Benjamin Zenou is the CEO & co-founder of SimpliField, a New York-based startup that enables leading brands, retailers, and wholesalers to deliver exceptional customer experiences at scale.
SimpliField has more than 70 employees across three offices in two countries—and growing. Between expanding his company, unifying a global team, and being a father of 3, Benjamin has little spare time in his days. By working with his Double assistant, Benjamin has been able to save valuable time and focus on maximizing his impact at work and at home.
What are your main responsibilities as CEO of SimpliField?
My role is to manage the company, focusing on the go-to-market strategy, supporting Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success, and nurturing relationships with our investors.
Describe what a typical day might entail for you?
On a typical day, I get up very early and use my morning to meet with the French team. My afternoons are reserved for meetings with clients. In this remote environment, I try to block time off for my kids around midday and at the end of the day. I also try to save some time for outdoor activities and personal matters.
What do you love most about what you do?
Definitely learning something new. It’s my motivation: discovering new things, making progress, growing the company, the constant challenges—learning motivates and fascinates me.
What's the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging part of the job is managing talent and resources and making sure—especially during this extremely tense period—that the teams are in the best conditions possible in terms of their work and safety. Now that we are in three different cities, it’s quite complex and I spend a lot of time working on it.
What was the trigger or moment that you decided to start working with an assistant?
I decided to start working with an assistant when I met Double’s CEO, Alice. I hesitated even though people highly recommended it when I arrived in the US. Given the costs and the size of SimpliField, even as the CEO, I thought it was too soon and didn't take the plunge.
When I decided to work with Double, it was at the perfect time. I was going through a really overwhelming period: tangled up between France, the US, my travels, the time zones, etc. Everything was taking too much time, it was so tedious. Then I started working with my double, Rebecca, and those time-consuming issues were taken off my plate and resolved.
How does your double help you?
Rebecca helps me with a thousand things: administrative tasks, travel, calendar management, and scheduling meetings. She prepares and sends me briefs and any additional content I may need so I can be prepared and efficient in my meetings. She manages expense reports and day-to-day operations. She coordinates and attends board meetings and creates reports that she sends to all my managers at the end of each meeting. She really is part of both my daily life and my life at SimpliField.
What's a favorite experience or memory you have from working with your double?
The administrative process to get my visa and papers in order to stay in the US is quite laborious. Even if you're working with lawyers, you still have to collect many different documents, and Rebecca took over this process for me and made it painless. Apart from answering a few questions, she completely took care of it and it allowed me to concentrate on my role as CEO.
What have you learned in your current role?
What I’m learning as a CEO is that you need to “learn how to learn.” Meet as many people as possible, listen, and read a lot to keep yourself informed because there are always new challenges, new projects that you must succeed in facing. Stay flexible, remain open-minded, refuse to rest on your laurels, and be willing to be challenged.
These are the key skills I've learned and they've allowed me to both progress and have fun in my job. To continue learning, I often rely on my peers. I work with the Galion Project, where entrepreneurs can share a lot of feedback and best practices. I also read a few blogs that I like a lot, such as the Sequoia blog.
What's your favorite productivity hack?
First of all Rebecca, my double! Then it’s zero notifications—no email, WhatsApp, Instagram, Tik Tok, or even Slack. Nothing. It saves me a lot of time, even if it was honestly hard for me to block the notifications from my team.
What brings you joy outside of work?
Outside of work, I have three kids ages 7, 5, and the youngest is only 8 months old. This time in New York has brought us closer together and I enjoyed spending more time with them!
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