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Working Geek: The surprising stress-reliever that helps Fjuri co-founder Paulo Resende unplug

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Paolo Resende chats with his Fjuri co-founder Thom Gruhler. (Fjuri Photo)

In February, Paulo Resende left a 15-year career at Microsoft to start a marketing firm helping Fortune 500 companies improve their branding with fellow Microsoft vet Thom Gruhler. Together they created Fjuri, a digital strategy, and marketing consultancy that leverages big data, predictive analytics, and automation.

“I wear multiple hats at Fjuri — from business strategy and development to helping clients enhance their marketing strategy by tapping into customer experience and engagement data in a more powerful way,” Resende said.

Resende learned how to use data analytics to increase sales and business performance during his time at Microsoft, where he worked from 2002 to 2015. He held positions as a revenue and financial analyst before becoming a director for product marketing. Resende met Gruhler working on Microsoft’s Partner Channel Marketing team. Gruhler was overseeing marketing teams for Windows, Windows Phone, and consumer apps/services at the time.

They used their combined experience to launch Fjuri earlier this year.

“Our approach focuses on being shoulder-to-shoulder with CMOs and marketing teams on the ground to create tangible change, repeatable processes and clear results,” Resende says.

We caught up with Resende for this Working Geek, a regular GeekWire feature. Continue reading for his answers to our questionnaire.

Current Location: Seattle, WA 

Computer types: MacBook Pro

 Mobile devices: iPhone 6s

Favorite apps, cloud services and software tools: OmniFocus, Slack, Outlook, Zoom, LinkedIn, Trello, Dropbox. Audible and Spotify. And, of course, Excel

Describe your workspace. Why does it work for you? “I split my time between client offices, Fjuri’s office at Galvanize Seattle, and my home office, when I need uninterrupted time to work on something that requires unwavering focus. At my home office, I have an industrial looking desk and a Herman Miller chair. On a corner table sits my dad’s typewriter and mechanical pinwheel calculator. There’s something fascinating about the juxtaposition of them and a MacBook Pro, where I do most of my work. This invisible thread that connects where we came from to where we are today is, to me, conducive to focus and determination in making progress.”

Your best advice for managing everyday work and life? “Set your priorities based on what’s important, and nothing else. Then have the courage to say no. That’s fundamentally important to be able to focus on opportunities instead of problems.”

Your preferred social network? How do you use it for business/work? “LinkedIn. I use it primarily to create new connections and keep up with colleagues and the great things they’re doing.” 

Current number of unanswered emails in your inbox? Of the ones that require an answer, two or three.

Number of appointments/meetings on your calendar this week? 21

How do you run meetings? “I find that the most important factors in running a successful meeting are preparation and clarity about its purpose and agenda. It’s also critical to capture actions, owners and timing for next steps. Sometimes meetings can get off track, so bringing it back to the overarching goal or challenge at hand is important. Another key success factor is separating facts from opinions. I strongly encourage the use of data to substantiate arguments. Before ending a meeting, I always ask ‘is there anything we should have talked about that we didn’t?.’ Especially in larger settings, it’s remarkable how often important ideas or concerns weren’t discussed. Too often we can fall into a trap of believing time-sensitive items are also the most important.”


Paulo Resende.

Everyday work uniform? Jeans, a button-down shirt and some classic shoes. 

How do you make time for family? “I listen to Harry Chapin’s ‘Cat’s in the Cradle’ often. The story of a man’s busy life of work that creates a loss of connection, interaction and love with his kids scares me to death. So, being clear with yourself about your life priorities and rigorously planning around that helps tremendously.” 

Best stress reliever? How do you unplug? “Music. Cooking. For some reason, chopping vegetables is an awesome stress reliever.”

What are you listening to? Pink Floyd, Beatles, The Clash, Pearl Jam and Johnny Cash.

 Daily reads? Favorite sites and newsletters? “I’ve been listening to Reid Hoffman’s ‘Masters of Scale’ podcast and I’m loving it. I often read the Harvard Business Review, CMO.com and Fred Wilson’s AVC blog.” 

Book on your nightstand (or e-reader)? The Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, and Multipliers by Liz Wiseman.

Night owl or early riser? What are your sleep patterns? “Night owl by DNA, early riser by duty. I try to go to bed at the same time every night, and when there’s something important and time-sensitive to do that didn’t fit work hours, I’ll wake up before the sun rises and get stuff done.”

Where do you get your best ideas? “Often, I find the best ideas come when I break focus from the challenge at hand, and then return to it with a fresh perspective. I find walking, reading and talking to colleagues about things that are seemingly unrelated helps immensely. I tend to naturally solve problems analytically and methodically, and I learned that to be creative you need to get off the path you’ve been working on, create space to process those loose and remote associations between the elements of a problem, and connect ideas in a new way.”

 Whose work style would you want to learn more about or emulate? “Winston Churchill and Warren Buffett. Both are examples of leaders with incredible vision, grit and a laser focus on achieving goals, who put their team, company and/or country ahead of themselves.

Churchill’s ability to inspire and encourage stand out, along with his determination and strategic foresight. I’m also fascinated with Warren Buffet’s focus, giving the team a lot of autonomy and ability to keep calm in the face of uncertainty.

They are humble leaders, who learn from their mistakes and openly share their lessons. As Winston Churchill once said, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.’”

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