When it comes to your career, the sky’s the limit. On Episode 26 of Executives Unpacked we spoke to Keith Zubchevich, the President and CEO at Conviva, about his insights from a career in the tech industry. Keith has been through plenty of growth, IPOs and acquisitions, giving him unique insights into the development of the content and media sector. Read on to learn more about this fascinating leader.
What’s the biggest lesson that you’ve learned during your career?
Anything is possible. When you come into a corporate job, you tend to think that there are all these rules, limits, lanes and parameters, but when you really start to get involved in different projects, you’ll look back and realise there were never any limits on what you could do. The only parameters that exist are the ones you put on yourself. The biggest lesson is to always think bigger, broader and at a higher level, because there really is no limit to what you can do in your career.
What do you wish someone had told you sooner?
I’ve always been really inquisitive. I was fascinated by corporate America. I never really took a job to just have a job, I always looked at my job as being a part of a company. My mentality was that I work for a company, I don’t do a job, therefore I always wanted to know more. I’ve benefited from not having things that I look back on and wish I had learned sooner. I don’t think I waited to be told because I was a bit impetuous, and I just tried to do it all.
What’s the best bit of advice that you’ve been given over the years?
There’s no one way to do anything. There is no blueprint in life. I think there’s always value in the mindset that there’s a better, faster, cheaper, more efficient way to do something, because that’s what pushes you. More importantly though, in any company I’ve been in, I really appreciated cultures that said ‘Don’t ever be afraid to try something’. I’ve been the beneficiary of cultures like that. We actually make it a core value that we should always learn and try to find new things. I always say that if you have that mentality, you’re going to be successful.
What types of things have constantly kept you awake at night?
I have this philosophy that if my day-time brain can deal with anything, my night-time brain can deal with anything too. What keeps me up at night is thinking of all the possibilities that can go wrong. The majority of things that keep you up at night probably wouldn’t stress you out during the day. I always say that the biggest competitor you’ll ever face is the voice in your own head. There is nothing that will be more restrictive, more competitive, or more adversarial to your success than that voice in your own head. And that voice comes out at night, right? It’s when you have your guards down, and that little voice starts running around saying ‘Oh man, there’s 50 things that can go wrong here!’
What I do is get up and force myself to wake up my logical brain and think about what I’m worried about. I spend five minutes closing it off in my head. When those things hit, wake up, stand up, walk around the house for a minute and just logically think ‘It’s not that big a deal. You got this’. The biggest problem is how to perceive problems with your logical brain versus the illogical brain that can run amok in the middle of the night. I call it the monkey brain, because it’s like a monkey banging on the keyboard in my head.
Can you identify a single thread that has consistently led to success?
I’m always competitive. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. No matter what you choose to do, do it the best you can. I also have a ‘No Limits’ mentality. Like I said before, always look for that new and innovative way to do something. When you do that, doors open much faster.
What one bit of advice do you always give to other people?
I always tell my people that there’s nothing you can break that I can’t fix. You’ll be much better off making bold decisions than you will being afraid.
To learn more about the man behind the CEO title, tune into Episode 26 of Executives Unpacked here.