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Month: June 2019

How to Double Your Salary in 2 Years: Juan Lopez Marcano, Software Engineer @ Uber

How to double your salary in 2 years
With Juan Lopez Marcano 
Software Engineer @ Uber
In this episode I spoke with Juan Lopez Marcano, Software Engineer at Uber. Over the last 2.5 years Juan has doubled his income by switching tech companies 4 times. In this conversation we spoke about his strategy, the in-demand skills he has developed, how he preps for technical interviews, salary negotiation techniques and the 3M framework to define whether an opportunity is for you or not.
One of the most interesting takeaways from this conversation was the 3 Ms framework Juan uses to evaluate career opportunities. 1st M stands for Making: What are you building?, What kind of technologies are you using? What is the purpose behind it? ,the  2nd M stands for Management: What is your Boss like? What is the Team like? Is it a healthy environment where you can thrive? And the 3rd M stands for Money: Are you being compensated fairly for your effort? Does your compensation track the market? What other perks besides Money does your company offer?
Join in as we cover the taboo of talking about salaries, how to overcome the fear of negotiating and strategies that Juan has used to be successful at technical interviews and finding the right job for his skills.

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Podcast Show notes:

  • 01:15 – Welcoming Juan López Marcano
  • 01:30 – About Juan in Silicon Valley and his thoughts on salaries, compensations, and underpaid vicious cycle “The taboo talking about salaries”
ABOUT JUAN AND THE TABOO OF TALKING ABOUT SALARIES Juan started his professional journey at Intel. Once he had finished his internship, he received a return offer from the  manager, and after having gone through salary negotiations and playing it risky he started his new role as a Software Manager. There is a taboo in Silicon Valley’s hispanic community about salaries and how much they get paid. They create a vicious cycle where they are underpaid and get used to it, either because they are afraid or feel uncomfortable talking about it. Nobody should be frightened. Juan talks about salaries with most non hispanic friends and they both know how much money each other makes, it is the only way to make sure they do not get underpaid. “Don’t be the first person making money in your team, be number two. Number one will get laid off if there is a budget cut”
  • 05:26 – Juan’s risky salary request when getting a return offer from manager at Intel
  • 10:56 – Jumping from Intel to number 43 startup at Cloudminds – Approaching job search process and process meeting 3 Ms
  • 14:52 – Interview process at different companies while having a full time job
INTERVIEWS AND THEIR PROCESS WHILE HAVING A FULLTIME JOB With a fulltime job at Intel, Juan was going through interviews with Cloudminds, Magically and Facebook in search of a strong management team and leadership. All companies used coding interviews that consisted in a phone screen and a coaching platform, and if everything went fine he would go all day, needing Intel’s permission to take the day off. The interviews lasted in between 4 to 6 hours and he had to be prepared to solve problems on the whiteboard which he enjoyed very much. He would take a month, after work and on weekends, getting prepared with the help of different tools, platforms and mark interviews with friends.
  • 22:35 – First money offer after having gone through whole interview process
  • 25:59 – About Juan at CloudMinds and the time spent there
  • 33:07 – After six months at CloudMinds and getting to IMVU
  • 35:31 – IMVU and their social virtual reality 3D avatar platform main product
IMVU – MAKING MONEY AND HELP OTHERS MAKE MONEY TOO Imvu is a avatar-based social network, that makes money and helps others make money too. Their main product is a social virtual 3D avatar platform, and have as well, 3D assets that people can make and sell. They have a huge number of items on sale, and each time one is sold, Imvu takes a cut out of it.
  • 37:17 – About Juan’s favourite IMVU perks and the time he spent there
  • 39:29 – Why Uber?
FINDING A SUITE SPOT AT UBER Juan got several calls from different companies through Linkedin and Uber was one of them. After having past the interview rounds, he decided to scrutinize them all and was in search now of his 3Ms. Juan felt very interested in Uber, he was interested in their team hiring process and their breakthroughs in machine learning. He considered they had the most awesome open source machine learning tools in the world and a team that focussed in production and found solutions to problems that nobody else was able to, serving 100MM users at the same time. Having accomplished and found his first M, Juan went in search of the other two, and had a successful lunch meeting with the managing director and his boss where he was able to negotiate and learn more about their culture. “Juan found his suite spot”
  • 47:26 – From Intel to Uber Juan has duplicated his salary. What number for job satisfaction?
  • 49:11 – Last words and advice to young professionals

