How To Boss It Like… Eileen Burbidge

By Oliver Smith 29 October 2015

Britain’s tech leaders are changing the world. In our new weekly series we find out how they get the job done.

There are a handful of business leaders and industry figures in Britain who are changing the world. Richard Branson, Martha Lane-Fox and Balderton Capital’s Daniel Waterhouse seem to get an incredible amount done, in an impossibly short space of time.

This morning we’re talking to our first industry leader who is undoubtedly a productivity guru.

Eileen Burbidge is as a partner of venture capital firm Passion Capital, a board member of numerous successful digital businesses including DueDil, Mondo and Kovert Designs, a member of David Cameron’s Business Advisory Group and was most recently named HM Treasury’s Special Envoy for FinTech.

And all this despite telling us that she’s “been feeling rather unproductive lately”.

So how does Eileen Burbidge get so much done? The Memo decided to find out.

What time do you get up, and what part of your morning routine sets you up for the day?

On weekdays I usually wake around 5:30am/6am and check my phones for emails, messages, Twitter, etc.

My children wake at 7am and then I’m out of bed by 8am to start my school runs (I walk my older two to school and then come back home to get in the car to drive my younger two to their school).

Morning Twitter before I get out of bed is a must, and then the school walk/drop is usually what sets me up for the day.

Read more: Eileen Burbidge’s three reasons FinTech in London has conquered Silicon Valley

If I don’t have a morning meeting I sometimes (rarely manage to) sneak in a short run before heading into my office at White Bear Yard.

What apps or methods do you use to be more productive?

I rely on email, a text to-do list/memo on my BlackBerry and then just a lot of mental notes (tracking things in my head) – which is obviously why I drop so many balls.

I’ve been trying to leverage our receptionist Daniella a bit more since the summer, but am doing a miserable job at it.

What smartphone do you use?

Sadly my Silver iPhone 6 (for Twitter, Slack, Skype, Hangouts) and BlackBerry Q10 (for email, voice calls, SMS, WhatsApp) have both been out of commission since Monday afternoon and now live in a big sack of rice.

But I carry(ied) both all the time and use both like an addict. ‎

I’m currently living on an old BlackBerry while I’m on holiday this week that I happened to still carry (yes, even on holiday, so that means I traveled with three smartphones in total).

How many people, outside of family, do you meet in a day? And who are they?

White Bear Yard is a co-working space presently shared with around 50 people on our floor. The Passion Capital team is my two partners Robert and Stefan, along with two associates Sandra and Nicolas, legal counsel Jamie, accountant Lyndsey, analyst India, office manager‎ Daniella and part-time receptionist Olivia.

Read more: London’s tech outlook strong as Passion Capital launches £45m fund

I have meetings scheduled all day with either Passion founders to discuss business/company updates (or from time-to-time more formal board meetings) or entrepreneurs who are pitching their ideas for funding.

Occasionally I’ll meet and catch-up with other investors to discuss prospective co-investments or to swap deal flow for follow-on financing rounds.

Over the last few months I’ve also been taking meetings or organising round table sessions in my capacity as HM Government FinTech Special Envoy or Tech City UK Chair.

When do you work until? Are you still sending emails in the night?

I’m typically in the office or at meetings until between 5:30pm/6pm, and aim to be home for dinner with my children by 6:30pm.

After they’re in bed (after 8pm) I try to work and do emails for a few hours in the evening – and will feel relaxed if I’m ready to turn my lights out between 12am/1am. ‎

It’s rare that I sleep all the way through the night so if I get woken (either by one of the children or for some other reason), I can never resist checking my phones before falling back to sleep.

So yes, I am definitely still sending emails in the night (and all-day/in-between meetings, i.e. 24/7 😉

Come back next Thursday for our next #BossItLike interview, and get in touch if you know a tech leader who’s also a productivity guru for us to talk to.