Boss It Like

How To Boss It Like… George Burgess, CEO Gojimo

By Kitty Knowles 12 May 2016

These leaders are changing the world for the better. 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. Ian Fordham, Lindsay Pattison and Blake Mycoskie seem to get an incredible amount done, in an impossibly short space of time.

This morning as part of The Memo’s education month we’re talking to George Burgess, founder and CEO of Gojimo, who is undoubtedly a productivity guru.

A serial entrepreneur, 23-year-old George Burgess started building education-focused apps at just 17 and today is the creator of Britain’s most popular exam preparation app.

Read more: Our education system needs to smarten up with big data, more mobile phones & games

The revision service, founded in London in 2014, has just released a new offshoot app called Gojimo Tutor which offers one-to-one support with a real-life teacher.

Whether he’s expanding the Gojimo curriculum, or launching a new community for founders, Burgess is always looking forward.

A busy man, with big ideas, The Memo asked Fordham 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 typically wake up around 8am and will immediately check email on my phone to ensure nothing urgent has come in overnight. After email, it’s Slack, Facebook, Twitter and possibly Instagram. Most days I have a breakfast meeting at 9am and I head into the office after that.

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

I treat my inbox like a task list, so I don’t use a tasks app, though I will occasionally ask Siri to remind me to do something if it needs to happen at a very specific time. I have Evernote on all my devices and prefer that over any other note taking app because of its power-user capabilities, particularly when it comes to search.

What smartphone do you use?

In the UK I use a Space Grey iPhone 6, and when I’m in the US I use a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. Since we develop apps for both iOS and Android I think it’s really important to be familiar with both operating systems, but I definitely prefer iOS.

How many people do you meet in a day?

My life revolves around email and meetings. Most days I have four or five meetings, but on a bad day, I’ll have as many as nine or ten. I receive about 950 emails a day and typically send around 200 (but all internal communication goes through Slack).

Read more: What the heck is… edtech?

When do you work until? Are you still sending emails in the night? Or do you have a wind down routine?

I’m a bit of a workaholic and typically work until about midnight. I’ll often have a work event in the evening and so will catch on emails when I get home. I don’t find it particularly easy to switch off so I always make sure I watch one episode of TV before bed to try and take my mind off work. Right now I’m watching Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley and Narcos.

Recommended book?

When I was about 13 I read one of Richard Branson’s biographies and it got me really excited about entrepreneurship. It made business seem really fun and exciting and it’s definitely one of a number of things that got me serious about starting my own company.

Branson’s story shows it’s possible to do this even at a young age, and it gave me the confidence to start a number of enterprises, including Gojimo, while I was in school.

Got any advice for people who are eager to get into edtech?

EdTech is really exciting because there is so much room for disruption in the education sector and as an industry it is very much behind. But because there’s so much room for disruption, it can in fact be overwhelming and it’s easy to lose focus.

I think it’s best to focus on a very particular problem in the education system and try to solve that. For Gojimo that problem was the lack of mobile revision resources. Almost every student now has a smartphone, they spend nearly four hours of a day on these devices, and yet until Gojimo came about there were hardly any high quality revision apps available.

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.