Boss It Like

How To Boss It Like… Philip Lacor, International VP at Dropbox

By Max Thielmeyer 28 September 2017

These leaders are changing our world for the better. Find out how they get the job done.

There are a handful of business leaders and industry figures in Britain who are changing the world.

From Decoded’s Kathryn Parsons, to Victor’s Clive Jackson and REWIND founder Sol Rogers, these smart people seem to get an incredible amount done, in an impossibly short space of time.

This morning, we’re chatting with Philip Lacor, International VP at Dropbox, the popular storage and content collaboration service which started back in 2007.

Meet Philip Lacor

Before joining Dropbox in June 2016, Lacor worked for Vodafone where he was managing director of its enterprise business in Germany, and before that managed enterprise in the Netherlands for Vodafone.

Prior to Vodafone he worked in Dell’s enterprise division as director of marketing.

Outside of work Lacor has learnt to speak four languages and earned an MBA from INSEAD business school in France.

A busy man, with big ideas, The Memo asked Lacor how he gets it all done…

What time do you get up, and what part of your morning routine sets you up for the day?

I get up around 6.30am, and help my three young children get ready.

I then have 30 minutes of exercise, preferably running on the road or on the beach. I enjoy the gym, but love to run outside – particularly when I’m travelling. The boulevard of San Francisco or the beach in Dublin are my favourites.

I drive into work but make sure I have a double shot latte for the journey – an absolute must when starting the day.

What apps or methods do you use to be more productive?

I use a number of apps, which range from Strava when I’m out running, the FT app for news, and then Clari which shows me our sales forecasts. The latter I use a lot more towards the end of the quarter!

I, of course, use Dropbox (and more recently Dropbox Paper) which alerts me every morning to the tasks I need to do and lets me collaborate and provide feedback on any content or creative ideas that my team have shared.

In order to be more productive on a more human level, I also make sure I keep my morning clear of meetings until 10am. For me it’s important to take a bit of time to get the vital things done and to think before the day takes over.

What smartphone do you have?

A White iPhone 6 Plus. I was sceptical when it came out but now I use it religiously as it offers the benefits of a smartphone and a tablet.

How many people, outside of family, do you meet in a day?

When I get into the office I am catching up with the likes of Japan and Australia as they finish their day, I then work with our local European teams before San Francisco comes online, with video conferences from home in the evening.

We try to stick to 30-minute meetings, which means I can meet or at least talk to 30-50 people a day. These will range from Dropbox customers, stakeholders, other tech leaders, media and analysts.

I am a frequent traveller and time is precious, so I try to be picky and very focused about the external events I attend to ensure they are worthwhile and I can get something out of them.

What book have you read, either recently or in the past, that has inspired you?

Legacy by James Kerr is a fantastic book about the methods and tricks that the All Blacks use off the pitch to inspire success on it.

One key point it looks at is how at the end of each game a senior and junior member of the team sweep the dressing room floor, in order to set the expectation that no one is bigger than the team. It has so many parallels with business.

What advice would you give for people who are eager to get into your industry?

Across the tech and software industries we find that successful people generally have very common traits: curiosity, self-awareness, resilience and flexibility.

The tech industry is unique because it moves at such rapid speed, the tech we use today will likely be out of date in a couple of years. As such you need to be able to move with these changes, and be eager to learn about what’s around the corner.

When do you work until? Are you still sending emails in the night? Or do you have a wind down routine?

As my role involves working with colleagues all over the world, I try to leave the office early to go home and spend time with my family, before then logging back on at 8:30pm to check if there’s anything pressing to deal with.

I probably have around two nights a week where I will be online until 11:30pm, but I always try and read after finishing work to relax and bring me back to reality.

What was your favourite childhood toy?

I used to love the technical engineering Lego, which you could use to build engines and pistons.

The intricacy and creativity of it had a huge impact on me, and is what initially led to me going into engineering at the very start of my career.

If you could ask your idol one question, who would it be, and what would you ask?

I’d say my idol is Roger Federer and what I love about him is that we’ve had Roger Federer 1.0, 2.0 and now 3.0.

Even aged 36 he reinvented himself, turning up this year and winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon with a completely new backhand. I’d be really intrigued to understand more about this constant evolution and the challenges that he faced doing this.

As Darwin said, it isn’t the most intelligent or strongest species that survives – it’s the most adaptable.

Come back next Thursday for our next #BossItLike interview, and get in touch if you know a leader who’s also a productivity guru for us to talk to.