Human Resources

Typical 24: Ulrik Bo Larsen, Falcon Social

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...

Ulrik Bo Larsen

  Job title: Founder & CEO

  Company: Falcon Social

  Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

  Years’ experience: 20


1.      What time do you reach the office each day?
The day starts way before hitting the office, checking email and various events during the night in all other time zones beyond the one I find myself in.


2.      Is your job varied?
Absolutely! Helping teams move the needle on everything from product development and road map to marketing and sales makes for an incredibly diverse working day. As a CEO one of your primary tasks is to build and nurture the team. That makes for a very varied day, liaising with many people with quite different focuses and perspectives.

3.      Is your job creative?
I am a self-taught Software Developer, turned product guy, turned CEO. What drives me is still building stuff and figuring out how to make things shinier, faster and more endorphin-inducing than the competition. As your company grows that happens by proxy, by building the team and guiding it to its fullest potential.


4.      What do you spend the majority of your time doing?
Communicating in verbal and written form. Internally and externally.


5.      Do you personalise your desk?
I only have a partially designated desk. I spend the majority of my time checking in with everybody else, so no I haven't gotten around to personalising my own space. If it would happen it could very well include an engraving of the Done Manifesto.


6.      Would you describe yourself as creative?
Yes. But the higher in the org chart you sit, you run out of obvious, tangible outlets to channel this at work. I guess there's always slides. My slides rock!


7.      Do you have any quirky daily rituals?
It involves rugbrød, but I can't offer any more detail than that!


8.      Do you tend to work on your own or with colleagues?
With colleagues. Focused alone time at regular intervals is key to distill input and crystallise thoughts.


9.      How many hours on average do you work a day?
Around 10 hours of really focused work, but it depends on the day and which office I’m in.


10.   Roughly how much time do you spend each day on email? Taking calls? In meetings?
Lots of meetings and emails. We try to do short huddles instead of meetings, which in many cases is just as effective.


11.   Do you use social media much for work?
Totally. We're a Social Media Management platform for brands and enterprises, and we're drinking our own champagne on a daily basis. Social is a missed opportunity for organisations who haven't incorporated it into their culture and work flows; it disrupts silos. Customers and prospects are starting to expect brands to reach them where they are instead if jumping into the Customer Service silo you've set up. People will barf about your products and services on Twitter, they won't email support@brandname.com. Importantly, these public customer service events can be turned into powerful marketing nuggets, if you excel in engagement.


12.   What do you enjoy most about your work?
The unpredictability and the endorphins induced when winning over and delighting customers, and making great achievements in the various teams.


13.   What type of music (if any) do you listen to at work?
I've been a longtime fan of electronic music which, because of its instrumental nature, makes it a great fit for focused crunch work as well. Berlin and Cologne labels such as Ostgut Ton and Kompakt are favorites. Richie Hawtins’ EX album that he performed live at the Guggenheim is my current favorite for a long haul. Go check that stuff out!


14.   What do you do for lunch?
We have catered lunch at the office, so I get to spend time with the team. Sometimes we do working lunches where we bring our plates into meeting rooms, but we try to make lunch a break from the work at hand.

15.   Do you socialise with work colleagues?
Very much so — some of our early employees are great personal friends as well. That happens in startups often, I guess, and this still happens for many colleagues at our current stage. I've pretty much excelled in intertwining personal and private more than most and it actually works surprisingly well for me. If you don't want to spend personal time with employees, you (or someone else) may have hired the wrong people.


16.   Are there any tasks (through your career) you’ve been especially glad to get rid of?
Accounting and Bookkeeping. I've been self-employed and an entrepreneur for many years and initially you do these things yourself. It's really important that you understand the ins and outs of this, but for me there's always been friction in completing those tasks. Shout out to the finance team!

17.   What is your last task of your day?
Filling out the response to the "What did you get done today" email that is automatically sent to me on a daily basis. This allows for reflection around your priorities both on a daily and on an aggregate level.

18.   How do you like to relax after work?
Spending time with loved ones. I love cooking. Doing 3 courses can sometimes be total Zen after an intense day at work, and everybody loves an impromptu dinner at 10:30pm, right?

19.   Do you keep checking email through the evening?
Guilty as charged. The Priority Inbox in Google Mail makes this workable so those phone check-ins are valuable and not random unimportant emails.


20.   Do you take work projects home with you?
They certainly linger in the back of your head, and then the classic shower epiphany can happen.


21.   What would you say to your 20-year old self?
Follow your gut. Don't linger on your decisions if you already feel in which direction things are going.


22.   If you could try out any job for a day, what would you choose?
Pilot. I think aviation is on the last stage of romanticism, where humans are actually flying the planes. Controlling a huge advanced piece of machinery from continent to continent, with amazing vistas to boot, must be pretty awesome. I wonder if that ever gets really boring and routine. Probably not.

23.   What device did you use to answer these questions?
A MacBook pro. It's a road demon. Back when I had a fixed desk, I had multiple monitors and had optimized multi-tasking to the fullest extent of my ability. Going from a maker to a preacher type work day, the fully mobile workbench is a god-send.


24.   Do you use your own personal device for work?
All of our staff have key devices supplied by us. Occasionally a personal tablet gets into the mix as well.


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