I’m Emmanuelle Shalit, CEO of Dashlane and This Is How I Work
It seems like new hacks, leaks or security vulnerabilities are discovered every day, and only one piece of advice really stays the same on how to protect yourself: use a password manager. The strongest password is the one you don’t know yourself.
Dashlane has been involved in password protection and management since 2012 under the leadership of Emmanuel Chalit. Then he promised his employees that he would get a tattoo – his first – when they reached a million users. Of course, a year later, he sat down in a chair in a tattoo parlor to get his memorable tattoo , a simple 1m. He has also worked for CBS, Vivendi Universal Games (now called Activision Blizzard) and has a background in computer science. We contacted Shalit to find out a little about how he works.
Location: New York, Flatiron County. Current place of work: CEO of Dashlane. One word that best describes the way you work: Fast Current mobile device: iPhone 7 Plus. Current PC: Microsoft Surface Book, the best laptop ever made.
First of all, tell me a little about your past and how you became who you are today.
I started my career with a PhD in Computer Science, specializing in navigation algorithms for Mars exploration rovers. I worked as a software engineer for several years and then started managing ever larger teams until one day, at the age of 37, I discovered that I was running a 10,000-person division in a large media conglomerate. There I realized that I prefer small companies, where I could be closer to other team members, customers and the product. This all happened because I was lucky enough to meet the right people at the right time in my life, so yeah, mostly by accident.
What apps, software or tools can’t you live without?
Apart from the obvious ones that everyone uses today (Twitter, Dashlane, LinkedIn, Uber, Slack …):
- Lifestyle : the path to self-discipline.
- Lenka : Great app for black and white photography.
- TrainingPeaks : To track your workout progress and prevent overtraining.
- Robin : The best conference room management software for your office.
How is your workplace arranged? Coffee shop with laptop and headphones? Home office with a standing desk?
Permanent table from ErgoDesktop that can be manually moved up and down, set up for two monitors. A cheaper alternative to all electric stand-up tables. And the Philips goLITE blue light , which I turn on in the morning to compensate for the lack of daylight, which is very important if you want to sleep well at night.
What’s your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?
Automation is still very disappointing today. The best way to save time remains the simplest: decide what you are not going to do.
What’s your favorite to-do list manager?
Believe it or not, I created my own task management framework (for me and my advisor) in Jira using a Kanban board with a flow that follows the Asana flow to some extent. I love the concepts New, Later, Upcoming and Today that come from Asana when I think of a simple prioritization structure. And using Jira makes it compatible with many things in Dashlane that are done with Atlassian tools (like Confluence ).
What device, besides a phone and a computer, can you not live without and why?
Cameras. I am a photography enthusiast , I always carry one or more cameras with me. With something like the new Sony RX100 V, you have a camera that’s small enough to fit in a small pocket, yet has the speed and image quality of a good DSLR not so long ago.
What are some of your best everyday activities? What’s your secret?
Try new things, live a fuller life.
What do you listen to while you work?
KCRW Eclectic 24 … or Glen Gould playing Bach (Goldberg Variations, English Suites, Toccatas, French Suites …). Any music can be sublime.
What are you reading now? Or what would you recommend?
Breach of duty by General H.R. Mac McMaster. McMaster has just been bipartisanly appointed as National Security Advisor by the current president of the United States, and is sometimes referred to as “one of the adults in the audience.” This history book is his doctoral dissertation, which explores the severing of the chain of command between the White House and military commanders during the Vietnam War, so you can understand why it would be curious to know what the new national security adviser thinks about how this chain of command should work given the difficult times we are going through right now.
How do you replenish? What do you do when you want to forget about work?
Two things: exercise, exercise and more exercise. I jogged a lot (easily near Central Park) but my knees couldn’t hold up anymore, so I switched to a bike. Now I can even bike in the winter using an indoor simulator with programs like Zwift and TrainerRoad, so you can see me on my bike at 5am in the morning charging in a day.
Family. My wife and I are lucky to have two small children (our son is 7 years old and our daughter is 2 months old). They are both a constant source of wonder and energy, and will keep us from getting old or bored.
What is your sleep pattern? Are you a night owl or get up early?
I learned from a great sleep researcher named Dan Purdy that sleep deficits accumulate day after day and are linked to things like the likelihood of cancer or neurodegenerative disease. And since I wake up at 5 am to exercise most days, I really have no choice, I go to bed early and try to fall asleep around 10 pm. And by the way, having kids is great for sleeping discipline because they won’t let you stay in bed in the morning no matter what!
To wake up, I use the silent alarm on my Fitbit so I don’t wake up my wife, son, or daughter. But in an ideal world with good sleep discipline, an alarm clock is not needed.
Fill in the blank: I would like _______ to answer these same questions.
Barack Obama. Probably, now there is free time.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Take any advice with a grain of salt. Every situation is different. Thus, any advice you receive is only partially applicable. And it is your ability to recognize patterns as well as differences that allows you to listen to advice with an open but critical ear.
What else would you like to add that might be of interest to readers and fans?
Hack your life because you only have one and you better make the most of it.