By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing
“How I Work” is one of my favorite recurring features in Inc Magazine as well as via Lifehacker’s This Is How I Work Series, and recently several sales experts (including Anthony Iannarino, Dave Brock and Trish Bertuzzi) participated as well.
Periodically moving forward, we will feature a new B2B sales, marketing or business leader here answering what have become the standard “How I Work” questions. You can catch up on everyone we’ve featured thus far in the “How I Work” series here.
This week I’m excited to feature Venkat Nagaswamy, co-founder and CEO at Mariana, a B2B start-up using machine learning to increase engagement and demand generation. Venkat has been in the high-tech space for 20+ years having served executive and consulting roles at companies such as Juniper Networks, MightyHive, McKinsey and more.
Here in his own words is how Venkat “gets stuff done:
Current computers: MacBook Pro, 2012 word summer version 13 inch. That’s the one at work. And I have another MacBook Pro that I use at home but that’s an even older vintage. The standing joke in the company is that I have the worst computer in the company.
Current mobile devices: Mobile device – iPhone 7+ and I’ve been using iPhones from 2007 so it’s one after another.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? Yeah, so I live in San Francisco but I work in San Mateo so I take the train these days. And so on the phone, the big things for me are Twitter, Feedly with all my news feeds; those are things that I spend a lot of time on these days on the train. And Outlook on iPhone. And Google Drive and Google apps on the phone, as well those are the ones I’m using the phone.
What’s your workspace like? Cluttered, messy, with coffee stains.
What’s your best time-saving shortcut or life hack? So this may sound stupid but this saves me untold hours. Just to give you some background to this, at home I am the one who does the laundry and so the biggest time save has been for me to buy socks of the same brand and the same color so that I don’t have to waste that matching the socks. As weird as it sounds, this used to drive me nuts. This literally saves me something like 20 minutes a week.
What everyday thing are you better at than anybody else? I would say the only thing of myself that I am proud of is I know how to learn. I learned how to learn.
What’s your favorite to-do list manager? Wunderlist. It’s the German app that Microsoft bought. Last week I heard that they are going to shut it down which would be a huge tragedy for me but Wunderlist is the name of the to do app. It’s very simple, you just write the shit down, yeah, but it’s going to go.
What do you listen to while at work? My pump up song is, maybe I shouldn’t say this, it’s embarrassing but it’s “Eye of the Tiger”. And being a child of the 80’s, the two pump up songs that I have; Eye of the Tiger and St. Elmo’s Fire. Those are my pump up songs and stuff that I listen to before a big meeting with a client or an investor.
What are you currently reading? I am reading this book called Bacteria to Bach and Back By Daniel Dennett. It’s about concepts of mind and how mind evolved. And given that my company is based on A.I and so on and so forth it gives me a philosophical perspective on mind and intelligence.
What’s your sleep routine like? These days it’s chilling with the wife, reading… My wife likes to be read too so I start reading and she just sleeps. And the book that really seems to put her to sleep really quickly is the Bacteria to Bach and Back.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? You know, and this is something I tell my team all the time, you have kids right? Have you seen the movie Finding Nemo? And Dori in that movie keeps saying – “just keep swimming.” And if there is one lesson that I have learned from other people, and it’s not just a weird little fish thing, it is “just keep swimming”. And just keep doing it so that’s probably the best advice that I have gotten. And I have realized the value of it repeatedly over time and especially in the startup.
Fill in the Blank: I’d love to see Prayag Narula answer these questions.