How I Succeeded: Ooyala's Steve Davis

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How I Succeeded is a regular series on Lifehacker where we ask business leaders for the secrets and tactics behind their success. Today: Steve Davis, vice president and general manager of Ooyala Asia Pacific and Japan.

Current gig: Vice President and General Manager Asia Pacific and Japan, Ooyala

Location: Sydney

Current mobile device: iPhone

Current computer: MacBook Air

One word that best describes how you work: Decisive

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

Google Maps, Uber, Trip Advisor, Kayak (I travel a lot...)

What social network do you find the most useful?

LinkedIn and Facebook. Good to keep tabs on both work and personal acquaintances. My preference, howeve,r is the original social network - grabbing a pint with friends and co-workers. I know, I know, old school...

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

Surround yourself with a great team. Everything depends upon good people. And it's OK to make mistakes; just be honest about owning them, correcting them, and not repeating them.

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

I’ve had three international assignments; Europe and Asia Pacific/Japan twice. These opportunities came to me which I never planned for. Sometimes the best part of work and life are the surprises. Living in multiple parts of the world broadens your horizons like nothing else. You can't teach this experience by watching TV or reading a book. You have to live it.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

In a conversation, coming up with somewhat useless, related facts, quicker than anyone.

What's your sleep routine like?

Depends on what country I'm in. 7 hours is great, but many times my night's sleep is on the redeye to wherever across Asia Pacific. I've gotten quite adept at getting 4-5 solid hours of sleep on the plane.

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

Be truthful to yourself and your team. Don't hire yes men/women. Repeatedly ask yourself the hard questions, like, "what would our customer want us to do?" If you can meet the markets demands, and have energized, smart people working with you, you can't help but succeed.


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