Coming Full Circle

“LET’S GO!!!!”

It’s a pump-up phrase you’ll often hear around Bitwise – a way to infuse energy, celebrate hard work, and an encouragement to keep grinding. It’s also a phrase most commonly used by a single person on the Bitwise team, a hype man for anyone and everyone. Chances are if you run into him, he’ll offer up his trademark fist bump and a welcoming smile. It’s almost impossible to not feel capable of just about anything after an interaction with Arturo Ceballos.

Arturo is Bitwise’s Director of Online Marketing. On an average day, you can find him working alongside his sister, Vanessa, on the creation, management, and delivery of paid online advertisements across different social networks. You can also spot him leading one of the newest Geekwise Academy Cohorts, focused specifically on creating paid advertisements for the many different things Bitwise entities do on a day-to-day basis. It’s easy to see why Arturo took on this role – his positive attitude, encouraging personality, and welcoming demeanor are perfect for a group of Geekwise students starting the Cohort journey. But this is more than the simple opportunity to lead a Cohort. For Arturo, this is his unique story coming full circle.

“Arturo was always the smartest kid in our family,” said Vanessa Ceballos, Arturo’s sister. “Ironically, his grades never showed how smart he actually was. Most teachers would probably label him as lost or troublesome, but he was just bored and lacked motivation.” 

Arturo was a college dropout, who barely made it through high school, and could never seem to find a career direction and stick with it. Arturo’s fateful intersection with Geekwise Academy and Bitwise Industries came during a rough season of his life. 

“I was living at home and couldn’t think of anything to do. I got stuck in a rut. I was depressed because I felt like I had a purpose in life, and then it was gone.”

Arturo Ceballos

When Arturo’s mother came home with some paperwork about a place called Bitwise Industries, that she described as the “Google of Fresno,” he brushed it off. Luckily Vanessa jumped at the chance to take Geekwise Academy’s Boot Camp One. When she came home after just a few days of classes having already built websites from scratch, it piqued Arturo’s interest.

He wanted in too. 

He fell in love with coding, his classmates, and Bitwise in general. Every class was an opportunity to learn something new and immediately put it to work. “Vanessa and I would stay up until 2, 3, or 4 in the morning,” Arturo said. “We’d be up coding all night, trying to learn more.” And it wasn’t just the technical skills that were helping Arturo, Geekwise was giving him a sense of direction he had so desperately been needing.

“When you’re stuck and floundering, it’s a horrible feeling,” Arturo recalled. “But it felt good being motivated and wanting to wake up and put your mind to something and then not wanting to sleep because you’re so excited about it.”

Pretty soon Arturo found himself sitting in a classroom where Bitwise Co-Founders Jake Soberal and Irma Olguin Jr. pitched the idea of a “Cohort” program. Geekwise students would work on real projects for real money, all under the supervision and mentorship of a seasoned web developer. 

Arturo had never seen someone speak as passionately as Jake and Irma did. When Jake asked the room if there were any questions, Arturo’s hand shot up. He didn’t have a question – he wanted to sign up, right then and there. 

Arturo was selected as a member of the first-ever Geekwise Academy Cohort, and was waking up daily, motivated to learn, build, and grow. Greg Goforth, Chief Technology Officer at Bitwise Industries, was tasked with leading the first Geekwise Cohort. “The thing that stood out to me about Arturo was his show-up mentality,” Greg remembered. “Even when struggling with challenging programming topics, he kept at it. At the point where others would get frustrated, Arturo always dug in.” 

Vanessa, who was also a participant in the inaugural Cohort, remembers the experience well. “It was the first time I saw Arturo find direction in his life,” Vanessa said. “He was finally challenged and applying himself.” 

Arturo’s time in the Cohort was absolutely transformational for him and his story. “Those six months in the Cohort were the most focused I’ve ever been in my life,” said Arturo. “It was the first time in a very long time I had people that believed in me.”

And believe in him they did.

At the conclusion of his Cohort program, Jake and Irma invited Arturo, Vanessa, and a few other Cohort participants on a tour of the soon-to-be Bitwise South Stadium building. They walked through the abandoned building, listening to Jake and Irma share what was going to fill the vacant hallways, office spaces, classrooms, car ramp, and more. They ended up on the top floor in the space that would soon become Bitwise HQ. Jake described the vision for Bitwise and then invited the group to be a part of it. 

Talk about a life-changing moment. 

“It was the best feeling of my life. People finally believed in me. My parents were proud. Honestly, I felt like I was home.”

Arturo Ceballos

Fast forward a few years, through a few tech start-ups, plus a quick move to the Bay Area and back, and Arturo found himself at Bitwise again. It was around this time that Irma launched a series of workshops on Facebook ads, Arturo attended and as could be expected, became a hype man for everyone involved. Similar to his introduction to coding, he was hooked.

Arturo began seeking out every learning opportunity he could about online marketing, even if it meant sitting on the floor of Irma’s living room eating pizza while she led workshops on Facebook’s Ad Manager. He was motivated to learn and put his new knowledge into practice. Pretty soon, Irma approached him about developing online marketing campaigns for a few of Bitwise’s companies. It started with one, then two, and eventually Arturo began transitioning from web development into a brand-new online marketing role.

Soon after, Arturo brought Vanessa onboard to help develop and manage online marketing campaigns. When asked if he would consider leading a Geekwise Cohort focused on online marketing, Arturo jumped at the opportunity.

“This wasn’t my plan. I was going to be managing a team of two people, and that was cool. But this brings everything full circle.”

Arturo Ceballos

Arturo’s leadership of this Cohort is more than just lessons on sales funnels and budgets. He knows how it feels to be lost without direction, about the opportunity a Geekwise Cohort can provide, and about the personal development and growth something like this can offer. 

“The Cohort experience primed Arturo for what was to come,” said Greg, who led the Geekwise Cohort Arturo participated in. “He is the literal example that we point to when we talk about what a Cohort can do.” 

The Online Marketing Cohort is the first of its kind, focused on building, managing, and evaluating paid advertising efforts at Bitwise Industries. Cohortians are getting the unique experience of working under Arturo’s leadership, and his hype-man attitude every day. 

“Arturo calls us a fam for a reason,” Cohortian Sula Brown remarks. “He sees each of us as important pieces of a whole, making us feel that we truly belong here, within Geekwise and Bitwise Industries.” 

Arturo is truly focused on each Cohort member’s experience, helping them find the same direction, motivation, and encouragement he also found during the Cohort program. 

These days Arturo’s leading his Cohort and Bitwise’s online marketing efforts over Google Hangouts and Zoom calls.  Despite the challenges, the online marketing has been producing top quality paid advertisements across a variety of Bitwise’s social platforms, promoting events, projects, and initiatives to new audiences everyday. Since Bitwise shifted to a work-from-home model for the remainder of 2020, he and Vanessa have made it a priority to stay connected with the Cohort and the rest of the Bitwise community. “I think most everyone loves working with Arturo because he carries this beautiful, infectious energy with him,” Vanessa said.

“It’s possible Arturo wakes up wondering how many fist bumps he can give in a day – but it all comes down to him just wanting to make people feel good about themselves.” 

Vanessa Ceballos

Social distancing? Work from home? The craziest year ever? Everyone at Bitwise knows these setbacks have nothing on the world’s best hype man. Arturo’s grit and determination are inspiring. But, his kindness is unrivaled. And even in these uncertain times, Arturo’s found a way to make the best of the challenges AND opportunities in front of him. And to be honest, his trademark “LET’S GO!” is just as motivating through headphones, as it is in person.

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