Peter Low (MBA Exec ’05) is the founder and Director of fast-growing Australian IT company, The Cavalry.
I made my career choice because... by the time I was in my mid 20s, I was reporting to the Australian CEO of a Worldwide Fortune 50 company as a Business Unit Manager. Within this role I led a team of a dozen people with a revenue budget of over $700 million. This early success forced me to address my career aspirations (I had an early mid-life crisis!). Whilst I enjoyed my job, I found the thought of working in similar roles for the majority of my working career suffocating and uninspiring. I always had an entrepreneurial flair and wanted to test myself in my own business. I founded an IT company in 2000 for the love of business (rather than the love of technology).
If I had known then what I know now, I would have... ignored the critics and backed myself to a greater extent. Many people stand on the sidelines of life and commentate. Fewer get in the arena of life, dream and try. I remember being greatly inspired by this quote from Theodore Roosevelt:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
That, and: “Implement! Implement! Implement!”
My most impressive achievement is... starting The Cavalry was my greatest achievement. I went from a well-paid job with the usual corporate trappings (good salary, stock options, car etc) to working from my parents’ home on a start-up business (at least lunch was provided!). It took a lot of courage and conviction to let go of a great job and pursue my dream of running my own business. Many people thought I was crazy but I knew that I would rather try and ‘fail’ rather than die wondering. In our first year of operating we turned over more than $1 Million and had won a Government Contract with the NSW Department of Health. We have since grown to be one of the leading private cloud providers in Australia, with many industry awards/accolades and service many well-known International and National brands.
My biggest challenge at the moment is… maintaining quality amidst fast growth. I have always understood this from a theoretical perspective but have a different appreciation now that I am experiencing it personally. We want our customers to be extraordinarily happy with their partnership with us and the services we provide. Our fast growth has placed significant pressure on our systems and we now have a six month backlog of projects that we are working to complete. I know it’s a good problem to have, but it is still a problem. One of my business mentors has recommended reading “Inside the Tornado” by Geoffrey Moore. I’ve just got the book today so looking forward to what it helps us unpack.
At the moment I’m inspired by... a life of purpose, rather than a life of existence. I believe that we have all been born with a destiny bigger than ourselves. Yes, I want to be successful in all areas of my life (including business), but that fruit of that success must impact more than just me and my family. I firmly believe that my best days are ahead of me. I am excited by all the opportunities to learn, grow, develop and impact that exist in the future.
Others say I… I posted this question on social media and this is what came back: genuine, intelligent, energetic, a little smelly (haha).
As a student I… am committed to lifelong learning. I remember one of my final MBA classes where lifelong learning was discussed. At first I was devastated at the suggestion that I would need to commit to lifelong learning if I was to continue to develop and grow (Post Grad study will do that to you!) Since then, I embrace it. I always want to look back on my life and be surprised about what I’m learning and how I’ve grown.