I’m Steve VanTassel, The Cofounder & CEO Of Packet Power And This Is How I Work


Thanks to Fueled Collective for underwriting our How I Work series!

Steve VanTassel is the cofounder and CEO of Packet Power, a Minneapolis maker of wireless power and environmental monitoring applications.

What one word best describes how you work?


What is your current device/hardware/office setup?

Older Windows laptop with dual monitors, Pixel XL, and a $4 solar-powered calculator for the high-finance decisions.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Google Apps. We are a manufacturer, and I’m more involved in production planning than I should be, so I use our ERP system regularly. Skype and other web meeting tools are vital to us.



What your sleep schedule like in terms of hours/wake-up and the morning routine?

I find I don’t sleep well if I work late at night, so I try to avoid that. I’m usually up by 5:30, get some exercise, and get to the office by 7:30.

Is there a method to how you schedule your days?

We get half our revenues from overseas so first up are any items that came in from Asia and Europe overnight, followed by a check in with the production team. I try to set Fridays aside for planning and longer-term projects, but it often doesn’t stick.

How much time do you spend in vs. out of the office?

If I’m in town, I’m in the office. I typically travel a couple of times a month to meet with customers and partners.

Where is the office?

In a light industrial area north of downtown Minneapolis. Definitely not trendy, but it suits our needs well. It also seems to be where delivery trucks go to spend their weekends.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut/life hack?

Hire really capable people.

What is that one thing you have to do, no matter what, every day?


What is your preferred form of communication and why?

Email for the 80% that is essentially routine, voice for the 20% where clear communication really matters.

On average, how many hours a day do you spend in meetings?

Only about 4 hours a week in regularly scheduled internal meetings. Add in external meetings and it’s somewhat more than half of my time.

When, where and what do you typically eat for lunch?

It’s usually quick, either at my desk or at one of the few places near our office.

How many hours a week do you work on average and do you work in the evenings and/or weekends?

Around 60. I try to avoid working after dinner. I usually work a couple of hours first thing in the morning on Saturday and Sunday.

What is the best advice you ever received, accepted, and applied?

Use all of your vacation time. It makes you a more productive employee, a better manager, and a happier and more interesting person.

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see Ed Cannon of Zivix from Minnesota’s tech industry answer these same questions.