It feels like a strange time to write My Life in a Week as a Founder & CEO, as the UK is just one step from the removal of all COVID-19 related restrictions and things are still a little weird.
3rd June 2021
3. June 2021
Still, I have seen first-hand over the past few weeks the desire for businesses to jump back into action after, what I consider to be, the most challenging environment our generation will ever experience.
With this, I’m going to give a hybrid approach of what’s been my typical week over the past few weeks and how I expect it’ll be over coming weeks/months.
But, firstly, those who are close to me know I value three things most of all:
1. Time with my Wife, Daughter and Dog... a Frenchie called Frank (he’s on the Audoo team page!)
2. My passion, and relentless drive to deliver the best experience for the Team, our Clients, and Investors
3. Music... after all, I have created my entire business to deliver fair distribution of Royalties to Artists globally
The juggling of these three things is difficult to say the least, and I often find myself trying to make all of them a priority which doesn’t help. Pre-COVID 19 I was constantly travelling, in fact, I nearly missed my daughter’s first birthday as the first UK lockdown was put in place.
The key learning these various restrictions have taught me is how many business trips I took that could have been via a video conference service. I’m the first person to advocate the importance of a good face-to-face meeting but, sometimes you can be just as productive for those ‘in between’ ones virtually.
A few weeks back the Audoo Team got to go to The BRIT Awards and it was an incredible feeling to immerse in live music for the first time in 18 months (Dua Lipa was the highlight for me!).
So, let’s get into my typical week...
I typically wake at 6am. We’re a global business, so on waking up I’ll quickly scan through emails/messages on my phone in case there is anything urgent. If not, then my daughter (who’s now 2) will wake anytime between 6:30-7am and I endeavour to always be a ‘hands on Dad’, so it’s all about getting her ready, ensuring Frank has been fed and then we’re off to drop her at nursery before heading into the office. I like to be in the office on a Monday, it just starts the week right.
Monday’s are very much about checking in with the team. The always entertaining chat about ‘how was everyone’s weekends’ and then, plans for the week – all in a very social way, no regimented or formal meetings.
As you can imagine, my dairy varies, but I would typically expect a combination of conversations with Board/Advisory Board Members, the Team, Investors, Suppliers and Clients to ensure all are up-to-date on various aspects of the business.
I’ll be in the office until approx. 5:30 p.m. and then, head home for family dinner, along with the staple TV item of the evening (Peppa Pig!).
This is the point I must admit, I rarely switch off, so whilst Peppa Pig is a family must-watch TV moment daily, on evenings I typically will sit with my laptop replying to emails. Reading insight or speaking with various members of the team around the world.
I won’t repeat my mornings & evenings, as it’s very much the same start & end to each day.
Tuesday mornings is about the C Team, we have a weekly check-in where each will give an update from their area of the business. We’ll discuss wins, progress, plans for the week, risks and wider updates the whole team need to know, e.g. if a sale is in the pipeline our Operations & Technology teams need to know when to be involved and assign the resource – or to speak with our Spinks On Site Partner about new roles.
This meeting is very much the pillar of each week as it’s one of the only times the whole C Team is together and uninterrupted.
My Tuesday afternoons will typically consist again of various meetings with Board Members, the Team, Investors and clients. Also, I’ll name drop here, Bjorn Ulvaeus (ABBA) is an investor in Audoo so, I often speak to him.
Wednesday is always a great start to the working day for me, I’ve just checked my diary and for the past 3 weeks (and upcoming 4 weeks), I have a brunch in with different people. To really share the intimate details of what I get up to, if on the menu, I always go for an omelette – tomato, cheese, and ham with a side of sourdough toast!
After breakfast, I’m back to the office for meetings, calls and to bring in an office ‘hump day treat’- always Chocolate Fingers!
My ‘coming out of lockdown’ resolution was to run more ... my wife did the London Marathon in 2015 and I did most of the training with her so, although I have never been able to get a space, I have decided to start running again (after about a 3-year break!) in the hope I can get one soon.
I managed to get back up to running 10k in a matter of weeks, I just need to focus on bettering my pace now as it’s about the 58-minute mark.
I’m very lucky to have various mentors throughout my life. These including two of the best managers I ever had in James Leech (at Carphone Warehouse/Best Buy) and Mark Gable (at Vodafone), and these extend to Greg Gormley and Chris Herbert who are Non-Executive Directors in Audoo, along with our largest investor who is one of the most successful British Business people I’ve ever met.
So, typically, on a Thursday morning I’ll have a session with the Investor, Chris or Greg to discuss anything about the business, my personal life, or just anything that’s on my mind. They help give clarity and always guide my thinking in a way that gets me to the answer or plan without giving me the answer.
On a Thursday afternoon, I have a formal update with the team from our largest investor who work for the aforementioned British Business mentor. This is always a good opportunity for me to update them on the teams’ great progress in key areas of our business like: our sales pipeline, technology build, IP progress (we have multiple patents and trademarks globally) and growth plans.
Last year we moved from start-up to scale-up, this requires a lot of planning from a funding, working capital and legal prospective – so it’s very important they are involved to ensure we have the correct levels of cashflow, and to be involved in planning the next funding round (which we’re also in the middle of!).
I typically keep Thursday evenings free for business, I often will go for drinks with the team, or a dinner with star performers or investors – it’s always a good evening to do something social and have a night off the battle of getting a toddler to bed!
Friday is my ‘work from home’ day, I always told myself that if I ever had my own business, everyone should finish early on a Friday and, we do! We all finish at 3pm and it’s the one thing I’m ‘strict’ about with the team - if I see emails/messages after 3 p.m. I call them to say, ‘stop working’!
So, on Friday mornings we have a company-wide video conference to download how the week has gone, chat about plans for the weekend and each week someone gives their ‘words of wisdom’ – this can be anything from an interesting fact, a quote or something silly, they then nominate someone else for the following week.
As I’m home on a Friday, I try to use this to close out my week and catch up on admin I’ve put off for the week.
Saturday & Sunday
I grew up near Wolverhampton, so this will make me sound ‘posh’but, we have a dog walker in the week. So Saturday mornings always start with a great walk with Frank on Wimbledon Common (whilst my wife is with my daughter at her swimming lesson).
It’s a great way to get a fresh mind for the weekend and the mobile signal is terrible there, so I know my phone won’t be buzzing for an hour or so. Then it’s all about family time - I do sneak in a little laptop time in the evening when my daughter goes to bed.
Sunday’s we flip and I always take my daughter for brunch. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been to Soho House, Granger & Co (the best pancakes) and Bills – it’s our one-on-one time and nothing beats it.
Sunday evenings are about my own prep for the week ahead and, off we go again!