The role models we choose are a reflection of the values we hold. And we’re living in a world that is sadly lacking in role models. The Italian writer Edmundo de Amicis once said that, following father, there is no more noble name than teacher. So, it’s essential we are able to find good captains who can take us on board and carry us along with them for a time.
Today I would like to introduce you my own personal selection of 15 people I think you should be following fascinating people who love what they do and who have a wealth of experience you can benefit from.
###Tomas Dueñas Uribe (Director, Mavish Marketing Agency)
Tomas Dueñas is an entrepreneur whose vast international experience in driving traffic to websites has led him to become a successful growth hacker. Only 28 years old, Tomas has participated in entrepreneurial events on a global level, and has received a variety of Best Entrepreneur awards. He created Mavish a news and entertainment website which regularly received a hundred thousand visits a day. In addition to being a SEO consultant with 7 years experience working with the optimization of search engine positioning, several of his campaigns rank amongst the top positions in categories like used cars, SEO, domains, testing, biology, and web templates, amongst others.
He’s worked as the head of social media at Colombia’s largest media conglomerate, Caracol Television, as well as being a mentor and speaker at several international conferences and seminars. He has worked with two Y Combinator startups Virool (S12) and ours: Platzi (W15), where he’s taught as a professor.
Follow Tomas on: Twitter; LinkedIn; Blog; Website
On the same subject: A career in marketing at Platzi
###Sylvia Ng (VP of Growth, 500px)
Sylvia is the vice president of growth and analytics at 500px, an online community for discovering, sharing, buying and selling inspirational photography. Along with her team, Sylvia has helped 500px to become home to over 7 million photographers and over 65 million photos. 500px recently closed a $13 million expansion round, backed by Andreessen Horowitz.
Before joining 500px, Sylvia held roles at Google, eBay, ScribbleLive, and OANDA. At Google, Sylvia managed a cross-functional team of data hackersâ€, with the aim of marketing the SMB program (AdWords Premier SMB Partner program). She received the Google Global Marketing Organization Gold and Platinum Awards for her work there, which included building an online analytics platform from scratch. At eBay, she worked on user acquisition and retention programs, which included marketing optimization for the Canadian market and contributions towards the adjustment of its algorithm. One of her mentees was recently included in the Forbes Top 30 under 30 list.
###Gustaf Alstramer (Growth Manager, Airbnb)
Gustaf Alstramer is the product manager of growth at Airbnb and has several years experience working in the field. He moved to the US eight years ago.
Gustaf is currently part of the product growth team at Airbnb, which is primarily made up of product people and engineers. He works for the growth of the company, and will be focusing on Asia for the next two years.
More about Gustaf: Video; Startup.co
Follow Gustaf on: Twitter; LinkedIn; Quora; Website
###Andy Johns (Vice President of Growth, Wealthfront)
Andy Johns has spent his career helping new businesses to grow. He started out as product manager at Facebook, Twitter and Quora, where he worked on active user growth. He was also the EIR (entrepreneur-in-residence) at Greylock Partners. He currently works as growth manager at Wealthfront, the worldâ€™s largest automated investment management service.
Andy works as an advisor to Cowboy Ventures, Homebrew and Maven Ventures, as well as helping grow companies like ClassPass, Poshmark, Flipboard, Artillery Games, Sidecar, Curbside, Accompany and KISSmetrics.
More about Andy: Video; Interview; Article
Follow Andy on: Twitter; LinkedIn; Quora; Website
###Grace Garey (Co-founder, Watsi)
Grace Garey is the co-founder of Watsi, a platform that funds health-care for people around the world.
Grace has a background in international relations. After living in Ghana and working with the International Rescue Committee, she joined Kiva in order to help grow its platform.
During her time there, she launched Watsi, which has gone on to become the first non-profit organization to be accepted into Y Combinator.
More about Grace: Video; Post; Podcast
Follow Grace on: Twitter; LinkedIn; CrunchBase; Watsi
###Alex Schultz (VP of Growth, Facebook)
Alex Schultz is the vice president of growth at Facebook. Before joining the company, he worked as marketing manager at eBay. Interestingly, he has no educational background in marketing, having studied physics at Cambridge University.
