How I Succeeded: Zendesk’s Amy Foo

How I Succeeded is a regular series on Lifehacker where we ask business leaders for the secrets and tactics behind their success. Today: Amy Foo, VP of Finance and Operations at Zendesk APAC.

Current gig: VP of Finance and Operations at Zendesk, APAC

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Current mobile device: iPhone 6S

Current computer: Macbook Pro

One word that best describes how you work: Collaboratively

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

Slack (for internal communication), Google (Gmail for emails and Google drive for file sharing/depository) and Zoom (for meetings and conferencing.)

What social network do you find the most useful?

LinkedIn for business networking.

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

An important lesson I have learnt while growing my career or scaling a business is to take risks. Without risk, there’s either zero reward or an underwhelming result. We each need to understand the risk appetite in ourselves, and our ambition and commitment aligned to our goals in order to strike out new paths, rather than travel on the normal known methods. I try to keep this in mind and think out of the box when making scalable business plans.

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

Failure is not the alternative to success. This can be hard to imagine when you are stuck in the moment of experiencing what you perceive to be a significant failure. It is imperative to experience failure and learn that it is just a temporary setback on a bigger, more significant course. What truly matters is how you react to and learn from negative experiences.

What’s your sleep routine like?

With two young children and a busy family life and career, my sleep routine is “I sleep when I can”, which usually translates to a good night of six or seven hours a night.

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

Avoid decision paralysis. Often in our career or business lifecycle, we all face uncertainties or difficult decisions. I am not excluded from these situations, but over the years I’ve learnt through experience and great managers/mentors ways to tackle these unresolved situations head on by getting comfortable with the unknown and looking for solutions or answers. Even if a particular problem takes months to resolve, practical action is still better than letting it fester.

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