How To Boss It Like… Dr Ali Parsa, founder and CEO of Babylon Health

By Oliver Smith 3 March 2016
Ali Parsa.

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. Hermione Way, Didier Rappaport and Robyn Exton seem to get an incredible amount done, in an impossibly short space of time.

This morning we’re talking to Dr Ali Parsa, the founder of app-based GP Babylon Health, who is undoubtedly a productivity guru.

A former investment banker at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, Parsa today has immersed himself in the world of medical technology.

His latest venture Babylon offers GP and specialist doctor appointments through an video-calling app on your smartphone 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s a service being trialled by the NHS to take the burden off of stretched GP surgeries in Essex and one that is inline with Baroness Martha Lane-Fox’s recommendations to bring more technology into the NHS.

Read more: Doctor in your pocket? Babylon replaces your GP with an app

Previously he helped create Circle, a multi-million pound business running private hospitals across Britain, he is a UK Cabinet Office ambassador and has a PhD in engineering Physics.

A busy man, with big ideas, The Memo asked Parsa 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?

The answer to this question should be that I wake up at the crack of dawn to exercise, meditate, do some reading, buy flowers for my wife and make breakfast for my kids…

But the truth is that I normally wake up between 7am and 7.30am and do some high intensity training on my machine for about 15 minutes while my kids are having breakfast.

So either these other CEOs are superheroes, or I’m just not up to scratch yet.

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

No apps, just good old fashioned personal discipline.

What smartphone do you use?

An iPhone 6s Plus in Space Grey.  

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

Well I say hello to the 70 or so people who work at Babylon and tend to have around 10 meetings a day.

Two to three nights a week I also have work related dinners. The people I meet are normally partners or business associates. I try to spend most of my time facing internally with the team.

A couple of nights a week I meet friends for dinner and the rest is strictly reserved for the kids.


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

I used to suffer from insomnia so to fight it I try to stop working at around 9–9.30pm now.

If I’m at home, I try to always have dinner with my wife and kids which is a brilliant wind down routine as the kids couldn’t care less about what I do.

We usually talk about whatever they’re interested in at the moment and football, but as the house is divided between Arsenal and Chelsea fans it tends to be more like a war than a wind down!

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.