“Try to fail every day — give yourself small tasks that feel crazy or impossible.” Adi Azaria
Every week we send the same list of questions to a different founder from companies of all sizes. Each week we get new answers, insights, perspectives, and tips on how we all can shine a bit brighter.
Adi (Didi) Azaria
CEO at Workiz
Adi Azaria is the CEO of Workiz. Before joining Workiz in 2018, he was the Co-founder and Chief Evangelist of Sisense, a business analytics startup turned unicorn. Adi lives in Tel-Aviv with his wife and 2 boys while in his free time enjoying meditation and painting.
1. What is a daily habit you love doing?
During the past few years, I have found myself under a lot of stress — it comes with the job. So after placing my kids at school every morning, I go to Hilton beach in Tel-Aviv and meditate for 15–30 minutes. It changed my life. My stress levels ceased to exist. It’s funny — you take a step back for half an hour and ‘do nothing’, and lots of things get solved.
I’ve also continued meditating during the COVID-19 crisis. In my mindset I’m a growth hacker, so I tend to look at things in a very positive way. My wife and I understood that everything will be closed and working from home will be challenging since we have a tiny home. So we decided to tell the kids we are going for a “corona vacation”, and rented a beautiful house up north. It was isolated in the middle of the forest, so I’ve had lots of time to meditate — even more than usual.
I saw lots of benefits in working from home — just to be able to have the lunch break with your spouse instead of your colleagues makes a totally different day. As a result, we asked all our employees to take one day off each week and work from home once things get back to normal, so they can work in a less stressful environment.
2. What piece of advice would you give yourself when you started? What advice would you ignore?
The first advice would be to read much more — specifically professional books. 20 years ago, when I first started a company, I was lazy and didn’t read as much as I do today. These days i’m doing a mix — I believe that even reading a romance or a thriller would help you solve things in your day to day lives. You need to go deeper in what you do, so focus on your main goal — whether sales, marketing or anything else — but do cover that with other topics like negotiation skills, managing companies etc.
I would also tell myself to try not to listen to everybody, and work with your hunch. Everybody has an opinion, you need to know which one to address and which one to ignore.
3. What piece of content (book/podcast/Ted Talk) is your favorite or has influenced your life?
Loonshots by Safi Bahcall. It tells the story of all the great inventions in our lives and the ‘lunatic’ people who invented them. Without them, our life would be completely different today. It is one of the best books I read in the past few years.
4. What is the most valuable investment (time, money or energy etc.) that you’ve ever made?
Taking paternity leave. When my younger son was born, I switched with my wife, paused everything and took two months off. I did nothing but spend time with him. I feel that I know him and what he feels even without speaking. I can’t compare this to what women feel after carrying a baby for nine months, but I can definitely relate to how you ‘feel it in your stomach’ when they are sick, when they miss something, when they express love… It is a relationship I would even pay for and take with my first born as well. It is the best investment I made in my life.
5. Is there a quote, mantra or message you live your life by and that you resonate with? It can be someone else’s as well.
Failures are definitely the milestones for success. I ‘try’ to fail at least once a day — I welcome it and I learn from it. I feel much smarter, stronger, and better from each small failure that comes my way. Give yourself small tasks every day that feel crazy or impossible. For example, try giving customer support without saying you’re the CEO and make sure you can help them. You can learn from every experience you put yourself in.
Success is easy, so in our company we try to reflect more on our failures. It makes people feel that failure is not such a bad thing, and it’s actually a good habit to fail from time to time in order to be better.
I also try to say ‘Yes’ to almost everything. Anything I can squeeze into my schedule, I do. As I am trying to fail, I also aim for a small ‘win’ every day — even smiling to someone on the street and getting a smile back.
6. What helps you stay motivated on good and hard days?
A simple recipe: Love what you do. If you really love what you do it does not matter. Business is just like relationships — even if you get into a fight, you still stay there. There are good days and bad days. So as long as you love what you do, it’s easy.
7. What are you passionate about other than managing your own company?
Growing people. I love helping people to grow and be better versions of themselves. I mentor about 100 startups globally and that is my passion. I try to get a glimpse of what they do and give one or two tips for how they can get better. I’m no genius, of course, I’m just sharing my experience.
It makes me happy and I try implementing this experience in my workplace and company as well. We work on personal OKRs (Objective and Key Results). We have employees who want to learn Japanese, learn to play the piano or even buy a house. We give 2 hours a week on the calendar that are your own, on working hours to pursue your passions. We set a goal and every two weeks we sit and ask “what did you do in the last two weeks in order to progress? If you didn’t do it, why not? How can we make it happen?” — it creates a huge effect on our lives.
8. What have you recently thrown away or released from your life that made a positive impact and why?
I’m a minimalist. I have only what I need so throwing something would probably have a major effect on me. Up until six years ago I was a big spender. Then I watched a show on Netflix called ‘Minimalism’ and decided to make that shift and ‘reinvent’ our house. My house is about 54 square meters so we really have to think about every space. Instead of walls we have closets in between the rooms, and if you sit in the kitchen you can reach everything you need from your seat. I don’t need too much in my life to be honest. Reducing my carbon footprint to the minimum makes me feel good so that’s what I do.
9. Share a failure you have experienced and what you learned from it.
There are so many. I was not good at school or university. I was very mediocre yet given all the opportunities to succeed — I was simply too lazy. This is my biggest failure and I should have reflected on why I’m not fully focused. Today I know that I can listen much better than I can read or see. If I close my eyes and just listen, I can remember every single thing I’m being told. So looking back I would tell little Didi — “start listening, close your eyes and everything will be better”.
10. If you could have anyone in the world answer these questions who would it be and why?
Nikola Tesla, one of the greatest inventors. He changed the world without even knowing it.