Alex Wang is the current CEO of NAS manufacturer Synology America. During CES 2016, we asked Wang to share his productivity regime, favourite tools and work habits.
Current Gig: CEO, Synology America. Location: Bellevue, Washington Current mobile device: iPhone 6 Current computer: At the office and during travels, a Toshiba Z30 laptop. It’s only 1.2 KG but has a built-in Gigabit Ethernet port. For my home office I prefer mini-PCs: I run Windows on an ASUS VivoPC V62N and FreeBSD on a CompuLab IPC2 One word that best describes how you work: Analytical. I believe that once you’ve got the key things right, the rest will fall into the right place.
What apps, software, or tools can't you live without?
Cloud Station. It’s a free software that comes with any Synology NAS and lets you sync files across computers and mobile devices. I work on several different devices throughout the day so have to make sure all of them are on the same page. And I already own a NAS, so it’s only logical to use it.
What's your workspace setup like?
It’s clean. A PC, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and a NAS – everyone at the office has one on his desk. There are no pictures, decorations, gadgets, or pillows. Actually, not even paper.
What's your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?
Shop online whenever possible. I miss that in Taiwan you can have fresh vegetables delivered to you from the farm every week. Laundry services even come collect your clothes and return them to your house for free.
I also code up some tools whenever I need to analyze specific sets of data regularly, but that’s nothing compared to the time saved in online shopping
What's your favourite to-do list manager?
I don’t have one – I just use my inbox. Every e-mail that remains there at the end of the day is a to-do for the next day. Completed items are archived right away. In cases where a task doesn’t come as an e-mail message, I use our DS note app to take notes and to-dos on my phone.
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can't you live without and why?
I tried to think of something else, but it’s really just my Synology NAS. All my files are in there. And my notes. And it syncs them to all the devices I use, so I kind of live on it.
What social network do you find the most useful?
I don’t use one personally. I think it requires a certain type of personality if you want to make a public profile. However I’ve always enjoyed reading the comments, retweets, and DMs on Synology’s Facebook and Twitter page. Especially Twitter, where you can see all the mentions and discussions about us going on. Last November a fan tweeted us a Synology theme song he made and that’s the most brilliant thing I’ve seen in a while. This is the beauty of social network – you discover people whom you’re otherwise never able to know, and you can talk to them now just by clicking retweet.
What has been the most surprising part of your business journey?
I tend to have many things going on at the same time, and I jump from one project to the next. I get something started and let it incubate a bit until I have time to finish it. Through reading and travel, and meeting people, I gain new experiences that sort of percolate in my mind and I try to find time to identify a pattern or story line that makes some sense of it all.
What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? What's your secret?
I can fall asleep on a plane instantly. Jet lag doesn’t exist for me.
What's your sleep routine like?
I get around 5.5 hours sleep per day. I usually leave office after 6, have dinner with my family, put kids to bed and tell bedtime stories until around 9. Then I work until one in the morning. I love working at night. That’s when I can get the most thing done. There are just too many meetings and distractions during the day.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
Don’t try to please everyone. By everyone I mean including employees, media, and users. They may have opposing opinions and if you try to accommodate all of them, the company won’t get anywhere. What’s important is to get the key things right: make great products, build a great company culture – something that people identify with and are happy working in. Then like I mentioned, the rest will fall into the right place themselves.
We've asked heroes, experts and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces and routines. Want to suggest someone we should feature or questions we should ask? Let us know.