Typical 24: Christian Lanng, CEO, Tradeshift

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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Christian Lanng

Job title: CEO

Company: Tradeshift

Location: US, San Francisco

Years’ experience: 17 years’ experience in IT, starting my first company at the age of 19



1.         What time do you reach the office each day?


Well most mornings I’m up and working at 5:00AM. I take a few calls then fit in some exercise.  I’m usually in the office by 8:00 or 8:30 in the morning.


2.         Is your job varied?


No two days at Tradeshift are ever the same. I think it’s why we all love coming to work. It never gets old and it never gets boring.


3.         Is your job creative?


Very much so. What we are doing at Tradeshift is new. We are creating new solutions to solve very old problems. That takes a lot of creativity.

4.         What do you spend the majority of your time doing?

I work across teams a lot of the time. Some days I’ll be working with our sales team helping to polish an RFP.  Other days I’ll be working with our marketing team reviewing messaging and design. Or I may be on the road meeting with potential partners in Asia. It’s hard to say that I spend a majority of my time doing just one thing – it goes back to your earlier question…the job is varied, no two days are alike.


5.         Do you personalise your desk?


In my own way – yes. A Nerf gun here, some Danish liquorish there.  At Tradeshift we often find our selves working at different workstations throughout the day, so my desk is really wherever my next meeting or discussion happens to be taking place.

6.        Would you describe yourself as creative?

Most definitely. As a child I always wanted to be an inventor. And I’m able to fulfil that dream through my entrepreneurial endeavours. I think both of these roles, inventor and entrepreneur, are very much driven by creativity. 


7.         Do you have any quirky daily rituals?


Not that I can think of, no.


8.         Do you tend to work on your own or with colleagues?


With colleagues. I love working in teams – it’s vital to share information. Otherwise siloes form and we can’t have that.


9.         How many hours on average do you work a day?


I’d say around 65 – 70 hours per week.


10.       Roughly how much time do you spend each day on email? Taking calls? In meetings?


It’s hard to say. Certainly these types of things take up time but Tradeshift has adopted tools and policies to help limit the amount of time spent on email and in meetings. Tools like Yammer have really helped the organization communicate openly without filling up our inboxes. Meetings are kept short and to the point – if you’re scheduling a meeting you know to come prepared with an agenda and a list of desired take-aways.


11.       Do you use social media much for work?


Yammer, as I mentioned, has been huge and we are all really getting into WeChat – a Chinese messaging application that has taken off.


12.       What do you enjoy most about your work?


The remarkable team that we’ve built at Tradeshift. It inspires me and makes coming to work everyday a thrill. The Tradeshift team is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. We work so hard and we have so much fun doing it.


13.       What type of music (if any) do you listen to at work?


Depends on my mood…Metal, REM, new indie stuff. I guess it all depends on what I’m working on at that moment.


14.       What do you do for lunch?


At Tradeshift we all eat together. We have a wonderful catering company that prepares delicious and healthy stuff for us every day like chicken, salmon or salad. I think Mexican is everyone’s favourite though.  Our office manager rings the bell, says “Lunch is ready” and we all start running to the dining area – it’s quite a scene.


15.       Do you socialise with work colleagues?


I do. When you are building a company with others the lines between work, life and social life quickly blend. This is not a 9-5 gig.  If I wasn’t able to enjoy the company of my colleagues outside the office I certainly don’t think we’d be able to get much done together in the office.


16.       Are there any tasks (through your career) you’ve been especially glad to get rid of?


I’m very happy to say I won’t have to do another round of fundraising. That is exhausting.


17.       What is your last task of your day?


It’s rarely the same, so it would be hard to say.


18.       How do you like to relax after work?


I’m an avid reader – a book a week, that’s my rule. So I love kicking back on my roof deck with whatever book I’m into at the moment.


19.       Do you keep checking email through the evening?


Not obsessively but if there is something pending I’ll keep an eye on it. And I’ll also check to see if anybody needs anything from me that is urgent.


20.       Do you take work projects home with you?


Yes, it’s a must a Tradeshift. We have offices in so many time zones – US, EU, Asia. We all understand that there are times you’ve got to crack the laptop open from home.  It’s quite nice working from home though – we have a pretty open policy about it actually. Come into the office when you need to, work from home when you need to.


21.       What would you say to your 20-year old self?


Enjoy every moment of what is ahead of you…it’s all going to work out.


22.       If you could try out any job for a day, what would you choose?


Astronaut. Space is awesome.


23.       What device did you use to answer these questions?


MacBook Pro


24.       Do you use your own personal device for work?


Yes. Smart phones, tablets – I love my toys. I need my toys.


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