By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing
“How I Work” is a favorite recurring features in Inc Magazine (and Lifehacker’s “This Is How I Work” series). For a few years, we’ve had our own series featuring several sales experts (including Anthony Iannarino, Dave Brock and Trish Bertuzzi) participated as well.
This week I’m excited to feature Vignesh Subramanyan, senior ABM manager for Radius Intelligence. A die-hard Boston Bruins fan, Vignesh’s career has spanned work at SAP, Workato, GoAnimate and more. He’s also been a Boys & Girls Club mentor as well as a volunteer helping inner city high school students with their college applications.
Suffice it to say, Vignesh gets stuff done. Here in his own words is how he does it.
Location: Sunnyvale, California – but Boston is my second home.
Number of unread emails right now? 2 unread emails – and they’re making me anxious. I like to be at inbox zero.
First app checked in the morning? LinkedIn or the Google News Feed on my Pixel
First thing you do when you come into work? Typically I start with any creative work and most often it’s writing based tasks – blog posts, emails, videos – really any content that needs to be created for my campaigns.
What is your email management strategy? I may be in the small group of people who likes seeing emails in real-time. So, I use a Chrome extension called “Checker Plus for Gmail” – I can get notifications, read, listen or delete emails without opening Gmail AND I can manage multiple Gmail accounts.
When I receive an email, I get notified by a pop-up on the bottom of my screen. I respond right away if it’s time-sensitive or ‘Mark it as Read’/ Delete it if I don’t need to take any action.
Overall, my goal is always to keep my inbox as clean and empty as possible. Emails in my inbox reflect projects that I’m working on or have yet to work on. Everything else gets filed away in a labeled folder. I also keep folders for emails with great copy (for email writing inspiration) and a ‘Good Reads’ folder for any great content.
Most essential app when traveling? Yelp – can’t live without it. I use it to find the best local restaurants or sometimes even just a quiet place to get some work done.
How do you keep yourself calm and/or focused? A quiet place and something to read. If I’m at my desk I usually put on headphones and listen to one of my favorite Spotify playlists (Lofi Hip-Hop is my current favorite). If I’m writing or thinking through ideas, I listen to music without lyrics.
I usually have a ‘starting’ problem when beginning new projects or tasks. So, I read an article or blog post on it to get myself thinking about the topic. For example, if I’m writing email copy, then I read best practices on email writing. Need to build a direct mail campaign? I look at campaign examples online.
I’ve found writing on paper or just sketching ideas is helpful too. I typically do this when I need to build a new program or come up with fresh ideas.
What’s your perspective or approach to work/life balance? I don’t have any hard-and-fast rules for work/life balance. I’m passionate about my work and I tend to get random work-related ideas throughout the day. So, I like to keep it flexible and make it easy to jump in and out of work as needed – this helps especially because I work in sprints.
On the personal front, anything health or family-related almost always takes priority. I also like to do something social at least once a week – I’ve found it’s helpful to put everything important on my calendar, even if it’s personal. That way I can make sure to complete my personal tasks along with my work and I don’t feel guilty about not doing something.
I’m an introvert so finding time for myself is a great way to recharge (and a must have). Besides that, a movie, brunch or a hike every so often is all I need to get myself back to neutral.
Are there any work rituals critical to your success? Waking up early is a big one. I wake up at 5am as a result of my commute and it has made me more effective than any other ritual. Coming into an empty and quiet office is a great way to get stuff done. I find that most of my work gets done between 7:30 – 11am.
Planning out my week on Sunday nights and updating my to-do list before the end of each work day is another important ritual. This helps me hit the ground running every morning and especially every Monday – I spend less time “warming up” for the day and more time getting stuff done.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? For work, Gmail and Google Calendar. I like being mobile and not having my email or calendar on my phone stresses me out. Same goes for Slack.
Facebook – for idle moments when I want to watch videos. And, LinkedIn to keep track of professional news and updates.
What’s your workspace like? Busy but organized. I like to keep the center of my desk clean and free of clutter. Anything else useful sits on the outer edges within arms reach. My most prized possession is a desk fan – which is super handy when the office temperature fluctuates or it’s summer.
What’s your best time-saving shortcut or lifehack? I found this nifty trick thanks to a colleague – saving screenshots in Dropbox.
I tend to take a lot of screenshots throughout my day, especially when I’m QA’ing design collateral, web pages or any type of content. Dropbox has a feature that saves all screenshots in a Dropbox folder, generates a unique URL for your recently captured screenshot, and copies that URL to your clipboard. So, in practice, all you need to do is take a screenshot and “paste” the link to it. You don’t have to save the screenshot on your desktop or find it and upload it with your message.
Similarly, you can copy a screenshot to your clipboard (without saving it and cluttering your desktop) with this shortcut.
What are you currently reading? You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins and The Laws of Spirit: A Tale of Transformation by Dan Millman.
Last thing you do before leaving work? Clean up my workspace and organize my task list for the next day.
Who are some mentors or influencers you wish to thank or acknowledge?
Laura Wilson who was my first manager when I was an intern at NEJM Group. Her guidance and the autonomy she gave me helped me jump-start my career in the best way possible. I was also blown away by her work ethic and it left a big impression on me in terms of how I approach my work.
Brian Rice and Renee DeCoskey who brought me into Business 2 Community. The opportunity at B2C introduced me to my love for writing and the experience working with them led me to content marketing and eventually to ABM.
Satya Krishnaswamy, a start-up entrepreneur who now heads Personalization at Adobe. I had an opportunity to work with him during the early phases of his start-up. His advice and help has been extremely helpful in navigating key career decisions. Working with him also instilled an emphasis on attention to detail, working smarter and communication across cross-funcitonal teams.
Name some supportive people who help make it possible to do what you do best?
Scott Blankenship who runs digital marketing at Radius has been an immense help. His insights on content, buyer behavior, and digital strategy has helped shape a lot of our marketing efforts especially on the ABM front. He has a keen understanding of user behavior and his feedback often shapes a lot of the campaign I run or the content I create.
This isn’t a single person per se, but the BDR team at Radius has been an incredible resource and excellent partners for ABM. They helped test the initial pilot ideas and also continue to help scale many of the tactics we use today. Their ongoing support of marketing initiatives, cross-functional relationships, and insights have been invaluable.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? “Choose your attitude.” It’s been really useful advice for work and in life.
Name a guilty pleasure TV show Kitchen Nightmares or any reality TV show that’s on
Anything else you want to add? Thanks for including me, this was a lot of fun!
Fill in the Blank: I’d love to see Adam New-Waterson answer these questions.
Open to nominations. Who would you suggest?