How I Succeeded is a regular series on Lifehacker where we ask business leaders for the secrets and tactics behind their success. Today: Audible Australia's Matthew Gain.
Current gig: Head of Audible.com.au.
Location: Sydney, Australia
Current mobile device: iPhone 6s
Current computer: Macbook
One word that best describes how you work: Passionately
What apps/software/tools can't you live without?
Audible, obviously. But in addition I use a lot of apps generally. Facebook and Messenger are two of my favourites. They keep me connected with my friends both from afar via my newsfeed, and directly in conversation. I use Twitter and Snapchat for regular observation and less regular content creation, and LinkedIn to keep up-to-date with my professional network.
Other apps I couldn’t be without are Spotify because I’m a massive music fan, Fitbit, and Strava, which I use to track sleep and other fitness measures. Evernote helps me to store information in an easily accessible place, and finally the NRL app enables me to watch my beloved Newcastle Knights whether at home or away.
What social network do you find the most useful?
By far and away Facebook. I am the same person at work as in my personal life. As such I have most of my colleagues in my friendship network and use it generally to build closer connections with colleagues, friends and acquaintances alike. FB Messenger is also my favourite messaging app.
What were the most important lessons you learned while growing your business?
From two previous bosses, Michelle Hutton and Chris Savage, I learnt the immense power and joy of a thriving and large professional network. Networking is a high priority for me and I make time to do some form of networking every day. Be that in person, via social networks or on the phone. I find there are few things less valuable than when someone in your network connects with the right answer/person. Equally it is incredibly fulfilling being able to help others in your network.
What has been the most surprising part of your business journey?
The most surprising part of my business journey is that it has taken me until relatively recently to recognise the immense privilege I have being a white, educated male in Australia. I have never once suffered prejudice in my professional career. Since becoming more aware of this I am consciously looking at ways I can use my influence to eradicate privilege and prejudice in the workplace.
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Public speaking. I love it. It comes easy to me and is one of the most enjoyable things I can imagine doing professionally, or even personally. I am available cheap for weddings, 21sts, leaving dos…
What's your sleep routine like?
I am not a big sleeper. According to Fitbit I typically average about six hours a night through the week and maybe 30 minutes more on the weekend. It’s not that I don’t like sleep, I just find time slips by at night so it is rare I am in bed before midnight and then like to be up either surfing or exercising in the mornings. A cheeky weekend nap is an indulgence I try to get away with.
What advice would you offer to other businesses on how to succeed?
A lot of businesses talk a good game about being customer centric and about big data, but few seem to live it. I have been blown away by the way Audible and Amazon at large employ big data around user behavior to put the customer at the heart of every decision we make. In many ways it is incredibly liberating and when businesses make decisions driven by customer data, it simplifies strategy.