Boss it Like…

How to Boss it Like… Jeff Kofman, CEO of Trint

By Shreyes Balebail 23 November 2017
CEO of Trint, Jeff Kofman

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

From Bud CEO Ed Maslaveckas to Maplin’s CEO Oliver Meakin, these smart people get an incredible amount done, in an impossibly short space of time.

Today we’re talking with Jeff Kofman, CEO and Co-Founder of Trint, a company dedicated to providing “the world’s most innovative platform for searching, editing and getting the most out of your audio and video content.”

Meet Jeff Kofman

Kofman has spent 30 years of his working life committed to spreading the truth by being a reporter for various news organizations like ABC News, CBS News, and CBC. Starting 2014, he decided to take a different path and started up Trint with the intent to make transcribing easier than ever.

A busy man, with big ideas, The Memo asked Kofman, 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 ugly truth is that I’m not a morning person. When I was a correspondent for American TV News (ABC, CBS) I used to have to get up 5 am or earlier to go live at 7 am for Good Morning America. It often left me in a perpetual state of jetlag, now that I work in startupland I’m not up quite so early.

I swim one morning a week, but my gym time is mostly evenings. The journalist in me lives on; I read or look at five papers most days, usually The Guardian, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Toronto Star and The Miami Herald (I’m from Toronto and I lived in New York and Miami before moving to London in 2010).

I think Facebook is a huge waste of time, I use it less and less.

My favourite morning routine is my cycle to work. It’s about 20 minutes from Islington to Shoreditch. It gets my body and my brain moving. I am truly happy on my bicycle and I actually have three bicycles for commuting and weekend road cycling. I think the bicycle is one of the great feats of human engineering.

What apps do you use to be more productive?

We’ve experimented with a number of productivity apps since Trint began in December 2014. A lot of them have been abandoned, including Trello, Todoist and iDoneThis. There are only so many places that you can efficiently look for the information you need.

We are still fans of Slack and it really does massively cutback team email. I wish it was easier to search and organise stuff on Slack, but even in its current state it is really helpful.

We keep our company documents on Google Drive and we do all of our content collaboration on it (we are careful to backup and protect our data). I also use Evernote for notes and Receipt Bank to track expenses.

What smartphone do you have?

I have an iPhone 6S in black. I got it a year ago when the iPhone 7 came out because I really dislike what Apple has done to the headphone jack. I know a lot of people who share my love-hate for Apple. I accept that when I eventually upgrade Apple will force me into submission, but I’m holding out as long as I can. I think the incremental improvements of the newer models make upgrading less essential.

I keep a Mophie Juice Pack on my iPhone for extra battery power because battery life is a real First World problem in the 21st Century.

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

It’s a blur. My schedule gets so jammed that my assistant is often scheduling non-essential meetings for two months hence. The three words I most live in fear of are: “Let’s have coffee.” Ugh. I just don’t have time for social coffees during the work day.

If I am attending an event I can meet a few dozen people in a day, otherwise it’s usually a handful. I try to protect my time with the team because I think that’s where most of my energy should go.

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

I read a mix of fiction and nonfiction. Great writing really inspires me. I’ll read anything by Ian McEwan. I have a soft spot for great Canadian writers like Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Rohinton Mistry and Carol Shields.

I get inspired by insightful non-fiction that chronicles human ingenuity, audacity and vision: Path Between the Seas about the building of the Panama Canal, No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and how they reshaped America.

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

Thinking of launching a startup? Do it for the journey not the destination. There are no guarantees and it is really hard work. But if you believe in what you are trying to do and you are excited about it you will never regret the effort, whatever the outcome.

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

Hmmm. See “not a morning person” above. Trint is now three years old. It was only a few months ago that we could afford to hire a Finance Manager. On top of everything else you have to do build a startup, the finance and accounting are crushing. That’s particularly true for me.

I’ve been a reporter all my life. I have no business training and as a consequence I was often working till 1am even on weekends. Thankfully that’s eased up a bit and now I read a book before going to sleep. It’s a great way to get my mind off work and get my imagination flowing.

What was your favourite childhood toy?

My painted turtle. Technically he wasn’t a toy, but I thought he was.

He lived in a simple plastic world with dry plastic land on one side and a pool on the other. The only scenery was a green plastic palm tree and red plastic diving board. I confess I used to nudge him off the diving board from time to time. Please don’t think of this as animal cruelty, he seemed to enjoy the swim.

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

Mr. Darwin, when did you realise there was a reason all those finches didn’t look the same?

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.