September 17, 2020

Why Technology is Key to Building the Best Assistant Service

The Double App is key to delivering the best executive assistant service

My co-founders and I worked in the productivity space for five years before we founded Double. In that time, we had become obsessed with finding better ways to save people time. At Sunrise Calendar and Outlook Mobile, that came in the form of countless product optimizations that would save users seconds every day. We started Double with a more radical approach: to save people hours every day, so they could focus on what matters to them.

Most productivity apps organize your tasks, and in the process sometimes create more work for you. We wanted to help people focus by removing work from their plate. We knew that connecting people with other humans to support them was the best way to do this, and that a beautiful product experience could help resolve some of the most recurring challenges in the executive-assistant relationship: building trust, communicating clearly, and setting up frameworks to work efficiently.

We solve these challenges for the hundreds of executives we support today, most of whom have never worked with an assistant before. We also look forward to helping other executives discover how transformative that experience can be. While we still have work to do to normalize the idea of having an assistant, my team is working hard to make delegation effortless, one step at a time.

Imagine a future where you can delegate part of your to-do list every morning to someone you trust through the push of a button. Or even better, where the tasks you need taken care of never even make it to your to-do list. That future might not be that far away.

Learning how to let go

One of our team's key goals is to help executives get support from their assistant as fast as possible. Company leaders spend 30% of their time on tasks that don't require their expertise, so it’s critical that we help them let go of that work early on so they get that time back and can start focusing on higher priority work.

However, many executives don’t know how to start delegating or are hesitant to do so if they think the process of handing off work will be time consuming.

Today, we focus on guiding new users through this process, from sharing preferences to delegating their first tasks, all through a personalized onboarding flow. The Double app also includes a library of popular tasks that clients have delegated, which helps users see the different ways they can leverage their double and makes the actual assignment of the task easy. Using these templates, users can provide complete context to their assistant in just a few clicks.


As our library of templates keeps growing based on the experiences of our clients, we will be automatically suggesting relevant tasks to users based on their individual profile, needs, and journey with delegation.

Delegating where you are

Executives can’t just work out of our task library––they have unique needs and projects. To deliver the same ease of delegation, we’re building tools and integrations that exist where our executives work.

Just as if you had an assistant sitting next to you (in a non-remote world), we want Double to always be just one tap away from where your tasks actually live––whether it's your email, calendar, chat app, or project management tool.

Our Chrome extension enables executives to send their assistants information directly from Gmail in two clicks, and soon from any page in Chrome. We’re building integrations with Slack, and will add more collaboration tools over time, so executives don’t have to leave the app they’re working in. And when an idea comes from inside their head at a random time, executives can use our voice feature on mobile and web to transfer that context quickly.


Working more efficiently

The productivity benefits of Double’s product don’t end with our executive users. Since we were first founded––long before remote work was more common than not––we set out to design an app that would make supporting executives remotely and supporting multiple executives at a time completely frictionless for our assistants. Our assistant app gives Double assistants a dashboard with which they can stay organized so they don’t have to spend time manually keeping track of their workload.


While the types of projects double assistants work on are extremely varied, there are plenty of tasks we see delegated over and over again––calendar management, contact aggregation, expense reporting. We are building automations to support as much of that standardized work as possible, so that our doubles can focus on the work that requires their individual expertise. Right now that could be a notification automatically alerting an assistant to a calendar conflict. In six months that could be an auto-generated report reminding you to follow up with important people you met.

In addition, we’re compiling the individual expertise across our network of Double assistants to build best practices and workflows into the app. Our growing community of doubles are more than assistants, they’re experts at what they do and serve as an extension of our product team. Their input is key to helping us build automations and workflows to empower them and their executives to accomplish more together.

Building upon our vision

When executives hand off more to their assistants, and assistants are empowered to work on these tasks efficiently, they are able to rely on each other for fulfilling work—creating strong, trusting relationships at the same time.

For us, creating and maintaining that trust is essential to building strong delegation habits that help our executives focus on what matters and save seconds, minutes, and even hours every day.

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