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One on One: with MongoDB's Jeremy Powers

One on One: with MongoDB's Jeremy Powers

From the US to Australia, and the leadership lessons learnt.

MongoDB's Jeremy Powers

MongoDB's Jeremy Powers

Credit: MongoDB

What has been your biggest business mistake, and the lessons you've learnt from that experience?

When I was fresh in my role at MongoDB, I had no lack of ideas, excitement and ambitions. I could see the huge potential and I knew from experience that there were some changes we needed to make to unlock these opportunities.

So I tried to do everything in one giant swoop. From introducing new processes, setting new standards, making big hiring plans and the rest. I took it all on.

It didn't work. We all got exhausted and the lack of focus meant we didn't make progress at the speed we could have.

Luckily, I have a great network of people I’ve built up over the years that lend me words of wisdom when I need it most. They helped me take a step back and analyse the situation from the outside. With my consulting glasses on, it was clear that we needed to break up the priority projects into small, manageable chunks that we could quickly make progress on and build momentum.

That worked. In large part thanks to the great team who took ownership of their piece of the transformation and, I have to admit, gave me some necessary lessons on perspective.

That experience led to a better outcome for our team, our business and, most importantly, our customers.

It sounds obvious and simple when I talk about it after the fact, but in the moment of transformation and opportunity, it can be difficult to keep things simple and focused. To identify the biggest opportunity and prioritise launching that successfully, then expanding to other areas.

What are some of your ambitions - personally and professionally? 

Every day, companies in Australia are tackling this really hard issue: how they will modernise, move away from legacy systems and be able to deliver the technology that will help them thrive in the future.

Success for me is helping those companies to understand the role MongoDB plays in solving their key challenges on this journey. Be that related to improving time to market, moving to the cloud, reducing costs, increasing innovation, hardening security or doing all those things and staying compliant.

On the personal side, my journey from the States to Australia is an opportunity to put my 15 years of transformation experience into practice. I believe that in every industry, in every country, the right mix of people, processes and technology hold the key to modernisation and transformation.

A year in and I'm still astounded by the huge potential in this market. I'm not thinking too far ahead – I just know right now is a special time and if we can help Australian business innovate, grow and capitalise on their opportunity, then this could be a transformative moment in our careers.

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

Honestly, I’ve had some cracking advice over the years. One that sticks in my mind, and is particularly relevant to the journey MongoDB is on right now is: “If you want something done, make it easy to do.”

This applies to almost everything in life. In most organisations siloed teams, departments, processes and technologies all work together to make change hard. So what can we do to make change easy?

That's also the philosophy our founders took – how can we make the experience of working with data easy? How can we make building with data easy? How can we make moving to the cloud easy?

That's what I spend a lot of my time focused on – considering how I can make things easy for our team. How I can remove barriers and encourage momentum, so that we can all stay focused on helping Aussie businesses transform, modernise and grow. And, dare I say it, how I can make it easy.


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