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I am Saran Chatterjee, CEO of Housejoy, and This is How I Work
How I Work

I am Saran Chatterjee, CEO of Housejoy, and This is How I Work

From an early age, he learnt to be independent and overcome challenges without looking for any external support. He believes his strength lies in never giving up, no matter how difficult a situation is. And that's what he did when he witnessed the dot com crash in the US in 2000. He returned to India and joined Flipkart as the VP of Product Management, where he played a key role in scaling-up the business. He decided to up the ante for a better consumer experience by shaping the company strategy, setting up and hiring the product & design teams and running P&L for the advertising business. After proving his mettle in highly volatile and demanding environment of a start-up, he decided to become an entrepreneur himself in 2015 with Housejoy, an online home services marketplace which connects home service professionals to the customers. Saran Chatterjee has perfected the art of dispensing ambiguity with brevity and composure, and that is what makes him a lifehacker. We asked him how he works.

Location : Bangalore
Current Gig : CEO, Housejoy
One word that best describes how you work : Rigorous
Current mobile device : Mi 4
Current computer : Macintosh

Tell us about your journey and how did you get where you have?

I have been independent from very early in my life. I went to a residential school from the first grade and learnt to fend for myself. Graduation school in the US was another tough chapter where I had to work part time while undertaking a very heavy study curriculum to pay my way through school. My professional life started during the dot com boom in US and I was well on way to become one of the many young millionaires (on paper) until the dot com crash happened. Surviving this economic downturn was very challenging as a company and for me personally.

Post my business school, I worked for Yahoo for about six years. The company was going through massive management turnover and again, life was very ambiguous. However, by now, dealing with ambiguity was part and parcel of my life. After having spent close to 14 years in the US, I came back to India to work for Flipkart as the VP of Product Management. This was an exhilarating chapter of my life, where the amount of learning in terms of management, dealing with hyper growth was just unparalleled. That, until my entrepreneurial journey started with Housejoy. The last 2.5 years has been the most rewarding but importantly the past experiences in US and India has really set me up well for this challenging role.

What apps/software/tools can't you live without?

I cannot live without Google News, Mail, Calendar, WhatsApp, Evernote , LinkedIn and of course, Housejoy.

What's your workspace setup like?

My workspace is simple and minimal. I usually like co-mingling and sitting with my colleagues to enable more collaboration and easy discussions. The bottom-line is that, I like to be more accessible to all my colleagues.

What's your best time-saving shortcut/life hack?

Utilize daily commute time to finish reading most of the e-mails and stand up meetings. I also like to reach office early to get some free time to think and strike off important items from my to-do list before jumping into the daily workflow.

For my 1:1 meetings, I also like taking long walking meetings as opposed to sitting in a room and discussing. (Also read: I Am Rashmi Daga, Founder Of FreshMenu, And This Is How I Work )

What's your favorite to-do list manager?

Evernote is my favorite. I use a simple urgent, important 2*2 matrix to sort priorities. For example, anything which is urgent and important would take the first slot of my priority list and non-urgent tasks slide down on the list.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can't you live without and why?

I can't live without my Kindle and Bose Music system. I listen to a lot of music with family at home and the kids usually end up dancing to groovy tunes.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

I am just an average family guy who believes in sheer hard work and perseverance. One thing that is not in my system is to ever give up no matter how difficult the situation is. I am not sure if that is different, but that's what defines me. (Also read: I Am Vikash Jaiswal, Creator Of Ludo King, And This Is How I Work )

How do you recharge? What do you do when you want to forget about work?

Spend time with the kids, gym and long walks with the wife every night.

What's your fitness and sleep routine like?

I usually run 25-30 miles a week to stay fit and I am very particular about getting my 6 hrs of sleep each day. (Also read: I Am Rahul Singh, CEO Of The Beer Cafe And This Is How I Work )

What are you currently reading?

I usually read 2-3 books in parallel depending on my mood. Currently, I am reading A Short History of Nearly Everything (a science book on everything that has happened from the Big Bang Theory to the rise of civilization) and Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary (a book on boardroom strategies, employee motivation tips, community involvement, and customer satisfaction).

What's the best advice you've ever received?

Follow your gut and do what feels right rather than over-analysing.

Is there anything else you'd like to add for our readers?

Stay fit and eat healthy, no matter how busy you get in life. You can always find the time.

The How I Work series asks heroes, experts, and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces, routines, and more. Have someone you want to see featured, or questions you think we should ask? Email Ishita.

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