Typical 24: Karim Iskandar, BookingBug
Human Resources

Typical 24: Karim Iskandar, BookingBug

12-02-2018-karim-iskandar-bookingbug

 

Name: Karim Iskandar

Job title: Commercial Director

Company: BookingBug

Location: London, United Kingdom

 

  1. What time do you reach the office each day?
    I’m an early riser so I’m generally in the office around 8am, which makes me one of the first there. I always feel more productive when I can get in early and get myself organized.
  2. Is your job varied?
    Yes, I would say so. The culture at BookingBug is very collaborative so I work across a lot of different projects while keeping a laser focus on my objectives.
  3. Is your job creative?
    I think creativity is spurred by autonomy. We’ve gone through some creative shifts as a company and we get everyone involved in charting our path.
    I’m not so involved in creativity from a marketing perspective in the day-to-day. But I do find myself thinking creatively about how to tackle new challenges and keep growing at a rapid rate without compromising the service we give our clients.
  4. What do you spend the majority of your time doing?
    My role is very varied. While my objectives focus on high level outcomes like growth, I still think it’s important I’m able to dive into the details when needed. As a scaleup, the skills and desire to do that is crucial for all of us working here.
    A typical week could see me hosting calls with top level leads, developing go-to market strategies, preparing for a board meeting or identifying trends in our pipeline.
  5. Do you personalize your desk?
    I try to keep my desk clear but I always have a picture of my beloved family next to me and have a couple of toys for me to fidget with - that includes a bell for whenever we close a new deal.
  6. Would you describe yourself as creative?
    I am creative from a commercial standpoint and always try to find new ways to help our new and old customers understand our offering to maximize the value.
  7. Do you have any quirky daily rituals?
    As I mentioned before I have a closing bell on my desk which will be rung everyone someone closes a deal. It’s a great sound to hear going around the office. My coworkers will probably also tell you I have a particular brand of American intensity that can be quite contagious.
    Other than that, I would say I’m quite particular about my emails and folder management. Every morning I’ll have to organize them before I get started.
  8. Do you tend to work on your own or with colleagues?
    My work is mostly team based. Every once in a while, I’ll tuck myself away to get on with things but I mainly work alongside the sales guys, our CEO Glenn and the board. It’s a very collaborative environment that allows us to keep our customers at the core of every decision we make.
  9. How many hours on average do you work a day?
    It can be quite a long day, perhaps nine or ten hours. I have a team that’s based in the US so after I’ve finished in the London office, I usually have time to get home and have some dinner with my family before I’m calling my teams in Boston for a quick update.
  10. Roughly how much time do you spend each day on email? Taking calls? In meetings?
    It’s a pretty equal balance between meetings, calls and working on documents. I hate the feeling that email is taking over my life so I try to minimize how much time I spend on it every day.
  11. Do you use social media much for work?
    For social media I’m most interested in LinkedIn. I think a lot of people haven’t unlocked the value in it yet but it can be incredibly useful.  I have built up around 1500 contacts and share a lot of useful articles I come across on there. I’m also a light user of Facebook for family stuff.
  12. What do you enjoy most about your work?
    For me it’s all about the high growth, high paced environment. We’re lucky to have sustained an exceptional growth rate over the past few years but there’s a challenge there in that you can’t be complacent.
    We continually have to drive, continually have to innovate and constantly have to change. We also have to ensure others embrace it too by finding the right talent to help support our growth.
    That’s what gets me fired up!
  13. What type of music (if any) do you listen to at work?
    Part of my mantra is being accessible so I don’t tend to listen to music at work. It can give people the wrong impression and they are less likely to approach you.
  14. What do you do for lunch?
    I usually eat ‘Al desko’ or occasionally with the management team when we’re wrapped up in planning. We’re lucky to work in a cool area full of great options to eat including all of the street food stands in Exmouth Market.
  15. Do you socialize with work colleagues?
    On Fridays we have beers with the team and during the week there’s lots of sales comradery. I like to join in the evening socials when I get the chance, especially for the summer party.
  16. Are there any tasks (through your career) you’ve been especially glad to get rid of?
    To maintain that high level focus, it’s very important to build a team of people you trust so you can delegate some of the very time consuming and detail oriented work. I will get my hands dirty if needed, though.
    We’ve found automation can be key to processing a lot of the nitty gritty, such as the detail of revenue recognition. This is definitely part of our mantra internally and to customers - if you can reduce the levels of admin in your business, you’re freeing up more time to focus on your customer and this helps you give them the best experience possible.
  17. What is your last task of your day?
    The last task I do is usually catching up with the sales teams in the US. By doing this it means I can ensure that even while I’m sleeping they are focusing on tackling the next big challenge over in their time zone.
  18. How do you like to relax after work?
    By spending time with my wife and three children. I’m also an avid Boston sports fan so needless to say I was chuffed when the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl. I also follow the Boston Red Sox.
  19. Do you keep checking email through the evening?
    We use Slack so things can be driven through there and I’ll cover anything urgent. I try not to give too much of time to email and instead focus on getting things done.
  20. Do you take work projects home with you?
    While I do have to handle some international calls from home I think it’s important to keep a work and life balance so I’ll try not to do too much more unless it’s necessary.
  21. What would you say to your 20-year old self?
    ‘Wow how did you end up in London?!’ Unfortunately, my father is not with us anymore, but he was a trailblazer who went from Egypt, to England, to America and inspired me to broaden my wings. I would tell my past self to thank him and to keep going and you’ll fulfil your dreams.
  22. If you could try out any job for a day, what would you choose?
    I’m intrigued by the management of sports teams. Working on player developments or the strategy for a major sports team is a dream of mine, and maybe every sports fan!
  23. What device did you use to answer these questions?
    My Surface Pro.
  24. Do you use your own personal device for work?
    -

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