Buyer qualification, value and relationships is something that Neo4j A/NZ general manager Peter Philipp learnt from a young age by selling golf balls. After teaching himself the basics of writing code, he graduated from university and took on his first role at SAP.
What was your first job?
When I was 12, I would go with a friend to the local golf course to collect lost golf balls and sell them back to the Golf Club House. I quickly worked out that I could grade the balls, selling the best for a much higher price to the golf playing dads of my school mates. It was a great lesson in buyer qualification, value, and relationships.
How did you get started in the IT industry and progress to where you are today?
I enjoyed spending time on computers growing up, teaching myself the basics of writing code. I loved the intersection of business and technology, so I went on to study a business degree with a major in technology.
I graduated and joined SAP during an incredible growth period, moving to the German headquarters, learning from amazing colleagues in roles from development to product management. Shifting to sales enablement, I trained many sales and presales professionals across the globe, before moving into sales, and then general management, to establish leading tech vendors in Europe and Australia.
The earlier enablement experience still helps me today in quickly spotting talent and building diverse teams.
What are some of your plans for the company in the coming months?
Graph technology is one of the best kept secrets behind the success of Amazon, Facebook, Google and other internet titans of the past decade. Graph works by finding the hidden connections in data.
Our mission at Neo4j is to make sense of data, delivering the power of graph technology into the hands of every organisation. Our immediate focus is building the community of graph developers and hiring the best talent to support our rapid growth in Australia and New Zealand.
What has been your biggest business mistake, and the lessons you've learnt from that experience?
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Starting too many initiatives at once. I have learnt that focus is the key to success.
What are some of your ambitions - personally and professionally?
I am fascinated by how technology can have an incredible impact on our everyday lives, whether it is solving an unsolved crime, or finding the cure to a previously incurable disease. I enjoy working with others who share the excitement in bringing the very best in technology to organisations and make the impossible possible.
Personally, I am focused on spending time with my family and daughters, learning from them as much as possible.
What has been the best piece of advice you've ever received?
To think big. Be limitless in approaching challenges and opportunities. Quoting Nelson Mandela, “It always seems impossible until it's done”.