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on 10 September 2020

How Aldo’s passion for artificial intelligence and machine learning led to a role at Canonical

Canonical is the company behind Ubuntu, but who are the people behind Canonical? This blog is the second in a series getting to know some of the different employees that make up our company. 

For today’s blog, we spoke with Aldo Martinez, a member of our US-based team. Aldo’s passion for artificial intelligence and machine learning led him to join Canonical, and his Spanish skills have made him an invaluable addition to the team. At first starting in the sales team, Aldo is now part of the Marketing team, taking care of communications.

Can you tell us about yourself and your role within Canonical?

I’ve lived in Austin, Texas for a little over 5 years and recently turned 25. I’m currently a Marketing Manager here at Canonical. When I started at Canonical in sales, I worked closely with the LATAM team, focusing primarily on the larger Latin America countries with significant enterprise IT markets. When I’m not working I like to jump on my XBOX and play competitive games, or watch my favorite drag queens lip sync “FOR THEIR LIVES” on RuPaul’s Drag Race.

My major in college was Communication, and one of my focuses was in intercultural and interpersonal studies. Towards the end of my college career, I got into artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), and I ended up writing a “thesis” on the ethics of AI/ML and data collecting.

Was it this interest in AI/ML that led you to join Canonical? 

My interest in AI/ML fueled my interest in technology, which was the main factor that made me want to work at Canonical. I love tech, and I love learning as I go. I’d never explored the use of tech at an enterprise level before, and when I read about what Canonical was doing, I was keen to get involved. 

Does your passion for technology extend to open source?

Since I started at Canonical, I’ve developed a strong appreciation for open source. For me, the key thing is that open source prevents people from being locked into a particular vendor or provider. Having the freedom to use the best solutions for each situation really helps to accelerate innovation.

You mentioned that you used to be a sales representative for LATAM. Do you speak multiple languages, and did your role in sales give you the opportunity to use your second language?

I speak both English and Spanish, and working at Canonical enables me to practice my Spanish everyday! I regularly use Spanish to communicate with IT professionals in Latin America, figuring out what they’re doing at an enterprise level and what Ubuntu-based solutions they might be interested in. I’ve also been translating some of our written content. All the practice has definitely helped me improve my Spanish, and I quickly learned a lot of tech and business terminology. In PR and communications, I hope to continue using my spanish-language skills for social media.

Apart from improving your Spanish, have you developed any other skills while working at Canonical?

Yes, 100%. I’ve found myself taking the lead more often. I’ve become a lot more confident in my decisions and owning what I do.

My tech expertise has come a long way as well. We’re constantly having training sessions to learn about new industry trends and Canonical offerings. Unsurprisingly, I’ve enjoyed the AI/ML training the most; it’s fascinating to see how enterprises are using data. I’ve even had the chance to develop my hands-on tech skills, and I can now deploy one of our products, MicroK8s, to my own computer!

When we’re not in lockdown, what’s it like working at the Canonical office in Austin?

It’s a great environment. I’m a social person, so I like having people around; but more than just that, it’s really valuable sharing a space with my peers. We’re able to feed off each other and collaborate to come up with campaigns and outreach ideas. As a team, we’re pretty close, and we work very well together. The office itself is also brand new, and my desk chair is extremely comfortable – so that’s a plus!

What about your interactions with the wider organisation?

Pretty much all communication with other teams is virtual, since Canonical staff are located all around the world and many of them work remotely. But those virtual interactions are great. Everyone supports one another and always answers questions when they can.

What do you think is different about working at Canonical compared to other companies?

I feel like we’re always learning. There’s never a moment when we aren’t learning something new about the technology or the industry. Canonical works hard to ensure that learning is easy for both newcomers to the company as well as existing employees. 

The opportunities are another major differentiator. Even as a new employee you can be given a considerable amount of responsibility. Taking on PR and social media is an intimidating assignment, but it is great having that trust from Canonical that I can handle it on my own.

What advice would you give to people interested in joining Canonical?

Come in with an ambitious mindset and be prepared to take in a lot of information. If you want to learn about tech at the enterprise level, this is the place to be. 

Canonical is always looking for bright new talent, and we hire from everywhere! Apply here to join the team or go check out our Twitter account @UbuntuWantsYou.

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