Strategic Partnerships In Action: David Karandish, Founder & CEO, with Jeremy Burrows, Executive Assistant, at Capacity

In this series, Strategic Partnerships in Action, we highlight some of the Executive and Force Multiplier duos who are doing it right.This week, we chatted with the powerful strategic partnership behind Capacity.

David Karandish and Jeremy Burrows began their strategic partnership in 2017 at the inception of Capacity – a SaaS company with a new kind of helpdesk, powered by artificial intelligence, that automates support for customers and employees. You can learn more about where work flows at Capacity.com.

Prior to starting Capacity, David was the CEO of Answers Corp, which he and his business partner sold to a private equity firm in 2014 for north of $900m.

Jeremy has been an executive assistant for 13+ years. In his spare time, he hosts the #1 podcast for assistants, The Leader Assistant Podcast. Jeremy’s new book for executive assistants releases today and you can grab a copy of the Kindle version for $0.99 (this week only) here: The Leader Assistant: Four Pillars of a Confident, Game-Changing Assistant.

Could you tell us about your position within the company and the primary responsibilities in each of your roles?

David:

As CEO, there are three things I have to get right. The value prop of the product, the ability to scale customer acquisition, and not running out of money. Almost everything I do falls into one of these categories. There are seasons when one area is top of mind, and Jeremy and I work together to keep my time and energy focused appropriately.

Jeremy:

As EA to the CEO, my job is to help David stay healthy, stay married, and stay in business. I’m constantly shifting my priorities to align with his. We sync up weekly (at minimum) to make sure we’re on the same page.

What is one of your proudest moments or achievements while working together?

David:

Last year we set out to raise $10 million for our Series B round at Capacity, but I wanted to avoid institutional investors. So instead of knocking out the round with a few venture capitalists, I met with about 200 individual investors over a period of a couple months. We ended up raising $13.4 million from over 70 individuals.

Jeremy:

That season was insane. Many late nights sending follow up emails and scheduling sometimes 20 meetings in one day for David. But at the same time, we were having fun and were laser-focused on the goal. Hitting, and surpassing that goal was an amazing feeling.

Is there something you two just can’t seem to get on the same page about?

David:

I hate eggs.

Jeremy:

I love eggs. 🙂

What’s one piece of advice you would give to leaders/CEOs?

David:

Work harder than your team, but lead by example in your rest as well. Take 24 hours of sabbath every weekend. No email. No Slack. 24 hours straight. Take real vacations, too. If the company falls apart while you’re gone for a week or two, you’re not doing a good job empowering your team.

Jeremy:

Listen to your EA, and leave them alone on weekends. They have a life, and you want them to reset and enjoy that life, so they can have more energy and focus when working with you.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to Force Multipliers/EAs?

David:

Help your executive get out of the weeds, but don’t get stuck in the weeds yourself. Set aside time to brainstorm with your executive. Not only does this help you anticipate their needs and share your valuable ideas, it allows them the opportunity to bounce ideas off of someone who knows their world.

Jeremy:

Be aware of your executive’s mindset at any given moment. Could you reschedule something to give them a break? Are they experiencing decision fatigue when you’re about to ask them to make a bunch of non-urgent, minor decisions? Practice empathy and patience.

What books have had the biggest impact on your professional life?

David:

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. Ben does a phenomenal job of articulating the nuances of being a startup CEO. I especially like the Peacetime/Wartime CEO paradigm. Also, High Output Management by Andy Grove is a classic read I like to return to every few years.

Jeremy:

Essentialism by Greg McKwoen. I’ve always looked for ways to be more efficient, but this book challenged me that it’s not enough to make something more efficient. Sometimes, some things are simply not worth doing at all. I say no to a lot more things now.

How has automation and AI impacted your partnership?

David:

At Capacity, our mission is to help you do your best work. You weren’t meant to spend your days on repetitive mundane tasks like answering the same questions over and over again. We are constantly looking for ways to automate tasks and processes with Capacity’s platform, and other tools out there, so we can focus more of our time on strategy and nuanced problems.

Jeremy:

There are several tools I use for automation. Capacity, of course, but also Zapier, Calendly, and others. In addition to freeing me up to tackle more challenging projects for David, embracing automation has allowed me to scale the work I do. AI gives me greater capacity, pun intended, to do more work, without burning the midnight oil.

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