May 7, 2020

Pierre Valade, CEO at Jumbo, and His Key To Focus

CEO of Jumbo Privacy

Before becoming CEO at Jumbo, Pierre Valade was the Founder and CEO of Sunrise—a calendar app acquired by Microsoft in 2015. After the acquisition, he became Director of Design at Microsoft. With nearly a decade at leading tech companies under his belt, he decided to tackle a growing global issue: online privacy. Seeing an opportunity to help users take back control of their data online, Pierre founded Jumbo Privacy in 2019. As the company’s CEO, he faced a growing demand for his time and realized he needed support. That’s when he found Double. We chatted with Pierre to learn what his day-to-day looks like, his productivity hacks, and what sparks joy.

What are your main responsibilities as the CEO of Jumbo Privacy?

What I do can be broken down into four main topics. Fundraising—we always have to have enough money in the bank. Hiring—we want the right people motivated by the mission. And then I spend a lot of time working on product and marketing strategy.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are my focus days. I have no meetings. When I do have meetings I time-block them—meaning I make sure they’re all scheduled (by my double) back-to-back. So once they’re done, I can get back to deep focus time.

What do you love most about what you do?

I get to learn every day and hire people that I’m excited to work with. I also love the freedom of doing things without constraints.

It’s also amazing to read reviews on the App Store and seeing feedback from users who love your product.

What's the most challenging part of your job?

I’m always doing something I’ve never done before. There are few things I’m just repeating every day. That means I'm not great at all the things I have to do.

The other challenge is that issues always pop up. And what I’ve learned is that if something’s not working, it’s important to never bullshit yourself. You need to be clear about what’s wrong—don’t minimize it—then face the problem head on.

When did you realize you needed an assistant?

Since my days at Sunrise, I’ve been obsessed with time management. I have always put everything in my calendar to track where my time is going. Eventually, I started realizing that it was filling up with all these things I wasn’t good at or didn't have any specific value doing. That's when I knew I needed an assistant to allow me to focus on the essential things—what I am good at and here to do.

How often do you use a double and what do they help you with?

I was actually Double’s first client and have been using the service for two years with my double, Laurence. She has helped me with all of my scheduling and meeting prep as well as personal things like invoices and arranging cleaning for my apartment. She has also organized trips (work and personal) as well as our team events and dinners.

What has having a double allowed you to do?

There’s no more mental overload of all these tasks I know I need to do but never get around to. I can just delegate things and get them right out of my brain with a voice memo in the Double app. I feel a huge weight off my shoulders when I can hand a task over and know it will be done.

Do you have a favorite experience or memory from working with your double?

The first time I copied my Double on a scheduling email and boom… a few minutes later, the meeting was in my calendar, without friction.

Do you have any productivity hacks you can share with us?

Here are my top five hacks:

  1. Plan days without meetings. My double makes sure that I have a couple of days a week without any meetings, to let me think about the most important aspects of my company.
  2. Put everything in your calendar. Including personal todos. You’ll be amazed at how much more you get done and you’ll also know where your time is going. Use voice memos in the Double app. As I said earlier, this has been a game-changer for me.
  3. Turn off notifications. On your phone and on your computer when you’re writing, doing a deep dive, etc. No interruptions, it’s amazing.
  4. Try a 30-minute hourglass (or timer). I have this hourglass on my desk. I won’t let myself do anything other than the task I set out to do during those 30 minutes.

What sparks joy for you outside of work?

I do some sport every day, that’s usually running or yoga. I also have the print version of the New York Times delivered to me so that I can enjoy reading away from a screen.

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