Boss it Like

How to Boss it Like… George Bevis, Founder & CEO of Tide

By Alex Wood 21 September 2017
Tide CEO and Founder George Bevis.

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

These are the leaders who are changing the world.

From Decoded’s Kathryn Parsons, to Victor’s Clive Jackson and REWIND founder Sol Rogers, these smart people get an incredible amount done, in an impossibly short space of time.

This morning we are chatting with George Bevis, CEO and co-founder of Tide, the fast-growing online banking service for small to medium-sized businesses.

Before Tide, George worked in banking and founded two startups, where he experienced first-hand the burdens faced by small businesses, when it comes to managing their finances.

He believes smaller firms are underserved and overcharged by the big banks and wants Tide to serve 50m companies by 2026.

A busy man, with big ideas, The Memo asked Bevis 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 wake up at 7.30am and immediately check my emails from the night before.

Cycling from my home in north London to Tide’s offices in Clerkenwell clears my head and reminds me that London is home to lots of angry people; I don’t want to be one of them.

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

Google has a fantastic lightweight tasklist service called Google Tasks (which I think nobody seems to use apart from me), I love it.  

It’s how I ensure I do everything I need to do – and I use my email inbox like a tasklist too. My younger colleagues at Tide use Slack but I’ve never got comfortable with it because I can’t store tasks and come back to them later.

What smartphone do you have?

Blackberry KeyOne.  I do a lot of emailing on the move and I can type twice as fast on a physical keyboard.  Also the battery life is great.  My apps are kept within the reach of my right thumb so all clustered around the bottom right of the screen – I swipe to another screen if I need other apps.

Read more: Blackberry KeyONE – the most surprising smartphone of 2017

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

Roughly 20 colleagues (we’ve reached about 50 staff at Tide and are growing fast) and up to ten people from other companies-– I speak to at least half via video call if I can. I think meeting face-to-face is usually a waste of time and video calls can often achieve just as much.

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

I recently gave some of my colleagues copies of the Dhammapada, which is often described as the Buddhist equivalent of the Sermon on the Mount.  I’m not a Buddhist but I find it a very useful text to help me maintain focus and calm in stressful situations.

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

A few times a decade, a company emerges in each industry which will be seen in later years as the best training ground for the talent of that generation: join that company.  At the turn of the century it was Capital One (where I was lucky enough to work).  Then it was PayPal. Alumni of those two firms have disproportionate influence these days.  Stripe is such a great firm right now and I think Tide will be the next one.

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

I usually leave the office between 6.30 and 7.30.  After a 25 minute cycle home I’ll eat supper and – once the blood sugar level has risen sufficiently – I’ll resume work until around 11pm.  I’m bad at winding down and often my brain is still buzzing long after I go to bed.

What was your favourite childhood toy?

I had an old set of wooden bricks which I could use to build anything I could imagine.  I loved building, so I guess it’s no surprise that I get so much satisfaction from building apps, teams and companies.

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

I love jazz. I’d ask John Coltrane to play “Naima” for me.  There’s no fact or insight in the world that could touch me more deeply.