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 really excited to feature Uri Bar-Joseph, who currently manages developer marketing for Alexa at Amazon. Uri has lead marketing teams throughout Seattle including time at Simply Measured, Optify and others.
It was his idea to turn the usual “how I work” questions into a narrative. I love it and hope you do too.
Tuesday started like every other week day, giving away no signs that this will be a day I will never forget. The alarm clock on my iPhone 6+ started at 6:15am but I was already awake; I knew I was about to have an emotional day. The sound of the shower broke the silence in our bedroom. Karen, as usual, was awake since 5:30am, enjoying last minutes of peaceful solitude before our trio (7,4 and 10 months) will start the day with a list of their usual morning demands – “shoko please!” (shoko is Hebrew for chocolate milk, which is their version of morning coffee) “I want waffles” “I want cereal” “I want to wear my custom to school today” “I want to bring my baseball bat” and so on. But at 6:15 in the morning, the house was still quiet and only the sound of my wife getting ready interfered with the blessed silence that was about to be broken.
I reached for my iPhone, snoozed the alarm and tried to catch up on the events from last night. I had 427 WhatsApp messages from my friends in Israel trying to settle yet another argument on the controversy of using goal-line cameras in soccer matches. Since I had to contribute to this riveting discussion, I spent 5 minutes reading all the messages and 30 second crafting a well-thought out response: “that’s just dumb, you’re so stupid.” Nailed it.
After I was done with the important stuff, I caught up on emails and Slack messages, there was nothing new since the last time I checked them around midnight last night when I went to sleep.
My evenings are usually filled with family duty until about 8:30pm when I put the kids to bed. I then log back in and work for about an hour or two (depending on the projects and workload), and around 10pm I usually catch up on my TV viewing. Since I’m a TV addict, I binge watch for about 2 hours on my Tivo or on my phone until it’s time to go to sleep.
I finished my morning routine and turned my focus to get the kids ready. The excitement that woke me up kept burning through my gut, but it was mixed with a certain sense of sadness, like two opposing forces were fighting for my attention. Thankfully, a pair of pajama pants landed on my face, giving me a welcomed distraction as I mounted a retaliation attack on my 4-year old son, who was hiding under his blanket.
I took the car that morning instead of riding my bike. I went on 99 and crossed the Aurora Bridge on the way to our office near Pike’s Place Market. I diverted from my normal routine – I usually listen to an audiobook as I bike or a podcast on my phone – and just tuned in to NPR to catch the morning news. Just the other day I finished “The Undoing Project” by Michael Lewis, a true story about two Israeli psychologists that, as it turns out, founded the field of behavioral economics (Daniel Kahneman won a Nobel Prize for his part in this amazing partnership), so I was bookless at the moment. But the news provided a good background noise to my thoughts. I practiced my speech for our company lunch – every Tuesday we host a lunch for the entire company in which we give shout-outs, announcements and updates to the company – and was trying to rearrange the order of my key messages. My Waze showed that I had less than four minutes left with a relatively clear road ahead of me, so I switched to my Starbucks app and placed my usual pickup order. I zoomed under the viaduct and took my exit. I entered Starbucks just on time to take my coffee from the Barista – no line, no waiting; I love it when everything works out as planned.
My first meeting of the day was our executive team meeting, and I only had 30 minutes before it started. I went to my desk in the open space and pulled my MacBook Pro out. I opened Inbox and quickly checked my emails for the final time until noon (I check emails only three times during the day – in the morning, at noon and before I leave to go home. I learned that emails could be the biggest time suck if you let them control you. I also learned that if something is urgent, people will find a way to get it to you), then I logged into our SFDC to get an update on performance. I refreshed my dashboard and noted a few things I would bring up in the executive meeting. There were no major changes since yesterday when I created the weekly report for the team to review. With the last few minutes I had before the meeting, I checked my list of blogs, news sites and newsletters I get – Techmeme, Techcrunch, Forrester, Tomasz Tunguz, SiriusDecisions and OpenView – I then checked my LinkedIn for messages and any interesting articles (and saved a few to my Evernote) and checked Twitter to catch up on stories and my favorite part of Twitter – Moments.
The executive meeting was moving in its usual pace, with updates, discussions, jokes and some follow up items, but I was having somewhat of an outer-body experience, as if my being was floating above the room, watching the meeting from the outside. My thoughts once again drifted away and I was thinking about the last four years I had at Simply Measured, from starting the demand generation practice, through my time as the VP of Marketing, to now, as the VP of Business Operations. I thought about how much we’ve been through and how much I learned. I thought about all the people that I shared these experiences with and how thankful I am to all of them.I started reciting my lunch speech again…“Uri, do you want to say a few words?” Michael, our CEO, interrupted my moment of nostalgia and pulled me back down to the earth “Huh, hmm, what about?” I laughed nervously. “Thanks for paying attention,” Michael teased me, “I was saying some really nice things about you and I thought you would want to say something to everyone in the room since today is your last day…”
The events that followed are a little bit of a blur for me. I remember saying a few words and thanking everyone and then teasing a few of them. Shortly after in our lunch meeting I was surprised with some guests who came to say goodbye and with some speeches that made me more emotional and uncomfortable then I was planning on being. Consequently, my entire prepared speech went out the window and all I could do was mumble a few incoherent Thank You’s. Then I got some gifts, a few more cards, hugs, thank you’s, “stay in touch” messages and to all I somehow was able to reply with a weak smile and a thankful nod. See, leaving Simply Measured after four years was one of the hardest decisions I had to make, even though I was making it for all the right reasons. And the support I got from my executives, my team and the rest of the employees, only made my departure harder. “No one is irreplaceable” one of my mentors used to tell me, “and a good commander is tested in his absence.” I left hoping that I did a good enough job that my absence will go unnoticed.
I’m now off to a new start in a new company and a new role. I like to build teams, and I built a career doing that. It’s never the same, and it’s always challenging and fun, and exciting, and frustrating, and slow at start, but fulfilling and great when you start seeing the results.
My morning routine hasn’t changed much, and my commute is fairly the same. Nowadays I’m listening to the Leadership Challenge on my Audible when I don’t listen to my Spotify. And at night, after the kids are asleep, I still binge watch TV shows like an addict. But I sleep until my alarm wakes me up, at least until the next time that a knot in my stomach will tell me that it’s time to move on.