Day in the Life of Dimitris Glezos, CEO of Transifex

This post initially appeared on SaaScribe.

Dimitris Glezos in the Transifex, Athens Office

For the last few years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have two homes and two “lives”. One is in California, where we’re working primarily on Customers and Growth. The second is with Transifex’s Product & Engineering team in beautiful, sunny Greece.

Which one do I like the most? To be honest, I’m not sure, really. When I’m in the US, I don’t miss Greece, and when I’m in Greece, I’m not in a hurry to return to the US. Living in two countries gives you access to a variety of different activities, personalities and ways to have fun.

As I’m writing this, I’m in Greece. It’s a gorgeous 29°C (84°F) day; I’m working from home, with our cat sitting on my lap. So let’s go through what a typical day looks while in Greece.

It’s a brand new day

Wake-up time is adjusted to the Engineering team’s schedule. You see, in Greece, people go out at 9pm (that’s considered early), so you start the day later too. A typical wake-up time for me is 8am-ish, almost 2 hours later than when I’m in the US.

Checking emails before properly waking up and experiencing a good start to the day is a no-no. The first thing I like to do is to put some fresh, vivid music on the stereo, welcome our cat in the living room and prepare a rich breakfast. Depending on the day that might range from a big jug of mixed fruit juice with delicious cheese and prosciutto on the side, to a good-ol’ eggs-with-5-sides plate. Before leaving for work, I put on my outfit. Typically, it’s a pair of jeans and a shirt with lightweight, cool materials by brands such as Prana or Arc’teryx. Then I check emails and spend 30 minutes answering stuff.

At the Office

During the drive to work, I’ll have a call with friends or family and do some finger exercises, preparing for rock climbing on the weekend.

I arrive at the office around 10:30am. Before even making coffee, I’ll walk around and chat with the people in the office, listening to stories about adorable kids, gym workouts or an amazing gourmet dinner experienced the night before. If I’m lucky, I’m at the office early enough to see Elena from our Customer Success team arrive and say “Good Morning!” with a wide smile and a royal salutation.

Walking around the office is one of my favorite things to do. I’ll openly ask colleagues to tell me what they’re working on and encourage them to get into the details – and I love it when they do the same. If someone is really concentrated, I might walk by and hit random keys on their keyboard.

For the first couple hours of the day, I’ll read articles from other cool, inspiring startups (some of my favorites are Help Scout, Groove and Unbounce). Afterwards, I’ll dive into one of the many things that have been keeping me busy the last couple of weeks:

  • I am jumping into planned (and sometimes impromptu) brainstorming sessions with Antoine from Product. Our discussions involve big scribbles on whiteboards that never have enough space and heated discussions about button placements. In these discussions, we’re pulling people in to better understand how a user would interact with a design choice, how it might be implemented and how it’ll scale.
  • I am learning how well we’re performing in fields like customer acquisition, customer satisfaction and growth. I do this by first collecting data myself from tools like Mixpanel, KISSmetrics and consolidating in a dashboard and a spreadsheet. When I find something interesting, I’ll go to someone’s desk with my laptop to show them and then we’ll try to refine the data and share them with more people.
  • More often than I want to, I deal with paperwork, like documents a bank needs signed and other frustrating items. Oh well… you gotta do what you gotta do.

Lunch

Our Greek team eats lunch together at 1:30pm. We order food from nearby family-owned restaurants and share salads and pies which people bring from home. Lunch is a sacred part of Greek culture and our team has some of its best moments during our lunch break. Every now and then, we’ll have lunch outside or bring pans of galaktobureko (semolina custard pie in phyllo) and share.

Then it’s foosball time for anyone interested. Things get very noisy.

Second half of the day

During this part of the day, I’m doing a number of things:

  • I’m isolating myself from the rest of the gang for 1 to 2 hours every day to focus on strategic stuff. Product positioning, what our users really need and what they’ll need three years from now, and what are the real problems behind the proposed solutions from customers or other companies.
  • Growing our team is one of the top recurring items I have in my week – I typically work on this in the afternoons. I’ll invest at least 1 hour every day identifying interesting people. The key questions I ask myself when meeting someone are “Is she a doer?”, “Do we have a lot to learn from her?” and “What would it be like working with her every day for the next 5 years?”
  • At around 3pm, I’ll take an afternoon break and make a decaf coffee and eat some apples or bananas.
  • At 5pm, our California team wakes up. Late afternoon is reserved for any kind of discussion with our Sales, Marketing and Business Development folks. I’m most often working to remove roadblocks from people’s paths, such as a team waiting for something from another team, a clarification on why we’re not implementing support for Microsoft Office files.

Wrapping up the day

I’m usually back at home at 7:30pm.

On the way back home, I reflect about the day. What went well, what went wrong and how to fix it tomorrow. I also take time to remember all the big things happening in my life other than Transifex: girlfriend, family, friends. Some serious context switching happening there.

After getting home, we’ll cook something, watch a movie with popcorn, hit the gym or play a few games of StarCraft as Zerg. On the weekends, it’s either rock climbing, inviting friends over for barbecue, or a day-long trip to a nearby town or village for some good, local food.

Follow Dimitris on Twitter (@glezos) to keep up with the latest updates and thoughts.

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