Typical 24: Nader Mikhail, Elementum

IDG Connect is looking to speak to IT, business and marketing professionals across the spectrum to discover more about their very different, typical working days…

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: Nader Mikhail

 Job title: Founder & CEO

 Company: Elementum

 Location: Mountain View, California

 Years’ experience: 11


  1. What time do you reach the office each day?
    I do a lot of global travel. So the real measure is how much sleep I get.
  2. Is your job varied?
    Extremely. When I’m not on the road meeting with executives, I’m working closely with product, UX, engineering—you name it. I love rolling up my sleeves and being part of the conversation.
  3. Is your job creative?
    Figuring out a better way to manage the $25T global product economy is as creative as it gets. Nothing we do at Elementum is by the books. We’re constantly pushing each other to imagine greater. There’s a reason why our desks are whiteboards.  
  4. What do you spend the majority of your time doing?
    I travel a lot. And by a lot, I mean a lot. What we’re doing for the industry requires a fundamental shift in not just technology, but organizational behavior and culture, so I spend most of my time helping executives at Global 500 businesses understand our vision. Meeting face to face allows me to create personal relationships and convey firsthand how our approach is fueled by a genuine desire to help companies innovate through supply chain efficiency.
  5. Do you personalise your desk?
    Other than a photo of my daughter, no. I’m constantly on my feet, so my desk is mostly just a formality. In fact, I think right now it’s being used by our newest intern.
  6. Would you describe yourself as creative?
    Creativity is such a vague term. It often gets misattributed; robbing otherwise creative people of the title. Engineers, accountants, administrators...they’re all creative, but don’t always realize it. I enjoy helping my teams explore possibilities beyond the confines of traditional roles. Imagination rules the world.
  7. Do you have any quirky daily rituals?
    I love re-reading books and articles from leaders I admire. Jim Collins, General McChrystal, Kobe Bryant (go Lakers!) —people who remind me to reach higher. 
  8. Do you tend to work on your own or with colleagues?
    I prefer collaboration. I thrive off of rapid iteration and ruthless prioritization among a team of fun, driven people who are playing to win.
  9. How many hours on average do you work a day?
    Honestly, work and play are blurred. I love helping people solve challenging problems. It’s both a personal and professional passion.
  10. Roughly how much time do you spend each day on email? Taking calls? In meetings?
    I focus on the conversations that are pushing things forward and give them the attention they need. The medium I use to achieve that is dependent on the situation, so I’m constantly switching between all three.
  11. Do you use social media much for work?
    As we build the world’s Product Graph, I’ve found LinkedIn’s professional graph to be extremely valuable tool to connect with both potential customers and potential employees.
  12. What do you enjoy most about your work?
    The task we’re taking on. I love how tremendous the challenge we face is. Every day is like a game 7.
  13. What type of music (if any) do you listen to at work?
    I can't pin it down to a genre. I grew up on 90's music, but my palette has opened up since then.
  14. 1What do you do for lunch?
    We have catered lunches. Our employees work hard and they deserve easy access to a good meal. Sometimes I like to grill for the team.
  15. Do you socialise with work colleagues?
    As I mentioned, I travel a lot. So I cherish any time I can get to know my team better. Recently, I've been making an effort to schedule cross-team dinners with different members of Elementum.
  16. Are there any tasks (through your career) you’ve been especially glad to get rid of?
    Everything’s a learning experience. It’s like practice for the big game. You can’t expect to win a championship ring if you skipped out on drills. Having said that, I’m glad I have people on the operations team to do number-crunching for me.
  17. What is your last task of your day?
    Home or abroad–saying goodnight to my two young daughters.
  18. How do you like to relax after work?
    Family, family, family.
  19. Do you keep checking email through the evening?
  20. Do you take work projects home with you?
    Home, Germany, New York...That's life. We're a connected society.
  21. What would you say to your 20-year old self?
    Don’t worry about climbing the ladder. Knock it over and climb the damn wall.
  22. If you could try out any job for a day, what would you choose?
    Chef. Best BBQ in town.
  23. What device did you use to answer these questions?
    iPhone 6 Plus. Mobile first.
  24. Do you use your own personal device for work?
    It’s a work phone.