Work Smarter Series #4 – Interview with Jeff Green Founder and CEO of The Trade Desk

The Work Smarter Series by Workfit explores the productivity habits of the world’s most successful executives.

Jeff Green is founder and CEO of The Trade Desk, Inc., a demand-side platform that powers the media campaigns of the world’s most advanced buyers in digital advertising. In 2015, Ernst & Young named Jeff and co-founder Dave Pickles Entrepreneurs of the Year in the Greater Los Angeles region and recently Glassdoor named The Trade Desk #20 on its Best Places to Work list for small and medium businesses. In 2016, Jeff took The Trade Desk public, making it one of the most valuable companies in the advertising technology arena. I recently sat down for breakfast with Jeff to explore his ideas on productivity.

Meetings

Q: Do you experience meeting overload – how do you handle it?  What tools and tricks do you use to make meetings more productive?

Jeff: Yes, I experience meeting over-load.  I could sit in meetings for 14 hours a day if I didn’t look at my calendar defensively.  There is a balance here, though.  If you aren’t getting invited to a lot of meetings that may be a sign of you being abrasive.  Also, I have a bias to action so people invite me to meetings where they want decisions and actions.  Given the demand on my time, I tell people to tell me what they want to accomplish before the meeting.  People need a chance to prepare based on the goals of the meeting.

 

If we identify a long-term problem, then I ask if we have sufficiently described the roles and responsibilities that enable that long-term action.

Q:  That sounds great, so what do you after the meeting is held?

Jeff: Once the meeting is held every meeting needs to end with actions and assignments.  That is part of our culture.  If we have a short term problem, there are action items coming out of the meeting.  If we identify a long-term problem, then I ask if we have sufficiently described the roles and responsibilities that enable that long-term action.  If you haven’t properly described the roles and responsibilities that means more meetings and discussions because no one knows who really owns the task.  You want to have the right input and also avoid too much bureaucracy.  That long-term lens is what execs often miss when they just dictate action items.

 

Q:  When you think about the most effective executives what productivity attributes stick out the most from them?

Jeff: It all boils down to time.  People think in terms of money way too often when they should be thinking more about their time and how they use it.  When you are an early stage company, you are liberal with your time.  As more opportunity presents itself you have to become really good at time management.  It all comes down to how you choose to assign your time.

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