Ben Chan

CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER @ ENVATO

Interview by Dominic Moore

Biography

Ben is the Chief Operating Officer at Envato. Envato is the world's leading marketplace and community for creative assets and creative people. Ben is responsible for the overall operations of the company and supporting the staff so that they 1) deliver on the company’s goals, 2) head towards the long term vision, and most importantly 3) live by the company’s values.

Career Related Questions

What is the best thing about your job?

I work with the great group of people at Envato! They’re all experts in their fields, and super passionate about the work they do and about our vision. We work in a global digital business, HQ’d right here in Melbourne Australia. The vast majority of our revenue is from overseas, and so to get to work in a truly global business where we get to speak with and serve customers and authors all around the world, is super exciting and fulfilling! Finally, I get to work with the founders. They’re super smart, entrepreneurial, and have such great intuition. I’m trying to learn everything I can from working closely with them.

What is the most challenging project/problem you have worked on either as an external consultant or an internal strategist?

As an external consultant, the most challenging, and therefore interesting, problem I’ve had to work on is how to improve the operations and profitability of an Alumina refinery!

What advice would you give someone transitioning from a consulting firm to a role in industry?

My advice would be to focus on developing the right relationships, and taking the time to understand the landscape. My own mistake was to go into my role in industry and try to solve many problems as effectively and quickly as possible. Take the time. It’s a marathon and a long-term company, not a 6 week project anymore!

Who has influenced your career the most and why?

My parents have influenced my career the most. They’ve provided me the guidance over the years, and were formative in my younger years especially throughout my education. They pushed me to be the best I could be. Thanks Pa and Ma!

What is the favourite piece of advice you have received and from whom?

The piece of advice I remember most is “focus on people, strategy, and values…all other things are details”. It’s from a mentor of mine from when I was working at McKinsey.

Personal Insights

As a child what did you want to be when you were older?

Actually, I really wanted to be a fighter pilot! Top Gun…

What are your three favourite books and what are you currently reading?

I don’t read books! I’ve never read a book. It’s just not how I take in information and learn.

Who is your personal or business hero/heroine and what quality do you most admire in them?

My parents are my heroes. Sorry, referring to my parents a lot! They came from very humble beginnings, and had big ambitions to ensure their children had a good upbringing. They worked very hard, often multiple jobs at once, to give my sister and I the best foundation we could have. The sacrifices they made have given me the opportunities my sister and I have now.

Who would you like sitting next to you at a dinner party and why?

I’d love to sit with Cristiano Ronaldo! He’s my favourite football player, ever since he was at Manchester United, and then Real Madrid, and unfortunately (as I’m a big Madrid fan) he’s now moved to Juventus. I’d love to know how he got to the stage he is now, and how he keeps his immense work ethic up.

What is your favourite quote or motto?

“Be like water” – Bruce Lee.

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