was a need to learn and understand the complex processes and procedures that had to be activated to do any activity; whether it was a new development, an update, or a correction. This experience made me understand the reason why some companies, and in my opinion correctly, are very slow to update and integrate new applications or features into their systems. During this period, despite the complexity of the projects, I had the opportunity to learn and appreciate the agile way of working, with weekly alignments aimed at understanding if what had been developed so far was in line with what the customer had requested. Previously, I had always been used to working in waterfall, with no small problems at the time of delivery to the customer. Fortunately, in the world of software, even if not in all companies, the agile methodology prevailed and since it was never clear to the customer what the final result would be, despite the analysis meetings, having the opportunity to see the evolution of the software during development, it was always possible to correct or modify what was needed, in order to complete the project with a product / function exactly in line with the customer’s requirements.

After a few years as a freelancer, an old colleague of mine, with whom I started my career as a developer, came to me with the idea of starting a company that would replicate the business model of the old company we worked at; with the difference that this time we would be the entrepreneurs. That’s how World Engineer was born!

It was 2 beautiful years, during which we achieved great results. Unfortunately, the inexperience and naivety of that time led to this experience ending prematurely. And as soon as I had the opportunity, I sold my shares and headed towards a new adventure.

Downward Auctions and Digital Advertising
In this chapter of my professional life, I have to say that I learned a lot and realized very interesting projects. The American-based BeWebCom Corp. corporation, based in Bocaraton, had an Italian branch under control, where some of my friends worked. They had already started a very profitable project on downward auctions and the need was arising to create a section dedicated to the sale of digital marketing services, such as delivery email marketing (DEM), web advertising spaces and click campaigns. This was all born from the fact that they themselves bought a lot of traffic to redirect to their auction site and they realized that the digital marketing market had great promises of expansion. Confident in my determination and learning abilities, they contacted me despite my lack of preparation in the matter and proposed that I carry out the development of this section within their company. What convinced me to accept this important challenge, in addition to working with friends in a very nice and stimulating environment, was also the fact that they were part of an American corporate and that therefore there would be the possibility for me in the future to go to work across the ocean (something that I always had as a dream in the drawer but that I saw as very unrealistic). It was a very tough period, I learned to use opensource platforms to distribute digital advertising (OpenX), streaming software to capture H24 celebrities in their homes like Big Brother (Wooza), opensource to create digital switchboards (Asterisk), I learned to develop in Flash, in php, to use Photoshop and video editing software (iMovie and Adobe Premier). In short, it was a very stimulating but at the same time almost surreal period considering all the things we were doing. In fact, one fine day the situation degenerated and some unpleasant situations came to light that made me choose to go elsewhere. But in my head, the United States remained!

The American Dream
After the closure of the BeWebCom Corp., the USA project remained in my head and I came up with the idea of trying something new. At the time, my brother was a partner in a winery and had a lot of unsold bottles in the warehouse. His product was a fairly commercial but good quality wine, which could become an interesting product to propose on the US market (a country that has always attracted me because of my passion for American movies and TV series). So I started studying what was required in terms of permits and authorization to export wine to the United States, got the necessary visa, bought the ticket, and went for 6 months (3 + 3) to try to sell the wine to American distributors. I basically made the whole tour of the USA and went through: Chicago, Boston, New York, Las Vegas, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Miami. They were unforgettable 6 months in which I met people and found good friends, but no bottles sold. So with a bit of resignation, I returned to Italy and had some interviews to return to doing what had previously made me earn some money.

Team Leader
Given the various experiences in the IT field, I found work in a company that still does digitalization and preservation of documents with all the related services and after a trial period to demonstrate my abilities, I was given the opportunity to manage a team of ten developers. As a team, we had the development and maintenance of all internal applications, which were used to digitize, index, archive, and manage documents, and external applications, represented by web applications that gave the customer the ability to manage processes, connect, consult, and exhibit stored documents. They were very beautiful years, in which I realized, however, that I no longer wanted to sit behind a desk. And so I asked to take on a new role.

Development of new business
Thanks to this new role, I was able to develop that commercial side, which I knew was there, but without proper training would not have produced the expected results. Hence, with a dedicated course and all the appropriate theories, I began to practice the principles of Customer Centric Selling in the field. However, the role did not include negotiation, as that was delegated to the salesperson, who after the declared interest of the client following my presentation, would bring the negotiation to the table to find an economic agreement. This last mile intrigued me a bit and so I decided to try to go further. I searched the market and found a company that gave me a new opportunity.

Account Manager
During my professional career, I sold custom web applications, websites, and a package of applications from the Australian company Atlassian, which is still one of the market leaders in helping companies with internal documentation, project management, and customer support. In this role, I was responsible for the complete sales cycle, from customer research to proposal, negotiation, and closing. Ironically, one of my successful sales was with the company I am now working with and where I was able to fill the position that is giving me the greatest satisfaction.

Presales Engineer
During my sales activity, which I have to say brought me great satisfaction, I always missed a bit of contact with the production side. The large gap between sales and production, often dictated by different objectives, often makes it very difficult to make a “clean” sale without too many so-called “reworks.” The person in presales, in addition to showing what is there and telling what will be, has the task of making the customer feel confident that what they are buying is exactly what will solve the problems shared during the meetings. I have to say that I feel very comfortable in this position and that being helpful to my colleagues by maximizing all of my skills is giving me great satisfaction. Of course, the desire to grow professionally is always around the corner, so as is customary lately… Stay tuned!!!