Meet the boss of Infovista

18 June 2021

José Duarte, CEO, Infovista

José Duarte, CEO, Infovista

What was your big career break? 

• Back in 1993, I was offered the opportunity to establish SAP in Portugal. I took it, starting as a consultant in a small part of what was this gigantic company. Through hard work, we established a foothold in the market. I evolved to become SAP’s president of Latin America, later President of EMEA and, finally, global president services and corporate Officer. It was the ride of a lifetime. I worked 20 years at SAP and have been privileged to meet with talented people and witness technological revolutions. That experience has shaped me as both an executive and on a personal level.

Who was your hero when you were growing up?

• John McEnroe, the tennis player, was my hero when I was younger. I have played tennis since I was 9 and I have always admired his talent and creativity. He was simply unbelievable on the court… and outside: he even became a rock star. As a grown-up and following three decades as a business executive, I appreciate him even more. He was, of course, famous for his on-court tantrums, but he would explain later that his belief was that anger would increase his intensity level… while he finally found it only served to waste energy. In that sense, John McEnroe’s example helps me remain calm and overcome some business frustrations.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned?

• Know what makes you happy and don’t compromise to achieve it. Remember: You only live once!

If you could work in a different industry, which would it be?

• I would be a professional tennis player. I love playing tennis, I love the competition, the camaraderie, the tactics – even the athletic demands. I also love driving fast and music, so a race car driving pop star is also a possibility! Putting dreams aside, I think I would continue working in the software industry as it is one of the most transformational inventions in history and I am incredibly happy to remain in this space.

The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?

• Definitely, the Stones. I love their music and their longevity just shows how genius those guys are. The Beatles were great but, in my opinion, did not stand the test of time. The Stones are unique and endlessly reinvent themselves over time.

What would you do with £1m?

• I would continue doing exactly what I do today, live my life the best way I know and doing the things I like, being with the people I love. This brings happiness. In a few years when I retire from my full time role, I would take the hypothetical £1m and seed that money into entrepreneurial initiatives, assisting younger talent both with funds and mentoring to help create great future businesses.

If money was no object, where would you live?

• I would go back to my country, Portugal, and I would live in Lisbon. The people, the climate, the way of life. In many aspects, this is my ideal place… and it is not so costly to enjoy it! Anyway, “where to live?” is a very relevant question these days. On one hand, the pandemic makes “work from home” a reality, and I am happy, if not relieved, Infovista successfully implemented it. On the other, technologies make home (almost) everywhere: Lisbon, Iceland, Tahiti; the world is truly your oyster! While it is a great opportunity for employees to relocate, it is also a chance for businesses that decide to hire regardless of talents’ location. At Infovista, we aim to recruit skilled and passionate individuals, wherever they are on Earth.

What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?

• The strangest was actually the toughest – once a head-hunter asked me “What makes you happy?” I was totally taken aback and found myself unable to properly answer this question at that time. I was on a career roll, growing fast, filling my ego (and CV) with great experiences… but I was not prepared to say what made me happy. I felt frustrated and I realised it was a humbling experience that made me stop and think. Now, I know what makes me happy. Asking this simple, yet fundamental, question makes me a better and happier person in both my personal life and at work. My advice is don’t wait to cross the path of head-hunter but instead, ask it to yourself and take time to consider the answer.

What will you miss about Donald Trump?

• The hair. I think it’s his best feature…