Tell us a little about yourself – how long have you been working for Aries? What did you do before joining Aries?
I’ve been with Aries since 2007 and started as an apprentice while I was still in college. Originally, I planned to be drafted for military duty upon graduation. I was lucky, though, as military service had just been suspended at the time I graduated and so I stayed at Aries!
In 2010 I began a full-time position as an Account Coordinator. Therefore, I can say that I’ve been with Aries since my late teens that this has been my first and only job to date! I am based out of Germany.
What have your roles at Aries been?
I have been an Account Coordinator in the Client Services Department since day one. Although I stayed in the same position, my responsibilities have expanded as our customer base gradually grew.
At the beginning, I was tasked with implementations, trainings and providing support for a subset of journals and conferences, mostly located in Germany, while learning a lot about our products. Through the years I’ve taken on more responsibility with more customers to support and manage. I was given a lot of time to slowly grow into the role that I’m in today.
How have your previous roles helped you in your current position?
As I had mentioned, Aries has really been my only job since college, so I don’t have previous professional experience at a different company or in a different field. However, I think my educational background in technology helps me adapt to new features and understand how software and its components work. I’d say I’m very passionate about finding out how features work and love looking behind the curtains.
Being an Account Coordinator at Aries for such a long time, working with many customers of various sizes and levels of experience has been immensely valuable. I’ve had the opportunity to actively implement all of our products throughout the years and that has allowed me to better understand publishers’ needs and how we can meet them.
How do you stay up-to-date with customer needs?
I think the best way to stay up-to-date is to listen to our customers, be open to their ideas, discuss and analyze their needs. I maintain a very close relationship with the Aries customers I work with. They are encouraged to approach me with anything that comes to their mind – and they do so. I frequently receive suggestions, feature and beta testing feedback directly from customers. Our annual European user group meeting, EEMUG, is a great opportunity to meet with customers in person and discuss their EM/PM deployments.
As someone who has never worked in publishing previously, customers are the most valuable source to, at least on the surface, get to know where the industry is headed.
From within Aries, Product Management does an outstanding job of analyzing customer needs and developing features that meet those requirements. Feature releases are the direct result of successfully evaluating customer workflow needs and also set trends. We discuss software releases with customers and also update one another internally to ensure a high standard of proficiency.
Tell me about your department and the people you work most closely with.
I was actually going to say that I’m more of a ‘soloist’ and work independently to some extent but then I reminded myself that I have to charge my business phone twice a day… so there’s probably much more talking than I’m willing to admit here!
Generally, we constantly exchange information within and beyond the Client Services department by having frequent meetings, exchanging emails and nonchalantly chatting in Slack – and many phone calls! Everyone on the Aries Client Services (CS) team is committed to offering the best solutions and service for the publishers they work with. From implementing a workflow to troubleshooting a problem – that is often team effort!
With whom I work most closely with? I would say with the Account Coordinators and Account Managers on the CS team that coordinate on the same projects or customer base as I. On the CS team, there’s always that one expert on something, or someone being very knowledgeable about a certain feature. It is also very beneficial to have a diverse department in terms of background; some had previously worked at a publisher, others have experience in technology and software. Plus, we are a global team, with members operating in the USA, UK, EU and beyond, so we are always working together to provide the best service!
Describe your typical workday.
I wouldn’t say that there’s a typical workday, but rather that I follow a rough structure throughout the day. The morning is usually dedicated to reading and responding to emails. This is especially so because a lot of things happen in the evening due to the time difference.
A typical workday almost exclusively revolves around customer inquiries in conjunction with our products, that can be of any sort, from short and concise questions, trainings, feature demonstrations and discussions to the further processing of larger projects. This entails troubleshooting and reading feature specifications, which results in documenting, summarizing and exchanging information.
I also spend a significant amount of time giving advice internally and participating in troubleshooting and workflow discussions. At the end of my typical workday in Germany, when the sun rises in America, I frequently have meetings, internally or with customers.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
I absolutely enjoy working globally in a very diverse community and meeting many people from different cultures and backgrounds. As I maintain a very close relationship with my customers, there is always time for a casual chat to get to know people, their business and their culture better.
Every day is somewhat unique as I handle a wide range of tasks and am involved with all of our products as well as vendors that we collaborate with. It can be a real challenge to find the best solution for our customers. There are so many ideas that they come up with!
What I love about working at Aries is that it’s not a mundane job and has a certain level of independence that requires time management and self-organization. Not everybody likes that, I think troubleshooting is also quite fun – finding patterns and creating evidence. Feels a bit like television CSI!
What are you currently reading, listening to, or watching?
I must admit that I read much less than I want to. There’s always a dusty book sitting on my bedstand that I hardly ever touch. I live next to a public square that has a book exchange shelf… I could read so much.
I listen to music a lot while working, commuting and working out. I’m currently waiting for The Weeknd’s new album to drop! Also, I love true crime podcasts – they always give me chills!
I do watch shows and movies, though! I just finished season two of Narcos: Mexico and am watching season two of Altered Carbon.
We are missing “playing” in the question! Although very irregular, I still enjoy those “lazy weekends” in which I meet with friends and play FIFA and such. I’m that guy who is awful at playing but takes it far too seriously. Consequentially, I get beaten in the game and can get mad; really be a sore loser haha!
Tell me about some of your hobbies/interests outside of work?
I usually try to stay fit and do some kind of activity every evening, that is often weather depended; Running, lifting weights in the gym, cycling, hiking/climbing, soccer and occasionally table tennis. I recently got more into hiking, the challenging kind; high altitude, not showering for days, “bug spray has no power here”. Doing things outdoors is really fun and I’m kind of envious at people that live nearby mountains. It’s so flat here…
I absolutely love traveling and I spend every single holiday abroad. At best as unorganized as possible; no itinerary or bookings ahead, just a backpack and a plane ticket.
I somewhat like fashion, looking around and realizing that every room of my apartment, including attic and basement, turned partly into a “shoe room”. So, I have way too many shoes! I often think to myself while shopping “nice boots; camel suede or black? Well, why not both!”