“Ev­ery fam­ily din­ner is like I’m test­ing out my own prod­ucts.”

YI QIN VP OF PROD­UCT MAN­AGE­MENT, IN­STANT BRANDS

Fast Company - - Secrets Of The Most Productive People - —As told to Mark Wil­son

Our ob­jec­tive is that you’ll press the but­ton on an In­stant Pot, and din­ner is cooked. But for us, it’s a lot of work.

How do we make sure that the press of the but­ton cre­ates the re­sults that the con­sumer wants?

In the morn­ing, I re­serve time for col­lab­o­ra­tive meet­ings, whether it’s with the ex­ec­u­tives or the prod­uct man­age­ment team. The morn­ing hours are not al­ways enough. Some­times I have to skip lunch. My af­ter­noon is more fo­cused on in­di­vid­ual projects. I have about a dozen in de­vel­op­ment, even though you just see a small por­tion that we launch in the mar­ket. Then I work with the prod­uct and test it. Most of the tests don’t re­quire food, be­cause you just need to mea­sure tem­per­a­tures and tem­per­a­ture curves.

Then I go home to spend time with the fam­ily, do­ing a lit­tle bit of cook­ing my­self. Ev­ery fam­ily din­ner is like I’m test­ing out my own prod­ucts. Later, since we also have a team in China, we have night calls from 10 p.m. to af­ter mid­night quite a few times dur­ing the week.

My ed­u­ca­tional back­ground is in com­puter science. One thing we learned is when you multitask, you spend a lot of time do­ing the over­head of “con­text switch­ing”—you need to get your­self into the groove of think­ing a cer­tain way. That’s men­tal over­head. I re­al­ized that I could lump sim­i­lar things, sim­i­lar think­ings, into a sim­i­lar pe­riod of time, in the morn­ing and af­ter­noon. And through the years, it be­came a habit.

Time he gets up 7 a.m.

Lunch rou­tine "Some­times I have lunch, some­times I don't. I al­ways have snacks in my drawer, so i’m pre­pared.”

Last thing he does at night

“i find an op­por­tu­nity for some ex­er­cise. I play hockey and ‚ bad­minton three times a week. Be­fore bed. I do my­self down. Noth­ing too ex­cit­ing. I've had an ex­cit­ing day al­ready.”

Time he goes to bed

“A lot of times it’s af­ter mid­night.”

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