What’s On My Desk: Tech Mogul David Steinberg

David Steinberg, CEO of X
David Steinberg, CEO of co-founder of Zeta Interactive

David A. Steinberg is the CEO and co-founder (with John Sculley, former CEO of Apple and Pepsi), of Zeta Interactive, the data-driven marketing technology platform that works with more than 500 Fortune 1000 and middle-market brands to build customer relationships through advanced data analytics. Under Steinberg’s management, the company has grown to over 1,300 employees operating in 25 offices on four continents. Forbes reported that the company now has $1 billion in valuation.

Here Haute Living visits with Steinberg to find out about his work day and environment.

Why did you choose Madison Avenue as your NYC headquarters?

It’s less about Madison Avenue as our headquarters and more about New York City.  While we’re on Madison Avenue, we’re closer to Macy’s than Barneys. One thing I’ve learned is to invest in technology and people, not lavish office space.  We have 25 offices globally, and “centers of excellence” in Boston, London, Silicon Valley and Hyderabad, India.  New York City remains our HQ for many reasons. The talent base across all elements of our business – sales, client service, engineering and data science – is stellar.  Midtown Manhattan also has an unbelievable energy that inspires big thinking and reminds us that our world moves at lightning speed. That understanding is core to the growth of our employees and our business.

What are the tech items you rely on in your daily life and for your office?

I’m always with an iPhone, iPad and ThinkPad that suits an active and remote work environment.  I run the business through many cloud-based technologies that help me sync up with various parts of the business in real-time.  I’ve been CEO of technology and telecom companies since I was in college and have always been an early adopter. I’m traveling frequently between our offices, various conferences and to visit our clients. That means I need to have everything at my disposal 24/7, especially since I am often talking to people in many different time zones at once. When I’m working in our New York office it’s really no different.

Steinberg’s desk in his New York office

How long is your typical day?

The short answer is I’m ‘always on’.  As an entrepreneur and CEO you never really stop working, or at least thinking about work. Over the years I’ve gotten better at delegating and prioritizing – I try to remove anything that is not a productive use of my time. I wake early, around 5:30, to work out and get a head start on preparing for scheduled events, as well as responding to emails and reading the news, so that I can really focus on being in the moment when I’m in meetings with clients, employees or partners. That level of preparation and discipline is also critical to enjoying my personal time.

Describe the items on your desk today. Why are they there?

At the risk of this sounding like cliché, my desk only contains what I can focus on and complete today. Right now I have briefings for upcoming meetings and some planning documents that my team has prepared for my approval. I’m a staunch believer in removing clutter that distracts me from the tasks at hand. That said, my office is filled with items that are very meaningful and inspiring to me. Be it photos of my children or closest friends and associates, or mementos from trips and experiences that serve as reminders of how fortunate I’ve been.

What type of desk do you work from? Why did you choose this particular type of desk?

My office in New York City has a standard issue desk from Ikea that’s reflective of our philosophy to spend on things that move the needle for the business. In an office I keep in the Georgetown section of Washington DC, where I started my career and my children still live, I have a 300 year-old desk that was purchased from an estate sale.  While NYC helps me focus on the now and the future, the DC office connects me to the past in a way that inspires me to do big things.