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.
It is my pleasure every Thursday to feature a B2B sales, marketing or business leader in our own series and our own version of “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 Jeff Perkins, CMO at ParkMobile. A self-described marketing geek and optimist, Jeff also gives back to as a TechStars mentor and worked at the White House while in college. Here in his own words is how he gets stuff done.
Location Atlanta, GA
Number of unread emails right now? 4548
First app checked in the morning? I usually start with email. Then Slack. Then I move on to social media sites – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. I do a quick scan of each without answering to any specific messages, make some mental notes of what I need to respond to immediately and what I’ll do later.
First thing you do when you come into work? Get coffee. After that, I review my calendar and to do list to plan out the day ahead.
What is your email management strategy? My strategy is actually to avoid email as much as possible. It’s too easy to get sucked in and spend your entire day responding to email. I try to “timebox” my email time. I usually spend an hour doing email in the morning. Then another hour after lunch. I’ll also scan my inbox throughout the day and flag things that I need to respond to during my email time.
Most essential app when traveling? I’m a big fan of Hotel Tonight. Often times when I’m traveling for work, I won’t book a hotel room until the day of my trip. Hotel Tonight gets you the really good rates on nice hotels at the last minute. I often pay half of what my co-workers pay for a hotel and stay at a nicer place.
How do you keep yourself calm and/or focused? I try to workout 5 days a week. I find that keeps me centered, improves my energy level and reduces stress. I usually rotate between my Peloton bike (my leaderboard name is “BaldGuy” if you want to race me) and OrangeTheory. Beyond the obvious health benefits, I find there are a lot of other reasons why you should make exercise part of your daily routine. Here’s a blog post I wrote about that topic – https://singlemindedproposition.com/2013/08/22/how-exercise-makes-you-a-better-marketer/.
What’s your perspective or approach to work/life balance? As a Dad with young kids (ages 8 and 11), balance is critical. Yes, I’m highly ambitious and driven to succeed. Yes, I’m very competitive and want to push my company to stay ahead of the curve. But, I also don’t want to look back on my life in 10 years and feel like I missed out because I was working too much. When I started my career, I had a desktop computer and no cell phone. So, it was really difficult to get work done if you weren’t physically in the office. Fortunately, modern technology gives us greater flexibility, so you don’t have to be chained to your desk. If I want to leave work early on a Wednesday to see my daughter’s volleyball game, that’s usually no problem. I can take a call on the way to the game. I can do work after the game. I tell this to my team as well. As long as we are getting our work done and hitting our goals, everyone should be able to have a good balance between their personal and professional lives.
Are there any work rituals critical to your success? Allocating time to building and nurturing my network. This is something that has paid huge dividends throughout my career. At least once or twice a week I’m having a lunch, coffee or drink with a colleague. If someone needs career advice or introductions for a job, I always try to help if I can. Having a strong network has really helped me in two ways. First, I’ve been able to source almost my entire team at ParkMobile through my network or the network of other team members who I’ve hired. As a marketing leader, your success will often have less to do with you, and more to do with the team you can assemble around you. Being able to hire candidates from your network will generally get you better talent, reduce your risk of making a bad hire and save your company a lot of money on recruiter fees. Second, when I’ve had to look for jobs in the past, my network has been incredibly helpful. In fact, I landed my last two jobs – QASymphony and ParkMobile – purely through my network connections.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? LinkedIn has really become the place for me to connect with peers, grow my network, recruit top talent and learn about the latest marketing trends. It’s a truly amazing resource for professionals. I don’t know what I would do without it.
What’s your workspace like? I try to keep my office pretty simple and clean. I don’t work in a huge space so minimizing clutter is key. I have a big whiteboard on one wall that I’m constantly using with my team as we brainstorm ideas. I also keep a running list of events, market launches and other upcoming activities on my whiteboard to keep them top of mind. My door is open most of the time and often encourage people to pop-in if they need me. I have a standup desk that prevents me from sitting for hours at a time as I’m heads down, cranking through projects. My walls are decorated with framed pictures from recent Phillies and Eagles championships, much to the dislike of my colleagues who are mostly Atlanta sports fans.
What’s your best time-saving shortcut or lifehack? I love Calendly! It’s a simple link that I can send to people so they can quickly book time on my calendar. Much more efficient that going back-and-forth over email trying to find a date that works for both people. I create different links for the type of meeting we’re going to have. I have Calendly links for 15-minute, 30-minute and 60-minute meetings. I also have links for lunch, coffee and drinks after work. It is such a game changer.
What are you currently reading? Right now, I’m halfway through Educated, a memoir by Tara Westover about growing up in a Mormon family totally off the grid. It’s fascinating.
Last thing you do before leaving work? Review my To-Do list. Cross off the things I’ve completed and reprioritize my To-Dos for the next day. That gives me a jumpstart when I get to my desk in the morning.
Who are some mentors or influencers you wish to thank or acknowledge? I’ll give a shoutout to my friend Sangram Vajre, the co-founder of Terminus. Sangram helped me get my first startup gig at QASymphony back in 2015. That has put me on a really fun career trajectory working at smaller and more entrepreneurial companies. Sangram has done an amazing job building the Account Based Marketing category, writing 2 books on the subject and creating the FlipMyFunnel conference. I have huge respect for what he’s accomplished.
Name some supportive people who help make it possible to do what you do best? My wife, Paige Perkins, is awesome. Super smart. Very organized. A few years back she started her own business and then sold it. Now she does independent consulting. She’s also the COO for our family which is pretty much a full-time job with 2 young kids and 2 dogs. Having a supportive spouse really helps in your professional life. I really don’t know what I’d do without her.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? You can do anything. But you can’t do everything. It’s all about focus.
Name a guilty pleasure TV show Reruns of Seinfeld.
Anything else you want to add? If you don’t have it already, go and download the ParkMobile app and discover a smarter way to park!
Fill in the Blank: I¹d love to see BLANK Jennifer Zember answer these questions.