Key Takeaways:

  • Sharing and talking about how much you earn with others can ensure you are not underpaid
  • “Not be the first person making money in your team, be number two. Number one will get laid off if there is a budget cut”
  • An advantage is to negotiate a high base salary , and not count on RSUs
  • When getting a job, think of a 3 M process (1st what you are going to be making and if you are happy with it, 2nd will you be happy with the management and direction, and 3rd money) and try to find the suite spot where they intersect
  • Immigrants are more comfortable managing uncertainty and switching cultures
  • “You will have a leg up above other candidates if you are involved in maths”
  • Machine interviews are math heavy
  • Always have honest conversations with managers to see what expectations are; constructive conversation and competency checklist
  • Competency checklist is a great tool when doing salary negotiations
  • “If you are getting a promotion, think of what has got you there and keep on executing” “No time for impostor syndrome”
  • “Keep on playing”
  • “If I am invited to sit at this table it is because my opinion is valued”
  • “Make sure your schedule doesn’t have time for negative things”
  • When looking for your first job, don’t necessarily pick a company or a grand, pick a manager
  • As you move on, the more impact you have on your team, the more you have to scrutinize them
  • If you are going to have impact beyond your team, try and scrutinize your organization
  • If you are going to be “super senior”and make a lot of impact with a lot of people, make sure you assess before hand what those interactors are going to be like before you take the offer”
  • “You have to have a courtship period”

Mentioned resources:

  • “Cracking the coding interview” book written by Gayle Laakmann Mcdowell, book recommended to help go through an interview process
  • Pramp – platform to practice interview with friends
  • LeetCode –  platform to help you enhance your skills, expand your knowledge and prepare for technical interviews.
  • Geeks for Geeks – a computer science portal for geeks recommended by Juan
  • Coursera – online learning platform with open online courses recommended by Juan; favourite course is the one dictated by Andrew Ng
  • WeeChat – free and open-source Internet Relay Chat client
  • Second Life – online virtual world; competition to IMVU
  • “Ready Player One” book written by Ernest Cline

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Who is Hugo Castellanos?

Find out about him on linkedinThanks so much for listening to the show! If you want to know more about this or comment on the show, please join us on LatinosWhoTech or go to Conexiones
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Leadership at Scale: Amir Abou Baker, Head of Global Markets @ WhatsApp

In this episode, Hugo welcomes Amir Abou Baker, an American Lebanese-Puerto Rican Industrial Engineer with a masters in Engineering Management and Business Strategy working at WhatsApp Inc., as the Head of Global Markets. He is a technology and operations executive with skills in retail, operational transformations and scaling strategy for global operations that has travelled a lot and worked and led teams overseas. Amir shares his exceptional labour journey at Accenture, GE, Google, Oscar Insurance, TaskRabbit and Whatsapp, transitioning from one to another into different fields. Tune in as they talk about his reason for this transitioning from one field to another, the GE’s OMLP rotational program Amir went through to build leadership and functional skills and focus on operations in Media & Entertainment for NBCUniversal where his first project was managing Highlights at the Beijing Olympics Highlights Factory, his operation management and retail skills at Google, his member services at Oscar Insurance, directing Global Operations at TaskRabbit and what they are, and his role at Whatsapp.

