Employee Spotlight: Andres Echenique

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Terakeet is lucky to have Andres. He has quite the accomplished background as co-founder of two companies, one an early innovator in the software as a service (SaaS) industry, and the second developed custom large-scale CRM solutions based on a proprietary content delivery platform. Andres undoubtedly brings his wealth of knowledge, innovation, and leadership to Terakeet on a daily basis. He is someone that I’ve looked up to since the very first day that I met him, only a week after my own start date. He exudes all of our Terakeet core values and has been an integral part of my success and the success of many others at this company.

With our ever-changing digital landscape, Andres’s critical thinking and problem-solving abilities are boundless and it’s no surprise that his favorite quote is one from Walt Disney: “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

I am thrilled to spotlight Andres because he is instrumental in furthering our product and advancing the ways in which brands connect with influencers. I hope you all enjoy getting to know Andres a little bit more! Andres, thank you for your infinite wisdom and mentorship!

As someone with a technical background in computer science, what drew you to marketing?

My first job was with a research company (Bolt Beranek and Newman in Cambridge, Massachusetts) with an amazing track record of technical innovations in the foundations of the internet, artificial intelligence, speech recognition, virtual reality, signal processing, acoustics and many other disciplines. The creativity and brains of the team was off the charts, and a visit to their offices would have you literally tripping over amazing technology and business ideas just laying around in the hallways.

I was working as a programmer in networks and artificial intelligence at the time, and I felt like marketing was the gap between these great ideas and execution. So I took a class in marketing at Harvard and then did more work at MIT Sloan School in marketing and finance. And right in the middle of this, the internet exploded to the forefront of the economy, and I became hooked on exploring the intersection of marketing and this emerging technology.

Prior to joining Terakeet, you were a long-time friend of the company. In November 2014 you decided to take the opportunity to join the team. What drew you here originally? And how has the company changed since?

I’m an entrepreneur at heart. I crave and thrive in environments where I can solve problems and build new things. In 2005, Mac and the Terakeet team approached the agency I was working for at the time with a disruptive idea and compelling pitch about search engine optimization and I knew there was something special in play. Our paths crossed over the years, and Mac and the team continued to impress me with increasingly creative and successful approaches, so we found the right set of challenges for me to take on at Terakeet, which began a very exciting new phase of my career.

Since joining, Terakeet has evolved rapidly, just as any young, successful company in this space must. We have a two-headed challenge: tracking new trends in the marketing space and creating innovations that are at least a year ahead of those trends. We’re pretty good at this, but it drives a pace of organizational change that can be head-spinning. Over the past couple of years, I’ve watched the whole team and culture develop into an organization that embraces change, while at the same time maintain the focus and discipline needed to innovate. It’s a pretty magical thing!

As a member of our Executive Leadership team, you’ve played an instrumental role in our rapid evolution. What is your philosophy on leadership?

Leadership to me is about unlocking potential. Potential lives in all of us, but isn’t always easy to access. Finding that potential, aligning it with team potential or a business vision, and removing barriers to that potential is the core responsibility of a leader. How to make this happen is unique to every circumstance and individual, but always stems from careful observation, listening, and questioning. The dialog that emerges, whether with an individual or a team, usually shines a bright light on what needs to be done, not just for the leader, but for the individual and the team as well. When we all know what needs to be done and why, good things happen. And then, simply, repeat, repeat, and repeat.

What is the best advice you’ve received that has helped guide and shape your career? What advice would you give young professionals starting their career in marketing?

Try to find the places where you can be the dumbest guy or gal in the room, show up on time, and always hire people smarter than you are.

You play in a rock band in your spare time. Can you speak to how music has complemented your day job and, more importantly, when the next show is?

For me, music is a fantastic combination of creativity and puzzle-solving. There is an infinite number of ways to combine emotions, tones, pitches, rhythms, and structures to create music, but relatively speaking, only a few will “sound” good. The process of finding ways to combine these elements is addictive, and fully engages both sides of my brain. And what’s more, once you’ve got something figured out, delivering a great performance, especially in a band, trains you for focus, communication, and teamwork.

Working at Terakeet mirrors this exactly: our success depends on creativity, problem-solving, and great execution. Every day, all day.

As for the band, Faces of the Damned, we’re in the category of “No Commercial Potential,” but it is a wonderful way to release some creative energy. We’re in post-production on our first album for release this fall, and we just made a deposit on a large tour bus in anticipation of finally breaking out of NCP.

Who are some of your idols and greatest influencers, both personally and professionally?

Business: Steve Jobs, Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, Alex Bogusky, Barry Wacksman (R/GA).

Music: Frank Black, Neil Young, Craig Finn, Ian MacKaye.

Everything else: My mom.

Do you have a morning or daily routine that has a large impact on your life?

Like most people, I need time away from stuff in the office. One way or another, I need time outdoors on a daily basis. Cycling and hiking are top priorities for me, but I live on a piece of old farmland so I have lots of outdoors right at hand. Time on the road, on the trail, or on my tractor gives my brain a chance to wander different paths through the problems that need solving at Terakeet, and many “ah-ha’s!” pop up from that time.

What’s the last thing you Googled?

Swedish metal bands of the 1970s (which led to my discovery of the proto-metal band “Råg I Ryggen”).

Which of our 5 Core Values (Sustainable Value, Integrity, Invention, Entrepreneurship or Rapid Response) do you identify with most and why?

While all the core values are interconnected, Entrepreneurship is closest to my heart. For me, it’s at the intersection of being a business nerd, a creative person, and a technologist. There’s nothing like the optimism and excitement that comes with fresh ideas and opportunities to “build a new treehouse.”