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Euan Cameron, Co-founder & CEO at Willo

In this accomplished peeps interview, we speak with Euan Cameron, CEO and co-founder of Willo for an inside look into the practices and habits he follows daily to ensure remote success. For those who aren't familiar with Willo...Euan shared a bit about The Why behind the company. At Willo, they are committed to making the lives of people around the world better by connecting them with opportunities using technology. What does this mean? Previously geography, disability, and social mobility stopped incredibly talented people from getting access to job opportunities. At Willo, they're all on the same rocket ship to break down those barriers and open the world up to a more inclusive and fair place to work.

Apart from all this, the team at Willo is consciously taking steps to contribute to improved environmental wellbeing. In 2020 Willo committed to planting 15,000 trees over the next 3 years; equivalent to removing ~2,500 metric tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere and making every interview that takes place on Willo carbon neutral. With the help of their project partner, TreeSisters, they've been making this happen tree-by-tree.

Explain your role at Willo.

As the CEO of the company I unsurprisingly wear multiple hats. Thankfully, between me and my co-founder, we have managed to find a good balance. Over time I have learned that it's never a good idea to wear too many hats, as after a while you'll fall over! So we split our roles early on, my main responsibilities lie within Marketing, Product, Engineering, and Operations. I also lead our fundraising rounds when they happen.

As a leader I'm often helping to steer decisions within each of these departments, however, I am also learning. As a startup, we don't know a lot of the answers yet, so it's important to approach everything with an open mind. One of the key things I'm working on with the team is to push for iteration rather than perfection - many startups I have observed or been part of over the years get stuck in the planning phases and fail to execute. Whilst my expectations of execution are very high - it's important to ensure that we get something into the hands of our customers quickly. At Willo we're always looking for ways to make execution and iteration a more natural part of our work.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

Since I have a 2-year-old daughter the start of the day is dictated by her. We get up around 7 am, get ready, and I'll either get started at my home office or cycle into a co-working space near my home. The morning is reserved for deep work, leaving the afternoon for meetings, coffees, and catching up with investors or advisors. I work Monday to Friday and try to leave weekends free for family-time and outdoor exercise - living in Scotland it's important to enjoy the incredible countryside as much as possible.

Describe the layout and feel of your personal workspace?

My home workspace is calm, with a few plants and a fig tree which I am especially proud of, the room is full of light and looks out onto the busy street. The desk layout is minimal with only an iMac, 2nd display, notepad, and wireless phone charger. I also have a big A3 notepad handy for sketching out new user interfaces. In the background, I rely on French Jazz Café.

What's one habit or ritual you need to start and finish your day?

In the winter I always to start my day with a quick meditation using Headspace. In the summer months, I start and end the day with a short cycle around the local park. I have a big heavy dutch bike which I imported and it's great to clear the head whilst getting some light exercise.

How does your team use asynchronous communication to stay in the loop while working remotely?

We have a few tools in our stack but most important is Twist from the amazing team at Doist. We also use Loom to help explain more complex things to each other or our customers. We have a guide which is a work in progress to help new members of the team get started with Async from day 1:

  • Over-communicate
  • Write clearly
  • Use the right tools
  • Speak up

How do you limit distractions while working from home...or do you?

Having an async communication style from day 1 has allowed us to keep distractions to a minimum. If I have an important phone conversation I'll sometimes go for a walk with headphones - that's a great way to block out all distractions and focus on the conversation. I don't know why that works so well but being out in nature seems to make it easier to focus.

Is there one particular podcast or youtube channel that you can't stop listening to or watching?

Absolutely - it's The Tim Ferris Show, every episode is packed with insight and I can literally feel my brain expanding every time I listen. Because each episode is quite long I'll listen over a few days but that's probably a good thing as it could be overwhelming in one session!

If you could be doing anything else than what you're doing, what would it be?

Exploring Asia with my camera and producing photography exhibitions on culture and people. The diverse cultures of Asia are incredible and still so misunderstood, I'd love to help showcase some of that.