‘Peloton and pizza balance out in my mind’: A day in the life of Lindsay Davis, head of markets at Atomic
- Lindsay Davis is part of the senior leadership team at Atomic, a payroll connectivity firm.
- Between hiring, meetings, intermittent fasting, pizza, and Freddie Mercury-themed Peloton rides, there’s never a dull moment in her day.
Lindsay Davis is the head of markets at Atomic, a payroll connectivity firm that allows consumers to unlock the power of their paycheck through user-permissioned access to payroll accounts. Atomic's APIs provide the infrastructure to connect consumers to their financial data for verification of income and employment, automating direct deposits, optimizing tax withholdings, and accessing earned but unpaid wages.
Atomic services over 100 banks, credit unions, and fintechs including Coinbase, Dave, and Propel. In 2021, the firm reported that its coverage grew to over 75% of the US workforce, reaching 125 million workers and spanning more than 450 unique payroll integrations.
Lindsay is part of the senior leadership team at Atomic. Prior to her current role, she worked at CB Insights as a senior intelligence analyst, building and scaling the firm's fintech vertical.
Lindsay first met Atomic's co-founder and CEO, Jordan Wright, while sourcing for a CB Insights report called Fintech Trends to Watch. One of the trends in that report was around 'unbundling the paycheck' – so Lindsay was looking for companies that were reimagining financial infrastructure to provide consumers with things like flexible access to wages, creative solutions for tackling debt, and ways to improve financial health.
Jordan was one of the founders that Lindsay came across while working on her report. "One of the things that actually intrigued me about Jordan was that he and I had about 150 mutual fintech connections – like, really cool mutual people," she said. "And I thought, 'How is it that I’ve never met this guy before?' I knew I had to meet him."
So, Lindsay decided to call him up and approach him as a source for her report. "I talked to him about my research, and told him that one of the things I had wanted to do was to 're-bundle the paycheck' – and he kind of just stopped me there. He said, 'You know, we’re looking into doing something related to the infrastructure in payroll, and I will get on a plane to convince you to join us'."
Lindsay’s initial reaction was to reject the offer. “At the time, I thought it was kind of nuts. I hadn’t met this person before. Plus, I had just built out a team of nine analysts over at CB Insights, so I said no. But looking back, I always say that’s one of the biggest regrets of my career, because I could have been really, really early at Atomic – although I still ultimately joined very early on.”
A few months later, at the height of the pandemic, Lindsay decided to quit her job at CB Insights, because she felt that the research she’d been doing was not what the industry needed at the time. “We worked for big financial services companies, in many cases helping them to buy fintech firms. And I really didn’t want to see fintech companies get bought and give up their innovation, just because they couldn’t weather the storm.”
In November 2020, Lindsay finally joined Atomic. As head of markets, she is responsible for defining the firm’s overall strategy on payroll connectivity, educating stakeholders on the market the firm is building and why it matters, as well as creating a long-term vision by helping the firm understand how the product roadmap should evolve to fairer financial services for marginalized consumers.
Here’s what a typical workday looks like for the head of markets at a rapidly expanding payroll connectivity firm.
I’m a bit of an insomniac, so I go to sleep sometime between 1 am and 4 am. I like to wake up between 8 and 9, depending on what’s going on – I work with some international teams, so sometimes I get up early to be in the same time zone with them and to do check-ins.
On Monday mornings, I meet with our CEO Jordan to plan out the week, make sure he has an agenda for the one to two must-do items that I’ve put in his court, and tell him about my priorities for the week.
I also have a weekly meeting with the senior leadership team, which includes our co-founder and CTO, Scott, our CRO, and the heads of product, customer success, and security. We discuss progress on our KPIs as well as the week’s goals, and we spend most of our time helping each other remove roadblocks and barriers. The largest focus is always on customer success, and doing everything we can to ensure that our customers are onboard with whatever product or service we’re working on.
Of course, I also spend time working directly with my team. We’ve been growing quickly, so a lot of my focus has been on hiring, and making sure that we’re seeing some of the best candidates. That’s probably going to be my largest focus for the rest of the year – getting great talent onboard.
Throughout the day, I can also get pulled into things, like an impromptu brainstorm or media interview. My framework for that is ‘do, delegate, or delete’. I ask myself, am I the person who has to do this? If not, can somebody else on the leadership team or the marketing team handle this? No? Then it’s probably something that we’re going to pass on because the timing isn't right. I think all of us get pulled into things during the day, so it’s pretty important to have that framework in mind.
In terms of eating – I’m an intermittent faster, so I typically don’t break fast at work, unless it’s for a customer lunch or a team lunch. I usually live on a combination of Spindrift and lots of coffee, which keeps me going throughout the day. I try to be normal around my coworkers and friends, but I can pretty much keep going the whole day without eating and still have an insane amount of energy, because I really do love what I’m doing – which is working in fintech and getting to talk about the incredible things that are going on in that world.
I love to catch up on my email in the evening, to be honest. The day gets pretty, pretty busy – and I turn off my notifications on my desktop during the day, because they can easily become a distraction.
I work out every single day, whenever possible – and I obviously have my buddy in the background (points towards Peloton). There’s an excellent Freddie Mercury ride right now. They’re doing a Queen series, and so that’s been my favorite go-to — that and the Beyoncé series. I try to find other people to join me on those rides, too. My buddy and I created a couple of hashtags, #nycfintech and #sffintech. We try to loop people in from other fintech cities. It’s pretty fun when we can get a nice, coordinated group together.
Then comes dinner – I do break fast at some point! I love to go out in New York. Thankfully, I’m in the Nolita area, which is one of the city’s best places for food. There’s Pasquale Jones and Rubirosa – I’ve got very good pizza around me. And so, Peloton and pizza – they typically balance each other out in my mind. So that’s where I like to splurge a little bit.
On the weekends, when I have more time, I like to go on extremely long runs, like 10 to 13 miles. Our team recently did a turkey trot, and I didn’t want them to be discouraged, so I let them start before me. But somebody actually ran seven miles!
Personally, the Peloton was a life-saver for me during the pandemic. Back when we were all sent home in March 2020, I was living in a 500 square-foot apartment. All day, I used to work, eat, and sleep in that same space. But my workout sessions kept me going.
After quitting CB Insights, I also wrote a Fintech Pandemic Playbook. I interviewed around a hundred fintech founders and executives, and published my research with an independent PR firm. It was a dedicated framework around the question of, 'How do you weather this storm?' The purpose was to put something out to help fintech firms navigate the crisis, and to give founders a little bit more of a reason to keep going. During that period, I heard a lot of sad things. But at the same time, I saw great resilience and heard a lot of optimism about the future as well, which kept me going personally.
So far, my time at Atomic has been a complete roller coaster, with lots of high highs and low lows. We’ve gone from zero to over 100 customers and partners, from one product to five solutions, and from being a seed-stage company to announcing a $40 million Series B last month. And it’s all happening so much faster than I’d anticipated. I mean, a lot of areas within fintech are growing fast. But this market in particular, is like…hyperspeed. We’re a fundamentally different company than we were a year ago – but I’ve truly loved every second of it.