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Doing business with Scott Robertson of Zscaler: Road warrior

Doing business with Scott Robertson of Zscaler: Road warrior

The VP Asia Pacific and Japan for the security services provider talks about life on the road, work ethics and spotting great talent.

I used to play in a rock band as a teenager and always had visions of life on the road…Funny thing is my life is now very much on the road, just a little less guitar and drums in the background.

Name: Scott Robertson

Title: Vice President Asia Pacific and Japan, Zscaler

How long have you been in your current role?

It is my one-year anniversary with Zscaler this month and what a year it has been!

What business technology issue is your organisation focusing on?

Today we see a majority of users within any organisation as being mobile in that they either have a handheld device or laptop from which they conduct work.

This means they are often accessing the internet outside of the network perimeter, either for general internet browsing or to access corporate information stored in the cloud. Both scenarios leave a noticeable security gap which exposes organisations to increased risk. We help businesses address this challenge by providing secure internet access to both on premise and off premise users.

What are your interests away from work?

I’m an avid rugby supporter, I love to scuba dive and enjoy exercise.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?

That’s a tough one as I’ve had the fortune of receiving a lot of great advice over the years. One that comes to mind is pretty simple and that is to never take yourself too seriously and enjoy what you do. If you don’t enjoy what you do it will impact the people around you and that will come full circle.

Professionally, who do you admire most?

My father. He has worked extremely hard throughout his life to achieve both professionally and provide for his family. His work ethic is hard to emulate but it certainly has set a benchmark and influenced my own carer goals and aspirations.

Nothing is ever a bad idea, it might get shot down quickly if it doesn’t meet the requirements but you can’t encourage innovation without an open flow of ideas.

Scott Robertson, Zscaler

How long have you been working in IT?

Close to 20 years now.

How did you get into IT?

I was studying and working in financial markets when my brother [Gus] offered me a job to help him start up Visio (now Microsoft) in ANZ. At that time I had no real interest in IT but fast forward 20 years and I haven’t looked back .

If you weren't working in IT, What would you be doing?

I used to play in a rock band as a teenager and always had visions of life on the road…Funny thing is my life is now very much on the road, just a little less guitar and drums in the background.

Can you share a key pointer for fostering an innovative culture in the organisation?

For me curiosity is one of the more important characteristics to nurture for innovation. In my experience it’s important to encourage that sense of curiosity in each and every team member through the open sharing of new ideas. Nothing is ever a bad idea, it might get shot down quickly if it doesn’t meet the requirements but you can’t encourage innovation without an open flow of ideas.

Can you share a key pointer for building a diverse team?

One of the most important objectives at Zscaler is hiring the right people and that goes well beyond simply hiring clones of successful hires before. You need to get under the hood to really know who you’re about to hire and that takes time.

My advice is to go beyond mapping key skills and requirements for the job and build a list of character traits that you would like to see within your organisation. Sometimes you might surprise yourself in who you hire and the change that might bring to your idea of what success looks like.

'You need to get under the hood to really know who you’re about to hire and that takes time.  '
'You need to get under the hood to really know who you’re about to hire and that takes time. '

Send news tips and comments to divina_paredes@idg.co.nz

Follow Divina Paredes on Twitter: @divinap

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