Monday, May 23, 2016

5 tech CEOs share the habits that helped them change the world

When you meet someone who is running a company — especially a profitable company — you’re bound to find a person routed in consistency and drive. The routines that make a successful CEO vary by person, but their uncanny ability to “do it all” is fueled by certain habits that shape strong leaders into innovative companies.
If you’re looking to channel the productivity and efficiency CEOs emit in the same 24 hours that you use, we’ve got you covered. We caught up with five of New York tech’s most successful CEOs to find out the daily habits that have made them successful. Here’s what we found.

John Foley, co-founder and CEO at Peloton Interactive

John Foley started his career as an engineer in 1990 for Mars Inc. In 1997, John helped build, went on to become CEO of, the co-founder and CEO of, and then the President of In 2012, Foley founded Peloton to bring spin classes to your home. The company has raised $119.4 million in funding and is giving SoulCycle a serious run for its money.
Built In: What's the first thing you do when you wake up?
John Foley: I go right to the sink (no matter where I am) and I drink 30 big sips of water from my hand (under the faucet) sometimes before I even fully open my eyes. There is no better way to start the day than to make sure you're super hydrated. This is tried and true.
BI: What's the last thing you do before you go to sleep?
JF: That's easy; kiss the kids on the forehead.   
BI: What do you have for breakfast?
JF: I don't eat breakfast. 5 cups of coffee easily gets me through until a 1:00 lunch.
BI: During work hours, what part of your routine do you never sacrifice?
JF: To be honest, nothing is sacrificed during my work days. One of the fun things about being an entrepreneur is that every day is different.  I enjoy that and embrace it.  
BI: Slack or Gchat? 
JF: For better or worse, I'm on the older side of entrepreneurs and tech company CEOs. As such, I'm somewhat old school in my communication platforms: email, text and in-person conversations. Our CTO has made sure that Slack is a big part of the Tech and Product Teams though.

David Klein, co-founder and CEO at CommonBond
David Klein is the CEO and co-founder of CommonBond, a marketplace lending platform that lowers the cost of student loans. Klein met his cofounders in 2011 as MBA students at Wharton, where they set out to tackle one of the most frustrating areas of consumer finance: the student lending industry. David worked in consumer finance at American Express, where he led a team that managed a $250 million annual portfolio. Prior to American Express, he worked at McKinsey & Company. CommonBond now has $625 million in funding to date and is a leading resource in the student lending industry.
Built In: What's the first thing you do when you wake up?
David Klein: When I'm good, I spend some time each morning writing out what I aim to accomplish that day. When I'm bad, I find myself on my phone checking email and the like.
BI: What's the last thing you do before you go to sleep?
DK: When I'm good, I read. When I'm bad, I'm on my phone.
BI: What do you have for breakfast?
DK: When I'm good, I have kale juice. When I'm bad, I don't eat breakfast.
BI: During work hours, what part of your routine do you never sacrifice?
DK: There's no "never" in my day. My day-to-day is always different, but the one thing that's constant is making time to address the priorities I need to address, and making sure our team is equipped to succeed.
BI: Slack or Gchat? 
DK: Email and real-life chat

Robert Reffkin, founder and CEO at Compass
In 1999, Reffkin earned his B.A. in economics, philosophy and history from Columbia in just over two years. He then earned his MBA from Columbia Business School while simultaneously working at McKinsey and then at Lazard. After a few stints at The White House and Goldman Sachs, Reffkin launched Urban Compass in 2012 with a mission to create a tech-driven real estate firm. The company, now rebranded as Compass, now has an $800 million valuation.
Built In: What's the first thing you do when you wake up?
Robert Reffkin: Wake my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter up and get her out of bed. With a two-month-old as well, mornings can be a little hectic, so we’ve created a routine. First thing in the morning, I get up with my older daughter and then on my way into the office drop her off at school. It’s great to have some time alone with her everyday! We usually "play cards" on the way to school. I deal the cards and she asks for a red two with hearts. Until she gets that she isn't quite happy. Once she gets that she says, "A red 2, my favorite," and then the game is over.
BI: What's the last thing you do before you go to sleep?
RR: Regardless of whether I am sitting next to her or thousands of miles away, I always like to end my day telling my wife that I love her. ​Since Compass has expanded nationally my continuing to do this while in different time zones is increasingly difficult but also increasingly important. ​My wife and family really keep me grounded​ and are a constant​ reminder​ of what’s important.
BI: What do you have for breakfast?
RR: My two year old wakes up early, and sometimes I am up late finishing my day, so coffee has become one of my most basic food groups. Beyond that, breakfast is sometimes an afterthought. I’d go for eggs and a breakfast smoothie every morning if I could, but that typically only happens when I have breakfast meetings. Otherwise, breakfast is probably cereal or yogurt.
BI: During work hours, what part of your routine do you never sacrifice?
RR: I am going to have to say coffee again! I am ​fortunate that we have about six different kinds of coffee/espresso​ machines​ at the office so it's easy for me to find my second (or third!) cup​ throughout the day.
BI: Slack or Gchat?
RR: Gchat or gmail — our whole company runs on the google platform. I rarely sit at my desk during the day so the fact that gchat and gmail work seamlessly between desktop and mobile is key and allows me to easily communicate with everyone — internally and externally. Although, some members of our creative and engineering teams prefer Slack so I technically use both.

