Rackspace Vice President and General Manager for Latin America Jairo Romero, Rackspace General Manager for Mexico Pilar Mercado, Rackspace Senior Vice president for Americas Division Odus Wittenburg, and Graham Weston Chairman and Co-founder of Rackspace. Photo courtesy of Rackspace.

Editor’s Note: Can you say Apoyo Fanático? Rackspace apparently can, now that it has opened a new office in Mexico City, giving the cloud computing company a toehold south of the border that could grow into a much larger presence throughout Latin America in the years ahead. The expansion adds to the company’s international footprint with its long-established operations in Europe and Asia. Rackspace Co-Founder and non-executive Chairman Graham Weston recently posted his take on the move after attending the Mexico City opening. The Rivard Report is hosted by Rackspace.

I was delighted last week to visit Mexico City and celebrate the opening of our new Rackspace office there, amid longtime customers, local dignitaries, and the Rackers on both sides of the border who have made this expansion possible.

The opening of a new office in Mexico City is very personal for me. It’s a moment that I’ve looked forward to since, literally, the first day that Rackspace opened for business almost 16 years ago.

On that first day, after our website went live and we deployed our online advertising, customers started signing up at a rapid pace. I went to the Racker who was tracking our sales and asked where the new customers were coming from.

About half were from other countries. And most of those were from Mexico.

Now, that wasn’t a total surprise to us, given that our headquarters are in San Antonio. But we did see it as an opportunity. So we sent one of our founders to business conferences in Mexico, along with one of our early Rackers, who was a Mexican national.

Her name is Madel Robles, and she came to us straight from St. Mary’s University. I’m pleased to say that she’s still with us as a manager in our marketing department.

Madel had family in Monterrey and Veracruz, and she worked those family ties for business leads. She even went cold-calling to businesses in certain verticals, like movie theaters, where we noticed that we were attracting customers.

Since then, of course, the market in Mexico and the rest of Latin America has grown rapidly, both in size and sophistication. And we plan to grow right along with it. Today, about 100 of our Rackers are dedicated to our operations in Latin America.

They serve more than 3,000 business customers in 30 countries across the region.

We’re opening our Mexico City office with about 20 Rackers, led by our general manager, Pilar Mercado.

We plan to double and redouble the Racker count in Mexico fairly quickly. And we hope to open similar offices in other important business capitals in Latin America.

Over the past year or so, we’ve also been expanding our services in local languages. We’ve built Spanish and Portuguese versions of our website and hired more — and more fluent — Spanish and Portuguese speakers for our support teams and sales teams.

You know, before we started this project, we thought we had a lot of Spanish speakers at Rackspace. But then we found out that the Spanish that some of us speak isn’t familiar to anyone south of Laredo.

One of my co-founders at Rackspace, Dirk Elmendorf, observed early on that “people want to yell at you in their own language.” We, of course, hope our customers don’t have occasion to yell at us very often. But Dirk had a good point. Things do go wrong in computing from time to time, whether you do it with Rackspace, with one of our competitors, or in-house.

The question for the customer is this: When you call your cloud provider, do you get voicemail, or someone in India or Ireland who isn’t very technical and isn’t allowed to do anything but express sympathy for your plight? Or do you immediately reach someone who is skilled and experienced, listens carefully and patiently, is empowered to fix your problem and speaks your language?

We’ve built Rackspace to deliver what we call Fanatical Support, which means that we’ll got to crazy lengths to make sure you get the business result that you need.

If you come to visit our headquarters — and I’m inviting you to come anytime that you can — you’ll see that our Rackers like to decorate their work areas with flags of their colleges and their favorite sports teams — and of their homelands.

You’ll see the flags of more than 40 countries, and you’ll hear the languages of those countries in the hallways. That helps us to be a partner who listens and acts, in whatever language the customer prefers.

We also want to be a partner who is physically close to our customers so we can build relationships. We want to see and hear first-hand what your needs and opportunities are, and how they’re changing.

We want to help you do business anywhere in the world that you choose.

We’ve got more than 200,000 business customers in 120 countries, including 55 of the global giants in the Fortune 100. That’s why we’ve got data centers not only in three U.S. regions, but also in Europe, Asia, and Australia. That’s why we’ve got offices not only in a half-dozen U.S. cities, but also in London, Zürich, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, and Sydney.

And that’s why we’re opening an office in Mexico City.

This story has been republished with permission from the Rackspace Blog.

*Featured/top image: Rackspace Vice President and General Manager for Latin America Jairo Romero, Rackspace General Manager for Mexico Pilar Mercado, Rackspace Senior Vice president for Americas Division Odus Wittenburg, and Chairman and Co-Founder of Rackspace Graham Weston. Photo courtesy of Rackspace.

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Graham Weston

Graham Weston

Graham Weston is co-founder of Rackspace, Geekdom, Weston Urban, and the 80|20 Foundation.