Leadership at Scale: Amir Abou Baker, Head of Global Markets @ WhatsApp

In this episode, Hugo welcomes Amir Abou Baker, an American Lebanese-Puerto Rican Industrial Engineer with a masters in Engineering Management and Business Strategy working at WhatsApp Inc., as the Head of Global Markets. He is a technology and operations executive with skills in retail, operational transformations and scaling strategy for global operations that has travelled a lot and worked and led teams overseas. Amir shares his exceptional labour journey at Accenture, GE, Google, Oscar Insurance, TaskRabbit and Whatsapp, transitioning from one to another into different fields.

Tune in as they talk about his reason for this transitioning from one field to another, the GE’s OMLP rotational program Amir went through to build leadership and functional skills and focus on operations in Media & Entertainment for NBCUniversal where his first project was managing Highlights at the Beijing Olympics Highlights Factory, his operation management and retail skills at Google, his member services at Oscar Insurance, directing Global Operations at TaskRabbit and what they are, and his role at Whatsapp.

Show notes:

* 01:15 – Welcoming Amir* 01:26 – About Amir* 02:16 – Why Industrial Engineering* 02:57 – “Engineers make things, industrial engineers make things better” Operation mentality leading into personal life* 05:35 – About GE and why operations* 07:12 – Work at NBCUniversal – First project Highlights at the Beijing Olympics Highlights Factory

SETTING A PROCESS FOR HIGHLIGHT CLIPS AT BEIJING OLYMPICS

Universal has between 2 and 5 OMLPs, so the projects they worked on were the most strategic in the company. Amir’s first project was the Beijing Olympics managing the highlights factory, where he would get a request from the director, give it to the shot pickers that would put together and edit highlight clips, and then ship them off to the different work stream. The Olympics lasted 16 days and on the first day they set a process of seven steps to cut a clip and get it to the profit partner. They started making daily improvements, and the process evolved taking every day less time to develop a clip. First day they took 1 hour, and by the end of day 14, it took them only 20 minutes to get a request, cut a clip and get it to the profit partner

* 09:37 – Feeling about making decisions on highlights* 10:22 – GE’s OMLP Rotation program – Process to ramp-up quickly* 12:09 – Same process for Google and WhatsApp?* 13:04 – When leading, meeting every single team member across different geographies?* 15:26 – Transition between industries – From GE to Google

TRANSITION FROM ENTERTAINMENT TO TECH, A NEW FRONTIER

While  finishing GE rotational program and being the manager of strategy and operations at Universal Studios Sound Department in Los Angeles, everybody was starting to talk about a fast growing Google in Bay Area of San Francisco. Went online and randomly applied for a job in strategy operations in Google with success. A new frontier in Tech.

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