Boss It Like

How To Boss It Like… Kathryn Parsons, Co-founder & CEO Decoded

By Kitty Knowles 31 August 2017

These leaders are changing our world for the better. 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.

From Level39’s Ben Brabyn, to Time Out’s Julio Bruno and REWIND founder Sol Rogers, these smart people seem to get an incredible amount done, in an impossibly short space of time.

This morning, to kickstart The Memo‘s September Future Learning month, we’re chatting with Kathryn Parsons, co-founder and CEO at hit coding bootcamp Decoded.

Meet Kathryn Parsons

Famous for teaching anyone how to code, Decoded today hosts classes on everything from artificial intelligence to blockchain, cyber security and machine learning.

CEO Kathryn Parsons not only runs the business, but is an non-executive on the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Chairwoman of the UK Institute of Coding, member of the London Mayor’s Business Advisory Board, The Government’s Business Council and UK Government Cyber Security Skills Advisory Board.

She successfully campaigned for code as a mandatory on the UK national curriculum in 2014 and is a champion for future skills and diversity in technology.

A busy woman, with big ideas, The Memo asked her how she gets it all done…

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

I usually set the alarm for 7am.

I divide my week between Shoreditch (Decoded) and Westminster (government), but I live very centrally so can get anywhere in 30 minutes.

Decoded taught in over 85 different cities last year, so I might find myself waking up in Seoul, Sydney, Berlin, New York, Miami etc.

My body has no idea what time zone it is in.

I am currently reading a book called Miracle Morning which recommends waking up at 5am to read, exercise, journal, set goals and meditate.

Even if you can’t wake up that early I think the principles are very positive – in particular having a mindful morning and not diving into your emails too quickly.

What smartphone do you have?

iPhones 6s, 64GB. I need a new phone… something indestructible.

What apps do you use to be more productive?

The team communicate on Slack and there are various collaborative groups with some of our clients too.

We also use GitHub, Google Docs, Prosperworks, Asana… I think the key to productivity is keeping it simple.

But you can also choose three achievable, measurable goals for the day which will have real impact on getting you a step towards where you want to be – you don’t need an app to remember that.

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

Anywhere between 10…to 1000!

At the smaller end I will be spending time with the team developing new education products or working on our growth plans.

For example, we are developing a suite of data education experiences and looking at how we can can deliver this for tens of thousands of people at one time in different locations globally.

I absolutely love spending time with the team. They are the real superstar unicorns. A rare breed of world class technologists and educators who inspire me daily.

On the larger end I will be speaking at a conference, for example, in Seoul recently I was speaking about the Fourth Industrial Revolution and why I believe that technology education is the answer.

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

On Trails: An Exploration by Robert Moor. It is, as the title suggests, about trails and how animals and humans create them.

I love climbing. And I love business. We are obsessed by ‘trailblazers’ in society. It’s fascinating to learn exactly how trails are created.

There is never really a single trailblazer, it’s a cumulative effort, which requires time, trust and a team.

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

We are living in the most extraordinary period of time, a technological revolution like no other.

No one knows what exactly the future holds but to have a meaningful impact upon it you need to be a part of it.

Learn code, banish fear, empower yourself with the languages, tools and skills of the digital age and be part of making history.

Always look for the blue oceans and dive in fearlessly.

What was your favourite childhood toy?

I was obsessed with a DOS text adventure game called Jacaranda Jim (Pre-Nintendo). And Jem… she was truly outrageous.

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.