Recently we had an opportunity to personally meet Goran Duškić, founder and CEO of WhoAPI. WhoAPI transforms raw domain data into machine readable outputs. With their tools and APIs, their clients like Google, Marcaria, King and Twitter can monitor their websites, invest in better domains, protect their brands online and in the end create a better Internet for all of us. Goran, who is a self-proclaimed productivity junkie, has been using our software for a while now and was willing to share his experience with time tracking and work efficiency.
Insightful: Tell us something about yourself.
Goran: I was born in Croatia where the major industry is tourism, and my parents thought, since I was talented for foreign languages, that tourism would be a good career choice for me. Obviously, it wasn’t. After a brief period of trying to educate myself on tourism I dropped out and I started developing Freeware PC games. This was my gateway to the tech world and I loved it. I started pursuing a career in hosting industry back in 2006 when we bootstrapped a small hosting business, which we grew from 0 to 500 clients and then sold to one of the largest hosting companies in Croatia. On the course of building that hosting company my business partner and I got the idea for WhoAPI and we ended up selling it so that we could focus on growing our new WhoAPI business. We raised over $200k so that we could build the infrastructure, the software and get first clients. I also spent 4 months living in Sillicon Valley with 500 Startups. So you could say that in the past decade I’ve been in hosting and domain industry dedicated to helping website owners in every way I can.
Insightful: How did you get to an idea to start tracking your time?
Goran: Couple of years ago when I was struggling financially, I read a book on personal finances. I learned that my finances would get better once I started measuring them. Keeping that in mind, over the course of year, I cleared all my debt and started saving some money. I realized that, the more I focused on them, my personal finances were getting better. At this period I wasn’t the only one struggling financially, but my startup as well. Once I fixed my finances I started fixing them for my startups as well and finally everything started getting better. About a year and a half ago, I started thinking about tracking time. Even when you’re a kid, people tell you that time is money. So I thought, if I fixed my money by tracking it, maybe I could fix my time by tracking it. When you’re in a startup phase, you have to do marketing, sales, development, system administration, investor reports, finances and so much more. You quickly realize that 24 hours in a day just pass and get lost somehow.
Insightful: There are various ways to track time, how did you do it?
Goran: I was always sort of a productivity junkie so I began looking for tools that would help me track my time. My company produces SaaS, so most of my work is done in the cloud – in the browser with the help of online tools. At first, most important were the tabs that I had in my browser so I started tracking that. I realized afterwards that there are important software that I also use which impacts my business, so I started using another tool that would keep track of the software. On top of that I was also using excel sheet to track all of this which led to copy – pasting some things and doing manual labor. As a productivity junkie, you can imagine I hate manual labor. I was also using a blocker that closes inactive tabs. I was still on the lookout for the tool that would allow me to get all the data automatically, without me doing any manual work, basically without spending time or mental energy on getting the information on where do my focus and my time go. So when I started using Insightful, I was finally able to stop doing all that and just focus on my work instead.
Insightful: Which features of Insightful do you particularly like?
Goran: I like the fact that I can see if I’m spending time in productive or unproductive apps. The tool is also really helpful if you want to track your employees. My employees don’t use it yet, but in the nearby future I’m going to suggest them to do so. In my opinion, it would be hypocritical if I asked them to track their time without me tracking my own. I think that once I’m a senior in time tracking, I would have enough leverage to convince them why they should track their own time. With time tracking software, employees don’t need to justify their every minute, expenses etc. especially if they are thousands of miles away from you. I have a distributed team for which this software is ideal. My employees are in Russia, Check republic, Kazakhstan, Bosnia, India… Sometimes it happens that they work for 2-3 months before there are any results, and in the meantime they might feel insecure and bad because they were working but the results are not there. So for me it’s not that I want to track or monitor them, I think it’s beneficial for their own personal sake and productivity. I think that every person who’s willing to grow needs to check their own progress and Insightful helps you do that. I honestly don’t think my employees will work for WhoAPI for the next 40 years but if they continue tracking their progress they will still be improving when they are working in another company. I feel the importance of installing in them the habit of tracking their work. I think the only way to convince them and to transition them easy is that they crave the idea to track time. I think it doesn’t work the other way round. Unhappy employee is not good employee.
Insightful: Being a productivity junkie, how much do your assumptions on time expenditure differ from the findings of Insightful?
Goran: The thing that caught my attention is that I was spending way more time on email than I should. When I started time tracking, I noticed that 25% of my time was spent on email, which was absurd. Email is like a time wormhole. There is a common misbelief that all email is equally important. When I was running a hosting business, I trained myself to answer every email ASAP. Email equals support and if you don’t answer them immediately, you are a bad hosting company. Once we sold our hosting business, I was still under pressure that I need to have email notification on my smartphone, on my computer, at least one inbox opened all the time, my personal email, my business email, my company email etc. All email is not important. Your inbox is almost always full from newsletters, random “hey what’s up”, and there are also these people who seldom write concise and to the point messages that you need to read several times just to make sure you understood it correctly. All these emails don’t deliver on the end line. I actually wrote a blog post with tips on how to tame the beast called email. The biggest problem is that there’s always too many emails and no matter how obsolete the technology might be, it’s not going away.
Goran explained us how does a CEO of a distributed IT company organize his time and shared his values on leadership. We also talked about the value of metrics and importance of time management in general. More interviews with successful entrepreneurs soon.