I’m Paul Cook, and this is how I work

Coffee Machine

As the founder of RedEye International back in 1997, Paul is no stranger to the intricacies of analytics, campaign data and conversion optimisation. His next project, TagMan was the first Tag Management System making it easier for Marketers to capture data and share it with their suppliers. Launched during the credit crunch it enabled huge cost savings and clients include Spotify, TripAdvisor, Vodafone, Virgin and Travelocity. Having launched TagMan on both sides of the pond, Paul is now back in London and working on his first mobile project – an app that is set to change the way we share contact details. With a fantastic track record, I can’t wait to see where this project takes him. I stole a few minutes of Pauls crazy schedule to talk about workspaces, apps, inspirations, and more.

Location: London, UK

Current gig: DW Labs, it’s a sort of startup factory in a similar vein to Obvious which gave birth to Twitter. Next project in the pipeline is ConnectiD, a fast way to exchange contacts without using business cards.
Current mobile devices: Samsung Galaxy S3, Sony Experia for when I’ve dropped the S3 and I’d count the Nexus 7 mini-tablet and an iPad 3.

Current computers: My main computer is a Sony Vaio, which I chose main because of how tactile its keyboard is. I did have a mac book air for a while last year but I’m much more productive with a PC in my hands. I also have an Asus ep121 windows slate which my kids have adopted as it never fully recovered from putting Windows 8 consumer preview on it!
One word that best describes how you work: Asynchronously

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? Doesn’t have to be tech.
My coffee machine, it’s a Breville semi-pro machine and I was devastated to find it wasn’t available in the UK. It’s now been launched in the UK under a new brand called Sage and coffee Zen has been restored to my life. Business app wise I use pocket to read things offline on my nexus 7 rather than get distracted by interesting articles whilst I’m working. Personal app wise I’ve recently taken up running and am blown away by the community aspect, RunKeeper is my favourite app and has actually managed to make running interesting.

Coffee Machine

What’s your workspace like?
My home office is in a converted barn with plenty of light, high ceilings exposed beams. I’ve got some giant post-its on the wall, a white board and a portable aircon unit. My last proper office had glass walls which are great for writing on and I won’t work anywhere without a decent espresso machine in the vicinity!

What’s your best life hack?
Just moved house so I’m 3 minutes-walk from the station. Gives me an extra half an hour in bed in the morning / with the family evening and stops commuting grinding me down.

What’s your favourite to-do list manager?
I use Rememberthemilk across all my devices. Have been using it for years and am impressed how they’ve kept their focus rather than chasing the likes of Evernote. Probably the best tenner I spend all year.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
I’m pretty lost without a GPS, literally. I have a strap for my ipod nano that makes it into a watch and a special music player that allows you to DJ called a Tonium Pacemaker. I’m sure I will have a smart watch very soon but this is really a migration of tech from my phone so I don’t have to carry my phone around.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Can I only have one? In that case it would be modesty ;-) Seriously though, maybe focusing through prioritization and saying no.

What do you listen to while you work?
I like to listen to progressive house music when I’m really concentrating, which I thought was pretty odd until a neuroscientist pointed out to me that it stimulates dopamine production. I also get through a lot of gum, which is also proven to help concentration by boosting serotonin I believe. I’m a big fan of soundcloud so if you want to know what I’m listening to then follow me!

What are you currently reading?
Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and The Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters. I’m hoping that either or both of these books might help me with my golf if nothing else but turns out that’s probably a self-defeating goal. Next business book I’ll read will probably be the innovators dilemma as it was recommended to me the other day and it’s been sat on the shelf for too long. The book everybody who works in technology and media must read is The Lean Startup by Eric Ries whilst my favourite personal development read is Your Brain at Work by David Rock.


What’s your sleep routine like?
So bad that I bought a gadget called a zeo sleep manager to help measure it but I can’t sleep with it attached to my head! I go through periods where I keep waking up after 4 hours and not get back to sleep although it’s moderate at moment. Given the impact it has on quality of life I am amazed there is not more tech to help people get to sleep.

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see ______ answer these same questions.
Ideally: Brent Hoberman Realistically: Ashley Friedlein

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Use Puddle to do your design work, obviously! A friend suggested I pick up a copy of Unlimited Power by Anthony Robins 20 years ago and I’ve been writing down and reviewing my goals regularly ever since. You can’t beat the old classics, KISS (keep it simple, stupid) and the 5Ps (Proper planning prevents poor performance).

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I’ve talked too much already, would love to hear from anyone who fancies working on one of our projects.

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By Steven Burles

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