In “Tips and Tools”, founders reveal their recipe for success to us. Today: The CEO and co-founder of Inyova, Tillmann Lang, who now makes impact investing possible for everyone in Germany as well.
The Fintech Inyova (stands for: Invest in your Values) enables sustainable asset accumulation from a start-up capital of 100 euros. Dr. Tillmann Lang, Erik Gloerfeld, Christoph Birkholz and Dr. Miro Zuzak started the investment platform in Zurich in 2017.
In contrast to standardized green ETFs and most sustainable bank portfolios, At Inyova you can see all the companies in which you invest. Here everyone should decide for themselves whether they would prefer Beyond Meat or Tesla in the portfolio. In tips and tools, 38-year-old CEO Tillmann Lang tells us which surprisingly simple tool he uses to organize himself best and which ritual welds his team together.
Hi Tillmann, how would you describe your own way of working? Structured, detailed, neat, stressed or always on the go?
In our team, I am very structured. Sometimes so much so that I have to remind myself to drop the agenda. In general, it is important to me to keep an eye on the key issues. I actually always have in mind what the decisive two or three topics of the day, the week and the quarter are. If I know that, I can also control the rest of the work well from my hip. In order to keep this overview, I spend a lot of time consciously thinking and planning.
In which area could you change or improve and why?
I have a lot of energy and I work with a lot of passion. That can sweep others away, but sometimes also intimidate them – especially colleagues who don’t know me very well. Sometimes I have to slow down a bit. That is definitely a point for improvement: plan more breaks to take a deep breath – for the team but also for myself.
Do you have a certain routine during the working day? For example, what is the first thing you do in the morning in the office? Last thing?
My working day starts on the way to daycare. My son and I then tell each other what is particularly important for both of us that day. For him, for example, it’s the new marble run and for me it’s an investor meeting. During the day, I deliberately only check my emails twice a day and have also deactivated all notifications; If something is urgent, the team speaks to me directly (I don’t have my own office, but sit right in the middle). The working day always ends with a hectic bike ride home, so that I can have dinner with the family on time.
What does your workplace look like? Is there a pen and pad within easy reach? Is there creative chaos or cool minimalism?
I work more on the laptop than on the mobile phone, also with a lot of my own scripts and tools. For creative thinking and planning, I also love notes and pens. I quickly scribble entire pages with sketches, reflections and key words. My desk therefore vacillates between chaos and minimalism. A lot accumulates there over time, suddenly it annoys me, then it is cleared quickly and thoroughly.
Which digital helper do you get along with best and why? Slack, Asana, Word, Hootsuite …?
As a team, we use a lot of tools, from Trello to Slack to Metabase – depending on what it’s about. In order to organize myself, however, I work almost exclusively with simple text files. I’m the fastest there and can constantly adapt my own structure as required. I have often automated recurring things in simple scripts.
On which working days does your team work particularly well? How does it come about or what is different on such days?
On Friday afternoon – but not only because the weekend is approaching. On Fridays we have our “compass meeting”. All team members come together and everyone contributes something: What were the high and low lights of the week? Who on the team was your hero? In combination with the first drinks after work, this is our important ritual at the end of the week.
What are your hobbies and how do they help you reduce stress?
Mountain biking in summer and ski touring in winter: I’m very close to nature and get really far up and up. Otherwise, my free time has changed a lot in recent years. Much more sandpit and toy trains and therefore fewer celebrations and events. What helps me against the stress in everyday business life is meditation. By default, one hour a day is blocked for this – and I do that on three out of five days!
When do you work best and most productively yourself and why?
Early in the morning and late in the evening are my best times. I quickly get into the “tunnel” and forget everything around me. What also helps: good music in the headphones. Everything goes from deep house or minimal to hardcore punk.
And how do you motivate yourself, especially in tough times?
Whenever I’m on the ground, it helps me to remember that my long-term happiness in life is completely independent of the success of my company. Whether it’s an IPO or bankruptcy: In both cases, I can be very happy and depressed. Which of the two it becomes depends on completely different things. I quickly forget that in everyday life. Bringing this back to mind gives me a lot of breathing space in hard times.
What are you not as good at as you would like to be?
I’m not good at celebrating successes and being happy about what has been achieved. I am then mentally already with all the things that have to be done for the next goal. And: I still struggle too often with things that I cannot change. It would be better: accept unpleasant truths, continue, concentrate on the things that I can influence.
What is the best advice you can give to other founders?
Often ask yourself what drives you. Because that can change. And it’s not always what you thought in the past. And if you don’t know why and what you wake up for in the morning, energy and orientation are quickly lost.