Chris Hummel - what does not kill us makes us stronger

Chris Hummel, VP, Marketing and Business and Development, Oracle AP, tells ZDNet Asia that he feels most gratified every time a customer, partner, or employee says "Thank you".

Chris Hummel Chris Hummel, the 32-year-old vice president (Marketing & Business and Development) of Oracle Asia Pacific, tells ZDNet Asia that he feels most gratified every time a customer, partner, or employee says "Thank you".

Describe your achievement and impact on the industry.
Asian customers are looking at an uncertain economic environment, wondering what impact the US slowdown will have in Asia. I have four things to say to the companies I work with and the audiences that I address - lower your cost base to improve competitiveness, simplify your business to remove uncertainty, transform your business to leverage all parts of the organization at once ... [and] build a business which is scaleable enough to take advantage of any future opportunities which may arise without draining your resources today.

Thousands of customers in Asia have bought this vision, and our impact is growing every day.

What do you like about your work?
While many companies have strong leaders, very few have true visionaries as CEOs who constantly drive their companies to excel and consistently push their entire industry to innovate and change for the better. Larry Ellison is that kind of leader, and Oracle is that kind of company.

How do you define success? Do you consider yourself to be successful?
As a child, I dreamed of being one of those defense attorneys you see on all the TV shows. By the time I finished graduate school, I was an “expert” in international politics and headed straight for the US State Department as a lifelong diplomat. But then I got a job offer to open a sales office in Kazakhstan - which I took - and started my career with Oracle. A few years later, I was running Oracle’s Russian operations out of Moscow as managing director. Now I am an Irish-Italian American from Boston (who speaks fluent Russian, incidentally) managing Oracle’s marketing organization in Asia Pacific. I cannot say I planned it this way, but I definitely call that success!

Any role model whom you look up to?
Lots of teachers, friends, professors, family, and colleagues have provided guidance, motivation and support along the way.

What is your proudest achievement so far?
Every time a customer, partner or employee says “Thank you.”

How about your biggest regret?
What does not kill us makes us stronger.

What is your favorite form of relaxation?
Relaxation, what is that? Well, I must admit a certain addiction to my new home entertainment theater, when I’m around to use it, but my first love is still basketball, which I play way too little of in Asia.

Which in your opinion is the best place in Asia to hold a meeting for four? If you want privacy, try the CEO meeting rooms on the 5th floor of the Grand Hyatt in Hong Kong. There is one corner room with a full panel of windows and a nice view of the bay. For a more lively meeting, karaoke in Korea is hard to beat.

Which Web sites do you visit most often? What kind of books do you read? This is a fantastic place to learn about how to build one-to-one online relationships and where I review a lot of my own ideas about how Oracle can interact with its customer via the Web. Also, I need a lot of reading material for all that time spent in airports and on planes. Normally, I carry one business book (Seth Godin’s “Permission Marketing” at the moment) and one for pleasure (just finishing “Shadow of Evil”, the sequel to William Diehl’s “Primal Fear” ).

More about People: Managing Asia.