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Chapter 1: About bipolarity of a self-portrait*

My corporate story

I would have never thought that, but it’s been already two decades I’ve been dedicating my working day – usually for over eight hours per day – to the corporate, in particular, IT industry. This journey has started in Mexico City upon my graduation from industrial engineering, when a friend – who was in fact a guitarist in my teenage times rock band – hired me to start a channel development programme for HP. Back in these days I wasn’t particularly attracted by sales nor marketing, but still, I accepted, having been persuaded by the first-class marketing salesman. From this moment on, my journey of life has begun. I moved to HP Argentina, where I spent three excellent years, accomplishing my MBA, after which I returned to HP Mexico. Then, and because I had been contractor (with all its downsides) for six years at that time, I decided to move away to a different company, Microsoft.

It was in Microsoft I have got to know not only what heaven meant, but also hell. I got to know how to compete at extreme levels, levels in which bodies get ill, where the goal was to destroy the other; where one knew that one had to produce money as fast as possible, where the corporate was a bottomless pit.

On the one hand, I was exhausted by this pace. At the same time, I believed the product price was neither justifiable nor fair. So, I changed jobs for the second time, this time I opted for Lenovo. At that time in Mexico it wasn’t really a well-known brand, which made it difficult to imagine a more exciting challenge for a young marketing boy I was back in those days. It was about rowing against the stream, competing against my former home, but in fact, it was mainly about applying earlier skills, only without money, nor infrastructure. At that time, I have realised that the human contact and trust I have been slowly building in the IT industry, was the boost that launched sales in that company in hyper growth. It was made clear to me how corporate cultures can be so different. I had been forged by a company whose employees always were seen as human beings, where the unwritten rules always put ethics first. I could not bear just the opposite anymore.

I still remember well my sigh of relief while signing the contract upon my return to HP. Even more than feeling happy, it was a loud ‘phew’. I knew I was coming home; I knew my wounds would heal.

Upon my return to HP, I led a supplies category team, a highly profitable business of millions of dollars. We managed to build a highly efficient team, a business plan second to none both for its design and execution, as well as for reaching its goals. Yet the most satisfying element was our manifesto where we promised to make a positive impact on our community. At that time, we supported graffiti painters, photographers and other artists. We used local agencies and we sourced the gifts and merchandise through small and medium local companies. It was the first time I actually felt that working in corporate can make a real positive impact on the community and I had agency to do the right thing at my disposal. Not only for the business, but also for the society.

It took me more than two years to make my knocking on Europe’s doors loud enough. Finally, I have found two persons who decided to support my case and enabled my transfer to the UK: at first, to London. First two years were a disaster, let’s face it. I had lacked the connections and the history; cultural differences were enormous and my communication skills useless to say the least. I couldn’t tell what was more frustrating: the fact I wasn’t understanding the most basic questions or having better ideas or responses yet couldn’t spell them out.

In the deepest melancholy I was aware that photography became my natural language; I have found refuge in it.

*Text translated, reviewed and copy-edited by Gosia Polanska (Mojek)

Capítulo I: De la bipolaridad de un auto retrato

Rodrigo Moctezuma: Mi historia corporativa

Nunca lo hubiese pensado, pero ya son dos décadas que he dedicado mi tiempo laboral -que típicamente son más de ocho horas diarias- al corporativo, en específico, a la industria de IT. Esta aventura comenzó en la Ciudad de México cuando recién egresado de Ingeniería Industrial un amigo -que en realidad había sido el guitarrista de mi banda de rock durante la adolescencia- me contrató para iniciar un programa de desarrollo de canal para HP, en ese entonces no me sentía atraído ni por ventas ni por marketing, pero aun así acepté -convencido por un marketero vendedor de primera-. A partir de ese momento empezó el camino que, en parte, ha direccionado mi vida. Obtuve un primer traslado a HP Argentina, en donde pase 3 años fantásticos y en donde de paso realicé mi MBA, posteriormente regrese a HP México y debido a mi posición de subcontratado -por 6 años- decidí partir a una nueva empresa, Microsoft.

En Microsoft conocí lo que significa el cielo, pero también el infierno, ahí conocí como competir a niveles extremos, a niveles en donde los cuerpos se enfermaban, en donde el objetivo era destruir al otro; en donde sabias que tenías generar dinero de la manera más apresurada posible, en donde el fin nunca llegaba.

Por una parte, estaba cansado de ese trote, pero al mismo tiempo no creía que el valor/precio del producto era real o justo, así que me cambié de corporativo por segunda vez, en esta ocasión a Lenovo. Recuerdo que ese entonces en México la marca no era conocida, -un reto fantástico para el joven marketero que era en ese tiempo- era remar contra corriente, era competir contra tu ex casa, pero en realidad era replicar el conocimiento que tenías, pero sin presupuesto, sin infraestructura. Me di cuenta de que el contacto humano y la confianza que durante años había construido en la industria, era lo que lograba catapultar las ventas de ese corporativo en hiper crecimiento. Pero ahí fue cuando me percate de las diferencias culturales de los corporativos, yo me había forjado en una empresa en donde los empleados siempre son vistos como humanos, en donde los códigos dictaban poner la ética en primer lugar, pero la cultura de esta empresa asiática era diferente. No lo soporte.

Aún recuerdo con claridad como suspiré cuando firme mi contrato de regreso a HP, creo que más que alegría, fue un suspiro de alivio. Sabía que regresaba a casa, sabía que mis heridas serian curadas.