With 20 years of experience in the software industry, Stu Garrow has been an integral part of the South East Asia tech community for over 16 years. As the CEO of Tech Inject, a Singapore based start-up offering single-agreement marketing and sales solutions to high-tech software companies, giving them instant access multiple country channels, optimized sales resources, a local presence in each country and an already existing customer base. He also heads the Channel Asia Pacific region for Mule Soft, where he helps businesses easily connect their disparate SaaS, mobile and on-premise systems to the cloud via the Mule Soft Anytime integration platform.
‘She Changed My Path – Male entrepreneurs reveal the woman who shaped their business.’
Ayla Kremb (AK): Tell us about the woman who has had the biggest influence on your life.
Stu Garrow (GC): Andrea Parsons from Canberra, Australia. We worked together at Rational Software where she was my partner during the company’s fast paced Asia expansion, opening up 6 countries in just 12 months. Throughout the project, Andrea taught me how to stay on track when you’re faced with a massive business challenge on a incredibly tight timeline. She showed me how to chunk down large project into manageable blocks, maneuver the nuances of Asian business relationships, lock down partnership agreements in the most efficient way, all while maintaining a killer travel schedule. Over the years we’ve always stayed in touch and I’m convinced one day we will work together again.
AK: What’s your favorite memory of her?
GC: The first direct sales call I did with her, with the opportunity to watch the master at work and seeing how positive a customer will react to a great sales person.
AK: What makes her so inspiring to you?
GC: Andrea is never daunted by anything. While most people easily get overwhelmed by the task at hand, she simply divides and conquers. Her incredible level of organization and ‘Lets get on with it’ attitude makes her a great project manager and person to work with.
AK: How has she influenced the way you run your business?
GC: Thanks to Andrea, I know how to run a profitable partnership business. The top 2 keys for her was to always a) ‘Make your partners successful first.’ and b) Give them the same support and rewards as your employees. If you create new marketing material your sales staff, your distribution partners needs to have access to the same sales resources. If your staff is trained on a new product, you can’t expect your partners to figure it out themselves. Especially when it comes to paying your partners, giving them same financial incentives is a must to keep them motivated. With partners, you can only use the carrot, never the stick, so the carrot must be fair across the board.
AK: If asked to comment on your business, what would she say?
GC: She would say my business is a perfect fit for my personality. It’s exciting, fast paced, creative and challenging. Andrea knows I thrive when I have my fingers in many projects and enjoy the chaotic spirit of managing it all.
As the flawless project manager, she would tell me to ‘Get more organized’. Andrea would be able to pinpoint parts of my business that could run more efficiently in a blink of an eye.
AK: What’s the most important piece of advice she’s given you?
GC: People stick around for culture and mission, not money. You have to hook your employees and partners on the end goal you’re working towards and treat them with appreciation and respect every step on the way.
AK: Describe a time when you did or didn’t follow her advice, what were the consequences?
GC: I’ve never gone against her advice. It’s always been ‘Do it Andrea’s way.’ Why dabble when you know what works?
AK: What would you say to her if she was standing right here, right now?
GC: It would be more what she’d say to me. She’d say ‘Hey where’s my job?’. Ever since we met she’s always wanted to work for a company like MuleSoft. We definitely have the same taste in projects, companies and especially culture.
Guest Post by Ayla Kremb: Ayla loves helping start-ups get their 1st customers, is obsessed with all things tea, can’t get enough of art museums and zen-ifies her Saturdays with meditation. When she’s not connecting with entrepreneurs in the making, her inner word-nerd comes out to do the blog thing. As a self-proclaimed ‘Topicana’ that just happened to be born in Sweden, she believes sunshine is the key to happiness and Tigerbalm is the cure for everything.