Boss It Like

How to Boss it Like…. William Cotton co-founder of Canary Care

By Kitty Knowles 25 May 2017

These leaders are changing our world for the better. We find out how they get the job done.

There are a handful of business leaders in Britain who are changing the world. From Mumsnet’s Justine Roberts to Starling’s Anne Boden and Doro’s Chris Millington, these smart people seem to get an incredible amount done, in an impossibly short space of time.

Today we’re talking to William Cotton, the founder of TrustonTap and co-founder of Canary Care, who is undoubtedly a productivity guru…

William Cotton has years of experience working in health, wellbeing and beauty – having filled director positions at companies like Boots, Crookes Healthcare and Healthcare Brands International.

He’s the founder of Cottons Company Consulting, and went on to co-found Canary Care, who produce smart home sensors, back in 2012.

Today, Canary Care is revolutionising life for elderly people by reassuring their relatives they are safe and well.

In doing so it lets them keep their independence and stay in their own homes for longer – a win-win for everyone involved.

Read more: Ageing is for losers: Help your family stay happy, healthy & independent

In 2015, the serial entrepreneur also went on to found TrustonTap, the award-winning Care Marketplace business that connects carers with older people & their families.

Business is booming and just this week, the platform was awarded a further £40,000 in funding from the Nesta ShareLab Fund.

Cotton lives in Oxfordshire with his wife, 3 children, a dog, and a tortoise.

A busy man, with big ideas, The Memo asked him 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 tend to get up between 6 and 6.30am and catch up online with news via The Times and BBC. I scan all overnight emails and messages and respond to urgent issues.

Most days I have breakfast with my family and take either my daughter or my two boys to school

What smartphone do you have?

I have an iPhone6 S (Silver, 32GB). I love it and could not be without it.

It is invaluable for staying in touch with all our TrustonTap team, our clients, and our TapTeam carers but also invaluable for testing the latest updates to the Canary portal.

What apps do you use to be more productive?

I have always been an avid list writer to keep check on my priorities. I am a recent convert to Evernote which has been wonderful in helping me improve my personal productivity. We also use Trello and Zoho to support our customer service priorities.

I am also a massive supporter of apps like Carers UK Jointly, which help carers and families to have real time communication on the care needs of older and vulnerable people.

And I stay tuned into Canary Care to check on older family members. Canary keeps me alerted if the temperature in my father-in-law’s bedroom gets too low, if he fails to go into the kitchen for breakfast or if he falls in the bathroom at night.

It is having a major impact on people’s lives throughout UK.

How many people, outside of family, do you meet in a day?

There tend to be 5 or 6 people in the TrustonTap office but we are all in constant touch with our clients as well as all the carers we have on the platform and those people who are seeking to join us.

We currently have over 80 trusted carers who support people across Oxfordshire and adjacent counties; ensuring that they are well rewarded and motivated is key to transforming care across the region.

I usually have one or two additional meetings or evening events outside the office.

What book have you read, either recently or in the past, that has inspired you?

I was really inspired by reading Peers Inc by Robin Chase. It is all about the revolution that is happening in the new collaborative economy and a must-read for all those of us seeking to utilise technology to change our world.

What advice would you give for people who are eager to get into your industry?

In both TrustonTap and Canary Care, we are seeking to utilise the latest technology to improve the lives of older people.

The traditional UK care market is in crisis and the needs of older people are not being met. However, smart use of technology has the capability of transforming the industry to ensure that older people can live independently.

There is so much opportunity in the industry for bright people who recognise this.

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

In an ideal world, I would love to turn off all devices in the early evening and relax with my family. Unfortunately, it is not always possible.

Our carers will often need to talk to us and at times our clients need to make contact with us. We are still a small business and need to be available whenever needed to support our customers.

What was your favourite childhood toy?

As a child, I was obsessive about card games and board games and I was particularly keen to always win.

I have never shaken off my competitive streak, but try to channel it now through my businesses.

If you could ask your idol one question, who would it be, and what would you ask?

My late father was a bit of an inspiration for all the charity work he did to support older people in his community.

I would want to ask him how he ever had the time to do so many things to care for others whilst holding down a busy job and supporting his family.

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