How I Succeeded: Twilio's Richard Watson

How I Succeeded is a regular series on Lifehacker where we ask business leaders for the secrets and tactics behind their success. Today: Richard Watson, Twilio.

Current gig: Country Director, Twilio

Current Location: Sydney, Australia

Current mobile device: iPhone X

Current computer: MacBook Air

One word that best describes how you work: Fast

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

In my work life, I can’t live without Zoom, Salesforce, Mail, Slack and Google Docs.

What social network do you find the most useful?

LinkedIn.

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

I found that when growing a business, I’m constantly working fast, but sometimes what I really need is to stop. I’ve learned that it’s okay to take time to reset and reprioritise. By slowing down, I can give myself the ability to recalibrate and stay balanced. It is an especially important lesson if I ever start to feel out of control.

Another important lesson I learned is to find the right people to be my sounding boards. It really helps to have people around me who understand the industry and can help grow my ideas.

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

The joy of working for a startup and the ability to reset and apply good values on the job - values that are actually important to me. For example, I absolutely love being able to proactively embrace diversity in all areas of work. Meeting new people and bringing their different experiences into the work environment adds so much value to the team.

Unlike the corporate world of systems, processes and policies - which are dictated to you - at Twilio, I get to roll up my sleeves and really champion values that make sense and are actionable in the workplace.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

Talking... I can talk a lot!

Within Twilio, though, something I consider myself really good at is looking at problems from a different perspective early on. Whether that be from the outside in, from an individual's perspective, a manager’s perspective or a customer’s perspective. And this is something I push for my whole team to do. In each of Twilio’s offices, we have a pair of shoes hanging from the wall to remind everyone to walk in the customer’s shoes and understand the situation from their point of view.

What's your sleep routine like?

I wish it was better! I like to wake up early a few times a week and be at the gym by around 5.30am. To get the most out of my sleep and still be able to get up early though, I make sure my electronic devices get their own sleep in another room.

Sleep is crucial when it comes to productivity. Yet its the one aspect that is impacted the most by work. The stress cycle can also have a big effect on this too because the greater pressure there is to sleep the harder it is to actually fall asleep. It’s so important when this happens to stop, reset and prioritise.

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

To succeed, you need to start. And to start, all you need is an OK plan and a lot of drive and hustle.

To make sure you are across all the key details of your business early. And to also surround yourself with other people who have that same passion and career drive. It’s not about becoming friends with people who just think the same as yourself, but about surrounding yourself with others who are willing to go out and build in the fashion that you do.


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