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Get To Know: Karl Sun, Co-founder and CEO, Lucid Software

Get To Know: Karl Sun, Co-founder and CEO, Lucid Software

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What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?

One memorable achievement from the early days was when I was at a conference and I started to describe to someone what I did, and a person recommended our product to me. It was the first time that I had come in contact with a stranger who had heard of and used Lucidchart and loved it. It was a sign to me that what we were doing was working and we were gaining traction.

A memorable achievement from my career prior to Lucid was moving to China and building Google’s China presence. I really enjoyed the chance to go see a new market and make a difference there. At the time, China was a new frontier for Google and this would be its first full-fledged office away from headquarters. It was an incredible time of growth for the company. During my time in China, the company went from 2,000 to 10,000 employees and I enjoyed the challenge and adventure.

What first made you think of a career in technology?

My dad was actually an engineer and I grew up always liking science, engineering and technology. I initially thought I wanted to be on the academic side of technology as a research scientist and engineer, but in the end, I found more interest in being involved in the action instead of studying it.

What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?

I very much operate with a people-first philosophy. We are dedicated to hiring people that share and believe in our values and can contribute and add to our amazing culture. The people you bring in are so important to maintaining your values and fostering a great environment. But it’s also important that the people you hire can perform at high levels in their roles. That’s the combination I look for when we bring new members into our team.

What do you think is the current hot technology talking point?

Hybrid work is here to stay. Companies must adapt to being able to be productive and innovative no matter where employees are. Visual collaboration technology will be key as companies seek out sustainable, efficient practices that will help hybrid teams over the long term. Our visual collaboration suite is a critical element in the future of work and we are excited for the opportunity ahead as visual collaboration becomes an even more important part of how teams in every department, and across every industry, get work done.

How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?

I enjoy walking my dog at the end of the day. It provides me with a time to reflect on the day, both good and bad. Working from home can sometimes mean a lot of time inside, so I look forward to the time when I can spend some time outside with my dog.

If you could go back and change one career decision, what would it be?

When I made the decision to switch over into law, I was at an older company and I didn’t enjoy what I was doing. In retrospect, I think I would have enjoyed finding a more innovative start-up and sticking with engineering, but those opportunities were so few and far between at the time. It wasn’t until later in my career that I made my way back to working with start-ups and ultimately the entrepreneur path with starting Lucid. So, if I could do it all over again, I might have skipped law school and gotten involved with start-ups earlier, staying on the technical side.

What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?

As offices reopen and new hybrid workplace models emerge, the data shows that businesses will need to make sure they are creating a frictionless and visual experience for employee collaboration. With the right solutions in place that effectively bridge silos, enable more advanced and complex use cases, and reduce roadblocks in communication and workflows, companies will see benefits not just in the employee experience but also in business innovation, improved outcomes and profitability.

What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months?

More than ever, telling our company vision and story and the opportunity we have in front of us is important both internally and externally. For a long time, we were focused on executing, but over the last two years we have really realised the possibility and opportunity we must be a leading company in the critically important new arena of visual collaboration. Sharing that vision with our employees and helping them understand the rare opportunity we must make a difference will be key in continuing to execute at such a high level and bringing the world along with us in that narrative will also be key to achieving our goal of helping teams see and build the future.

What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain C-level position in your industry?

I think there should be less focus on angling for a certain position. Instead, I would say continue to focus on doing a great job, work to excel at everything you do, and constantly be curious and keep learning. The position will come when the time is right.

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