Ludovico Barro, Application Engineer: „This job means discovering and learning something new every day, at a pace that I had personally never experienced in any other situation.“
A native of Italy, Ludovico Barro has studied in his home country, in Sweden, and in Austria, and worked in Florence before joining the company in September 2019. At Skeleton, he is an Application Engineer, a versatile and important role acting as the link between Sales and Product Development.
Can you please tell us more about your background and previous experience?
My academic curriculum, my previous job, and my position at Skeleton, at first glance might look all over the place: I have a Bachelor in mechanical engineering, a master in turbomachinery and thermodynamics, and my last work experience was as an analyst for Baker Hughes, a General Electric company. It’s only since I joined Skeleton that I have started my journey in energy storage systems.
You have studied in several countries: Italy, Sweden, and Austria. How important has this international experience been for your professional and personal development?
It has been extremely important. Starting with the most basic benefit, which was acquiring fluency in English more than I would have ever done remaining in my home country. Italy is a bit behind in Europe regarding bilingualism, we try our best to be helpful with tourists, but it ends there. Switching to English to access information in our daily life, allows us to increase exponentially our available resources.
Then, the cultural aspect. Being an Italian Erasmus student in Sweden was like diving naked into ice-cold water: most of my university colleagues would travel to Spain, good food, nice weather, great parties. But if I wanted to live a foreign experience, what about having a cultural shock in a country that has much less in common with my nest?
In Austria, I was working on my master thesis and it taught me what a working life abroad would taste like. You are not completely a student anymore, you start wondering „what’s next?“ and being in a new place can give you a very different point of view and inspiring ideas.
I guess the underlying lesson is the good old „magic happens outside of your comfort zone“ story, which I can only confirm. The more you change your perspective, the more you see. The more you see, the more you respect what’s different from you. The more you discover, the more you realize how little you know. And how much longer the road ahead is.
How did you hear about Skeleton and what motivated you to apply for a position, especially coming from a large company such as Baker Hughes?
When I applied for my position, Skeleton was much less loud and visible on the social platforms compared to the present. I found the job offer on Linkedin, started to dig the web to learn more about the company. And I really liked what I found. I knew that I wanted to work in the energy storage segment, I knew that I wanted to be an application engineer, I just didn’t know if Skeleton wanted me.
Jumping from a colossal corporate into a startup is a change that inevitably made me think, but then I focused on what I didn’t like of the environment I had worked in until then: too much politics, to little passion. I couldn’t be more glad of my choice.
At Skeleton, you are working as an application engineer. Can you tell us more about your role?
This is a good question because reading the CVs of applicants to my team's open positions, I realized there is still much confusion about it. I will make an example:
If you are a customer facing a tech company, most probably you have „a problem“ that you want to solve, but you don’t know what to ask your potential supplier. Your supplier is expecting a defined „Request for Quotation“, which is an official document listing what service or products he or she is required to provide to the customer. There is obviously a gap, and the conversation is not fruitful.
That’s where I do my part. I translate the „problem“ of the customer into something that can be solved with our products. Whether it’s a single ultracapacitor cell, a marine vessel, or a high-voltage grid station, I put together a rough concept that could link our products to the customer application. The customer gets to know what the benefit would be, how much it would cost, what the footprint would be, together with a rough overview of the system layout. The company gets to know the market, understands what features are more requested by the clients, what are the pro and cons of our products against competition, what new products should be developed in the future. It’s the link between Sales and Product Development.
What do you like the most in your job and the company?
This job means discovering and learning something new every day, at a pace that I have personally never experienced in any other situation. You need to be talkative enough to speak with customers 50% of our working hours, but technical enough to understand what they are saying and solve their problems. Most of all, you need to love it. I guess I am in the right place, that’s all.
Skeleton is a family, where you won’t find destructive competition, but only constant support from everyone you end up talking to. Everyone has that light of passion in their eyes that makes me think „great things will happen“. And many have happened already.
How do you manage to keep a healthy work/life balance and what do you like to do outside work?
Managing stress is important. Don’t panic if you have many different requests over the day: put them on a list, prioritize, and start with the first one.
I have pretty varied interests. I love riding my bicycle, hiking, and cooking (of course, I am Italian). But I also discovered recently that I like woodworking, oil painting, and film photography. Also, does beer count as a hobby?