Please meet... Alexander Schebler

16 June 2021

Alexander Schebler, co-founder and VP carrier relations, EMnify

Alexander Schebler, co-founder and VP carrier relations, EMnify

What was your big career break?
The most significant milestone in my career to date was founding EMnify, together with Frank Stoecker and Martin Giess. When I think back to that decision, we didn’t even consider it a decision – we were compelled to start the company based on what we had collectively seen in our telecom’s careers so far. We recognized early that connectivity would have to become a cloud-native resource. So, we set out to ensure that it did, completely disrupting the telecoms market.

Who was your hero when you were growing up?
I always looked up to my dad and continue to, today. He’s not at all into computers and technology! He is a true craftsman – he skillfully and thoughtfully applies his mind and his hands to every project or task – whether creating something from scratch, improving it, repairing it, however big or small. We have even built houses together. I really admire his focus, diligence and commitment to his craft – he gives it everything but still manages to be there for his family.

If you had to work in a different industry, which would it be?
This is tricky. I honestly haven’t ever given it much thought. I know I’m right where I should be. But if I had to choose… On a personal level, I’m a car fan and so I do take an interest in the automotive industry. But on a professional level, I need quick feedback loops, fast growth, disruption – visible positive change every day! I think I’m too impatient to work in the automotive industry.

What would you do with £1m?
Invest it in EMnify! We recently celebrated our 7th anniversary. It’s incredible what we’ve done in that time: completely transform a complex cellular connectivity into an easy to consume cloud offering, build the largest GSM footprint that a non-MNO company ever built - covering 185 countries with 350+ direct roaming agreements (and still growing). Just last week, we launched LTE-M service in 45 countries.

We’ve grown the team to 112 global IoT experts who serve almost 2000 customers – enabling groundbreaking IoT solutions worldwide. And, we have only just begun! But you never know what opportunities the ecosystem of tomorrow will bring – so it always helps to be ready to jump on them.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
It’s a mixture of things but it all comes down to taking a breath before reacting – to anything, in work or in life. Yes, we all want to make decisions quickly. But every decision should be given the time and consideration it needs. Don’t send that reactive e-mail at the end of the day, if you don’t have to – sleep on it. Always sleep on it. We are at our best when we are calm and have given things due consideration. People will appreciate a considered response more than a rushed one.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I love travelling and have been very fortunate to be able to travel a lot in my life – in Africa and Asia, for example. I have a huge appreciation for southeast Asia. I love Hong Kong: the vibrancy and energy and people! But when it comes to living in a place – ideally it should be calm, quiet, safe since I’m not just thinking of myself but of my family. That said – being close to an airport is always a bonus!

What’s the best thing about your job and industry?
The global aspect of what we do and the interaction with customers and suppliers on a truly global scale - different cultures and languages come with different expectations and interactions. It can be challenging, at times, but most of the time it’s incredibly enriching. A very concrete example to bring to life what I mean: EMnify’s first customer was in Australia. A German start-up with its first customer in Australia? We didn’t know borders from day one.

What will you do when you retire?
I have no idea. I don’t give it much thought. I think if you’re thinking a lot about retirement at my age then you’re longing for an escape, but I can happily confirm this isn’t the case!

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned?
It’s no secret that starting a company brings with it many pressures – both inside and outside of the actual job. There are two important lessons I learned the hard way in the early days of EMnify’s founding – 1) learn to say no, and 2) you can’t please everyone. As much as you want to make a decision that guarantees the best outcome for everyone involved – this is hardly ever possible. Trying to please everyone usually ends up upsetting everyone!