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Dan Oyharcabal - values and integrity transcend professions

Dan Oyharcabal, 35-year-old director of Macromedia, Latin America and Asia Pacific, says that a side effect of working in Silicon Valley for several years is the tendency to get a distorted perception of reality.

Dan OyharcabalDan Oyharcabal, 35-year-old director of Macromedia, Latin America and Asia Pacific, says that a side effect of working in Silicon Valley for several years is the tendency to get a fractured sense of reality

Describe your achievement and impact on the industry.
I think that the industry has had much more of an impact on me ... I feel like I have been on this wild technology ride for the last 13 years, and the last three to four years have been especially quick-paced. I guess I have not reflected much on my actual impact on the industry, but when I think about it now, I realize that there are millions of people who use our technology in their everyday lives. Over the course of the last four to five years, we have conducted countless seminars and have reached multitudes of people, showing them what is possible with our tools on the Web. The fact that 96% of people on the Web have the Macromedia Flash Player still blows me away.

What helps you to sustain your passion for your job?
The best part of my job is the people that I get to interact with everyday. I am privileged to work with a fantastic team here at Macromedia, and I am lucky enough to spend quite a bit of time outside the office meeting with partners and people who use our technology. I get to see really cool projects that people have completed, many of whom push the envelope using our tools. Staying passionate about the job is easy - great people and really cool technology are great motivators. Just keeping up with our end user developers is also a motivating factor.

What are your core values when it comes to doing business?
My personal business philosophy is to simply do what I feel is the right thing and to be accountable. My family probably did more to shape my values about money and business than anything else, but personal experience has also played an important role. Working in Silicon Valley over the course of several years can distort your perception of reality - I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to be exposed to business and to technological innovation in other countries - seeing how they run their businesses is an ongoing learning experience.

How do you define success? Do you consider yourself to be successful?
There are a couple of ways that I measure success. One of the ways is in the quality of my contributions to my team in achieving the goals we set. The other way is how you challenge yourself and how you deliver on those challenges - both personal and professional. I look at some of the goals that I set over the past five years and realize that it has been a very successful period for me.

Any role model whom you look up to?
I have always looked up to my dad - a totally self-made man. There is something about the immigrant work ethic and the way newcomers to a country not only succeed, but prosper that fascinates me. But the main reason that I admire him, is the positive way he has always been with people and any issues that arise - he is in a totally different industry, but values and integrity transcend professions. (Editor's note: Oyharcabal's father comes from the Basque Country in South-West France, and he started his own landscaping business many years ago.)

What is your proudest achievement so far?
On a professional level, it is the Macromedia team that we built for Asia Pacific, Latin America and Canada. What a fantastic team - people are great to work with, they consistently overachieve, and it's been the fastest growing part of the company over the last three years.

How about on a personal level then?
I am proud of the fact that despite the crazy industry we are in, I lead a pretty balanced life and always make time for family and friends.

How about your biggest regret?
Besides investments over the last year (joking ...) I don't think that I would want to change anything if if would have an effect on where I am today. There are many times when I wish I could have handled situations differently, and there are always regrets about mistakes made. I take these as learning experiences that help me today - it's always good to have a few losses along the way from which to learn.

What is your favorite form of relaxation?
All kinds of sports are top of the list - mountain biking, basketball, tennis, swimming ... just about anything. I also have a beautiful garden here in San Francisco that I enjoy looking after.

Which in your opinion is the best place in Asia to hold a meeting for four?
Singapore or Hong Kong would have to be top of the list. [Both] are easy to get to, they have great facilities, and the food is great.

Which Web sites do you visit most often? What kind of books do you read?
I like to visit really cool sites that people in the company come across and recommend - hopefully using our tools! [I] usually get updates on cool sites on a daily basis. I also sometimes check out the "Cool Site of the Day" at macromedia.com. Product sites seem to be so much better of late, so shopping around on the Web is usually my choice rather than going out to a store. It looks like better technologies are being used that have improved the overall experience.

As far as reading goes, I like to get recommendations from friends on books that they have read - I don't like to stick with one genre of books so this formula works great. I don't sleep very well on planes, so good books are crucial for all the long trips.

I have done a little bit of mountaineering and some of the books I enjoy most have to do with these type of adventures. Some of the books include 'The Climb' and 'Into Thin Air' (about the disastrous Everest expedition a few years ago) and 'Touching the Void'. Lately, I have also enjoyed books by Crichton, Grisham as well as the Harry Potter books.