A Week in My Life: Sachin Dev Duggal, Founder and CEO of Builder.ai
Sachin is a serial entrepreneur, founding Builder.ai in 2012 as a solution to the long and expensive process of app and software development. Prior to this, he founded technology companies Shoto and Nivio.
Builder.ai is a technology company that is re-shaping how bespoke software is built, driven by the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to see their business idea come to fruition, without huge investments of funding, time and technical knowledge.
I wake up most mornings at 6:30am. This morning, I wake up even earlier due to the cries of my three-month-old daughter, Samanäya. As I pick her up from her crib and rock her back to sleep, I can hear my phone buzz a million times a second from across the house. With Sam in one hand, I begin to skim through the many emails I’ve received in the last six hours. I don’t even bother checking Slack at this point because messages, from engineering to marketing, run into three digits there in a matter of hours.
I run a global organisation, so work never stops. The Indian office is in full swing by now. Meetings are lined up from 9:30am to 6:30pm and a lunch break seems like a far-fetched dream at this point. I put Sam back to bed and get on my laptop. The rest of the morning is spent catching up on emails, going to the gym, having breakfast with family, doing the school run with my three-year-old son, Aramnäya, and more meetings, emails and messages.
The day is spent revisiting the previous week and planning the one ahead. We also have the formidable annual review coming up since the end of the year is near. But despite all the chaos, at the end of the day, I feel grateful for everything – the opportunities that I’ve been given to create something meaningful, my entire team at Builder.ai who make it happen, and my family, of course.
I got a fortunate four hours of sleep last night. Today, over breakfast, I’m reading “Click, Clack, Moo. Cows That Type” to my son. He loves the cows that type away, much to Farmer Brown’s dismay. I don’t like noisy typers myself, so this story book is enjoyed by both my son and myself equally. The rest of the day flies past with meetings and PR interviews.
I wrap up at 6:30pm sharp and head to my kickboxing class. This is my sacred hour and some of the best ideas have come to me during this time.
After my class, I head home. 7:30pm to 10:00pm is strictly family time. Post dinner, there’s story time again and off to bed my kids go. Many hugs and kisses and goodnights later, I’m back at it. My day hasn’t ended. I’ve got another 4 hours of calls lined up with the leadership of my organisation.
We are doing a front page ad campaign with the Times of India, the second-largest selling English-language daily newspaper in the world, for two of our products – Builder Studio and Builder Cloud. There’s a lot of planning that goes into nailing the segmentation and targeting, messaging, call to action, lead capture and so forth. So, I’m flying to India today. I get off the 9-hour flight and head straight to work. I won’t be getting much sleep for the next 48 hours.
At about 8pm, I leave from office to catch dinner with my mum. This is the best part of my trip! As soon as dinner is done, I head back to work for late night meetings with the product team. We wrap up by 1:30am and everyone seems satisfied with how much we got done.
I’m up bright and early this morning despite sleeping late last night, thanks to jetlag. I go for a jog and then head to work. I walk in at 8:00am and there isn’t a soul to be seen, but that’s on me. I’ve always been the first one in, last one out and the habit just doesn’t leave me. I’ve never quite been able to segregate “work” time from “non-work” time. My mind just doesn’t work that way. I spend my day (including lunch hour) in operations, marketing, sales, PR and finance catch-ups, and believe me, in a fast-scaling global organisation like Builder.ai, there is enough to discuss.
We also finalised the nitty-gritty of our upcoming campaign and with that, my trip to India officially concluded, albeit with another late night.
I took a late flight last night back to London, walking onto the plane on a conference call, so I can attend my son’s first play. I manage to catch some sleep on the flight. In school, Aramnäya walked onto stage first (his eyes searching for his mother and I). My heart melted and suddenly all the craziness this past week made sense. The headteacher came to me to thank me for the lights, and I, at the back of my mind, thought of my wonderful assistant, Alessia, who just made magic happen.
I wrap up work early today, so we can go out for a little celebratory family dinner. No more emails, meetings, calls, or messages for the day. I put my phone away. Tonight is about love, gratitude, and family.