Payal Kadakia, Founder and CEO at ClassPass
Payal Kadakia began her career working as a consultant at Bain & Company. She then went on to work at Warner Music Group and later created Sa Dance Company. One day, she spent over an hour searching for an open ballet class online and decided to create a search engine for fitness classes. This realization eventually transformed into Classivity, which was then rebranded as ClassPass. Now, the company is wildly popular, and has New Yorkers traversing the city to work out using its monthly subscription service.
Built In: What's the first thing you do when you wake up?
Payal Kadakia: Check email and review my calendar.  I also love to run in the mornings.  
BI: What's the last thing you do before you go to sleep?
PK: Talk to my fiancé.
BI: What do you have for breakfast?
PK: That varies, but I always start my day with green tea.  
BI: During work hours, what part of your routine do you never sacrifice?
PK: Going to class! I make it a point to schedule time to be active.  
BI: Slack or Gchat? 
PK: Both!

Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code
Reshma Saujani has fostered a national movement of teaching girls how to code since founding Girls Who Code in 2012. The power of Girls Who Code, whose ultimate mission is to close the gender gap in technology, is in its numbers. Currently, GWC has 10,000 alumni, with 90 percent of alumnae having declared or are planning to declare a major or minor in computer science. Among GWC graduates, 92 percent of them have taught another girl how to code. With a solid educational foundation and a growing number of tech giants at its disposal, Girls Who Code is poised to create the next wave of women software professionals.
Built In: What's the first thing you do when you wake up?
Reshma Saujani: I kiss my one-year-old, Shaan, good morning and head to the gym. I'm religious about working out in the mornings; it powers me through the day.
BI: What's the last thing you do before you go to sleep?
RS: I read to relax in the evenings. Just finished my friend Adam Grant's brilliant new book, The Originals.
BI: What do you have for breakfast?
RS: I try to eat protein in the morning to sustain me through the day, so I'm a big fan of eggs.
BI: During work hours, what part of your routine do you never sacrifice?
RS: I always make time to grab a healthy lunch. When the day gets busy, I need that fuel to keep me going.
BI: Slack or GChat? 
RS: Neither. I love the phone and prefer hopping on the phone with my team to discuss issues. It's a fast, efficient way to resolve challenges and answer questions

To continue reading for the full article click here.

Article Photo Courtesy of Built in NYC & W. Brett Wilson  and written by Taylor Majewski

Interested in living the Santa Barbara and Montecito Lifestyle? For more information on the Montecito Luxury Real Estate Market click here to contact Susan Pate or visit

Monday, May 16, 2016

Compass Real Estate Group Taps Local Talent to Run New Central Coast Locations

From Santa Barbara's shores to the mountains of Montecito, Compass is breaking new ground in California, providing comprehensive brokerage services, combining exceptional agents with best-in-class technology to make the process of buying, selling, or renting a home intelligent and seamless. But how have they broken into the California market in such a short amount of time?....

Compass, a luxury real estate platform with best-in-class technology, announced Jan. 7, 2016, that two top managers have joined the company to oversee sales operations in three additional California markets.

John Nisbet, a 30-year veteran of the real estate industry, will manage locations in Montecito and Santa Barbara.

Leah Sternberg, who brings more than 25 years of experience to Compass, will lead the Pasadena office. Both Nisbet and Sternberg were previously top-performing managers at Coldwell Banker.

