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  • Lawrence Ng

Making the Cut – Paul Michael Scanlan, Huawei CTO

Updated: Aug 18, 2021

Paul Michael Scanlan has the bearing of what one thinks a chief technology officer should be, decked out in a suit and looking all serious. Now imagine Huawei’s CTO on stage, jamming it up in a session with his band. Yes, he is one of the cool kids on the block. | By: Gwyn Lau

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Full transcript:

People think, you know, CTO is Chief Technical Officer, yes? That is sort of what the title is called. But, very specifically, my job is providing advice to companies to transform them. I love music and I love performing. I love playing music, singing, all these sort of things. The musical side has helped me significantly in the way I do other things, like public speaking and interviews. It’s made me more relaxed significantly. To stand up on stage in front of 3000 people, that’s quite umm, quite a challenge. That’s not easy to do. The fear factor is terrible but it helps you a lot when you stand up on a stage here in front of a few thousand people, as well. What I’ve learnt over all the years I’ve been playing, if you play music by yourself it’s very different to playing with others. When you play with others – I can play, you can play, he can sing, she can sing – whatever, but can we all do it together? If you have the right team, it fosters creativity, musically or in business. The right team, that means the right components. You need the right ingredients to be able to create. From the management perspective, I am very transparent, very open. I always have a policy – my door is always open. I like a team structure as opposed to a very bureaucratic style, I don’t like that. I like to be a little bit more hands on, I like to understand the problems so that when other people explain it to me we can challenge each other. I like other people to challenge me, I’m not always right, perhaps never. So it’d be good if people can challenge me and then we can collaborate. I believe that collaboration becomes stronger if you have this style. So if you want to grow a business, if you want to develop and take advantages of the changes that the whole behaviour of the planet, you need to be connected. The content is changing so it’s no longer just appropriate to have simple messaging or voice communications. People now want to see video and video is becoming more pervasive in the industry. So therefore, when we know 40-60% of all data is video so, now you see telecom operators themselves, I say probably over the last past 5 years, they’ve taken a specific direction towards this thing called ‘transformation’. Some are heading and moving towards become more video or media oriented operators but generally, they all understand the need that they must change.

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