Ana Santiago

Ana Santiago


Time in tech 5 years
Current role Head of Communications @ Startup Lisboa
Place of origin Lisbon, Portugal

Tell us more about you:

Early years and where you came from?

I’ve been working for the Lisbon’s Municipality since 1996, mostly in the press office, cultural affairs and internal communications, and now I’m assigned at Startup Lisboa, since 2013. Before that I’ve worked as a journalist in a radio and in a magazine while I was getting my BA in Communication. I usually say that “Faço cultura por fora”, so I have always worked in other things besides the City Hall, in cinema, as a copy writer, as host and PR in a weekly cultural event, as an editor, as a ghost writer for my friends.

How were you introduced to the world of the Portuguese tech industry?

When I was invited to join Startup Lisboa’s team, four years ago. I didn’t even knew what a startup was. It’s been a great journey. I like challenges and to decode things I don’t understand.

Walk me through your work and what you are doing now in the tech industry.

As Head of Communications, my job is to provide the best image of Startup Lisboa inside and out the incubator, by enhancing the public awareness of the startups we support. My goal is helping entrepreneurs to shine through the brand Startup Lisboa, and create a good internal environment by providing useful information, tools and content to the development of their businesses. Nevertheless, since I work in a very small team, we all do a little bit of everything. In this world you can not reduced yourself to a job’s title, and sometimes it’s hard to focus on your tasks. Most of the times I say that I do what is urgent and I delay what sometimes it’s important. To summarize: I’m a natural born PR: It fits in almost everything I do.  Recently I’ve started to develop Startup Lisboa’s merchandising project and I’m thrill with the project and its potential to our brand and to the sense of community. A lot of work ahead!

What part of what you do, you love the most?

Getting the chance to know all sort of people and connecting them. Either you’re coding, selling, designing, painting, filming… it’s all about people. You can have the best code or the best business model, but at the end it’s all about the people behind it. I love people. And I have met great people at Startup Lisboa. I feel happy whenever they get success, I feel sad when they fail, like it was my own successes and failures.

How do you think that your background and knowledge impact the way you approach your work in the Portuguese tech industry?

When your background is social sciences and cultural affairs you probably have a more flexible way to approach life. You don’t get stuck in concepts and rules. You are used to people pursuing their dreams and doing a lot of uncommon things to achieve them. You’re free to analyze and decode things and people with a wider vision. You tend to think about solutions instead of problems. You’re used to see the world upside down. You’re a dreamer without a business plan. So you can add some dream to the business, and learn about business to add it to your dream. I’m still working on that.

What advice do you have for young women that want to get into tech and don’t know where to start?

Talk with women and men that are already doing stuff, go to events and pre-accelerators programs, get engaged in the community, reading a lot about tech businesses, search for the best practices and stories on internet, discover what you want to copy and what you hate and never would do. But most of all find your passion and purpose, what do you want to be. Don’t think about money, think about your passion. When you’re moved by passion everything will sorted out just fine and money will come; Seems easy, but actually finding out what you actually want is one of the most difficult things to do in life. Last but not least: find the best people to join you in the ride. The team is the key to success. And also: It’s never too late to (re)start. (I keep saying this to myself…).

Walk me through a day in your life as a Portuguese women in tech.

I am not a morning person, so I start working very slowly when I’m connecting my iPhone between 8 and 9 am, checking e-mails and social media, and I finish the work day when I turn off the iPhone, most of the times after midnight. In the middle, I mix businesses with pleasures. Always.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Better done than perfect.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

All the apps/software by the startups members of Startup Lisboa, of course! In particular, I’m using in a daily base two platforms: Outplanr, to organize our teamwork, and Facestore for our merchandise. Squarespace, Mailchimp, Google tools, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are indispensable work tools, and I’m starting to use Workplace. I use Citymaper almost everydays (I’ve a terrible sense of orientation) and I’m addicted to shopping online meaning my iphone is full of retail mobile apps.