Work Smarter Series #2 – Interview with Tod Sacerdoti Founder BrightRoll

In 2006, Tod Sacerdoti started BrightRoll, which became the digital ad industry’s largest programmatic video advertising platform. Omar had lunch with Tod to discuss his keys to productivity and how he used that to grow BrightRoll which was ultimately acquired by Yahoo in 2014 for $640M.

We’ll be regularly publishing new interviews in the series. Follow @WorkfitHQ on Twitter and LinkedIn to make sure you don’t miss the next post.

 

 

Q: Since meetings are the single most expensive time commitment for executives, let’s start with discussing meeting productivity. What tools and tricks do you use to make meetings more productive?

Tod: In any meeting that I run (like staff meetings) I try to be clear about whether a portion of a meeting is about an update or a decision. It is important to stay clear on which part of a meeting is which type. Until the meeting starts every agenda should be open and contributed to by the attendees. For updates, I have people send them out ahead of time so everyone can read the update before the meeting. There shouldn’t be any time spent saying things that should have been written in advance. We try to get much of this done in advance of the meeting.
For decision-making meetings, everyone contributes to what needs to be discussed. I prioritize the decisions to be made ahead of the meeting. We spend all the time on the most important items. We don’t spend time on less important items. It is ok if you don’t get to item #4 on the list. The opposite isn’t true – you can’t miss the important ones.

 

Q: What about the number of people who attend the meeting, what works best?

Tod: I am ruthless about only required people being in a meeting. I don’t like extraneous people in my meetings. A board meeting is a good example of this. No one is allowed in our board meetings unless they absolutely must be there. I understand the value of a learning opportunity so we do allow people to be present in a meeting as part of a mentoring process, but that is done explicitly. Meetings shouldn’t be reserved meeting slots, and they shouldn’t fill time. Meeting blocks are huge parts of productivity problems. If a meeting occurs in an hour block and it only takes 10 mins then stop at 10 mins. When the work is done – leave. Don’t allow meeting blocks to dominate how you spend your time. I also love feedback on meetings. Could this meeting not happen or could it happen in another way? We continually use feedback to improve how we conduct our meetings.

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