Small Business & Startups

How I Succeeded: Nimble Storage's Bede Hackney

How I Succeeded is a regular series on Lifehacker where we ask business leaders for the secrets and tactics behind their success. Today: Bede Hackney from Nimble Storage.

Current gig: Managing director of Nimble Storage in Australia and New Zealand
Location: Sydney, Australia
Current mobile device: Samsung S6 (although I seriously mourn the replaceable battery from previous models!)
Current computer: Surface Pro 4 – I can’t imagine using another PC!
One word that best describes how you work: Passionately.

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

Uber, Twitter, Sonos, Evernote, Salesforce, Surface Pro and cloud data.

What social network do you find the most useful?

Twitter for staying up to date and LinkedIn for doing business.

What were the most important lessons you learned while growing your business?

People, people, people. Whether it’s leaders, peers or team members; start with getting the right cultural fit.

Have a clear, detailed vision of what success looks like and build a business to support that. I know it sounds cliché but challenge conventional wisdom – try and think outside of the box. Push yourself by asking “what if” and “why not” a lot.

Realise that you can’t prioritise everything – choose what you will do and (most importantly) what you won’t do.

What has been the most surprising part of your business journey?

How important it is to have amazing mentors – the impact that my own mentors have had on my career has been profound. I found my first mentors by chance early in my career, but I encourage anyone, starting out or seasoned to make sure they have mentors to help and inspire them on their own journey. Interestingly, we all know that people often leave companies because of their direct manager, I think it’s surprising how much people under-value the “mentor quality” of a potential manager when they are considering accepting a job.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

At work: Absolutely nothing!

I’ve been fortunate to have good timing in joining some very interesting businesses and have always worked to build teams with really smart people. I see my role as building a business platform for joint success.

One of the most confronting things to do as a leader is hire people who know more about something than you do but that’s when you’ll see business innovation and growth above and beyond the normal curves. I’ve never achieved more on my own than what was possible with a great team.

At home: My 12 hour slow cooked Nachos are pretty reasonable…

What’s your sleep routine like?

Erratic! Some nights it’s two hours others it’s six or seven – sadly there’s no pattern but I’ve learned that as long as I average around five hours I can be productive.

What advice would you offer to other businesses on how to succeed?

Employ the smartest, most passionate, “funnest” people you can find and focus on their success.

Don’t be afraid to try something different. Be brave enough to make mistakes, but learn from them and change course quickly.

When you decide to do something; really do it, half measures are a complete waste of resources.


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