Santiago Canepa had thoughts of becoming a doctor before he discovered computers. As a middle schooler in Argentina, where he was raised, his friend had a desktop. The two boys were hooked. They loved playing games, looking at computer programs and studying BASIC. Santiago was a curious teen who enjoyed simple circuits, numeric systems, and enjoyed the simplicity of coding. All the letters and numbers coming together to create something he envisioned was very motivating to him.
Santiago’s skills and passion for coding continued to blossom. By the time he was in high school, Santiago successfully created a database for his friend’s dad. He and his buddy continued their small business ventures in their free time. They started writing code to help wedding videographers manage their businesses. Consistent small tech jobs coupled with continuing education were a constant for Santiago. And when he got to college, he began working with the Argentinian government in the internal revenue service focusing on tax evasion. Santiago would administer the audits for potential fraud. It was a thrilling job at times and helped give Santiago the skill to identify suspicious bookkeeping. Because he often part of the team meeting with executives of the companies who were being reviewed, this experience also taught him how to appear confident in front of business leaders.
Santiago’s dedication to learn did not stop after college. He was constantly soaking up any aspect of IT that he could. He was always in step with new leading-edge technology. Santiago wanted to pursue the democratization of computing, and this is where Microsoft would come in. After speaking with consultants for the company, he was invited to work in a Microsoft Certified Training Center as a trainer and consultant in Microsoft technologies. Santiago spent a lot of time creating scenarios, running programs on different computers, and testing ideas and theories. His goal was to always make sure the programs were capable of doing what they said they would do. When he could make things work, he was filled with satisfaction and pride. He likens it to building Legos. By keeping things simple, he could focus on the central problem “bricks”, and swiftly find a better way to build it back up again.
He credits Microsoft with helping him to always identify the core of a problem. This style of field engineering, learning to focus on what matters the most, working through roadblocks, having razor sharp focus on a specific issue, listening and understanding to what customers want, both in what they say and don’t say—it is all a part of his process. Santiago feels privileged to be a part of the CSE team, where he is a steward to the product team and the customer. Marrying the two together has given him a deep appreciation for the work he is doing every day.