Continuing our ‘Meet the Team’ series, we put Michael Austin, Director of Sales, APAC, in the spotlight. Responsible for managing Datapath’s sales across the Far East, Michael has lived and worked in Japan for the past 16 years.
Tell us a bit about you and your AV background, and how you came to Datapath?
Prior to Datapath, I worked at Intralink, a British consulting firm which at the time focused on providing business development services for East Asian markets. Clients – including Datapath – were primarily Western technology companies. I worked across a wide range of sectors – enterprise software, industrial components and equipment, and medical devices, just to name a few – identifying, engaging, and setting up distribution partners, as well as doing direct sales work targeting large Japanese brands.
Intralink started representing Datapath in 2012, which was my starting point for learning about AV – and IT – as it relates to Datapath’s solutions. I fully transitioned to Datapath in July 2017 to manage our APAC sales, following success in expanding Datapath’s business in Japan.
What are the main differentiators in the APAC AV market?
I think this one requires a far more complex, nuanced answer, but I’ll do my best to be succinct!
APAC markets differ in numerous ways: wealth; sophistication of commonly used solutions; potential for competitive home-grown or regional technologies; technological preferences and trends; adventurousness with new technologies; etc. The success of our various product lines can vary considerably depending on such points. From a culture perspective, protocols and standards are paramount and this is evident at every stage of business.
And how is the region responding to COVID?
Overall, APAC markets have managed quite well, at least in relation to some Western markets. Asia’s experience with previous outbreaks, familiarity with mask-wearing, generally higher trust in the authorities and adherence to rules, and other factors have contributed strongly to this.
What’s your best work-related memory?
There are several large project orders that stand out, especially our first large multi-VSN order from a Japanese customer. Seeing our products used in some of the region’s most serious control room operations and most prestigious corporate and art venues is always satisfying.
But honestly, over the last almost 10 years there have been numerous ‘little moments’ that all carry meaning to me – time bonding with colleagues and customers, recognition from colleagues and customers for technical knowledge, etc.
How do you unwind away from work?
Music – listening to it or playing guitar. Snowboarding. Cooking. Travel. Lots of things, really – though nowadays taking care of my son gets priority! Childcare is of course not always ‘a way to unwind’, but he brings us plenty of joy.
Tell us something about you that people may not know.
Despite some thinking to the contrary, yes, I do sleep! And I am trying to be less verbose for everyone’s sake!