Show notes:

  • 01:15 – Welcoming Amir
  • 01:26 – About Amir
  • 02:16 – Why Industrial Engineering
  • 02:57 – “Engineers make things, industrial engineers make things better” Operation mentality leading into personal life
  • 05:35 – About GE and why operations
  • 07:12 – Work at NBCUniversal – First project Highlights at the Beijing Olympics Highlights Factory
SETTING A PROCESS FOR HIGHLIGHT CLIPS AT BEIJING OLYMPICS Universal has between 2 and 5 OMLPs, so the projects they worked on were the most strategic in the company. Amir’s first project was the Beijing Olympics managing the highlights factory, where he would get a request from the director, give it to the shot pickers that would put together and edit highlight clips, and then ship them off to the different work stream. The Olympics lasted 16 days and on the first day they set a process of seven steps to cut a clip and get it to the profit partner. They started making daily improvements, and the process evolved taking every day less time to develop a clip. First day they took 1 hour, and by the end of day 14, it took them only 20 minutes to get a request, cut a clip and get it to the profit partner
  • 09:37 – Feeling about making decisions on highlights
  • 10:22 – GE’s OMLP Rotation program – Process to ramp-up quickly
  • 12:09 – Same process for Google and WhatsApp?
  • 13:04 – When leading, meeting every single team member across different geographies?
  • 15:26 – Transition between industries – From GE to Google
TRANSITION FROM ENTERTAINMENT TO TECH, A NEW FRONTIER While  finishing GE rotational program and being the manager of strategy and operations at Universal Studios Sound Department in Los Angeles, everybody was starting to talk about a fast growing Google in Bay Area of San Francisco. Went online and randomly applied for a job in strategy operations in Google with success. A new frontier in Tech.
  • 16:51 – Work at Google
  • 20:30 – Amir’s management style
  • 24:22 – From entertainment industry to Tech, and now insurance. Why?
  • 27:03 – About TaskRabbit and how he got there
  • 28:37 – Meaning of Global operations
  • 29:49 – Stories from TaskRabbit
  • 32:46 – About his role at WhatsApp and getting there
GETTING TO WHATSAPP AND A NEW ROLE Missing the scaling and operating level at Google, Amir was reached out by Facebook and started having interviews. In the meantime, a job popped up online at Whatsapp that fitted his background. He spoke to the team, started the interview process and got the job as Head of Markets for Whatsapp, a growing team that is made up to support all of the local markets and deep market insights
  • 35:42 – Size of team
  • 36:21 – Opportunity for somebody who wants to start working in Operations
HOW TO HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO WORK IN OPERATIONS Operations depends on the interest of a person and has a different meaning in different fields. About having a process, setting it up and going through it. A mindset of being an engineer that can be applied to a lot of different areas within operations. “Have a hard look at your skill set, take stock, go for the operation you like and specialize”
  • 42:18 – Amir’s last words to Latinos in Technology

Key Takeaways:

  • Before coming into a new project that is not familiar, read and look for resources around with people you work with, and on the web
  • “Learning by doing and being on the sharp floor” “Observing and learning first hand”
  • The more the magnitude in decisions, the more time it takes to ramp-up
  • Always take time to put thoughts together before making recommendations or changes
  • A leader should make everyone be included and heard
  • View points will change overtime, so the more you talk to people, the more you will see these processes unfold
  • When working with teams communication and collaboration are tools that help keep people engaged
  • Rigorous process improvement day by day can reach effective results
  • Set up goals at the beginning to work aligned
  • Set clear expectations and let the team role with the projects
  • When leading understand people on a personal level and do one on one checkpoints
  • Have a look at skill set and then see what is open when seeing into operations
  • Speaking up and having conversations with managers when moving on
  • Stay focussed and learn to say no
  • As latinos, always stay involved and engaged

Mentioned resources:

  • OMLP – Operations Management Leadership Program at GE

Connect with him via linkedin:

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Who is Hugo Castellanos? Find out about him on linkedinThanks so much for listening to the show! If you want to know more about this or comment on the show, please join us on LatinosWhoTech or go to Conexiones Leave a Comment