Schultz paid for college by doing online marketing. He learned SEO in the 90s, when he launched his first website â€“ although in truth, SEO was a lot simpler back in those days.
He was recently invited (by Sam Altman) to give a presentation on growth at Stanford University, during which he analyzed why retention is the most important metric for growth, how to operate for the growth of a startup, and tactics for growth that can be used in an online business.
More about Alex: Video of the aforementioned presentation
Follow Alex on: Twitter; LinkedIn; Blog; Facebook
###Andy Carvell (Full Stack Marketer, Growth, Ex-SoundCloud)
Src: Growth Hackers (https://growthhackers.com/amas/live-jun-28-ama-with-andy-carvell-creator-of-the-mobile-growth-stack-former-product-lead-for-retention-soundcloud-partner-at-phiture-mobile-growth-consultancy)
Andy joined SoundCloud in February 2011 to help drive adoption of the mobile app. During this time, he has seen a change in the mentality of the company, to the point that it has now become â€œmobile firstâ€. The use of the mobile now accounts for the majority of the growth and participation of the community. A little over a year ago, Andy set up a multidisciplinary team focused on user retention â€“ something he considers to be the most important growth metric â€“ with a strong focus on mobile.
The next step for Andy, after leaving SoundCloud, is to continue developing and helping startups and large businesses to apply this framework in practice, as a partner in the mobile growth consultancy firm, Phiture, along with another ex-SoundClouder, Moritz Daan.
More about Andy: Video; Startupbootcamp; Phiture
Follow Andy on: Twitter; LinkedIn; Blog; SoundCloud
###Casey Winters (Product Lead on Growth Team, Pinterest)
Casey Winters leads the acquisition product team at Pinterest, which focuses on increasing traffic to Pinterest and converting people into Pinners. Casey has worked on several growth projects at Pinterest over the last two years, during which time he has seen massive growth and a shift toward a global mindset. Pinterest hit a new peak of 100 million active users per month in September 2015.
Before joining Pinterest, Casey was the first marketer at GrubHub, where he built most of the marketing channels, including paid and organic search, offline marketing, email marketing, loyalty programs, and conversion optimization. During this time, GrubHub spread from 3 cities to over 500, and went public in April 2014.
More about Casey: Video; Podcast; Article
Follow Casey on: Twitter; LinkedIn; Blog; Pinterest
###Roxanne Varza (Director at La Halle Freyssinet)
Roxanne is director at the Halle Freyssinet startup project, which is set to be the largest startup incubator in the world. Prior to her current position, Roxanne worked at Microsoft France, where she headed up programs like BizSpark and Microsoft Ventures.
In April 2013, she was chosen by Business Insider as one of the â€˜30 most important women under 30 in techâ€™. Sheâ€™s also been listed in other rankings like Vanity Fair and Le Figaro, amongst others. Before working for Microsoft, she spent several years working for European startups. From 2010-2011, she worked as the editor of TechCrunch France. Roxana has contributed to a variety of other publications, including The Telegraph, The Kernel, Betakit and Business Insider.
More about Roxanne: HuffPost Article; Interview
Follow Roxanne on: Twitter; LinkedIn; CrunchBase; TechCrunch
###Paul Adams (VP of Product, Intercom)
Paul Adams is the vice president of product at Intercom and has 10 yearsâ€™ experience working as a designer, researcher and product manager at some of the worldâ€™s most influential companies. Before joining Intercom, he helped design Gmail, YouTube, Google+ and Facebook.
More about Paul: Video; Article; Podcast
Follow Paul on: Twitter; LinkedIn; Slideshare; CrunchBase
###Jose Luis Antunez (Digital Business and UX Consultant, Freelance)
Jose Luis has been starting companies and services since 2001. He specializes in business and design. He was the co-founder and organizer of EBE up until 2011, and the founder of YouAre, Blogs Media, CSSMania, Ideasapiens (from 2001 until it was sold in 2006). He is also the co-author of â€˜Blogsâ€™ (2005) and â€˜Web 2.0â€™ (2007).
As a child he often had no idea which button to press to call the elevator or whether to push or pull a door to get it to open. He also used to worry about how public areas â€“ especially airports and motorways â€“ were signposted. Without really being aware of it, he longed to be able to make life easier for people. Studying philosophy and psychology at the University of Barcelona and UNED gave him the chance to make an in-depth study of information architecture and interface design.