“We are thrilled to welcome John and Leah to the Compass team. They are ideal leaders for our new offices with their passion for the profession, in-depth expertise of the local markets and exceptional track records. I look forward to building a successful brokerage with them,” said Robert Reffkin, Compass founder and CEO.

Compass launched its first California office in Beverly Hills just two months ago under the leadership of regional vice president Stan Richman.

In the first two months, Compass has already hired more than 60 industry-leading local agents. Recently, the company also opened its Malibu office under Jay Rubenstein and is already growing quickly.

“The company culture that Compass offers is one of the many reasons I am excited to join the team. Everyone is laser focused on building the best possible brand through collaboration, superior agent support and time-saving technology,” said Nisbet.

Added Sternberg, “This is the only real estate brokerage I know of where agents get customized marketing support from Google and Pixar veterans and their tech tools built by in-house engineers. Compass is elevating the way the entire real estate industry operates not only here in California, but across all of the markets we are in.”

Nisbet joined Coldwell Banker in 2013 where he managed the Montecito and Santa Barbara locations. He was the recipient of the President’s Award in 2014, Coldwell Banker’s highest distinction for managerial excellence.

Over the past three decades, Nisbet has worked in many facets of real estate including syndication, property management, commercial leasing and residential brokerage.

Before joining Compass, Sternberg served as the district manager of San Gabriel Valley and vice president, Northwest region in Greater Los Angeles.

Additionally, she received the President’s Award as branch manager for Coldwell Banker’s Calabasas office. Prior to that, she was ranked among the top 5 percent of Coldwell Banker agents in the country.

Launched in New York in 2013, Compass has quickly become a leader in the national market. Recent achievements for the firm include the following:

» A growing volume of exclusive listings, which now tops $1.4 billion nationwide

» A new development pipeline reaching over $2.5 billion

» An increase in its agent population by more than 100 percent in the past year

Driven by its significant accomplishments, Compass began its national expansion last year, opening offices in Washington, D.C., Miami, Boston, the Hamptons and Los Angeles.

— Danielle Fuerth represents Compass.

Interested in living the Santa Barbara and Montecito Lifestyle? For more information on the Montecito Luxury Real Estate Market click here to contact Susan Pate or visit

Monday, May 2, 2016

Cinco de Mayo ~ Don't Miss out on all the Festivities in Santa Barbara

People travel far and wide to celebrate this fun filled festivity of Cinco de Mayo in the highly sought after travel destination of Santa Barbara and Montecito. Here's a few reasons why....

What is Cinco de Mayo?

Every May, Santa Barbara celebrates its Spanish heritage with the extraordinary Cinco de Mayo Festival at De La Guerra Plaza. This year’s festivities are fast approaching, and they will draw thousands of locals and visitors. With live music and delicious cuisine from an array of food vendors, this festival is the best place to be on the Fifth of May.

Where & When is Cinco de Mayo?

Located in downtown Santa Barbara, De La Guerra Plaza is a haven for Latino culture in Southern California. It also hosts the Old Days Spanish Fiesta every August—one of the region’s most popular annual events. On May 5th, the city will commemorate the Mexican defeat of the French in 1862 and celebrate the country’s heritage.

What's happening in Santa Barbara for Cinco de Mayo?

With such a strong Mexican culture throughout the city and state, a Cinco De Mayo celebration in Santa Barbara is as authentic as anyone will find in the United States. In the past, festival-goers have enjoyed everything from confetti-filled eggs to live Mexican music to delicious taquitos, tamales, and grilled corn on the cob.

The city of Santa Barbara even throws in a few extra fun for everyone attractions, like the rock climbing wall which has made appearances at festivals past. To take part in the fun this year, just head over to De La Guerra Plaza on Thursday, May 5th.

With musicians jamming in the plaza, and chicken and beef simmering on the grill, this year’s Santa Barbara Cinco De Mayo Festival promises to impress.

What's the history of Cinco de Mayo?

(pronounced: [ˈsiŋko ðe ˈmaʝo]; Spanish for "May 5th", or literally, "Five of May") is a celebration held on May 5. The date is observed to commemorate the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín.

Don't miss out on all Santa Barbara has to offer in this fun filled festival. For more information on the Montecito and Santa Barbara lifestyle and Real Estate,
 click here to contact Susan Pate or visit

Article courtesy of Hotel Milo Santa Barbara and photo by Collette Ramirez Design