After Hours: Karim Talhouk
Karim Talhouk, Microsoft business solution lead for the Gulf
Arabian Computer News delves below the corporate strategy to understand what really makes the region’s IT leaders tick.
Number of years in the industry: 18
Favourite food: Lebanese, Greek, Japanese
Holiday destination: Greek islands, Cuba, Maldives, anything with nice beaches
Music: Latin, ‘80s, deep house, opera, classical music
Dream car: 1956Jaguar XK140 Roadster
Gadget: Microsoft SurfacePro3
Movie: The Odyssey
Books: The Prophet
Piece of advice: Success comes in cans, not cant’s
How did you come to be in your current role?
Working with a big multinational organisation has always been my goal since I was a teenager. I was born and lived in Lebanon, graduated from the American University of Beirut in 1996 and started my career in IT until I moved to Dubai at the beginning of 2001 to start a new journey in my professional career. I really enjoyed meeting customers, sharing their plans, helping overcome their issues, and building towards their vision, which made it very clear to me that I wanted to work with an organisation where its mission aligns to my priorities.
What is your management philosophy?
Innovation, flexibility, and excellence. My management philosophy is to provide an environment that leads to productive employees. I achieve this through conflict management, keeping the morale high, providing encouragement to low performers, and also rewarding the strong performers. The result of this will definitely lead to innovation within the team and excellence in execution.
I believe in setting an example. My favourite managers in the past were the ones that worked smart and efficiently. I learned a great deal and found that leading by example is a strong way to influence directs to work diligently.
What was your first computer?
It was a ZX Spectrum by Sinclair that I bought in 1985, when I heavily used it for games and wrote some basic programs.
What is your greatest achievement?
Finishing my first painting, the Che-Guevara portrait, after spending four months painting it!
What is your biggest mistake?
I regret not taking a gap year after university to travel on a sailing boat cruising in the Mediterranean Sea.
What is your fondest memory of working in the regional IT industry?
Being part of this IT revolution happening in theUAE public sector, building fully automated smart government that provides high quality service to its citizen. This is a critical time for the country and I’m definitely proud to be in the heart of this innovation, where Microsoft Dynamics can play a major part achieving this vision.
What technology do you think will have the biggest impact on the market in 2015?
The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online for sure. Today’s sales landscape has changed and is more complicated than ever. Salespeople still face significant internal pressures to do more with less. The key to long-term success in this new environment is freeing up salespeople to focus on engaging, developing, and building customer relationships.
What’s the best way to deal with stress?
Taking some time out, talking about it, accepting the things I cannot change, thinking of all positive things happening around, doing something I’m really passionate about, such as painting or sports, or listening to music.