Welcome to The 6 a.m. CFO, where finance chiefs share how they jump-start their days and engage with the tasks that are in front of them.
Today, Kapitus’ CFO Anthony Rose shares the importance of small failures, why the best time to go through email is late at night, and why one billion is his current favorite number.
- Kapitus is a Fintech focused on small business lending using proprietary risk models and transactional data to provide financing to a chronically underserved market
- Founded: 2006
- Size: 520 including consultants
- Have provided over $4 billion of financing for small businesses since inception
Weekday wake-up time and the first thing I like to do: I wake up somewhere around 6:30 a.m., which allows me to get just enough sleep, as I [tend to] log on late at night and shut down between 12:00 a.m. and 12:30 a.m.
The first thing I do is check email, which frustrates my wife.
I then work out and, given I work from home most days, I can really stretch my workouts and get a lot done. I train for triathlons so I need volume! Long bikes, a few miles swimming, long runs, HIIT, etc.
I do most of my thinking when I’m working out.
Morning beverage choice: Water — primarily Hint (coconut or orange). I’m not a caffeine person.
Workday start time: After working out, showering, and eating (Fage yogurt and berries), I’m ready by about 9 a.m.
When needed, I shorten the workout and I’m ready to roll by 8:00/8:30 a.m.
How I usually spend the first hour of my day: I’m a to-do list person, so the first thing I do is map out the day on my Remarkable tablet. What I didn’t get finished yesterday and what I need to do that day.
Post-COVID-19 has increased the number of meetings, so I visualize the meetings and mentally prepare for them.
Time I send out my first email: Not to be cheeky, but I send out my “first” emails between 12:00 and 12:30 a.m. and I try using delay send on Outlook.
I use the time late at night to go through email, with care and intentionality, and use that time to reply and ensure I’ve honored any commitments on getting back to people.
Best advice for writing an effective email: Think first if you even need to write the email. Can you do this via Slack or on a (gasp) telephone conversation?
If you absolutely need to write the email, use the active voice, don’t dilly-dally, and if you’re angry/upset write the email, park it in drafts, and come back and read it when you’re not angry/upset.
First dashboard I review: This is a tough one, as we are a heavy data company and some dashboards refresh later in the day via Tableau. In general, I look at our funding volume, cash collections, potential write-offs, and detailed information on our various funding vehicles as it relates to our liquidity and portfolio performance.
How I structure my morning meetings: Not just morning meetings, but all meetings, I try to live by “no agenda, no attenda.”
Many of “my” meetings are touch points with my senior team. Not just to understand how the work is moving, but at a human level to understand how they and their teams are doing; any issues, risks, opportunities, and am I giving them what they need to be successful.
Mid-morning snack of choice: I eat constantly; my snack of choice is usually some fruit, trail mix, and more yogurt. And cheese (I’m from Wisconsin...).
Inspiration and Leadership
Favorite quote or mantra: When people join my organization, at any level, I tell them, “Don’t let my vision of you be greater than your vision of you.”
You see so much opportunity in people, but they must see it themselves for that opportunity to turn into reality.
Favorite leadership lesson: When things don’t go right, take the blame. And when things go right, give the credit. When things don’t go right, make sure that people know it’s ok.
I’m a huge fan of Agile, and one tenet is to fail fast. Accept the small failures to learn and avoid the whoppers.
Something important to know about me that you wouldn’t know from my business bio: I teach a spin class!
It’s a combination of endurance cyclist, choreographer, and DJ. I love it!
What was the last job you did at your company that fell outside your traditional scope of work?: I’m a CFO who also manages human resources, corporate strategy, and enterprise risk, so it’s hard to define “traditional scope of work” (LOL).
For a 6-month period, technology reported to me on an interim basis and that was one of the most difficult, rewarding, and eye-opening experiences of my life. I love tech people by the way (love love!).
Can you share one way you have learned to manage work-induced stress: Exercise helps, but I also have an app on my phone (WeCroak) that sends quotes five times per day that make you contemplate death.
The app is based on the belief in Bhutan that thinking about death brings true happiness; effectively if you realize death is near, you will do your best to live a happy, fulfilled life. I’m a huge fan.
Favorite number: One billion, as it’s the total production we’ll achieve this year. That’s nearly 3x when I joined in 2018.
It’s even better if you hold your pinky to your mouth and say the number in a Doctor Evil voice.
Most noteworthy items in my workspace: Pictures of my wife and three kids and about 30 Pez dispensers. My mother-in-law gives them to me every Christmas.
Do you have a pet sitting in your office right now: I’m in our actual office while I type this, so the answer is no, although I do have a large inflatable penguin named Pinguino and a teddy bear wearing a Green Bay Packers jersey.
Favorite app on my phone that is not related to business: Already described WeCroak, so my other app is the ESPN Fantasy Football app. It’s where I go to see my dreams get crushed.
When do you take time for learning/reading: I read in my bed on my Kindle for about 15 to 20 minutes before I go to sleep on weekdays, and I take a few hours during the weekend to read as much stuff as I can about areas that I don’t know fully.
I’m reading a lot about AI and I’m getting more and more worried.