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03 Nov 2017

I have heard a lot of people saying that being a hybrid profile between two disciplines is a privilege, as one can understand both disciplines and help to build bridges between them when it is necessary (and this happens more often than I could’ve imagined). The counterpart arises when each discipline sees you as a part of the other one, which makes this position a continuous challenge.

Back in 2012, when I was studying Telecommunications Engineering at UPC in Barcelona, I had an existential crisis: I was surrounded by remarkable classmates that had a clear vision of how to contribute to the society being engineers. And well, I didn’t…! But eventually, I found THE motivation, and I took THE decision that would change my life: becoming a hybrid profile of an engineer with business/management aspirations. Ever since, every step I made in my life has had the purpose to be a professional in this sense: from joining the Double Degree program KTH-UPC to do my master thesis sitting at IESE Business School. And it was precisely this hybrid path I took that brought exactly where I am. In a randomly selected master thesis I attended I happened to meet James in Stockholm, who happened to be the examiner of that master thesis, who happened to ask me which where my future plans, and who happened to contact me a few months later to tell about an open position at a startup of which he was co-founder. Guess what? They were looking for an engineer with business/management aspirations…!

And now, one year later, having worked in the business development and the marketing strategy of a startup that develops an ultra-reliable and low-latency wireless communications protocol, I can say that being a hybrid profile is both exciting and exhausting: again, a challenge! During this year, I needed to learn how to explain our technology to different audiences: from extremely technical to purely business people. And, in both cases, the biggest barrier I found in explaining what we do are the preconceived concepts. Let’s put it this way… neither is EchoRing a technology with which we, as users, do interact in our day by day nor is a Medium Access Control protocol the hot topic during a lunch meeting. And here is where the first preconceived concept arises: the vast majority of the audience I have addressed to tend to associate WiFi with wireless immediately. This taught me an excellent lesson: we first think as users. But once the “user barrier” is dodged, other barriers pop up, more related to technical aspects. Let’s put it this way: we are a B2B startup working in the Industry 4.0/Industrie4.0/Industrial IoT framework, in which there are other trending topics, name Low Power Wide Area Networks or digitalisation. Both technologies are adding enormous value to industry, but the use cases they address are quite different to the ones we do. We focus on short-range communications for critical applications, which positions us as a competitor of wired communications. Guess what?! Indeed, as you must have already thought, this also needs additional explanation.

Overcoming these barriers is one of the most significant tasks I have had since I joined R3 Communications. Adapt faster to the audience, find the right examples to show the outstanding advantages of using EchoRing, or shorten the business pitch, are some of the skills I needed to learn to do so. All in all, by learning these skills, I grow as a professional day by day in the direction of the decision I made back in 2012: to be a hybrid profile.

– Xavi