How I Succeeded: Xero's Chris Ridd

How I Succeeded is a regular series on Lifehacker where we ask business owners for the secrets and tactics behind their success. Today: Chris Ridd from Xero.

Current gig: Xero Australia Managing Director Location: Melbourne Current mobile device: iPhone 6 (64GB) Current computer: MacBook Air One word that best describes how you work: Collaborative

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

Gmail, Google Maps and Hangouts — love the simplicity of these apps when on the road; Xero for managing personal finances; Evernote and AnyDo - great apps to help manage my meeting notes and to do list; Uber - just loving how reliable and simple this service is; Pandora and Sonos for great choice music around the house.

What social network do you find the most useful?

Yammer. Simplest and most interactive way to get across everything going on across the company without clogging my inbox.

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

I've learned to trust your instincts, use your network and never get complacent regardless of how successful you become. That also means never, ever take your customers/partners for granted.

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

How quickly I became really comfortable in the fast-paced world of disruptive startups after having been seemingly institutionalised over 20 years in the comparatively safe corporate fold of big multi-nationals. I should have jumped sooner.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

I am calm under pressure. It takes a lot to rattle me and I actually take some form of twisted pleasure in staying calm when people around me might be feeling really stressed.

What's your sleep routine like?

I'm in bed most nights before 10.30pm and usually up between 5 and 6am. I am definitely a morning person and find early morning is when I do my best thinking.

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

Surround yourself with smart people. I know it's a big cliche, but it is true. I am challenged and stretched everyday by people at all levels in my business who are smart, driven and know what they are talking about. There is no better feeling than working in a team culture where everyone in the organisation feels comfortable in challenging the guy at the top. You get better outcomes.


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