How I Succeeded: FileMaker's Joel Katz

How I Succeeded is a regular series on Lifehacker where we ask business leaders for the secrets and tactics behind their success. Today: Joel Katz from FileMaker.

Current gig: FileMaker managing director for Asia-Pacific Location: Sydney, Australia Current mobile device: iPhone 6s Current computer: Apple MacBook Air One word that best describes how you work: Controlled-chaos

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

LinkedIn, The New York Times, FaceTime, Uber, Weather AU, Map My Run and the cooking app, Epicurious and, of course, FileMaker Go!

What social network do you find the most useful?

It would have to be LinkedIn. Having worked in so many different areas of the world, LinkedIn makes it so easy to connect with people and stay in touch.

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

It’s cliche, but these first impressions are absolutely critical. I also strive to be acutely aware of local business cultures. For example, Australia and the US are very, very different. I really strive to immerse myself in different business cultures and the local methods of doing great work in order to successfully grow our business in a given market.

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

It would have to be the global nature of it, in that I have been able to work in every major market in the world. I had always planned for this but I’m still blown away that it actually happened.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

Being a morning person. Nobody can match my energy levels and my positive vibes in the office pre-8am!

What's your sleep routine like?

I sleep like a senior citizen — I’m in bed by 9pm and usually up before 6am. I don’t watch much TV, which helps me get an early night’s sleep.

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

Hire great passionate people and get out of their way! Team ownership of process and systems is huge. But above all, allowing people to make decisions, be creative, and innovate within their roles. From an external perspective, invest time in getting to know your business partners and customers on a personal level — these relationships are crucial.


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