A day in the Life of an Analytics Startup CEO
Santina Doherty, CEO, Unravel Analytics – accelerating Digital Performance
I like to start my days early enough: 06.15-06.30. I get a few emails together and review plans for the day before my kids, James (9) and Giulia (7) start to surface. A couple of times a week I try to get a swim or run in early at about 06.30 so I can get home and have time with my family in the evenings. The kitchen is chaotic from about 7.30 until 8.15am as homework is corrected, piano practiced and as we generally get ourselves out the door.
08.00 Either myself or my husband leaves for work to get in early. My office is about 10 minutes on the bike from home and I am straight in to review where we are in terms of projects for the week. As CEO of a small but fast growing analytics technology company, my responsibilities will range from investor outreach to business development, from finance to HR and generally running the business.
08.15 I am surrounded by 3 white boards in my office: short term plans for this week and next, business strategic planning and “any-other-business”. Whiteboards have to be the ultimate productivity tool! Customer operations take priority: current status on projects and where we need to be and planning meetings. We do our most creative work at this time, taking the opportunity that fresh perspective in the morning lends to working through projects like new data visualisation and analytics configuration.
09.30 I am generally starving even though I do grab some breakfast before leaving home. Healthy eating and nutrition are really important to be as I am reasonably physically active and I know I need to eat well to concentrate and be productive. We just moved to our new offices in Blackrock earlier this year and I am delighted to say there is excellent Italian coffee nearby at Cafe Ciamei!
11.00 Every day is different but by mid-morning, if I am not out with Customers then I am working hard towards an internal deadline: as of right now that is getting our own new website live and reviewing how we describe our value proposition, services and Smarttm analytics tools . Recruitment is a priority for us right now and we’ve just had a key hire come on board. Planning our new team member’s onboarding is also a strategic priority. We’re recruiting so that as we grow we can build a separate Product Development team alongside our Client Operations team.
12.30 I start early so I like to get lunch early. Again I’m conscious if I am training in the evening, as I am this evening that I have to eat the right food or I will be good for nothing! This evening it is 5km of intervals followed by a swimming session. Apart from longer hill runs, it is the longest session I will do in the week.
13.30 We have a number of important Customer planning sessions for 2016 this week so I am reviewing all our presentation material to ensure we have locked in all our ideas as clearly as possible. It’s incredible how the productivity of any meeting can be adversely affected by lack of planning. That won’t be an issue this week! The team has put in a massive effort to comprehensively audit and plan for all Customer Analytics implementations: I love this part of my job which is to really inject creativity on behalf of our Customers to drive new ideas around how Digital Performance can be accelerated.
15.00 Business planning takes up part of every day right now: we are on board with Enterprise Ireland as a High Potential Start Up which means we get access to an incredible network of mentors and start up programmes with organisations such as Amazon Web Services. As we plan for growth and scale the business, it’s imperative we have strong financial modelling; that we are clear on our own value proposition and that we can measure and report our own Digital Performance. It is not difficult to get quickly absorbed by short term planning at this stage so I see my time spent on business planning for Unravel Analytics to probably be the most important daily investment I can make in the business.
17.30 I start early so I can also leave at a reasonable time and clear the head to start the following day fresh. We place a lot of importance on productivity and that can only be achieved with a work-life balance. This evening, pre training, I need to get my son and his buddies to soccer training. Dinner will be back at base quite late about 9pm this evening and then I will collapse!