Behind the Padlock

News and views from the people at Paymark.

03 Sep 2013

Boundless opportunities

I was lucky enough to attend ‘The Indus Entrepreneurs’ (TiE) conference in Santa Clara in May this year. Here’s a few of my observations:

Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn speaking on leadership

Since Jeff Weiner joined the company in 2008, LinkedIn has expanded its global platform to 19 languages and 26 offices around the world. Its membership has grown from 33 million to more than 200 million and its revenue increased more than tenfold to $972 million (2012). Weiner serves on the board of directors for Intuit Inc., and Malaria No More.

Some quotes from Jeff (or at least as I remember them) …

If you’re a visionary, you see things that others cannot and they will not believe you.

When I am looking for people to work with me, I look for five things.  I call these things the CEO toolkit:

  • Technology vision, the ability to see beyond today and into what the technology of tomorrow will be.
  • Product sensibility, the ability to harness value from technology and people to produce products that people will love and need
  • Business acumen, everything that we do needs to be sustainable. I have heard many a business plan along the lines of ‘we will lose a dollar a sale but we will make it up with volume’
  • The ability to Inspire, leadership is the ability to inspire the people around you to share your vision, believe in your vision
  • Resourcefulness, the people that just manage to get things done. The guy that pulls strings and calls in favours to make sure things get done is a must in every team.

He went on to say: If you encounter someone with one of these in their toolkit, give them a job and develop them. If you find someone with a couple, they will have a great job so it will be hard to get them. Be resourceful. If you find someone that has all five and they are not your CEO, invest in their company.

Satya Nadella President Microsoft Server & Tools

Satya is in charge of a $US19 billion business line that employs 10,000+ staff globally. He joined Microsoft in 1992.

When questioned on how he became so successful:

You have to know what you want to accomplish (and never stop in its pursuit). People fall victim to a string of successes, they start at a job with a view that it is a short term thing to finance a dream or fill a gap but promotion after promotion they lose the ability to change.

How do you manage work life balance? 

I am not saying I manage this balance well, but….. I think if you understand why work goals are so captivating it will help you achieve some balance. Here is what I have learnt:

Goals at work have positive outcomes over a very short period, we set KPIs annually, we work hard to achieve them, and we are rewarded well when we do.

At home, raising kids or maintaining a loving relationship, realising that you have achieved something fantastic is much harder to see. For example; making sure you are at home, reading to your kids every night, just trying hard to be a great parent with just hope that it may make your children great people and parents themselves, but that for most people you won’t know the result of your efforts for 20 years and nothing is certain. As a father of two special needs children I have learnt to see, accept and celebrate my achievements at home.

Jeff and Satya are just two of many high calibre speakers at the conference, which covered topics like leadership, entrepreneurship, big data, mobile and software defined networks and infrastructure. Topics I will dig into in posts to come.

If you do get a chance to attend this event in the future, take it. It is held in the heart of the Silicon Valley; a short drive to Google HQ, Apple and eBay and right across the road from northern California’s largest theme park (if you are travelling with family or are that way inclined!).

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