BOSS IT LIKE

How To Boss It Like… Ross Williams, founder and CEO of Venntro Media

By Oliver Smith 4 February 2016
Summary

Britain’s business leaders are changing the world. In our 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. Jo BertramEileen Burbidge and Sarah Wood seem to get an incredible amount done, in an impossibly short space of time.

This morning we’re talking to Ross Williams, the founder and CEO of dating empire Venntro Media, who is undoubtedly a productivity guru.

You might not have heard of Venntro but chances are, if you’ve ever tried online dating, you’ve used their services. Venntro powers the online dating websites for The Independent, The Evening Standard, Global Radio and others, as well as running nine dating sites and apps of its own.

Williams was most recently hauled into Lord Sugar’s boardroom on The Apprentice as an expert judge for the dating app proposed by runner-up Vana Koutsomitis.

As well as running the daily operations of Venntro, Williams has developed the company’s own entrepreneur advice and investment arm Venntro Ventures, the charitable Venntro Foundation and is a fully qualified pilot.

A busy man, with big ideas, The Memo asked Williams how he gets it all done.

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

I’m a firm believer that the key to being successful is to get up early. I wake up between 5:30am and 6:00am to either run along Regent’s Canal or go for a spinning class at Psycle.

This really wakes me up and prepares me for the day ahead. Then I’ll head to a breakfast meeting and get to our Covent Garden office for 9am.

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

I believe effective time management is the best way to be more productive – I don’t need an app to help me do it.

I do live by Evernote, which helps me keep all of my notes in one place. And as we have teams in London, Windsor, Boston and San Francisco, I use Google Hangouts a lot.

It’s particularly useful when I’m on the go – it means I can make sure I don’t have any dead time when in taxis travelling to meetings.

I also love Deliveroo after a long day in the office – it means I can focus on clearing my inbox and winding down, rather than cooking.

Venntro is a 24/7 business with a really entrepreneurial task force that I can trust to take care of the day-to-day running of things. I think in a lot of fast-paced businesses, it can be easy to lose focus.

So for every task that needs an action, I ask myself “Does this need to happen? Do I need to do it? Does it need to be now?”

What smartphone do you use?

An iPhone 6 Plus in Space Grey with 128gb of storage.

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

It really varies from day-to-day, but on average I see three or four people a day.

 

The people I meet range from my direct reports, to prospective staff, our advisory board, industry peers or prospective new businesses to join our Venntro Ventures programme.

Ventures is our corporate venturing arm that launched late 2015. We offer advice and investment to dating and lifestyle businesses. After spending such a long time in the dating industry, it’s great to be able to give something back to young entrepreneurs.

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

I tend to work best if I start early and finish early. So I try to leave the office between 4pm and 5pm, and usually schedule work meetings over dinner or drinks a few evenings a week.

If my diary in the evening is clear, I try to get home by 5pm so I can relax before going to bed at about 9pm.

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