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Recent Adventures

Below you find a brief summary of my life in the corporate world. Far more exciting, here are some of the most recent adventures that I experienced on my journey of becoming a corporate citizen and ultimate office goof: 

A few years back I had the pleasure of giving a demo during the keynote of Bill Gates at a convention in Geneva, Switzerland. Now this was an interesting experience.

To keep things short, one day my colleague Mike Hall, one of the best developers I have ever met in my life, and I brainstormed over a demo of a new technology that our team had developed. Our minds started wandering, and after less than an hour we a had a neat script together, which after a gazillion of reviews from all sorts of corporate bureaucrats finally was deemed to be good for Bill's keynote. 

I spare you of the details how many obstacles we had to overcome during the building of the demo, except that Mike lost some wisdom teeths on the way, a colleague's wife's lungs collapsed and we mastered a virus attack on our demo 10 minutes before Bill went on stage.

It must have been Swiss chocolate that made us survive the drama. Oh, and before I forget it, thanks Jeana for your incredible support during this stressful time. I will never ever forget what you did for me.

A month before the Bill keynote I happened to be in Taipei, Taiwan, for a computer show. I was at a low point because just about everything went wrong during the preparation of the event (again, I spare you with the details), when I got a call from a colleague saying that the President of Taiwan would stop by at our booth the next day and that I better put on a tie for the occasion.

The next day when I arrived at our booth there were already dozens of security guards of the President running around, nervously asking me all sorts of weird questions. When the President finally showed up there was an army of media people. That's what Hollywood stars go through when they walk down the red carpet at the Oscars, did I say to myself starring at a sea of TV cameras in disbelief.

Well, I forgot to put on a tie, but the President was nonetheless nice and friendly, and after we chatted for a few minutes he moved on with a fat smile on his face.  

 

My life in the Corporate World

These days I work at Avalara which is headquartered on Bainbridge Island across the bay from Seattle. Avalara provides a cloud engine that integrates with lots of ERP and e-commerce platforms to calculate sales and other taxes (e.g. VAT) to customers of all sizes. At Avalara I am responsible to build out our channels and partner ecosystem and introduce new partner programs.

Prior to my current gig I worked many years at Microsoft, most recently in Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group (WPG) as Director, Channel Strategy & Development. In that role my focus was on exploring new business models with partners, and developing core messaging and partner programs primarily around cloud computing. I also led Microsofts internal cloud BI cloud efforts, working with a great team of BI expert using advanced visualization technologies to track performance of Microsoft's 500,000+ partners. Plus I was responsible for spearheading the Microsoft marketplace strategy, and as part of that help define the future of Pinpoint, with over 75,000 partner listings one the worldwide largest B2B marketplaces.

Prior to my current role, I led the Marketing & Sales Operations for SaaS and Unified Communications (UC) at Microsoft's Asian headquarters in Singapore, managing business productivity products across the region. Before that, I was part of the Unified Communications business development team, negotiating global alliances and partnerships, engaged in M&A projects, and coordinated various strategic initiatives and programs, including inbound and outbound IP licensing agreements. I started my career at Microsoft in the Windows Platforms group, working in product management, focused on embedded systems (appliances, robots, etc.), network gateways, storage devices, and voice-over-IP (VoIP) devices.

Since the first day at Microsoft I am having a blast - not only working with some of the smartest people in the world on bringing new technologies to market impacting millions of people, but also just about everyday learning something new and useful. Work is fun, my friends!

From 1999 to 2002 I was the Director, Business Development, of RealNetworks' B-2-C Group, in charge of building worldwide strategic alliances and software licensing partnerships with leading OEM and middleware partners such as Sony, Intel, Siemens, Panasonic, NTT, Samsung, and Nokia. Former job responsibilities at RealNetworks included developing online distribution and promotion programs and subscription services together with content and ISP partners such as MTV, Disney, CNN, NBC, Bertelsmann, CBS, FOX and Virgin.

Prior to RealNetworks I was the International Web Manager for AOL-Time Warner's NetscapeDivision, where I managed various web programs such as Search, Guide, Yellow Pages and Open Directory of all international websites, including Australia, Brazil, China, Netherlands, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan and UK).

Before joining AOL-Time Warner I held various positions at Knight-Ridder's Electronic Division (Dialog, DataStar), which later became part of the The Thomson Corporation. In my last role at Knight-Ridder I was a Regional Sales Director, responsible for Canada, Mexico, Latin America and the Middle East.

I started my business career at IHA-GFM in Switzerland, Europe. At IHA-GfM I was in charge of media and advertising research, including TV and radio rating panels. Also, international consumer brands, banks and pharmaceutical companies such as Coca Cola, UBS and Pfizer were clients of ours. IHA-GfM used to be a subsidiary of Ernst & Young, before the company was bought by GFK, the largest market research company in Europe.

 

 
Bill Gates talking on stage



Me giving a demo on stage during Bill's keynote



The President of Taiwan and I having a chat



The press frenzy around the President



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