- By Colleen McNamara
It’s not often that you see someone make the leap from Sales to Dev in any company, but anything is possible in a startup. The skill sets may be vastly different, as is the day-to-day, but when Frank Robert realized his passion for sales was actually a passion for the intricacies of SweetIQ’s platform, he decided to jump… right into teaching himself how to code. Here, Frank tells his story.
First: tell us a bit about your background. Where are you from?
I’m a local Montrealer, from the West Island.
How did you get your start in the industry?
My job history isn’t as clear-cut as many others! I’ve worked everywhere from Walmart (where I stocked shoes) to Future Shop to Bombay to Construction to Marketing Agencies. I guess the retail experience was foreshadowing my future at SweetIQ in an indirect way? Maybe?
Did you have a passion for technology from an early age?
Yes! Definitely. It developed mostly through music. I completed a program in audio engineering at Vanier College titled Audio Recording Technology (ART for short, how fitting!). I was insanely passionate about producing, and I would choose to skip school to go home and focus on music. Needless to say, I wasn’t the most responsible student, but I learned that I was happiest pursuing my passions.
What did you like about audio engineering, and how does it relate to what you’re doing now?
What I loved about music was the in-depth technicalities of the engineering: from mixing to mastering, I loved being in the studio. The technical aspects were what interested me most.
So, you were interested in music, but your day-job wasn’t that. How did you find SweetIQ?
I was working in sales at PCM, and then TSL Marketing, and I was really enjoying it. Since I was selling tech, I was still able bridge my interest to my everyday work. My girlfriend at the time was working on the Operations team here and told me about an opening at SweetIQ. Always open to change, I came in to check out the company. I was also working remotely at the time so an opportunity to start working in an office again was refreshing.
What was your experience like working in Sales?
Well, at the time I thought that I wanted to be an IT specialist, and I was planning to learn a ton on the job and hopefully save money to pursue that path then, I got bit by the Local Search bug, and I started to become enthralled with the local ecosystem. So much so, that I would discuss the technology a little too in depth with potential clients!
So you fell in love with the concept of Local Search. How did you learn about the product from such a technical perspective?
I would spend all weekend and weeknights hanging out on blogs. Eventually, about 6 months into the job, I took a real plunge into learning the Development side of things. I thought to myself, “I want to create something tangible.” And SweetIQ’s startup culture allowed me to believe that my ideas had clout, so I was confident in my abilities to make a positive impact. It’s an infectious culture that can really inspire you to push yourself to try new things.
What’s your day-to-day like at SweetIQ?
I work exclusively on the Store Locator Software. First thing in the morning, I catch up on missed emails and Slack notifications from the previous night, then I’ll spend the rest of the day checking my task list and doing my best to complete them one-by-one. Occasionally I’ll take the time to try and implement a new idea that I’ve had the previous night or weekend! Luckily my desk is very close to the coffee machine so it makes for very productive days.
#LifeIQ: if you had one piece of advice for someone entering the professional world, what would it be?
Work culture is very different from school or other environments you may be used to. It’s a matter of adapting. SweetIQ has the most welcoming team and the kind of exceptional culture that caters to people from all sorts of backgrounds and skill sets. In a lot of ways it really is something to marvel at. Come join us!
#LocalSpotting: What’s your favorite local spot in Montreal?
I like Place Des Arts or the MAC (Musée d’Art Contemporain). I absolutely love the performances and shows that go on at PDA; and as for the MAC, the monthly/bi-monthly displays are really amazing. There was one in particular by a Canadian artist named David Altmejd that just blew me away!
Want to work with people like Frank at SweetIQ? Check out our openings here.