Carlos Watson is a journalist at heart. He got it from his father who, growing up in the Jamaican countryside, found the news to be a source of inspiration. Carlos made a career for himself in television and news and for the past three years has been pursuing his own vision for media with OZY Media.
He is also the host of Point Taken on PBS, is the editor-in-chief of his own site Ozy.com in addition to the head of the company and recently produced a TV series called The Contenders 16 for ’16, which compares 16 past US presidential campaigns. We caught up with Carlos to learn a little about how he works.
Location: The heart of Silicon Valley: Mountain View, CA. (The best city in the world! Hub of innovation and creativity, a place where the impossible is possible.
Current Gig: Co-founder and CEO of OZY Media, Editor in Chief of OZY.com, the daily information source for important stories told nowhere else.
One word that best describes how you work: Hard working. Driven. Can’t stop, won’t stop.
Current mobile device: iPhone 6 — but need an upgrade!
Current computer: MacBook Air
First of all, tell me a little about your background and how you got to where you are today. Why news and media?
I grew up in Miami, the son of two teachers. Both my parents loved learning and shared that with my three sisters and I. My dad, Carlos Sr, especially loved the news. As a boy growing up in the Jamaican countryside, listening to the news gave him hope that his life could be bigger than the one he saw in front of him. He ultimately made it to the US and worked his way through university and became a teacher. He always maintained a love of the news — indeed his attachment to the news was both intellectual and emotional. He passed that on to me as I grew up reading the news, watching Nightline and the Sunday morning shows, listening to NPR and more. So as I got older, I naturally gravitated towards opportunities in journalism at The Miami Herald and the Detroit Free Press and later at CNN, Fox and MSNBC.
What apps, software or tools can’t you live without?
OZY.com of course! But also Uber, HotelTonight, Netflix, Google Search and Xfinity Live.
What’s your workspace setup like?
I have several work spaces. At home, I look out of a window on the second floor with my laptop on a desk in front me and big soft chair beneath me. Coffee is usually to the side. Blank white sheets of paper for me to draft slides on is usually nearby too. My phone as well as I toggle between it and the laptop. At the office, I have a similar set up. And on planes and trains, well…
What’s your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?
Believe it or not, the thing that helps me the most is my sexy old school mobile phone hands free headset. When I do not have the right head set, I am literally 50 per cent less effective.
Another tip — I am a believer in clear agendas and deadlines. I also believe that you just do it without fear — make that call, don’t just send an email and hope. Get on a plane and chase down that terrific opportunity, do not just wait for a firm confirmation and then agree to fly out. Go get it! No holds barred.
What’s your favourite to-do list manager?
Lists in general are critically important to me. Everyone who works with me knows to number things in email if they want a response. Every project needs to have a list, and every item on that list needs to have an owner and deadline.
What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? What’s your secret?
Not getting overwhelmed by multitasking. My secret — I know that I am not perfect and neither is anyone else. So give it your best shot and do not be overwhelmed if there are multiple balls in the air.
What are you currently reading?
The New York Times. Reading The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs.
How do you recharge? What do you do when you want to forget about work?
Playing pick up basketball is my favourite way. But I do not get to do that enough. I love watching great TV shows like Peaky Blinders, Atlanta and Billions. And of course travelling — from Iceland to Zimbabwe!
What’s your sleep routine like? Are you a night owl or early-riser?
I usually go to bed late. Unfortunately these days I am lucky if I get five to six hours. Sleep on my back with plenty of warm covers.
Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _________ answer these same questions.
[JPMorgan Chase CEO] Jamie Dimon or President Barack Obama
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“It’s not supposed to be easy.” — Laurene Powell Jobs
Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers and fans?
I am thankful everyday in a very genuine way for the life I have and the opportunities that I have had. I am very aware that many people around the world go to bed somewhat hungry every night, face real danger and/or do not have someone who loves them. I have been blessed to be born into the family I was born into and into the country that I was born into. My mother, may she rest in peace, was ounce per ounce the best mother that I ever met. I hope I am able to give back to others.
We’ve asked heroes, experts and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces and routines. Want to suggest someone we should feature or questions we should ask? [contact text=”Let us know.”]