Boss It Like

How To Boss It Like… Gemma Young, co-founder and CEO of Settled

By Oliver Smith 30 January 2018
Image: Gemma Young.

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 and industry figures who are changing the world.

From Paddle CEO Christian Owens to Provenance founder Jessi Baker, these smart people get an incredible amount done, in an impossibly short space of time.

This morning, we’re talking to Gemma Young, co-founder and CEO at digital property platform Settled.

Meet Gemma Young

Before Settled Young was a long-serving manager at search giant Google, where she rose through the sales and marketing side of the business to become country marketing lead for Sub Saharan Africa.

In 2015 along with her business partner and brother Paul, who started his career as a mortgage advisor and later worked in marketing, Young founded Settled to revolutionise the way we buy and sell property online.

“Homebuying and selling is really stressful and we want it to be really joyful,” she told the Evening Standard last year.

“You can go through the complete process of buying or selling a home from your mobile phone.”

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

Gemma Young with her brother and business partner Paul.

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

I wake up around 7am – hit the snooze button so I can give myself 10 minutes to go through new emails and to check up on the day’s plans.

When the alarm goes off again, I’m up and hitting the shower.

I’ve tried to do exercise in the morning but it doesn’t work for me! So I choose an outfit and head out of the house. On my commute in I write emails and respond to questions, and often plan my internal meetings for the coming days.

Then it’s normally either a coffee at my favourite café across the road from my office, or a breakfast meeting to start the day.

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

Audible – I find that listening to narrations is a wonderful way of consuming more information.

Citymapper gets me everywhere I need to go and Spotify’s random playlists are the perfect way to find music for any occasion, including the office ‘Monday Motivation’ list the team listens to!

What smartphone do you have?

Having previously been at Google I am a massive Android fan, so I’ve had mainly Samsung or Google phones for the last decade.

I’ve just ordered the Google Pixel 2 XL – I love phones with big screens as I like watching videos on them as well as using them to demo Settled’s products.

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

My team – we’re 18 strong now and growing, and we’re all in the office, so they’re the lovely faces I see most days.

One of those team members happens to be my brother and co-founder, so it really is a family affair.

I’ll meet suppliers or business partners during the day; also my shareholders, and particularly my board team who I meet regularly.

I often do video meetings too, as this helps me fit more whilst still getting the feel of a pretty good face to face chat.

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

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni – genuinely a great read for anyone who has a job!

I learnt so much about people’s psychologies and about team dynamics, and the importance of healthy conflict.

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

Proptech [property technology] is a rapidly growing industry which will transform the way we transact across property around the world.

My advice would be to focus on the bleeding-edge. Don’t think of what the world is like now as you’ll be too late by the time you do anything.

Look ahead to what’s coming and be a pioneer.

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

I avoid working on Saturdays but actually, one of my favourite times to work is Sunday – you can get through things and get ready for the week ahead.

During the week, I’ll work until 7pm, then go for dinner with friends and then check my emails on the commute home and get some things sorted before bed.

It might seem a bit much, but actually, being on top of things helps me to relax.

What was your favourite childhood toy?

Thumper! I still have him sitting on my shelf!

Way back when, my parents took my brother and I to London (we lived in the country in Wiltshire), so it was a pretty big deal for me to come to the big smoke.

They took us to Hamleys and said we could choose any toy. This fluffy rabbit caught my eye and he’s been with me ever since!

What do you think your industry will look like in 10 years?

Innovations such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, blockchain and drone technology will continue to change the way property transactions are conducted, putting more power in the hands of customers.

Proptech will contribute to more freedom and ultimately more property transactions as things will become easier.

I see a time in the not too distant future where people will be able to transact in moments rather than months.

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