Interested in digital products? Want to get a feel for what a day in the life looks like on the Di team? You’ve come to the right place. Every quarter, we will be interviewing a member of our cohort for your reading pleasure. This time around, we are chatting with Marcelo Reyna. You can follow Marcelo on Twitter at @Lepozepo and GitHub at Lepozepo.
J: Hi there! Why don’t we start off by delving into what your role is at Differential.
D: My main role is development, but I feel like sometimes I’m also doing some degree of sales work and some degree of management. It just depends on what’s needed. It feels like I’ll just do whatever it takes. I don’t feel like I have a specific role except development being the main one.
J: How and when did you become interested in the kind of work you do?
D: Wow, ok. So when I was working for Accenture in Mexico City. I was on a huge government project with a team of 30 people. I was on the business side of it - so I was doing work understanding the customer and the processes and putting that down on paper. I was identifying what the work flow was and how to optimize it. We had a team of developers - I think a team of 6 or 7 people - and I was like, “This looks really easy and I don’t understand why we need another person to do this. Just let me do it and we’ll save a step.” So I took on that role. I started doing the work of the developer at the same time as I was doing the business side. I found out that the framework we were using was horrible - just total trash. So I made one simple change that made the software better. If that had not happened, the project would have been late and we would have lost a lot of money. Being able to program is a powerful thing. I left Accenture and came to Vegas and started my own business called Retro Soda, and I really started to program out of necessity. If I wasn’t able to develop the system controlling my business, I wouldn’t have time to do anything else.
J: How did your career path lead you to Differential?
J: Differential hires entrepreneurial minds to help solve the problems of intrapreneurs – what is your first memory of being entrepreneurial?
D: When I did Retro Soda I felt the most entrepreneurial, because that was 100% me. Before that… I have an older brother who is 8 years older than I am. When he was 21 and I was 13, he was starting his first business. It was all about building computers. I helped sell some of his product at my school just for fun.
J: Tell us a little about working almost exclusively with Intrepreneur clients.
D: It’s sometimes difficult because, in my experience, there are different levels of people to go through. The Intrapreneurs are often unavailable because they are so busy and the contact is with other people. I’ll know what the global scope of the vision is, but sometimes the middle men don’t. So when the Intrapreneur is not available, it’s easy for information to get shifted even though I’m pushing to get the vision where it needs to be. Most of the time, I just try to get in contact with the Intrapreneur directly to overcome that barrier.
J: What do you like (or love) about working here?
D: Well, definitely the people. Everyone is awesome and it always feels like home even though I’m not physically in Cincinnati. I love the hours and the flexibility because it lets me do personal things that are important. For example, I finally got rid of my warehouses from Retro Soda and I wouldn’t have been able to do that as easily as I did if it wasn’t for the flexibility we have here.
J: Part of the Differential team is remote - in your experience, are there advantages and/or difficulties to remote teamwork?
D: I honestly feel like it’s much better to be a remote team. I feel 100% more productive. I can use my own rhythm, which makes me more productive. On the other side, though, sometimes there are distractions at home, which makes it a little more difficult. But I’ve learned to be very stringent about my schedule. I still work “normal” work hours.
J: What’s streaming through your earbuds while you are working?
D: It varies. Sometimes I’ll have electronic music. In the mornings I’ll start off with acoustic. If I really want to concentrate, I shut down all music and just listen to whatever’s in my surroundings. It’s weird… I focus better when there’s a lot of stuff going on around me.
J: And last, but certainly not least - favorite coffee or lunch spot near the office?
D: My favorite place to eat around here [Las Vegas] is called Rollin Smoke BBQ. For $20 you get a lot of food - enough to feed me and my girlfriend.