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Michael Meister, Marketing Specialist, Bern

"At home, I'd be lost without chatbots."

The Japanese love robots. They think of them as human - and not simply a programmed device. I find chatbots fascinating. I am currently developing one at Swisscom for Skype for Business: I find it really exciting to be creating a type of cognitive being. At home, I'd be lost without chatbots - especially when communicating with my Japanese wife Kie and her family. We use Line messaging - the Asian WhatsApp - to translate English and Japanese for us in real time. I met my wife one and a half years ago during my language placement over there. Afterwards, we Facetimed one another every day, she in Fukuoka, me in Matzendorf; sometimes even sending each other to sleep. In Summer, Kie moved over here to live with me. We are finally together.

Penny Schiffer, Head of StartUp Initiatives, Zurich

“Patronise start-ups? It’s an absolute no-no.”

I’d never have discovered some start-ups without my network. I attend start-up conferences regularly and act as juror for competitions or use Twitter, where I now have 8000 followers. Just scouting for cool, tech-savvy hipsters and geeks doesn’t work. You need a talent for working out which start-ups and technologies might be an interesting business proposition for Swisscom. Take the following example: we were only able to implement our popular call filter for the fixed network thanks to a start-up from French-speaking Switzerland that took the blacklist and technology to the next level. Can Swisscom afford to take a patronising tone with start-ups? Absolutely not. Being on an equal footing is a must. It’s the only way to go to market as partners.

  

Philippe Douglas, Service Desk Quality Manager, Lausanne

"I began my career in the world of professional football."

I completed my compulsory school education up to high school before turning to the world of professional sport (football) when I was about 18. In 1989 I was alongside Stéphane Chapuisat on the pitch at Basel when Switzerland drew with Belgium 2:2. I completed my IT training in several IT colleges and institutions alongside my sport activities. My present job is Quality Manager (equivalent to a supervisor) at Swisscom. I’ve been in the IT sector for 15 years and I’ve always worked in Support. Thanks to my sport background, I’m well-equipped to deal with stress and communicate with people. Being productive and doing jobs according to my principles is what motivates me. Every new day brings its share of work, satisfaction and challenges.

Dominic Corti, Senior Escalation Manager, Bern

"I always keep a cool head."

When my phone rings, so do the alarm bells. As an escalation manager I’m the first person people call when things go very wrong. These are faults that are reported in 20 minutes. Does that stress me out? Not any more. I have to keep a cool head in emergencies. Transparency is very important for customers. They want to know what progress we have made and what we’ve found out. Explained in simple, factual terms. I always divide major faults into different phases and prioritise short, medium and long-term activities. In doing so, I keep various options open. I never put all my eggs in one basket. Being methodical works in my private life as well. I’m getting married this year. That’s a major personal project, but you don’t need a troubleshooter for it!

Lukas Hohl, ICT architect, Zurich

"I look out for the little things."

I have to set the right priorities. That’s the most important part of my job. As a Swisscom TV product owner I’m the point of contact for customers, managers, developers and partners. Their requirements usually exceed the resources and budget at my disposal. So the moment of truth strikes: what do we tackle first? What has to wait? My decisions impact directly on the customer experience of more than one million TV users. I aim to offer customers the best experience. That sometimes keeps me awake at night. I pay attention to the details and the minor discrepancies when I take decisions, because they often make the difference. Luckily, over time you tend to develop a gut feeling.

  

Arijana Walcott, Business Development Manager, Palo Alto Outpost

"Clash of cultures at close quarters"

I seek out trends for Swisscom in Silicon Valley. I connect people with people, topics, resources. Sometime I have to mediate when cultures clash: such as between my Swisscom colleagues who like to put a technology through its paces first and the wild Californian start-ups who make off-the-cuff decisions. I’m very impatient myself – which is probably why I fit in so well, because everyone is like that here. Obviously, I miss my family and friends in Switzerland. My three-year-old son skypes with my Mum every day: they read books or play at make-believe. Next year though, my outpost days will be over and we’ll be returning to Switzerland. With a smile and a tear.