Jose Luis online: Twitter; LinkedIn; Website; Medium
###Sofia Benjumea (Head of Campus Madrid at Google)
Sofia Benjumea is the co-founder and CEO of Spain Startup, a company that promotes and organizes South Summit â€“ the leading startup conference in Southern Europe and Latin America. She currently works as the head of Campus Madrid at Google.
Sofia Benjumeaâ€™s professional career has always been closely linked to the world of technology and entrepreneurial spirit. She has a B.A. in international business administration from the Universidad Pontificia Comillas in Madrid and an MBA (specializing in digital media and digital marketing) from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. In 2012 she decided to become an entrepreneur so that she could help strengthen the Spanish entrepreneurial ecosystem and promote the sector within Spain.
More about Sofia: Video; Article; Loogic Interview
Follow Sofia on: Twitter; LinkedIn; Website; Campus Madrid
###Claudio Cossio (R&D, Nearsoft Labs)
Claudio works in the research and development (RD) department at Nearsoft Labs, a software development company in Hermosillo, Mexico. He also helps out with community growth initiatives for Mapillary, an app aimed at creating the largest visual map of the world. He began traveling in 2008 when he started working on a project for the real estate sector, with the aim of connecting with the sector in New York, San Diego (California), Mexico City and Barcelona. This meant he was crossing the Atlantic at least three times a year. In 2009 he organized the first 54 hour event to collaborate & create a Startup in Mexico through iWeekend a Spanish non-profit organization.
Prior to that, he worked remotely with projects like AppCircus, and later, with a digital marketing agency called Smartup, opening its office in Mexico City. His work there involved working with remote teams, in separate time zones. He was lucky enough to be part of the Geeks On A Plane (GOAP) LatAm â€“ an invite-only tour organized by 500 startups â€“ which lead to several new opportunities in the world of startups. He now splits his time between Hermosillo (Northern Mexico), Mexico City, Tijuana/San Diego and Barcelona.
More about Claudio: Video; Interview; The bad thing about being a digital nomad (Post!)
Follow Claudio on: Twitter; LinkedIn; Blog; AngelList
###Juan Lombana (Digital Marketing Manager, Gazelles Growth Institute â€“ â€ŽGoogle)
Juan has a degree in business and IT engineering from Monterrey Tec. At 19 years of age, he started working for Google, traveling the country and attending events (involving thousands of people) where he would lecture about Adwords to agencies from the program then known as Google Engage. While on tour, he fell in love with public speaking â€“ which is now the part of his job he enjoys the most. Google Partners Academy was born when the marketing team at Google Mexico decided to change how they did their in-person events and start a more scalable program.
Using the YouTube channel on Google For Your Business, they started an educational program that teaches you how to use Google Adwords and Google Analytics â€“ covering the basics right through to more advanced levels. During his work as Google regional trainer (at Google) he received a variety of certifications. He is certified in Search, Display, YouTube Ads, Shopping Ads, Mobile Ads and Analytics.
More about Juan: Video (Tutorial); Article; Your business on the internet (Conference)
Follow Juan on: Twitter; LinkedIn; Blog; Google Experts; English posts on Platzi blogs (1; 2)
###Sandi MacPherson (Founder and CEO, Quibb)
Src: Hack to Start (http://hacktostart.com/sandi-macpherson/)
Originally from Halifax, New Scotland, Sandi moved to the SF Bay area in 2012 so that she could immerse herself in the world of startups and consumer technology. There she learned about tech products and social platforms by creating and designing several (failed) startups and digital products. Mid-2013, Sandi founded Quibb â€“ a platform for tech professionals to share and discuss industry news. She started Quibb in 2013 from the heart of the Silicon Valley, in the coffee shops of Palo Alto.
Before founding Quibb, Sandi worked in biotechnology, and holds an MBA from Torontoâ€™s Schulich School of Business, which she obtained after focusing on the environmental sector in Canada.
More about Sandi: Podcast; Interview; Video
Follow Sandi on: Twitter; LinkedIn; CrunchBase; Podcast
I hope you’ve enjoyed reviewing this list, and have found it to be helpful! These are my top 15 who are yours?