On the lighter side of things we ask Hasan Darwish, Regional Sales Manager for Gulf at A10 Networks, what makes him tick.
What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?
An unforgettable achievement was for me to see my name in the worldwide top performers list in terms of sales revenue of a new technology. I managed to achieve this from a relatively small region as compared to big markets like the US and Europe.
What first made you think of a career in technology? What’s your career history to date? How did you end up working at A10 Networks?
I was in grade 8 when we had our first computer class in my school. I was fascinated by the only desktop we had in the school running on Windows 3.1. After a couple of years, I got my first home desktop based on Windows 95 with a dial up connection. I was hooked on technology and decided to pursue a career in the field by studying Computer Science at university. While studying, I worked for a network cabling company.
In order to make sure that technology was the career path for me, I worked in various other industries in Saudi. But that just convinced me that IT was my true calling. So I joined Emirates Computers, a big system integrator in 2005. I worked in various executive level positions at reputed companies like the Midis Group, McAfee, Bluecoat, Symantec and at the beginning of 2020 I started working with A10 Networks.
What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?
I believe the best management philosophy is to listen first and work as one team. When you listen and support each other, achieving an agreed target becomes fast and easy.
What do you think is the current hot technology talking points?
We are living in a dynamic world. The current COVID-19 pandemic has expedited organisations’ Digital Transformation plans. Today, applications are the main platform for communication and business. Hosting, accelerating and securing these applications are emerging as today’s hot technology points.
How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?
I work with passion, so I don’t get stressed. Of course, there are challenges, but it’s important to stay calm, take a step back and think with a clear mind and inevitably a solution appears.
If you could go back and change one career decision what would it be?
As I look back on my career, I don’t have regrets as I have thoroughly enjoyed working in the technology field. In the early days instead of dabbling in different industries, perhaps I could have started in technology straight away. But then again, by working in other sectors, I realised just how much I missed technology, and this gave me the clarity I needed to decide on a career in IT. Over the years I also understand that with technology being so dynamic, I constantly need to educate and update myself.
What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?
Knowledge and people. Warren Buffett said: “The best investment you can make is an investment in yourself; the more you learn, the more you’ll earn.” You can do few small things by yourself, but if you want to do great things and make big impact, you need to delegate and work with skilled people.
What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in the Middle East?
Due to the current situation and the global investment that happened in ME, we can see today that ME is changing the traditional technology in its infrastructure.
As organisations in the Middle East are investing in new technology solutions to enable the current remote working trend, they are facing challenges when it comes to transitioning from legacy technologies. There are also other challenges like shrinking budgets, addressing country regulations especially when it comes to cloud and security issues and finally and as importantly, customers’ mindsets. A lot of organisations are not proactive enough when it comes to embracing modern day security solutions. They often wait until after an incident occurs to allocate a budget.
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?
As mentioned, I joined A10 Networks at the start of this year and have been tasked with generating business and revenue for the company in the Gulf region. Today, even if a company’s technology is best of breed, just enumerating the features to customers is not enough. You need to be a problem solver. The starting point is understanding customer needs and then designing a solution that best fulfils those needs.
What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain C-level or high-level management position in your industry?
There is no easy road to success! To be a good leader and reach a high-level management position, you need to start at the grassroot level. You need to roll up your sleeves and work in the trenches with colleagues before leading them. Because only then will you understand real challenges and be able to have deeper and more meaningful insights. Also, as you move up management levels it’s important to remember to trust people and not micromanage them. Trust is an attribute that is highly valued by employees.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
Listen and keep learning from skilled people.
Which IT company, other than your own, do you most admire and why?
At one point it was Cisco, but today it’s Microsoft and Amazon – companies that are game changers. They are changing the concept of IT operations to an OPEX model and hosting the most valuable thing today which is data.
What’s your favourite thing about the company you work for?
People make companies! What I enjoy most about A10 Networks is the passion and teamwork.
What sort of interests do you have outside of work?
I enjoy activities like cycling, running and reading. This helps me unwind and deal with the challenges at work. In addition, I like spending quality time with my family.Click below to share this article